Discover Malaysia – Our Itinerary
In May 2022, the borders in Malaysia reopened to tourists. We didn’t hesitate for a second and booked our tickets. For three weeks we went to visit the most beautiful places in the country. For inspiration, you can discover what our travel route looked like in this article. But most of all, explore this land of temples, rainforests and refined food for yourself. Discover our itinerary in Malaysia.
Malaysia has been on Sigrid’s bucket list for years. The beautiful beaches, rugged jungle and culinary attractions made her dream away. Until that dream came true! In May 2022, we boarded a plane to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, and discovered what the country really is like.
So we started in Kuala Lumpur. This metropolis has about 1.8 million inhabitants, but you don’t really have the feeling of being in such a very large city. There are many skyscrapers to see, dozens of shopping streets and busy roads, but the cosiness and attractiveness of this city takes the upper hand.
The center where sights and shopping centers are located can easily be reached by metro or taxi. And some temples such as the Batu Caves and Thean Hou are easily accessible by taxi. Kuala Lumpur is such a city where you can stay for three days or three months. You don’t get tired of it quickly. We stay there for a total of 5 days at the beginning of our trip and 2 days at the end of our trip. That was perfect and we recommend it to everyone when planning your Malaysia travel itinerary.
Transportation in Malaysia
When you travel to Malaysia you have to make a number of decisions. There are countless paradise islands, just think of Borneo or the Perhentian Islands. But those islands are still a ‘far’ distance from the mainland. So do you want to spend time on the road or would you rather explore the interior quickly and easily? We chose the latter and will keep the island-hopping for another time.
Our next destination was Ipoh. This city is actually well located as a stopover for Cameron Highlands or Penang. We went from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh by train . That’s fast, easy and comfortable. The train takes just over two hours. You can also go by bus, but that is a lot slower.
There is little to see in Ipoh itself. It is recommended by many blogs, but actually the city itself is a bit drab and dilapidated. There are some cozy streets, but that’s where it ends. Not immediately worth stopping, you would think at first sight. Still, we recommend making a stopover here as we have discovered some of the most beautiful temples in the country in the Ipoh area. We describe these in detail in our list of Things to do in Ipoh. Three to four days are enough to discover the surroundings of Ipoh.
5 Cameron Highlands
After Ipoh we continued towards Cameron Highlands, the mecca for tea and strawberry lovers. Originally it had to be one of our favorite destinations of this trip because on almost every blog we read that this is the most beautiful region of the mainland.
Admittedly, the tea plantations are impressive and nice to visit, but you have seen the whole of Cameron Highlands in a day or two. Unless you want to make (multi-day) treks in the jungle, of course. We would therefore recommend making a day trip from Ipoh or staying here for a maximum of one or two nights. Certainly no longer. We went from Ipoh to Cameron Highlands by taxi. That was quite good in terms of price for this long ride.
As a fourth destination we decided to visit Penang. Penang is an island but connected to the mainland by a bridge. So you can get there by ferry as well as by taxi, bus or train.
Because Bryan had forgotten his laptop at the hotel in Ipoh, we drove from Cameron Highlands back to Ipoh to take the train from there to Butterworth, the nearest station. Traveling via Ipoh is actually the easiest to get from Cameron Highlands to Penang. From the station in Butterworth near Penang we took a taxi to our hotel in Georgetown, the capital of Penang.
Penang has some nice places that you can discover in our list of Things to do in Penang, but the island still didn’t appeal to us. Maybe because it didn’t feel like an island at all? We stayed in Georgetown, which is quite a busy city and didn’t exactly have the calming island vibe we were looking for.
Actually, it was not our intention to mainly visit cities during our trip. We had hoped that Penang would be a bit more exotic, but unfortunately that was a bit disappointing. We would not immediately return here.
We still had 6 days to spend before we returned home, so we really had to finish with a wow feeling. As our last destination in Malaysia, we therefore decided to visit Langkawi, a paradise island located a few hours by ferry or plane from Penang.
The ferry from Georgetown (Penang) didn’t work, so we had to go to the station in Kedah, about 2.5 hours drive from Georgetown. So we reached Langkawi first with a long taxi ride and then by ferry.
To our great surprise, Langkawi was well organized in terms of transport and tourism. You immediately notice that this is a tourist island for both residents of Malaysia and foreign tourists. We immediately felt a good vibe here.
We also discovered beautiful waterfalls, an amazing viewpoint and white sand beaches. You can find out all there is to do in Langkawi via our handy list.
Private pool villa
We stayed a few nights at The Danna luxury resort. This is possibly one of the nicest hotels we have ever stayed in and without a doubt the best hotel to stay on the island. From the beautiful English architecture to the extremely friendly service, everything about this resort is sublime.
We also had the chance to stay in one of the private pool villas which is an experience to remember. At the private pool villa you stay in a beautiful luxury villa on the beach, with your own pool and garden. Here you have the privacy you are looking for without losing the connection with the hotel. You can easily walk to the lobby, the main pool of the hotel or one of the excellent hotel restaurants. We recommend this stay to everyone. Especially for a honeymoon or special occasion. What an experience!
Although we have discovered several beautiful places in Malaysia, we are still a bit hungry. We expected more from certain locations. We also notice that tourism has not yet fully resumed (or has not really developed), which sometimes made it more difficult for us to move around, book a tour or feel completely ‘welcome’ as a tourist. Fortunately, this was completely different in the hotels where we stayed. There we were welcomed with open arms, we could enjoy an absolute holiday feeling and everything was arranged for us down to the last detail.
So we are certainly happy that we have discovered the beauty of Malaysia, but we feel there is much more to discover in this unique country. We would therefore recommend ignoring certain locations. If you’re not a city person, choose the islands and less inland.
Rent a car
If you hire a car yourself, the distances may be easier to cover, but be aware that traffic rules are often broken (we’ve seen dangerous situations on several occasions) and that here, just like in the UK, they drive on the left-hand side of the road. If that is not a problem for you, you can opt to rent a car or scooter and explore the country.
Is Malaysia and this travel route also on your bucket list? Or just not? Let us know in the comments. If you have any questions about this country, or another destination, you can always send us a message.