Malaysia Travel Guide
Malaysia is often said to be the ‘real Asia’ – a country famous not only for it’s capital Kuala Lumpur, but a place where you can enjoy beautiful beaches, walk around in lush forests and eat amazing local food.
Start your Malaysian travels in Kuala Lumpur – a city well connected to the rest of Asia and a place you are more likely to stumble upon a sky bar than a dog. The city’s beautiful skyline (Petrona’s Towers!) and modern shopping centres might leave you wanting more, but the beauty of the country lies in its often underrated nature. Visit the tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands or trek through the huge national parks of Gunung Mulu and Taman Negara, where you may encounter incredible wildlife including tigers and orangutans.
Borneo and its jungle are worth the detour if you have the time and the true adventurer ache to discover this amazing island. If you are a foodie, don’t forget to make a stop in Penang, one of the world’s capitals for street food! There is truly plenty for every budget and travel-style.
Things to See and Do in Malaysia
- Petronas Towers
- Enjoy the beaches of Langkawi
- Eat street food in Penang
- Go shopping in KL
- Visit Batu Caves
- Enjoy the culture in Melacca
- Plan a getaway to Genting Highlands
- Visit a mosque in KL
Typical Costs When Travelling
Accommodation – While this will vary depending on which location you decide to visit, accommodation in Malaysia is affordable and in KL your money gets you quite far in terms of quality and size. A luxury 80sqm apartment with kitchen, gym and pool will cost you around $200 – $400 per week (through Airbnb). Dorms cost around $8 USD per night and a private room will cost you around $17 USD per night. There is an abundance of accommodation in Malaysia and you are sure to find something fitting your budget.
Food – Street food (due to its popularity) has become rather expensive in KL, so expect to pay $2.50 USD for a simple rice and meat dish at a night market. In general, the restaurants will charge around $5 USD for their standard dishes and a big bottle of Tiger will cost you just as much. If you rented an apartment with a kitchen, expect to pay European prices for groceries (with milk products such as yoghurt and cheese costing twice as much!).
Transportation – We found it cheap and easy to travel to Malaysia. AirAsia has its HQ in KL, so flying from here will cost you much less than in other Asian countries. A flight from KL to Penang will cost you as little as $20 USD return/pp. Within Kuala Lumpur, we used Grab taxis and generally paid around $2.50 for a 20-minute ride. We stayed in the Bukit Bintang area and opted to walk a few times as well. The trains were slightly more expensive than a Grab taxi (and not worth for 2 or more people).
Suggested daily budget
$30-40 USD. Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in an apartment, eating out in mid-range places, having breakfast at home, and using taxi apps or walking. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation, drink more alcohol or eat out in classy restaurants, expect this to be higher!
1. Download Grab app This taxi app will help you save a lot of money. A bonus is that you can also order food through it!
2. Airbnb Luxury hotels often have serviced apartments in KL, and they are much cheaper on Airbnb.
3. Cook your own meals Fully equipped kitchens are common in rentals. This can help you save at least a third of your food budget.
4. Free Attractions There are plenty of free attractions in Malaysia. My favorite was the Masjid Wilayah mosque.
When to visit Malaysia
Being a tropical climate, temperatures across Malaysia don’t fluctuate very much. However, the humidity levels are a force to reckon with.
April to October: These months are the wettest months for destinations in the western peninsula.
November to February: These months are when the rains visit the eastern peninsula.
December to January and June to August: These are the peak travel seasons to Malaysia with a visible spike in tourists coming in.