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Things to do in Malaysia

Things to do in  Malaysia

Welcome to Malaysia

Malaysia is a country of contrasts, sliced in half by the South China Sea. On one side, colonial treasure troves, tropical islands, and modern cityscapes captivate; while in Borneo, rain forests and wild animals dominate the landscape. Malaysia is crowned by its sleek capital, Kuala Lumpur, where the Petronas Twin Towers, the Batu Caves, and enticing street food reign supreme. In historical Malacca, UNESCO World Heritage sites jostle for attention; Kota Kinabalu magnetizes travelers with fiery sunsets and a vibrant art scene; in Penang, the colonial gems of Georgetown complement the country’s best food; and on the white-sand beaches of Langkawi, revelers and relaxers soak up the island atmosphere. Opportunities for outdoor adventures abound: Hike through the emerald tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands, trek to the fiery summit of Mount Kinabalu volcano, or explore the fauna-rich rain forest of Taman Negara National Park. Nature lovers can visit rescued elephants at the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, observe orangutans in Borneo’s dense jungle, or watch a dazzling display of fireflies at Kuala Selangor lagoon. Plus, Malaysia’s proximity to Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia not only make it an ideal launchpad for traveling Southeast Asia, but also creates an engrossing cultural tapestry guaranteed to excite and enchant.

Top 15 things to do in Malaysia

#1
Petronas Twin Towers (Petronas Towers)

Petronas Twin Towers (Petronas Towers)

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The twin 88-story steel and glass buildings known as the Petronas Twin Towers (or Petronas Towers), completed in 1996, are icons of Malaysia. Designed to symbolize courage and the country’s advancement, the two towers are connected by a double-decker Skybridge between the 41st and 42nd floor—the world’s highest two-story bridge of its kind—to form the shape of an “M” for Malaysia.More
#2
Kuala Lumpur Tower (KL Tower)

Kuala Lumpur Tower (KL Tower)

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Looming 1,381 feet (421 meters) atop the Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill) in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the Kuala Lumpur Tower (KL Tower) is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Visible from all around, it also affords a spectacular 360-degree view from its observation deck.More
#3
Batu Caves

Batu Caves

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Home to a 154-foot (47-meter) statue of the resplendent gold Lord Murugan, the Batu Caves are a must-see for anyone visiting Kuala Lumpur for the first-time. The UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of four limestone caves—Temple Cave, Dark Cave, Cave Villa, and Ramayana Cave—which are famously frequented by long-tailed gray macaques.More
#4
Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka)

Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka)

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A large grassy expanse in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) is where Malaysia declared independence in 1957: The word “merdeka” means “independent” or “free.” The city’s best-known historic landmark, the square is home to structures including the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, museums, and a cathedral.More
#5
National Mosque of Malaysia (Masjid Negara)

National Mosque of Malaysia (Masjid Negara)

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National Mosque of Malaysia (Masjid Negara)Beside the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s National Mosque (Masjid Negara) reinvents traditional Islamic architecture with its angular lines and neutral color scheme. Built in 1965, the mosque was designed as a symbol of Malaysia’s independence and is a center of Kuala Lumpur’s vibrant Muslim community.More
#6
King's Palace (Istana Negara)

King's Palace (Istana Negara)

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The Malaysian equivalent to Buckingham Palace, the King's Palace (Istana Negara) attracts thousands of visitors with its golden domes and Islamic-style architecture. Although you can’t explore the palace, you can learn about the Malaysian monarchy at the Royal Museum, located on the palace grounds.More
#7
Dayang Bunting Island (Pulau Dayang Bunting)

Dayang Bunting Island (Pulau Dayang Bunting)

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The second-largest island in Langkawi archipelago, Dayang Bunting Island (Pulau Dayang Bunting) and its surrounding lake are enshrouded in folklore. Visit the lake where legend says a celestial princess placed her baby after his death (the waters are thought to aid in conceiving). Try snorkeling, bird-watching, and cave exploring too.More
#8
Langkawi Cable Car (Langkawi SkyCab)

Langkawi Cable Car (Langkawi SkyCab)

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Formally known as Langkawi SkyCab, the Langkawi Cable Car takes riders high above the Langkawi rain forest on Mt. Mat Cincang (Gunung Mat Cincang) for a panoramic view of the surrounding islands and sea. It boasts Malaysia’s longest free span mono-cable car—at 3,117 feet (950 meters)—and is among the steepest on the planet.More
#9
Mt. Kinabalu (Gunung Kinabalu)

Mt. Kinabalu (Gunung Kinabalu)

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One of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia, the mighty Mt. Kinabalu (Gunung Kinabalu) attracts climbers from all over. But the 13,435-foot (4,095-meter) summit isn’t the only reason travelers visit Kinabalu National Park. With around 6,000 species of flora, the UNESCO-listed park is recognized as one of the most important biological sites in the world.More
#10
Bako National Park

Bako National Park

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Sarawak’s oldest national park, Bako National Park packs a lot of action into just 10 square miles (27 square kilometers) of land. Seven different ecosystems, including rain forest and mangroves, are home to wildlife from long-nosed proboscis monkeys to orchids, carnivorous pitcher plants, bearded pigs, and mudskippers (“walking” fish).More
#11
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

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Nestled among the mangrove forests of Semawang, the privately-owned Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary allows you observe the endemic primates during feeding times throughout the day. Fresh fruit and vegetables are provided to supplement the diets of the monkeys, who roam free in the surrounding forest.More
#12
Semenggoh Nature Reserve

Semenggoh Nature Reserve

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There are few places in the world with a healthier population of young orangutans than the jungles surrounding the Semenggoh Nature Reserve. This thriving population owes its success to a 30-year rehabilitation program that reintroduced hundreds of primates into the surrounding forest. Today, you can observe free-roaming orangutans during feeding times.More
#13
Sultan Abdul Samad Building (Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad)

Sultan Abdul Samad Building (Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad)

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Colonial architects A.C. Norman and A.B. Hubbock completed the now iconic Sultan Abdul Samad Building (Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad) in 1897 during the British administration of the region. Designed for governmental administrative offices, the building on Merdeka Square was the first public building in the country to feature a Mughal architectural style — a school that combines Indian Muslim, Gothic and Moorish influences.Today, the building is home of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture. Its 135-foot (41-meter) tall clock tower flanked by two copper cupolas have become one of Kuala Lumpur’s most recognizable landmarks. The structure is particularly impressive at night, when the domes and clock tower are lit up.More
#14
Thean Hou Temple

Thean Hou Temple

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While far from historic (it opened in 1989), Thean Hou Temple is one of Malaysia’s—and indeed southeast Asia’s—most important Chinese temples. Set atop a hill a little way outside the city center, the 6-tiered temple blends Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism in a tribute to the sea goddess Mazu and hosts a wealth of festivals.More
#15
Kuala Lumpur Railway Station

Kuala Lumpur Railway Station

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Not to be confused with the city’s transportation hub, Kuala Lumpur Sentral Railway Station, the old Kuala Lumpur train station is a classic example of colonial Anglo-Asian architecture. Completed in 1910, horseshoe arches, bell-shaped domes, and airy pavilion roofs give Kuala Lumpur Railway Station an almost fairytale effect.More

Trip ideas

Tea Plantation Tours from Kuala Lumpur

Tea Plantation Tours from Kuala Lumpur

Top National Parks in Sarawak

Top National Parks in Sarawak

Island Hopping Tours in Langkawi

Island Hopping Tours in Langkawi

Top activities in Malaysia

Cameron Highlands Day Tour from Kuala Lumpur with Lunch (SIC - Shared Tours)
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
️ Kuala Lumpur Instagram Tour: Most Famous Spots (Private & All-Inclusive)

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Recent reviews from experiences in Malaysia

star-5
The BEST tour!
Nicole_W, Aug 2022
Penang: Flexible 6-Hours Highlights
He was extremely knowledgable, giving us many insights into the history of Penang and all of the wonderful things to see here.
star-5
Amazing Day in Penang with Lester
Lynn_C, Jul 2022
Penang: Flexible 6-Hours Highlights
He made sure we got to see everything we wanted to see.
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Nice Trip to Batu Caves and Elephants!
Florian_S, Jul 2022
Batu Caves & Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Full-Day Tour
And here I definitely have to mention, that he really cared about us: He spoke with the salesman from the boat rental who organize the tour to see the blue lights.
star-5
Worthwhile Day Trip from KL
Rokas_D, Jun 2022
Historical Melaka Tour with Lunch (Shared/Join In Tour)
Given the city’s importance in Malaysian history as a trade port and the capital of the Melaka Sultanate, I had to see it while I was visiting!
star-5
Fantastic Tour with Joelle our...
Neale R, Jan 2018
The Ultimate Batu Caves Private Day Trip
His knowledge of Batu Caves and all things Malaysian were really interesting but when we went to the Falls he was great with the wild monkeys,they seemed to recognise him and his food bag...
star-4
A well-organised tour with a very...
Ceri W, Apr 2017
7-Days Best of Malaysia
A great way to see the real Malaysia and meet people other than fellow tourists.
star-5
Great trip, Great hotels, Great...
Keith_G, Jul 2015
7-Days Best of Malaysia
Great trip, Great hotels, Great food, Great company, GREAT GUIDE Highly recommended to anyone wanting to see Malaysia
star-5
Great tour, loved it very much
Natalja_S, Mar 2020
Full-day Cameron Highlands Day Trip from Kuala Lumpur
We were very happy with this tour, recommend to any who is interested to see nice nature of Malaysia and learn a lot of things about it's culture and people.
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Cameron Highlands
matt f, Nov 2019
Cameron Highland Real Experience Day Trip from Ipoh
The tour also includes a visit with the local Orang Asli indigenous tribe and a final stop at the beautiful Late Escanola waterfall.
star-5
One of a Kind Experience!
Climber52134666086, May 2019
Kuala Selangor Firefly Boat Tour with Dinner and Transfer from Kuala Lumpur
He emphasizes that his tours are spontaneous, so he brought us to see a Hindu temple and feed silver leaf monkeys on the way to Kuala Selangor, and to the King's Palace on the way back to KL.
star-5
efficient private tour
Joseph_K, Sep 2018
Silver Leaf Monkeys and Firefly Tour with Boat Ride and Seafood Dinner
Guide picked us up at hotel on time, drove to several sites for quick stops on the way (palace, natural hot springs, pick up peanuts for the monkeys), then we walked to where hundreds of monkeys were waiting for food.
star-5
We had a fabulous day tour to the...
Brenda G, Sep 2016
Day Tour Hill Resort Cameron Highlands
We went to the Batu Caves nice and early and missed all the monkeys and the crowds, then on to the highlands to see the waterfall, tea plantations, strawberry picking, butterfly and insect gardens and cactus garden.
star-5
Amazing, the best part of our trip...
Mohammed_U, Aug 2018
Day Tour Rainforest Taman Negara
Make sure you take a change of clothes and make sure you change, you will fall ill otherwise.
star-5
This Private tour was fantastic! Our...
Emily L, Sep 2017
The Ultimate Batu Caves Private Day Trip
The Batu caves were amazing and the waterfalls refreshing once we got to the top!
star-5
I booked this tour with no high...
AntonioNhat_C, Feb 2018
Kuala Selangor Firefly Boat Tour with Dinner and Transfer from Kuala Lumpur
You get to see other parts of Malaysia.
star-4
We were surprised to be picked up by...
Bryce W, Jul 2018
Malacca UNESCO "World Heritage Site" Day Trip from Kuala Lumpur
He was on time and could speak very good English.
star-5
Our driver/guide RIDZUAN arrived at...
Priska S, Nov 2017
Private Full Day Tour : Kuala Lumpur City & Shopping with Lunch
First he told us, what we could visit and see and we decided which places to visit and he was very flexible und adapted whenever we got new questions and ideas.
star-5
This tour was TOP. Highly...
CJ, Aug 2017
Private Tour Kuala Lumpur with Petronas Twin Towers Observation Deck & Batu Cave
He speaks English well.
star-4
Our tour driver was nice, and we...
Kelip Kelip, Jan 2014
Kuala Selangor Tour from Kuala Lumpur with Fireflies Boat Ride and Seafood Dinner
You also get to see some typical country side houses and buildings.
star-4
We were lucky enough to be the only...
Jill B, Dec 2016
Kuala Selangor Firefly Boat Tour with Dinner and Transfer from Kuala Lumpur
Next was to get the boat to see the fireflies.
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All about Malaysia

Currency
Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
Time Zone
MYT (UTC +7)
Country Code
+60
Language(s)
Malay

People Also Ask

What is Malaysia best known for?

Malaysia has two main areas: peninsular Malaysia, south of Thailand on the Asian mainland, and East Malaysia, in Borneo. Malaysian Borneo is known for caves, rivers, rain forest, indigenous cultures, and orangutans; peninsular Malaysia includes the colonial-era cities of George Town (Penang) and Melaka, plus Langkawi, the nation’s favorite resort island.

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What you should see in Malaysia?

On peninsular Malaysia, George Town and Melaka hold UNESCO World Heritage status; the Taman Negara National Park boasts virgin rain forest; popular islands include Langkawi, Redang, and the Perhentians. In Malaysian Borneo, a river trip and orangutan viewing is a must; divers love Sipadan; the Gunung Mulu and Kinabalu national parks are UNESCO-listed.

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How many days should I spend in Malaysia?

Malaysia is a diverse country which is larger than Italy and includes almost 900 islands. Ideally, allow 14 days to see the highlights of peninsular Malaysia, and an additional 14 days for Sabah in Borneo: Sarawak, the other half of Malaysian Borneo, takes longer to explore in full.

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What are the most popular things to do in Malaysia?

Multicultural Malaysia is blessed with Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, and hybrid foods, so most visitors spend plenty of time eating. Nature lovers enjoy waterfalls, river trips, mangrove adventures, firefly viewing, rain-forest hikes, and wildlife encounters, including orangutans. Snorkeling and other water sports are popular on many islands, as are walking tours in heritage areas.

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What things are illegal in Malaysia?

Same-sex activity is illegal in Malaysia and, while travelers are unlikely to face prosecution, LGBTQ visitors should avoid public displays of affection and install a VPN on their phone as many LGBTQ sites are blocked. Importing either drugs or unlicensed firearms may be punished with death, while penalties for drug possession include whipping.

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Is Malaysia dangerous for tourists?

No. Although pickpocketing, petty crime, bag-snatching, ATM fraud, and drink spiking are not uncommon, most of Malaysia is safe. The US State Department advises against travel to eastern Sabah due to the risk of kidnapping. If renting a motorcycle, ensure you have both a license and full insurance, and always wear a helmet.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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