First vacation in Malaysia
Welcome to Malaysia where you can enjoy vast jungles, the beautiful underwater world, amazing tropical islands with crystal clear water and white beaches. Most tourists come to Malaysia because of the great mixture of authentic Asia combined with many modern influences. Another reason of course is the wonderful tropical climate. In Malaysia you can shop till you drop, not only at one of the many modern shopping malls in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur (KL), but also at numerous other cities and even at most of the islands. You can eat fantastic dishes right along the streets, but also fine (dining) meals at many great restaurants. In this tourist guidebook you will find all the information you need when you are planning your first vacation in Malaysia.
Most visitors will arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA); about an hour drive from the city of Kuala Lumpur at Peninsular Malaysia. More adventurous travelers will skip KL and immediately continue towards Borneo, where many great jungle experiences start from cities like Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Sandakan and Miri.
First timers will often visit a few of the must-see destinations in Malaysia. Among these are a visit to islands like Penang, Langkawi, Perhentian, Redang and Tioman, a trip to the highlands like Cameron Highlands, exploring the jungles at Taman Negara or one of the National Parks in Borneo, often ending their trip in Kuala Lumpur for some last-minute shopping. Check our top10 to do's.
List of great attractions based on region
West coast Peninsular Malaysia
Most popular and easiest tourist attractions and destinations are located on the western side of Peninsular Malaysia. This area has no real monsoon season which makes it a perfect destination all year round.
Most popular attractions at the western side of Peninsular Malaysia
Most popular attractions are: Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands, Malacca, Penang Island, Langkawi Island, Pangkor Island, Kuala Selangor Fireflies, the city of Ipoh, Genting Highlands, Port Dickson, Ketam Island, rafting at the Selangor River at Kuala Kubu Bharu, Royal Belum National Park, Gunung Ledang (Mt Orphir) and Taman Negara National Park.
East coast Peninsular Malaysia
The eastern side of Peninsular Malaysia is especially popular because of the wonderful tropical islands where you can enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, sun bathing and kayaking. Resorts are often located right on the beach, only a few meters from the crystal clear water. Other popular places are the quiet and quaint cities, a few nice lakes and a national park. The east coast has a monsoon season that affects your traveling possibilities, as most resorts on the islands are closed and the attractions on the mainland are less fun when it rains 24/7.
Most popular attractions at the eastern side of Peninsular Malaysia
The most popular attractions are: Perhentian Island, Redang Island, Lang Tengah Island, Tenggol Island, Kapas Island, Tioman Island, Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Lake Kenyir, Kuantan, Kuala Rasang, Endau-Rompin National Park, Lake Chini and the city of Johor Bahru (especially popular because of its location nearby Singapore).
Borneo is especially popular among those that like adventure during their travels. Besides many beautiful tropical islands many visit the states of Sabah and Sarawak to explore the beautiful national parks, the caves and the local tribes. Borneo can be visited all year round, but during the months of November to March there can be more rainfall and nasty weather conditions because of the typhoon season north of Borneo. Scuba diving enthusiasts might want to avoid those months as visibility is less great and some may have difficulties with the strong(er) currents.
Most popular attractions on Sabah
Most popular attractions on Sabah are: Mount Kinabalu Summit Climb, Kota Kinabalu, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Poring Hot Springs, rafting at Kiulu River and Padas River, Pulau Tiga (Survivor Island), Labuan Island, visiting the 'Tip of Borneo', Sandakan, Turtle Island, Langkayan Island, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Gomantong Caves, Kinabatangan River Cruises, Danum Valley, Sipadan Island, Mabul Island, Mataking Island, Kapalai Island.
Most popular attractions on Sarawak
Most popular attractions on Sarawak are: Gunung Mulu National Park, Bako National Park, Kuching, Niah National Park, Semenggoh Orangutang Sanctuary, Miri, Talang-Talang Island, Iban Longhouses near Sibu along the Rejang River, Batang Ai National Park, Kubah National Park, Lambir National Park, Bario and Kelabit Highlands and Gunung Gading National Park