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14 Super Affordable Destinations In Malaysia For The Ultimate Weekend Trip

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Cheng Sim  •  Jul 11, 2017

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[Updated 11 October 2020] Halfway between a busy work week and a Monday is the weekend where we’re free to explore, discover and dream as we please. While some spend their time redeeming their sleep debts and others hanging out with their friends, real travellers would snatch up this opportunity to plan an exciting weekend trip in Malaysia. If you’re living in Malaysia or planning a vacation here in the near future, we've got great news! There are many super affordable destinations in Malaysia to enjoy your weekend break and you can do it on a budget too! Don’t believe us? Follow our lead and we’ll show you where to go 😉
1. Taiping, Perak
Named the world's third most sustainable city in 2019, Taiping may just be a transit stop for many travellers on a road trip to northern Malaysia but it has its own charms too. The city is full of greenery with some historic spots. One of the places you must visit is the Taiping Lake Gardens. Once a former mining site, it was turned into a public garden by the British in 1880 and its gorgeous landscape makes it perfect for a jog or stroll. Bukit Larut (or Maxwell Hill)is also another place you can visit for a breather. Located 1,250 metres above sea level, you can escape the tropical heat here as temperatures can go as low as 15 degrees Celsius. If you're up for a challenge, you can also hike up the mountain! If you're interested in history, make a stop at the Taiping War Cemetery dedicated to WWII soldiers or admire the exhibits at Perak Museum. #HHWTTip: Looking for halal food in Taiping? Be sure to try the famous Ansari Cendol or savour some yummy Chinese cuisine at Yut Sun Restaurant.
2. Muar, Johor
Muar is worth visiting if you're looking for a town with a laidback charm, delicious food and rich history. The Masjid Jamek Sultan Ibrahim is one of the most beautiful buildings in Muar. Established in 1927, the mosque located by the Muar River is known for its blue and white facade. With a mix of European and traditional Malay influences, the mosque looks like it can pass off as a building in Europe. Other significant structures you should not miss are the Muar Clock Tower, Sultan Ismail Bridge and Tanjung Emas. Muar is also known for its amazing food like satay, mee bandung and cendol.Fun fact: Johoreans eat satay for breakfast and one of the best places to go would be R&H Cafe Sate Maharani. Another must-try dish is mee bandung from Mee Bandung Abu Bakar Hanipah which is said to have originated from Muar! This delicacy made from sambal, cuttlefish, shrimps and beef is sure to delight you with its rich flavours. If you're looking for a quick pick-me-up, be sure to stop by Sai Kee Kopi 434 Muar for their amazing coffee!
3. Alor Setar, Kedah
Alor Setar is a splendid place for a weekend getaway in Malaysia. As the state capital of Kedah, the attractions are more laid-back and you can definitely tell when you visit Kedah Paddy Museum, Menara Alor Setar, Gunung Keriang and Kedah Royal Museum. There's no shortage of delicious halal food in Alor Setar too, and foodies would be delighted to try chicken rice at Nasi Ayam Hainan Cabai Hijau, nasi kandar at Restoran Nasi Kandar Haji Ramli, and Malay cuisine at Restoran Selera Jelapang.
4. Ipoh, Perak
While Malaysians often associate Ipohto richly brewed coffee, Ipoh is a destination that boasts a laid-back vibe and an equally charming townscape. Situated within a 2-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, walk along the streets andyou’re likely to spot the old (Chinese kopitiams) and new (modern street art) that fit together like two puzzle pieces. Planning a weekend food trip to Ipoh is a must! If you can stomach all the local food you can find, start with a hearty curry mee or nasi kandar before tackling bowls of tau fu fah, cendol, and ais kepal. Then, walk it all off by visiting the Kellie’s Castle, Lost World of Tambun and Gunung Lang Recreational Park.
5. Melaka
For a weekend trip that leans towards the historical, Melaka is one of the few destinations that comes to mind. Peppered with historical attractions such as the Stadhuys, A’Famosa Fort and Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum, you can learn up additional facts that you won’t normally find in your school’s history books 😉 To truly nail your weekend getaway in Melaka, fuel up by savouring fiery asam pedas and curry laksa first. Then, leave your footprints at the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum, Melaka River Cruise, and Jonker Walk. Our halal food guide will leave you wanting to visit Melaka again and again!
6. Johor Bahru, Johor
If you’re into family getaways or road trips, Johor Bahruis your best bet for a fun-filledweekend holiday. Save the theme parks for another day and head straight to the street markets where you can shop for cheap eats and cheaper clothes. Some of the local favourites include KSL Night Market, Pasar Malam Johor Jaya, Pasar Karat, and Taman Bukit Indah Pasar Malam. There are many itineraries you can refer to such as our long weekend itinerary in Johor Bahru that you will find helpful! If you decide to plan a full-fledged food trip instead, check out these fantastic hipster cafes and halal eateries in Johor Bahru. Alternatively, Desaru will also make a brilliant weekend getaway for you and your friends.
7. George Town, Penang
Ask any Malaysians about their favourite place to go for a weekend trip and they would exclaim ‘Penang!’ in a heartbeat. Infused with cultural and heritage charms, Penang is also a sought-after destination for the best street food. Check out the Penang tourism centres for free guided tours and inexpensive monthly events you can enjoy. Keep an eye out for ‘Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Month’ for free guided tours to Penang Botanic Gardens and George Town’s heritage circle. The food here is generally cheap too, so you can savour currymee, nasi kandar, and mee sotong to your heart’s content. Want to know where to find them?Check out these halal eateries in Penang!
8. Seremban, Negeri Sembilan
Spending the weekend in Seremban is a must if you’re looking for a laid-back holiday. Best known for their range of scrumptious local delights from lemak cili padi to Seremban laksa, consider a hearty food trip that guarantees zero dents on your purse. If you decide to burn off those calories with sightseeing, there is a medley of attractions and places you can visit such as the Jelita Ostrich Farm, Royal Gallery Tuanku Jaafar, The Dusun and more.
9. Kuantan, Pahang
What Kuantan can promise you is a fulfilling nature escapade that won’t blow your budget! A laid-back destination that is brimming with charming towns and natural sites, Kuantan is definitely dedicated to nature lovers far and wide. Once you arrive here, enjoy a refreshing dip in Sungai Pandan Waterfall, admire the tall trees at Bukit Pelindung Recreational Forest, listen to the lapping waves on Teluk Cempedak, or capture the reflections on Chini Lake.
10. Sekinchan, Selangor
One of the best things about driving to Sekinchanis the golden paddy fields that frame your little weekend journey. Some locals would evenstop by for a fantastic selfie opportunity in the paddy fields. You can rent a bicycle to enjoy the slow-paced lifestyle here. If you’re looking for a rustic and unpretentious place, this small town is as real as it gets. Pantai Redang is also within a short drive away and a great spot for a beach stopover. For other sights to discover, you can also explore their 3D art gallery and paddy processing factory before heading to town for a round of seafood for early dinner.
11. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
There are so many cultural and heritage treasures to be found in northern Malaysia and you can spot them in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. An endearing destination that is a total contrast to the city’s hustle and bustle, Kota Bharu encourages you to take things easy when you’re here. A pocket full of cash is almost unnecessary here. Almost anyone can explore Temenggor Lake, Pantai Irama Bachok, and Istana Jahar at their time, pace and budget. If you’re searching for cheap eats, Siti Khadijah Market has plenty of choices to spoil yourself silly such as nasi dagang, laksam, and nasi kerabu.
12. Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
Kuala Terengganu, the administrative capital of Terengganu, also has a few surprisesin store for easy-going travellers. Fondly known as K.T. by the locals, the community spirit and friendly smiles that transcend this city will warm your heart. Reserve a free weekend for a trip to Kuala Terengganu where the spectacular Crystal Mosque, Bukit Puteri, Pasar Payang, and Dungun Night Market await budget travellers. Pantai Batu Buruk is also famous for their massive wooden swings that have seen a surge of popularity on major social feeds, or check out Tok Jembal beach for a slice of traditional life by the beach.
13. Taman Negara, Pahang
Smack in the heart of the Peninsular is Taman Negara where foliage and flowers grow in abundance. This famous national park is also home to million-year-old rainforest and ecosystem, so just imagine how incredibly blessed Malaysians are. When you’re here, be sure to explore the greenery by leaving your footprints on the canopy walkway or enjoy an afternoon of jungle trekking. You will come across rivers along the way, so you can freshen up before calling it a day.
14. Kangar, Perlis
For a laid-back holiday, look no further than Kangar, the capital city of Perlis. If you're spending a weekend here, you can pack your itinerary with visits to Hutan Lipur BukitAyer, hiking at Bukit Chabang, and caving at Kelam Cave. If you're a foodie, there are plenty of delicious halal food in Kangar that you can try including fresh chapati at Capati Labu Sayong & Nasi Gulai Panas, laksa beras at Kak Su Laksa Beras Asli & Segar and Malay cuisine at Restoran Nelayan Perlis. If you’re short of annual leaves, weekends are the next best time to indulge in a quick getaway. There are many places you can discover in Malaysia! From Sekinchan in Selangor to Kota Bharu in Kelantan, there is definitely a destination out there that will be perfect for your weekend escapade.