[UPDATED 3rd March 2022]
Finding the best places to visit in Malaysia is convenient thanks to the country's abundance of natural splendours, cultural attractions and hidden gems. With a wealth of sights and sounds to discover, there are truly many ways for you to fall in love with this amazing country.
If you've eaten your way through Penang's delicious halal eateries, explored the Insta-worthy spots in Melaka, and stayed at these trendy accommodations in Ipoh, here are other amazing places you can visit in Malaysia (that's not Penang, Ipoh or Melaka!).
10 Places To Go In Malaysia That Isn't Penang, Ipoh or Melaka
1. Taman Negara, Pahang
If you're looking to escape from the high-rises and peak-hour traffic, come to Taman Negara. Situated in Pahang, this 130-million-year-old virgin rainforest is one of Malaysia's ecotourism gems and it'll be a miss not to trek along the winding forest path. Anyone departing from Kuala Lumpur will arrive at this rainforest within 6 hours and from there, your real adventure begins!
Take the courage to walk on the world's longest canopy walkway, so you'll get a view of the tropical rainforest. Some tours also offer a visit to the Orang Asli settlement belonging to the Batek people who live near the river. At nightfall, you can find nocturnal spiders, insects and other animals in Taman Negara's Jungle Night Walk. Since it's also home to Mount Tahan, the highest mountain in peninsular Malaysia, explore the outdoors with a breathtaking hike and you might spot exotic wildlife along the way.
P.S. Planning a road trip? Inspire your getaway with our 5D4N road trip itinerary to conquer Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu!
2. Kuantan, Pahang
Credit: @loteng.tc for Instagram
Kuantan, the capital city of Pahang, deserves more limelight than it should. With buses passing through the charming town centres, it's easy for travellers to step out and enjoy what Kuantan has to offer. Follow the locals to the popular Teluk Cempedak beach to watch the beautiful evening horizon (our reader also shared that it is a great place to catch the sunrise). If you're hungry, butter lobster and grilled fish await at these delicious halal eateries in Kuantan (complete with a beach view!).
Credit: @ariqiskandar7 for Instagram
Besides that, more nature attractions await in Kuantan and look no further than Sungai Pandan Waterfall for a refreshing dip. When it gets sunny outside, shield yourself from the heat by spending time at Sultan Abu Bakar Museum where you'll discover a beautiful royal collection belonging to the sultan of Pahang. You can also visit Masjid Sultan Abdul Shah to admire the Ottoman-Moorish architecture while performing your prayer.
P.S. Kuantan is known for its picturesque beaches, so here are 8 awesome resorts to check out when you're heading there!
3. Bukit Jugra, Selangor
Hike to the peak of Bukit Jugra to see a view that's unlike any other in Selangor. Standing tall in the historical town of Jugra, it was the royal capital of Selangor in the late 1800s before the baton is passed to Klang, the Malaysian state's current royal capital. If you wish to know the historical side of Jugra, there's no better time to visit Istana Bandar Jugra, Muzium Insitu Jugra and Makam Sultan Abdul Samad.
Besides hiking, the best way to appreciate Jugra landscape is by paragliding across the sky. Just make your way to the base of Bukit Jugra lighthouse and you'll find the Malaysia Paragliding and Hang Gliding Association. Come between March and September when the wind conditions are at its best and the 15-minute paragliding experience costs approximately RM200 per person.
P.S. Did you know that Bukit Jugra is one of the best hidden gems in Malaysia that are worth the drive? Check other places that made it to our list!
4. Sekinchan, Selangor
The charming town of Sekinchan is probably known for its vast paddy fields more than anything else. Till today, locals would make a short drive to Sekinchan to capture this picture-perfect moment. Look closely and you'll spot swiftlet houses among the fields too. Not too far away, there's a Paddy Processing Factory and Museum where you can learn a thing or two about paddy processing - something that the city slickers would find educational.
Credit: @zatilatiff for Instagram
Don't miss out on Sky Mirror on Sasaran Beach, a popular tourist attraction that only appears twice a month - a few days before and after the full moon. It's best to visit in the morning till noon to capture wonderful photos with your loved ones.
Food-wise, Sekinchan's close proximity to the Pendang Redang Beach (not to be confused by Redang Island in Terengganu) also means that there's an abundance of seafood restaurants nearby. For Malay restaurants, make a short drive to Maju Tomyam, Mee Udang Banjir Kuala Selangor and Warong Udang Galah for a delicious meal.
5. Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
Kuala Terengganu, the administrative capital of Terengganu, also has a few surprises in 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.
Since Malaysia has 12 long weekends in 2020, make a short trip to Kuala Terengganu where the spectacular Crystal Mosque, Bukit Puteri, Pasar Payang, and Dungun Night Market await you.
Pantai Batu Buruk is also famous for their massive wooden swings that have seen a surge of popularity on major social feeds. Alternatively, you can head over to Pulau Kapas for a relaxing beach vacation.
P.S. Plan a food trip and discover these delicious mouthwatering dishes in Kelantan and Terengganu!
6. 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.
7. Muar, Johor
Muar is worth visiting if you're looking for a town with a laidback charm, delicious food and rich history. For travellers who wish to start on a relaxing note, watching the sunset at Tanjung Emas Muar would be a treat. Otherwise, admire the beautiful European and traditional Malay architecture of the Masjid Jamek Sultan Ibrahim.
One of the best ways to experience Muar is by taking a stroll on Muar Cultural Walk that's decorated with Instagram-worthy street art and old-school movie posters that represent memories of the good old days. This popular Johor district is also known for its amazing food such as satay, mee bandung and cendol.
Credit: @shahfarie.pdf for Instagram
Did you know that Johoreans actually eat satay for breakfast? 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! Made from sambal, cuttlefish, shrimps and beef, this delicacy is sure to delight you with its rich flavours.
P.S. If you're driving from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, there are many awesome halal food stops you've got to visit along the way!
8. Kuala Sepetang, Perak
You've probably heard about the coastal town of Kuala Sepetang in Perak, and it's true that there are many laidback attractions to discover. It includes the Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary where birdwatchers will have a great time spotting magpies, kingfishers and other migratory birds. For a serene view, make your way to Port Weld Scenic Bridge that's surrounded by a traditional fishing village. It also runs a boat tour that'll take you out to the river where you can spot sea eagles.
Home to Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, you'll find diverse crustacean and coastal migratory birds that call this mangrove their home at Kuala Sepetang. Since it's open to the public, walk on the wooden pathway and let the tall trees shield you from the afternoon sun.
9. Belum Rainforest, Perak
Just like Taman Negara in Pahang, the 130 million-year-old Belum Rainforest (Royal Belum State Park) is one of the oldest rainforests in the world - even older than the Amazon rainforest that's 55 million years old. Situated in Perak, it's also the home to many animals that are either critically endangered or vulnerable to extinction such as Malayan tigers, Malayan Sun bears, and white-handed gibbons. You won't be able to spot this protected wildlife up close but you can join a tourist-friendly elephant spotting tour that takes place at night.
There are a number of resorts and adventure camps that organise tours to Belum Rainforest, and it includes myriad outdoor activities such as visiting the Orang Asli village, cruising around the island, fishing, night trekking, kayaking, bamboo rafting and more.
P.S. Besides Belum Rainforest, there are other incredible spots you need to visit in Malaysia before anyone else!
10. Kuching, Sarawak
Credit: @kayacentric for Instagram
If you love history, culture, adventure and cats, then a trip to Kuching is going to be right up your alley. The capital city of Sarawak Kuching is full of museums, beautiful architecture and a gorgeous waterfront where you can catch some spectacular sunsets.
Credit: @kadhirtaib for Instagram
From taking the necessary I've-been-to-Kuching photo at this famous Kuching Cat Monument to visiting Sarawak's only living museum, Sarawak Cultural Village and knowing more about Sarawak's diverse ethnic groups, or hiking up the lush rainforest of Mount Santubong as well as the surrounding mangrove forests, rivers and mudflat, there's more than meets the eye in one of Malaysia's most underrated destinations!
So if you're looking for the best places to visit Malaysia (that's not Penang, Ipoh or Melaka), now you know where to go! From paragliding in Bukit Jugra to practising your bargaining skills at Siti Khadijah Central Market, your next adventure in Malaysia is out there and waiting to be discovered.