From skydiving in Johor to finding street art in Penang, these are just two of the many things to do in Malaysia. If you have your flight tickets ready but need help with a bucket list, we’re here for you! To make the most out of your vacation time in Malaysia, sift through this ultimate travel bucket list to match your desired adventure – or better yet, do them all. Jumbled with nature escapades, art and culture excursions and city getaways, you’re going to love what we have for you.
1. Shopping and Strolling at KLCC
The closer you are to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), the more energetic you are. Trust us, the buzz that surrounds the twin skyscrapers are incredible and they’re more than just an iconic landmark stamped on a travel postcard. Within this architectural splendor, you can shop for luxury labels at Suria KLCC, enjoy a relaxing stroll at KLCC Park, get a bird’s eye view of the city from the Skybridge, and even swim with the sharks at Aquaria KLCC.
Address: Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.
Opening hours: Mon – Sun, 9:00am – 9:00pm
2. Embrace the Street Art + Food Experience in Penang
Credit: Sarah Tan
Whenever someone tells you that they’re driving to Penang, chances are that they’re heading there for a food adventure. Asking Penangites about their favourite places to eat may result in varying recommendations, so we suggest to go with your instincts. Find any random street stall or hole-in-the-wall with the longest queue, and simply order what the locals are having. That’s the best way to surprise yourself and you may discover your favourite plate of nasi kandar, tandoori naan, nasi briyani ayam, char kuay teow or asam laksa along the way.
Credit: The Longest Way Home
For years, George Town has brought freshness to the term ‘street art’, and it has changed the way we appreciate the overlooked corners and hidden alleyways of the heritage city. Some murals are inspired by the Penang community (Armenian Street’s ‘Children on a Bicycle’ and Ah Quee Street’s ‘Boy on a Bike’) while others are iron structures from Marking George Town, awareness-driven murals from 101 Lost Kittens and thought-provoking artworks from international artists. We can sense new Instagram materials brewing!
Address: Penang, Malaysia.
3. Practice your Bargaining Skills in these Morning Markets
Fresh fruits and vegetables, handy kitchenware and local snacks are one of the many reasons why markets like Pasar Besar Kedai Payang in Terengganu and Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah in Kelantan are packed in the mornings. Filled with vibrant hues and friendly smiles, it’s hard to resist leaving these markets empty handed. If you have a knack for affordable handicrafts and traditional, you will definitely have a field day here. Plus, you will find yourself coming up with excuses to take home the gold and silk textiles for your personal collection.
Credit: Lily Riani
Address: Pasar Besar Kedai Payang, Jalan Sultan Zainal Abidin, Kuala Terengganu, 20000 Terengganu.
Opening hours: Mon – Sun, 6am – 9am
4. Climb to the Peak of Mount Kinabalu
Credit: Global Expedition Club
The journey to the peak of Mount Kinabalu isn’t made for the weak. The strenuous yet scenic trails may challenge your gathered stamina and endurance, but never let it demotivate you. Just picture the pride and achievement that rushes through your veins when you step foot onto the peak of Malaysia’s highest mountain. Exhilaration is an understatement because you will leave this place with a renewed fighting spirit and that will create a better you.
Credit: Lipstiq Malaysia
Address: Mount Kinabalu, Kota Belud, Sabah.
Admission: Depending on climbing tour packages (starting from RM1,120)
5. Meet the Friendly Orang Utans at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre
Credit: Avasi Borneo
Dedicating themselves to the orphaned, injured and displaced orang utans since 1964, the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre’s mission has remained the same: returning these great apes to their new home in the virgin forest of Kabili-Sepilok. Before they’re set free, these orang utans undergo a health examination and a quarantine period, as well as lessons on food hunting, nest building and tree climbing. You won’t be able to hold them dearly, but you can definitely watch these orang utans up close during feeding time.
Address: Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Sabah Wildlife Department, W.D.T. 200, Sandakan, Jalan Sepilok, Sandakan, Sabah.
Adult (Malaysian above 18 years) – RM5
Child (Malaysian below 18 years) – RM2
Adult (International above 18 years) – RM30
Child (International below 18 years) – RM15
Sat – Thu: 9am – 12pm; 2pm – 4pm
Fri: 9am – 11am; 2pm – 4pm
6. Feel like a Kid Again in Johor’s Popular Themed Parks
Credit: Legoland Malaysia
Johor is definitely a great place for the kids and the young at hearts. They’re blessed with not one, but three fantastic theme parks to call their playground! Bring your squeals and laughters to Legoland where life-sized lego structures and a water park neighbour each other. Then, practice your cuteness at the Sanrio Hello Kitty Town before continuing your day with a trip to the indoor Angry Birds Activity Park.
Credit: Urban Desis
Address: Legoland Malaysia, 7, Jalan Legoland, Medini, 79100 Nusajaya, Johor.
Contact: +607 597 8888
Adult (Theme Park only) – RM144
Child/Senior (Theme Park only) – RM116
Adult (Water Park only) – RM100
Child/Senior (Water Park only) – RM83
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 10am – 6pm
7. Go Cafe-Hopping in Ipoh
Credit: Ayu Denira
Hipster cafes have definitely changed the way we view brunches and lattes. With Ipoh being the new kid on the block, it’s a splendid place to plan a weekend getaway with your friends. You can have a quasi-Australian brunch at Plan B; enjoy reggae tunes at Chokodok Reggae House; savour salsa-dipped nachos at Foods Project Cafe; and then, chill with a few bottles of cold brews at Hobo @ Ganleeco.
Address: Plan B, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak.
Contact: +605 249 8286
Mon – Thu: 10am – 11pm
Fri: 10am – 12am
Sat: 9am – 12am
Sun: 9am – 11pm
8. Brave Yourself and Go Caving at the Mulu National Park
Credit: Chris Howes
Filled with geological history and natural beauty, it comes to no surprise that Mulu National Park is listed as a World Heritage Site. There are plenty of outdoor and nature activities to keep you busy such as exploring the Clearwater Cave and Cave of the Winds; canopy walking in the rainforest; admiring the lush greenery at Mulu Botanical Heritage Trail and more.
Credit: Sarawak Tourism Board
Address: Sungai Melinau, Mulu, Sarawak.
Contact: +608 5792 300
Mulu World Heritage 5 Day Pass (without Caving fees)
Adult (MyKad) – RM15
Senior (MyKad) – RM7
Child (MyKad) – RM5
Adult (Non-MyKad) – RM30
Child (Non-MyKad) – RM10
9. Hang Out with the Locals at the Sarawak Cultural Village
Credit: Hong Kong Airlines
Familiarise yourself with the cultures and lifestyles of ethnic groups in Sarawak, namely the Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, Orang Ulu and Penan, at the Sarawak Cultural Village. Dubbed as a ‘living museum’, the village consists of longhouses, jungle settlements and traditional town houses where these ethnic groups perform their daily routine in traditional costumes. You can even channel your curiosity through questions and they’ll be more than happy to enlighten you with interesting facts.
#HHWT Tip: Keep a look out for their multi-cultural dance performance that happens at 11am and 4pm!
Address: Pantai Damai, Santubong, Sarawak.
Contact: +608 284 6108
Adult – RM60
Child (6-12 years) – RM30
Child (below 6 years) – Free
Opening hours: Mon – Sun, 9am – 4.45pm
10. Travel Back in Time in the Historical City of Malacca
Credit: Atoms and Stories
Steeped in colonial history with traces of Dutch and Portuguese architecture, exploring the heritage city of Melaka is great way to experience the chapters right off your history book. Start by making your way to the century-old Stadthuys and their clock tower structure before you travel back in time at the Malacca museums. Then, continue your journey to the St Paul’s Hill and follow the steps down to the A’Famosa Fort for some memorable snapshots. There’s also a nearby River Cruise that takes you along the Malacca river, but remember to complete your evening by shopping for souvenirs and snacks at Jonker Street Night Market.
Address: Jalan Hang Jebat, Melaka.
11. Seek Tranquility in these Secret Exotic Islands
Planning an island getaway in Malaysia is easy with the wealth of scenic beaches and exotic islands to explore. Sunny destinations such as Langkawi, Redang and Pangkor Islands are popular vacation spots, but if you’re here for Malaysia’s best-kept secrets, come closer.
Snorkelling at Pulau Sibu is one of the many things the locals won’t stop raving about because the pristine waters are home to bright corals, sting rays and tropical fishes. Haven’t heard of Rawa Island? Well, the serene seascape and huge water slide is waiting for your big splash! Also, has anyone told you about Lankayan Island where you can scuba dive to catch a glimpse of whale sharks? Boy, you’re missing out on a lot of secret islands here!
Address: Pulau Sibu, Mersing, Johor.
12. Learn the Art of Wau and Batik Making in Kelantan
Our national treasures, batik and wau, are still thriving in the heart of Malaysia and Kelantan is the best place to catch our local craftsmen in action. The Handicraft Village and Craft Museum is filled with exhibitions of traditional embroidery, batik and silverware and if you’re lucky, you can even catch a batik drawing demonstration.
Credit: Lily Riani
Kite making workshops, on the other hand, are dime a dozen but keep an eye out for large kite displays at their shop fronts if you want a sneak peek. While local kite makers generally shy away from visitors, they’ll be more than happy to chat about their masterpiece of the day and ways to make them.
Address: Handicraft Village and Craft Museum, Jalan Merbau, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
Contact: +609 747 7554
Sat – Thu: 8.30am – 4.30pm
Closed on Friday
13. Explore the Virgin Rainforest at Taman Negara National Park
Ask anyone about the best nature escapade in Malaysia and you’re likely to hear Taman Negara as the answer. Surrounded by a 130 million years old virgin rainforest, there are many activities that will amplify your appreciation for oxygen-rich sceneries here, such as canopy walk, jungle trekking, night jungle walk, aborigine settlement visit, animal observation and boat cruise along Sungai Tahan.
Address: Taman Negara, 27000 Jerantut, Pahang.
Admission: Depending on tour package rates
14. Savour Scones and Highland Tea at Cameron Highlands
Picture a day when you savour freshly baked scones and warm highland tea while overlooking this picturesque view of the BOH tea plantation. Beautiful, isn’t it? Beyond the guaranteed visual treat, the tea centre also hosts visits to the BOH tea factory where you can learn the traditional processing methods. Don’t forget to drop by at their tea shop and pack a few Cameronian Blend teas for family and friends back home.
Address: BOH Tea Plantation, Sungei Palas Tea Centre, Jalan Gunung Brinchang, Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Pahang.
Contact: +605 496 2096
Tue – Sun: 9am – 4.30pm
Closed on Monday
15. Take the Skyway Cable Car at Genting Highlands
Credit: Roger Deligero
A trip to Genting Highlands would be incomplete without a ride on Southeast Asia’s longest and fastest cable car. Named the Genting Skyway, hop into an eight-seater gondola and just enjoy the steady ride that overlooks a lush green landscape of a century-old tropical rainforest. The ride begins from the base station at Gohtong Jaya to Resorts World Genting where you can experience crisp and cool air.
Address: Genting Highlands, Gohtong Jaya, Selangor.
One-way – RM6.40 per person
One-way (express) – RM31.80
Two-way (return) – RM12.80 per person
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 7.30am – 12am
16. Seek for Adrenaline Rush in these Outdoor Adventures
Credit: Fong KL
If you crave for a thrilling adventure rushing through your veins, an outdoor adventure is your answer and Malaysia has it all. Staying close to nature has its own surprises such as the widely popular white water rafting at Gopeng in Perak, or an equally fun alternative at Padas River in Sabah.
Rock climbing is more of your thing? Test your upper body strength on the jagged limestone walls of Batu Caves. Been there, done that? Then, feel the breeze in your hair when you zipline at the world’s longest island zipline at Pulau Sapi or Southeast Asia’s longest at Bukit Tinggi! Prefer to take a leap of faith? Bungee jumping and flying fox at Sunway Extreme Park are definitely up to your speed. Of course, you can perform the mother of all outdoor adventures, skydiving, with the help of Kuala Lumpur Skydiving Association at Segamat in Johor or Taiping in Perak.
Credit: Sri Sutra Travel
Address: Jalan Sungai Itek, Gopeng, Perak
Rates: Package starts from RM135
There you have it, guys! The ultimate bucket list for your next getaway in Malaysia! Go and seek for a sunny escapade in best-kept exotic islands. Go and unleash your bravery through skydiving and white water rafting. Go and tap into your artistic spirit with Penang’s street art. Go and relive the chapters about Malaysian history in Melaka. Never hesitate and simply embrace what Malaysia has to offer for all of us travellers😊