Malaysia travel guide & backpacking trip highlights


Why should you visit Malaysia?

Malaysia is a fantastic travel country, with lots of great things to explore and to do.

  • There are not only the most beautiful landscapes and great islands with some fab beaches, but also modern cities, jungle and some huge mountains.
  • Lots of backpacker are traveling through this country! Transport, either bus or flights are easy to organize and there are plenty of budget accommodations to find.
  • The prices in Malaysia for food, transport and accommodations are cheap and comparable with Thailand.

This Malaysia Travel Guide will be a great source if you consider this amazing country for your next trip. We will show you the top places of Malaysia, give you a Malaysia itineraries and surely some general travel advice!


Top highlights and sights of Malaysia – our recommendations



This fantastic island was our first destination when we arrived in Malaysia. We came directly from Thailand, where we had a great time on our Thailand Island hopping roundtrip. Langkawi is not far from the border of Thailand and easy to reach by ferry. Because of its status of a „duty free“ island, the prices at the island are incredible cheap. But this should not be the main reason to visit Langkawi – there are plenty of amazing sights and beaches. The best must see thing is to take a ride with the SkyCab, a cable car that takes you up to the Mt. Machincang. From there you have to visit the SkyBridge – definitely for those who have no fear of heights!

Additionally we recommend to rent a scooter and explore the island by yourself. It’s safe to drive around and the island is not that big. We also had been to the scary crocodile show in the  Crocodile Adventureland Langkawi – Jalan Datai, the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls and the Underwater World Langkawi which was also nice to visit. Next time we will definitely stay longer, to see all the great spots of Langkawi!

Penang (Pulau Pinang) – George Town

Penang was so cool! We had such an exciting stay there – sometimes you are not sure if you are still in Malaysia, in China or in Europe. George town, the capital, of Penang, has a unique multicultural history and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is full of historic buildings, starting from churches, and British colonial monuments to Chinese shop houses and temples.

The Blue Mansion – Cheong Fat Tze is a must see if you are visiting George Town and the most popular tourist attraction!

Just near George Town there is the colorful Kek Lok Si Temple which is home to more than 10.000 Buddha statues!
It was an impressive adventure to visit the Snake Temple – 12 km from George Town. Inside of the temple it was so tranquil, the air was filled with holy smoke and the snakes seemed to be asleep – luckily 🙂

Cameron Highlands

Is a popular destination for Malaysia visitors who want to escape some days from the hot climate. Above all, the stunning hill station is a perfect place for hiking! There a plenty of hiking trails, we had been to the Gungung Brinchang and inside the moosy forest. Easily you can stay there a few days, it’s so relaxing there. For exploring the area and the beautiful green tea plantation is the best to hire a motor scooter. It was fun driving around and to stop wherever we found a great place for taking pics and drinking tea. Just near to each tea plantage are cute tea-shops where we tried some delicious black teas. Additionally you can visit plenty of tourist attractions like butterfly farm, strawberry farm, Cactus Valley and Honey Bee Farm.

For the night we stayed in Tanah Rata, in this little town are plenty of guest houses, tour operators and it’s a perfect starting point for exploring the Cameron Highlands area. Moreover there are lots of delicious Indian restaurants.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is such a great city to visit! The Petronas Twin Towers with its 452 m are just awesome and the must-see in this town. You should go there in the evening, than the tower a lighted and they are looking even more majestic! If you love shopping you have to go inside the towers,  there are plenty of different shops and restaurants inside. Additionally we visited the Aquarium in this huge complex. We didn’t went up to the towers but we visited the nearby Menara KL Tower with 421 m. From there you will get the most fantastic view of the town and trough the Petronas Twin Towers. Even though the Petronal Twin Towers are the main attraction in Kuala Lumpur, there a plenty of other sights to visit.

Another must see it’s the Merdeka Square with the tallest flagpole in the world, Jamek Mosque the Masjid Negara Mosque and the Planetarium Negara. Also really cool is the Bird Park in Kuala Lumpur, a giant garden full of different Asian bird flying free around. You can admire the colorful parrots, there are flamingos and even hornbills. We stayed in China town, a vibrant district in Kuala Lumpur. There a plenty of backpacker guest houses and it’s located very central too.

Batu Caves

Just around 15 km north of Kuala Lumpur are the spectacular Batu Caves. Visiting the most important Hindu temple outside of India was just an incredible experience – we had been to India before – but still we were flashed. There is a 15m tall version of the Hindu God Hanuman just at the entrance of the cave. Full of adrenalin we walked up the 272 stairs for entering the caves. That was quite fun cause lots of monkeys where waiting for us. The Batu Caves are unbelievable huge – just feel free to walk around and take pics – but don’t forget you have to be dress properly before entering the holy caves!


Tioman Islands

Malaysia has like Thailand, plenty of islands to explore. We had been to Tioman, but just for one night because sand flees disturbed our stay. Even Tioman is really beautiful we left the island on the next day to avoid some more nasty bites 😉 – Luckily we had been spoiled with great beaches and islands on our Thailand Island Hopping trip so it was okay for us to leave earlier.

Taman Negara National Park

If you guys not have enough time to flight to Borneo but you would love to visit the jungle you should definitely visit the Taman Negara National Park.


Borneo – Sarawak & Sabah

We have to I say: Borneo was just incredible! We had been inside of deep jungles, we saw plenty of wildlife and we had been to the highest mountain of South East Asia. Borneo is located on the other peninsula of Malaysia. We are going to write a blog post about Borneo soon! Read more about our Borneo adventure: Borneo – Backpacking Trip Guide East Malaysia

Read more about Malaysia:

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. Meaning that if you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.



  1. Followingtherivera Reply

    I’ve only been to Kuala Lumpur, so would like to go back and see more. The islands in Malaysia look so wonderful, how lucky you are to travel there!

  2. My sister is getting married in 2018 and she’s considering honeymooning in Malaysia! I’m passing her this article because I know she’ll enjoy it, you made great points and your photos are awesome! Bookmarking this too!

    • Hi Dany,
      We are happy you like our article!
      Wow – honeymoon in Malaysia sounds amazing – a fantastic idea by the way.

      Have a nice day,
      Martina & Jürgen

  3. I love all the beautiful bright colours in your pictures! Malaysia is on my travel wishlist so ill be pinning this page for future reference!

    • Thanks a lot Emmalene! We are happy that you like our pics 🙂
      Have a wonderful day,
      Martina & Jürgen

    • Hey Angela – you are welcome 🙂 – you are right – Malaysia is the perfect backpacker country!

  4. I am big fan of Malaysia and I have been 4 times but I have not yet seen the Cameroon Highlands. I must make sure I add it next time because your photos look fantastic!

    • Hi Paula – wow 4 times? Thats amazing! We are planning to go back one day – for sure there are some more gems to discover 🙂

    • Hey Lara,
      oh yes, the Batu Caves are incredible! For us they are a must see in Malaysia.
      Have a great day,
      Martina and Jürgen

  5. I went to Malaysia on a cruise and visited some of these cities. However because of limited time I missed out on Batu Caves in KL. Would also have loved to visit Cameroon Highlands your pictures are so lovely ! And Tioman islands also look pretty awesome. I made a friend from Borneo recently and she told me I must visit. So I now have a list of places to go on my second trip, thanks for this inspirational guide!

    • Hi Medha,
      you are so welcome! Thanks for your kind words – we are happy that we can help you with planning your next journey to Malaysia.

      Have a wonderful day,
      Martina and Jürgen

  6. At some point in my life, my husband and I will get to Malaysia, but we went to SE Asia last year, so we probably won’t go back for a few years. But from what I see in your photos, it needs to go on the TO TRAVEL TO list!

  7. I agree, everyone would enjoy a trip to Malaysia. We visited Borneo and Taman Negara, because well, Malaysia has some amazing wildlife and adventurous outdoor spots. We’ve loved it all.

  8. i love Malaysia and I go there alot when I travel back to Australia as I have family there. I was only in Borneo in September on a presstrip and loved it. You have some great highlights on here and places that I have always wanted to go back and revisit again the Batu Caves. I have not been to Tioman Islands but gee that sounds nice and that water looks inviting.

    • Thanks for your kind words Mel 🙂 – happy you like the blog post. We really loved Borneo too.
      If you have any questions, you can write us :*
      Have a nice day
      Martina and Jürgen

    • thanks Amy,
      I know, they are so cool! We really loved it there 🙂 – thanks for your kind words!

  9. My favorite pick from this list of things to do in Malaysia would be Cameron Highlands. Hiking trails, tea plantations, butterfly farm, strawberry farm…so much to do. I’m liking what I read about it. 🙂

    • Hi Punita,
      The Cameron Highlands are really cool, we enjoyed being there a lot! Thanks for your nice words 🙂
      Martina & Jürgen

  10. I’ve been to Kota Kinabalu, but I have yet to visit Penang because I’ve heard people rave (including you) about its diverse food culture. Also, I wish to go to the Cameron Highlands because I am a tea enthusiast. 🙂

    • Hi Rye!
      Thats so cool – have you been up to the mountain? We really liked Kota Kinabalu too!

      Have a nice day
      Martina and Jürgen

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