The following itinerary is what I’d recommend to you in person for a great two weeks in Malaysia.
Why should you follow my advice? Having spent 8+ months in Malaysia as a tourist, I’ve managed to see most of the tourist destinations. The itinerary is a culmination of those experiences.
The itinerary is suitable for those who want to visit a variety of destinations on the Malaysian Peninsular. It’s not a theme based itinerary.
It’s not an itinerary you should follow to the letter (you can’t), but you can use it as a firm guideline.
Note: This itinerary doesn’t include any of Borneo. I feel like Borneo needs its own itinerary and having only spent 10 days there, am not qualified (I wouldn’t recommend to follow my route there).
Let’s get started in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur (3 Days)
You might think of Kuala Lumpur as just another city but in and around KL alone you can find lakes, hills, culture, food, and history. Everything we want as travelers right?
On your first day get out and visit the popular attractions. Think the Petronas Towers, Batu Caves, and the Botanical Gardens. Once they’re ticked off you can pick and choose what you want to do the rest of the time.
For the rest of your time in Kuala Lumpur spend some time in both Little India and Chinatown one after the other so you can feel the full contrast. Make sure to pop into a museum or two, the Bank Museum was awesome as was the Royal Malaysian Police Museum by the Botanical Gardens. You’ll want to visit a mosque while you’re here too, the National Mosque and/or Masjid Jamek are the two most practical.
By the time you’ve spent some time exploring the night markets and eaten at the hawker centers you’ll have had a busy three days!
Optional Day Trip: Melaka
Don’t want to spend three full days in Kuala Lumpur? It’s a two-hour bus ride from TBS (the main bus station in KL) to Melaka.
If you decide to do this journey, be prepared for a long day with an early starting time but Melaka is a city you can explore in a day.
Start with a walk along Jonker Street and back along the parallel Harmony Street to see some temples. Next to the Riverfront for some lunch and cool street art. In the afternoon, pop into a Museum via Dutch Square and if you have time pop over to Melaka Straits Mosque and/or Bukit Cina.
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- Kuala Lumpur (3 Days)
- Cameron Highlands (2 Days)
- Ipoh (3 Days)
- Kuala Bharu/Terengganu (2 days)
- Perhentian Islands (3 days)
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Cameron Highlands (2 Days)
After the heat and humidity of Kuala Lumpur, the Cameron Highlands temperatures are a relief (it can get really cool in December!). Located 1500 metres above sea level, you’ll want to unearth those long sleeves in the evening from your pack. The reason I came here was for hiking, of which there are 16 trails that are accessible from the small town, Tanah Rata, in the heart of the Highlands (the best place to base yourself from). The hikes range from an easy 30-minute waterfall stroll (trail #4) to tough, constant uphill treks that can take a few hours to complete.
For those who aren’t so big on independent hiking, take a tour to see the Mossy Forest and the Rafflesia if it’s blooming. It’s not every day you get to see the world largest flower! The other things the area is known for are tea plantations (factory tours, cafes, and epic vistas) and strawberry fields (pick your own).
Ipoh (3 Days)
Most travel itineraries for Malaysia are going to say you should head to Penang after the Cameron Highlands. But I urge you to go to Ipoh instead. It’s a two hour bus ride from the Cameron Highlands!
You go to Penang for the architecture, street art, Little India, and the food. Ipoh has all of these!
For the foodies, Ipoh is famous for chicken and bean sprouts (yes, seriously) and as the home of white coffee. Street art wise there are lots of epic pieces in Ipoh Old Town by Ernest Zacharevic, the Lithuanian who made Penang street art famous. Make sure to pop over the bridge to Mural Arts Lane too.
Onto days two and there explore some of the activities on the outside of the city that make Ipoh awesome. Gua Tempurung is a cool caving experience and takes up a good half day starting in the morning. Other activities are the cave temples, my favourite is Perak Tong. You can also see Kellie’s Castle which has an unusual story behind it. Back in the city limits again and if it’s a nice day relaxing at Gunung Lang is never a bad idea as is a stroll along the river running through town. And then it’s time to relax as before you know it all three days will be up. If you want to have a break from the heat, Ipoh’s thriving cafe scene will keep you well occupied.
Kota Bharu or Kuala Terrenganu (2 Days)
I decided to include two options here as they’re not cities known for their tourism. If you find this itinerary a bit too busy, you can skip these spend an extra day in other places (or be a beach bum). If you’re visiting Kota Bharu it makes sense to catch a bus from Ipoh here before heading down to the Perhentians. If you’d like to go to Kuala Terengganu, make that happen after your time on the islands.
Kota Bharu: Start your day in the state’s capital at the open air market where the town is bustling with early morning trade happening. It’s super colourful and people are super friendly. There are several museums here and at 4 RM per person, you’d be rude not to visit one. Outside of the city you can catch bus #27 to the north and visit Wat Machimmaram, the sight of Malaysia’s largest sitting Buddha.
The capital of Kelantan has another awesome street full of street art too! And if you’re there on a Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday make sure you head to the cultural centre to learn about some of the traditions from the Kelantan region.
Kuala Terengganu: The first thing I noticed leaving from the bus station was all of the colours in the city. It’s cool. As usual, you’ve got some cool street art, a common theme in Malaysian cities. Take a stroll around the China Town area to get started as we’ll be spending most of the time away from the city centre. The three key sites to see in Kuala Terengganu are the Crystal Mosque, Islamic Heritage Park, and Terengganu State Museum. They are located a bit north of the city, but take a 1 RM bus ride to the museum and then it’s walking distance to get between the three sites.
The last attraction to see is the Floating Mosque before heading to chill out on one of the beaches by the city. They aren’t as nice as the Perhentians of course, but you’ll want to max out on beach time!
Perhentian Islands (3 Days)
Wowee! Langkawi might be more well known, but scrap that.
Ipoh and the Perhentian Islands > Penang and Langkawi.
The Perhentians are made up of two islands, Small (Kecil) Perhentian and Big (Besar) Perhentian. If you’re a backpacker you’ll head to the small island. Not a backpacker? You’ll want to head to the big island.
I stayed on Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil and had a great time. The diving is what brings everyone here (cheap diving certificates), but even as a non-diver I had a great time strolling around the island, snorkeling, and lapping up the rays on the beach (Malaysia has some great beaches). 10/10 can’t recommend the Perhentians enough.
RELATED POST: MY PERHENTIAN KECIL GUIDE
A Recap Of The Plan For Two Weeks In Malaysia
Yeap, that’s only 13 days. It always is a good idea to under plan as plans tend to fail, you might feel burnt out somewhere, or fall in love with a place and want to stay a little longer. Traveling with flexible plans is the best.
That truly is what I think is the best way to spend 14 days in Malaysia. Your thoughts? If you have any questions about your trip to Malaysia, let me know in the comments or send me an email jub(at)tikitouringkiwi(dot)com.
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