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Top 21 BEST Places To Visit In Malaysia [2022]

Malaysia is a popular travel destination but when many visitors think about where to visit in Malaysia, they settle for the big city of Kuala Lumpur and the beautiful beaches in Penang and on the island of Langkawi, leaving so many other best cities in Malaysia to visit.

The reality is that there are so many more Malaysia tourist attractions to see. Malaysia spans several large and small islands, and the truth is there are many answers to the question “where to travel in Malaysia”!

A diverse country, there are so many wonderful and attractive places in Malaysia. Not just in its pristine beaches and islands but nature parks too. You could spend months visiting Malaysia tourist places and not cover it all.

What’s more, Malaysia is very budget friendly, the locals are warm and welcoming and the food is inexpensive and delicious.

So, if you’re wondering Malaysia – where to travel or perhaps you need more encouragement to visit Malaysia? Read on for our list of 21 of the best places to go in Malaysia. This is our ultimate list of the very best Malaysia travel destinations and you’re sure to find some must see places in Malaysia that are perfect for your vacation!

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

Top 21 Best Places To Visit In Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur

A list of the best places to visit in Malaysia would be incomplete without the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Top on my list of Malaysia attractions 2022, KL is often the first place people think of when planning where to go in Malaysia, and regularly features as one of the top cities to visit in Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur is the largest city in Malaysia, the major financial center of a melting pot of different cultures. This makes it one of the most exciting cities in Malaysia and shouldn’t be missed.

Things to do in Kuala Lumpur include a trip to the world famous Petronas Towers if you’re looking for the best place to visit in KL, taking a trip to the ancient Hindu temple at the Batu Caves, sampling some of the most amazing street food, visiting markets, mosques, theme parks, shopping and much more.

There’s no shortage of wonderful places to visit in Kuala Lumpur and you’ll likely struggle to fit in all the Kuala Lumpur tourist spots in a single visit. When it comes to the Malaysia best places to visit, Kuala Lumpur is a very strong contender, and it’s also one of the most fun places to visit in Malaysia.

If you’re wondering where to start with where to travel in Malaysia 2022, then you can do no wrong with starting in KL.

Getting to Kuala Lumpur: Kuala Lumpur has two major airports – KLIA and KLIA2. It is also well connected to the rest of Malaysia by bus and train.

Top Attraction to visit: The Petronas Towers are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia.

Top place to stay: Berjaya Times Square Hotel – Click here for the latest prices

Read our best guides to Kuala Lumpur here.


visit Malaysia 2021 Langkawi island

One of the top travel destinations Malaysia has (especially for beach vacations), Langkawi is a Malaysia must see and many would argue the best island in Malaysia. Not only a beautiful destination with great beaches and attractions, there’s something to suit everyone in Langkawi on either ends of the main island.

When you picture best places to visit Malaysia in your head, it’s very likely the image you see is of Langkawi. This island is definitely one of the options for best place for vacation in Malaysia.

Langkawi is actually an archipelago but the main island offers a range of different locations to visit and stay. Pantai Cenang is one of the most popular beach destinations and home to Underwater World. Other more peaceful destinations are dotted throughout the island. If you love beaches, Langkawi is definitely one of the places to visit in Malaysia 2022 that you’ll want to consider.

Temurun Waterfall is another popular attraction in Langkawi, as well as the Langkawi Cable Car which takes you to the peak of Gunung Machinchang where you’ll find restaurants, shops and other attractions. This is the best way to see that this option of Malaysia best places is not just about gorgeous beaches but also gorgeous jungle interior.

Getting to Langkawi: The best way to get to Langkawi is to fly. Flights leave multiple times daily from Kuala Lumpur and other cities.

Top Attraction to visit: Langkawi Cable Car

Top place to stay: Ritz-Carlton Langkawi – Click here for the latest prices

Read our best guides to Langkawi here.


Another popular Malaysia tourist spots and top destinations in Malaysia is the state of Penang. This state offers many Malaysia places to visit for both first time and return visitors as it’s quite diverse, and it’s one of my personal favourite places to go Malaysia.

There’s a multicultural mix of influences and plenty of beaches, interesting architecture and affordable resort style accommodation. It’s also one of the best places in Malaysia to eat, offering some of the best cheap food.

If you’re wondering what to visit in Malaysia, you will love the array of things to do and see in Penang. Penang is home to important and culturally significant temples like Lok Si Temple, as well as British colonial leftovers like Fort Cornwallis, dating back to the 18th century when Penang was occupied by the British, as well as the historic George Town.

There’s so much to see and do in Penang, making it one of the top places in Malaysia and somewhere you should add to your list of what to see in Malaysia!

In fact, the combination of great food, interesting heritage, beaches and ease of getting here and around makes Penang my personal pick for the best place in Malaysia and definitely one of the best holiday places in Malaysia 2022. If you’re new to Malaysia, best place to travel options are plenty here in Penang.

Getting to Penang: You can get to Penang by train, bus or plane. From Kuala Lumpur, flying is the quickest way to get there.

Top Attraction to visit: George Town

Top place to stay: Shangri La Rasa Sayang – Click here for the latest prices

Read our best guides to Penang here.

Bukit Merah

Malaysia is well known as the home of the orangutan, and another thing visitors often include on their list of what to do in Malaysia is seeing orangutans.

One of the famous places in Malaysia where you can see orangutans is Bukit Merah.

Located just outside of Taiping, the town is surrounded by a lake. Its main attraction is Orang Utan Island – a sustainable tourist destination and one of the top things to see in Malaysia. The town is home to another sustainable attraction, the EcoPark – an enclosure home to many native and rare animals.

When you’re comparing Malaysia vacation destinations, know that this isn’t a cheap destination to visit, but this eco-tourist destination puts what they receive back into maintaining the environment, so it’s a place you can feel good about visiting. It really is the best place to see the orangutan in peninsular Malaysia.

If you want to support ecotourism and want to have a once in a lifetime experience, then Bukit Merah is definitely one of the best place to vacation in Malaysia options for you.

Getting to Bukit Merah: The best way to get there is to drive from Taiping. There are also buses. It’s also possible to day trip here from Penang.

Top Attraction to visit: Orang Utan Island

Top place to stay: Bukit Merah Laketown Resort – Click here to see the latest prices.

Kuala Kangsar

Kuala Kangsar is a royal capital, and there is some amazing architecture to see and explore. When we visited, we found the city quiet yet still with a commanding presence owing to the grand buildings. These buildings are why it’s on this Malaysia place to visit list.

This is a town of palaces, and there are plenty to view like the Istana Iskandariah, the Istana Kenangan (constructed of wood), and the Sultan Azlan Shah Gallery.

If you want to go and explore somewhere off the beaten tourist track, then this best destination Malaysia might just be right up your street.

The major draw-card of this town is definitely the pretty architecture. There aren’t many attractions, but it does make a nice Malaysia tourist destination for a day trip.

Getting to Kuala Kangsar: You can get there by car, train and bus. The journey takes about an hour from Ipoh.

Top Attraction to visit: Ubudiah Mosque

Top place to stay: The Shop Hotel – Click here for the latest prices

When we visited Ipoh, we didn’t know what to expect. We ended up loving it. Ipoh is the state capital of Perak and a fantastic destination for a short getaway with plenty of interesting places in Malaysia located in this city. Ipoh is definitely one of the nice places to visit in Malaysia which sees fewer tourists (a good thing in our view!).

If you’re idea of a Malaysia best place to visit includes fantastic food, interesting attractions and lots of fun then visit Ipoh.

There’s the unfinished Kellie’s Castle to explore, Tempurung Cave, the popular Sunway Lost World Of Tambun (great for families) and much more. The Old Town area is a fabulous place to walk around with cute alleyways and numerous street art to find and enjoy.

Plus, there’s Ipoh’s famous white coffee – a must try.

Ipoh is also a gateway to the Cameron Highlands – coming up next. If you’re wondering where to go in Malaysia for short trip, or just looking for an interesting place to visit in Malaysia, Ipoh is somewhere to consider.

Getting to Ipoh: The best way to get there is train, bus or hiring a car. You can also fly.

Top Attraction to visit: Old Town street art

Top place to stay: Regalodge – Click here for the latest prices

Cameron Highlands

To escape the city life in Kuala Lumpur and the heat at lower altitudes, Malaysians go to The Cameron Highlands. It’s easy to see why and be tempted to join them if you’re looking for the best place for holiday in Malaysia to escape the heat and see something of the interiors of Malaysia too.

This best place to go in Malaysia option is beautiful. Its located high in the hills with rolling tea plantations, places of worship, museums and more. It’s also home to the highest point in Malaysia – Gunung Brinchang , as well as many beautiful hiking trails.

The higher altitude makes it a great place to cool down in tropical Malaysia, and with plenty of places to eat, drink and stay to suit all different budgets, it makes for a great place to see in Malaysia. If you love hill stations and greenery, the Cameron Highlands are definitely one of the best places in Malaysia to visit for your trip.

Getting to Cameron Highlands: The best way to get to the Cameron Highlands is by bus or hiring a car.
Top Attraction to visit:
Boh Tea Plantation

Top place to stay: Nova Highlands Resort and Residence – Click here for the latest prices

Port Dickson

Port Dickson is a popular destination from Kuala Lumpur for a beach getaway. There are plenty of top quality resorts with particularity good accommodation for families. We found the Avillion Port Dickson to be the best resort in Malaysia for family visits to Port Dickson or the Grand Lexis if you want your own pool. If you’re looking for a beach holiday within easy access of KL and fun places in Malaysia by the beach, PD is a place to consider visiting.

The resorts are generally outside of the main town, which is small but does have some nice restaurants and shops. There’s also some pretty beaches, but many of these are private.

There’s not a huge range of Malaysia attractions in Port Dickson, but there is the Tanjung Tuan lookout. Time is best spent here at one of the great resorts or the beach. This is my pick of the Malaysia destinations if you want some great priced resort time.

Getting to Port Dickson: You can get there by bus, taxi or rental car. It is about 60km from Kuala Lumpur.

Top Attraction to visit: Tanjung Tuan

Top place to stay: Lexis Hibiscus – Click here for the latest prices.

Read our best guides to Port Dickson here.

Melaka (also known as Malacca)

One of the other best places to see in Malaysia is Melaka. This is also one of the top historical places in Malaysia to visit, and a contender for the best city in Malaysia if you like your cities bite-sized, navigable and full of history. Malacca is also home to some of the main tourist attractions in Malaysia when it comes to cultural history.

This is a very pretty city and one of Malaysia points of interest for those interested in theology. The city is dotted with numerous churches like St Paul’s church, as well as temples and mosques, thanks to its rich cultural past.

There are also numerous other heritage sites around the city. What’s more, it’s a super easy place to explore on foot or on a trishaw.

Two of the major attractions in Melaka are the A Famosa Resort and the Dutch town of Stadthuys. Jonker Street is where you’ll find many of the main attractions. You’ll also want to visit Melaka River and the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum.

Melaka isn’t just a great place to visit but also makes top 10 places to visit in Malaysia lists because it is so easy to get here. It’s very accessible from Kuala Lumpur or Kuala Lumpur International Airport and you can day trip here from either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.

Getting to Melaka: You can get there by plane, bus, car and boat.

Top Attraction to visit: Jonker Street

Top place to stay: Swiss-Garden Hotel Melaka – Click here for the latest prices.

Read our best guides to Melaka here.

Johor Bahru

Malaysia destinations trip

Johor Bahru is one of the easy places to go in Malaysia from Singapore as it’s just across the border.

While not necessarily being one of the Malaysia holiday destinations, it’s still worth a visit, particularly if you are in Singapore. The city offers visitors several attractions including a mix of museums and natural landmarks like the Gunung Ledang National Park and Gunung Lambak.

For families with young kids, there’s also the famous Legoland which makes the city one of the best places to visit in Malaysia with family.

Other attractions include the traditional Kukup Fishing Village. You can also explore the shops and restaurants at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee.

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As the city is also just across the border from Singapore and one of the practical places to visit in Malaysia from Singapore, it’s one of the best place to visit in Malaysia for a one day trip.

Getting to Johor Bahru: Get there by plane, bus, car and boat.

Top Attraction to visit: Legoland Malaysia

Top place to stay: Hotel Jen – Click here for the latest prices

Read our best guides to Johor Bahru here.

Tioman Island

Tioman Island was once named one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Despite being a somewhat popular nice place to visit in Malaysia, it’s easy to feel like you have escaped the world here. It’s relatively untouched and makes for a wonderful destination to visit in Malaysia. And the beaches are some of the best in Malaysia.

The island is surrounded by coral reefs which make it great for scuba diving. Must see spots include Air Batang (or ABC Beach), one of the main settlements on the island, where you can find cheap beer and meals, and J uara beach.

The Island is also great for hiking. You’ll want to visit Aash Waterfall, hike across the island from west to east , as well as visit Paya beach.

If you are looking for Malaysia places to go which are not too hard to get to but feel like you are away from it all, consider Tioman.

Getting to Tioman Island: You can get to Tioman Island by ferry or plane. Flights leave from both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Click here for full details.

Top Attraction to visit: Air Batang is the main village on the island.

Top place to stay: Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort – Click here to see the latest prices

Taman Negara National Park

You may have noticed a theme – Malaysia is home to a vast array of beautiful national parks. Taman Negara National Park holds the title as Malaysia’s largest national park. This 130 million year old rainforest is home to a huge array of local plants and animals and offers plenty of short and long hikes. It’s definitely worth adding to your Malaysia where to go list.

Once inside the park, there are several attractions to visit including Lata Berkoh , which is a short boat ride and a place where you can swim. You can also opt to climb Bukit Teresek, a 334m high hill. The Canopy Walkway is also a must do – and the longest like it in the world.

Note that the best time to visit is during the dry season, which is between February and September each year. If you are visiting at this time of year, definitely go to this Malaysia best place.

Getting to Taman Negara National Park: You can get there by train, taxi or car. It is a 3.5 hour drive from Kuala Lumpur.

Top Attraction to visit: Lata Berkoh

Top place to stay: Mutiara Taman Negara Resort – Click here to see the latest prices.


Malaysia holiday destination 2021

Speaking of tourist places in Malaysia, have you considered Cherating if you’re planning to visit Malaysia 2022? This laid back coastal town has some lovely beach resorts and guest houses, as well as Club Med is also located here – arguably the best beach resort in Malaysia.

While the main attraction in Cherating are the beaches and resorts, there’s other Malaysia interesting places to visit like the nearby Turtle Island. This island is free to enter but you need to pay for the boat there. It helps nurture endangered turtles in an environment where they can thrive.

The beaches in Cherating aren’t as pretty as other parts of Malaysia (apart from the stunning option at Club Med) but the resorts are great and many are well priced. It’s a great place for a short trip in Malaysia.

Getting to Cherating: The best way to get there is by bus or hire car. You can take a bus from Kuala Lumpur.

Top Attraction to visit: Cherating Beach

Top place to stay: Club Med Cherating Beach

Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu is the state capital of Terengganu, a city on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. It is one of the best places Malaysia if you love good food, friendly locals and an interesting range of low key attractions, and you’re looking for places to visit in East Malaysia.

It’s also the jumping off point for beautiful Redang Island (coming up next as it’s also a best place to visit Malaysia).

There is an interesting Chinatown to visit complete with street art, some great museums and some magnificent mosques. What really stood out to me when I visited this best destination in Malaysia, however, is the friendly locals. I have never felt so welcome anywhere in Malaysia.

Getting to Kuala Terengganu: Flying is the fastest/easiest way to get there with direct flights from Kuala Lumpur but it’s also a major bus hub.

Top Attraction to visit: Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque (or Floating Mosque)

Top place to stay: Grand Puteri Hotel – Click here to see the latest prices.

Redang Island

A list of the most beautiful places in Malaysia often includes Redang Island, and it’s easy to see why. This is most simply, the most beautiful place I have ever visited, and unsurprisingly Redang was my best trip in Malaysia of recent years.

Redang Island is a mix of pleasant resorts and pristine, white sand beaches. It makes for the perfect relaxing getaway and best tourist place in Malaysia. Several of my memories of the best travel in Malaysia are from here.

The main beach is Pasir Panjang (or Long Beach) and, located on the east side of the island, it is one of the popular holiday places in Malaysia for those visiting the east of the country.

While there’s not a whole lot to see if you aren’t a nature lover nor is there a big nightlife scene like some other islands in Malaysia, this is a best place to travel in Malaysia for a calm stay and for cheap, beautiful and easy snorkeling. If you love islands and beaches, then Redang is definitely one of the best place to travel in Malaysia!

Getting to Redang Island: You can get there by plane or boat. Several flights leave daily from Kuala Lumpur.

Top Attraction to visit: Pasir Panjang

Top place to stay: The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort – Click here to see the latest prices

Kenyir Lake

An artificial lake located in Terengganu, Kenyir lake is the largest man-made lake in South East Asia. This lesser known attraction in Malaysia has been developed as an ecotourism destination and the lake provides hydroelectric power to the region.

It’s also one of the top inland fishing destinations in Malaysia and a gateway to Taman Negara.

This interesting place in Malaysia has several attractions around the like the caves of Bewah and Taat as well as Anglers Heaven, jungle walks and waterfalls. Lake Kenyir Resort is also a pleasant place to stay.

To access the actual lake you’ll need to have a boat to access the lake which you can organise with a tour operator easily. A visit to this Malaysia travel place is the perfect way to see a different slice of Malaysia while enjoying nature.

Getting to Kenyir Lake: A 50 minute drive from Kuala Terengganu Airport. You can fly there from Kuala Lumpur.

Top Attraction to visit: The lake

Top place to stay: Lake Kenyir Resort – Click here to see the latest prices

Perhentian Islands

Less explored than Langkawi, but rated by many as the best holiday destination in Malaysia, the Perhentian Islands offer serene beaches with crystal clear water.

These islands are a travel place in Malaysia that you won’t want to leave, and although there are no museums or culturally significant monuments, there are pristine beaches, crystal clear water and beautiful coral reefs at the appropriately named Coral Bay with sunsets that’ll linger in your memories for a while after you do have to go home.

This is the ultimate place to go snorkeling and scuba diving in Malaysia. You can also go jungle trekking and do activities like kayaking.

Although there’s not much else to do on the island, its natural environment shows the best of Malaysia and it’s one of my personal best places to travel in Malaysia.

Getting to Perhentian Islands: You will need to take a boat there. The main ferry terminal is in Kuala Besut. Instructions are here.

Top Attraction to visit: Coral Bay

Top place to stay: Perhentian Island Resort – Click here to see the latest prices

Read our best guides to the Perhentian Islands here.

Kota Bharu

Kota Bharu is the state capital of Kelantan, a conservative city on the east coast of the mainland.

This one of the Malaysia cities to visit is relatively laid back with some interesting places to visit like Istana Jahar, a 19th century royal residence, Istana Balai Besar or Grand Palace, as well as other museums and mosques.

There’s also a vibrant night market and street art scene. While Kota Bharu may not make it to top of the list for the top place to visit in Malaysia, spending a few hours or a couple of days in Kota Bharu allows you to see laid back Malaysian life – without the tourists – and it’s a useful stop over if you’re heading to Kuala Besut for the Perhentian islands as well.

The one of the best cities to visit in Malaysia offers visitors a chance to experience a different pace of life and to see the cultural heart of Malaysia. As such, it’s one of the interesting places to visit in Malaysia.

Getting to Kota Bharu: Flying is the fastest/easiest way to get there, but you can also get there by train, bus and car.

Top Attraction to visit: Istana Jahar

Top place to stay: Hotel Perdana – Click here to see the latest prices


Kuching, also known as Cat City, is a port city located on the island of Borneo. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sarawak, Borneo. The city is interesting yet still one of the more relaxing places to visit in Malaysia, so if you want to head to Borneo and are looking for the best place to visit in Malaysia 2022, why not give Kuching a try?

This charming city is abound with museums like the Sarawak Museum and Cat Museum (a must visit in Cat City!) and places of worship like Tua Pek Kong Temple.

It’s also located near some beautiful national parks like Bako National Park as well as Kubah National Park.

The range of activities to visit in the surrounds and the lovely riverfront area makes Kucking my pick for the best city to visit in Malaysia.

Getting to Kuching: The best way to get to Kuching is to fly. Several budget airlines fly here.

Top Attraction to visit: Cat Museum

Top place to stay: Hilton Kuching – Click here to see the latest prices

Kota Kinabalu

A quiet destination in Borneo, Kota Kinabalu is a pretty city on our Malaysia tourist places list offering visitors several attractions and activities.

Kota Kinabalu is one of the top places to visit in Malaysia to go island hopping – but think relaxation, not partying. Gaya Island is one of the most popular, as well as Manukan which is one of the islands that make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. These islands great for jungle trekking and diving.

In town, you can climb to Signal Hill Observatory to soak in the city sites and do some shopping at the local markets.

The access to beautiful beaches as well as nature treks make Kota Kinabalu a top destination in Malaysia Borneo. If you’re looking for the best place Malaysia to stop over en route to trekking and jungle exploration, consider stopping off in Kota Kinabalu.

Getting to Kota Kinabalu: The easiest way to get to Kota Kinabalu is by flying.

Top Attraction to visit: Signal Hill

Top place to stay: Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort – Click here to see the latest prices


Sandakan is a small option of where to go Malaysia with few attractions inside the town itself. However, it has huge historical significance from World War II. The Sandakan Memorial Park pays homage to this dark part of history.

The small museum and accompanying walk is dedicated to the prisoners of war from the Borneo Death Marches and commemorates those who lost their lives. This makes for a confronting memorial. While it’s not the most obvious of vacation places in Malaysia, it’s well worth a visit if you’re interested in history or are visiting to see the graves and memorials here.

The city itself has plenty of cheap markets and places to eat, and is a gateway to other significant attractions like the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, one of Malaysia famous places. Here, you can get up close to rescued orangutans who are being rehabilitated. There’s also the Turtle Islands Park.

Getting to Sandakan: Located on Borneo, the quickest way to get there is to fly.

Top Attraction to visit: Sandakan Memorial Park

Top place to stay: Sabah Hotel – Click here to see the latest prices

Looking for the ultimate Malaysia Itinerary Planner for your trip? Click here to get it now!

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

We hope you found somewhere just right for you in this Malaysia tourism place list. Read more about other destinations in Malaysia or find the best time to visit Malaysia here or the best things to do here. Looking for places to visit in Malaysia in 2 – 4 days? Read our itineraries here and find our ultimate article to planning your trip to Malaysia here.

4-10 Day Singapore Malaysia Itinerary: Enjoy The Perfect Singapore And Malaysia Trip!

Planning a Singapore and Malaysia trip? Brilliant! This is a great part of the world and these destinations make a great combination.

Thanks to Singapore and Malaysia being so close together, it’s very easy to travel from Singapore to Malaysia and to enjoy a trip with both destinations.

In this article, I’m going to give you the perfect Singapore and Malaysia itinerary so all you have to is follow it! I do this by walking through a Singapore Malaysia itinerary for up to ten days.

If you are looking for a 4 days 3 nights Singapore Malaysia itinerary, simply stop reading at the 4 day point. If you want longer, keep reading! It’s easy to adjust this Singapore Malaysia tour itinerary to whatever time period you like.

You can also extend it to up to 16 days by downloading our free 10-day Malaysia itinerary by clicking here and then adding it to the end of the itinerary here.

I also describe exactly how to get from Singapore to Malaysia at the end as well as give you some specific Singapore to Malaysia day trip suggestions.

This is a Singapore to Malaysia itinerary which assumes you arrive in Singapore and leave from Malaysia. You can reverse it and make it a Malaysia Singapore itinerary instead.

You will also need to factor in time to get back to your starting point if you need to fly out of the same airport from where you started. Luckily, flights and buses between Malaysia and Singapore are quick and easy.

Excited? I hope so! This is a fabulous part of the world and I can’t wait to help you have the PERFECT Singapore Malaysia trip!

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

Singapore Malaysia Itinerary For 4-10 Days

Day 1 – Arrive in Singapore

Today is an introduction to Singapore.

  • Start the day at Gardens by the Bay. Visit the conservatories and OCBC Skyway (tickets here) where you walk among the futuristic trees. If you have kids, take bathers and also visit the childrens gardens. This is my favourite attraction in all of Singapore so don’t skip it! If you are on a budget, it’s still worth coming and walking around for free.
  • Have lunch in the shopping centre at the base of the iconic Marina Bay Sands which is right next to Gardens by the Bay.
  • Take the short train trip to Clarke Quay and walk though here and the historic Fort Canning on your way to the next attraction.
  • Spend the afternoon at the National Museum of Singapore (discount tickets here).
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Day 2 – Singapore

  • Start the day with some breakfast in Little India and then visit Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.
  • Walk to the nearby Malay area of Kampong Glam. Visit the Malay Heritage Centre and Sultan Mosque before having some Malay food for lunch.
  • Finish with some temple visits in Chinatown before shopping for souvenirs at the markets here and having some great Chinese food for dinner.

Day 3 – Singapore

Your final day in Singapore is all about fun, Sentosa Island style! Sentosa Island is a small island just off the tip of Singapore which is easily reached by public transport, cable car or even walking over. It’s packed full of fun attractions and is Singapore’s playground.

It’s full of top class facilities and just walking around is fun. There are so many different attractions that it’s hard for me to say exactly what you should add to your Singapore Malaysia trip itinerary. It depends on your interests and budget as the attractions can be expensive and add up quickly. There are also many free attractions on Sentosa which you may prefer to stick to.

  • Start by heading to the Merlion Plaza and taking a photo of the Sentosa sign with the giant merlion as pictured above. Consider climbing up inside the Merlion Tower for great views (tickets here). and chair lift. This is one of our favourites!
  • For more adrenaline rushes, try Mega Adventure where you can zipline and take a 15 metre jump or fly at iFly!
  • Visit easily one of the best aquariums in the world at S.E.A. Aquarium (tickets here).
  • If you have kids, visit the Palawan Pirate Ship. A free (and amazing) water playground.
  • Walk to the Southern Most Point of Continental Asia.
  • Enjoy the beaches
  • Visit Fort Siloso and learn some WWII history

In the evening, head to the free light shows at Resorts World Sentosa.

I also recommend you take the cable car over one way (discount tickets here). The views are great! I also love Universal Studios Singapore but with one day, I would go to a few different attractions instead rather than spending the day at one so you get a better taste of Sentosa Island.

To save money and time, buy attraction tickets beforehand at Klook. We have saved so much money this way. Click here for many options.

There is also the Sentosa Fun Pass that can save you a lot of money. You basically buy a number of tokens and then exchange these tokens at various attractions on the island. The number you need depends on what you want to see. I suggest you will at least want 80.

Where To Stay In Singapore

Here are our best options for each budget. Pick the one that best suits you.

LUXURY: Marina Bay Sands

For luxury and the ultimate Singapore experience, you can’t go past the Marina Bay Sands, one of the most iconic hotel buildings in the world.

Have great views over Singapore as you relax in the infinity pool or visit the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck. Shop and eat in the downstairs shopping centre or enjoy one of the many hotel restuarants or room service. You can use the gym, day spa or simply have a drink at the pool bar.

There are a range of room types with doubles and twins on offer. All are spacious and well appointed and have everything you would expect in a 5 star hotel. You can pick the view you want and there are suites for extra luxury with their own living area.

In addition to staying in a fabulous hotel, you are also just moments walk away from Gardens By The Bay and other top Singapore attractions and there is a subway station below the hotel making sightseeing easy. This is the ultimate Singapore hotel and you have to stay here at least once!

MIDRANGE: Village Hotel Bugis

The Village Hotel Bugis is our favourite hotel for a mix of a great price, very convenient location and a good standard of rooms and facilties. Located close to Bugis MRT station and many shopping centres, it’s easy to get around to all of Singapore here. It’s also located in the Malay area, Kampong Glam, and a short walk from Little India.

There are a range of room types which are all comfortable and well appointed, if on the cosy side. This includes family options which makes this a great choice with kids – we have stayed here with ours multiple times.

The hotel also has a swimming pool, gym and restaurants.

BUDGET: Backpacker Cozy Corner Guesthouse

For bargain seekers, the Backpacker Cozy Corner Guesthouse is also located in a convenient location near Bugis MRT and has everything you need for a budget Singapore stopover with excellent value rooms for the location and price.

Rooms include air conditioning and wifi and there are 2, 3 and 4 people rooms available. To save money, they do not have private bathrooms.

Singapore And Malaysia Itinerary 4 days

If you have just 4 days, use your final day in your Singapore Malaysia itinerary 4 days to do a day trip into Malaysia. Below, there are a range of Malaysia day trip options. Click here to read them and pick one!

My personal favourite is a fun day at Legoland Malaysia, but pick whichever most appeals to you.

If you are only looking for a Singapore Malaysia itinerary 3 days then cut out one of the Singapore days above which is least appealing.

Day 4 –Johor Bahru

It’s time to say a sad goodbye to Singapore before heading over the causeway to more adventures in Malaysia!

Today, you will have a great day at Legoland Malaysia. You can buy discounted tickets here.

Day 5 – Johor Bahru And Melaka

  • Head to central Johor Bahru near the causeway to Singapore. You can do some shopping or explore the streets to the west of the main strip here. Some are quite pretty and it’s a nice area to stroll around. If you have young kids, consider heading to Thomas Town and Sanrio Hello Kitty Town instead (tickets here). They will love it! Eat lunch before leaving Johor Bahru.
  • Take a taxi to the main bus station in Johor Bharu, Larkin Bus Terminal, and then take a bus to Melaka. You can book bus tickets here on some great bus services. The bus takes about three hours and I recommend you book a bus for the early afternoon.
  • Take a taxi to your hotel, freshen up and head to Jonker Street in the evening. If it’s Friday or Saturday night, enjoy the night market, but there are plenty of places to eat any night on this famous strip.

Note that Melaka and Malacca are different ways to spell the same place.

Where To Stay In Johor Bahru

Here are our best options for each budget. Pick the one that best suits you.

LUXURY: DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel Johor Bahru

Located just minutes from the Causeway in a convenient location, the DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Bahru is a great choice if you want a luxury hotel which is easy to use as a base to explore both Johor Bahru and Singapore.

Despite not being rated as a five-star hotel, it is our top pick of the options near the Causeway. It has first class facilities including a stunning outdoor swimming pool on the 13th floor, four restaurants, gym, steam room, spa and wifi.

Each of the hotel’s spacious guest rooms have everything you would expect from a top option such as air conditioning, TV, tea and coffee making facilities and a pillow menu. There are also larger suites with separate living areas as well as rooms which are apartment style and have a kitchenette with washing machine. All this for a great price!

MIDRANGE: Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru

hourly rate hotel in Johor Bahru

For a midrange price option, you can’t go past the Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru. Also well located near the Causeway and shopping, this is a great base for Singapore and Johor Bahru exploration.

There are many facilities at this hotel. You can use the tennis and squash courts, a gym, sauna and a yoga studio. Other facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, a day spa, three onsite restaurants and bars.

There are a range of accommodation options at this hotel. In addition to standard hotel rooms, you can book a room with a separate living and sleeping area or even a room with a kitchenette.

BUDGET: Baguss Hotel And Serviced Apartment

For a real bargain, consider the Baguss Hotel and Serviced Apartments. Close to the Causeway and downtown shopping areas, this standard, 3-star hotel is especially a great choice for families and groups looking for accommodation.

There are a range of hotel rooms suitable from two to four people. Each hotel room includes air conditioning, a TV, wifi, tea and coffee making facilities and a refrigerator. For larger groups, there are 3 bedroom apartments which can accommodate up to 6 people. These apartments include a kitchen and lounge room.

Singapore Malaysia Itinerary 5 Days

If you are looking for a 5 days 4 nights Singapore Malaysia itinerary then you can do the five days above and head back to Singapore to fly out on day 5 instead of on to Melaka.

You could also consider spending all 5 days in Singapore and just taking a day trip to Johor Bahru. If money isn’t an issue, this is a good choice. Otherwise, it is more budget friendly to stay in Johor Bahru accommodation.

If Melaka sounds interesting to you, you could also follow the first four days above and then do a day trip to Melaka on the final day of your Singapore Malaysia 5 days itinerary (find one here). This is a long day but I have done it myself and it’s very doable.

Day 6 – Melaka

Today is all about exploring Melaka’s historic centre and Chinatown before heading to your final stop, Kuala Lumpur, in the evening.

  • Start at the Sultanate Palace where you can walk through a replica of the palace of Sultan Mansur Shah who ruled Melaka from 1456 to 1477.
  • Take a photo of Porta de Santiago and explore the ruins of St Paul’s Church.
  • Walk downhill to Stradthuys, the town hall and governor’s residence that dates back to the Dutch in 1650. Trishaws tend to congregate here so you can go on a ride on one if you like.
  • Walk over the river to Chinatown and head to 8 Heeren Street to check out this 18th century Dutch period residence.
  • Next, walk through Chinatown to Baba and Nonya Heritage Centre.
  • By now, you have probably worked up an appetite. Eat some lunch.
  • Finish your Melaka day tour by visiting three temples all close together: Cheng Hoon Temple, Masjid Kampung Kling and Sri Poyatha Venayagar Moorthi Temple.

In the late afternoon, catch your onward bus to Kuala Lumpur. This takes about 2.5 hours and I recommend booking a bus from 3-4pm.

On arrival, check in to your hotel. If you feel like going out, head to the night markets in Petaling Street or Jalan Alor.

Where To Stay In Melaka

Here are our best options for each budget. Pick the one that best suits you.

LUXURY: Casa Del Rio Melaka

Located in a premium position just 300 metres from Jonker Street and right by the river, you will find the best option in Melaka, the stunning 5-star luxury boutique hotel, Casa del Rio Melaka Hotel.

There are a a range of room types on offer including options for up to 6 people in two-bedroom suites. All rooms include standard fittings such as a TV, wifi, tea and coffee making facilities, air conditioning and a desk. If you book a suite, you will also have separate living and dining areas. Some suites even include an outdoor spa.

This hotel features first-class facilities with a stunning infinity swimming pool offering views across the Melaka River as well as three restaurants, a gym, a rooftop garden and day spa.

MIDRANGE: Swiss-Garden Hotel Melaka

This 5-star hotel at a midrange price point is a great choice. Located along the Melaka River just a short taxi ride from Jonker St, the Swiss-Garden Hotel offers guests modern accommodation.

There are a range of rooms which accommodate up to two guests and include all the standard amenities including a TV, air conditioning, wi-fi, tea and coffee making facilities, private balcony and seating area.

You can also book a suite which includes separate dining and living areas. Some rooms also include panoramic views of the ocean and the Melaka River. Ask for a high level!

The Swiss-Garden Hotel includes a range of great facilities including two big swimming pools, a tennis court and the Sky Garden rooftop bar. The hotel also has direct access to a shopping mall.

BUDGET: T Hotel Melaka

The T Hotel which is located in Melaka City just a 15 minutes walk from Jonker Street, is a good choice for budget travellers.

They offer double, twin, triple or family suites. All are comfortable and clean and come with air conditioning, wifi, a TV, tea and coffee facilities and a seating area.

You can find more options for where to stay in Melaka here.

Singapore Malaysia Itinerary For 7 Days

If you are looking for a 6 nights 7 days Singapore Malaysia itinerary you could stop right here. This does mean that you don’t have much time in Kuala Lumpur. If you would prefer some time in Kuala Lumpur (which I do recommend), drop either Johor Bahur or Melaka, whichever appeals less. It’s easy to get buses from Singapore to Melaka directly or from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur.

You can then pick a day or two from the following three recommmend days in Kuala Lumpur for your Singapore Malaysia itinerary 7 days.

Days 7-9 Kuala Lumpur

Three days in Kuala Lumpur is a great amount of time to get a good taste of this city on your Malaysia Singapore trip.

Singapore Malaysia Itinerary For 10 Days

If you have 10 days, you can add an extra day to Kuala Lumpur using my suggestions in my 3 day itinerary article here.

You could also add an extra day to Singapore if that appeals more or if you want to do an activity there like visit Universal Studios. However, if you are looking for a Singapore Malaysia budget itinerary then the less time in more expensive Singapore, the less you will need to spend so Kuala Lumpur can be a better pick.

Singapore And Malaysia Trip 10+ Days

If you have more than ten days, yay! There are so many great places that you can add on in Malaysia.

I have a full itinerary document here for Malaysia travel for ten days. This includes travelling to Ipoh, Penang and Langkawi after Kuala Lumpur so you can add one or all of these destinations to the itinerary above to create a plan for up to 17 days.

Singapore To Malaysia Day Trip

If you don’t have time for a big Singapore Malaysia adventure then you may just with to take a one day trip to Malaysia from Singapore. With a timeframe of less than 5 days, this is what I recommend.

This is completely possible and you could spend a 1 day trip to Malaysia from Singapore doing one of the days in the itinerary above to Johor Bahru or Melaka. Just note with Melaka that you will spend a lot of time travelling over the day but it is highly possible – I have done it myself.

  • Legoland Malaysia: The easiest and maybe most fun suggestion is to spend a day at Legoland Malaysia. There are buses directly here from Singapore and it’s a fun and easy place to enjoy. More details here.
  • Johor Bahru: You can catch the local bus over the causeway and explore central Johor Bahru.
  • Melaka: You can either pay for an expensive day tour here (easiest option) or save on your Singapore Malaysia trip cost and take public transport from Singapore to Melaka and back again and explore Melaka on your own, as per day 6 above. The bus takes about four hours each way so buy your ticket in advance and go early.
  • Desaru Coast: This coastal area in Malaysia is just one hour from Singapore with a half-hour ferry (buy here) and half-hour shuttle and is perfect if you would like some white sandy beach time or to have some fun visiting attractions such as a huge water park, ostrich, fruit or crocodile farm.

How To Travel From Singapore To Malaysia

Johor Bahru From Singapore

Getting from Singapore to Malaysia could really not be easier. There are buses, planes, trains and even taxis across. It’s been streamlined as much as possible because it’s such a popular option with thousands of people doing it all the time.

The easiest way to get across the causeway from Singapore to Malaysia is to hire a private car and driver. These can be quite affordable for a family or small group and you can be picked up and dropped off wherever you like and don’t need to get out of the car at the border.

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You can also get a taxi but they are less flexible. If you catch a Singaporean taxi, they can only drop you at Larkin Terminal in Johor Bahru. If you catch a Malaysian taxi, they can drop you off anywhere in Malaysia but can only pick you up Queen Street Bus Terminal.

The cheapest (and still quite easy) way to get across is with public, local bus called the Causeway Bus. Note that with the bus, you will need to get off and back on again at both immigration points in Singapore and Malaysia with all your belongings. Once you are through, you simply wait for the next Causeway Bus to come along. You can catch it from:

  • Kranji MRT (route CW1) from SGD$1.50 (RM1.90 return)
  • Queens Street (route CW2) from SGD$3.50 (RM3.40 return)
  • Newton Circus (route CW5) from SGD$3.30 (RM3.40 return)

The buses stop along the way so you can also hop on elsewhere along the route.

If you need to get between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur then I recommend flying. This is often a very good price and cuts out the longer journey. For further afield than KL, I also recommend flying.

If you are going across to Johor Bahru, Melaka or anywhere else south of Kuala Lumpur then going overland is the best choice.

Looking for the ultimate Malaysia Itinerary Planner for your trip? Click here to get it now!

Singapore Malaysia Trip Map

Singapore Malaysia Itinerary map

Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

I hope you enjoyed this Singapore Malaysia DIY itinerary. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments below!

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

Singapore or Malaysia: Which Southeast Asian Destination?

Kuala lumpur skyline

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These two countries are so intrinsically tied to one another, it can be hard to compare them. After all, Singapore is perched right at the bottom of Malaysia, and the only thing separating them is the 34- mile wide Johor Strait. They share a lot of cultural, historical, and geographic similarities.

That being said, there are plenty of differences between the island and the peninsula, and traveling in these places is going to offer two vastly different experiences.

If you’re planning a Southeast Asian trip and you’re trying to decide between these two places, we have the advice you need. Take a look at how these countries compare for potential tourists to figure out which travel experience will best suit you.

Table of Contents

Singapore or Malaysia: Culture

Malaysian wedding

Often people who haven’t visited Malaysia forget (or don’t know) that the country is split between two halves – the Malaysian peninsula that borders Thailand and Singapore, and Malaysian Borneo on the other side of the Riau Archipelago. Sabah and Sarawak, the two states of Malaysian Borneo, have a much smaller population than the mainland (mostly made up of Malaysian Chinese) and are still home to the indigenous peoples of Borneo.

Malaysian society has been influenced by many different cultures over the years – most notably Indian, Chinese, Malay, and Indigenous Austronesians, all of which make up the majority of the population. However, more than 60% of the population are ethnic Malay or indigenous, and Islam is the national religion.

Like many Asian countries, Malaysia was subject to colonial rule for centuries, before becoming an independent sovereign nation in 1963. Today it is a thriving, vibrant country, with mouthwatering cuisine and some of the most colorful cultural and religious festivals in southeast Asia, including the Mooncake Festival and Malaysian Water Festival. Malaysians are widely considered to be friendly and honest people, so you’ll find the country very safe to travel in and around.

Considering that it was part of Malaysia for many years, it’s easy to dismiss Singapore as simply an off-shoot of Malaysia, with largely the same culture. And while these two places certainly have strong similarities, they aren’t the same (and don’t let any Singaporeans catch you saying otherwise!)

Singapore is a unique country for many reasons, the most notable being that it is both an island nation and a city, the only place in the world with that descriptor. Like Malaysia, it is also a unique blend of many influences, particularly due to its long history as a trading port. But add the widespread cosmopolitan sensibility of contemporary Singaporean and a rather eccentric culture emerges – one that can be difficult to quantify.

This only becomes more obvious when locals open their mouths and a stream of diverse languages come out: English, Mandarin, Tamil, and Malay, and of course, the famous hybrid language ‘Singlish,’ which is unique to Singapore.

Perhaps one of the best-known aspects of Singaporean culture is their seemingly severe rules – most infamously, the public ban on both littering and chewing gum. Whether you agree with them or not, it’s best to take note of and respect these laws while you are visiting. One attractive cultural consequence of these laws is that Singapore is one of the cleanest countries in the world. Another consequence, however, is that Singapore does not have much of a drinking or partying culture due to the country’s strict liquor laws.

Winner: Malaysia. Some travelers may find the laws of Singapore to be off-putting, particularly those pertaining to alcohol consumption.

Singapore or Malaysia: Ease of Travel

bumboat in singapore

Traveling around Singapore is easy for two reasons – one, you have easy access to several forms of public and private transport, including, buses, trains, and taxis. And second, it’s a very small country. A round trip around Singapore would only take approximately four hours, so it’s very easy to get around.

In terms of actual public transport systems, moving around the republic is also pretty convenient. Singapore’s MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system has stations all around the island, so it’s usually a quick walk between stops and any popular destinations. There is also a huge public bus system that covers the majority of the island – it’s slower than the train but still comfortable and air-conditioned. Make sure to pick up a Singapore Tourist Pass (STP) so you’re not always fumbling with your cash or credit card.

Any places you can’t reach by bus or MRT can be reached easily via taxi. And if you want to take a more leisurely route, you can always rent a bicycle and navigate the city using Singapore’s extensive network of cycling paths.

Malaysia, on the other hand, is much bigger. More than 300 times bigger, in fact. So it’s no surprise that one of the most common methods of transport for travelers here is by plane. Domestic flights are a relatively cheap and easy way to get to different parts of the country, including the mainland, smaller islands, and East Malaysia (on or near the Malaysian territory of Borneo). Trains are also a good way to travel, both in cities and around the peninsula (though there is no train system in Borneo). Taxis and rental cars are also available and very convenient, though much more expensive.

Buses are also available in and around the cities, but they are not always recommended for long-distance travel – in more remote areas it is not uncommon for roads to be partially washed away in heavy rains and storms, so keep an eye on weather forecasts if you’re thinking of traveling between cities/towns by bus.

Singapore or Malaysia: Food

nasi lemak malaysia

When traveling in Southeast Asia, you have to take the local food culture into account. Not only because this region has some of the greatest cuisines in the world, but also due to the strong flavor profiles that may not always be to your liking.

Unsurprisingly. given their extreme proximity and shared cultural influences, there are a lot of similarities between Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine. Both food cultures are highly informed by a blend of Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Peranakan, but they express these influences in varying degrees. For example, their Chinese influence – Hokkien and Teochew cuisines are more present in Singapore, compared to the strong Cantonese influence in Malaysia. One thing you will notice in both of these countries is that they share many, many dishes, but there is usually a notable difference between the two varieties. Consider the famous dish Laksa, which is a thick, coconut curry in Singapore, compared to its Malaysian counterpart which is a sour soup made of tamarind and fish stock.

Generally speaking, Singaporean food is simpler and uses less spice and seasoning. Malaysian cuisine tends to be richer and more flavorful, and due to the size of the country and its population, there is more variety of dishes, ingredients, and flavor profiles. Malaysia also has several famous food destinations – Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Malacca.

Keep in mind that the debate around which cuisine is better in these two countries is rather fierce – it’s sometimes even referred to as a ‘food war’ and the origins of such dishes as rendang and chili crab are hotly debated.

Singapore or Malaysia: Things To Do

gardens by the bay Singapore

Expect to see at least one festival if you’re visiting Malaysia for longer than a month, as there are many loud and vibrant events to partake in from Diwali to the Malaysia Water Festival to the Lunar New Year.

For outdoor activities, join a day trip to Batu Caves from Kuala Lumpur and explore the limestone caverns and Hindu shrines within. Take a loved one or a friend to go swimming and snorkeling on the pristine Perhentian Islands, and don’t forget to block out several days to visit East Malaysia (Borneo) to hike through remote rainforests, observe the exotic wildlife and even stay overnight in an indigenous ‘longhouse.’

Georgetown in Penang is also a must-visit, with its fantastic street art and reputation as one of the best places in the country for foodies, with countless food markets, hawker stalls, and top-market restaurants. The historic port-town Melaka, further down the coast, is another great choice due to its intense and fascinating history.

Keep in mind that many of Singapore’s best activities and attractions are centered around city activities, due to its densely populated urban environment – don’t forget that Singapore is a ‘city-state’. But there are some notable exceptions.

Of course, you must stop by Marina Bay, Singapore’s tourist mecca. Beautiful views, live performances, and unique modern architecture make it a fantastic place to spend an afternoon. With museums, galleries, and occasional concerts, you’re sure to find something you like.

The Gardens by the Bay is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist attractions and an absolute must-see. It’s a fantastically well-designed modern green space also found in Marina Bay, and its forests and gardens are a perfect example of horticultural excellence. Don’t miss the aerial walkways that let you look across the gardens from 400-feet above! The extensive Singapore Botanic Gardens are also well worth a visit.

Another great thing to do on your first visit to Singapore is to take a “bumboat” (water taxi) around the city waterways. It’s a cheap and delightful way of seeing some of the best attractions in downtown Singapore. You can even go in the evening to catch the sunset.

Winner: Malaysia. Due to the significant size difference between the two countries, there is much more to do in Malaysia in terms of cultural sights, outdoor activities, recreation, and entertainment.

Singapore or Malaysia: Nightlife

Singapore at night

Looking out over the Singaporean skyline, it should be no surprise that this city-state offers a vibrant and exciting nightlife experience. But one thing to remember about Singapore is its strict alcohol laws. So if you’re looking for the kind of all-night raving you might find in Thailand, you’ll be disappointed.

Fortunately, there are plenty of nocturnal delights here, from the glamorous award-winning cocktail bars and flashy nightclubs in Clarke Quay to the hipster craft beer bars in Haji Lane. For some of the best views in the city, head to one of Marina Bay’s popular rooftop bars to watch the Marina Bay Sands light up while you sip your drink. And if you’re looking for something a little more laidback, you can always stop by Chinatown for a meal and a few drinks, or Holland Village for ex-pat pubs and bars.

The dress code in certain places (particularly in the Central Business District) can be strict, so be sure to don smart-casual attire when you head out on the town.

Malaysia is well-known as one of the most socially conservative countries in Asia. If you’re visiting from a western country don’t expect the same level of uninhibited fun and raucousness that you’ll find at night in major cities back home. While visiting you’ll find that much of the best nightlife is, unsurprisingly, found in the commercial hub Kuala Lumpur. Here you can find your fair share of rooftop bars and classy cocktail lounges.

KL is often lauded as a melting pot of cultures, but you might be disappointed to find that there isn’t much “melting” of cultures when it comes to the nightlife here. People tend to stay in their communities, so you’ll often find bars and clubs that are attended almost exclusively by Chinese, Indian, Arabic, etc.

Tourist towns like Malacca and Penang, also have their own late-night cafes and bars that should keep you occupied during your evenings, and offer plenty of chances to meet and mingle with locals and fellow tourists.

Winner: Singapore. There is night-time fun to be had in both countries, but you may be more impressed by the cosmopolitan offerings of downtown Singapore.

Singapore or Malaysia: Prices

Malaysian ringgit

Singapore is famously expensive – it is by far the most expensive place to live in Southeast Asia, and is actually one of the most expensive cities in the world! This is mostly due to high rent prices, but even traveling in Singapore can be costly.

A mid-budget trip to Singapore will set you back around $120USD per day, including food & drink, transport, attractions, and sightseeing. The average accommodation for one person is $75, whereas the average price of a hotel room for a couple will be $150.

It is definitely possible to make travel in Singapore more affordable, by staying in capsule hotels and hostel dorms and eating at hawker centers and food courts rather than restaurants. Taking part in free activities will also save you quite a bit.

Malaysia, on the other hand, is much more affordable as a travel destination. It is close to what many travelers would expect to spend in most Southeast Asian countries.

Average daily costs for traveling in Malaysia will set you back approximately $70 USD for a mid-range holiday, including transport, food & drink, and tourist activities. The average accommodation for one person is around $40, although the average price for a couple’s hotel room is $80. Accommodation prices can vary widely depending on where you’re staying.

Similar to Singapore, you can significantly reduce the cost of your trip by changing where you stay, what you eat, and what kind of activities you do.

Winner: Malaysia. It is much more accessible for all travelers, particularly those traveling on a backpacker’s budget.

Singapore or Malaysia: Which Country Should You Choose?

travelers in asia

Both Singapore and Malaysia offer their own distinct and unique attractions, and both are great travel destinations if you want to get a taste of life in Southeast Asia. But if you’re visiting either for the first time, we have to recommend Malaysia first.

The reasons are simple – Malaysia is far larger than Singapore. There’s just more to see, do, and experience both on the peninsula and in Malaysian Borneo. Singapore is a very clean and green city-state, but it’s difficult to compare its green urban spaces to the vast equatorial rainforests, countless beaches, rivers, and extraordinarily diverse wildlife you’ll encounter in Malaysia. Not to mention it’s much more affordable – if you have to keep a close eye on your wallet while you’re traveling, then there’s no question that your dollar will go further, giving you the chance to experience more over a longer period than you would in Singapore.




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