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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

7 Best Places To Visit In Malaysia From Singapore That Will Leave You In Awe This 2022!


You have Asian countries like India, Thailand, Indonesia and many more exotic beautiful lands that are famous vacation spots amongst travellers. However, there are places that showcase a combination of the culture and tradition of all these Asian destinations? The countries, Singapore and Malaysia, might have been separated a long time back but still, provide good support for tourism to each other. Both the countries also receive millions of tourists visiting because of the mesmerizing places and shows that are represented by the whole of Asia. These places to visit in Malaysia from Singapore will let you get a taste and virtual view of the stories behind almost every Asian culture. Another reason why tourists always make it a point to visit Malaysia while on a vacation in Singapore is because of its easy transport services. You can easily either book a flight, board a train or get on a bus to cover the distance between both the countries. The affordable pricing system in both countries will make your vacation a classy yet memorable trip.

Malaysia offers its tourists so many attractions that should definitely be visited. You have the informative museums that let you in on the untold history and culture of the Asian countries, the reef resorts that let you enjoy the view of the underwater marine life and corals by taking you out on a diving expedition and islands that take you on a speedboat adventure. So, take a look at these amazing tourist spots that will let you experience the best and the finest attractions in Malaysia.

7 Places To Visit In Malaysia From Singapore

Malaysia is popular for its raw stone cut caves and evergreen rainforests. However, if you ask the locals of the country, they would always point out the misty hill stations, the sandy beaches, islands with pristine blue waters and the colourful shopping districts. So, here are some of the best places to visit in Malaysia from Singapore that will let you get a taste of every aspect of Malaysia’s diversity and culture.

1. Perhentian Island

Perhentian Islands in Malaysia are amongst the few exotic honeymoon destinations in Asia

Perhentian Island is amongst the other best places to visit in Malaysia from Singapore. It is a group of stunning, coral fringed islands where activities like fishing are strictly prohibited. The two main islands here are Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. With many lodging options available on the island, the Perhentian Island have become a popular travel destination.

Distance from Singapore: 520km
How to reach Perhentian Island from Singapore: The cheapest way to get from Singapore to Perhentian Islands is by train and bus and ferry which costs approximately INR 3000. Other available mode of transport is to fly from Singapore Changi Airport to Sultan Ismail Petra Airport

2. Langkawi Island

Langkawi Island

Langkawi Island is a beautiful archipelago which enthralls the tourists because of its azure blue water and exotic beaches. The famous UNESCO heritage site is known to attract tourists in large numbers and is also one of the famous places to visit in Malaysia near Singapore. The major attractions here include the famous cable car popular among kids as well as adults.

Distance from Singapore: 715km
How to reach Langkawi Island from Singapore: The most common way to reach Langkawi are via boat or flight. After landing in Langkawi, you’ll easily find an official taxi

3. Maxwell Hill


Also known as Bukit Larut and poised at 1250 m above the sea-level hill, Maxwell Hill is oldest and less developed hill station in Malaysia and is 290 km away from Kuala Lumpur. However, it is surrounded by dense and lush green forests and offers stunning panoramic views of the west coast from Penang to Pangkor Island.

Travellers can also enjoy the lovely sights of petunias, roses, daisies, tulips and many other flowers planted here. A visit to Taiping Lake Gardens and Taiping Zoo should not be missed in your journey to Maxwell Hill.

Distance from Singapore: 626km
How to reach Maxwell Hill from Singapore: One of the cheapest way to reach Bukit Larut from Singapore is by train while the fastest way is to fly

4. Tamarind Hill


Part of the Tamarind Restaurant Group, Tamarind Hill is a famous restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. You will also find the groups Malaysian restaurants as a whole. It is one of the famous Malaysia attractions near Singapore. From the location, design, interior and ambience, the Tamarind Restaurant Group gives you a dining experience that takes you on an adventure away from the city. At Tamarind Hill, you can enjoy the best of Thai cuisine created by Chef Wanthana.

Distance from Singapore: 350km

5. Tenggol Island


Another splendid peninsular Malaysia dive site, Tenggol island is recommended mainly for experienced divers as the currents are quite strong. With some fantastic resorts and untouched corals to explore, this beautiful island just a 45-minute speedboat ride away is considered amongst the best places for scuba diving in Malaysia. Get ready to explore vibrant marine life at more than 20 spectacular dive spots with unforgettable underwater landscapes.

Distance from Singapore: 384km
How to reach Tenggol Island from Singapore: The cheapest way to get from Singapore to Tenggol Island is by bus while the fastest way to get here is by flight. However, there is no direct flight from Senai Airport to Kerteh Airport.

6. The Swallow Reef Resort


A little gem within the deep blue sea, fondly known as The Jewels of the Borneo Banks offers undisturbed diving adventure in safe water on Swallow Reef resort. Layang-Layang Resort (Swallow Reef Resort) is a 3-star private Island Resort which is designed perfectly and built along with the concept of the traditional longhouse on this coral-blessed island. With only the Swallow Reef Hotel on the island, Layang Layang resort offers an extraordinary local stay experience enveloped in new generation comforts and convenience. There are 86 new traditionally renovated rooms reflecting the beautiful style of Borneo tribes.

All the accommodations like refrigerators, telephones, private hot showers and TVs with air-conditioned rooms make the stay more convenient. Fax and international telephone services are also available. There are many areas to socialize and relax on the resort with an enormous restaurant serving traditional Asian and Continental fare as well as a bar, reading corner and conference room. The resort can host up to 200 people for seminars, banquets, meetings, conferences and group functions.

Distance from Singapore: 1296km

7. National Museum


Often confused with the textile museum, the National Museum, is yet another must-visit museum in Malaysia. It offers a good primer on the country’s history right from its prehistoric times to the present day. Malaysia’s history, as well as geological features and geography, are all tackled in one gallery that also features a beautiful and realistic replica of the 11,000-year-old Perak man.

The museum also houses one wing of modern history which is rather interesting and informative. This wing has recreations of royal beds, temple walls, and even ceremonial garb dating to several hundred years. It is indeed one of the best places in Malaysia near Singapore.

Distance from Singapore: 350km
How to reach National Museum from Singapore: In order to reach Kuala Lumpur from Singapore, you can either opt for buses, flight or train. Whichever mode of transport you choose, after landing you’ll easily find a taxi

The variety of places to visit in Malaysia from Singapore is enamouring and uncommon. There are many other awesome places to visit in the “Land of Mountains’. As the widely popular nickname suggests, Malaysia has numerous mountains like mount Korbu and mount Tahan. It also has colourful and towering skyscrapers like the Petronas Twin Towers and shopping districts. The country is filled with so many exhilarating activities that tourists can participate in, like snorkelling and scuba diving. So, what are you waiting for? Gather your family and friends and plan a trip to Malaysia for a fun-filled visit to knowledge-based museums, reef resorts, and extraordinary hill stations.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Malaysia From Singapore

Can I travel from Singapore to Malaysia?

Yes, you can definitely travel from Singapore to Malaysia. You can take a train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. As far as visa is concerned, Indians can get a visa on arrival for a nominal fee if they are traveling from Singapore.

Where should I go for a short trip in Malaysia?

You will find plenty of things to do in Malaysia on weekends if you are here for a long time. Here are a few places where you can take an impromptu day trip:
1. Bentong: a laid back town with natural hot springs
2. Pulau Ketam: for mouthwatering seafood
3. Brinchang: For gorgeous landscapes and verdant tea plantations

Which is the best place to visit Malaysia or Singapore?

Both Malaysia and Singapore are amazing places to take a vacation. Even though these countries are adjacent to each other, they offer unique experiences. Take these pointers to choose one destination over another:
Best time: For Singapore, it is from February to April. The best time to visit Malaysia differ from coast to coast.
Landscape: Singapore is a modern island nation with towering skyscrapers and bustling neighbourhoods. Malaysia offers you both; modern cities and verdant landscapes.
Accessibility: Both have airline connecting from all over the world. However, flights to SIngapore are cheaper than flights to Malaysia.
Beach life:Malaysia has more beautiful beaches than Singapore

Is Malaysia worth visiting?

Yes, Malaysia is an amazing country with modern cities and picturesque islands. In fact, it is one of the most popular destinations in SouthEast Asia.

Is Malaysia expensive to visit?

A week-long trip to Malaysia will cost you around INR 70,000 per person if you opt for 3 star hotels and book your flights well in time. It is definitely cheaper than a lot of countries if not a budget-destination.




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