Top Cities to Visit in Malaysia
Malaysia is a large country that is literally divided by a body of water, which makes it difficult to visit all of East and West Malaysia at once. There are a few cities that you will not want to miss during your visit. Let’s take a look at some of the top city destinations that you will want to check out in Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, so if you are looking a bit of city life during your travels, this is a location that you must not miss. One of the major sites to see in the city is the Petronas Towers, which is known as the tallest twin towers in the world. The view overlooking the city from the observation deck is spectacular.
Another attraction that can be found in Kuala Lumpur is the Batu Caves, which is one of the largest places of worship in the city. At the entrance of the cave, you will find a statue of Lord Murugan that is 42 meters high and 242 stairs that lead to the opening of the cave. The first temple that was built inside the cave was created in 1891.
Penang is a small island off of the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia that is shaped like a turtle that is swimming in the sea, and the only way to reach the island is to use the land bridge that connects to the mainland. One of the main places to visit while you are in the area is the UNESCO World Heritage site, George Town.
The buildings have a colonial architecture that is quite unique, the streets are narrow, and there are plenty of temples to see in the city. In fact, the Kuan Yin Temple can be found in George Town, which is the oldest temple in Penang. While you are in George Town, don’t forget to look for street art; it is a great way to explore the city and see local artwork at the same time.
Langkawi is a great place to visit in Malaysia if you enjoy nature because there are plenty of beaches, natural landscapes, and places to go diving. To get a beautiful view from above the city, you can explore sites like the Langkawi Sky Bridge or ride the Langkawi Cable Car.
From these locations, you can easily see the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls, but it is worth taking a trip to the falls yourself to see the home of the fairies up close. There are seven natural pools here that are fed by seven waterfalls with the last fall being over 90 meters high. Langkawi is actually an archipelago made up of 104 small islands, so make sure you explore some of the pristine beaches here as well.
Selangor is the area of Malaysia that surrounds the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, so if you are looking to escape the city during your travels, then this is a great place to explore. There is plenty of opportunity for adventure; you can visit the Botanical Gardens of Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam to traverse the treetop obstacle course in the Skytrex Adventure.
If you prefer to be closer to the ground, Malaysia’s first indoor trampoline park is also located in Selangor. The area is also home to beautiful beaches and scenic waterfalls, so if you’d sooner relax, Jeram Perlus is a site to see. The trek to the falls will take about two hours, but the hike is well worth your time, especially considering the view.
Malacca is a city in Malaysia that is unlike any other city that you will experience during your travels in this part of the world. In fact, it looks a lot like a European city that has a canal running through its city streets. There is actually not a canal in Malacca, but the Malacca River is just as picturesque.
One of the best ways to see the entire city is to take a boat ride on the river; in fact, doing this at sunset will give you some amazing views of landmarks in the area. When you get off of the boat, you can easily explore Jonker Street in Chinatown to get the full Malacca experience.
Top Festivals in Malaysia
Malaysia is a melting pot that is full of different individuals with different cultural and religious backgrounds, so to embrace them all as a nation, there are different festivals and celebrations that are held throughout the year. Let’s take a look at a few festivals that are worth checking out if you are visiting the area.
- Chinese New Year – held from late January to early February in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Selangor
- Thaipusam Festival – held during the month of February in Kuala Lumpur
- My Balloon Fiesta – held in mid-March in Kuala Lumpur
- Labuan Water Festival – held during April in Labuan
- Penang Durian Festival – held at the end of June in Penang
- Hari Raya Aidilfitri – held at the end of June around all of Malaysia
- George Town Festival – held from June 7th to July 7th in George Town, Penang
Food to Try in Malaysia
When you visit places like Malaysia, one of the best ways to experience the culture of an area and see what it is like to live there is to try the food that the locals enjoy eating. You can do this by going to restaurants in the area, checking out the food at a local festival, or even trying some street food during your vacation. Malaysia is a melting pot when it comes to food, so we put together some of the top dishes that you will want to try during your visit.
Durian is a large green spiny fruit that can be found in Malaysia. It has a rather pungent smell, but this fruit can be added to confections like cheesecake or puffed pastry to make a tasty dessert. Of course, the smell always seems to hang around, but it is something worth trying if you have never experienced durian before.
Nasi Lemak is actually the national dish of Malaysia, so if you are looking for authentic cuisine during your travels, this is the dish to try. It is rice that is cooked in coconut milk with boiled eggs, peanuts, and dried anchovies; the dish is served in a banana leaf with a spicy sauce called sambal.
Laska is effectively a noodle soup that varies quite a bit based on the area of Malaysia that you get it from. Penang uses thicker noodles with a broth that is a bit more acidic and fishy tasting, while laksa found in Sarawak will be a bit sweeter because it is made using coconut milk.
Malaysia is also heavily influenced by Indian traditions, especially when it comes to food. Roti Canai is an Indian insipid dish that is essentially flatbread and a few different variations of curry. Chicken or another type of meat is often added to the curries, but the options can vary depending on where you purchase the dish.
Chendul is a dessert that you will want to try while you are visiting Malaysia. It is made from rice flour jelly noodles, shaved ice, red beans, and coconut milk. Some vendors will add other toppings like jackfruit and durian to the dish as well, so ask what toppings are available if you’d like to add more flavor to this sweet treat.
Mee Kolok is a noodle dish that is coated in lard and served with a few slices of pork. This is a popular dish for breakfast, but it can be eaten for any meal.
You’ll never find a shortage of things to do in Malaysia. There are white sandy beaches, exquisite waterfalls, cities with unique architecture, and plenty of locations to go shopping. There are even a number of local festivals and events that you can experience during your travels throughout the year to add some culture to your Malaysian experience. Take a look at what each city has to offer so that you can find the perfect base camp in Malaysia for your next vacation.