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From the shimmering towers of Kuala Lumpur to the white sands of Langkawi via Penang’s cool street art, here’s my perfect Malaysia itinerary.

When I visited Malaysia, my expectations were not set high. It does not feature on the so-called Banana Pancake trail around Asia. Surely, there must be a reason for this? Having travelled through the other countries of this region over the years, it felt like a gap that needed to be filled. But what would be the perfect Malaysia itinerary for a  two-week trip?

As the weather favoured peninsular Malaysia in Feb / March, for starters I bagged a keenly priced flight to Kuala Lumpur. Next, I asked a Malaysian colleague for her thoughts. Looking slightly sheepish, she confessed “ I haven’t travelled outside of Kuala Lumpur. When you get back can you please let me know how it went so I will know where to go in future?” So it was back to guide books and on-line forums for me!

The places that I selected worked well from a logistic, getting from A to B, point of view, but also showcased the variety of a small part of this diverse & distinctive country in two weeks. Discover how I did it here!

 

Malaysia itinerary infographic

Day 1: Kuala Lumpur (overnight stay)

How I travelled there

  • Overnight flight from London (LHR) with the excellent QATAR airways via Doha, arriving in the evening.

What I did

Recovered from a long flight from London!

Where I stayed

  • Sama Sama Hotel KLIA. Joined to the main terminal building by a covered footbridge, this is a great choice for pre- or post- flight
  • Cost per night MYR 409 (£76)

Day 2 & 3: Melaka

Why go to Melaka?

For its beautifully preserved historic centre, with its kaleidoscope of architectural styles, the lively Jonker Walk weekend night market and psychedelic trishaws.

How I travelled there

  • By bus directly from the airport. No need to travel into the city centre. The journey takes around 2 hours.
  • A one-way ticket cost MYR 24 (£4)
  • I booked on-line through EasyBook 

Where I stayed

  • Jonker Boutique Hotel. A great location on Jonker Street but I feel that its description as a “luxury boutique hotel” is a little overstating its charms.
  • Cost per night MYR 228 (£42)

Day 4 & 5: Kuala Lumpur

Why go to Kuala Lumpur?

To gaze up at the Petronas Towers, go bird-watching in KL Bird Park, admire colonial buildings of Merdeka Square and wonder at the objects in the Islamic Arts Museum.

Ceiling at the Islamic Arts Museum KL
Ceiling at the Islamic Arts Museum

How I travelled there

  • By bus to the central bus station and then picked up the metro system to my hotel.

Where I stayed

  • Shangri-La Hotel which is one of my favourite hotels ever. Its superb customer service sets them a notch above the rest
  • I paid a daily rate of MYR 672 (£125) for a Horizon Club Executive King room. This included day-long access to the Club Lounge which offered fantastic evening cocktails and afternoon tea. Well worth splashing the cash!

Day 6 – 9: George Town, Penang

Why go to Penang?

For its diverse cultural mix, its vibrant street art scene and fantastic food. A visit to George Town’s clan houses should be at the top of anyone’s Malaysia itinerary.

Clan Jetty, Penang
Clan Jetty, Penang

How I travelled there

  • By train to Butterworth station and then a short hop across the bridge by bus
  • The train ticket cost MYR 79 (£15) and I booked it online with the confusingly named Busonlineticket.com 

Where I stayed

  • Another opportunity to splurge. I stayed at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel. This historic, all-suite property offers complimentary evening cocktails and all-day tea and coffee.
  • I paid a daily rate of MYR 712 (£133)

Day 10 – 13: Langkawi

Why go to Langkawi?

To kick-back on a perfect white sand beach. After all this travelling around, you deserve some relaxation.

langkawi island

How I travelled there

  • By ferry from Penang.
  • This cost MYR 70 (£13)

Where I stayed

  • The Berjaya Langkawi Resort. Hotels on Langkawi can carry a hefty price tag. This hotel offered the best value for the quality of accommodation.
  • I paid a daily rate of MYR 704 (£131)

Day 14: Kuala Lumpur

Why go to Kuala Lumpur (again)?

A pre-return flight stay and to take in the sights I missed at the start of the trip.

Petronas Towers, KL
Petronas Towers, KL

How I travelled there

  • I flew from Langkawi to KL with Malaysia Airlines
  • A one-way ticket cost MYR 94 (£17)

Where I stayed

  • Shangri-La Hotel as before.

In conclusion

My view is that Malaysia is often wrongly overlooked. Although it lacks the big-hitting tourist attractions of other South East Asian countries, it does have an enticing mix of city life,  colonial towns and beach bliss. Add to this an intriguing cultural diversity, welcoming people and fantastic food and you have the perfect recipe for a great trip. I loved every stop on my Malaysia itinerary and the trip has given me an appetite to explore more of this vast country.


What is your perfect Malaysia itinerary? Which parts of the country should I explore next?