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Things to do in Malaysia

Things to do in  Malaysia

Welcome to Malaysia

Malaysia is a country of contrasts, sliced in half by the South China Sea. On one side, colonial treasure troves, tropical islands, and modern cityscapes captivate; while in Borneo, rain forests and wild animals dominate the landscape. Malaysia is crowned by its sleek capital, Kuala Lumpur, where the Petronas Twin Towers, the Batu Caves, and enticing street food reign supreme. In historical Malacca, UNESCO World Heritage sites jostle for attention; Kota Kinabalu magnetizes travelers with fiery sunsets and a vibrant art scene; in Penang, the colonial gems of Georgetown complement the country’s best food; and on the white-sand beaches of Langkawi, revelers and relaxers soak up the island atmosphere. Opportunities for outdoor adventures abound: Hike through the emerald tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands, trek to the fiery summit of Mount Kinabalu volcano, or explore the fauna-rich rain forest of Taman Negara National Park. Nature lovers can visit rescued elephants at the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, observe orangutans in Borneo’s dense jungle, or watch a dazzling display of fireflies at Kuala Selangor lagoon. Plus, Malaysia’s proximity to Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia not only make it an ideal launchpad for traveling Southeast Asia, but also creates an engrossing cultural tapestry guaranteed to excite and enchant.

Top 15 attractions in Malaysia

Petronas Twin Towers (Petronas Towers)

The twin 88-story steel and glass buildings known as the Petronas Twin Towers (or Petronas Towers), completed in 1996, are icons of Malaysia. Designed to symbolize courage and the country’s advancement, the two towers are connected by a double-decker Skybridge between the 41st and 42nd floor—the world’s highest two-story bridge of its kind—to form the shape of an “M” for Malaysia.More

Langkawi Cable Car (Langkawi SkyCab)

Formally known as Langkawi SkyCab, the Langkawi Cable Car takes riders high above the Langkawi rain forest on Mt. Mat Cincang (Gunung Mat Cincang) for a panoramic view of the surrounding islands and sea. It boasts Malaysia’s longest free span mono-cable car—at 3,117 feet (950 meters)—and is among the steepest on the planet.More

National Mosque of Malaysia (Masjid Negara)

National Mosque of Malaysia (Masjid Negara)Beside the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s National Mosque (Masjid Negara) reinvents traditional Islamic architecture with its angular lines and neutral color scheme. Built in 1965, the mosque was designed as a symbol of Malaysia’s independence and is a center of Kuala Lumpur’s vibrant Muslim community.More

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

Nestled among the mangrove forests of Semawang, the privately-owned Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary allows you observe the endemic primates during feeding times throughout the day. Fresh fruit and vegetables are provided to supplement the diets of the monkeys, who roam free in the surrounding forest.More

King's Palace (Istana Negara)

The Malaysian equivalent to Buckingham Palace, the King's Palace (Istana Negara) attracts thousands of visitors with its golden domes and Islamic-style architecture. Although you can’t explore the palace, you can learn about the Malaysian monarchy at the Royal Museum, located on the palace grounds.More

Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka)

A large grassy expanse in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) is where Malaysia declared independence in 1957: The word “merdeka” means “independent” or “free.” The city’s best-known historic landmark, the square is home to structures including the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, museums, and a cathedral.More

Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC)

The neighborhood known as Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC is quite literally the heart of the Malaysian capital and home to some of the country’s most recognizable landmarks, including the Petronas Twin Towers. A commercial development project that began in 1993 envisioned KLCC as “a city within a city,” one that would leave visitors feeling like they could quite comfortably never leave the area.More

Dayang Bunting Island (Pulau Dayang Bunting)

The second-largest island in Langkawi archipelago, Dayang Bunting Island (Pulau Dayang Bunting) and its surrounding lake are enshrouded in folklore. Visit the lake where legend says a celestial princess placed her baby after his death (the waters are thought to aid in conceiving). Try snorkeling, bird-watching, and cave exploring too.More

Batu Caves

Home to a 154-foot (47-meter) statue of the resplendent gold Lord Murugan, the Batu Caves are a must-see for anyone visiting Kuala Lumpur for the first-time. The UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of four limestone caves—Temple Cave, Dark Cave, Cave Villa, and Ramayana Cave—which are famously frequented by long-tailed gray macaques.More

Langkawi Sky Bridge

A unique structure with spectacular views of Malaysia’s Langkawi archipelago, the Langkawi Sky Bridge is a curved suspension bridge on Mt. Machinchang. The 410-foot-long (125-meter-long) span hangs from a single pylon, 328 feet (100 meters) above the ground, offering excellent views of the jungle-covered mountains below and the Andaman Sea beyond.More

Kuala Lumpur Tower (KL Tower)

Looming 1,381 feet (421 meters) atop the Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill) in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the Kuala Lumpur Tower (KL Tower) is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Visible from all around, it also affords a spectacular 360-degree view from its observation deck.More

Bako National Park

Sarawak’s oldest national park, Bako National Park packs a lot of action into just 10 square miles (27 square kilometers) of land. Seven different ecosystems, including rain forest and mangroves, are home to wildlife from long-nosed proboscis monkeys to orchids, carnivorous pitcher plants, bearded pigs, and mudskippers (“walking” fish).More

Thean Hou Temple

While far from historic (it opened in 1989), Thean Hou Temple is one of Malaysia’s—and indeed southeast Asia’s—most important Chinese temples. Set atop a hill a little way outside the city center, the 6-tiered temple blends Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism in a tribute to the sea goddess Mazu and hosts a wealth of festivals.More

Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park (TARP)

A scenic option for water-sports fans and wildlife lovers who don’t have time to travel to Mabul or Sipadan, Tunku Abdul Rahman National Marine Park is just a 20-minute speedboat ride from downtown Kota Kinabalu. Comprising five small islands, the park combines white-sand beaches with coral reefs, jungle, and abundant marine life.More

Eagle Square (Dataran Lang)

So-called because of the 40-foot (12-meter at its center, Eagle Square (Dataran Lang sits beside Langkawi’s main port and is, therefore, the first thing you’re likely to see if arriving at the island by boat. The star-shaped square is home to several ponds, fountains, cafes, and plenty of duty-free shops that sell alcohol and souvenirs.More

Trip ideas

Tea Plantation Tours from Kuala Lumpur

Tea Plantation Tours from Kuala Lumpur

Island Hopping Tours in Langkawi

Island Hopping Tours in Langkawi

Top activities in Malaysia

Private Tour Kuala Lumpur with Petronas Twin Towers Observation Deck & Batu Cave
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Private Half-Day Batu Caves and Cutural Tour in Kuala Lumpur
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Historical Melaka Tour with Lunch (Shared/Join In Tour)
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Half-Day Kuala Lumpur City Tour

Half-Day Kuala Lumpur City Tour

Kinabatangan River Cruise

Kinabatangan River Cruise

Penang Hill Funicular Ticket

Penang Hill Funicular Ticket

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Malaysia

Great trip with Jessie in Penang
Dale_H, Feb. 2023
Penang: Flexible 6-Hours Highlights
Would recommend this tour to anyone who wants a flexible private tour with a very friendly and knowledgeable guide who speaks excellent english.
Worth it!
Anneliese_W, Jan. 2023
Half-Day Penang Countryside Cycling Tour
It’s good to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and to see how locals live in their villages.
Great attitude and very professional.
Amir_G, Dec. 2022
Discover The Best of Kuala Lumpur by Night
Showed us everything we wanted to see and gave us great information about the history of Malaysia.
KL Primer
Paul_C, Oct. 2022
Private City Kickstart Tour: Kuala Lumpur
he was friendly knowledgeable and very helpful with further tips about places to visit in the City.
Nice tour to Batu Caves and a Waterfall
Emily_L, Oct. 2022
Kuala Lumpur Private Tour to Batu Caves Hotsprings And Waterfalls
We went to Batu Caves and hiked to the Waterfall - Ramessh dropped us off and we notified him when we were done and he would come pick us up.
The best way to see the Cameron Highlands
LINDA_O, Feb. 2023
Cameron Highland Best Tour from Ipoh Day Trip (Private)
It’s the ONLY way to see this lovely part of the country.
Amazing tour guide! Great 1 day tour! :)
Dean_H, Feb. 2023
Private Tour Kuala Lumpur with Petronas Twin Towers Observation Deck & Batu Cave
I got to see all the main tourist attractions that Kuala Lumpur had to offer in a short period of time (8 hours) I would recommend this trip if you are going to be in Kuala Lumpur for a short period of time or if you want a trip as a solo traveler.
Fantastic tour
Stephanie_S, Nov. 2022
Malaysia Countryside and Batu Caves Tour from Kuala Lumpur
Our final stop was at the Batik Factory where we got to see local artists painting beautiful pieces right in front of us and we even got to try it out ourselves.
A Teatastic Day!
Lauren_B, Nov. 2022
Cameron Highlands Day Tour from Kuala Lumpur with Lunch (SIC - Shared Tours)
Even as tired as we were, we were so excited to visit Cameron Highlands and we were able to stay awake due to the quality of the trip and Raja’s excitement throughout the day.
Fantastic Four Guide!
Luke_P, Oct. 2022
Glowing Kuala Selangor Firefly Tour
The firefly experience was certainly interesting to see however it wasn't exactly what I expected and they are fairly dim so the photos are arguably not that accurate.
Fantastic Tour with Joelle our...
Neale R, Jan. 2018
With Locals Ultimate Batu Caves PRIVATE Day Trip with hotel pick-up
His knowledge of Batu Caves and all things Malaysian were really interesting but when we went to the Falls he was great with the wild monkeys,they seemed to recognise him and his food bag...
A well-organised tour with a very...
Ceri W, Apr. 2017
7-Days Best of Malaysia
A great way to see the real Malaysia and meet people other than fellow tourists.
Great trip, Great hotels, Great...
Keith_G, Jul. 2015
7-Days Best of Malaysia
Great trip, Great hotels, Great food, Great company, GREAT GUIDE Highly recommended to anyone wanting to see Malaysia
We were lucky as we were the only...
hushprod, May 2015
Historical Malacca Tour with Lunch from Kuala Lumpur
The shopping at the end is a little 'touristy' but it was great to see another part of Malaysia.
This tour was fantastic! Our guide was...
Fiona O, Nov. 2010
Historical Malacca Tour with Lunch from Kuala Lumpur
Spoke perfect English and was a wealth of information on the local area as well as Malaysia.
Zipping around KL, the BEST all around tour and eats...
Wesley_W, Aug. 2022
Cooler Lumpur by Night Vespa Food Tour by Vespalicious
She didn't miss a beat and provided fun and anecdotal snippets which added to evening's activities.
The BEST tour!
Nicole_W, Aug. 2022
Penang: Flexible 6-Hours Highlights
He was extremely knowledgable, giving us many insights into the history of Penang and all of the wonderful things to see here.
Nice Trip to Batu Caves and Elephants!
Florian_S, Jul. 2022
Batu Caves & Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Full-Day Tour
And here I definitely have to mention, that he really cared about us: He spoke with the salesman from the boat rental who organize the tour to see the blue lights.
Worthwhile Day Trip from KL
Rokas_D, Jun. 2022
Historical Melaka Tour with Lunch (Shared/Join In Tour)
Given the city’s importance in Malaysian history as a trade port and the capital of the Melaka Sultanate, I had to see it while I was visiting!
If you are spending a limited time in Kuala Lumpur, don't miss this tour
MarieYC_S, Mar. 2020
Cameron Highlands Tour From Kuala Lumpur Private
His English was also excellent.
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All about Malaysia

Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
Time Zone
MYT (UTC +7)
Country Code

People Also Ask

What is Malaysia best known for?

Malaysia has two main areas: peninsular Malaysia, south of Thailand on the Asian mainland, and East Malaysia, in Borneo. Malaysian Borneo is known for caves, rivers, rain forest, indigenous cultures, and orangutans; peninsular Malaysia includes the colonial-era cities of George Town (Penang) and Melaka, plus Langkawi, the nation’s favorite resort island.

What you should see in Malaysia?

On peninsular Malaysia, George Town and Melaka hold UNESCO World Heritage status; the Taman Negara National Park boasts virgin rain forest; popular islands include Langkawi, Redang, and the Perhentians. In Malaysian Borneo, a river trip and orangutan viewing is a must; divers love Sipadan; the Gunung Mulu and Kinabalu national parks are UNESCO-listed.

How many days should I spend in Malaysia?

Malaysia is a diverse country which is larger than Italy and includes almost 900 islands. Ideally, allow 14 days to see the highlights of peninsular Malaysia, and an additional 14 days for Sabah in Borneo: Sarawak, the other half of Malaysian Borneo, takes longer to explore in full.

What are the most popular things to do in Malaysia?

Multicultural Malaysia is blessed with Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, and hybrid foods, so most visitors spend plenty of time eating. Nature lovers enjoy waterfalls, river trips, mangrove adventures, firefly viewing, rain-forest hikes, and wildlife encounters, including orangutans. Snorkeling and other water sports are popular on many islands, as are walking tours in heritage areas.

What things are illegal in Malaysia?

Same-sex activity is illegal in Malaysia and, while travelers are unlikely to face prosecution, LGBTQ visitors should avoid public displays of affection and install a VPN on their phone as many LGBTQ sites are blocked. Importing either drugs or unlicensed firearms may be punished with death, while penalties for drug possession include whipping.

Is Malaysia dangerous for tourists?

No. Although pickpocketing, petty crime, bag-snatching, ATM fraud, and drink spiking are not uncommon, most of Malaysia is safe. The US State Department advises against travel to eastern Sabah due to the risk of kidnapping. If renting a motorcycle, ensure you have both a license and full insurance, and always wear a helmet.


Malaysia information

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