Making rookie mistakes when you’re travelling is common but in the information age, there’s really no excuse to come away from your vacation saying, “Oh my god I didn’t know we could do that!” After all, what are we really here for? First things first, if you’re planning a trip or booking flights to Malaysia, plan it between April and October as that’s the best time to visit, unless you want to spend your trip bogged down by heavy rain. Skip the western food on your trip and stick to Malay cuisine, walk around and sample fare from the food stalls and eat in little restaurants instead of visiting big, fancy restaurants.
Shopping in Malaysia is great, but don’t spend too much time wondering where to shop, just head down to Malaysia’s Chinatown at Petaling Street and haggle your way to a suitcase full of souvenirs before you soak up the sites and sounds. If you want to spend your time hiking or snorkeling, Mount Kinabalu and Pulau Sipadan respectively are great places to visit in Malaysia.
You should want to spend your first visit sightseeing though, so first head over to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. After you’ve made the trip, stared at the towers and shopped to your hearts content, consider where you want to go next. It’s good to have an itinerary so you don’t get all muddled and pick places you think will be worth it, apart from the few must-visits on the list. If you want to spend a little more time in Kuala Lumpur, visit Bukit Bintang, a shoppers haven and entertainment district. You could also go a little off track and visit the Batu Caves, if a little religious pilgrimage of sorts is on the cards for you. And you can go on with the natural beauty at KL Bird Park to catch a glimpse of some really pretty birds.
You can choose to pick strawberries and sip on tea at the Cameron Highlands hill station in Pahang, or head over to the Genting Highlands (also in Pahang) if you prefer theme parks and museums. And yes, you’ll get strawberries here too. Or you could try the National Park, a rainforest that you can visit for whitewater rafting! Feeling like a little more shopping? Go on to Straits Quay, a retail marina where you can shop, sip on some drinks and look out to the sea, just before you visit Fraser’s Hill and indulge in a little fresh hair and a pristine hike.
If Selangor is not on your list, it really should be. You’ll get to experience a world of calm at the Sunway Lagoon, unless your family insists on the Extreme Park with the horror movies! You could visit more caves at Batu Caves but we insist you go to FRIM, a nature walk that’s worth the time and money.
A food lover, are you? Yes, there’s the perfect place for you too. Head over to Penang and visit Gurney Drive, a food lover’s haven, especially if you like seafood. After a delicious meal like that it’s only fitting to thank god, so go ahead and visit Kek Lok Si Temple and then head on over to the Penang Toy Museum, just because it’s brilliant to see the largest toy museum in the world.
There’s a lot of other spots you can pick and choose from. Sipadan Island in Sabah if diving is your sport of choice, A Famosa in Malacca if you crave for a little taste of culture (It’s an ancient Portugese fortress and actually quite majestic) and indulge your antique cravings afterwards by heading over to Jonker Street. Even if it’s not on your list, try and make a trip to Sekayu Waterfalls. It’s a hotspot and a famous one of Malaysia’s tourist places, so it might be crowded, but the beautiful waterfalls and natural surroundings are worth a little hustle and bustle.
There’s so much to see in Malaysia that this definitely won’t be enough. But, everyone has to start somewhere! It’s a good place to start, but don’t by any means think this means you shouldn’t head back for more.