You are currently viewing 5 destinations in Malaysia that make it a must-visit country

Three weeks in Malaysia go by too quickly! An Asian destination that’s not discussed often enough, but that’s very backpacker-friendly. It even makes you want to go back! In my opinion, it’s a must-visit country.

The cheap flight deals that Flytrippers spots are rarer to Asia these days, but when things get back to normal there will certainly be some to either Kuala Lumpur or even Singapore (from there, it’s cheap to get to Malaysia by bus or by plane).

So here’s the story of my trip to Malaysia and Singapore, to get you excited about going!


My trip to Malaysia in 2017

And it’s a start!

First of all, I have a confession to make… I was really expecting the worst on this trip. First long-distance trip as a couple. First destination other than the tropics. First time away from my cocoon and comfort zone…

Partir en sac à dos, l'excitation
Excitement at its peak on D-Day (photo credit: Emilie Leblanc)


On the day of departure, it was with a heavy heart that I left home with my bags on my back. I was so excited that I could hardly breathe, and I was also extremely scared.

This fear finally went away once we reached Malaysia. A magnificent destination bursting with smells, colors, and flavors! It also offers different climates depending on the region, with equally welcoming inhabitants.

So I’m sharing 5 destinations that made peninsular Malaysia a must for me — you can also read my post about my trip to Bali, Indonesia.


1. Kuala Lumpur

Flytrippers pro tip! You can get lots of nights completely free at beautiful hotels in Kuala Lumpur and several other Malaysian destinations with the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card's welcome bonus!

Armed with our Lonely Planet guidebook, we set off on our adventure to discover Malaysia right away on Day 1.

Our first stop was the capital, Kuala Lumpur, where the heat was in full swing. It’s best to start the day early to avoid the scorching heat and the crowds!  

First of all, if you’re going to Kuala Lumpur, you just have to visit the Batu Caves. This religious site, mostly free, offers a view of the city from the unusual caves, which have been converted into temples.

Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (photo credit: Emilie Leblanc)


Giant statues of half-man half-animal gods, staircases as far as the eye can see, and… clever monkeys await you!

It was very hot, but the site is simply majestic.


2. Penang Island

I recommend a stop on Penang Island to all travelers passing through Malaysia. From the food to the artwork on the outside walls of houses to the largest temple in Southeast Asia… this island deserves your visit!

My favorite: Kek Lok Si temple. Hours and hours of taking photos and breathing in the calmness.

Kek Lok Si temple on Penang Island, Malaysia (photo credit: Emilie Leblanc)


The main city and capital, George Town, is also renowned for its street art. Painted or wire-wrapped works of art can be found on the walls of buildings or in well-hidden alleyways.

There’s a well-marked itinerary to find them in the city. If you like art, take your camera and a bottle of water with you, as you’ll need at least half a day to see most of them.

Street art in George Town, Malaysia (photo credit: Emilie Leblanc)


Traveling is also about meeting people: Backpacking is not only about seeing the country, it’s also about meeting passionate/explorers of the world like us.

We’ve been lucky enough to share our experiences, our favorites, and our journeys with some wonderful people. What a perfect excuse to get together for a beer!


3. Cameron Highlands

For green as far as the eye can see and to escape the humidity and traffic of Kuala Lumpur, we visited the Cameron Highlands. A cooler destination high in the mountains.

Green overload! It’s the famous tea plantation area.

The road to Tanah Rata is green and winding, lined with natural waterfalls running down rock walls on one side and an endless ravine on the other. And that’s just the beginning of a splendid landscape!

BOH tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia (photo credit: Emilie Leblanc)


An excursion to the BOH tea plantation is a must! I’m still speechless… the mountains, the streaked emerald-green fields, and the pure air; a combo not to be missed by any nature lover.


4. Tioman Island

I’m simply in love with Tioman Island!

Are you looking for the perfect island paradise with no cars, turquoise water, and the chillest inhabitants? Tioman is the place to be in Malaysia! Perfect to finish off 3 weeks in Southeast Asia.

Tioman Island, Malaysia (photo credit: Emilie Leblanc)


It’s a place where you can’t be in a rush. Even though some restaurants have opening hours written on their signs, the owners only follow their gut feeling. But that’s also what makes this island so charming. After all, we’re here to relax and disconnect!

(Because yes, Wi-Fi is rather rare and/or weak…)

Tioman Island, Malaysia (photo credit: Emilie Leblanc)


It’s also one of the cheapest places in the world to take a scuba diving course. People travel from all over the world to take PADI certifications.

Tioman Island, Malaysia (photo credit: Emilie Leblanc)


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5. Singapore

Why not take the liberty of crossing a border so close while you’re in Malaysia? You can easily visit Singapore, the city-nation that was once part of Malaysia.

We had to be patient to enter this highly controlled country. Did you know that chewing gum is forbidden in Singapore? Trivial as it may seem, it’s one of the reasons why this is the cleanest country in Southeast Asia!

Getting back on track, I absolutely had to stop off at the Gardens by The Bay, renowned for its gigantic metallic and luminous trees straight out of the Avatar movie (at least, that’s the impression I get when I look at them). 

Garden by The Bay, Singapore (photo credit: Emilie Leblanc)


If you’re lucky enough to visit this park, go between 7 PM and 9 PM. The sound and light show from the top of the OCBC Skyway is incredibly beautiful!

If you have time in Singapore and appreciate nature in all its forms, the Botanical Garden is really worth a visit.

Botanical Gardens, Singapore (photo credit: Emilie Leblanc)


Especially the orchid section. Meticulous care has been taken to ensure their survival, and your eyes will be delighted by the wide variety of colors of these flowers.


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Although this post is just a sneak peek, I hope I’ve inspired you to take a closer look at Malaysia. I couldn’t have asked for a better first backpacking destination.


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Featured image: Tioman, Malaysia (photo credit: Emilie Leblanc)

Original publication date: August 20, 2017

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Emilie Leblanc

I'm Emilie! It's with great pleasure than I share with you my travel experiences as a backpacker! Follow my adventures on Instagram or on Facebook ;)

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