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Malaysia is an amazing country with a fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian cultures and rich colonial heritage. We have visited Malaysia 3 times and have created an idyllic 2 week Malaysia itinerary where you’ll enjoy modern cities, beautiful beaches, tea plantations, wildlife, temples, rainforests and some of the most delicious cuisine we’ve ever tasted. It is one of our top south east Asian destinations and we find the people are super friendly and welcoming there.
2 week Malaysia itinerary
The 2 week Malaysia itinerary starts and ends in the capital city Kuala Lumpur, and focuses on the top 5 most popular west coast destinations: Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Cameron Highlands, Penang Island and Langkawi Island. We have featured a few of the must visit places for each destination and a bit of information on how to travel to each one.
All images are our own photography.
Transport in Malaysia
This 2 week Malaysia itinerary uses a combination of buses, ferries and planes to get around. Use 12Go Asia for finding the best bus and ferry transport fares, and Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.
We generally found that public transport in Malaysia is reliable, comfortable, easy to use and inexpensive. Occasionally some bus routes will offer luxury coaches for a slightly more expensive fare with extra legroom, personal entertainment system and WIFI on board.
Grab taxi is the best way to get around all the towns on the itinerary (except the Cameron Highlands where they do not operate) and the fares are really cheap! Pick up a local SIM card and download the Grab app here.
2 week Malaysia itinerary
Kuala Lumpur: 3 nights
This 2 week Malaysia itinerary starts in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur – where your international flight will most likely arrive into. Take the metro or airport coach to the city centre or book a private transfer direct to your hotel >
Having internet on the go in Malaysia is recommended and local SIM cards are pretty cheap with generous data allowances. You can purchase them from airports, malls and convenience stores (bring your passport along for identification purposes). To save time you can prepay online and collect a SIM from your arrival airport – just remember to make sure your phone is not locked to your local network provider before purchasing one.
Alternatively if you do not want to change your SIM card then renting a pocket WIFI device might be for you. We’ve used them multiple times on our travels and love that we can both connect our phones to it. Pre-order one online with Klook for collection (and drop off) when you arrive at either KLIA or KLIA2 airport in Kuala Lumpur.
Things to do in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the capital city filled with gleaming skyscrapers and a skyline dominated by the famous Petronas Twin Towers. The city is also home to lots of British colonial architecture, glitzy shopping malls, local markets and fabulous street food. There is so much to see and do here but these are our recommendations of top things to do:
This is one of the most iconic Malaysian attractions and should be high on your Kuala Lumpur itinerary. Batu Caves is a Hindu temple and shrine located at the top of a limestone hill comprising of three major caves. A large statue of the Hindu God is located at the entrance, besides a steep and brightly coloured set of steps. You can reach Batu Caves by taking a 40 minute train journey out of the city centre or by booking a half day tour or shuttle bus transfer >
Many visitors head up to the top of the Petronas Towers, but we prefer going to the KL Tower instead. Whilst the view from Petronas Towers is indeed awesome, the view from the top of KL Tower actually includes the Petronas Towers in the skyline, plus the viewing deck is outdoors with a 360 degree panoramic view! Extra bonus points for having a yummy revolving buffet restaurant as well. Book a KL Tower Ticket and read our KL Tower blog post >
Eco Forest Park
At the base of the KL Tower lies the free to enter Eco Forest Park – one of the oldest permanent rainforest reserves in Malaysia. There are several nature trails and a photogenic forest canopy walkway. Read our Eco park blog post >
Jalan Alor Street
This long street comes alive at night and is filled with seafood restaurants and hawker stalls selling a variety of Malay, Chinese and Thai cuisines. The outdoor plastic tables and chairs sprawl onto the street and are packed every night with both locals and tourists. Jalan Alor street is easy to reach as it is just a short walk from all the big shopping malls in the Bukit Bintang area, and most of the vendors are open from 5pm until midnight.
YOU MIGHT LIKE: A Taste of Kuala Lumpur: Private Tour
This lively and colourful neighbourhood is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most historic districts with many temples, Chinese eateries, markets and hipster cafes. Check out the souvenirs and local handicrafts in Central Market, and visit Petaling Street for cheap knock-off clothing and snacks. The area gets super busy at night with many street food stalls opening up and restaurants expanding their dining areas into the streets (similar to Jalan Alor Street).
YOU MIGHT LIKE: 4-Hour Kuala Lumpur Authentic Local Markets and Event Tour
Kuala Lumpur accommodation
BUDGET – Sunshine Bedz KL
Small and friendly hostel with with free breakfast, bar, pub quizzes and organised pub crawls.
MID RANGE – THE FACE Suites
Spacious and modern apartments with infinity pool, fitness centre, bars and restaurants.
LUXURY – Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Luxurious 5-star hotel with outdoor swimming pool, 3 on-site restaurants and bar overlooking the Petronas Twin Towers.
For more places to stay in Kuala Lumpur, you can check out all the accommodation options here >
Melaka: 2 nights
How to get to Melaka from Kuala Lumpur
Bus duration: 2.5 hours
The best way to reach Melaka from Kuala Lumpur is by bus and there are several departures a day from Kuala Lumpur costing between RM10 and RM20 for a one way trip. The journey takes 2-2.5 hours to get there – check 12Go Asia for bus times and prices:
Things to do in Melaka:
Melaka is a small UNESCO world heritage riverside town rich in Dutch, British and Portuguese colonial history, and very compact so easily explored by foot. You’ll find heaps of wonderful heritage buildings, ancient landmarks, quirky street art and cute cafes. We would recommend visiting here for at least 1-2 nights to enjoy everything Melaka has to offer, but if you are really pushed for time you can visit Melaka as a day trip from Kuala Lumpur >
Here are some suggestions of things to do in Melaka:
Jonker Street night market
This open air night market is one of the best in south east Asia and runs every Friday to Sunday along Jonker Street (try and time your visit to Melaka so it coincides with the weekend). You’ll find a wide variety of stalls selling souvenirs, handicrafts and street food, and a stage with entertainment such as Karaoke and line dancing.
Make sure you try the famous refreshing coconut shakes or Nyonya Laksa – a rich and creamy coconut-based noodle soup that is a Melaka speciality and a mix of Malay and Chinese influences. Read more about Jonker Street night market >
Melaka Red Square
This iconic and historic red square is home to several Dutch colonial style terracotta red buildings built between 1660 and 1700. Located in the centre of town, the square is also the meeting point for Melaka’s amazing collection of kitsch and colourful cartoon trishaws!
Menara Taming Sari
This revolving gyro tower lifts passengers to a height of 80 metres and rotates for about 7 minutes giving you great views of the city. Tickets are 23 MYR per person and you can book them online in advance >
A scenic river cruise is a great and relaxing way to see the many beautiful historical buildings and interesting sights around Melaka’s old town including Kampung Morten – one of the few remaining traditional villages in the area. The 45 minute round trip runs daily from 9am to 11.30pm and tickets costs 30 MYR.
BUDGET – Jalan-Jalan Emas
Newly renovated guest house with plant-filled inner courtyards and free WIFI.
MID RANGE – Timez Modern Heritage Hotel
Boutique hotel located in a side alley just off Jonker street.
LUXURY – The Majestic Malacca
Boutique hotel set along the banks of Melaka River featuring elegantly decorated guest rooms, spa and outdoor pool.
For more places to stay in Melaka, you can check out all the accommodation options here >
Cameron Highlands: 2 nights
Bus duration: 6-7 hours
How to get to Cameron Highlands from Melaka
To reach Cameron Highlands involves a long day of travelling with 2 bus journeys totalling 6-7 hours. If you do not fancy doing both these journeys in one single day then maybe swap Melaka and Kuala Lumpur around on the itinerary so that you only have to endure one single bus journey from Kuala Lumpur to Cameron Highlands (this is what we did).
To reach Cameron Highlands from Melaka you will need to take at least two buses as there is no direct route, and Cameron Highlands does not have an airport or train station. There are several different journey combinations but the most popular is to take the bus back to Bersepadu Selatan Bus Station in Kuala Lumpur, then change onto a bus that goes to Tanah Rata Bus Terminal in Cameron Highlands.
The roads on the bus journey to Cameron Highlands can be a bit windy so if you usually get a bit queasy then remember to bring your motion sickness pills. Check 12Go Asia below for the best fares – it will probably cost around 50 MYR to reach Cameron Highlands from Melaka.
If you do not fancy taking a public bus and have some cash to splash then you can book a private transfer between Cameron Highlands and Kuala Lumpur >
Things to do in Cameron Highlands
Cameron Highlands is situated over 5,000 feet above sea level on the main mountain range of Malaysia and famously known for its many tea plantations (70% of all the country’s tea is produced here). The area has a much cooler climate than the rest of Malaysia (bring some warm clothes with you) and has many fantastic hiking trails, strawberry farms and other nature based tourist attractions. You will also spot evidence of Cameron Highlands colonial history with several quaint English Tudor-style houses dotted around.
The two biggest towns in Cameron Highlands are Brinchang and Tanah Rata, but we recommend staying in the latter as it has the most accommodation options, restaurants and the main bus station.
Grab taxis are not available in Cameron Highlands but you can hire a local taxi to explore the area for around 25 MYR per hour (taxi terminal is located next to the main bus terminal).
Note: The Cameron Highlands are very busy during the weekends so try and plan your trip to avoid this part of the 2 week Malaysia itinerary falling on a Saturday or Sunday if possible.
BOH Tea Plantation
BOH is the largest black tea manufacturer in Malaysia and their plantation spans over 465 hectares. Their estate is open to the public where you can enjoy a cuppa on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace with stunning panoramic views of their tea fields. Other things to do here include taking a tour around their factory, viewing the exhibition of BOH’s history or browsing the gift shop where you can buy some BOH teas to take back home.
There are 14 different hiking trails in the Cameron Highlands that either start or end in Tanah Rata with various levels of difficulty. Most of the trails will take you through tea plantations, past waterfalls and offer panoramic views of the Titiwangsa Mountains. You can walk many of these independently but for safety reasons we would only recommend doing a hike on a guided tour >
Because of the cooler climate, the Cameron Highlands is the centre of strawberry production in Malaysia, and there are many strawberry farms located in the area. Most will allow you to pick your own or you will find several road side stalls selling punnets of them very cheaply. This is a really fun activity to do if you are visiting Malaysia with kids.
Afternoon tea at Cameron Highlands Resort
Inside the 5 star Cameron Highlands Resort is the Jim Thompson Tea Room with charming English colonial decor set amidst tea plantations and rolling hills. Their English Afternoon Tea is available daily from 3pm-6pm, and costs 75 MYR per person. If you are on a budget then head to Old Smoke House Hotel Restaurant for a tea and scones set for just 25 MYR.
Cheap day tour
If you are keen to see as many of the Cameron Highlands attractions as possible in one day then there are a variety of companies that offer affordable group day tours for around 80 MYR per person. Tour ticket offices are dotted all over Tanah Rata town so our tip is to stop by a few of them to pick up their brochures, and then compare the different itineraries before making a decision. We found some of the attractions on our day trip a little disappointing so you do get what you pay for – read more about our cheap day tour in Cameron Highlands >
Cameron Highlands accommodation
BUDGET – Traveller Bunker Hostel
Highly rated hostel located a short walk from restaurants in Tanah Rata with cheap private capsule dormitory style rooms.
MID RANGE – Heritage Hotel Cameron Highlands
Tudor-style boutique hotel situated on a hill surrounded by the vista of Tanah Rata with landscaped gardens, on-site restaurants and large rooms with a private balcony.
LUXURY – Cameron Highlands Resort
Five star hotel set in a colonial building with sweeping views of the golf course and surrounding hills, plus an in-house spa, restaurant and bar.
For more places to stay in the Cameron Highlands, you can check out all the accommodation options here >
Georgetown, Penang: 3 nights
Bus duration: 4.5 hours
How to get from Cameron Highlands to Penang
There are 4 direct bus routes a day from Cameron Highlands to Penang and the journey time is around 4.5 hours (you will need to book these in advance online as it is a popular route). The bus will drop you off at Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal in Penang or KOMTAR in Georgetown.
If you find these routes are sold out then take a bus to the nearby town of Ipoh (2 hours away), and then transfer onto one of the many bus routes going to Penang from there.
Things to do in Penang:
The island of Penang is Malaysia’s culinary capital and a food lovers paradise (seriously – it’s amazing). The main city Georgetown is a mix of old and modern with skyscrapers, shopping malls, British colonial buildings, Chinese shophouses, mosques and an exceptional art scene.
We would recommend you stay in the main city Georgetown and skip the coastal resorts in Penang as the beaches are not really that nice (you are best to wait until the next destination Langkawi for amazing beaches).
Here are some suggestions of things to do in Georgetown:
There are loads of superb and quirky street art pieces dotted around the city by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic. Some of the murals involve physical objects such as swings and motorbikes, encouraging you to interact with the art piece. Head to the tourist information centre to pick up a free dedicated map to show where every mural is located. Read our Penang street art blog post >
Kek Lok Si temple
Kek Lok Si is a stunning and enormous temple situated on a hilltop at Air Itam just outside of Georgetown. It is the country’s largest Buddhist temple and every year thousands of people from across South East Asia visit Penang to worship here.
The temple comprises of a series of monasteries, prayer halls, a tortoise pond, gift shops, beautifully landscaped gardens and an impressive seven-storey Pagoda of Rama VI. At the very top of the temple complex you will find a 30.2m high bronze statue of Kuan Yin (the Goddess of Mercy) with amazing views across the island. Book a Penang Hill and temple sightseeing tour and read our Kek Lok Si temple blog post >
There are a number of great hawker centres in Penang serving up cheap and tasty south east Asian street food in an informal setting. Dishes usually cost between 3 MYR and 10 MYR and it’s generally obligatory to order a beverage whilst you are there (there’s a waiter who comes round to take your drink order).
The best hawker centres to visit in Georgetown include Red Garden Food Paradise, CF Food Court and Sri Weld Food Court. Top dishes to try include char kway teow (stir fry noodles) and oyster omelette.
This colourful neighbourhood is located in the heart of Georgetown and covers around 3 streets. Here you’ll find vibrant clothing stores and some great eateries selling delicious Indian dishes – we always order a tandoori chicken and naan set and mango lassi whenever we visit. If you are vegetarian then you’ll find a handful of highly rated Indian vegetarian restaurants located here.
A Penang food tour is a must do for any foodie and a great way to check out local hidden gems you might not find by yourself. You’ll get to sample some of Penang’s most famous dishes from street food stalls, hawker centres and restaurants in a 3-4 hour tour. Read our Penang food tour blog post for more information.
YOU MIGHT LIKE:
BUDGET – Old Penang Guesthouse hostel
Charming heritage guesthouse a stone’s throw from Penang’s major historical landmarks and tourist attractions.
MID RANGE – Chulia Mansion
Comfortable and highly rated hotel located in the centre of town with rooftop bar.
LUXURY – Seven Terraces
Stylish hotel with swimming pool and rooms with balconys.
For more places to stay in Penang, you can check out all the accommodation options here >
Langkawi: 4 nights
How to get to Langkawi from Penang
Flight duration: 40 minutes / Ferry duration: 2 hours
The two best ways to get to Langkawi from Penang are either by plane or by ferry.
The flight from Penang airport will take 40 minutes and if you book with budget airline Air Asia prices will start from 35 MYR without luggage.
The ferry to Langkawi leaves Georgetown at 8.30am and 2pm every day and takes around 3 hours to arrive at Kuah Jetty in Langkawi costing 60 MYR per person.
Things to do in Langkawi:
End your 2 week Malaysia itinerary with a relaxing stay in Langkawi – an archipelago made up of 99 islands with lush ancient rainforest, white sandy beaches, warm turquoise waters and an abundance of nature.
We recommend basing yourself on the west coast of Langkawi where there is a wider choice of accommodation and more dining options (Pantai Cenang is the most busiest area with many beachside bars and watersport activities). However if you are looking for a more luxurious stay then treat yourself to one of the beautiful resorts located on the more quieter beaches on the north coast.
Here are some recommendations of things to do in Langkawi:
Climb aboard a cable car to take you to the top of Mount Machinchang for epic views of the ocean, islands and rainforest from above. For an additional 6 MYR fee (purchased from the ticketing counter at the top) you can walk on the SkyBridge – the longest free span and curved bridge in the world. Book a Langkawi Skycab Cable Car ticket >
Visit some of the most popular islands on a half day tour including Beras Basah island and Dayang Bunting island, where you can go swimming, paddle boarding or kayaking. Book an island hopping tour and read our Langkawi island hopping blog post >
Explore the famous mangrove forest and see native wildlife in their natural habitat such as macaque monkeys, eagles and snakes, with lunch on a floating restaurant. Book a mangrove tour and read our Langkawi mangrove tour blog post >
Many companies offer an evening cruise experience on a spacious yacht with open bar of beer, wine, spirits, cocktails plus a BBQ buffet dinner. You can also relax in a natural jacuzzi in the sea on the back of the boat which is quite fun! Book a Luxury Sunset Dinner Cruise and read our Sunset dinner cruise blog post >
BUDGET – Bed Attitude Hostel
Brand new stylish hostel with capsule style dormitory rooms, common area and shared kitchen space.
MID RANGE – Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa Langkawi
Large resort with private beach, landscaped gardens, 2 outdoor swimming pools and 4 dining options.
LUXURY – The Ritz-Carlton
Fancy hotel surrounded by nature with private beach area, tennis court and in-house restaurant.
For more places to stay in Langkawi, you can check out all the accommodation options here >
Where to next?
The 2 week Malaysia itinerary has come to an end! From here you can fly from Langkawi airport back to Kuala Lumpur for your international flight home, or alternatively you could take the ferry over to Koh Lipe in Thailand to start a Thai island hopping adventure!
Another option is to fly from Langkawi to Singapore (flight duration 1 hour 40 minutes) and explore the city for a few days before heading home. Check Skyscanner for the best flight prices.
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- The perfect 2 week Malaysia itinerary and travel guide