Malaysia Tourism and Travel Guide

Malaysia (/məˈleɪʒə/ mə-LAY-zhə or /məˈleɪsiə/ mə-LAY-see-ə; Malaysian pronunciation: [məlejsiə]) is a federal constitutional monarchy located in Southeast Asia. It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories and has a total landmass of 329,847 square kilometres (127,350 sq mi) separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. By 2015, with a population of over 30 million, Malaysia became the 43rd most populous country in the world. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia, located in the tropics. It is one of 17 megadiverse countries on earth, with large numbers of endemic species.Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms present in the area which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire. The first British territories were known as the Straits Settlements, whose establishment was followed by the Malay kingdoms becoming British protectorates. The territories on Peninsular Malaysia were first unified as the Malayan Union in 1946. Malaya was restructured as the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and achieved independence on 31 August 1957. Malaya united with North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore on 16 September 1963. Less than two years later in 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation.The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, which plays a large role in politics. The constitution declares Islam the state religion while allowing freedom of religion for non-Muslims. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is the king, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He is an elected monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The head of government is the prime minister.Since its independence, Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with its GDP growing at an average of 6.5% per annum for almost 50 years. The economy has traditionally been fuelled by its natural resources, but is expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism. Today, Malaysia has a newly industrialised market economy, ranked third largest in Southeast Asia and 29th largest in the world. It is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the East Asia Summit and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Non-Aligned Movement.
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Best Time to Visit Malaysia

Malaysia, with its tropical climate and diverse landscapes, offers a unique travel experience throughout the year. The ideal time to visit depends on various factors, including weather preferences, events, and the type of activities you plan to engage in. Here's a detailed guide on the best time to visit Malaysia:

Weather Overview:

Malaysia experiences a tropical climate characterized by high temperatures, humidity, and significant rainfall. The country has two main seasons: the dry season (May to September) and the monsoon season (November to March). However, variations exist across different regions.

Dry Season (May to September):

  • Peninsular Malaysia: The west coast, including Kuala Lumpur and Penang, experiences dry conditions during this period. This is considered the best time to visit these areas, with lower humidity and minimal rainfall.
  • East Coast: Islands like Perhentian and Redang are accessible and offer excellent beach conditions. This is the peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and crowded attractions.

Monsoon Season (November to March):

  • Peninsular Malaysia: The west coast experiences heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, resulting in occasional flooding. Travelers are advised to avoid this region during these months.
  • East Coast: Islands like Tioman and Redang face monsoon-related closures. Many resorts and businesses shut down during this period.

Transitional Months (April and October):

  • April: The transitional month between the monsoon and dry seasons. It's a good time to visit as the weather stabilizes, and tourist destinations become more accessible.
  • October: Another transitional period, offering favorable conditions. It's an excellent time for outdoor activities and exploring both coasts.

Festivals and Events:

Consider local festivals when planning your visit:

  • Chinese New Year (January/February): Vibrant celebrations but popular tourist destinations may be crowded.
  • Hari Raya Aidilfitri (varies): Festive atmosphere but check dates as they vary each year.
  • Thaipusam (January/February): A unique Hindu festival celebrated with colorful processions.

Activities and Events:

  • Diving and Beach Activities (April to October): The dry season is ideal for water activities, especially on the west coast.
  • Rainforest Exploration (Year-round): Taman Negara and other rainforests are accessible year-round, but trails may be muddier during the monsoon season.
  • Cultural Festivals and Events (Year-round): Malaysia hosts cultural events and festivals throughout the year, offering a chance to experience local traditions.

Top Places to See in Malaysia

Malaysia boasts a diverse array of attractions that seamlessly blend the archaic with modernity, offering a complete itinerary for travelers. Here are some of the top destinations you shouldn't miss in Malaysia:

1. Kuala Lumpur: The Vibrant Capital

Kuala Lumpur, the bustling capital, is a vibrant blend of modernity and tradition. Explore the iconic Petronas Towers, witness cultural diversity at Central Market, stroll through historic Petaling Street, and visit the spiritual Batu Caves. Don't miss the marine wonders at Aquaria KLCC and the lush Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park.

2. Penang: A UNESCO Heritage City

George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site on Penang Island, is a treasure trove of history and culture. Wander through the colorful streets adorned with street art, savor diverse cuisines in Penang's street food haven, and visit landmarks like Kek Lok Si Temple and Fort Cornwallis.

3. Langkawi: Tropical Paradise

Langkawi, an archipelago of 99 islands, is a tropical paradise. Visit the Langkawi Skybridge for panoramic views, explore the vibrant Pantai Cenang Beach, and take a boat tour to the nearby islands. Dive into the rich underwater world at Underwater World Langkawi.

4. Malacca: Historical Gem

Malacca City, known for its historical significance, showcases a blend of colonial influences. Explore Jonker Street Night Market, take a stroll along the Malacca River, and visit the red-painted Dutch Square. The Melaka Straits Mosque offers serene views.

5. Cameron Highlands: Tea Plantation Haven

Escape to the cool Cameron Highlands, famous for its vast tea plantations. Visit the BOH Tea Plantation, explore strawberry farms, and enjoy scenic views from Gunung Brinchang. Immerse yourself in the floral beauty of Lavender Garden.

6. Borneo: Wildlife Sanctuary

Eastern Malaysia, particularly the states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo Island, offers unparalleled wildlife experiences. Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, explore Bako National Park, and embark on an adventure in Gunung Mulu National Park with its unique caves.

7. Taman Negara: Ancient Rainforest

Taman Negara, the world's oldest tropical rainforest, beckons nature enthusiasts. Take the thrilling Canopy Walk, go on a river safari, and immerse yourself in the lush greenery. A night tour unveils the forest's nocturnal wonders.

8. Perhentian Islands: Tropical Retreat

For a tropical escape, head to the Perhentian Islands. Snorkel in crystal-clear waters, relax on pristine beaches like Long Beach, and explore the vibrant underwater world. Perhentian Besar is ideal for a secluded retreat, while Perhentian Kecil offers a lively atmosphere.

9. Kuching: Gateway to Borneo

The charming city of Kuching in Sarawak serves as a gateway to Borneo's wonders. Explore Bako National Park, witness orangutans at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, and visit cultural landmarks like The Astana.

10. Gunung Mulu National Park: Caving Adventure

Discover the unique limestone karst formations in Gunung Mulu National Park. Explore the world's largest cave chamber, the Sarawak Chamber, and take a boat ride to the park to witness its unmatched biodiversity.

Malaysia's diverse offerings cater to every traveler's taste, from urban explorers to nature enthusiasts. Always check travel advisories and entry requirements before planning your trip to ensure a seamless and unforgettable Malaysian adventure.


Best Things to Do in Malaysia

Malaysia, a land of diverse cultures, vibrant cities, lush landscapes, and rich history, offers an array of activities for every kind of traveler. Here's a detailed guide on things to do in Malaysia to ensure you make the most of your visit:

1. Scuba Diving Adventures:

Malaysia is a haven for scuba diving enthusiasts. Embark on a thrilling underwater journey in renowned spots like Sipadan Island, Mabul Island, Kapalai Island, and Lankayan Island. Malaysia tourism provides opportunities for beginners with two-day courses and full-fledged PADI courses, making it an affordable and unforgettable experience.

2. Wildlife Encounters:

Immerse yourself in Malaysia

's rich biodiversity by exploring its lush rainforests and national parks. Places like Bako, Taman Negara, and Gunung Ledang offer incredible wildlife experiences. Join organized safaris for a chance to witness unique flora and fauna, including endangered species like the Malaysian Tiger and Asian Elephant.

3. Cultural Exploration:

Step into Malaysia's past by visiting ancient temples and museums that showcase the country's deep-rooted history and heritage. Temple hopping in cities like Penang and Kuala Lumpur allows you to admire intricate architecture and learn about the diverse cultural influences that have shaped Malaysia.

4. Trekking and Hiking Adventures:

For outdoor enthusiasts, Malaysia provides excellent trekking opportunities. Explore the scenic hills of Cameron Highlands and Gunung Tehan or venture into the jungles of Penang National Park. Hiking trails offer a mix of breathtaking landscapes, challenging terrain, and encounters with unique wildlife.

5. Food Discovery:

Malaysia is a food lover's paradise. Embark on a culinary adventure through bustling markets, street food stalls, and diverse restaurants. Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown are known for their food tours, allowing you to savor authentic Malaysian dishes. Don't miss trying local favorites like Nasi Lemak, Char Kway Teow, and Roti Canai.

6. Island Hopping and Beach Retreats:

Discover Malaysia's pristine islands and white sandy beaches. Langkawi, Perhentian Islands, and Tioman Island offer idyllic settings for relaxation and water activities. Snorkel in crystal-clear waters, sunbathe on beautiful beaches, and experience the laid-back island lifestyle.

7. Historical and Architectural Marvels:

Explore Malaysia's historical sites and architectural wonders. Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites like George Town in Penang and Melaka City to witness colonial-era buildings, vibrant street art, and well-preserved cultural landmarks. Discover the blend of traditions that make Malaysia truly unique.

8. Adventure in Highlands:

Escape the lowland heat by visiting the cool retreats of the Cameron Highlands. Known for its tea plantations, this region offers a peaceful atmosphere. Take guided tours of tea estates, explore strawberry farms, and enjoy the cool climate while surrounded by lush greenery.

9. Rainforest Discovery at Taman Negara:

Journey into Taman Negara, considered the world's oldest tropical rainforest. Engage in ecotourism activities like the Canopy Walk, allowing you to walk on suspended bridges high above the forest floor. Take a guided night tour for a chance to witness nocturnal wildlife.

10. City Life and Entertainment:

Indulge in the dynamic city life of Kuala Lumpur. Shop in modern malls, admire iconic structures like the Petronas Towers, and experience the vibrant nightlife in areas like Bukit Bintang. Attend cultural performances, music festivals, and events that showcase Malaysia's contemporary scene.

Whether you seek adventure, cultural immersion, or relaxation, Malaysia offers a myriad of experiences that cater to every traveler's preference. Ensure to check travel advisories and entry requirements before planning your trip to make the most of your Malaysian adventure.

Best Things to Eat in Malaysia


Malaysia, renowned for its diverse cultural influences, offers a tantalizing array of dishes that reflect the country's rich culinary heritage. Here are some of the best things to eat in Malaysia:

1. Nasi Lemak:

Considered Malaysia's national dish, Nasi Lemak is a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves. Served with anchovies, peanuts, boiled eggs, cucumber, and sambal (spicy chili paste), it's a flavorful and satisfying meal.

2. Char Kway Teow:

A popular street food, Char Kway Teow is a stir-fried flat rice noodle dish cooked with prawns, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, and chives. The dish is elevated by a smoky flavor imparted by the wok.

3. Satay:

Satay consists of skewered and grilled meat, usually served with a delicious peanut sauce. Chicken, beef, and lamb satay are common, offering a perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors.

4. Laksa:

There are various types of Laksa in Malaysia, but most feature a spicy and aromatic broth with rice or wheat noodles. The popular ones include Laksa Lemak (coconut milk-based) and Assam Laksa (tamarind-based).

5. Roti Canai:

Roti Canai is a type of flatbread served with curry sauce, dal (lentil curry), or dhal. It's a popular breakfast option and is often enjoyed with a cup of teh tarik (pulled tea).

6. Hainanese Chicken Rice:

A Malaysian comfort food, Hainanese Chicken Rice features succulent poached or roasted chicken served with fragrant rice and accompanied by chili sauce and ginger paste.

7. Nasi Goreng:

A flavorful fried rice dish, Nasi Goreng incorporates a mix of ingredients such as shrimp, chicken, and vegetables. Topped with a fried egg, it's a satisfying and hearty meal.

8. Mee Goreng Mamak:

Mee Goreng Mamak is a spicy fried noodle dish commonly found at Mamak stalls. It's stir-fried with a mixture of vegetables, prawns, and tofu, seasoned with a blend of spices.

9. Rendang:

Beef Rendang is a rich and flavorful coconut curry dish made with tender beef, lemongrass, coconut milk, and a medley of spices. It's slow-cooked to perfection, resulting in a delightful and aromatic curry.

10. Cendol:

For dessert, indulge in Cendol, a sweet and refreshing dish featuring green rice flour jelly, coconut milk, palm sugar, and shaved ice. It's a perfect treat to cool down in Malaysia's tropical climate.

11. Durian:

Brave adventurers can try the infamous Durian, often referred to as the "king of fruits." While its pungent aroma can be off-putting to some, the custard-like texture and unique flavor make it a delicacy for others.

12. Teh Tarik:

End your culinary journey with Teh Tarik, a pulled tea that's both strong and sweet. The tea is poured back and forth between two containers to create a frothy and flavorful drink.

Malaysia's diverse food scene ensures there's something to delight every palate. Whether you're exploring street food markets or dining in a local eatery, Malaysia's culinary offerings promise a memorable gastronomic experience.

Also Read: The Malaysian Delicacies Should be on Your MUST-TRY List When Visiting Malaysia

Best Places to Eat in Malaysia

Malaysia is a culinary paradise with a diverse range of dining options. Here's a list of some of the best places to eat in Malaysia, spanning street food stalls to upscale restaurants:

Kuala Lumpur:

  1. Jalan Alor:

    • Type: Street Food
    • Description: This bustling street is a haven for food lovers. Sample a variety of local dishes, from satay to grilled seafood.
  2. Hutong Lot 10:

    • Type: Food Court
    • Description: Located in Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Hutong gathers some of Kuala Lumpur's best hawkers under one roof, offering a mix of Chinese cuisine.
  3. Din Tai Fung:

    • Type: Restaurant
    • Description: Renowned for its exquisite dumplings, Din Tai Fung, located in Pavilion KL, offers a taste of authentic Taiwanese cuisine.
  4. Enak KL:

    • Type: Malay Fine Dining
    • Description: Situated in Starhill Gallery, Enak KL provides an elegant setting to savor traditional Malay flavors with a modern twist.


  1. Gurney Drive Hawker Centre:

    • Type: Hawker Centre
    • Description: An iconic destination for Penang street food, offering a wide array of local delights such as char kway teow, laksa, and more.
  2. Line Clear Nasi Kandar:

    • Type: Nasi Kandar
    • Description: A legendary spot for Nasi Kandar, Line Clear is known for its aromatic rice accompanied by a variety of flavorful curries.
  3. Kebaya Restaurant:

    • Type: Fine Dining
    • Description: Located in Seven Terraces Hotel, Kebaya Restaurant provides an elegant setting to savor Nyonya cuisine, blending Chinese and Malay flavors.


  1. Jonker Street Night Market:

    • Type: Street Food
    • Description: This vibrant night market is a food haven, offering everything from chicken rice balls to durian cendol.
  2. Nancy's Kitchen:

    • Type: Nyonya Restaurant
    • Description: Renowned for its authentic Nyonya dishes, Nancy's Kitchen in Jonker Street is a must-visit for those exploring Malacca's culinary scene.


  1. Lou Wong Bean Sprout Chicken:

    • Type: Chicken Rice
    • Description: A famous spot for Ipoh's signature dish, bean sprout chicken rice, located in the heart of the city.
  2. Restoran Tauge Ayam Lou Wong Ipoh:

    • Type: Noodles
    • Description: Another gem for Ipoh's delicacies, offering a delightful combination of smooth chicken and crunchy bean sprouts in noodles.

Sabah (Borneo):

  1. Welcome Seafood Restaurant:

    • Type: Seafood
    • Description: Located in Kota Kinabalu, Welcome Seafood is renowned for its fresh seafood, offering a variety of dishes prepared to perfection.
  2. Little Italy:

    • Type: Italian
    • Description: For a different culinary experience, Little Italy in Kota Kinabalu serves delicious Italian cuisine in a cozy atmosphere.

These are just a few highlights, and Malaysia's vibrant food scene offers countless hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Whether you're a fan of street food, fine dining, or a fusion of flavors, Malaysia has something to satisfy every palate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, a visa on arrival is available to Indians coming from Singapore, Indonesia or Thailand. For others, a visa can be acquired online. 

Malaysia tourism boasts of one of the largest networks of airports in Asia. It has a total of 62 airports, with eight of them functioning as international airports as well. The international airports are in the following cities: Penang, Langkawi, Melaka, Senai, Kuala Lumpur, Subang, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching. From India, you can find both direct and connecting flights to these Malaysia airports. 

The official language of the country is Bahasa Melayu, which is widely taught in schools and used in media. No need to worry though, as most Malaysians are bilingual or multilingual. English is understood and used well by the locals, especially in the capital of Kuala Lumpur. As economic development has flourished with MNCs and tourists from all over the world setting base in the country, English has become an essential language for trade and Malaysia tourism. Therefore, if you need help, do not hesitate to approach the locals. 

There are a number of things that make Malaysia tourism special and unique. The country is doused with history, diversity and natural beauty. It is a great destination to learn about a new place and culture. The delicious food, vibrant markets, and view from the tall high rises make your trip intriguing as well. 

It is fairly simple to navigate through Malaysia tourism. However, the following tips can make your journey easier: 

  • It is a hot country, so carry light and loose clothes made of cotton. Some regions are conservative, so carry a few clothes deemed appropriate by the locals as well. 
  • Taxis are an easy way to get around the city, but you might have to haggle and set a price before you take it.
  • Although people have a good grasp of English, learning a few key phrases in the local language will prove to be helpful.
  • The major religion followed is Islam which frowns upon consuming alcohol. Hence, Malaysia tourism has priced alcohol higher in most places. Thus, save up on your money and save your drinking escapades for neighbouring countries like Thailand and Singapore. 

Malaysia tourism caters heavily to newlywed couples as a popular honeymoon destination. It’s varying geography and cultures provide a rich experience to bond over. From pristine beaches where one can laze around on to thick forests and high mountains people can delve into and explore their adventurous side, there are many interesting things to do in Malaysia for couples. The romantic resorts and fun nightlife enhance the whole experience as well. 

Malaysia tourism is known for the affordable and exciting experiences it provides to travellers. The variation in topography from coastal lowlands, high mountains and forests to urbanized, modern cities all add to the charm of the country. Malaysia tourism is loved  by families, couples, friend groups as well as solo travellers. Every tourist ends up feeling at home due to the warm hospitality of the locals. 

Malaysia tourism provides a range of beautiful beaches to its visitors where one could spend the day being lethargic without guilt as well as pump themselves up with adrenaline through adventurous activities such as scuba diving. Some of the most well-known beaches are in Langkawi, Borneo, and Perhentian islands.

Malaysia tourism invites a massive number of travellers from around the globe every year, hence it has become imperative to serve food suited to different preferences. So as a vegetarian traveller, you do not need to worry because there are enough restaurants that cook delicious vegetarian dishes as well. 

One of the best ways to commute across Malaysia is through public transport

They have:

  • KLIA Ekspress (Train)
  • MASS Rapid Transit (MRT)
  • Light Rapid Transit (LRT)
  • Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM Kommuter - the main rail operator)
  • Monorail Line
  • Bus
  • Metered Taxi
  • Bus Terminus in KL for inter-city travel - Terminal Bersepadu Selatan


  • Malaysia LRT MRT
  • Grab (expensive option compared to others)
  • Touch n Go App