The Perhentian Islands Travel Guide: Malaysia’s Secret Paradise

The Perhentian Islands Travel Guide: Malaysia’s Secret Paradise

The Perhentian Islands Travel Guide has been written by Laura Peters and edited by the website editor. 

Imagine picture perfect white sandy beaches, clear blue water, colorful coral reef, hills that are covered with rainforest and spectacular viewpoints – it all sounds too good to be true? Welcome to the Perhentian archipelago – Malaysia’s lesser known paradise island group.

If you’re an island-lover, the Perhentian Islands are not to be missed. If you’re visiting Malaysia (or just South East Asia in general) then do yourself a favor, give yourself a break from the bustling Kuala Lumpur. Take a few days to explore the turquoise water and white sand beaches of these islands make for a perfect holiday getaway. You wouldn’t want to leave!

Ready to know more? First, let us introduce Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands to you.

What and Where are The Perhentian Islands?

The Perhentian Islands lie between Northeast Malaysia and Thailand. They have everything it takes to be called a tropical paradise. In today’s age of over tourism and Instagram led hectic travel madness, these islands will kind of give you a sense of peace that not a lot of so called peaceful destinations offer.

Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia

Historically, The Perhentian Islands were a stopping point for traders that traveled between Bangkok and Malaysia. In today’s age, they are a part of Pulau Redang National Marine Park and are protected. They are in the state of Terengganu in Malaysia.

 

The Perhentian Islands Map

Out of all the Perhentian Islands, two of them are the main ones:

  • Big Perhentian (Pulau Perhentian Besar) – Family friendly
  • Small Perhentian (Pulau Perhentian Kecil) – Backpacker friendly

We will talk more about these two islands in detail one of the next sections.

Apart from the main two islands, there are five other uninhabited islands which you will probabaly visit if you go diving or snorkeling as mentioned in the things to do on the Perhentian Islands section.

Are The Perhentian Islands Worth Visiting?

Keranji Beach, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

If you love exploring off-the-beaten-path places, then the Perhentian Islands are definitely worth visiting. We loved that these islands attracted far fewer tourists than other Malaysian islands like Langkawi and Penang.

We also found that these islands had plenty of activities for any type of traveler. With some of the best coral reefs in the country and friendly locals, we highly suggest adding the Perhentian Islands to your bucket list.

How To Get To The Perhentian Islands

Getting to Perhentian Islands – Boat – by Omar Elsharawy on Unsplash

Getting to the Perhentian Islands is an adventure in itself. Unlike Langkawi and other Malaysian islands, the Perhentian Islands are very secluded and offer very limited transportation options. But aren’t the most amazing places are? 

To start, you’ll need to get from Kuala Lumpur (or your starting destination) to Kota Bahru or Kuala Terengganu. Both of these locations have direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, so it isn’t too inconvenient.

Note: You can also fly into Redang and hire a boat from Redang to the Perhentian Islands, but it is typically a longer journey.

If you fly into Kota Bahru, take a taxi from the airport to the Kuala Besut Jetty. From the jetty, take a boat over to the islands. You’ll tell your boat driver where you want to be let off and they do a great job of accommodating you.

This is by far the easiest way to get to the islands and it’s still relatively cheap, but keep in mind that you’ll want to coordinate your flight so that you can catch a boat across the ocean. The boats only run during certain times of the day.

Another easy way to get to the Perhentian Islands is by flying into Kuala Terengganu. From the airport in Kuala Terengganu, take a taxi to the Kuala Besut Jetty. That’s where you’ll take a boat over to the Perhentian Islands.

Perhentian Besar OR Perhentian Kecil – which one is for you?

As mentioned before, there are two main islands on the Perhentian Island group. Wondering if you should stay on one of them or both? If just one then which one?

Pulau Besar (Big Perhentian)

Perhentian Besar, Malaysia

Pulau Besar is more expensive in terms of accommodation. It has decent resorts and attracts families and couples. The island has many bays that offer decent snorkeling opportunities.

Pulau Kecil (Small Perhentian)

Pulau Perhentian Kecil is backpacker friendly. A lot of restaurants and places to stay are on the Coral Bay on Perhentian Kecil. Coral Bay offers decent sunset views. As compared to Besar, Kecil attracts more visitors.

Coral Bay Jetty. Kecil

Perhentian Islands Things to do + Activities

The paradise of the Perhentian Islands is best for travelers looking to enjoy a beach holiday. There are Perhentian islands activities whether you like adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both; you can find it on the islands. To make your trip to the Perhentian Islands as simple and enjoyable as possible, use our guide to create the ultimate itinerary.

Most travelers spend their time in the ocean or on the beach, but you can also find adventures inland as well. Here are the 13 best things to do in the Perhentian Islands:

1) Diving in the Perhentian Islands

Perhentian Island Diving experience by Nazarizal Mohammad on Unsplash

Diving in the Perhentian Islands is a true adventure. The marine life and coral reefs found here are incredible.

As one of the best things to do in the Perhentian Islands, it’s safe to say that these islands boast some of the most colorful diving sites in the world. You will find many dive shops on the Long Beach (Big Island) or the Coral Bay (small island). Here are a few of the diving spots that you cannot miss during your trip:

Tokong Laut

Divers of all experience levels should start their dive tour at Tokong Laut, one of the best dive sites in the Perhentian Islands.

Frequently called Temple of The Sea, Tokong Laut has an amazingly diverse ecosystem. It is home to various species, including neon-colored parrotfish. 

Tokong Laut is a diving staple for the Perhentian Islands, so regardless of which company you choose to dive with, you will likely visit this location.

Sugar Wreck

Another awesome dive site of the Perhentian Islands is a sunken shipwreck off Pulau Perhentian Kecil. The Sugar Wreck is a dive spot that will make you feel like you’re living in history.

During your dive, keep your eyes peeled for some Longnose Hawkfish, Cuttlefish, and Porcupinefish (our personal favorite). In our opinion, the Perhentian Islands had some of the most unique marine life we have ever seen.

Shark Point

We have been swimming with blacktip reef sharks all around the world, but it never ceases to amaze us. And you can do the same at Shark Point, another great dive site of the Perhentian Islands.

Contrary to popular belief, not all shark species are dangerous. The blacktip reef sharks are docile compared to their tiger and great white brothers and sisters. So, although these sharks are harmless, it is still an awesome feeling to be diving with sharks.

Note: We recommend diving with a company that has a lot of knowledge about the Malaysian Islands and surrounding reefs. Not only will you learn about the ocean’s biodiversity, but your guides will help you find the best marine life, too.

2) Enjoy the Beaches of the Perhentian Islands

Perhentian Islands Beaches – Malaysia

As one of the most beautiful archipelagos in Malaysia, you have to set aside time to explore the many pristine beaches. Whether you want to get a suntan, go snorkeling, or just walk along the shoreline, you’ll fall in love with the white sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Perhentian Islands.

As there are many beaches on the Perhentian Islands, we recommend adding only the best beaches to your Malaysia itinerary. Here are the three beaches you must visit:

Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil

Long Beach, Perhentian Kecil

Long Beach is located on the smaller island of Perhentian Kecil. This little piece of paradise has something for everyone, from fun dives to relaxing days spent reading by the water. Stretching along the coast for nearly half of a mile, Long Beach has plenty of restaurants, bars, resorts, and ocean excursion companies.

Note: Although Long Beach is beautiful and may seem like the perfect place to swim, locals know that the riptides here can be deadly. Ask a local before swimming because, during some seasons, the riptides are extremely dangerous. We were there in April and three people nearly drowned because they decided to swim while on Long Beach.

Turtle Beach on Perhentian Besar

If you’re spending time on the larger island, Perhentian Besar, you have to make a stop at Turtle Beach. While visiting other islands in the surrounding area, we decided to stop at this beach for a break.

Although there aren’t any coral reefs to explore, it makes it easier to go into deeper waters without worrying about cutting up your feet.

Keranji Beach on Perhentian Kecil

Keranji Beach Bar, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

By far our favorite beach on the Perhentian Islands was Keranji Beach, located on the small island of Perhentian Kecil. This beach is often overlooked and that’s why we like it so much. With fewer tourists, you’re able to relax and have the beach all to yourself (most of the time).

Keranji Beach Huts, Perhentian Islands

There is also a hammock on this beach that is available for anyone to use. Claim the hammock for an hour for a quick nap or to watch the sun dip below the horizon at night.

 

3) Hike to the Viewpoints

While most travelers to the Perhentian Islands spend their time on the beach or in the ocean, we recommend setting aside some time to explore inland as well.

To get you started on a few hikes on the islands, here are our two favorites:

Perhentian Loop

The Perhentian Loop Trail will lead you to some of the best locations and viewpoints on the big island (Perhentian Besar). This 3-mile hike is easy enough for people of all fitness levels, but with very little shade to cover the trail, you’ll want to head to the beach when you’re done for a refreshing swim in the ocean.

I recommend completing this hike in the early morning to avoid the hottest part of the day, but if you decide to hike in the afternoon, be sure to bring water and some extra cash for a mid-hike snack and drink on the beach.

The Windmill

The Windmill Hiking Trail, Perhentian Islands

The Windmill Trek can be found on the smaller Perhentian Island (Perhentian Kecil). This trail brings hikers to the highest point on the island and offers endless scenic views in every direction.

During your hike, you’ll be walking along a washed-out dirt road and similar to the Perhentian Loop Trail, you’ll be exposed to the sun along much of the trail.

If you decide to go hiking while visiting the Perhentian Islands, pack a few bottles of water and bring your sunscreen. You’ll thank me later!

4) Island Hopping to the smaller Perhentian Islands

Perhentian Island hopping by Faizah Othman on Unsplash

Apart from the two main Perhentian Islands (Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil) there are several others that you should add to your list of things to do. Here are a few of the best islands to visit while island hopping in the Perhentian Islands:

Pulau Tokong Kemudi

Sitting just north of Perhentian Kecil is Pulau Tokong Kemudi, a magical island perfect for snorkeling, diving, and other water adventures.

Hire a boat to bring you across the South China Sea to this secluded island; it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, but if you’re traveling on a budget, find a few friends to go with you from your resort or hostel. This way, you can split the cost.

Redang Island

Redang Island, the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia by Aleksandra Khoroshykh on Unsplash

Redang Island is a bit more well-known among travelers than the Perhentian Islands, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring it while island hopping.

This island is south of Perhentian Besar and offers some unique snorkeling opportunities. With its vibrant coral reefs and tropical fish, I strongly suggest bringing your snorkeling gear during this excursion.

5) Perhentian Islands Snorkeling

Perhentian Islands Marine Life

Divers will be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful location for underwater exploration. The Perhentian Islands boast one of Asia’s most impressive barrier reefs, which houses hundreds of different species, and it would be a shame not to explore them.

But if you don’t have your PADI certification or you aren’t too keen on scuba diving, you can’t miss out on snorkeling around the Perhentian Islands.

There are plenty of dive shops that rent snorkeling gear for a reasonable price, but I recommend asking your accommodation if they supply such gear first. Our hosts had hoards of great snorkel gear, so we were able to go snorkeling for free.

6) Watch the Sunset on the Perhentian Islands

View from the Crocodile Rock Villas, the Perhentian Islands

The sunsets in the Perhentian Islands are majestic. To start, you’ll be surrounded by the brightest aquamarine water you’ll ever see. As the sun begins to set, watch its reflection in the water and the brilliant colors it radiates.

To make your night even better, watch the sunset from a beach bar with a fruity cocktail or an ice-cold beer.

We loved doing this each night from the comfort of our own nature resort, Crocodile Rock Villas. With an attached restaurant that serves some of the best seafood and Malaysian beers, you may want to make this an evening routine.

7) Make the Most of the Happy Hour

Before the big sunset show, you might be looking for a way to unwind after a long day of hiking, snorkeling, and swimming. And if that’s the case, sit back and relax at one of the many beach bars on either of the Perhentian Islands.

For expansive sea views, we suggest grabbing an affordable happy hour drink at Keranji Beach Bar, located on our favorite beach that shares the same name.

A few other notable beach bars on Perhentian Kecil include El Paraiso Resto Bar and Chillout Cafe.

But, if you’re staying on the bigger island, Perhentian Besar, Jim’s Bar is perfect for classic cocktails and barbequed fresh seafood. 

8) Perhentian Islands Kayaking

There are many ways to explore the Perhentian Islands, but our favorite mode of transportation was by kayak. One of our favorite things about kayaking around these islands is that you get to see them in a whole new light.

With each twist and turn, different views emerge, including hidden coves with beautiful turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, and towering limestone cliffs jutting out from lush green mountainsides.

The best way to add a kayaking tour to your itinerary is by renting a kayak from one of the popular beaches like Long Beach, Turtle Beach, or Coral Bay. Prices should be relatively affordable, so make sure to pay for an extended rental package.

But, if you don’t feel comfortable kayaking around the island on your own, simply join a popular snorkeling tour.

9) Camping On The Beach

One of the coolest things to do on the Perhentian Islands is to camp on the beach. The best part about camping on Perhentian Islands is that you are able to experience everything a beach has without ever having to leave. From rolling waves and crashing surf, you’ll be lulled to sleep by the sounds one wouldn’t normally hear in a resort or hotel room.

To experience a night sleeping on one of the beaches of the Perhentian Islands, visit Long Beach on the small island, Perhentian Kecil.

Along this beach, you’ll find a nice campground that comes equipped with tents. We found this to be really helpful as we didn’t want to haul our camping gear around with us.

If you are looking for other campgrounds on the Perhentian Islands, check out Orang Hutan Camping on the westside of Perhentian Kecil, or Perhentian Cabana along the south shore of Perhentian Besar.

10) Watch the Fire Shows

It’s very rare to find an island in Southeast Asia that doesn’t host weekly or nightly fire shows. Whether you’re exploring the Thai islands, the Filipino islands, or the Indonesian islands, you’re bound to find a fire show at one of the nearest beaches.

Luckily, the Perhentian Islands are no different, which means that fire shows are one of the best things to do and experience while visiting.

Above all, the best place to watch a fire show on the Perhentian Islands is on Long Beach. Make your way to beach bars after the sun has set and wait for the coveted fire show.

11) Visit The Turtle Sanctuary

Turtle Sanctuary Perhential Islands – by qianyu pan on Unsplash

In 2015, an environmentally conscious group of adventurers established the Perhentian Turtle Project to advocate for and protect sea turtle populations in Malaysia. Through a collaborative effort between environmental activists and officials from the Fisheries Ministry and Marine Parks Division (MPD), this project is able to respond quickly when stranded turtles are reported on beaches.

To make your stay on the Perhentian Islands as memorable as possible, consider volunteering for this amazing project. Not only will you get to enjoy the sights of an island paradise, but you’ll be able to contribute and give back to nature.

You can sign up to volunteer with the Perhentian Turtle Project by visiting their website.

12) Day Trip To Terengganu Marine Park

Turtles – Terengganu Marine Park by Nazarizal Mohammad on Unsplash

For an additional adventure during your island hopping day trip, I recommend stopping at Terengganu Marine Park. Just off the coast of Redang Island, Terengganu Marine Park is just like its famous neighbor and has its own set of exciting underwater features to explore.

Hire a boat from Coral Bay, Long Beach, or Perhentian Besar and spend the day on some of the best beaches in Malaysia. Although we found more snorkeling opportunities in Perhentian Kecil, Terengganu Marine Park made up for it with beautiful views.

If you decide to add Terengganu Marine Park to your Perhentian Islands itinerary, bring your snorkeling gear anyway. This marine park may be lacking in coral reefs, but they still have some of the most fascinating fish.

13) Try The Local Food

Fresh Fish at Crocodile Rock Bistro, Perhentian Islands

The best way to get a good feel of the culture in any destination is to try the food. And the Perhentian Islands aren’t any different.

The Perhentian Islands aren’t the most accessible islands in the world, which means that the islands provide for themselves as often as possible. Fish and other seafood are a staple of any meal in the Perhentian Islands and you’ll find that it is a lot fresher here than nearly anywhere else in the world.

For the fresh catch of the day, I recommend going to Crocodile Rock Bistro on the small island of Perhentian Kecil. And for the most delicious giant shrimp, visit Keranji Beach Cafe’.

On the big island of Perhentian Besar, check out Ocean Boys Cafe for classic barbeque and seafood. Hang around for a while after dinner for an impressive fire show.

 

Where To Stay In The Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands aren’t very big islands, so accommodation options are limited. But I was impressed to see a wide variety of different types of accommodation.

There were campsites, luxury resorts, homestays, hostels, and more. Whatever your budget, the Perhentian Islands could serve you.

Here are a few different accommodation options on the Perhentian Islands that you should consider for your holiday:

Crocodile Rock Villas

View from the Crocodile Rock Villas, the Perhentian Islands

We chose to stay in the Crocodile Rock Villas because it seemed that this nature resort was well-equipped. Since we work online, it was nice to have a wifi connection and it’s always a good trip when the bed is comfortable.

The Crocodile Rock Villas checked all the boxes and the owners, Erika and Atord are some of the most welcoming people you’ll meet.

Note: If you are getting to the Kuala Besut Jetty later in the evening and the boats are no longer running, reach out to Erika and ask if she can set up a private transfer. That way, you don’t have to spend the night on the mainland before heading over to the islands.

Bubu Resort

It’s hard to visit Perhentian Kecil and not notice Bubu Resort. On the far end of Long Beach, Bubu Resort sits in all of its glory, capturing the most picturesque view of the islands.

For an upscale stay, Bubu Resort has it all from direct beach access to spa services to an onsite bar and restaurant. It’s safe to say that Bubu Resort will take care of all of your problems so that you can fully enjoy your stay on the Perhentian Islands.

Long Beach Camp

For the most unique accommodation option in the Perhentian Islands, check out Long Beach Camp. As mentioned before, this is one of the best things to do on the islands. 

Stay on the beach for a late-night fire show before retreating back to camp. Listen for the waves crashing into the beach; this sound will lull you to sleep. And as morning approaches, I recommend getting up early to watch the sunrise and to explore the shoreline before other travelers get up.

 

How To Get Around The Perhentian Islands

Coral Bay, Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands have no paved roads nor any motorized vehicles. To get around the Perhentian Islands, you can choose to walk or to take water taxis.

We chose to walk everywhere we went while visiting the Perhentian Islands and although some of the destinations are a bit far from each other, the unbelievable scenery kept us occupied.

Taking a water taxi is likely the quickest way to get around the Perhentian Islands. Water taxis stop at many of the beaches around the islands, so I recommend asking your accommodation host where the closest water taxi stop is located.

 

Best Time To Visit The Perhentian Islands

The lovely Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands experience two distinct seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season lasts from November to March and during this time, many restaurants and resorts shut down.

We recommend visiting the Perhentian Islands when it is sunny and dry so that you can maximize your time on the beach or in the ocean. You’ll get the best weather from mid-March to early November. But keep in mind, the dry season will also bring in more tourists and higher resort prices.


Safety On The Perhentian Islands

Overall, Malaysia is a safe country and the Perhentian Islands are no different. The crime rate is very low but always take normal safety precautions.

On the other hand, the Perhentian Islands do pose some safety concerns. Long Beach, one of the most popular spots on the islands, can be extremely dangerous during certain times of the year.

With strong currents and riptides, this beach has claimed many lives over the years. To stay safe, always check with your host before swimming in the ocean at Long Beach. In addition, pay attention to any signs on the beach warning of danger. Take these signs seriously.

The Perhentian Islands, Malaysia – Paradise island group with pristine beaches and rain forest

Conclusion

The Perhentian Islands are the perfect location for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur or more popular island destinations. If you’re ready for some rest, relaxation, and beautiful turquoise bays, book your flight to the Perhentian Islands.

This is one of the most secluded and off-the-beaten-path island paradises in Malaysia that will leave you feeling completely refreshed. We hope you enjoy your time on the Perhentian Islands as much as we did.

About the Writer

Laura Peters

I’m Laura and I’m the storyteller behind Mike & Laura Travel. With adventurous spirits and a strong work ethic, we’ve been able to maintain this full-time nomadic lifestyle since 2018. Our stories provide insight into how you can also make your “dream life” a reality through remote work and determination.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Top Places to Visit in Langkawi, Malaysia

Top Places to Visit in Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi, famous as the Jewel of Kedah is dotted with gorgeous beaches, lush green rainforests, and awesome waterfalls.

The wide variety of wildlife and those bizarre rock formations are just a few of the many reasons why you should make a trip to Langkawi. It is hard to resist the lure of the expansive parks, popular beach destinations and natural landscapes for any traveler. Also, Langkawi has some of the most beautiful beaches in Malaysia.

If you’re heading to this gorgeous island destination, be sure to check out these beautiful resorts in Langkawi.  Apart from just the beaches, the massive island is world renowned for its forest parks, exciting nightlife and excellent diving opportunities as well. Not just for the honeymooners, but it is also the perfect place for a family vacation because there are many things to do in Langkawi with kids. All you need to do is look for some good booking hotel online rates and start planning and packing for the trip.

The right time to visit the island is between December and March. Many of the great attractions of Langkawi are placed well within the main island that can be best explored by rented vehicle.

Top Places to Visit in Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi Cable Car and the Langkawi Sky Bridge

Enjoy an awesome ride on a cable car that takes you to the summit of Mount Mat Cincang. Once there, enjoy breathtaking views of the Andaman sea and the towering peaks.

Langkawi Sky Bridge - Places to see in Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi Sky Bridge – Places to see in Langkawi, Malaysia by Engin_Akyurt [cc0] via Pixabay

The Skybridge is another engineering marvel. The curved pedestrian bridge about 125 meter-long offers an exhilarating experience and view of the verdant Telaja Tujuh waterfalls, Gunung Mat Cincang and several islets that surround Langkawi. The sturdy bridge is fitted with double steel railings and covered by an enclosed wire mesh. Check out this post for more information about Langkawi Cable Car and Skybridge.

Langkawi Sky Bridge can contain up to 250 people at a time. Once you reach the top of Machincang mountain, the views are absolutely stunning. Just look for the best hotel in Langkawi on Traveloka that takes care of your lodging needs and enjoy

Suggested Post: What to Eat in Langkawi, Malaysia

Underwater World

Underwater World Langkawi showcases more than 500 species of sea creatures including seahorses, seals, rockhopper penguins, mandarin ducks, and flamingos.

A 15-meter walkthrough underwater tunnel is the highlight of the Underwater World, from where you can get a close-up view of sharks, green turtles, and giant stingrays. The 60,000 sq. Ft. building lodges over four thousand fish and marine creatures., There are separate sections for birds and animals as well and based on different themes such as Temperate, Sub-Antarctic, Tropical Rainforest, Ponds, Corals and more.

Gunung Raya

Gunung Raya is hailed as the highest peak in Langkawi at an altitude of 881 meters. According to an old legend, the mountain was made because of a cursed form of a giant called Mat Raya.

The dense rainforest on the peak is home to a wide range of wildlife such as leaf monkeys, macaque monkeys, flying foxes, mountain hawk eagles, squirrels and great hornbills. It is a popular destination for hikers and trekkers. The road winds its way up the mountain and passes through thick forest. One gets to enjoy panoramic views whenever there is a clearing.

Pulau Payar Marine Park

Pulau Payar Marine Park is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving. A45 minutes away from Kuah Jetty and located 30km south of Langkawi Island, you can either take a speedboat or a catamaran to get there.

The park has well developed surrounding water areas and few other islands. Enjoy swimming at the beaches amidst the beautiful scenic settings. You can feed the baby sharks, or just relax and laze on the beaches.

Paradise 3D Museum

Paradise 3D Museum boasts of more than 200 impressive artworks that appear lifelike when photographed. It is the second3D art largest in the world and the largest 3D art museum in Malaysia. Enjoy exploring nine different interactive zones on safari, fantasy, classic, optical illusion, aquatic, Egyptian, and Malaysian.

The best part of this unique attraction is that it is situated next to the iconic Langkawi Cable Car.

Coverphoto by safiamycentrio [cc0] via Pixabay

 

One Day in Kuala Lumpur – Things to do in KL for 1 Day

One Day in Kuala Lumpur – Things to do in KL for 1 Day

One Day in Kuala Lumpur is a guide is for people like me who don’t like to spend more than a few days in big cities and are looking to explore Kuala Lumpur in a short time. Yes, it’s possible to “do” Kuala Lumpur in one day.

One of the Petronas Twin Towers with KL tower in background in Kuala Lumpur

One of the Petronas Twin Towers with KL tower in background in Kuala Lumpur – Picture by Priyanka Kwatra

Kuala Lumpur – this fast growing metropolitan capital of Malaysia is the new gateway to South East Asia. If you are traveling to South East Asia, chances are you will end up in Kuala Lumpur at some point or the other because many budget airlines fly to several other Asian countries from here.

It doesn’t matter if you are in Kuala Lumpur for business or leisure, one thing is for sure – you’re going to LOVE the food here. Seriously, this city offers a delicious culinary ride for even the pickiest of eaters.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you surely know by know how much I avoid big cities. I have lived in one for many years and I can’t handle them anymore. This is the reason why I did not spend more than two days in this city when I visited it the first time, so I have created a guide for you to help you spend the perfect one day in Kuala Lumpur.

How to get from Kuala Lumpur Airport to the City:

Public transport within Kuala Lumpur is expensive as compared to the nearby countries. The good news: I’m here to help you cut the cost.

Kuala Lumpur’s airport – Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) has two terminals that are 2KMs away from each other. Most of the flights land at the Main Terminal Building (MTB) and low-cost flights (like Air Asia) land in KLIA2. I flew Air Asia so I landed in KLIA2.

From the airport, you will most likely need to go to KL Sentral (Not a typo but the name actually starts with S) to reach your hotel / hostel. KL Sentral is close to Chinatown and connects well to nearby areas in the main city where most of the hotels and hostels are. Here’s an excellent map depicting Kuala Lumpur’s public transport that I found on Wonderful Malaysia’s website which will help you understand how to get around.

In order to get to KL Sentral from KLIA and KLIA2 both, there are two options of super fast airport rail link – KLIA EKSPRES and KLIA Transit. Out of these two, KLIA EKSPRES offers non-stop service, so obviously, it’s faster.

Think that you can cut costs by traveling on the slower train? Wrong, they cost the same. A ticket to KL Sentral from any of these trains to any of the airports costs 55 MYR, which is around 14 USD. Unless you’re in a hurry, I’d recommend you walk to the basement of the airport and get on a bus to KL Sentral to save money. It will cost you 20 MYR, which is less than $5.

Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur has many amazing neighbourhoods and I will tell you which one to pick, based on your specific needs. 

If you’re visiting Kuala Lumpur for a conference or work, then pick Kuala Lumpur City Centre – called the KLCC. Many expats who’re in KL, stay in KLCC. Also, check this page if you’re searching for a job in KL as an expat

Another amazing neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur is Bangsar, which is a little more relaxed as compared to KLCC’s hectic vibe. You should also check out Mount Kiara, and Bulkit Bintang, which is close to the Petaling Street.

I highly recommend Paper Plane Hostel, which is in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, just a few minutes walk away from Chinatown or Pasar Seni station. It is the coolest and the most comfortable hostel that I have ever stayed in.

How to spend One Day in Kuala Lumpur:

01 | Visit Batu Caves & Ramayana Cave

Imagine limestone cliffs with a series of caves and stalagmites formations inside the caves. The icing on the cake – there are temples inside the caves. Sounds good? Welcome to Batu Caves – one of the most popular points of interest in Kuala Lumpur.

Batu Caves

Batu caves are just a little outside Kuala Lumpur and are super easy to reach by direct train from KL Sentral. The train ticket costs only MYR 5 one way for one person. Just get on to the KTM Seremban Line from KL Sentral, Batu Caves is the last stop on that line. The entry to the caves and temple complex is right outside the train station.

Batu Caves - Things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Batu Caves – Things to do in Kuala Lumpur

The Cave complex is free to enter but I recommend you make a small donation. These caves that are next to the Batu River, feature the highest statue of Lord Murugan in the world. It is at the height of 140 feets. The cave complex consists of 3 large caves that have a lot of stalagmite formations. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because you will need to climb a lot of stairs to enter one cave from another. Oh, and be prepared to be surrounded by monkeys! They will snatch things out of your hands so don’t hold anything important.

A TIP About traveling to Batu Caves from Kuala Lumpur:

If you’re visiting Batu caves just a few hours before your flight, check the train time table before reaching because sometimes the time gap between trains is as long as 30 minutes.

Ramayana Cave

Once you’re in the Batu Caves, do check out the “Ramayana Cave”. The entry to “Ramayana cave” is right before Batu Caves but unlike the latter, it’s not free. The entry fee is only 5 MYRs and is totally worth it. Ramayana Cave is beautiful from inside because it depicts the story of Hindu God Ram as written in the holy book Ramayan. The story is depicted in a narrative manner with statues along the uneven cave walls.

I recommend you spend 2-3 hours here exploring the cave complex and head back to the train station. By the time you’ll be done, it will be lunchtime and restaurants around tourist areas are expensive so its time to get back to the city. From here, get on a train back to KL Sentral and further get onto a monorail (green line) for “Bulkit Bintang” station.

Suggested: Make a day trip to the Genting Highlands from Kuala Lumpur

02 | Lunch at Bulkit Bintang

Bulkit Bintang district reflects the trendy side of Kuala Lumpur with upscale cafes, a shopping district, an “Arab Street” and more. Kuala Lumpur is one of those cities where the food is delicious almost everywhere. Pick any restaurant at Bulkit Bintang and you are sure to enjoy. Jalan Aloris is Bukit Bintang’s famous hawker food lane. Enjoy a meal of flavorful Curry Laksa, Asam Laksa or local Nyonya delicacies such as rice balls.

Bulkit Bintang district also has some of the world’s most famous malls such as Berjaya Times Square. In case the famous heat of Kuala Lumpur gets to you, you can visit one of the malls to take a little break. Sit in one of the chic cafes and sip something delicious because it’s time to chill before you hit your next stop for the day.

 

03 | Walk Around the KL Tower

The view of KL Tower - One Day in Kuala Lumpur - things to do

The view of KL Tower – One Day in Kuala Lumpur – things to do

Good news – there is a pedestrian walkway bridge from Bulkit Bintang directly to KLCC. This bridge is a little over a kilometer and is entirely air-conditioned. To be honest, we did not know about this bridge when we visited KL so we ended up walking on the road, which was a lot of fun too.

 

Once you reach KLCC, enjoy the view of KL Tower. You will be able to view the tower from different angles as you walk from KLCC to the Petronas Towers. This tower changes colors and it looks great from a distance. I did not want to take out time to visit this tower. This tower has an observation deck and a sky deck and the entry costs RM 52 and RM105 per person. BONUS: Adventure seekers can also base jump from KL Tower. Click here for more information.

 

04 | Visit Petronas Towers to enjoy Sunset

 

Visit The Petronas Towers - One Day in Kuala Lumpur

Visit The Petronas Towers – One Day in Kuala Lumpur

 

The Petronas Twin Towers are just a few minutes walk away from KLCC. These towers were the highest skyscrapers in the world from 1998 to 2004 and even today, they are the highest set of twin towers. I suggest you reach here a little before sunset so that you get an opportunity to watch how the towers change colors.

Walk around the Petronas Towers complex, as there are plenty of amazing spots to sit back and enjoy the view of the change of colors on the towers at sunset time. Watch how everything lights up as it gets dark and make sure to click a few photos!

 

Optional: Walk on the Sky Bridge Between the Petronas Twin Towers

If you don’t mind spending, the ticket to access the sky bridge to travel from one tower to another is RM 85 per person. The locals, of course, pay a lower price or RM 30. The sunset time is usually between 7 and 7:30 pm in Kuala Lumpur so try reaching this area by 6:45 PM or around. The entry to the towers closes at 9 PM.

I have kept this point as optional because not everyone would want to spend so much to enter the towers, like me. You can visit the official website for Petronas Towers and book your ticket online because it’s difficult to find tickets on sunset time due to limited availability.

05 | Walk Around Chinatown (Petaling Street) and Eat Dinner

Visit Chinatown for Night Market and Dinner - One Day in Kuala Lumpur - Things to do

Visit Chinatown for Night Market and Dinner – One Day in Kuala Lumpur – Things to do

It’s very easy to reach Chinatown from KLCC because you can get on a direct train to Pasar Seni station and walk directly to the market. Alternatively, you can also walk to the market from Jalan Petaling or Maharajalela Monorail stations. True to its character, Chinatown is exactly how it is in other big cities with small gadget shops, cheap imitations and a lot of food options.

At the time when I visited, the streets were decorated with pretty little red lanterns and the night market was bustling with activity. We ate dinner at one of the roadside Chinese restaurants where the prices were affordable. If you want to try some different food, head to the nearby “Little India”. I was too tired after Chinatown and ended up visiting Little India only when I visited KL for the second time.

 

Optional: Visit Little India for Dinner

Although KL has a bigger area that’s called “Little India”, the one that’s next to Chinatown is a smaller one and is next to Masjid Jamek station. This Little India is more like Little Madras with amazing Chettinad food (Cuisine from the Chettinad region of South India). This is the only place in the world where Indian food tastes good outside of India. I’m an Indian food snob so it’s a big compliment. I ate an amazing meal of fish curry with Malabari paratha at one of the roadside restaurants here. No, I did not eat a double dinner but these are two separate visits.

One Day in Kuala Lumpur - Things to do

One Day in Kuala Lumpur – Things to do, see, eat and what public transport to take

Wondering where to go after visiting Kuala Lumpur? Check out our travel guides for a few more destinations in Malaysia:

Melaka – This riverside historical town is only two hours away from Kuala Lumpur.

Penang – It’s an island in North of Malaysia that’s famous for its food.

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One day in Bangkok

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Have you been to Kuala Lumpur and have a few tips to share? Let me know in the comments.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us reduce the costs of keeping this site active. Thanks for reading!

Explore Penang (Malaysia) Like a Local

Explore Penang (Malaysia) Like a Local

Explore Penang (Malaysia) Like a Local

This guest post about Penang, Malaysia has been written by Vivian Lee as a part of “Explore Like a Local” series. Explore Like a Local is an initiative by Drifter Planet to help you get insider tips about destinations all over the world. Want to write about your hometown? Contact me!

Introducing Penang, Malaysia

Penang has long been recognized as a world-class food paradise, the Penang cuisine is heavily influenced by the Peranakan culture (Baba and Nyonya), same goes to another historic port in Malaysia — Malacca. Penang was also featured in various major media, earning the title of “2nd best city in the world to retire in” and “4th best cities to visit by Lonely Planet”. What’s the hype all about you asked? Well, you have to come here to experience it all yourself: food, culture, heritage, history, people and Penang hospitality! Penang surely will not disappoint.

Where to stay in Penang on a budget

There are a lot of budget hostels all over Georgetown, you will never run short of selections. Price ranges from RM20 to RM40 per night. I highly recommend Red Inn right opposite to Guang Yin Ting temple because it is near to major attractions and it is along the route of the free CAT bus. but really, anywhere is fine. Cost of a bed in the dormitory is around USD 5 and a double room costs USD 11. Click here to book Red Inn.
Click here to see hotels in Penang

 

Georgetown Penang, Malaysia

Georgetown Penang, Malaysia

Things to do in Penang, Malaysia

Let’s talk about touristy things to do first: 

01 | Murals and street art in Georgetown: it is touristy but really, a lot of locals do this too. Rent a bike and hunt down all the street arts in Georgetown. You will be given a “Mural Map” when picking up your bike.

02 | Cafes in Georgetown: A lot of cafes with creative themes start budding out around Georgetown since 2014. I’ll tell you some of my favorite: Moon Tree cafe and Mugshot cafe on Jalan Muntri and China House on Lebuh Pantai.

03 | Pagoda Kek Lok Si: One of the most important iconic building of Penang (other than Komtar), this is a Buddhist Temple built on a hill. You’ll have to “hike” a path linedwith souvenir stalls to get to the temple.

 

Kek Lok Si temple, Penang, Malaysia

Kek Lok Si temple, Penang, Malaysia

 

04 | Penang Hill: Come here to take in an unobstructed vista of the city! When you are coming down, try to snag a seat in the first compartment of the cable car and imagine you’re on a rollercoaster.

Others: Snake temple, Botanical Garden, Fort Cornwallis, Gurney Drive and many more.

Off the beaten path: 

01 | Take the historical ferry across the Straits of Malacca and visit Butterworth, where good street food can be found in Raja Uda and the best seafood can be found at Pantai Bersih.

02 | Take a Rapid to the north end of the island, Teluk Bahang where you need to trek for 2 hours to reach Pantai Kerachut and the meromictic lake.

Looking for more information? Check out this list of 25 things to do in Penang.

What to eat in Penang (and where)

Assam laksa (Thick rice noodle bathed in spicy sour fish soup, topped with a generous amount of raw vegetables), best in Air Itam Pasar

Food in Penang, Malaysia

Food in Penang, Malaysia

Hokien Mee (Prawn Mee with spicy red pork broth), best at Chew Jetty Cafe

Cendol (Green worm-like rice flour jelly served with shaved ice together with a delightful coconut milk+ palm sugar mixture.), best at Penang Street.

Delicious Cendol in Penang, Malaysia

Delicious Cendol in Penang, Malaysia

Char Koey Teow (Flat noodles fried on old-school charcoal stove, topped with prawns and bloody cockles), best at Lorong Selamat

Baba Nyonya Kuih (cute colorful Peranakan sweets), you can get it anywhere (all equally good).

Learn more about Penang Street Food on the blog Miss HappyFeet.

What to avoid in Penang

I can’t say that it is a tourist trap but personally, I’d advise my couch surfers to skip the food at Gurney Drive and head to Macalister Road instead. Don’t get me wrong, Gurney Drive is great, it is an amazing place to soak up the vibes in Penang, but I personally think that the Macalister road food court serves better food.

Best way to get around in Penang

The CAT bus is definitely the best way to go around Georgetown, it is convenient and not to mention, free. If you are getting out of Georgetown, take a Rapid bus.

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Things to do in Melaka

Paper Plane Hostel, Kuala Lumpur

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Explore Penang (Malaysia) Like a Local

Explore Penang (Malaysia) Like a Local

I am an average Malaysian girl born and raised in Penang, battling a chronic disease of itchy feet. The only cure for it is to keep exploring. In 2012, I moved 4500 miles away from Malaysia to Russia for my education but I often think about my hometown, especially when I’m hungry. Currently, I am a full-time student, part-time online magazine contributor, magazine columnist, and freelance writer. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Vivian Lee

Miss HappyFeet

Paper Plane Hostel in Kuala Lumpur – Coolness Overload!

Paper Plane Hostel in Kuala Lumpur – Coolness Overload!

Paper Plane Hostel in Kuala Lumpur – Coolness Overload!

Being budget travelers, San and I have stayed in many different kinds of hostels in numerous cities. They’re affordable, fun and are unarguably the best spots to meet other backpackers. From vividly colorful walls to inexpensive decor, most of the hostels are usually similar. Perhaps it is the comfort of the familiarity that keeps pulling us back. This is exactly what we were expecting as we got off Kuala Lumpur’s swanky monorail at Hang Tuah station and decided to walk to Paper Plane Hostel .

As we crossed luxurious Swiss Garden Hotel and entered a small street that was definitely an upmarket residential area, I remarked to San that we were lost. He agreed because the last time he was in KL, he had spent the night in a dingy hostel which was a minute away from Chinatown’s messy streets. This street was too clean for a hostel!

One minute and 15 steps later, we caught ourselves staring in amazement at a signboard of Paper Plane Hostel which was outside a classy multi-story building. The instant we entered, we knew it was not a normal hostel. We were greeted by Andrew, a cheerful staff member who handed us our key, “this bed is taken” magnet sign and a map of KL. As we stood barefoot on a sparkly clean floor while Andrew circled a few landmarks on the map for us, we couldn’t help but gaze around distractedly at the walls.

This place looked too good to be a hostel.

Paper Plane Hostel Interiors

Paper Plane Hostel Interiors

Our fatigue left us as we followed Andrew inside the hostel to the next floor. Everything was too classy here! Our eyes wandered around to absorb every arty detail as we climbed up the steps.

Suggested: Malacca Travel Guide – the best day trip or overnight destination from Kuala Lumpur 

Subtle black mural painting on stark white walls perfectly complimented the architectural elements of the inside space. The rawness of brick wall accent next to the white walls harmoniously incorporated into the super hipster and arty vibe of this place.

Paper Plane Hostel's Hip Interiors

Paper Plane Hostel’s Hip Interiors

We walked by some dormitories that looked spotlessly clean and finally reached our room. Like every time, San jumped on the bed with all the luggage so I lost my opportunity to click a picture. Our room had everything that we needed – an electric kettle, an alarm clock, towels, a USB charger, hangers, a study desk and an extra strong AC. (Trust me, you need a very strong AC in Kuala Lumpur) Oh and you can check a list of best hostels in Malaysia here.

Right outside our room were shared toilet stalls that were fully stocked with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and toothpaste. Seriously, we have never seen shared toilets to be so clean! The best part? A peeing dog artwork outside the WC and a dog enjoying rainfall outside the shower. Quirky yet surprisingly chic!

Paper Plane Hostel Shared Toilet Stalls

Paper Plane Hostel Shared Toilet Stalls

After a long shower, San and I decided to check out the rooftop area. While the insides of the hostel have a wooden floor, the rooftop area is covered with a grassy carpet. The rooftop overlooked some buildings and a few skyscrapers. We knew we were going to spend most of our time here.

Rooftop Area of Paper Plane Hostel KL

Rooftop Area of Paper Plane Hostel KL

A chat with one of the partners – Kenny revealed that on this spot was once a house but is now a newly transformed Hostel. The three partners Kenny, Samuel and Lawrence are high school buddies who have different professions but saved up to start this hostel for their love of traveling.

Suggested reading: Vegan Food Guide for Kuala Lumpur

The artist behind the wall art is owner’s friend and Bangkok’s well-known artist – Jew (real name is Worapot). The hostel interiors were designed by the owners based on what they feel is comfortable as per their personal experience of years of traveling and backpacking. It took them 10 months of design and renovation before they officially opened for business in November 2015.

If you’re planning on traveling to Kuala Lumpur, I highly recommend Paper Plane hostel. The location is perfect because it’s a comfortable walk from the LRT station and Chinatown, yet it’s away from the noise of the busy main street.   The amenities here will give you the comfort of an expensive hotel with the price and environment of a hostel. I can’t wait to go back to Kuala Lumpur so that I can spend a few days in Paper Plane Hostel again.

Paper Plane Hostel in Kuala Lumpur was the best hostel experience of my life! What was yours?

Paper Plane Hostel, Kuala Lumpur details Read reviews on TripAdvisor or Compare prices on Hotelscombined.com Location: Near Pudu Sentral Bus Station in Kuala Lumpur Price range: $17 for a bunk bed and $40 for a private room. Book Now (deals): Agoda.com or Booking.com Click HERE to book Paper Plane Hostel, Kuala Lumpur.

Disclaimer: Our stay in Paper Plane Hostel was complimentary but the opinions expressed in this article are honest and straight from our hearts. A big thanks to the staff of Paper Plane hostel for giving us a WOW experience.

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Things to do in Melaka, Malaysia

Things to do in Malacca [Melaka], Malaysia – the Amsterdam of Asia

Things to do in Malacca [Melaka], Malaysia – the Amsterdam of Asia

Things to do in Malacca – the Amsterdam of Asia

Am I still in Asia?

I thought to myself as I walked around the streets of Melaka.

Everything around me looked very European – the architecture, street art, cute little cafes and wait… did I just see a windmill on the road?

Melaka (or Malacca) is a beautifully preserved heritage city in Malaysia. With its colorful cafes, graffiti, random windmills on the streets – it looks more European and is unlike any other Asian city that I have seen. Seriously, with a river that runs across the city which can be mistaken as a canal, this Malaysian city made me feel like I was back in Amsterdam. Minus the dope.

Melaka is ONLY a two-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, so many people visit it on a day trip but in my opinion, the city deserves at least a full day and night. The entire Melaka city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

Things to do in Melaka / Malacca City, Malaysia

01 | Get on a boat for a River Cruise on Melaka River

Boat Ride - River Cruise in Melaka

Boat Ride – River Cruise in Melaka

A fun way to see the best of Malacca is by taking a 45 boat ride on Melaka river. The boat will take you on a circular trip and will cross some famous landmarks, Melaka eye, cute riverside bars, a lot of street art and more! The best time to do this is at sunset so that you can see the beauty of this city as the colors change.

Beautiful Melaka river at Night - Things to do in Malacca

Beautiful Melaka river at Night – Things to do in Malacca

The entire city glows as the darkness descends and the reflection of lights on the water makes the city look bejeweled. This is the best thing we did in Melaka. Seriously, there is no better way to see this beautiful city than this. This costed us 20 Malaysian Ringgits per person and was worth every penny. We also received cookies and juice with the ferry tickets. Leaving cookies and juices aside, this boat (according to us) is one of the best things to do in Malacca city.

Click here for more information about this boat ride and booking details.

Tip: get ready to be sprayed with some river water if you take the front row seats.

02 | Nightlife in Malacca – Visit Jonker street at night (Chinatown)

Jonker Street of Melaka at Night

Jonker Street of Melaka at Night

Jonker street is the main Chinatown area of Melaka. Just like every other Chinatown, many vendors open small stalls on the streets selling different souvenirs, tank tops, knick knacks, food and drink items. This street starts from the canal that is next to Dutch square and ends at the end of the road.

In my opinion, Chinatown in Melaka is way fuller and offers more things to do than the Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. We ended up eating a lot of delicious street food and ice cream while we were here. If you’re in Malacca for a short time, then including Chinatown night market in your itinerary makes a lot of sense.

Jonker Street Melaka Day

Jonker Street of Melaka During the Day

03 | Check out the Heritage Landmarks, Temples and Mosques

A’Famosa Fort Melaka

A’Famosa Fort – Things to do in Melaka

There are many famous landmarks in Melaka that are mostly next to each other, so can be visited together in just a few hours. Visit A’Famosa Fort (Porta de Santiago), Dutch Square (that has a clock tower and windmill), Saint Paul’s Church, Christ Church, maritime and museums, Malacca Straits Mosque, etc. It’s amazing how this little town has Mosques, Churches, Chinese Temples, Hindu and Sikh temples next to each other. Honestly, we’re not much into heritage landmarks and checking these out were surely not our favorite things to do in Melaka.

04 | Ride a Hello Kitty Tricycle and Feel Like a Child

As we entered the main heritage area of Melaka, we saw many tricycle rickshaw carts that were excessively decorated with toys, Disney characters, flowers and LED lights. Each one was very true to its theme in matching colors – Hello Kitty, Minions, Superman, etc. Here are a few pictures.

Perfect rides for little kids, no? Wrong.

To our surprise, we saw a few grownups sitting on them and some of them looked slightly embarrassed. We then got to know that these carts can be hired for 30 – 60 minutes and in that duration, they ride around the famous landmarks.

At night, these carts light up in psychedelic colors and play super loud music. They are very expensive (RM 30 for 30-40 mins) but we decided to ride one anyway, much to Sandro’s embarrassment.

05 | Explore the city on a bicycle

A cyclist outside Christ Church Melaka

Rent a bicycle – Things to do in Melaka – A cyclist outside Christ Church Melaka

The best way to explore Melaka is on a bicycle (just like Amsterdam). Many different kinds of bicycles are available for rent for around 15 – 20 RM for half or full days. Melaka has a good road system for bicycles and it is definitely one of the more affordable ways of exploring this city.

You can also do a day trip on a bicycle and visit the nearby areas. Check out this page for more information and the prices for the day trips.

Read: Things to do in Kuala Lumpur 

06 | Visit Geographer Cafe or Discovery Cafe for a drink

Geographer Cafe Melaka

Geographer Cafe Melaka

Geographer Café is perhaps the most famous cafe (or bar) in Melaka and is a perfect place to chill over a few beers. This cafe is in the middle of Jonker street and is easy to spot. The best table is the corner one on top that overlooks the length of Jonker street. The food here is not the best so it makes sense to only enjoy beer a few drinks here. A glass of draft beer will cost you RM 15.

Alternatively, you can also visit Discovery Café, which is as popular and you can spot this cute yellow building from a distance.

07 | What to eat in Malacca? Of course the Local Cuisine – Nyonya Food

Nyonya Food in Melaka

Nyonya Food in Melaka

My favorite way to enjoy a new place is by experiencing the local food. The local food here is Peranakan or Nyonya cuisine which has been passed down from early Chinese migrants who settled here. The result is a mix of Chinese and Malaysian and is definitely worth a try!

My recommendation is NOT to eat at one of the overly expensive restaurants in or around Jonker street. Instead, try to find a place which is visited by the locals. We were lucky enough to find one such place where we enjoyed fish ball soup, rice balls, salted fish salad and roasted chicken. The rice balls tasted heavenly when dipped in soup. Yum.

A must try for dessert lovers is Cendol. It is a local delicacy that is made with coconut milk, lurid green noodles and gula Melaka (Malacca sugar). I also tried sea coconut juice which was brown in color and did not taste like usual coconut water. I really enjoyed trying different iced teas and different coffees.

08 | Walk Along Melaka River Aimlessly

Colorful Buildings of Maleka

Colorful Buildings of Maleka

In my opinion, the best way to explore a city is on foot and Melaka is no exception. This city is a photographer’s delight and every corner has a sight to behold. I recommend you take out at least an hour to walk along the river or the main town to explore this charming city on your own. Who knows what you may end up discovering? Keep in mind that it’s always summer in Melaka so do this only after 5 pm and do not forget to carry a hat and a bottle of water. An excellent spot for a photograph is THIS corner next to the wheels.

Charming Melaka of Malaysia (or Malacca)

Charming Melaka of Malaysia (or Malacca)

Apart from these 8 things, there are a few other things that can be enjoyed such as a visit to the 3D Museum – we did not to do this because the entry ticket is extremely expensive and it makes more sense to visit one of the bigger 3D museums in Langkawi or Bangkok. It is also possible to visit the beach but we decided not to do this as well because we have seen many beautiful beaches and we wanted to enjoy the main beauty of this town – the river.

How to Reach Melaka

Bus: Buses from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka run every hour from Kuala Lumpur airport (KLIA2) or Kuala Lumpur Sentral. The cost of a direct bus from KLIA2 to Melaka is 24 Ringgits per person. The cost of a ticket from Kuala Lumpur Sentral to Melaka is around 10-15 Ringgits. Do keep in mind that a bus ticket costs 11 Ringgits from the airport (KLIA2) to Kuala Lumpur Sentral, so opt for a direct bus if you are starting your journey from the airport. The bus journey takes around 2 hours.

The bus will leave you at Melaka Sentral, from where you can catch bus 17 to the main city which costs 1-2 Ringgits per person. This bus stops at all the main areas such as Dutch Square, Mahkota Parade, and Ramada Plaza. If you don’t have a Malaysian SIM card, download an offline map of Melaka on your phone for walking directions from the bus stop to your hotel.

Where to Stay in Melaka

If you do end up visiting Melaka, I strongly recommend you stay in Olive Flashpackers. This hostel is in the heart of Melaka. Just let the driver of Bus 17 know that you need to get off at Ramada Plaza and its just 7 minutes’ walk from there.

Olive Flashpackers Melaka

The Super Spacious and Luxurious Olive Flashpackers Hostel in Melaka

This newly renovated hostel is unlike any other hostel and has everything that a traveler needs – starting from super comfortable beds in a very spacious dormitory, games, FREE to use toiletries, bathroom clogs (traditional Melaka), hair dryer, ironing board, lockers, many shelves, etc. It’s affordable and super convenient. Seriously, you will not need to unpack your toiletries, towels, etc.

Recommended reading: Reasons to visit Malaysia

A big thanks to Olive Flashpackers for providing a complimentary stay to Sandro and I. All opinions are my own, not influenced by any third party.

Did you find this list of things to do in Melaka useful? If so, share the love on social media. Sign up for my newsletter for more fun!

Have you visited Melaka already and have a few tips to share? Let me know in the comments section.

 

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