The Perfect 10-Day Malaysia Itinerary

A country full of beautiful landscapes, delicious food and lots of culture, a trip to Malaysia is a must. Here is the ultimate 10-day Malaysia itinerary.
10-Day Malaysia Itinerary. Photo: Louis Gan | Unsplash

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Located in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is a beautiful country full of friendly locals, diverse landscapes, and delicious food. 

Since it’s such a big country, you need at least ten days to explore the best of what Malaysia has to offer. 

This itinerary is designed for those visiting Malaysia for the first time. This route will give you the best feel for the country’s most popular attractions. This 10-day itinerary will take you from Kuala Lumpur along the west coast. However, since Malaysia is such a big country, you’ll have to go back to experience the east coast! 

From island hopping to tasting tea in the highlands, getting around Malaysia is easy with its fantastic public transport. Here is the ultimate 10-day Malaysia itinerary where you’ll get around via bus, train, and plane. 

Day 1: Kuala Lumpur 

Start your 10-day journey in Malaysia in the capital of Kuala Lumpur. 

Although the city may be modern, it has beautifully retained a sense of mixed colonial and Asian heritage. 

Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Sadie Teper | Unsplash

What to see and do in Kuala Lumpur? 

Since Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, you can expect there to be plenty of things to see and do.

Start your day in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), where you can see the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. Buy a ticket to the top of the viewing platform for spectacular views over the city’s skyline.

Next, make your way to one of the many modern malls scattered around the city.

At night time, visit Jalan Alor, the city’s most popular night market. No trip to Kuala Lumpur would be complete without visiting this place and tasting some delicious Malaysian food.

Where to eat in Kuala Lumpur? 

  • Thirty8 Restaurant & Lounge: Located on the 38th floor of Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, this restaurant serves Chinese, Japanese and western fusions to enjoy spectacular views of the city’s skyline. 
  • Cedar on 15: Located on the 15th floor of the Impiana KLCC Hotel, Cedar on 15 boasts excellent views of the city and dishes up creative food. 
  • Atmosphere 360: This revolving restaurant serves delicious, affordable food and offers spectacular views of the city, including close-up views of the Petronas Twin Towers. 

Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur? 

There is a range of accommodation types to suit all budgets in Kuala Lumpur, including 

  • EQ Kuala Lumpur (high-end accommodation) 
  • MoMo’s Kuala Lumpur (mid-range accommodation) 
  • Paper Plane Hostel (low-end accommodation) 

Day 2: Kuala Lumpur 

Your second day in Kuala Lumpur will consist of exploring the city’s heritage rather than its modern attractions. 

Batu Caves. Photo: Meriç Dağlı | Unsplash

What to see and do in Kuala Lumpur? 

Start your second day in Kuala Lumpur with a visit to the National Museum, where you’ll learn about Malaysian history and culture. 

Afterwards, walk through the busy streets of Chinatown, shop at the many different stalls in Central Market and marvel at the colonial architecture in Merdeka Square.

In the afternoon, catch a train from KL Sentral to the Batu Caves. The Batu Caves are one of the most popular cultural attractions in Kuala Lumpur. Hundreds of colourful steps lead to the entrance to the deep cave complex. The caves are naturally beautiful, but something else makes them enchanting. The addition of Hindu shrines and statues has turned the caves into a place of worship. 

Where to eat in Kuala Lumpur? 

On your second day in the city, you’ll want to try out local Malaysian restaurants, such as

  • Bijan Bar & Restaurant: This restaurant prides itself on offering innovative ways of enjoying Malay food, enhancing flavours and methods of preparing local delicacies. 
  • Old China Cafe: Serving dishes that originated from the Baba Nonya communities of Malacca and Penang, Old China Cafe serves authentic Malaysian food. 
  • Sek Yuen: At over 70 years old, Sek Yuen is one of the oldest surviving Chinese Cantonese restaurants in the city. 

Day 3: Malacca 

On your third day in Malaysia, make the three-hour train journey to the coastal city of Malacca.

Malacca is one of the country’s most historic cities. Here you can trace the evolution of Malacca from a small fishing village to a Portuguese, Dutch, then British trading port. 

Malacca. Photo: Aleksandra Khoroshykh | Unsplash

What to see and do in Malacca? 

Start your day exploring the ruined Portuguese churches and forts in Malacca. In the afternoon, wander through the UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers many of the city’s old streets, including the famous Jonker Street. 

Walking along Jonker Street, you can browse the many antique shops and grab a bite to eat at one of the local Malaysian restaurants. 

In the evening, hop on a river cruise as the sun goes down over the city. Afterwards, have dinner at one of the many restaurants overlooking the water to indulge in local Malaccan dishes with stunning views to match. 

Where to eat in Malacca? 

In Malacca, the best thing to do is eat at various places, including restaurants and food stalls, to try the best of everything. 

  • Donald and Lily’s: Serving up traditional Nyonya cuisine since 1980 and published in New York Times Magazine, a visit to Donald and Lily’s is a must.
  • Chung Wah: Operating for over 50 years and the most popular outlet in Malacca, this Hainanese chicken rice shop is worth visiting for its famous chicken rice balls!
  • Low Yong Moh: Known for its old-school dim sums, you can’t take a trip to Malacca without visiting this local family-run restaurant. 

Where to stay in Malacca?

Since Malacca is a popular city, there are plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets, such as 

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Malacca (high-end accommodation) 
  • Eco Tree Hotel (mid-range accommodation)
  • YOTE 28 (low-end accommodation)

Day 4: Cameron Highlands 

On your fourth day in Malaysia, leave Malacca early in the morning to catch the seven-hour train to the Cameron Highlands. 

The Cameron Highlands is one of the most beautiful places in Malaysia. And due to its high elevation, the temperature is always much cooler than the coast. 

This region is known for its unique mixture of colonial British and authentic Malay culture. Home to tea plantations, strawberry farms and hiking trails in the jungle, there is so much to experience in this part of the country. 

Cameron Highlands. Photo: TONY SHI HOU TANG | Unsplash

What to see and do in the Cameron Highlands?

Due to the travel time from Malacca, you will arrive in the Cameron Highlands in the early afternoon, so one of the best things to do is to head to the Boh Tea Plantation.

The Boh Tea Company was founded in 1929 and is one of the most famous brands of tea in Malaysia. A visit to the Boh Tea Plantation will allow you to enjoy the lush green terraces and learn how the tea is harvested and grown. With sweeping views of the region, enjoy a cup of tea while admiring your surroundings. 

Where to eat in the Cameron Highlands? 

  • Restoran Ferm Nyonya: This restaurant is known for its delicious Nyonya dishes. Not only that, the first is halal, and there are plenty of vegetarian options.
  • Restaurant Tringkap: While the restaurant may look basic with plastic chairs and minimal decor, the food is some of the best in the area. 
  • Singh Chapati Urban Restaurant: Boasting a small menu of fresh, flavourful Indian food, this restaurant is not one to miss!

Where to stay in the Cameron Highlands? 

  • Cameron Highlands Resort (high-end accommodation) 
  • Heritage Hotel (mid-range accommodation) 
  • Bricks Backpackers Hostel (low-end accommodation)

Day 5: Cameron Highlands 

Since there is so much to see and do in the Cameron Highlands, you’ll need another day exploring the region. 

Cameron Highlands. Photo: Job Savelsberg | Unsplash

What to see and do in the Cameron Highlands?

On your second day in the Cameron Highlands, you’ll experience the best of the outdoors. 

Get up early to climb Mount Brinchang. As one of the main peaks in the Cameron Highlands, a visit to the top of Mount Brinchang is a must. 

The main way to get to the top is to take a drive (hire a car or taxi) along a winding mountain road. Standing at 2,031 metres above sea level, you’ll be blown away by the sweeping views once you reach the top.

After your morning mountain adventure, spend the afternoon trekking through the jungle. 

With jungle tracks scattered throughout the region, you can find yourself on the top of forested hills, at the bottom of a sweeping valley or standing beneath a waterfall; a trek through the jungle is a must while in the Cameron Highlands. 

Where to eat in the Cameron Highlands? 

  • Delicious & Happiness Kitchen: This restaurant is a must-visit with low-cost, fresh and hot Chinese dishes. 
  • Cameron Organic Produce Steamboat Restaurant: Utilising traditional charcoal steamboat stoves and organic vegetables from their garden, this steamboat restaurant is a must.
  • Yong Teng Cafe: If you’re looking for a cafe serving delicious breakfast food, head to Yong Teng Cafe for their famous pancakes!

Day 6: Penang

On day six of your 10-day Malaysia itinerary, travel from the Cameron Highlands to the island of Penang. 

There is a bus that can take you to the island, which takes around three hours. 

Penang is one of Malaysia’s most diverse and interesting destinations, which is why you’ll spend two days exploring it!

Penang Photo: Fidelia Zheng | Unsplash

What to see and do in Penang? 

The diverse nature of Penang is represented by the UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses the old streets of Georgetown.

Spend your first day on the island exploring the old lanes, marvelling at the many murals and indulging in delicious Malaysian street food.

Where to eat in Penang?

  • Kheng Pin Cafe: This cafe is known for having some of the best lor bak (deep-fried meat, seafood and vegetables) in Penang, so it’s definitely worth visiting. 
  • Sister Yao’s: This humble stall on Macalister Lane has been serving some of the best char koay kak (radish cake) for over 40 years. 
  • Medan Selera Padang Brown: Lok Lok is a type of communal hot pot dish, and Medan Selera Padang Brown serves up some of the best in Penang.

Where to stay in Penang? 

  • Eastern & Oriental Hotel (high-end accommodation) 
  • Areca Hotel Penang (mid-range accommodation) 
  • Red Inn Court (low-end accommodation) 

Day 7: Penang 

Wake up early on your second day in Penang because it will be an eventful day exploring nature and cultural attractions. 

Penang Temple. Photo: Geraldine Ng | Unsplash

What to see and do in Penang? 

Wake up early to walk to the top of the 833-metre Penang Hill for stunning views over the island. If you don’t feel like walking, you can take the funicular to the summit instead. 

After soaking up the views from the top of the hill, make your way to Kek Lok Si, one of the largest Buddhist Temples in Malaysia. The temple is an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhists from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries. 

After exploring the temple, head back to Georgetown to take the three-hour ferry to the nearby island of Langkawi. 

Where to eat in Penang? 

  • New Lane Hawker Centre: Oh Chien is a fried oyster-filled omelette, and you can try one of the best at New Lane Hawker Centre. 
  • Kafe Ping Hooi: Char koay teow is considered the most iconic street food in Penang, and you can try it at Kafe Ping Hooi. 
  • Air Itam: Much like char koay teow, asam laksa is also one of the best dishes to eat in Penang. Try it at Air Itam!

Day 8: Langkawi 

After catching the three-hour ferry to Langkawi from Penang on the afternoon of day seven, spend the next two days relaxing.

Langkawi may be Malaysia’s most popular holiday destination, but you’ll be surprised at how relaxed, quiet and underdeveloped it is. 

Langkawi. Photo: Sasha India | Unsplash

What to see and do in Langkawi? 

After a jam-packed first seven days in Malaysia, spend your first day in Langkawi relaxing on the white sands of Cenang Beach. 

Swim in the ocean, soak up the sun on the sand and enjoy a few drinks at the rustic beachside bars while watching the sunset. 

Where to eat in Langkawi? 

  • The Gulai House: If you’re up for a fine dining experience that serves Malaysian and Indian dishes, head to The Gulai House in the rainforest. 
  • Yellow Beach Cafe: One of the best places to enjoy delicious food while watching the sunset on the beach is the Yellow Beach Cafe. 
  • Langkawi Fish Farm Restaurant: Considered one of the best seafood restaurants in Langkawi, situated over the water, the Langkawi Fish Farm Restaurant is a must-visit. 

Where to stay in Langkawi? 

  • The St. Regis Langkawi (high-end accommodation) 
  • Dash Resort Langkawi (mid-range accommodation) 
  • Bed Attitude Hostel Cenang (low-end accommodation) 

Day 9: Langkawi 

On your last day on the tropical island, you can do two things: relax on the beach or hop on an island tour. 

Langkawi. Photo: Manish Tulaskar | Unsplash

What to see and do in Langkawi?

If you prefer to relax on Cenang Beach again, go ahead!

Want to do something different? Hop on an island-hopping tour around Langkawi, where you can explore the area’s many tropical inlets and secret beaches. 

After you’ve spent your morning exploring the beautiful beaches and inlets around the island, head to Langkawi Sky Bridge. Here a cable car takes you to the top of one of the island’s tallest peaks, where a long bridge spans between mountains. Once you’re on the bridge, you’ll be welcomed with stunning views of the island, and on a clear day, you’ll be able to see the nearby Thai islands too. 

Spend your evening back on Cenang Beach, watching the sunset with a refreshing drink in hand.

Where to eat in Langkawi? 

  • The Cliff Restaurant and Bar: Located on a cliff overlooking Cenang Beach, this restaurant is popular for its spectacular sunset views. 
  • Kayu Puti: Located in the St. Regis hotel, this fine dining restaurant boasts delectable food from world-famous chef Gaetan Biesuz. 
  • Orkid Ria Restaurant: Known for its seafood, this restaurant prides itself on serving the freshest seafood on the island. 

Day 10: Kuala Lumpur

On your final day in Malaysia, you can catch the one-hour flight back to Kuala Lumpur.

If you wish to make the most of your time left in Langkawi, you can catch an afternoon flight to Kuala Lumpur before your evening flight out of the country. 

Or, if you wish to explore Kuala Lumpur some more, you can head back to the city in the morning to spend the day wandering around. 

Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Nour Betar | Unsplash

What to see and do in Kuala Lumpur? 

If your departing flight isn’t until the evening and you want to spend the day in a fun way, head to Sunway Lagoon.

Located 19km southwest of central Kuala Lumpur, Sunway Lagoon is a theme park with waterslides, an artificial river, a surf beach and a wave pool. What better way to escape the heat than spending your final day in Malaysia in the water?

Useful Tips for Travelling in Malaysia 

Travelling in Malaysia. Photo: Firdaus Roslan | Unsplash

The best time to visit Malaysia

Malaysia is above the equator, which means the country experiences warm weather year-round. However, it’s a tropical country, so along with the hot days, you can also expect high levels of humidity and rainfall almost any day of the year. 

Since this 10-day itinerary focused on travelling throughout the west coast of Malaysia, the best time to visit is between December and April. This time of year is when the temperatures are cooler, less humid and a lot less rainy. 

What is the currency of Malaysia? 

The currency in Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). 

Can you drink tap water in Malaysia?

Yes, tap water is safe to drink in Malaysia. 

The language of Malaysia 

The language spoken in Malaysia is Malay. 

While most Malaysians speak English, it’s always courteous when travelling to a new country to learn some of the basics, such as

  • How are you? = Apa khabar
  • Please = Tolong
  • How much? = Berapa 
  • Can you speak English? = Bolehkah anda berbahasa Inggeris 
  • Where is the toilet? = Di mana tandas
  • Thank you = Terima kasih 
  • You’re welcome = Sama-sama
  • I don’t understand = Says tidak faham 

Is Malaysia safe? 

Malaysia is generally a safe country to visit for tourists. It’s a country where you’re unlikely to encounter violence. However, like most places, you should be careful when it comes to petty crime, such as pickpocketing. 

Final Thoughts 

Malaysia Temple. Photo: John T | Unsplash

A country with a rich cultural history, spectacular landscapes, and beautiful attractions, Malaysia is definitely a country worth visiting. 

If it’s your first time visiting Malaysia, this 10-day itinerary is perfect for you as it takes you through the country’s most popular and highly rated places/attractions. And if after this trip you loved the country, you definitely have to revisit to explore the east coast.

When will you visit this beautiful Southeast Asian country? 


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