Nope, sorry to disappoint you. Two weeks in Malaysia are not enough to explore this wonderful country properly. However, it is enough time to see a few wonderful places that will tell you more about its history and culture.
This post might help you decide what to include into your two-week itinerary. Ours also thinks about your relax! We will also throw in a few suggestions on where to stay or what to eat.
Ok, we definitely don’t want to bore you with too much history or geography, so let’s just concentrate on interesting facts. Wikipedia will do the rest. Malaysia is a multicultural country. There are three major ethinicities: Malay, Chinese and Indian. It may seem that they all live together peacefully but any insider will tell you it is far from being idylic.
Another important fact is that in Malaysia people love to eat…a lot. Any time of the day is perfect for a meal or a snack. Many citizens have no idea what is there to see in different parts of the country. They just know the food is awesome. The good news is that many people in Malaysia speak English fluently. You will often hear the word “lah” which doesn’t really mean anything but its presence is important.
How to move around
We feel like it’s not really necessary to mention this since moving around Malaysia is a piece of cake. There are a lot of airports and regular connections. The low-cost airline Air Asia offers really good prices for domestic flights, so for a ridiculous amount of money you can fly from Kuala Lumpur to an exotic island. Nothing easier than that.
Two weeks in Malaysia
Since moving around is fast and convenient you can actually add more places to your itinerary. At least you can be sure that you won’t be spending your time on vintage buses and bumpy roads. So why don’t you add a little bit of everything to your holiday plan? You can have it all: exotic beaches, food worth dying for, scary stories from the past or funky street art.
4 days in Langkawi
It is always a great idea to start your holiday drinking a cocktail on the beach. However, the great thing about this itinerary is that you can easily change the order of destinations. You can first visit all the other places and finish your two weeks in Malaysia relaxing on this tourist-friendly island in the north. There are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi several times a day.
There are much more beautiful islands in the country, such as Perhentian islands, but they are not accessible in the rainy season. Langkawi is a fair compromise. It has a few beaches that will not disappoint you and plenty of culinary options. If you get tired of the most frequested beaches just hop on a motorbike and go explore. You might come across a few gems.
3 days in Penang
Ask any local about Penang and they will all start to name all the fantastic food that you can have there. Perfectly true, but that’s not it. Penang is a favourite destination not only thanks to all the delicious meals that it offers but also because of its rich history and culture. So where to go, what to see and what to eat?
You can start your tour in George Town. Get lost in the streets breathing with history. Apart from colonial-style houses you will get across a lot of original street art. Many paintings and graffitti have a deeper meaning but it’s basically impossible to see them all.
Oh, how we love this colourful neighborhood! It is maybe more Indian than India itself. The streets of this part of George Town are filled with shops selling clothes, jewelry or sweets. You will hear the Bollywoodian music coming from music shops still selling compact cassettes and smell the freshly baked bread. Stop for a moment and have a cup of ginger tea with roti.
Chinese clan houses
Another very important culture present on the island of Penang is Chinese. You can visit a few clan houses and admire their architecture and decorations. The biggest one is Khoo Kongsi where you can actually read the whole family history, pedigree and lifestyle.
Kek Lok Si Temple
You cannot leave Penang without visiting this spectacular Buddhist temple rich with ornaments. You can find it in Air Atam, a small town not far from George Town. The complex is full of small temples, shrines, statues and gardens. Right on top there is a gigantic statue of Kuan Yin, the goddess of mercy.
Only few tourists know about this old cemetery and even fewer actually go and check it. As the name says most people buried here are foreigners: English, Dutch or Germans. Most tombs date back to the 18th and 19th century. If you check the age of the buried you will find out most of them died really young, which was due to the outbreak of malaria. The frangipani trees growing at the cemetery underline the gloomy atmosphere.
Of course, we couldn’t skip one of the main reasons why people visit Penang. It is popular especially for its street food which will satisfy even the most demanding eaters. Soups, seafood or meat: just name it. We found a few spots that offer a slightly different culinary experience such as this huge ramen bowl. Another famous dish is laksa, which is a type of spicy noodle soup with various toppings. The most remarkable one on the island comes from a small place owned by two elderly ladies – sisters. It’s called Curry Mee and it is for sure one of the oldest laksa places on Penang. The two sisters have become a tourist attraction and people come to see them and take pictures of them.
2 days in Ipoh
Moving on the next destination on our itinerary: Ipoh. This laidback town is a pleasant surprise. Apart from excellent food it offers different places and interesting activities for its visitors. Let’s name at least a few of them:
- Kek Long Tong Cave Temple: we have a thing for cave temples and this one is really nice with its picturesque surroundings.
- Kellie’s Castle: if this place reminds you of Scottish castles, you’re not crazy. William Kellie Smith, who built it, wanted a perfect copy of his home in Scotland. It is also believed to be haunted.
- Railway Station: a beautiful building from the colonial period
- Oldtown: sounds banal but trust us, a nice walk in the lovely streets of Ipoh is all you need. Check the street art and have coffee in one of the bars.
2 days in Melaka
After Ipoh head to the south to a city filled with haunted places and mysteries. The reason is simple. Melaka used to be some kind of cultural knot where different nations shared their history. The past is filled with strong and painful stories and the dead who cannot find peace have remained in the city. Everyone who has ever lived in Melaka will tell you how strong the presence of ghosts is. But let’s concentrate on the attractions first.
These are a few of the most important sights in Melaka:
- Melaka Heritage Trail: you probably know that Melaka is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the Heritage trail is one of the reasons why. You will find it right in the heart of the city.
- River: well, they also call it the Amsterdam of Asia, you will immediately understand why.
- St. John’s Fort: one of the traces left by the Dutch colonists, a white reminder of the past.
- A Famosa Fort: not much has remained from this 16th century Portuguese fort, still worth a visit though.
- St. Paul’s Church: just a short climb up the hill from A Famosa.
- Chinatown: if you’re not into sightseeing then for sure you’re into eating…a lot.
You will manage to see all the main attractions in one day without hurry. How about doing something different the second day? Are you into ghost hunting? We’ll soon publish a post on the haunted and abandoned places in Melaka that we had a chance to explore. Your two weeks in Malaysia cannot go without a proper dose of scary!
3 days in Kuala Lumpur
We must admit that our relationship with the capital city of Malaysia is complicated. We love it and hate it at the same time. We like its neverending options and multicultural background. There is a lot we can learn from Kuala Lumpur. However, after two or three days in the city we get really exhausted. If this is your first time in the country then you must find a few days to visit it during your two weeks in Malaysia.
Unfortunately the sights worth visiting are not really close one to another so you might want to consider using Uber or renting a car. Don’t worry, the traffic in Kuala Lumpur is nothing to be afraid of. So this is how you can organize your three days in Kuala Lumpur:
Start with exploring the most important religious monuments and places in the city. As we have already mentioned, there are three important cultures in Malaysia and each of them has their sacred place in Kuala Lumpur.
- Masjid Negara (Malay): the impressive National Mosque welcomes warmly all the visitors if they are covered properly. The staff will provide you with a violet robe that will cover you from head to toes. They will also give you more details about the mosque and answer any questions about islam or Quran.
- Batu Caves (Hindu): it takes a little exercise to climb all the stairs that lead to the famous Batu caves. Be careful on your way up: there are dozens of monkeys that will easily steal any food from you. Unfortunately there is a huge reconstruction going on inside so you won’t see much.
- Thean Hou Temple (Chinese): one of the oldest temples in Southeast Asia welcomes its visitors with the statues of animals from the Chinese horoscope. While you might be a little disappointed by the excessive commercial activies inside the temple, the beautiful decorations will make it up to you. Moreover you can find out more about your future with the help of chi-chi sticks.
If you haven’t had enough just get lost in the streets and we guarantee that you will come across a lot of temples and interesting religious places.
Dedicate the second day to eating. We are serious: Kuala Lumpur is a mekka of good food. To make things easier for you we have put together this mini guide to some of the best places to eat in the city. Locals approve!
Your two weeks in Malaysia are almost over so you should make your last day memorable. These are a few that you can do:
– take a swim on a rooftop and enjoy a spectacular view: there are a lot of residential buildings that are full of air’b’n’b flats. They all have all the facilities you need: a supermarket, laundry room, gym and…swimming pools. Taking a swim on the fifteenth floor is unforgettable!
– go shopping: the capital city in Malaysia is full of shopping centres and some of them are truly spectacular. You don’t really have to buy anything, just go inside and observe. One of the most impressive ones is Pavilion.
- check the Patronas towers: the tallest twin skyscrapers in the world attract a lot of people. It looks like everyone visiting the city wants to find the best angle to take a picture of them. Go with the flow!
- have a drink in of the many rooftop bars and enjoy the sunset: no comments needed.
Do you think we have missed anything important in our itinerary for two weeks in Malaysia? Let us know in the comments or share your experience with us!