Travel Itinerary: The Ultimate Malaysian Road Trip

Malaysia is different.

Nestled in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is everything Thailand is not – quieter, more subtle, and by far more temperate. It offers multiple experiences for travelers who are fortunate to stay around long enough for an all-encompassing exploration within the region. 

Best known for its diversity and endless surprises, traveling through Malaysia is almost like visiting two countries at once, with loud bustling cities and unbroken stretches of virgin forests located in the immediate vicinity. The most effective way to witness this country in its full glory is by going on a long, unhurried road trip best accompanied by laughter and traveling buddies with as much enthusiasm as you!

Below is a suggested itinerary for the ultimate Malaysian road trip you will never forget.

Travel Itinerary: The Ultimate Malaysian Road Trip


1. Johor Bahru (Luxuriate)

Land in Senai International Airport and search for a one-way car rental (drop off at KLIA/KLIA2)
Attractions: Legoland Malaysia, Istana Besar, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple

2. Taman Negara Johor Endau Rompin (Activity)

The second largest national park in Peninsula Malaysia, it is one of the world's oldest tropical rainforests featuring 248-million-year-old rock formations and the endangered Northern Sumatran rhinoceros. 
Things to Do: Hiking Gunung Tahan (highest peak in West Malaysia), canopy walk, trekking, night jungle walk, visiting aborigine settlement, rapid shooting, boat cruise, cave exploration, animal watching.

3. Melaka (Food)

A city with Portugese and Dutch influence and great food.
Attractions: Christ Church, Taming Sari Tower, A Famosa, Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
What to Eat: Nyonya cuisine, chicken rice balls, satay celup, pai tee, cendol, coconut milkshake


4. Kuala Lumpur (Luxuriate)

The capital of Malaysia dominated by a skyline filled with skyscrapers, expats and travelers, Michelin-starred restaurants, places of worship, and everything in between.
Attractions: Petronas Twin Towers, Batu Caves (Hindu temples + cave exploration + rock climbing), KL Tower, Petaling Street, Thean Hou Temple, Golden Triangle (Bukit Bintang), National Mosque.

5. Krau Wildlife Reserve, Pahang (Activity)

The largest wildlife reserve in Peninsula Malaysia containing a large diversity of birds and mammals such as primates and bats. It is also the home to two groups of aboriginal tribes: Jah Hut and Sewang.
Things to Do: Wildlife spotting, hiking Gunung Benom (2017 meters), jungle trekking, camping, fishing and bird watching.

6. Teluk Intan, Perak (Food)

A small town with well-preserved colonial buildings and Chinese shop-houses.
Attractions: Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan, Batu Tenggek (War Memorial), Ruins of Raja Muda's Palace, Sungai Kerawai Halt, Hock Soon Temple, Sri Subramaniam Temple.
Things to Do: Food hunting, visiting places of worship
What to Eat: Ah Chai Rojak, Liew Kee Chee Cheong Fun, Heong Peah, Nasi Kandar Changkat Jong, Mee Rojak Mastan Ghani, heong peng, tau sar pneah, Hawaii Lolo, Malindo Apom Balik

7. Lumut – Pulau Pangkor, Perak (Activity)

A coastal town and a gateway to Pulau Pangkor (Pangkor Island) best known for its seashells and coral handicrafts.
Attractions: Teluk Batik, Pasir Panjang Turtle Hatchery, Pulau Pangkor, Mangrove Swamp Park
Things to Do: Day trip to Pulau Pangkor via ferry, food-hunting in Sitiawan, river cruise

8. Ipoh, Perak (Luxuriate & Food)

State capital of Perak and the forth largest city in Malaysia.
Attractions: Kellie's Castle, Gua Tempurung (cave exploration), Tambun Hot Springs, Gua Tambun Cave Paintings, Ipoh Heritage Trail, Concubine Lane,  Ipoh Wall Art Murals, Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple, Gunung Lang Recretional Park, Rafflesia Trek.
Things to Do: White water rafting, caving, hot springs, jungle trekking, exploring Ulu Geroh
What to Eat: Heong Peng, chicken rice with bean sprout, kaya puffs, egg tarts, tong shui at Dessert Street, kai see hor fun, popiah, satay, char kway teow, white curry noodle, dim sum, Ipoh white coffee.

9. Pulau Pinang (Food)

Comprises of Penang Island and George Town, the capital city located in Peninsula Malaysia bearing a good combination of modernity and traditional charms.
What to Eat: Assam laksa, char kuey teow, Teochew cendol, Hokkien har mee, wantan mee, oh chien, popiah, chee cheong fan, rojak, tau sar peah, udang galah rendang, dim sum, satay, nasi kandar Kassim Mustafa, chee cheong jook.

10. Royal Belum State Park (Activity)

One of the world's oldest rain forests dating back to over 130 million years ago which is home to 14 threatened mammal species including the Malaysian Tiger, Malayan Tapir, White-Handed Gibbon, Asiatic Elephant, Malaysian Sunbear, and Sumatran Rhinoceros.
Things to Do: Bird-watching, animal observation, jungle trails, river cruises, trekking, waterfall exploration, trekking to salt licks, visiting Orang Asli villages.

11. Gunung Stong State Park (Activity)

1442-metre tall mountain which is the home to a high diversity of wildlife situated on the fringes of the Titiwangsa range.
Things to Do: Stong Waterfalls, jungle trekking, animal observation, camping, hiking.

12. Gua Musang (Activity)

A small town located deep within the jungle in central Kelantan featuring a unique formation of rocks and barren hills, reachable by train thanks to the Jungle Railway.
Things to Do: Rock climbing, visiting Pulai, cave exploration.

13. Tasik Kenyir (Activity)

An artificial lake located in Hulu Terrenganu created by the damming of the Kenyir River.
Things to Do: Fishing (sea angling, course fishing and game fishing), jungle trekking at Pengkalan Gawi, kayaking, canoeing, boating, rafting and rapids shooting.

14. Drive along E8 (Luxuriate)

The East Coast Expressway or Lebuhraya Pantai Timur begins in Jabur, crossing Chenih, Chukai, Kijal, Kerteh, Paka, Dungun, Bukit Besi, Ajil, Telemong and terminates at Highway 3 at Kampung Gemuruh. E8 makes the perfect road trip thanks to the scenic view along the eastern coast of Malaysia.
Things to Do: Road trip, eat, and occasionally stopping for a dip in the sea!

15. Kuantan (Luxuriate)

State capital of Pahang located near the mouth of the Kuantan River and faces the South China Sea.
Attractions: Teluk Cempedak, Pantai Batu Hitam, Masjid Negeri, Central Market, Sultan Ahmad Shah Agriculture Park, Sungai Pandan Waterfall, East Coast Mall.

16. Tasik Chini (Activity)

A lake in central Pahang which shores are inhabited by the Jakun tribe, located 85 kilometers away from Kuantan.
Things to Do: Boat rides, jungle trekking, homestay, fishing, overnight hiking, Runchang Orang Asli Settlement, Bebar Peat Swamp Forest.

17. Tasik Bera (Activity)

A natural freshwater lake in southwestern Pahang located in the saddle of the main and eastern mountain ranges with a width of 35 kilometers.
Things to Do: Boating, kayaking, river cruising, wildlife observation, Semalai homestay.

18. Hutan Lipur Jeram Toi (Activity)

Located between Seremban and Kuala Kelawang, Jeram Toi is a popular recreational park for picnics and refreshing baths.
Things to Do: Trekking, gorges and waterfalls, natural pools.

...and a short drive to KLIA/KLIA2 to drop off the car and to end your trip with sun-kissed skin and plenty of awesome memories of Malaysia!

Happy traveling!

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