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My Favourite 3 Places in Malaysia

  • August 3, 2017
  • By 50 Shades
  • 32 Comments
My Favourite 3 Places in Malaysia

During my travels throughout South East Asia I had previously used Malaysia, or more specifically Kuala Lumpur, for a stopover or transit point. However during a visit in 2016 I was to discover a South East Asian country that has a thriving cosmopolitan capital, a blend of cultures, a rich history of British rule, densely forested regions and magical tropical islands. My favourite 3 places in Malaysia, although a tough decision, were Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Penang – all very different but all equally as enticing.

I discovered that getting to Malaysia was as easy as navigating my way to Traveloka Malaysia booking website where I got the best MAS  promotions and deals. You can also use this booking site to look for the best deals on accommodation for your holiday to Malaysia. Having the convenience of booking both my flights and accommodation in the one place was a bonus.

1. Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, or more commonly known as just KL, is the capital of Malaysia. It’s a thriving modern city with a skyline dominated by skyscrapers and the 451 metre tall Petronas Twin Towers. Petronas is a pair of glass-and-steel-clad skyscrapers with Islamic motifs and are the most familiar sight in KL. The towers are a huge tourist attraction and offer a public skybridge and observation deck. My tip is to take in the wonderful views of KL by night from the observation deck.

My Favourite 3 Places in Malaysia

KL Skyline with Petronas Towers

The city is also home to British colonial-era landmarks such as the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.  See these landmarks and more on a Malaysia Heritage Walk that will introduce you to KL’s oldest hotspots such as Pasar Seni and Chinatown. If you would like to learn more about the history and heritage of Malaysia visit the National Museum, National History Museum, Dataran Merdeka or the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia.

My Favourite 3 Places in Malaysia

KL Railway Station

A manageable day trip from KL is Batu Caves, an iconic and popular tourist attraction in Selangor. The site of a Hindu temple and shrine, Batu Caves is a limestone outcrop located just north of Kuala Lumpur. Batu Caves has three main caves featuring temples and Hindu shrines.
Lord Murugan Statue

Lord Murugan Statue located at the entrance to the Batu Caves

For the foodies there is much on offer with a huge variety of delicious eating options that reflect the very best of Malaysian cuisine. Don’t miss the Lot 10 Hutong food court in Bukit Bintang and Jalan Alor, a popular food street. Changkat Bukit Bintang is a great place to grab dinner or a cold beverage after a long day of sightseeing. There are plenty of restaurants and bars lining both sides of the street.
My Favourite 3 Places in Malaysia

Changkat Bukit Bintang Dining Street in KL

If you’re a shopaholic like me, KL has many mega malls for bargain and top-end buys. Check out Pavilion, Mid-Valley Megamall, The Gardens Mid-Valley, Publika, The Curve, Ikano Power Centre and KLCC. I can guarantee that you will find many bargains in these malls and you will virtually shop until you drop!
My Favourite 3 Places in Malaysia

Outside one of KL’s Shopping Malls

2. Langkawi

Langkawi, a magical land of legends, contains 99 islands on the north-western shore of Malaysia, situated where the Indian Ocean narrows down into the Straits of Malacca. There are myths dating back to 500 AD of legends of celestial beings, demons, warriors, giants, beautiful maidens and gallant heroes, which are so much part of the island’s identity.

My Favourite 4 Places in Malaysia

Sunrise over the magical Langkawi Islands

Clad with jungles in the interior, Langkawi Island is fringed by lovely beaches scattered along its coast. The island is still very much a rural landscape with villages and paddy fields. But it is also an extremely popular retreat for visitors.

One of the first sights we saw on arrival was the 39 foot tall eagle statue at Kuah Jetty. The significance is that the island is named after the eagle: “lang” is Malay for eagle, while “kawi” is Sanskrit for marble. You will see many of these graceful birds hovering around the skies of the island.

Langkawi Eagle Statue

Langkawi Eagle Statue

The two main beaches, Pantai Cenang and Pantai Kok, are on the island’s western coast, with Pantai Cenang being the most popular as the venue for hotels and restaurants. Dotted along the northern coast are the most luxurious resorts.

Pantai Cenang Beach

Pantai Cenang Beach

Langkawi is sanctuary to some of the most ancient rainforest in the world that are teeming with the exotic flora and fauna. During our drive into the mountains we saw many Macaque monkeys along the roadside, so we stopped to photograph them.

Langkawi Rainforest Monkeys

Langkawi Rainforest Monkeys

One of the best ways to get a bird’s eye view of the beauty of this island paradise is getting on the cable car to Langkawi’s second highest peak at Oriental Village. Rising up to 2,000 feet you reach the top of Mt Mat Cincang, where you can see from Thailand in the north to Indonesia in the south-west.

Views from Mt Mat Cincang

A visit to Laman Padi (Rice Museum) is worthwhile as it offers the most comprehensive exhibits of artefacts, charts, photographs and actual rice planting tools used in paddy fields. Amongst the many great attractions on Langkawi is a cruise on the Kilim River, which is a Marine Park with a delicate ecosystem of tidal mangroves, lagoons and isolated islands. Or visit Underwater World, Asia’s premium marine and freshwater aquarium, where you can walk beneath a shark tank and venture to both Sub-Antarctic and tropical rainforest environments.

This is why Langkawi is number 2 on my list of favourite places in Malaysia. I would certainly put this island paradise on your “must-see” list!

3. Penang

The largest and most populated state in Malaysia, Penang is located on the north-west coast of Peninsula Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. The capital is George Town that was once a British outpost. The island was successfully developed under British rule and became a naval base for the British to protect its interest in the Far East spice trade from the Dutch and French. As it was formerly an important trading hub, the city is known for its British colonial buildings, Chinese shophouses and mosques.

Town Hall George Town

Town Hall George Town

We set off on foot with a map in hand and explored some of the sights of George Town and the Old City, which features Malaysia’s best preserved colonial buildings.

Clock Tower George Town

Clock Tower George Town

We came across this interesting clock tower, called the The Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower, which is a testament to Penang’s royal connections.

Fort Cornwallis is one of Penang’s most well known landmarks. Within its ten-foot-high walls (which are laid out in the shape of a star), you can see a 17th century chapel, some prison cells, ammunition storage area, and some old bronze cannons.

Built in 1801 by Penang’s first Indian Muslim settlers (East India Company troops), the Indo-Moorish Kapitan Keling Mosque is another Penang landmark.

Sri Mariamman Temple is a Hindu temple in Georgetown’s compact Little India district: built in 1833, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu god, Lord Subramaniam.

Chinese Kongsi (or clan houses) are a must see in Penang. Many were built in the 19th or early 20th Century and are heritage sites in George Town.

Chinatown George Town

George Town’s Chinatown was a burst of vivid colours in preparation for the Chinese New Year celebrations. Six Clan Jetties form part of the Penang Heritage Trail. Billed as one of the last bastions of old Chinese settlements on the island, this waterfront society is home to houses on stilts of various Chinese clans.

As for the rest of the Old City there is evidence everywhere that this place was a British colony from the style of the architecture of the old colonial buildings.

George Town Old Buildings

George Town Colonial Buildings

Penang was a colourful spectacle with Chinese lanterns adorning the streets and there was a perfect harmony of varying cultures and history. You could easily spend more time here delving into the rich history.

How to get to Malaysia

Fly direct to Kuala Lumpur from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth with Malaysia Airlines and around 8 and 1/2 hours later you’re here. Naturally the distance from Perth is shorter. From KL there are connecting flights to both Langkawi and Penang.

The next time you are looking for a South East Asia holiday consider Malaysia as an alternative tropical island escape. You will not be disappointed!

This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset. The Lovin’ Life Team includes:

Lyndall from Seize the Day Projectlovin-life-linky
Deb from DebbishDotCom
Min from Write of the Middle.
Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit
Jo from And Anyways
and of course me, Kathy from 50 Shades of Age


By 50 Shades, August 3, 2017 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

32 Comments
  • Jo Tracey
    August 3, 2017

    I haven’t been to Langkawi, but free with you re KL & Penang – the food is fabulous.

    • Kathy
      August 3, 2017

      I would love to return to Langkawi. It was such a heavily forested and mountainous island with heaps of other small islands that you can go off to explore. Plus the beaches were divine. #TeamLovinLife

  • Lydia C. Lee
    August 3, 2017

    I really want to take the kids to Penang – Husband always find a reason not to (ie someplace else). I love KL and Langkawi. Great pics!

    • Kathy
      August 13, 2017

      You would be pleasantly surprised with Malaysia as a holiday destination. It has a lot to offer.

  • Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama
    August 3, 2017

    I haven’t been to Malaysia, so one for the bucket list. I’m always intrigued by how people pronounce Kuala Lumpur – and wonder why a non-Australian city is called “Koala” (or that’s what it seems like)!

    • Kathy
      August 3, 2017

      Yes it is pronounced “koala” which is pretty funny. I can recommend Malaysia as a great alternative to the other South East Asia countries. #TeamLovinLife

  • Deborah
    August 3, 2017

    Other than landing in KL I’ve only been to the southern part of Malaysia and I’m embarrassed to say I can’t even remember where we went. It was just a day trip (or maybe an overnighter?) when I was in Singapore in 1997. I was only in Singapore for a long weekend (when I lived in Cambodia) so my visit was fleeting. But whatever we visited was lovely and had Portuguese, Chinese and Dutch influences from memory – as it’d been a trading port.

    • Kathy
      August 3, 2017

      That sounds like it might have been Penang Deb. This is where most of the trading happened during the British rule. Malaysia is a lovely country with so much to offer and the food is amazing. #TeamLovinLife

  • Min@WriteoftheMiddle
    August 3, 2017

    I haven’t been to Malaysia. I haven’t been to LOTS of places sadly. It looks much nicer than I expected though. That Pantai Cenang Beach looks inviting! I have a cousin living in KL so somewhere to stay if I want to go there. Hmmm….should do something about that!! #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      August 3, 2017

      I think you should too Min. Malaysia is such a diverse country and there is something here for everyone. A thriving capital city with great shopping, an old city influenced by the British rule, tropical greenery and palm fringed islands. What’s not to like? #TeamLovinLife

  • jodie filogomo
    August 3, 2017

    I love that you get to go to all of these fabulous places, Kathy!!
    And your photos are divine!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Kathy
      August 3, 2017

      Yes I must admit I’m very fortunate to have travelled a lot. Asia is very affordable for Australians to visit due to its close proximity and cheap accommodation and food. I’m actually heading off to Vietnam and Laos in 4 weeks time. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    August 3, 2017

    We haven’t done Malaysia at all – I don’t think it would be my husband’s cup of tea (probably end up like we did in Singapore where we each chose things to do to make sure we both had fun!) It’s close to home though so always a consideration!

    • Kathy
      August 3, 2017

      I think Malaysia has a good array of places. The three we visited were all were very different. I’m hoping to return to Langkawi for a holiday in the future. It was like paradise. #TeamLovinLife

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    August 3, 2017

    We have never visited Malaysia, Kathy although we do have it on our bucket list. One of our Saturday Sisters has relatives there and visits at least once a year. I love looking at photos and I just love the white buildings. Thanks for sharing your tips on Malaysia, Kathy I really enjoyed visiting there through your website.

    • Kathy
      August 3, 2017

      Thanks Sue. I think there is something for everyone in Malaysia. The beaches on Langkawi were exquisite and the interior jungles were also so green and lush. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jan Wild
    August 3, 2017

    Ah George Town, how we loved our time visiting there. I haven’t been to Langkawi at all and it was 1978 when I was last in KL. So much to see and it is such an easy journey from here with the potential of a stopover in Singapore. But first Europe …. Great photos!

    • Kathy
      August 3, 2017

      Yes Europe will be an epic trip. You can always see Malaysia another time as it is very affordable to get to and accommodation, food, etc is relatively cheap. We hope to get back to Langkawi one day. #TeamLovinLife

  • Lyndall @ SeizeThe Day Project
    August 3, 2017

    I went to KL many years ago on a stopover on the way back from London, but I don’t remember much about it. Otherwise, I haven’t visited Malaysia. Thanks for the great tips on places to go … and all those wonderful sites to visit too! :) #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      August 4, 2017

      Same here. I had only visited Malaysia for a stopover or in transit. I was pleasantly surprised that it has so much more to offer the tourist. It is a fascinating place. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    August 4, 2017

    Great photos as always. Penang looks particularly inviting #teamlovinlife

    • Kathy
      August 4, 2017

      Thanks Leanne. Yes Penang was an interesting place to visit. A great history. #TeamLovinLife

  • budget jan
    August 4, 2017

    I think we’ll get to Malaysia again one day. I took a bus up the east coast from Singapore when I was 21, but Marty and I haven’t been there as a couple. I’d like to visit beaches, eat lots of different foods and visit the tea plantations. I’m pretty sure I’d visit Penang.

    • Kathy
      August 4, 2017

      I’m sure you and Marty would love Malaysia. It has heaps of potential. I want to island hop to those 1,000+ islands off Langkawi! #TeamLovinLife

  • Sydney Shop Girl
    August 4, 2017

    Half my family are from Malaysia and I love visiting them there. Can you believe, though, that I’ve never been to Langkawi? Need to rectify this.

    SSG xxx

    • Kathy
      August 5, 2017

      You should put Langkawi on your list next time you visit. It was like paradise. #TeamLovinLife

  • Rhonda Albom
    August 5, 2017

    I also love KL as it’s exciting. Yet, somehow when I looked at this page it was that beach on Langkawi that was calling to me. I think it’s nearly time for another trip to Malaysia!

    • Kathy
      August 5, 2017

      KL is great for it’s shopping and eating alone, but for a more laid-back holiday I would suggest you spend some time at Langkawi. It’s superb! #TeamLovinLife

  • Michele {Malaysian Meanders}
    August 11, 2017

    I’m so glad that Penang made the list. I am blessed to have been able to call it home for 3 years. And in all that time, can you believe that I never made it to Langkawi? We were always flying off further afield whenever we had a long holiday weekend.

    • Kathy
      August 11, 2017

      That’s interesting. I met someone else the other day whose father served in the armed forces in Penang during the British rule and he had fond memories of the place. Langkawi was gorgeous and I hope to return to explore more of the 1,000 islands.

  • David
    August 23, 2017

    Very interested in visiting Malaysia, the comprehensive read has helped a lot.

    • Kathy
      August 23, 2017

      Yes Malaysia is one place that maybe overlooked as a holiday destination, but is definitely worth considering.

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