Malaysia, Singapore’s neighbor up north, is a fantastic travel destination, with cheap and delicious food, breathtaking natural sights and cities with lots of character.
Here’s a self-drive itinerary that takes you through some of Malaysia’s most interesting areas on the peninsula’s west coast.
Day 1: Malacca
Malacca is just 3 hours away from Singapore by car and a popular weekend destination for visitors from Singapore.
Plan the first day of your trip to coincide with the weekend, as Malacca’s Jonker Street Night Market (Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia), which runs on Friday and Saturday, is must-visit thanks to the many streets and snack stalls that set up shop there.
In the day, visit the iconic brick-red Christ Church and Stadthuys, which sit adjacent to each other in Dutch Square (Bandar Hilir, 75200 Malacca, Malaysia), a testament to the period during which Malacca was under Dutch control.
Day 2: Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, is an easy drive of fewer than 2 hours from Malacca.
Lovers of big, bustling cities will enjoy the fact that KL is extremely modern and has a huge array of food and entertainment at very cheap prices compared to Singapore.
Whether you plan to spend your time shopping at mega malls like Suria KLCC (Lot 241, Level 2, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), party at Zouk KL (436, Jalan Tun Razak, Kelab Golf di Raja Selangor, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) or explore the cultural enclaves of Chinatown, Kampung Baru and Little India, don’t forget to tuck into some delicious Malaysian-style street food.
From KL you can also visit the Batu Caves (Gombak, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia), which are less than 20 minutes’ drive from the city. These cave temples were built into imposing rocks of limestone and are home to awe-inspiring statues of Hindu gods as well as many monkeys. Admission is free, so this makes a cheap day trip.
Day 3: Ipoh
It’s time to slow down in Ipoh, which is about 2 hours 15 minutes from KL. Ipoh is the capital of Perak and has a reputation for great food.
The Old Town Ipoh is a mishmash of colonial buildings and traditional shophouses. Notable sights include the Birch Memorial Clock Tower (31650 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia), which is a landmark in the city, as well as the Ipoh State Mosque (Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab, 31650 Ipoh, Negeri Perak, Malaysia), with its sprawling grounds.
It is also worthwhile escaping the city to visit Perak Cave (Jalan Kuala Kangsar, Kawasan Perindustrian Tasek, 31400 Ipoh, Negeri Perak, Malaysia), where you will find cave temples littered with Buddha statues, as well as Sam Poh Tong (Kampung Gunung Rapat, 31350 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia), which offers stunning mountain views.
Day 4: Georgetown
George Town, Penang’s capital, is a great place to base yourself to explore the rest of the island. It is located about 2 hours’ drive from Ipoh.
The city center of George Town is steeped in well-preserved culture, from shophouses that have stood the test of time, Chinese temples smoky with incense and stately mosques to evocative street art giving the city a modern makeover.
Must-sees include the Goddess of Mercy Temple (30, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia), which is very atmospheric and located just down the street from the grand Kapitan Keling Mosque (14, Jalan Buckingham, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia).
Buy Travel Insurance
Have fun exploring Malaysia, but don’t forget to first protect yourself with a good travel insurance policy from HL Assurance. If you travel often, consider getting annual travel insurance that offers year-long protection.