As one of Southeast Asia’s most fascinating destinations, Malaysia is a diverse country that has something of interest for every traveler. Whether you have just 24 hours or 3 days in Malaysia now is the time to pack your bags and visit this multicultural city.
Located off the northern coast of Singapore, Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures country rich with experiences around every corner. Ready to fall in love with this one-of-a-kind destination?
Here are 10 travel tips for your first trip to Malaysia!
#1 Use Public Transportation or Grab App
Kuala Lumpur city centre’s public transport (LRT/MRT/Monorail) is a traveler’s dream! The city has an impressive public transportation network that will take you anywhere you wish to go in the city.
To save cash and time, I’d recommend checking out the KL Travel Pass – a Metro Card in Kuala Lumpur. It gives you 2-day unlimited rides on LRT, MRT and Monorail and inclusive of KLIA Express airport transfer. Single trip pass is RM75 ($19 USD) or Return Trip pass is RM120 ($30 USD)
While the MRT is great, sometimes it can also be more convenient to just hop in a car. However, sometimes taxis are pricey in Malaysia, and Uber is no longer a thing.
So, download the app – Grab, before you go. It works just like Uber, and it’s a local must-have app!
#2 Eat Like the Locals
I relished the cuisine in Malaysia! You can get scrumptious meal from a Michelin star restaurant here (although Malaysia is home to the cheapest Michelin-starred meal) or local’s favourite restaurants.
My top spots are Village Park in Uptown Damansara and Chili Crab restaurants. Be sure to try Malaysian specialties like Ipoh Hor Fun Soup, Chicken Rice, Assam Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Banana Leaf Rice and Satay.
Malaysians are crazy for Char Kuey Teow, too. Head over to Village Park or Little Rimba to dine Malaysian cuisine in a stellar place!
#3 English is Widely Spoken in Malaysia
Compared to other Asian countries, English is widely spoken in Malaysia. So reasonable English is enough to get you around.
If you’re venturing beyond the major cities, learn a few words of Bahasa, Chinese or Tamil for a better chance of connecting locally.
You could also use body language (and a smile) so they understand what you are trying to say.
#4 Get to Batu Caves Early
As one of the most popular attractions in the city, Batu Caves gets quite busy. The local worshippers and tourist bus usually come around 9 am, so I’d recommend getting there as early as 6.30 am so you are among the first to be there and can get your desired colourful Instagram shots!
Batu Caves are free to visit and the opening hours are from 6 am to 9 pm. A trip to Batu Caves will take you roughly 35 minutes to get there if you are staying in the Kuala Lumpur city centre using Grab. The cost is around RM30 and this is a quicker way if you are on a tight schedule.
Wanna go on guided tours to Batu Caves? Choose one of the following:
- Kuala Lumpur Suburbs and Batu Caves
- Genting Highlands and Batu Caves Day Tour
- Kuala Lumpur City Full Day Tour
- Kuala Lumpur FRIM and Batu Caves Tour
- Petronas Twin Towers and Batu Caves Full Day Tour
#5 Get Your Caffeine Fix at Coffee Shops
Kuala Lumpur’s cafe culture is more happening than you think! Malaysia’s cafes have taken inspiration from the vibrant cafe culture found in cities like Melbourne, Australia. Depending on where you are staying, there are some great options all over the city.
There’s Eight Ounce Coffee and San Francisco Coffee in KLCC, PULP by Papa Palheta and Antipodean Cafe in Bangsar, VCR Coffee and Feeka Coffee Roasters in Bukit Bintang, F.R. Copper and Common Man Coffee Roasters in TTDI, and Kopenhagen Coffee in Mont Kiara.
If you are a coffee connoisseur, you are going to love OCAM Artisanal Cafe. OCAM Coffee roast their coffee in-house and offer good selection of coffee there.
OCAM Coffee’s famous Gula Melaka latte is amazing.
#6 It’s Always Bubble Milk Tea Time
The bubble milk tea scene in Malaysia is going strong and it’s called Boba Tea trend. It’s the drink with chewy tapioca pearls in bubble milk teas and the local won’t mind having everyday even if it means queuing up for an hour.
I love Bubble Milk Tea for a couple reasons. First, it will help you stay cool in this heaty Malaysian weather. Second, they’ve got good selection of bubble milk tea drooling menu!
KOI, Tealive, The Alley, Gong Cha and Chatime are among the popular brands and you can choose their signature drinks.
With one sip, Bubble Milk Tea will surely leave you wanting more.
#7 Enjoy Luxury Accommodation for Less
Malaysia offers many fantastic accommodation options, from high rise luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur to beachfront resorts and spas along the coastal areas. It’s possible to find some good deals on this type of accommodation, especially if you book well in advance.
The best areas to stay in Kuala Lumpur will be Bangsar, Bukit Bintang, KL Sentral and Chinatown.
Get the best view in town by staying in hotel with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers view.
Read More: Best Hotels in Kuala Lumpur with KLCC View
#8 You Don’t Have Always Have to Tip
Tipping isn’t actually a part of Malaysia’s culture. The staff doesn’t expect tips, so don’t feel obligated. Though, if you are really happy with the service, tips are most certainly appreciated.
#9 Visiting During Ramadan isn’t a problem
Like most Muslim majority countries, Muslim-owned restaurants close across Malaysia during the day, but that doesn’t mean food can’t be found.
The good news is that Chinese and other non-Muslim owned restaurants as well fast food restaurants remain open pretty much everywhere.
#10 Pack Accordingly
Malaysia is hot and humid all year-round, with temperatures roughly between 28 – 37 degrees (C). While it can be actually be refreshing on a hot day, you’ll want to come prepared for the unexpected showers.
Carry lightweight clothes and be sure to pack a rain jacket. The rain can come down heavily without warning.
With all these great tips, your first trip to Malaysia is surely long overdue! So what are you waiting for? Time to plan your first trip now!