Found between Thailand and Singapore, Peninsular Malaysia (often known as West Malaysia) is home to the majority of the country’s multicultural population. Home to the capital and largest city, Kuala Lumpur, it is more developed than Malaysian Borneo at just 1/3rd of the size. Peninsular Malaysia is cut in half by the Titiswanga, a mountain range running right down the middle.
Often overlooked in favour of its most famous celebrity neighbour, Thailand, upon closer inspection Peninsular Malaysia has a lot going for it in terms of diversity, friendly locals and a fantastic transport network to get around. There’s ancient rainforest, charming colonial towns, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stunning islands and beaches, even tea plantations! Check out the must-visit places below…
Places to visit in Peninsular Malaysia: (From North to South)
- LANGKAWI ISLANDS: Almost on the border with Thailand, these tax-free islands are a haven for divers, snorkelers, sunbathers and those in search of cheap booze! With recent heavy marketing, the islands have become very touristy of late.
- PERHENTIAN ISLANDS: Raved over as beautiful island gems, in particular Pulau Perhentian Kecil with its white sandy beaches, jungle backdrop and chilled out beach bars is a must stop for beach-lovin’ backpackers.
- PENANG: Colonial island of Penang is a border-run stop for many expats and long-term travellers in Thailand. Great food, cheap guesthouses aplenty and good transport links to nearby Indonesia and Thailand.
- TAMAN NEGARA: Ancient tropical rainforest filled with thousands of different species of flora and fauna. Take a trek into the depths of the jungle across bamboo bridges hanging above the canopy.
- CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Silky green tea plantations galore at this one-time hill-top retreat for the English colonial gentry. Visit a strawberry farm, take in a tea factory, feast on scones or just cool down your body temperature at this 6,666 ft countryside getaway.
- KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s bustling capital city and melting pot of cultures is a natural stop for many backpackers. Shopping, dining, festival-going, partying, socialising, KL is a great hub.
- MELAKA: Ancient strategic port town with a fascinating colonial history involving the Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese and English. Wander the charming streets lined with Chinese shop-houses stopping off every now and again to savour some delicious Chinese delicacies. Melaka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- PULAU TIOMAN: Once voted one of the ‘Top 10 Tropical Islands in the World’ by Time Magazine, Pulau Tioman takes some beating for its glorious white sands, turquoise seas and laid-back island life.