Holidays in Malaysia are a potpourri of rich Asian culture, thriving cities and over 800 postcard-worthy islands. Recent visitors to this charming country have fondly described it as “truly Asia” and you’ll soon see why. It’s bursting with a richly diverse culture - Muslim Malays, Hindu and Muslim Indians and Chinese, as well as Aboriginal groups live together peacefully and all call this beautiful country home.
With each city, town and island you visit owning its own rich history and eclectic charm, there are a thousand ways to explore and appreciate this melting pot of old and new. Destination holidays in Malaysia show you a world of ethnic cultures and customs in the daily life of the locals. You’ll find exciting cultural events happening almost every evening, where people of all faiths and cultures come together to enjoy vibrant and emotive performances and celebrations.
Old and sacred customs are given high importance in Malaysia. There’s a truly impressive architectural talent here, too. The country is filled with larger than life inspirations - you’ll find Mughal, Tudor, Chinese, Portugese, Grecian, Gothic and Victorian designs in this cultural hotspot. The better known typical Malaysian architecture, also known as ‘Peranakan’ or ‘Baba Nyonya’, with the traditional Melaka shophouses, and are often dressed in vibrant pink, blue and yellow splashes of paint.
Holidays in Malaysia: a fusion of old and new
West Malaysia is home to the booming capital metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, where glistening, glass-filled skyscrapers line the busy streets, including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world. It’s home to more shopping districts than you can count on both hands. Enjoy the hustle and bustle and find the traditional Malaysian boutiques selling the finest batik accessories (a fabric made from silk), as well as the baju kebaya, a typical dress for ladies made of exceptionally high-quality fabrics and silks.
If you love exploring then you will have plenty of fascinating sites to discover during your holiday in Malaysia. Dive deep into the historical heritage of the country with a visit to Malacca in the southwest. It’s the country’s historical state, where colonials first made contact with Malaysia. This small state is known for its interesting architecture, and you can tour the many forts, towers, churches and museums to observe the marks of British, Portuguese and Dutch forces left behind.
Malaysia is home to a fascinating geological makeup. Explore the 130 million year old rainforest of Taman Negara National Park in Pahang, making it one of the most ancient rainforests in the world. Not for the faint-hearted, here’s where adventurers can brave the longest rope walkway in the world. Even experienced trekkers will be in awe at the impressive 62 mile round trip trekking possibilities, although there are lots of softer treks for beginners and families too. Nature lovers will be impressed with the unusual wildlife here, with sun bear, barking deer, long-tail marque monkey and Malayan peacock roaming around the jungle-like rainforests.
While in Malaysia, a trip to colonial George Town is a must. Indigenous architecture, old cultures and some mouth-watering culinary delights await you at this UNESCO World Heritage site. Find pretty shophouses adorned in old Malay design, narrow streets bustling with locals and strings of paper lantern shrines among deliciously fragrant shops selling Indian spices. Browse the street art scene that bursts to life here, and then stop for a coffee or a cocktail in one of the many swanky bars.
Great sample itineraries
Get inspired by our selection of popular itineraries for Malaysia holidays, including our multi-centre holiday itineraries.
Kuala Lumpur And Borneo Holiday
Our favorite hotels
Browse some of our favourite hotels in Malaysia. From vibrant luxury resorts to pretty little boutiques nestled in the countryside, we are here to help you find your perfect accommodation in Malaysia.
Gaya Island Resort
Pangkor Laut Resort
Tanjong Jara Resort
Kuala Lumpur Night Tour
- PRICE: From £45 per person
- APPROX. 4 HRS
Malacca City Tour From Kuala Lumpur
- PRICE: From £42 per person
- APPROX. 4 HRS
You’d be wrong to compare Malaysia to anywhere else in the world. With Chinese, Indian, Arabic, British and Persian influences, it really is unique. Kuala Lumpur is a mesmerising capital city where you can experience incredible views from the Menara and The Petronas Towers. The country has 28 national parks where you’ll encounter some weird and wonderful animal and plant life.
Discover how conservation efforts are preserving the wild orangutans in Borneo. Sightings are all but guaranteed if you take a tour round the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, where orangutans are permitted to roam within the forest.
Langkawi Cable Car
We highly recommend you take the SkyCab cable car up to Machinchang Mountain if you want to get a bird’s eye view over the bucolic hills of Langkawi. If you’ve never seen a flying fox or macaque monkey, consider hiking the spectacular Gunung Raya.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, provides the perfect contrast to the more relaxed highlands and beaches. Appreciate the views from Kuala Lumpur Tower, discover the Batu limestone caves, and stroll around the city’s food markets.
Away from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur is Kuala Selangor, a small village known for its natural heritage of Mangrove forest. Here you can witness thousands of fireflies sparkling in the thick mangrove along both sides of the river banks. A wonderful phenomena resembling rows of brightly lit Christmas trees!
White, pure sands, sifting between your toes, are common on many of Malaysia’s finest beaches. Islands including Langkawi and Redang offer excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities alongside the chance to relax and sunbathe.
Malaysian Island Hopping
Your perfect break in Malaysia can include visits to Langkawi and Penang islands, before heading to the mainland to discover its capital, Kuala Lumpur. Feel your toes sink into the warm sands of Malaysia’s best beaches. Visit Hindu temples, spot turtles on the beach, or explore caves and visit ancient rainforests.
Cameron Highlands is home to many of Malaysia’s finest tea plantations. Lush crops cover the landscape, providing a visual spectacle over the hilly terrain. Sample the finest teas and discover how they are grown as you learn about the history of tea growing in this beautiful area.
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“Definitely try the local hawker stalls. You can eat like a king for next to nothing. They’re filled with locals too - fit in and try a traditional Malaysian breakfast of Roti Canai.”
“Try the fruit – there are lots of roadside stalls everywhere you go and they all sell fruit that you won’t ever have seen before. For example, rambutan (a prickly fruit that tastes amazing), snake fruit (a bit like a lychee) and mangosteen (a sweet and tangy fruit with purple skin). Watch out for the large prickly fruit called durian – it’s an acquired taste and most hotels have banned it as it's very smelly.”
Events & Festivals
Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Malaysia holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.
After Diwali, Thaipusam is the biggest festival for Hindus and usually takes place in January or February. It’s celebrated as a day of thanksgiving for the deity Lord Murugan, when locals take to the streets with large decorated statues of deities and in some cases, body piercing. It’s a huge and fun celebration with thousands of locals taking part each year.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a spectacle worth seeing in Malaysia. Locals, families, young and old all pour out onto the streets to take part in the vibrant and colourful festivities. There are lion and dragon dances, bright costumes, and endless food.
Eid Al Fitr
The Muslim celebration of Eid Al Fitr is one of the liveliest community-based events in Malaysia. It celebrates the end of the month of Ramadan where those who take part fast from sunrise and sunset every day for a month. The streets are filled with open houses, where strangers and families eat and celebrate together. It’s well worth a visit and a great way to mingle with the locals and join in the festivities.
Diwali, the Festival of Light, is celebrated the day before the new moon and is a national holiday in Malaysia. Beautiful light displays are put on all day as the streets are illuminated in colourful candles and lanterns. Many locals also open their houses to guests, friends and neighbours to share in their religious offerings, including rice puddings, sweet treats and other delicious Indian foods.
Get a flavour of the local culture through your palate during your Malaysia holiday. Here are a few of our favourite dishes.
Malaysian cuisine is a blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian flavours. You’ll find lots of delicious and fresh dishes using lemongrass and coconut. For breakfast, try the local favourite of teh tarik, a Malaysian specialty hot milk tea.
Nasi lemak is a fragrant rice dish that is cooked in coconut milk and served at all mealtimes. It can be eaten as a filling breakfast or paired with vegetables or curry dishes at lunch or dinner.
Our Malaysia destinations
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