Backpacking Malaysia

Hello to all seasoned and aspiring backpackers!

If you don't fancy going to the same old backpacker destinations like Thailand or Vietnam, but you still want to go to Southeast Asia, then how about a trip to Malaysia?

Apart from Kuala Lumpur with the Petronas Twin Towers and the new Formula 1 circuit, you probably don’t know too much about the country between the Andaman Sea in the west and the South China Sea in the east. Malaysia has a lot to offer, especially in terms of landscape, from dense rainforests to mountain formations and tropical islands.

Malaysia's underwater world inspires divers from all over the world with its biodiversity and colourful coral reefs, and above the surface lies a paradise for beach lovers with white sandy beaches. Those who prefer to make their way through the urban jungle will get their money's worth in the vibrant metropolis of Kuala Lumpur. Moreover, a visit to the city state Singapore located at the south of the Malaysian mainland is also definitely worthwhile. The Malaysian peninsula is not only full of varied natural beauty, but it is also has a rich culture.

The country is a melting pot of nations and the perfect destination to get an insight into the different cultures of Southeast Asia. On top of that, Malaysia is very easy to travel around, and is therefore the perfect country to begin with as a backpacker. Despite its good infrastructure, excellent accommodation and reasonable prices, it has so far been spared from mass tourism – so what are you waiting for?

Embark on an adventure and travel through a country with many facets that will definitely amaze you! See below for the perfect Malaysia itinerary for an unforgettable journey:


Important Basics

Official Language ( Malaysian )
EnglishMalaysian
Hellohello
Byeselamat tinggal
Thanksterima kasih
Yesiya
Notidak
Capital City

Kuala Lumpur

Form of Government

Federal Parliamentary Monarchy

Phone Country Code

+60

Currency

Malaysian ringgit

Climate

Highest temperature by day: 25 to 32 degrees Celsius

Highest temperature at night: 5 to 13 degrees Celsius

Fun Fact

The popular designer Jimmy Choo was born in Malaysia

Cities

Singapore

Before you start your journey through Malaysia, we recommend a stopover in Singapore.

The city-state is definitely one of the most fascinating megacities in the world. To make sure you don't miss any sights, you can use one of the many hop-on-hop-off bus services or explore the city by bike. One of the most famous buildings both of Singapore and worldwide is the Marina Bay Sands with a 346 m long roof terrace and an observation deck with a spectacular view of the skyline.

The shopping paradise Waterfront Promenade, the landmark of the city Singapore Merlion, as well as the Singapore Flyer, the highest Ferris wheel in the world, are worth a visit.

In Singapore, you also have the chance to visit the world's first wildlife park for nocturnal animals. During the night safari, you will get to see more than 115 species in their natural environment under the moonlight. This unique experience costs only €25 including train ticket to get there and access to interactive shows.

You stay for €13 in an eight-bed dorm in the centrally located The Inn Crowd Backpackers' Hostel.

Kuala Lumpur

You’ll travel from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by bus for €15.

Malaysia's capital and largest city has a lot to offer. The Petronas Twin Towers are a must see. This landmark is probably the most famous building in the city and currently the highest twin tower in the world. You can look far across the metropolis from the Skybridge and Observation Deck on the 86th floor.

Those who prefer a view of the skyline including the Petronas Twin Towers should visit the Helipad Lounge. The helicopter landing platform on the roof of a skyscraper is converted into a bar in the evening. Entry to this spectacular viewpoint in open air is free and a visit is a great experience especially during sunset.

The Kuala Lumpur Tower, the KLCC Park and the National Museum are also worth seeing. Shopping centres like Central Market and Plaza Sungei Wang make the hearts of all shopaholics race with excitement.

The Batu Caves are located on the northern outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Several Hindu temples and altars are located inside the 400-million-year-old limestone caves. The huge 100-metre-high main cave is a popular place of pilgrimage and prayer for believers. The best way to explore the impressive grounds is with a personal guide. A half-day tour through the old cave formation where you can experience Hinduism up close costs about €20 including transport.

An overnight stay in the centrally located Dorms Kl Hostel costs only €6 in a six-bed dorm.

Tanah Rata

We continue the journey by bus for €8 to Tanah Rata, the largest and most famous place in the Cameron Highlands.

Located on a mountain range at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,000 meters, Tanah Rata is known for its lush green tea plantations. The temperatures here rarely rise above 20 degrees Celsius, guaranteeing a pleasant climate throughout the whole year, which is particularly suitable for the cultivation of tea, strawberries, and many other plants.

Rent a scooter and explore the 'Green Heart' of Malaysia. You will be impressed by the dreamlike scenery of green hills and dense jungle. Whilst you’re there, why not try local delicacies in one of the numerous tea houses and strawberry farms, or perhaps visit the viewing platforms with a view over the huge BOH plantation?

In Tanah Rata you can stay overnight in the Hikers Sleep Port from €7 (eight-bed dorm).

Penang

Next stop is Penang. A bus takes you from Tanah Rata for €7 over the Penang Bridge directly to the island.

Penang is one of the most popular destinations in Malaysia. The heart of the huge island is the capital, George Town. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site particularly known for its lively street art scene. You can see numerous colourful works of art during a walk through the old town. You will also see countless Chinese temples and the so-called Love Lane, a backpacker street with hip bars and restaurants where you can meet like-minded people for a few drinks. You can also walk through the botanical gardens to Penang Hill, from where you have a great view over George Town.

The rest of the island offers many sights, small bays, and dream beaches, which are best be explored by motorbike. If you want to have a cheap stay in Penang, then you should stay in Batu Ferringhi. You can relax peacefully on the endless white sandy beaches or try out some water sports like jet-skiing, parasailing or windsurfing.

We also recommend you to visit the legendary Nightmarket as well as the Baba Guest House, where you can stay in a single room for only €14.

Langkawi

The journey continues to Langkawi. A ferry takes you from Penang for about €12 to the main island of the archipelago of the same name.

The 99 limestone islands are one of the highlights of any trip to Malaysia and are a true natural paradise with dense rainforest, sandy beaches, rock formations and waterfalls. The colourful underwater world around the islands offers numerous possibilities for diving and snorkelling trips. It is also worth visiting the Langkawi Cable Car and a trip to Laman Padi Rice Garden.

You can also relax on Black Sand Beach or in numerous Hot Springs. The popular Two Peace House is located just two minutes from Pantai Cenang Beach, offering island shopping or fishing tours and a jet ski rental service.

An overnight stay in a four-bed dorm costs only €7. You’ll fly from Langwaki via Kuala Lumpur back home, carrying countless memories of your unforgettable journey with you.


Singapore

Singapore

Before you start your journey through Malaysia, we recommend a stopover in Singapore.

The city-state is definitely one of the most fascinating megacities in the world. To make sure you don't miss any sights, you can use one of the many hop-on-hop-off bus services or explore the city by bike. One of the most famous buildings both of Singapore and worldwide is the Marina Bay Sands with a 346 m long roof terrace and an observation deck with a spectacular view of the skyline.

The shopping paradise Waterfront Promenade, the landmark of the city Singapore Merlion, as well as the Singapore Flyer, the highest Ferris wheel in the world, are worth a visit.

In Singapore, you also have the chance to visit the world's first wildlife park for nocturnal animals. During the night safari, you will get to see more than 115 species in their natural environment under the moonlight. This unique experience costs only €25 including train ticket to get there and access to interactive shows.

You stay for €13 in an eight-bed dorm in the centrally located The Inn Crowd Backpackers' Hostel.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

You’ll travel from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by bus for €15.

Malaysia's capital and largest city has a lot to offer. The Petronas Twin Towers are a must see. This landmark is probably the most famous building in the city and currently the highest twin tower in the world. You can look far across the metropolis from the Skybridge and Observation Deck on the 86th floor.

Those who prefer a view of the skyline including the Petronas Twin Towers should visit the Helipad Lounge. The helicopter landing platform on the roof of a skyscraper is converted into a bar in the evening. Entry to this spectacular viewpoint in open air is free and a visit is a great experience especially during sunset.

The Kuala Lumpur Tower, the KLCC Park and the National Museum are also worth seeing. Shopping centres like Central Market and Plaza Sungei Wang make the hearts of all shopaholics race with excitement.

The Batu Caves are located on the northern outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Several Hindu temples and altars are located inside the 400-million-year-old limestone caves. The huge 100-metre-high main cave is a popular place of pilgrimage and prayer for believers. The best way to explore the impressive grounds is with a personal guide. A half-day tour through the old cave formation where you can experience Hinduism up close costs about €20 including transport.

An overnight stay in the centrally located Dorms Kl Hostel costs only €6 in a six-bed dorm.

Tanah Rata

Tanah Rata

We continue the journey by bus for €8 to Tanah Rata, the largest and most famous place in the Cameron Highlands.

Located on a mountain range at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,000 meters, Tanah Rata is known for its lush green tea plantations. The temperatures here rarely rise above 20 degrees Celsius, guaranteeing a pleasant climate throughout the whole year, which is particularly suitable for the cultivation of tea, strawberries, and many other plants.

Rent a scooter and explore the 'Green Heart' of Malaysia. You will be impressed by the dreamlike scenery of green hills and dense jungle. Whilst you’re there, why not try local delicacies in one of the numerous tea houses and strawberry farms, or perhaps visit the viewing platforms with a view over the huge BOH plantation?

In Tanah Rata you can stay overnight in the Hikers Sleep Port from €7 (eight-bed dorm).

Penang

Penang

Next stop is Penang. A bus takes you from Tanah Rata for €7 over the Penang Bridge directly to the island.

Penang is one of the most popular destinations in Malaysia. The heart of the huge island is the capital, George Town. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site particularly known for its lively street art scene. You can see numerous colourful works of art during a walk through the old town. You will also see countless Chinese temples and the so-called Love Lane, a backpacker street with hip bars and restaurants where you can meet like-minded people for a few drinks. You can also walk through the botanical gardens to Penang Hill, from where you have a great view over George Town.

The rest of the island offers many sights, small bays, and dream beaches, which are best be explored by motorbike. If you want to have a cheap stay in Penang, then you should stay in Batu Ferringhi. You can relax peacefully on the endless white sandy beaches or try out some water sports like jet-skiing, parasailing or windsurfing.

We also recommend you to visit the legendary Nightmarket as well as the Baba Guest House, where you can stay in a single room for only €14.

Langkawi

Langkawi

The journey continues to Langkawi. A ferry takes you from Penang for about €12 to the main island of the archipelago of the same name.

The 99 limestone islands are one of the highlights of any trip to Malaysia and are a true natural paradise with dense rainforest, sandy beaches, rock formations and waterfalls. The colourful underwater world around the islands offers numerous possibilities for diving and snorkelling trips. It is also worth visiting the Langkawi Cable Car and a trip to Laman Padi Rice Garden.

You can also relax on Black Sand Beach or in numerous Hot Springs. The popular Two Peace House is located just two minutes from Pantai Cenang Beach, offering island shopping or fishing tours and a jet ski rental service.

An overnight stay in a four-bed dorm costs only €7. You’ll fly from Langwaki via Kuala Lumpur back home, carrying countless memories of your unforgettable journey with you.

Malaysia Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - Singapore
Home - Singapore
Flight
300
Eight-bed dorm
13
2. Singapore
Singapore
-
Eight-bed dorm
13
3. Singapore
Singapore
-
Eight-bed dorm
13
4. Singapore - Kuala Lumpur
Singapore - Kuala Lumpur
Bus
15
Six-bed dorm 
6
5. Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
-
Six-bed dorm 
6
6. Kuala Lumpur -Tanah Rata
Kuala Lumpur -Tanah Rata
Bus
8
Eight-bed dorm
7
7. Tanah Rata
Tanah Rata
-
Eight-bed dorm
7
8. Tanah Rata - Penang
Tanah Rata - Penang
Bus
7
Private room
14
9. Penang  
Penang  
-
Private room
14
10. Penang  
Penang  
-
Private room
14
11. Penang - Langkawi
Penang - Langkawi
Ferry
12
Four-bed dorm
7
12. Langkawi
Langkawi
-
Four-bed dorm
7
13. Langkawi
Langkawi
-
Four-bed dorm
7
14. Langkawi - Home
Langkawi - Home
Flight
300

Total price.

Flights 600,00
Transportation 42,00
Tours 52,00
Accommodation 128,00
Total822,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Roti Canai:  this breakfast actually comes from India, but Indian cuisine is already integrated into Malaysia. This thin flat bread is dipped into a curry sauce and tastes so good!

Soups

Hokkien Mee: a noodle soup with lots of meat, boiled egg and various vegetables.

Curry Mee:  this is a hot curry soup traditionally served with shrimps, tofu and mint leaves.

Main courses

Nasi Lemak: May we present the national dish: cooked rice with egg and various side dishes. It traditionally includes fried chicken and some peanuts, but you will also find other variations ranging from tofu to fish. The dish is served in a banana leaf.

Satay: roasted meat skewers served with onions, garlic, and usually a very hot sauce. If you like, you can order another serving of cooked rice and you will have a full meal.

Nasi Goreng: you can find this in every restaurant. It is a dish consisting of fried rice with vegetables and meat. Add egg and salad and that’s all you need.

Lok Lok Steamboat: This is particularly well known in Tanah Rata, in the centre of the country. There are different kind of skewers, mostly made of meat or fish, which are then cooked in boiling water for a few seconds. You should prepare the dish yourself, a must do in Malaysia!

Drinks & Snacks

Cendol: this cold dessert consists of coconut milk with soybeans and also with a jelly made from rice. There are several options, but most of them are flavoured with coconut..

Putu: bright green rice rolls made from the putu plant. It can usually be bought with lots of coconut crisps. A great dessert or snack for in-between meals!

Malaysia

The exchange rate for 1 Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) is around €0.22 (as of February 2020). You can see the prices for some products or the cost of living below.

Cost of Living 

Food

Free Time

Personal Hygiene

Dos

Be open towards Islam – Malaysia is a Muslim country, making it your chance to get to know the religion a little bit better. Be open and use the journey to gain more insight into the traditions and beliefs. You'd be surprised what you can learn from it.

Salām! This is the traditional way to say hello in Malaysia. You put both hands around the hand of the person you are talking to. Thus, you express that you welcome the person from your heart. You’d better to do that than the usual handshake.

Leave your shoes right outside the door. In hostels or homestays run by private families, you should always take off your shoes before entering the room.

Don'ts

It is best to keep your index finger in your pocket because it is prohibited to point at something with your index finger in Malaysia. For example, if you are explaining a direction, you’d rather point with your whole hand into the direction.

Stop flirting in public. Yes, that's right, it is an absolute no-go to present yourself as a couple in public and to show affection in Malaysia. So, if you don't want any trouble, you should definitely keep this in mind!

Never touch the head of a Malay, as this is considered to be the holy part of the body in the culture. It is therefore strictly forbidden to touch the head of another person.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

No

National ID

No

Temporary national ID

No

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

(Not necessary)

Vaccine

Robert Koch Instituts

Additional Remarks.

Travel documents must be valid for six months after the trip, contain blank pages, and be undamaged. If you present damaged passports, there can be problems at the border control, up to and including refusal of entry. Please also inform yourself about the current entry regulations regarding the corona virus. You can find up-to-date information at the Foreign Office. The Malaysian immigration authorities may require the presentation of the return or onward ticket and proof of accommodation booked upon entry.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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