Welcome to my travel guide on the best things to do in Malaysia. My name is Roberta and I was born in Italy. I started travelling with my parents when I was a child. We travelled in a campervan around Europe – from North Cape to Santiago de Compostela and from Scotland to Turkey.
Later on, when I was a teenager, we started to explore the rest of the world and I fell in love with Asia. That is still one of my favourite regions on the planet. So travelling has always been a big part of my life since childhood.
I started my blog “In the mood for Love” 14 years ago. After five years, in 2012, I became one of the “It Bloggers” of Italian magazine Grazia. My hobby then turned into a profession. I began to work with hotels and resorts and then slowly with major airline companies and tourist boards.
In a few years, I became a full-time travel blogger. With my content, I try to inspire people to explore the world and step out of their comfort zone. In fact, if my niche is luxury travel, I make sure not to miss out on living some travel adventures in nature. I have had a lot of experiences as a traveller.
Visiting Malaysia Back in 2019
Before COVID-19, I used to travel to Asia two or three times a year. I tried to explore at least one or two new countries each time. In 2019, I came back to my beloved India for the fourth visit and I also chose as the new countries Nepal and Malaysia which were crowned “Asian countries of the year”.
In the end, I visited Malaysia in September and postponed my trip to Nepal for February, 2020. These two countries became my last Asian trips before the pandemic. They both have a special place in my heart because of this.
I spent 12 amazing days in Malaysia and visited Penang, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur and ended my trip at the beautiful Pangkor Laut – a luxury resort located on a private island (Pangkor Laut Island) on the Strait of Malacca.
My Favourite Place: George Town
There is no doubt that my favourite place in Malaysia was George Town, the capital of Penang. This is one of the most Instagrammable cities I have ever seen with its incredible Peranakan architecture and colourful heritage houses. George Town is also one of the best places for foodies!
Wandering around the streets gives you endless opportunities to taste street food. For these two reasons, George Town is not only my favourite place in Malaysia but one of my favourite destinations in the world.
Awesome Things To Do in Malaysia
Malaysia offers travellers many fantastic experiences. Firstly, you can’t miss the street food. My favourite dish is the Penang Asam Laksa – a spicy soup that according to CNN Travel is one of the 50 best dishes in the world.
The heritage houses of George Town are amazing and one of the most beautiful is the Pinang Peranakan Mansion with its Instagrammable green facade. Another unmissable thing to do in George Town is a walking tour through the lovely street art, discovering lots of funky pieces of graffiti.
Little India in the Brickfields area of Kuala Lumpur is one of my favourite areas in the capital with its colourful stalls and temples. When staying in Kuala Lumpur, make sure you choose a hotel with a rooftop swimming pool overlooking the Petronas Towers (if you can afford it). The dreamlike skyline of this city is like a scene from Blade Runner or something!
When visiting Langkawi, don’t miss the romantic experience of a castaway picnic on a desert island, arranged by the resort Casa del Mar. Just imagine a never-ending beach, a romantic tent under the trees, a swing, delicious food and sparkling wine. I mean, what more could you want?!
Near Langkawi you can also spend a day snorkelling on the beautiful reef of Pulau Payar. As mentioned before, I recommend spending at least two nights at Pangkor Laut Resort to live out some unmissable experiences.
Enjoy an exclusive gourmet dinner on the rocks overlooking the lagoon of Emerald Bay or walk through the primeval forest with the resident naturalist discovering amazing local fauna (flying foxes, pangolins, etc.).
Another unique must-do is the incredible Chinese Foot Pounding – the foot massage reserved to the Concubine in feudal China. Does anyone remember the Zhang Yimou movie called: “Raise the Red Lantern”?!
Melting-Pot Culture of Malaysia
In addition to these amazing experiences, the culture of Malaysia leaves a lasting impression on all those who visit. This country is a gorgeous melting-pot of cultures, traditions and religions. If you want a multicultural travel experience then there is no better destination in the entire world.
Malays, Indians and Chinese all live together in harmony. The lifestyle is warm, friendly and laid back. Malaysia is one of the most interesting places I have ever visited with lovely people who share a diverse background.
Amazing Food Scene of Malaysia
As I have already mentioned, the food scene in Malaysia is amazing and this country is a food-lovers paradise! Be sure to visit the food courts, coffee shops and night markets to taste the spicy and succulent street food.
If you want to try the traditional Chinese Nyonya cuisine don’t miss Uncle Lim’s Kitchen at Pangkor Laut Resort. I’m from Europe and I love cakes and desserts so I did fall in love with the bakery at the China House in Penang. They offer 30 kinds of delicious cakes every day. Their signature cake is tiramisu but I also recommend the banana and passion fruit cake!
Best Accommodation Options
When staying in George Town, be sure to reserve a room in a heritage house. The most amazing boutique hotel I have ever seen is the Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion with its indigo blue facade. This traditional house has five stunning courtyards, seven staircases, 220 timber-frame windows, beautiful art nouveau stained glasses and a timeless atmosphere.
Another lovely boutique is the Noordin Mews Heritage Hotel in George Town, one of the creatures of the award winning hotelier Christopher Ong. This house has original floors, vintage furniture and a pool.
In Langkawi, I recommend staying at the Temple Tree Resort, a resort with luxury suites housed inside eight ancient wooden houses. Can you believe that most of these heritage houses are 100 years old and have been disassembled and shipped there from every part of the country?
The Temple Tree Resort was in the Hot List for 2009 with Conde Nast Traveler and, with its opulent interior design, is one of the best destinations on the island of Langkawi. Finally, talking about resorts as I have just told you, you can’t miss the Pangkor Laut Resort which is absolute pure luxury.
Need to Know Before you Go
Before heading to Malaysia, make sure you buy a local SIM card at the airport and download Grab to your phone. It’s the local version of Uber and is super cheap and safe! Of course, this was my experience in 2019 before COVID-19. I don’t know how things have changed there and what we can expect when travelling in 2021 but I’m sure it will be wonderful!