So, you have seen everything there is to see in Kuala Lumpur. You’ve been to the top of Petronas Twin Towers, hunted for bargains in Chinatown, and pigged out at Jalan Alor Food Market. What else is there to do?
Quite a lot, actually. And they are very diverse options — from rice fields to historical cities to foodie havens. Whether you’re a local or foreign holidaymaker, whether you are short on time or simply can’t deal with the hassle of staying overnight, here are some of the best trips you can make from Kuala Lumpur within just one day.
1. Batu Caves
Probably the easiest destination to get to from Kuala Lumpur, Batu Caves is not only a popular tourist attraction, it is also a holy site where locals still visit every day for worshiping. This is also the place where hundreds of thousands of Hindus from all over the country (and from as far as India) congregate every year to celebrate the Thaipusam festival.
Batu Caves is located only about 15 kilometres away from the city center and can easily be reached by train (40 minutes) or by car (20 minutes, with no traffic). To get inside the caves, however, comes with a little challenge, as you will have to climb 272 steps. Although torturous, the steps are pretty, so you can stop to snap some photos while you catch your breath.
If you go on a clear day, you’ll be rewarded a magnificent view of Kuala Lumpur skyline from the top. Apart from the temples and shrines, you’ll also get to marvel at the natural limestone caves…and of course, the monkeys.
Click here to learn more about the Batu Caves, how to get there, and if it’s worth visiting.
Things to Do At Batu Caves
- Visit Hindu temples
- Learn more about Hindu religion and Indian culture
- Eat vegetarian South Indian cuisine
- Admire the colorful architecture and the world’s tallest statue of Lord Murugan
- See huge limestone caves
- Visit the mini zoo (birds and reptiles)
- Feed monkeys, pigeons, and fish
- Go rock-climbing
Putrajaya is the federal administrative capital of Malaysia and home to some interesting post-modern Islamic architecture. Until the late 1980s, Putrajaya used to be a rubber plantation spanning 8,000 acres. The then prime minister proposed a new city to be built there to replace Kuala Lumpur as the new administrative capital.
Now, it is a thriving ‘green city’ in which 38% of the area is reserved for green spaces. The city features a network of open spaces and wide boulevards, and a 6.5km² lake, where you can do all sorts of water sports.
You can reach Putrajaya by train and bus, and get around by Grab Car. Alternatively, you can also book all-inclusive tours from Kuala Lumpur.
Things to Do in Putrajaya
- Visit the Iron Mosque and the floating Putra Mosque
- See the Prime Minister’s Office
- Go on the iconic Seri Wawasan Bridge
- Visit botanical gardens, which are home to over 700 plant species
- Visit the Natural History Museum to learn about local plants, animals, and geological rock formations
- Go on a Segway tour
- Go on a boat tour on the lake
- Try water sports: Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), kitesurfing, windsurfing, flyboarding, rowing, kayaking, jetskiing, and dragon-boating
3. Kuala Selangor
Kuala Selangor is a small town 55km northwest of downtown Kuala Lumpur. It is where the estuary of the Selangor River is, where it drains into the Straits of Malacca. The town can be reached by bus, but it is easier to either rent a car or book a tour from Kuala Lumpur as there are not many public transports available within the town.
Kuala Selangor is well known for its fireflies. It is home to the largest firefly colony in the world, which creates a magical scene at night. You can go on a private boat tour to see them — it would make an amazing romantic date with your significant other.
Click here to find out more about the fireflies boat tour.
Things to Do in Kuala Selangor
- Go on a boat tour to see thousands of fireflies
- Take unique photos at the Sky Mirror, a.k.a. Malaysia’s Salar de Uyuni
- Visit the historical Kota Melawati Fort
- Visit the bird sanctuary near Bukit Melawati
- Feed Silver Leaf Monkeys
- Witness the eagle-feeding session on the river
- Eat local seafood
4. Kuala Kubu Bharu
Fondly known as KKB by the locals, this place is the perfect antidote to whatever kind of stress you’re having — be it from the forced isolation due to the pandemic, or from having to learn to use Zoom. With an abundance of greenery, fresh air, scenic views, and multiple extreme sports, what more can you ask for?
This small town is located about an hour’s car ride away from Kuala Lumpur, and can also be reached by train.
Things to Do in Kuala Kubu Bharu
- Go hiking on Bukit Kutu (both beginner and advanced trails available)
- See the Sungai Selangor dam, which can cover up to 600 acres at full capacity
- Go on a river-crossing adventure (a total of 6 rivers to cross) to reach Sungai Chilling waterfall
- Test your skill in white-water rafting
- Go on the rope swing — this is only for true daredevils
- Try the water blob (human catapult)
Imagine a vast, green (or yellow, depending on the season) landscape of rice fields, perfect blue skies, and swishing sounds of the waves against the sand. You can find all that and more in Sekinchan.
Sekinchan is a fishing village that also boasts acres of rice fields producing one of the highest yields of rice in the country. Not only can you walk in the fields and take pictures, you can also learn about rice production by visiting the processing factory and museum. As a souvenir, you can purchase some of the locally produced rice.
Apart from rice, there’s also a beach and a fishing village where you can see how the locals live and indulge in the local seafood fare. The easiest way to visit Sekinchan is by driving or booking a tour. There are tours that combine both Kuala Selangor and Sekinchan in one trip.
Things to Do in Sekinchan
- Visit the rice field, processing factory, and museum
- Learn about the rice-growing industry
- Visit the fishing village
- Eat seafood at the Seafood Street
- Visit the Redang Sekinchan Beach
- Throw a lucky red ribbon on the Sekinchan Wishing Tree
- Stay at unique trailer hotels
6. Pulau Ketam (Crab Island)
Pulau Ketam (which translates to Crab Island) is a small fishing village just off the coast of Port Klang. The entire village was built on stilts over mangrove swamps. It’s not the kind of island that you go for swimming or sunbathing, so please don’t bring your bikinis or snorkeling gear.
Instead, it’s a great place for you to witness the Malaysian fishing culture, as most of the villagers are fishermen.Visiting the island is like going back in time — back to the 80s, or maybe earlier (I don’t know, I wasn’t born yet). You can see old-fashioned grocery shops, some of them still selling the snacks that Malaysians used to enjoy in their 80s/90s childhood. The island is also known for its seafood.
When the tide is low, you can enjoy looking at the crabs scampering across the muddy plains, burrowing into holes, eating, and fighting with each other.
Pulau Ketam is easily doable without a guide. Just take a train from Kuala Lumpur to Port Klang, and from there, walk to the jetty to take a ferry to the island.
Things to Do in Pulau Ketam
- Ride an electric bike on the stilt village
- Sample Chinese-style seafood dishes
- Enjoy colorful murals and houses
- Watch fishermen at work
- Buy seafood products
If you don’t have the time or budget to go to Penang, Ipoh is a great alternative. It is well-regarded as a culinary hot spot in Malaysia and is also home to the famous Ipoh White Coffee. In the Ipoh market, you can snack on the various exotic delicacies on offer. For something more filling, be sure to try the Ipoh chicken rice or the shredded chicken noodles.
But there’s more to Ipoh than food. There’s so much history, culture, and nature for you to explore. Visit the numerous temples, go caving or hiking, or simply admire the beauty of a bygone era.
You can go to Ipoh by bus or train.
Things to Do in Ipoh
- Observe British colonial architecture at Ipoh Old Town
- Enjoy the street art
- Visit the Ipoh Rail Station and the cave temples
- Try Ipoh White Coffee at Nam Heong
- Soak in the hot springs or splash around in the water theme park at The Lost World of Tambun
- Visit the haunted Kellie’s Castle in nearby Batu Gajah town
8. Port Dickson
I’ll say the truth — Port Dickson is not one of our best beaches. It’s not famed for clear-blue water, pristine sand, or vibrant corals. However, it’s one of the nearest to Kuala Lumpur (about 90 minutes’ drive south) and thus offers a decent beach getaway for KL dwellers.
Port Dickson stretches over 18 kilometres and is lined with palm trees and casuarinas. If you do wish to spend the night, there are plenty of options — from budget motels to 5-star water chalets. If Dubai has Palm Island, Port Dickson boasts a ‘Hibiscus Island’ with water chalets forming a hibiscus shape when seen from a bird’s eye view.
Port Dickson can be reached by train and bus.
Things to Do in Port Dickson
- Relax on one of the beaches
- Do water sports
- Hike up to the Cape Rachado lighthouse
- Learn about ostriches at the ostrich farm
- Visit Lukut Museum and Fort
- Stay in an over-water villa
- Eat seafood
9. Malacca (Melaka)
If you Googled places to visit in Malaysia, you’d have seen the name Malacca popping up many times, often at the top of the list, alongside Kuala Lumpur and Penang. And there’s a good reason why.
Malacca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features the oldest European architectural remains in Asia. Having been colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, this city has a varied history, which is still reflected in the food, culture, and language of its people.
Malacca also has a large community called Nyonya or Peranakan, which is a mix of Malay and Chinese influences that has spawned a completely unique culture and food. You can take a bus to Malacca (go early if you want to make it a day trip) or book an all-inclusive tour from Kuala Lumpur.
Things to Do in Malacca
- See the ruins from the Dutch and Portuguese colonial periods
- Visit temples and museums
- Take a river cruise
- Sample Nyonya food
- Haggle your way through the Jonker Walk Bazaar
- Take a trishaw ride around the city
- Visit the Portuguese settlement
10. Cameron Highlands
The Cameron Highlands are located approximately 200 kilometres outside of Kuala Lumpur and can take around 3 – 4 hours to get to. The main draw of this destination it its cooler climate, which provides an ideal environment for planting tea, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Most of the fresh produce distributed all over the country are grown here.
You can get to Cameron Highlands by bus, but because of the distance and travel time, making a day trip independently might feel a bit rushed. A better option would be to go with a tour, so that you won’t waste time figuring out how to get from one place to another.
Things to Do in Cameron Highlands
- Learn how the local tea is produced
- Drink freshly brewed tea at the tea plantation
- Pick your own strawberries
- Visit the lavender and rose gardens
- Visit butterfly and honeybee farms
- See how life in Malaysia looked like in the 50s at the Time Tunnel museum
- Buy fresh fruits and vegetables
- Hike the Mossy Forest
11. Genting Highlands
If you’d still like to escape the heat of the city, but don’t want to make the 4-hour journey to Cameron Highlands, you can go to Genting Highlands instead. It takes only an hour to get there by bus and you can continue the rest of the way on the highest, longest and fastest cable car in Asia.
While Cameron Highlands are all farms and nature, Genting Highlands are more about fun and games. It is most famous for its casino, which is the only legal casino in this predominantly Muslim country. If you’re not into gambling, there is a multitude of other fun, family-friendly activities to do.
Things to do in Genting Highlands
- Try your luck at the country’s only casino resort
- Go on thrill rides at the indoor and outdoor theme parks
- Ride the scenic Genting Skyway cable car
- Scare yourself at the Haunted Adventure
- Cool off at the Snow World Experience
- Catch a show at the Arena of Stars
- Go on a 100m zipline amidst the clouds
- Try indoor skydiving
12. Taman Negara (National Park)
Taman Negara (which means National Park) covers 4,343 square kilometres and was first established in 1925. It became the first official national park in Malaysia and took on the name Taman Negara in 1957 after independence.
Taman Negara protects the largest tract of ancient rainforest in the country and also hosts the tallest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia. Climbing this mountain can take up to 5 days, but if all you have is one day, you can still do a number of other activities. It is best to go on an organized tour.
Things to Do in Taman Negara
- Go on a canopy walk
- Have lunch in a floating restaurant
- Learn about the flora and fauna on a jungle-trekking tour
- Go on a 4WD safari
- Visit an indigenous tribe’s village
- Go rapid shooting on a wooden boat
- Feed the fish at the Kelah Fish Sanctuary
- Go spelunking at one of the caves
13. Fraser's Hill
Another place with a cool climate is Fraser’s Hill, located not too far from Kuala Kubu Bharu. Originally founded as a tin-ore trading post, Fraser’s Hill is now a resort town and offers some of the best bird-watching and hiking spots in the country. Along the trails, you will find countless small waterfalls and hundreds of different species of birds.
The best way to get there is by car. Due to a lack of public transports in the area, the place is rarely overcrowded, which can be a huge advantage if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
Things to Do on Fraser’s Hill
- Stroll around the resort town
- Go bird-watching
- Ride a horse at The Paddock
- Learn the history of Fraser’s Hill on the Heritage Trail
- Sit down for a traditional British ‘cream tea’
- Go hiking on one of the many trails
- Take a dip in the cold water at Jeriau Waterfall
- Tee off at the Royal Fraser’s Hill Golf Club (there’s also a mini golf course for kids)
14. Bukit Tinggi
Bukit Tinggi is yet another cooler-climate destination in Malaysia. Situated on a highland at the height of 1,000 metres above sea level, it is regarded as one of the top hill stations in the country, offering a zenful retreat amidst a dense forest.
The most popular attraction here is the Colmar Tropical Resort, which features a 16th century French-style architecture, complete with French bakeries and cobblestone streets. This place appeals more to local and Asian tourists who would like to get a feel of Europe.
There are currently no public transports that go to Bukit Tinggi, so the best way to get there is by driving.
Things to Do in Bukit Tinggi
- Pretend you’re in Europe at Colmar Tropical Resort
- Rent a kimono and drink an authentic cup of Japanese green tea at the Japanese Gardens
- Indulge in a spa session
- Play with animals at the petting zoo
- Relax at the botanical garden
- Get an adrenaline rush at Colmar Adventure Park (ziplining, canopy walk, rock climbing, and paintball)
15. Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary was established in 1989 and is the only one of its kind in Malaysia. It is dedicated to taking in elephants orphaned by poaching or logging, and rehabilitating them until they can be reintroduced to the wild. It is worth noting that this sanctuary does not allow riding on the elephant for any purpose.
The center is also the base for the Elephant Relocation Team, which helps locate, subdue, and then translocate elephants from areas that have been encroached by plantations to other suitable habitats throughout the Peninsula, such as Taman Negara. Over the past 25 years, the center has helped prevent further decline of the elephant population by relocating more than 300 wild elephants.
A visit to this sanctuary will make a fun and educational outing for the whole family. However, it is not easy to get to without a car, so make sure you plan accordingly.
Things to Do at Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
- See the rare Borneo Pygmy elephants
- Learn about Asian elephants and what is being done to protect them
- Take part in the feeding and bathing of the elephants
- Help contribute toward the conservation of elephants in the country
- Experience the local indigenous culture
Bentong rarely makes the list of popular tourist attractions in Malaysia. You’ll probably see more locals here than foreign tourists, which adds to its authenticity. A secluded small town located very close to Bukit Tinggi and Genting Highlands, it provides a respite from the hectic city life in Kuala Lumpur. Observe the local lifestyle and surround yourself with nature at the same time. You can get to Bentong from Kuala Lumpur by bus.
Things to Do in Bentong
- Hike through forest reserves
- Have a picnic at Chamang Waterfall
- Ride an ATV or try archery at Bilut Extreme Park
- Soak in Bentong Hot Spring
- Feast on durians at one of the many durian orchards
- Try local delicacies at Bentong Walk and Bentong Market
- Buy locally grown ginger and soy sauce as souvenirs
Klang is the former capital of Selangor and the official royal town, where the current Sultan of Selangor resides. It has a rich history of tin mines, civil wars, and a complex web of cultural heritage. There is a free Royal Klang Town Heritage Walk that will take you to various landmarks in town.
Klang is also the gateway to two well-known islands: Pulau Ketam and Pulau Indah. From Kuala Lumpur, you can get to Klang by bus or train.
Things to Do in Klang
- Try the famous bak kut teh (herbal pork soup)
- Shop for fancy sarees and indulge in authentic Indian cuisine at Little India
- Check out pre-war buildings near the railway station
- Go on the Royal Klang Town Heritage Walk
- Visit the Sultan Abdul Aziz Royal Gallery to learn more about the Selangor royal family
- Catch sunset and eat seafood at Tanjung Harapan
- Walk on the first double-decked bridge in Malaysia
18. Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
This is ideal for those traveling with kids or those who are young at heart. If you think theme parks are only for children, think again. Sunway Lagoon comprises 6 parks (2 water parks and 4 dry parks), with over 90 attractions spread across 88 acres. There’s something for everyone — even the most hardcore of adrenaline junkies.
Sunway Lagoon boasts one of the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge and Asia’s first Nickelodeon water theme park. With all of those different rides, visiting Sunway Lagoon can easily take up the whole day. You can get there by bus from Kuala Lumpur.
Things to Do in Sunway Lagoon
- Go on the Vuvuzela, the world’s highest and largest water ride
- Shop till you drop at Sunway Pyramid shopping mall
- Get up close with the characters in the Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon
- See animals at the Wildlife Park
- Walk on one of the world’s longest suspension bridge
- Try the bungee jump, or the vertical free fall
- Show off your surfing skill in the Wave Pool
Have you been to any of these places? Which of them do you find the most interesting? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.