Malaysia is a country of huge variety which you could travel for months without being bored. However, if you just have 3 days in Malaysia, don’t despair! You can still have a great introduction with a 3 day itinerary in Malaysia.
From gorgeous beaches to the picturesque highlands to the dynamic capital to mysterious Borneo, there are some fabulous options for what to do in Malaysia for 3 days.
Below, I have all the best places to visit in Malaysia in 3 days. You simply need to read through and work out which Malaysia itinerary 3 days best suits your interests.
If you are looking for places to visit in Malaysia in 2 days or Malaysia itinerary 4 days, you can also use the list below. Simply remove your least preferred day of the itinerary Malaysia 3 days if you have less time or follow the suggestion for the fourth day if you have 4 days in Malaysia.
At the bottom, I also give what I recommend as the top options for a 2 days 1 night short trip in Malaysia where your time is quite limited.
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Table of Contents
12 Best Places To Visit In Malaysia In 3 Days
Note that when thinking about what to see in Malaysia for 3 days, I don’t recommend that you change cities. It’s a short time period so to maximise your time, stick to just one place in Malaysia and explore from there.
This list of places to see in Malaysia in 3 days below also takes into account that time is limited so sticks to the more easily accessible locations.
1. Kuala Lumpur
If you haven’t been to Malaysia before, it’s hard to look past the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Given you will most likely be arriving at Kuala Lumpur airport for your 3 days trip in Malaysia, this is a great place to spend your time, particularly if it’s your first time in Malaysia.
If you love cities, culture, variety and great food, Kuala Lumpur is a top choice.
Kuala Lumpur 3 Day Itinerary
You can follow it exactly. If you are looking for places to visit in Malaysia in 4 days, there is also a fourth day itinerary in that article.
You can find all our Kuala Lumpur guides here.
2. Port Dickson
If you want a quick and easy beach stop for your answer of where to go in Malaysia for 3 days, Port Dickson is a nice and easy choice. Located a short taxi ride from the airport, this is also a good choice if you are flying into Kuala Lumpur airport and have been to Kuala Lumpur before.
If you love the idea of staying in an over-water chalet, Port Dickson is also a fabulous choice. There are a few different options where you can do this in Port Dickson for a very affordable price. When you aren’t relaxing in your chalet, you can visit any of the many beaches on this coastline or some of the low key attractions in Port Dickson.
Port Dickson 3 Day Itinerary
Day 1: Check into your hotel and relax. Enjoy the surrounds and head to a beach. Our top pick is Blue Lagoon but you can find more choices here.
Day 2: Choose your preferred attractions from this list of things to do in Port Dickson and visit.
Day 3: Enjoy your hotel’s facilities or head to the beach
If you are looking for what to do in Malaysia for 4 days, spend your last day exploring Kuala Lumpur on a day trip.
Find all our Port Dickson guides here.
3. Sunway Lagoon
If you want an easy and fun Malaysia stopover, particularly if you are travelling as a family, Sunway Lagoon is a great place to pick for your 3 days.
Located between KL Airport and Kuala Lumpur, this is a quick and easy place to get to and is like its own city with a huge theme park, big shopping centre with entertainment options and multiple hotels. We have very much enjoyed 3 day stopovers here as an alternative to Port Dickson or Kuala Lumpur.
Sunway Lagoon 3 Day itinerary
Day 1: Check into the Sunway Resort. Enjoy the hotel facilities and the shopping centre.
Day 3: Either return to the theme park, enjoy your hotel facilities or do some activities at the shopping centre like ice skating and going to the cinema.
If you are looking for what to do in Malaysia in 4 days, spend your last day exploring Kuala Lumpur on a day trip. With a 2 days 1 night vacation in Malaysia, focus on visiting Sunway Lagoon.
To learn more about the history of Malaysia and for some fun and interesting attractions, consider Melaka. This is also possible as a stopover option from Kuala Lumpur Airport, although it is further away than the options above.
Melaka is a pretty city with numerous churches, temples and mosques. There are many heritage sites around the city and the centre is UNESCO World Heritage listed.
It’s also known for its lively Jonker Street area and night market on weekends. Definitely make sure you head there! The central area is great to explore on foot or by trishaw. There are also some great family friendly attractions nearby like the A’Famosa Resort and the Melaka Zoo.
Melaka 3 Day itinerary
Day 1: Check into your hotel and relax. Head to Jonker Street in the evening. If it’s Friday or Saturday night, enjoy the night market. If it’s not then there are plenty of places to eat on this famous strip.
- Start at the Sultanate Palace, take a photo of Porta de Santiago and explore the ruins of St Paul’s Church.
- Walk downhill to Stradthuys. Trishaws congregate here so take a ride.
- Walk over the river to Chinatown and head to 8 Heeren Street and the Baba and Nonya Heritage Centre.
- Visit the three temples: Cheng Hoon Temple, Masjid Kampung Kling and Sri Poyatha Venayagar Moorthi Temple.
- In the evening, head to Shore Sky Tower.
If you are looking for what to see in Malaysia in 4 days, spend your last day visiting more attractions in our list linked to above.
Find all our Melaka guides here.
5. Johor Bahru
If you are entering Malaysia from Singapore then Johor Bahru is a great choice for your 3 day Malaysia stopover. It’s very easy to get here from Singapore (more details here) and there is plenty to do to fill your time.
This city offers visitors several attractions including a mix of museums, theme parks and natural landmarks like the Gunung Ledang National Park and Gunung Lambak. It’s also possible to visit the attractions in nearby Desaru Coast or to day trip to Singapore.
In this itinerary, I am assuming you have come from Singapore so do not include this option. Consider it if you haven’t been to Singapore though.
Johor Bahru 3 Day itinerary
Day 1: Check into your hotel then head to central Johor Bahru near the causeway to Singapore. Do some shopping or explore the streets to the west of the main strip. If you have young kids, consider heading to Thomas Town and Sanrio Hello Kitty Town instead (tickets here). They will love it!
Day 2: Today is all about Legoland Malaysia. Buy discounted tickets here.
Day 3: Get back to nature with a day trip to Gunung Lambak. Climb the mountain here and cool down afterwards in the recreational water park.
For a Malaysia tour itinerary 4 days, take it easy exploring the fun attractions of the Desaru Coast.
Find all our Johor Bahru guides here.
6. Taman Negara
Taman Negara National Park holds the title as Malaysia’s largest national park and is easy to visit from Kuala Lumpur. There is a huge amount of plants and animals in this 130 million year old rainforest and plenty of short and long hikes.
This is a great choice for nature lovers with some great attractions to visit. There is the longest canopy walkway in the world from which you may spot some monkeys. Take a long boat ride into the interior. Explore and discover!
Taman Negara 3 Day itinerary
Day 1: Travel to Taman Negara first thing. Take a bus to Jerantut and then another to the jetty at Kuala Tembling. Then take a boat to the main entrance of the park at Kuala Tahan. This boat ride is an attraction in itself. Check into your hotel (ideally in Kuala Tahan like the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort here) and relax. Eat dinner in a nearby floating restaurant.
Day 2: Visit the Canopy Walkway (if it has re-opened), walk up Teresek Hill and visit an Orang Asli village (indigenous people of this area)
Day 3: Have breakfast at a floating village before taking a boat back to Kuala Tembling and heading back to Kuala Lumpur or wherever your next stop is.
To make your visit smooth and easy, you can book a tour to complete this itinerary here for a great price.
A few hours from Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh is a great balance of beautiful scenery + interesting Old Town + great food! The state capital of Perak is a fantastic destination for a short getaway with plenty of interesting things to do.
There’s the unfinished Kellie’s Castle to explore, Tempurung Cave, the popular Sunway Lost World Of Tambun (great for families) and much more. The Old Town area is filled with cute alley ways and Ipoh’s famous street art to find and enjoy.
Plus, there’s Ipoh’s famous white coffee and many amazing food dishes.
It’s perfect for anyone who wants an easy taste of Malaysia while feeling like they have got away from all the tourists.
Ipoh 3 Day itinerary
Day 1: Travel to Ipoh (you can book a bus here). Check in to your hotel and relax before taking a walk around the Old Town in the evening and having dinner.
Day 2: Start the day with one of Ipoh’s famous white coffees and egg tarts. Walk around the Old Town following the Ipoh Heritage Trail (download here). Look out for street art!
In the afternoon, grab a taxi and visit a couple of Ipoh’s cave temples at Sam Poh Tong Temple and Kek Lok Ton Temple. Cover your shoulders and knees and wear sturdy footwear. Have dinner at the Tong Sui Kai Hawker Centre and try as many dishes as you can.
Day 3: If you have the time, spend the day at the fun Sunway Lost World of Tambun. Surely the prettiest location for a theme park in the world (full review here).
Penang is our personal favourite spot in Malaysia and a great location for a 3 day break. It has great variety and you can spend the morning exploring the UNESCO World Heritage listed centre of George Town and the afternoon at the beach.
There’s an interesting multicultural mix of influences, interesting architecture and affordable resort style accommodation. It’s also one of the best places in Malaysia (perhaps the world) to eat, offering some of the best food for great prices.
Penang is perfect for anyone looking for a variety of things to do in a beautiful setting while eating top class food!
Penang 3 Day itinerary
I have the perfect Penang 3 day itinerary here.
You can follow it exactly. If you are looking for an itinerary for two days one night trip in Malaysia for Penang or 4 days, they are also in this article.
Find all our Penang guides here.
Langkawi is the place to go if you want some easy and luxurious beach time in your 3 days in Malaysia. It has some of the best beaches in the country as well as superb coastal scenery.
Langkawi is actually an archipelago but the main island offers a range of different locations to visit and stay and should be your focus on a 3 day trip. Pantai Cenang is the most popular beach destination and the place to stay to be surrounded by action. There are many more peaceful destinations around the island where you can be surrounded by nature.
There are many attractions in Langkawi beyond the beach like the Langkawi Cable Car which takes you to the peak of Gunung Machinchang where you’ll find restaurants, shops and other attractions.
Langkawi 3 Day itinerary
Day 1: Take a taxi to your hotel or book a transfer here. Enjoy the afternoon at your hotel or at the beach in Pantai Cenang, Have sunset drinks and dinner here. This is also the place to party this evening.
Day 3: Spend your final morning exploring the Langkawi archipelago on a half day Langkawi Island Hopping adventure. Do some shopping at the Cenang Mall and Zon Shopping Paradise in Pantai Cenang before leaving.
If you have a fourth day, chose some other attractions from our list here. With a 2 days one night trip Malaysia, prioritise the Langkawi SkyCab and the sunset cruise.
10. Tioman Island
From Singapore, Tioman Island makes an easy destination for a 3 day break in Malaysia. It was once named one of the most beautiful islands in the world and is a good choice for people coming from Singapore who want an island getaway.
This island is surrounded by coral reefs which make it the perfect destination for people who love scuba diving or snorkelling. It is also great for hiking.
Tioman Island is a good mixture of development so things are easy, while still being able to get away from it all very easily.
Tioman Island 3 Day itinerary
Day 1: Make the journey to Tioman Island. Check into your hotel and relax and enjoy the surrounding beaches or hike to another beach.
Day 2: Take a half or full day snorkelling or diving trip around the island.
Day 3: Go for a hike.
If you are looking for what to see in Malaysia in 2 days then I would head straight on a snorkelling or diving trip on arrival.
Find all our Tioman Island guides here.
Kuching, also known as Cat City, is a port city located on the island of Borneo. It is a nice city with a lovely riverfront area which is the best area to stay.
For people short on time, this is your best bet to get a taste of Borneo. There are many interesting day trips you can do from Kuching as well as exploring Kuching itself with museums like the Sarawak Museum and Cat Museum.
It’s easy to get out in the jungle and explore the wilder side of Borneo with some great national parks nearby.
Kuching 3 Day itinerary
Day 1: Check into your hotel and take a walk around the downtown area of Kuching visiting the Sarawak Museum, Chinese History Museum, temples and anything else that takes your fancy. If you enjoy super tacky museums, also take a cab to the Cat Museum. It’s hilarious. In the late afternoon, take a walk along the riverfront.
Day 3: If you have time, chose another day trip option.
12. Kota Kinabalu
Another destination in Borneo, Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah state on the opposite side of the northern part of the island compared to Kuching. This is another good choice for people who want to get a taste of Borneo for their 3 days in Malaysia.
There are many cultural activities as well as getting out in nature and going island hopping. It’s a very accessible way to explore this island.
Kota Kinabalu 3 Day itinerary
Day 1: Check into your hotel and take a half day tour around the main city sights.
Day 2: Get out of the city and explore Kinabalu Park and hot springs.
Day 3: Head to the nearby islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and enjoy snorkelling and a great lunch.
For where to go for 2 days 1 night in Malaysia in Kota Kinabalu, I would pick whatever appeals most to you from days 2 and 3.
Want more ideas? Read our list of the best places to visit in Malaysia here. You can really pick any of them to be your base for your 3 days trip to Malaysia if you don’t mind adding some travel time.
Top Options For Places To Visit In Malaysia In 2 Days
Of the above, I recommend that you keep your Malaysia itinerary 2 days to places near where you arrive in the country.
If you arrive at Kuala Lumpur…
Follow the Kuala Lumpur, Sunway Lagoon or Port Dickson itineraries above, just remove one day.
If you arrive at Johor Bahru…
Follow the Johor Bahru itinerary above, just remove one day.
If you arrive at Penang…
Follow the Penang itinerary above, just remove one day.
Do the same thing for any other destination where you enter the country. If you aren’t sure what’s nearby, look at the map below to come up with your best option for what to do in Malaysia for 2 days.
Map Of Locations For Malaysia Itinerary 3 Days
I hope you have found this list of places to visit in Malaysia in 3 days useful. I am sure anywhere you pick to go will be awesome!
Have any questions? Ask them in our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here. We would love to help you!
Sharon is an Australian who has fallen in love with Malaysia! She explores Malaysia multiple times a year, often with her kids, and has previously lived in Penang.