Looking for the best weekend getaway in Malaysia?
When you are short on time but still want an awesome adventure, this list of Malaysia weekend getaway options should be your go-to list! We have travelled all over Malaysia and know which destinations work the best for a short break.
There are many great weekend trip Malaysia options and picking one can be hard! I suggest you think about what type of break you want – beaches and relaxation, adventure and jungle or something in between (or different all together!) and pick accordingly.
Most of these options work just as well if you are looking for budget weekend getaways in Malaysia or something more luxurious, just pick your accommodation and activities accordingly.
Whatever you pick for your short weekend getaway Malaysia, I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time!
Top 11 Best Weekend Getaways Malaysia Offers
For each of our top weekend trip in Malaysia options, we explain why and also let you know if this is an option best taken from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or flown in. If your Malaysia weekend trip is from elsewhere, options where you fly directly in or are close to Kuala Lumpur will be easiest.
We also give you an approximate driving time. Note that this is not taking into account peak hour traffic or long lines at immigration and is a best case scenario. If you are taking a bus, this will also take longer.
Best from: Kuala Lumpur
Driving Time: 1 hour from KL
Best hotel: Crockfords Hotel – Resort World Genting
Budget hotel: First World Hotel – Resort World Genting
Known in Malay as Banjaran Titiwangsa, The Main Range is a ridge of granite mountains that form Peninsula Malaysia’s north-south backbone. Reaching above 6,000 feet, here you’ll find the cool hill stations of Cameron Highlands, Fraser’s Hill, and Genting Highlands.
The premier hillside station, Genting is Malaysia’s Asian-style Las Vegas. Famed for its mix of casinos, nightlife, and luxury hotels, all only an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur, it’s no surprise that this is our top choice for a short weekend getaway in Malaysia.
Perched on the peak of Mount Ulu Kali at 1,800 metres, Resorts World Genting – the integrated hill resort baptized the City of Entertainment – is accessible by car or by two cable cars – Genting Skyway (the world’s fastest and the longest in South East Asia) or Awana Skyway.
Great fun for all the family, there is rarely a dull moment at Genting! Entertainment includes SnowWorld – with sub-zero temperatures, igloo houses, toboggan slides and life-like snowfalls – and Genting Bowl, a 20-lane bowling alley. Vision City Video Games Park will thrill you with over 400 types of entertainment, whilst Skytropolis Indoor Theme Park will amaze you with its fully immersive virtual reality attractions.
Drag the family away from the games and rest tired legs at the Bona Cinemas on SkyAvenue, where you can enjoy the latest blockbusters in style with state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos sound and IMAX theatre systems.
In the evening, try your luck at the roulette tables at Genting Casino or SkyCasino. Alternatively check what’s on at The Arena of Stars hall, with shows from international bands, entertainment acts and filming for a host of TV reality shows such as MasterChef Indonesia, Malaysian Idol, MTV Music Awards, etc.
Dining and retail outlets can be found throughout Resort World, with premium brands at the Genting Highlands Premium Outlets mall and great dining at the Fuhu Restaurant and Bar– a 8000sqft “vibe dining” restaurant with contemporary Chinese cuisine and stunning whimsical Chinese décor mixed with modern chic.
After a good sleep take a respite from the frenetic energy of Genting Resort World and head out to the Awana Horse Ranch. Located in the Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort, here the whole family can enjoy horse riding through gorgeous jungle hills. Drop by Butterfly Wonderland Genting, Happy Bee Farm, Genting Strawberry Leisure Farm or just take an easy hike through the lush mountains and savour the fresh air and spectacular views.
One of the most scenic sites of the Genting Highlands is the Chin Swee Caves Temple, built on a 28-acre area of rocky forested land. This Taoist temple honours a religious figure renowned for his ability to summon rain and drive away evil spirits. Gigantic statues of Buddha and Kuan Yin, as well as a nine-storey Pagoda make this an interesting stopover. Also, check out SeniKome Peng Heng East Coast Arts & Cultural Centre, with an astonishing collection of artefacts, textiles, traditional games, and handicrafts sourced from Malaysian east coast regions.
Currently pencilled to open in the second quarter of 2021, Genting SkyWorld is a movie inspired theme park project. Taking almost 10 years to construct, and a multiple of lawsuits, the park should have a handful of 20th Century Fox themed rides that will surely make a stay here a winner for family weekend getaways in Malaysia.
Designed to compliment the natural beauty of the local rainforest, Resorts World Genting offers 6 hotels including First World Hotel – in the top five largest hotels in the world – and Crockfords Hotel, one of the few real 5-star hotels in Malaysia.
With its fabulous fun attractions, great accommodation and ease of location book a stay here soon!
Best from: Kuala Lumpur
Driving Time: 3 hours from KL
Best hotel: Mutiara Taman Negara
Budget hotel: Hana Guesthouse, Kuala Tahan
With over 4,300km of virgin rainforest and estimated in parts to be over 130 million years old, Taman Negara National Park is a beautiful location for a cheap weekend getaway in Malaysia. With abundant wildlife, caving, fishing, camping and mountain hikes, Malaysia’s premiere ecotourism destination is perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Three hours by road from Kuala Lumpur, the park covers three states – Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu. Pick up your park permit at the entrance from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks and set off to explore the jungle.
Walk the world’s longest canopy walkway, visit an aborigine village, trek the rainforest, and enjoy the local fauna and flora with over 3,000 species of plants and flowers and innumerable types of insects.
The rare Malayan tiger, Malaysan gaur, and Asian elephant are just some of the 150 mammals’ visitors can hope to see. Birds, such as the great argus, red junglefowl and the rare Malayan peacock-pheasant thrill birdwatchers, with the best viewing months May to August.
Spot wildlife from the Taman Negara’s Canopy Walk, stretching 500 metres and soaring 45 metres above the forest floor, or from simple Observation Hides built high above the ground. For the ultimate immersive experience stay overnight at a hide to observe nocturnal animals in their natural habitat.
Most of the hiking trails can be found at Kuala Tahan, with the easiest and most famous from the main Wildlife Headquarters to Bukit Teresek. Taking you on a wonderful 1.7km walk, it includes a hike to the summit of Bukit Teresek – 334 metres – for epic rainforest canopy views.
Night Jungle Walks take you from the main Wildlife Office to Tanhan Hide. Once at the hide wait for nocturnal animals such as deer, wild boar, and tapir. Or join a in search of leopard cats, snakes, owls and monitor lizards.
In the shadow of Mount Tahan, towering tall at 7,175ft, The Tahan River flows. At Sungai Tahan River, join a cruise upstream through the middle of thick rainforest to Lata Berkoh, one of the prettiest spots in the national park. Alternatively, jump on a wooden boat at the Sungai Tembeling River for a thrilling white-water rafting experience through seven sets of rapids.
Discover the Orang Asli, the original inhabitants of Malaysia, at the Kampung Orang Asli settlement, learning how they have survived over the centuries foraging for food with simple blow pipes.
The Gua Telinga (cave system) can be explored on foot or by boat. A half-day trek from the Wildlife Headquarters, the caves are sometimes closed so check before heading this way. You’ll be kitted out with a helmet, lamp, and battery pack, and then it’s time to crawl and climb down into the main chamber. Definitely not for the faint at heart!
For a larger and less claustrophobic cave experience, trek two hours to Gua Kapayang Besar. With a larger central chamber this is a great place for an overnight camp, but watch out for bats, racer snakes and insects!
Throughout the park you’ll find some terrific floating restaurants, the most famous being Family Restaurant and Wan’s Floating Restaurant with some tasty noodle dishes, but do remember to bring along snacks and to carry water.
A weekend visit to Taman Negara will leave you mentally rejuvenated and ready to face your working week!
Best from: Kuala Lumpur
Driving Time: 2.25 hours from KL
Best hotel: The Haven Resort Hotel
Budget hotel: De Cafe & Rest House
Pretty heritage buildings at Old Town, cafes tucked away in ancient shophouses and an awesome dining scene are all helping Ipoh – the capital of the Perak state – roar back in style.
Also known for the region’s cave temples and towering limestone cliffs, we recommend you start your exploration at the most famous temple of its kind, and the largest in the country, Sam Poh Tong. Containing many Buddha statues, a cute pagoda and sprawling gardens, visit here early to avoid crowds.
Another complex, Kek Lok Tong, sprawls across 12-acres. Inside this colossal cave discover a stunning altar surrounded by Chinese and Buddhist deities, whilst outside enjoy wandering the pretty Zen Garden.
And don’t miss the Perak Tong Cave renowned for its golden 40ft Buddha statue, and Tambun Cave for its limestone rock face covered with hundreds of Neolithic reddish-orange shapes and images said to date back 2000-5000 years.
Back in the town, head to Ipoh World to discover the history and culture of this interesting city, or visit the Han Chin Pet Soo Museum that relates the story of the region’s famed tin mining industry. Stroll the Ipoh Heritage Trail, taking 2-3 hours, passing famous colonial buildings such as the stunning Ipoh Railway Station and some of the shophouses that date from the second world war.
Time for a snack. Head to Jalan Leong Sin Nam, nicknamed “Dim Sum Street”, or any one of the numerous food courts and hawker stalls for delicious local cuisine, that has Lonely Planet referring to Ipoh as the “lesser known food capital” of Malaysia.
Relax through the afternoon’s heat at D.R. Seenivasagam Park where you can rent a bicycle to explore the park’s Japanese Zen Garden and small nursery.
Early evening, head to Oldtown Ipoh and checkout the colourful murals and street art, and you must have a taste of the famous Ipoh White Coffee. Take a stroll along the Kinta RiverFront Walk, illuminated with pretty LED lights, and dine at any one of the many restaurants lining the riverfront promenade.
On Sunday morning, check out the Memory Lane flea market, on Jalan Lim Bo Seng. Here you’ll find a large number of goods for sale, including souvenirs and local antiques – not forgetting to barter for your purchase!
If you’re travelling with children, they are sure to beg you to make a stop at the Lost World of Tambun theme park – or even stay a night at the onsite hotel. One of the largest attractions in the area, there are many activities to keep you enthralled… Tiger Valley, Water Park, Lost World Petting Zoo and the Lost World Hot Springs …along with the main theme park full of rides for all different age groups.
Looking for something more relaxing? Just outside of Ipoh, at Gopeng, discover The Gaharu Tea Valley. Stretching 300 acres and including some 200,000 Gaharu trees the plantation is delightful – and legend has it that you must hug a tree for good luck!
Also in Gopeng is the Ulu Geroh Rafflesia Trail, known for the largest flower in the world. You’ll first need to arrange a local Semai Orang Asil guide in the village to join you along the trail, and then set off in search of the flower whose strong pungent smell often hits you before you glimpse it!
But if you wish to see the gorgeous limestone scenery that the area is noted for head to the Gunung Lang Recreational Park. Sprawling for 30 hectares around a spectacular lake, there is a small zoo, observation tower and campsite for overnight stays.
A weekend in Ipoh is a great option for families or couples looking for something different from the usual Malaysia weekend getaways.
Best from: Kuala Lumpur
Driving Time: 3 hours from KL
Best hotel: Novotel Taiping Perak
Budget hotel: Sense Hotel Taiping
50km northwest of Ipoh, Taiping also sits in Perak. Similar to Ipoh, Taiping was a centre of the mining industry for decades with both British and Chinese miners helping transfer Taiping into a boom town of millionaires. Leaving behind a legacy of British colonial buildings, this quiet city is a joy to discover as often off-route for many tourists.
With its white-washed bricks Taiping’s British colonial clock tower stands out against the modern apartment blocks, and is one of the city’s finest structures. The railway station is another prime example, having been the country’s first railway route connecting Taiping and Kuala Lumpur in 1885. Inside, checkout the old machinery on display and an interesting gallery that highlights 33 things Taiping is proud of.
All Saints Church along Taming Sari Street is Perak’s oldest church, and became a National Heritage Building in 2012. And throughout the city you’ll find more than a dozen Buddhist temples to explore, reflecting the strong Chinese community.
Take yourself along the Taiping Heritage trail, covering 11.5km, including 40 of Taiping’s historical attractions. Dip into the Perak Museum, Malaysia’s first museum, and home to several galleries focused on natural history and zoological specimens.
In the evening, head to Taiping’s main meeting place, Warisan Square. Cross Street Bazaar Night Market transforms the square into a busy place for both locals and tourists, especially at weekends when over 60 stalls open with souvenirs, handicraft, and street food.
Sunday morning, and it’s time to discover nature but we hope you remembered an umbrella as you’re in the wettest city in Peninsular Malaysia! However, this unusual rainfall is welcomed at Taiping Lake Gardens where the fertile soil has led to a collection of unique flora and century-old rain trees. Established during the British rule in 1880 this former tin mine has ten artificial lakes and immaculate grounds. Lotus ponds, bridges and grass-covered hills all help to bring to mind an English park.
In the middle of the park stand the gigantic rain trees – or Pukul Lima trees – with branches falling across the paths and down towards the adjacent lake. Planted in 1898 the trunks have colossal circumferences and are a favourite spot for an afternoon picnic or snooze.
Look out for a small dinosaur sculpture park – always a favourite with children – and Taiping Zoo and Night Safari Taiping is also home to the Lake Gardens, with the zoo home to over 1200 animals. Doubling up as a conservation and research centre, every effort is taken to recreate the animal’s natural habitat and to support endangered species.
Next, head up to Maxwell Hill – the country’s smallest and first ever hill station. At 1000 metres, you’ll find the refreshing cooler weather a welcoming treat after the humidity of the city. Hire a 4×4 jeep to reach the top, where you can check out a small British-styled village with colonial bungalows available for overnight stays. Of course, if you don’t mind the muddy trails, you can choose to hike up (approx. 5 hrs) and catch a jeep back down.
If you have time, be sure to include a trip to Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, the largest mangrove reserve in Malaysia. Stretching for 50km along Perak’s coastline you can enjoy an afternoon exploring from the boardwalk that meanders through the mangrove swamp, or join in the evening’s magical fireflies river cruise.
We recommend Taiping as a great best place for weekend getaway in Malaysia, with its mix of colonial buildings, fabulous park and idyllic nature experiences.
Best from: Kuala Lumpur or Singapore
Driving Time: 1.5 hours from KL or 3.75 hours from Singapore
Best hotel: Lexis Hibiscus
Budget hotel: Akar Beach Resort
Known for having the best beaches nearest to Kuala Lumpur, Port Dickson – PD for short – is terrific for just lazing on the beach, but there are also plenty of places to explore if you’re looking for an action-packed weekend break. Port Dickson also makes an ideal Malaysia weekend getaway from Singapore as it’s less than 4-hours travel.
Firstly, let’s discover the famed shoreline… an 18km strip of coastline in Negeri Sembilan state that offers over a dozen beaches, leaving visitors spoilt for choice!
Our top selection is Pantai Cahaya Negeri, with a broad expanse of fine white sand and clean sea. Stay in one of the many resorts along this strip to maximise the experience and don’t forget to check out the nearby mangrove island.
Pantai Saujana, noted for its fine white sand and calm clean water. With no rocks, this is a fantastic place to swim and enjoy lazy days. Feeling active? Jump on a jet-ski, bounce on a banana ride or whiz down the coast on a thrilling speedboat jaunt. Good parking, food stalls, showering facilities, and some trees for shade make this another epic beach.
Pantai Bagan Pinang is another of our top recommendations, with plenty of parking available nearby. Toilets, showers, and an outlet renting windsurfers, kayaks, beach volleyball and life jackets. A small restaurant and picnic tables are also available.
But if you’re looking for the most popular beach area, head to Teluk Kemang/Sri Purnama beaches that merge into one long strip. A street-market atmosphere surrounds one end of Teluk Kemang with souvenir and restaurant stalls. A large car park accommodates the influx of weekend visitors, and you can again enjoy the many water sports on offer at this orange-sand beach.
For a quieter location, take a visit to Cape Rachado, a narrow headland with a 75 hectare forest wildlife reserve. You’ll find a historic lighthouse offering great views of the Straits of Melaka and, after a 30 minute hike, a beach. It’s not the best area for swimming due to the underwater rocks, but the beach is pretty and secluded.
After a day at the beach, enjoy a quick bite to eat at your hotel before heading out to the Telok Kemang Observatory to gaze at the stunning night sky.
After a good sleep, it’s time to discover the town. First stop for most visitors is the Port Dickson Army Museum, one of Malaysia’s best military museums and a great place for all the family. Discover the history of the military and view lots of weapons. Next, pop into one of the many 3D art galleries around town – good for amusing Insta uploads!
Another family favourite, the Wild West Cowboy theme park, has fun rides for the kids. And find time to drop into the underwater world at Pusat Ikan Hiasan – the Ornamental Fish Centre – with baby turtles, colourful corals and many tropical fish.
Fancy upping the adrenaline? Head to Extreme Park Port Dickson for go-karts, paintball target shooting, archery and ATV fun.
Switching focus to the history of the region, head out just four miles to Lukut and discover the fort ruins of Kota Lukut. Built to preserve Lukut’s lucrative tin trade in the 1800’s and protect the culture of the Minangkabau Tribe, this popular attraction is located on the peak of Gajah Mati Hill. Explore the ruins of the fort’s pinnacle and enjoy amazing views of Lukut town. Drop into the nearby Muzium Lukut which houses artifacts and historical photographs that help explain the importance of the town.
Time to discover the local nature, with a trip to the Sungai Menyala Edu-Ecotourism Centre. A forest reserve with rainforest trails and a 45 metre high Jelutong tree, thought to be the tallest in the region.
But if shopping is more your thing, hit the Regina Mall Port Dickson and on to the glamourous PD Waterfront area for some great dining options.
It’s never a dull moment at Port Dickson, and with a plethora of activities and hotel options it’s ideal for a budget weekend getaway Malaysia, family weekend getaway Malaysia, or even a romantic weekend getaway Malaysia!
Best from: Kuala Lumpur or Singapore
Driving Time: 2 hours from KL or 3 hours from Singapore
Best hotel: The Majestic Malacca
Budget hotel: Temasek Hotel
Known as the “historic state”, Melaka is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the strait of Melaka. Rich with heritage buildings from the British, Dutch and Portuguese – Melaka City has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. The city is a major tourist destination in Malaysia, especially for Singaporeans making this a top weekend getaway from Singapore to Malaysia.
Once a well-known international spice centre, merchants from Arabia, China and India anchored looking to trade at the Port of Melaka. Descendants of tribes that passed through still exist in Melaka today, and over centuries various races and ethnicities have led a harmonious life creating mixed communities of Malays, Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indians, Baba Nyonya, Kristang, Chitty and Eurasians.
Each group upholds their traditions, reflected in their food, religious customs, festivals, culture, jewellery, and handicrafts, making this a magical destination for a weekend visit.
The multi-religious society means a plethora of worshipping places, including the 17th century Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and Christ Church, built by the Dutch in 1753. Others not to be missed include Kampung Hulu Mosque, Poh San Teng Temple and Bukit Cina (the largest and oldest Chinese graveyard outside of China), Saint Paul’s Church (built by Portuguese colonialists circa. 1521), and Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple (a colourful Hindu temple)… to name but a few!
After a morning viewing temples and churches, discover the local people and the city by visiting either of the main town squares, 1Malaysia or Alor Gajash. Take a ride up the Taming Sari Revolving Tower that dominates over the town or, for a less exhilarating experience, relax on a gentle 45 minute Melaka River cruise through the city.
As dusk falls we suggest making your way to Jonker Walk in Chinatown for an eclectic mix of night market and street food. At the last count, there were over 50 night markets in Melaka at which you can pick up souvenirs, gifts, antiques and local handicrafts. Dine on street food snacks such as pancakes, waffles and sweet desserts with jelly and coconut, all the while enjoying the buzz of the busy streets.
Sunday morning and there’s still a plethora of buildings and museums to discover! Begin with an early morning stroll to check out the River Art Project – ProjectARM – where nine artists have come together to paint their works on the walls of historical shophouses along the river in Jalan Kampung Hulu.
With over 30 museums in the city you’ll find it hard to select one or two to visit. Our top picks include The Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum, showcasing three beautifully restored houses arranged to resemble a conventional 19th-century Baba-Nyonya residence, and the Flora de la Mar Maritime Museum with a recreated ship and explanation of maritime history in Malaysia.
Historical places and buildings are numerous, with highlights such as A’Famosa Fort built in 1511 by the Portuguese and The Stadthuys crimson riverfront building that was once the official residence of Dutch governors and the oldest surviving Dutch building in the East. And try to include a visit to the Melaka Sultanate Palace, a reconstructed wooden replica of the Shah’s 15-century palace – gorgeous!
Sunday afternoon and you’re slowly running out of time to fit everything in! Take your pick from Melaka Crocodile Farm, Melaka Zoo – second largest in Malaysia and located in a beautiful area of forestland – Melaka Bird Park, Melaka Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary or A’Famosa Resort, one of the most famous theme parks in Malaysia.
If you prefer a quieter, nature-filled afternoon options include Ayer Keroh Lake, Bukit Batu Lebah Recreational Forest, Cape Rachado, Melaka Botanical Garden – home to over 300 species of flora and fauna – or Gadek and Jasin Hot Springs.
After such a busy day you deserve a treat! Try the delicious Nyonya Siamese Noodles and Coolie Street Satay offered at many of the street hawker stands. And if you still have energy, head to Melaka Raya at the centre of the city where you’ll find all the pubs, bars and karaoke venues.
Possibly the second busiest city in the country, Melaka is bursting with culture and activities, and is a cheap weekend getaway Malaysia being only 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur.
Best from: Singapore
Driving Time: 50 minutes from Singapore
Best hotel: Legoland Malaysia Hotel
Budget hotel: Tune Hotel Danga Bay
In search of adventure and a fun filled weekend, you’ve come to the right place! Legoland Malaysia park opened in September 2012 and was the first international theme park in Malaysia, and the first of its kind in Asia. Split into eight different zones – The Beginning, Lego Ninjajo World, Miniland, Imagination, Lego Technic, Lego Kingdom, Land of Adventure and Lego City – there’s fun for all age groups.
Located in the southern part of Malaysia, at Johor Bahru, the park is open Sunday-Friday 10am-6pm and open to 7pm on Saturdays. Only 55 minutes’ drive from Singapore’s Changi International Airport (or 20 minutes from Johor’s Senai International Airport), this is a top option for family weekend getaways from Singapore to Malaysia. Offering more than 70 rides, shows and attractions – of course all inspired by Lego – this incredible amusement park annually pulls in millions of visitors.
Start at The Beginning, where you’ll find shops and a café. Avoid the pleads from the children to purchase Lego merchandise and head on to Lego Ninjago World. Become a Master of Spinjitzu and enjoy one of the park’s most popular rides – Lego Ninjago The Ride.
Next up is the ever popular Miniland, a miniature version of Asia’s most famous landmarks. Built using more than 30 million Lego bricks, enjoy monuments such as the Petronas Twin Towers, the Merlion Statue, Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. Built to a scale of 1:20 with people, trains and airplanes coming to life at the touch of a button, it’s a fun way to discover Asia.
Imagination is next, ideal for toddlers and young children. Here at the “Build and Test” you can create your own Lego car and race it on a specially made racetrack. For the older children it’s time to enrol at the Lego Academy at Lego Technic. Rides such as Technic Twister and the indoor experience of Star Wars Miniland make this another thrilling zone.
Hit Lego Kingdom for kings, knights, dragons, and palaces, and be sure to catch a show at the Castle Stage or dare you ride the Dragon’s Apprentice roller coaster? And, Land of Adventure will spirit you away to the lands of Pharaohs and dinosaurs, with themed rides and a wet boat cruise through Dino Island.
Last up is Lego City, where children drive cars, fly aeroplanes, or put out fires as firemen! Fun learning, alongside some great shows on the Lego City Stage.
Aside from the rides there are 4D shows, restaurants and shops, and you can experience the world’s first Lego-themed Virtual Reality roller coaster!
For a weekend stay, you can’t miss the Lego Hotel. Directly next to the amusement park, children are enthralled from the moment they arrive at the lobby, decked out as a Lego wonderland with pirate ships and Lego castles. With more than 200 rooms, from Deluxe, Premium and Standard to different themed rooms – Adventure, Kingdom or Pirate – it’s a child’s idea of paradise. We think you’ll need another holiday after this one!
Best from: Singapore
Driving Time: 1.75 hours from Singapore
Best hotel: Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast
Easily accessible from Malaysia through Johor Bahru or from Singapore, spend a wonderful weekend at the integrated resort Desaru Coast – ideal for families wanting to overload on activities, or couples searching for a little pampering and entertainment. With its fabulous beaches, golf course, huge water park and mixture of 3-5-star hotels, the Desaru Coast really has something for everyone.
Begin your day at the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark. Divided into five splash-tacular zones such as Tidal Wave Beach (one of the biggest wave pools in the world) and Zone 5’s Kids Ahoy with 13 different water slides for younger children. For teenagers and adults, dare to ride Riptide and thrill at Kraken’s Revenge, a combination rollercoaster and splashing flume that reaches up to 70 km/h!
After a replenishing lunch at the onsite Kelong Eatery, it’s time to head out for some unusual animal encounters. First up, its Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm, where – under the careful eye of the caretaker – you’ll have the chance to touch these wild reptiles. With over 1,000 crocodiles, be careful where you tread!
Next, pay a visit to Desaru Ostrich Farm with more than 300 of the world’s most gigantic birds where you can taste the delicate ostrich egg.
End your afternoon at the Desaru Fruit Farm. Growing over 180 acres of tropical fruits, the Farm offers guided tours to discover more about the fruits. Along with a Herbal & Vegetable Garden and an educational Beekeeping talk, a visit here makes for a stand-out Malaysian eco-learning experience. However, if you’re looking for a little more adventure don’t miss their onsite ATV rides and youngsters will adore the petting zoo.
In the evening, enjoy dinner at your hotel and some live music at the bar, or head over to Desaru Coast Riverside to check out great restaurants and shopping outlets.
After a leisurely Sunday breakfast, it’s time to slow things down. Strike a few balls at the (Ernie) Els Club Desaru Coast world-class golf course or enjoy a soothing massage at your hotel’s spa. Then, relax at any one of the fabulous beaches along this 22km of coast. The nearest is Desaru Beach, only ten minutes from the integrated resort, where you can sunbathe or partake in numerous activities such as fishing, sailing or swimming.
In the evening, join an organised tour to Sungai Lebain Wetlands and catch a boat ride to glimpse millions of fireflies glowing bright yellow, green and pale red light – magical. Afterwards, dine at a floating restaurant but don’t forget your mosquito spray!
For accommodation, we recommend the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast with over 30 exhibits of iconic memorabilia. An ever-popular hotel and brand for both families and couples and a stay here can make for a great weekend getaway Malaysia for couple. Sleep in luxurious and comfortable rooms or suites, enjoy fab amenities and great onsite entertainment for all ages… you’re sure to have a blast here!
Best from: Singapore
Driving Time: 2.5 hours drive to Mersing and then a short ferry ride
Best hotel: Rawa Island Resort
The Maldives of Malaysia, beautiful Pulau Rawa or Rawa Island, is an idyllic tropical island situated in the archipelago of the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park. White, sun-baked beaches and the crystal blue South China Sea entice guests from Singapore and Malaysia for relaxing weekend stays. Splurge on your partner and treat them to a destination that is one of the most romantic weekend getaways for couples in Malaysia.
As with all truly paradise locations, there’s a little effort involved in reaching the island but it’s more than worth the effort. Transfer by road or flight to Johor Bahru and connect with local transport for the drive to Mersing Jetty. From here, jump on a quick 20min speed boat crossing to the island. Be sure to pre-book and check with your hotel the departure times for the speed boat as they only run only 2-3 times a day.
Once you reach the exotic island it’s time to unpack and unwind from the stress and strain of modern life. Spend your weekend swinging in a hammock at the beach with a good book or take advantage of the island’s easily accessible colourful coral reef with snorkelling or scuba diving. Look out for tropical fish, baby sharks, small (harmless) stingrays and majestic coral gardens. The island is a terrific place to learn either activity due to the gentle sloping shore and the ease of access to the house reef, making the waters also super safe for children to swim in.
Above the water you can enjoy all the usual water sports, including kayaking, SUP and sailing, and for the young at heart, check out the two giant water slides!
Back on land, discover the island’s lush rainforest middle where rather surprisingly you’ll find peacocks everywhere, including some rare white ones. Hiking upwards approx. 25 minutes will bring you to Hill Top with splendid views – make a point to be here early to catch a stunning sunrise.
Don’t fancy the climb? Take a walk around the island – approx. 1 hour – and check out the abundant colourful flowers such as frangipani in pink, red and white blooms, and a small cactus garden. With a soothing background noise of the waves gently hitting the shore, this is as peaceful as it comes!
The island is home to only two hotels and we recommend staying at the full service Rawa Island Resort. Offering accommodation with aircon and three mouth-watering buffet meals, spanning both western and Malaysian local delights, and wonderful freshly squeezed fruit juices, you’ll be booking your next visit before you depart!
The hotel offers foosball, snooker, beach volleyball, a giant trampoline, ping pong and a badminton area. Note that no fishing or jet-skiing is allowed as this is a protected marine area and this quiet destination offers no wifi or television. Visit Rawa between March and September to avoid the Monsoon season when the resorts are closed due to strong winds making the sea crossing uncomfortable.
An exotic no-news, no-shoes weekend break destination suitable for both families and couples, or those travelling solo looking for a total chill-out.
Best For: People happy to fly to their weekend trip to Malaysia or want a longer drive
Flying Time: 1hr from Kuala Lumpur (or you can drive in 4 hours)
Best hotel: Shangri La Rasa Sayang
Budget hotel: Ink Hotel Penang
Our top pick for a cheap weekend getaways, Malaysia. Head to the exciting and vibrant island of Penang for a fun-packed, food-overloaded weekend! Fly into the local airport or travel 4-hours by bus/car from Kuala Lumpur.
Home to one of the largest pre-war building collections in Southeast Asia, in 2008 George Town was named a UNESCO Heritage Site. Start your day with a 2-3-hour ride on a local trishaw, an authentic three-wheeled taxi, following the special Heritage Trishaw route.
Along the way, you’ll discover most of the UNESCO sites including wonderful historic landmarks such as Fort Cornwallis, and the Penang State Museum where you can admire the unique colonial architecture that continues to pull in visitors from all over the world.
As you meander the busy streets of Penang look out for the world renowned quirky mural street art. There are some great works that make for some fun photos!
Continue your day’s exploration of George Town by visiting the Clan Jetties. Home to Chinese immigrants in the 19th century, they offer a rare insight into how the community has survived over the years.
Feeling hungry? Time to feast on the mouth-watering street food that Penang is famous for. Follow your nose, whether it be a roadside pushcart or a local coffee shop, you will not be disappointed! Or head to Gurney Drive Hawker Centre by the sea to enjoy everything under one roof.
Escape the afternoon’s heat by taking the world’s steepest funicular tunnel train up Penang Hill, a former colonial hill station. Enjoy the breathtaking views across George Town and to the Penang Bridge. Stroll the marked trails of The Habitat – a world-class ecotourism site – appreciating the unique flora whilst keeping alert for dusky leaf monkeys, black giant squirrels and more than 100 species of birds. A canopy walk brings you up close to the giant trees and you can wiz across the valley into the rainforest and back on a thrilling 700m zipline.
In the evening, pick up some souvenirs at the Batu Ferringhi Night Market, stretching almost a kilometre with more than 100 stalls and plenty of roadside hawkers selling fragrant, tender, juicy and smoke-flavoured goodies to ensure you never go hungry!
After such a busy Saturday you deserve a more relaxing second day. Only 30 minutes’ drive from Georgetown you’ll find some spectacular beaches, with the most famous being Batu Ferringhi and Tanjung Bungah. A handful of five-star hotels are located along both beaches, offering breathtaking views and great dining options. Spend the day enjoying a wide array of watersports such as parasailing, jet skiing and windsurfing.
If you prefer a quieter beach there are plenty of locations around Penang adjacent to charming fishing villages or we recommend taking a 20 minute boat ride from Batu Ferringhi to Monkey Beach. Named after the crab-eating macaques residing in the beachside jungle, the bay has miles of white sand, clear water and is great for fishing.
Penang has something for every traveler, whether with family, solo or looking for a romantic break. Offering a slice of history, culture, fantastic beaches, watersports, wildlife and rainforests… it’s no wonder this is a favourite destination for weekend getaways for couples Malaysia.
Best For: People happy to fly to their Malaysia short weekend getaway
Flying Time: 1hr50min from Kuala Lumpur
Best hotel: Pullman Kuching
Budget hotel: The Lime Tree Hotel
Kuching, part of the Sarawak state in Malaysia’s Borneo island, is a quick 1.5 hours flight from Singapore and makes for a stunning cultural and off-the-tourist-route destination. Growing in popularity for weekend getaways for couples in Malaysia, we recommend visiting soon before the tour groups descend in greater numbers!
Famous for two things – its history and nature – commence your weekend by discovering the museums and temples, and the quaint streets of Chinatown. All the museums in Kuching are free, with our top favourites being the Sarawak Museum – including a replica of an Iban Longhouse and many glass fronted cases filled with fauna indigenous to Borneo – and the wonderful Chinese History Museum housed in a hundred year old building that was once a Chinese courthouse.
Enjoy lunch at any one of the seafood restaurants along Carpenter Street or snack on tasty street food.
In the afternoon, head out to the Sarawak Cultural Village where you can learn about the seven ethnic groups of Sarawak and view their model homes. A 45-minute cultural show, with dances from each tribe, showcases the difference between Sarawak and the rest of Malaysia. With dazzling costumes and rainforest musical instruments, you are sure to enjoy this unique show.
Alternatively, spend the afternoon at the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, where you’ll find semi-wild Bornean orangutans. Aim to catch the 3-4pm feeding hour as they munch on bananas and coconuts whilst playfully hanging from ropes and tree branches. We suggest taking along a pair of binoculars or ensure your camera has a good zoom lens as the viewing platform is some way from where the animals cluster.
Take dinner at The White Barouk, situated by the Kuching River, serving simple flavorful Sarawakian dishes.
It’s an early start on Sunday to the top National Park in Sarawak for wildlife viewing – the famous Bako National Park. To enjoy a full day here you’ll need to wake early and travel to the Bako jetty at Kampung Bako, ready for a 20-minute boat ride. Depending on your fitness levels, you can choose a full day’s trek (remember to carry water and snacks), or split the day with two short walks and take lunch at the park’s canteen.
In total 18 trails of varying lengths and difficulties are offered, from 5.8km to 0.5km. Wear proper hiking boots as most trails are covered in thick roots and watch out for the popular proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaque, silvered langur, and Bornean bearded pigs… and the rather large monitor lizards!
Not looking to hike trails, consider discovering primary jungle by a river kayaking trip. Organised tours will collect you from your hotel around 9am and drive you 45 minutes to the scenic starting point. Surrounded by towering limestone outcrops and jungle, the calm river waters provide an easy 11km kayak down the river. Approximately a 6-hour round trip, with a 45-minute lunch stop at a local village, this is a unique and peaceful jungle experience.
Back in Kuching, head to the Lepau Restaurant, designed in the style of a traditional tribal hut with Orang Ulu music and ornaments. A wonderful way to end your weekend.
Without a doubt two days in Kuching is insufficient time to delve into all the region has to offer but it makes for a culturally and wildlife-rich experience. With a wide choice of hotels, you can enjoy a cheap weekend getaway, Malaysia.
Looking for the ultimate Malaysia Itinerary Planner for your trip? Click here to get it now!
Map Of Best Weekend Getaway Malaysia Options
On the map below, find exactly where all our top choices for a weekend escape Malaysia are located.
We hope you found this guide to where to go for weekend getaway in Malaysia useful. If you want some more suggestions, you can find our list of the best short trip in Malaysia options here. You can also find our full Malaysia planning guide here. You can also find our best road trip itineraries here.