Visiting Malaysia and on a short timeframe? Or in Malaysia or Singapore and looking for short getaway in Malaysia ideas?
You are in the right place! If you want to know where to go in Malaysia for short trip, we can help! We know you don’t always have weeks or months to see a place and sometimes, you just need inspiration for a best short vacation in Malaysia.
There are many great short holiday destinations in Malaysia that are just made for a mini break and we’ll share them with you below. Whether you are arriving by plane, hopping over the border for a short trip to Malaysia from Singapore or already in Malaysia and want somewhere close and easy, you are sure to find your best short trip in Malaysia below!
You can also find our list of itineraries for places to visit in Malaysia for three days here.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
11 Options For The Best Short Getaway In Malaysia
1. Kuala Lumpur City Stay
If you haven’t been to Kuala Lumpur before then this is the #1 answer to where to go for short trip in Malaysia. It’s a big, vibrant city with so much to offer tourists.
It’s also a very easy option for your Malaysia short trip if you are flying into Malaysia from elsewhere since it’s probably where you will arrive.
On arrival, head straight into the city to make the most of your time. We recommend staying at the Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur. It is located right on KLCC Park with many rooms looking straight across at the iconic Petronas Towers. It doesn’t come more central than this! Click here for more details.
During your short vacay in Malaysia, there is so much you can do in Malaysia. You can follow our full three day+ itinerary here if you have enough time. Otherwise, you can pick your favourite options from heading up the Petronas Towers, visiting the lively Chinatown Markets, heading to the National Museum or taking a day trip to the famous Batu Caves.
It’s hard to go wrong with Kuala Lumpur for your Malaysia short getaway.
2. Crazy Fun At Sunway Lagoon
If you are looking for where to go for a short getaway in Malaysia with kids (or kids at heart), it’s hard to beat Sunway Lagoon.
This big theme park just outside Kuala Lumpur is perfect for people looking for a central short holiday in Malaysia that’s very easy and fun. It’s also located near KL Airport so perfect for a 2 days 1 night short trip in Malaysia as well.
Sunway Lagoon is like a whole city. While there is the theme park itself, there is also the Sunway Pyramid shopping mall and many hotels right on site. If you tire of the theme park, you can also swim in your hotel pool, ice skate at the shopping mall or watch a movie at the cinemas. This place is tailor-made for the most fun short escape Malaysia offers.
The theme park itself is open daily and consists of six different lands. You can cool down in the Water Park, meet animals in the Wildlife Park or be scared in the Scream Park. Kids will also love the Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon where they can meet their favourite characters or go on rides especially for younger kids.
This theme park is lots of fun and it’s one of our kids’ top places to go in Malaysia.
We recommend staying at the Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa so you don’t miss a moment of fun. More details here.
3. Sea-Top Relaxation At Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson
Many of our short getaways in Malaysia have been in Port Dickson thanks to affordable 5 star resorts which are totally awesome!
Lexis Hibiscus is our favourite. This resort not only has many over-water villas (the most in the world according to Guinness!) that form the shape of a hibiscus from the air (look out for it when flying into KL Airport!) but also has a Guinness world record for the resort with the most pools in the world. This is because all of these over-water villas also have their own private pools on the back. They are amazing!
We could spend a whole short break in Malaysia just in this pool! But the resort also offers a lot more. There are big pools, a pool bar, playground, an inflatable water park, kids playcentre, photo booth, gym, sauna, games rooms, shop, multiple restaurants, an outside food court on the beach, bicycles, water spots, helicopter rides, archery and so much more.
The Lexis Hibiscus is also located in a great spot to explore more of Port Dickson with the lovely Blue Lagoon just a (hot) walk or short taxi or drive away.
Whether you are looking for a short getaway in Malaysia for couples or a family short trip in Malaysia, this is a top choice.
4. Great Food And Hot Springs At Banjaran Hotsprings Resort In Ipoh
Just a few hours by road from Penang or Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh is the capital city of the state of Perak in Malaysia’s beautiful north west. The adult-only Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is the area’s luxury standout resort.
Rejuvenating and revitalizing, the hotel is noted for its thermal steam caves, hiking trails, crystal caverns and meditation spots, all set amidst limestone hills and lush green jungle. A perfect destination for short getaways for couples in Malaysia.
Facilities such as a well-equipped modern gym and swimming pool can be enjoyed, along with relaxing ayurvedic therapies and traditional Malay healing rituals at the eco-friendly spa.
Accommodation is spread across lake, water, or garden villas, all featuring king beds, aircon, complimentary wifi and your own private geothermal hot tub! For the ultimate treat, ensure to enquire about their exclusive butler service.
Reserve a table at the casual Pomelo Restaurant, offering a-la-carte dining from midday to late evening. The restaurant acquires its name from a famous Ipoh fruit and features flavourful yet healthy dining, with both indoor and outdoor seating. Guests are invited to discuss the menu with the Executive Chef or with the Spa and Wellness Team to enjoy specially crafted meals.
After dinner, move to the relaxing Skybar for a signature cocktail. Offering panoramic views of the geothermal hot springs and the surrounding nature, the bar’s wide terrace, set 30ft above the ground, offers splendid views.
Celebrating a birthday or just feeling romantic? Jeff’s Cellar is a unique dining location set within a 260-million-year-old limestone cave. Noted as one of the most unique wine bars in the world, this award-winning restaurant was also voted one of the top 20 restaurants in Malaysia.
Serving both organic and rare wines, with cozy lighting, the cave’s striking interiors and natural water features provide a truly unforgettable dining experience.
This hotel is without doubt a top choice for romantic couples or anyone needing some pampering and looking for a short retreat in Malaysia.
Click here to see the latest prices for the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat.
5. Cool Down In Cameron Highlands
The Cameron Highlands is the name of a scenic hill station in the state of Pahang, four hours from Kuala Lumpur, set along a mountain plateau high above the river valley. Dating from the 19th century, the region was founded by a British colonialist, Sir William Cameron, and modeled on a traditional English village.
Offering a respite from the heat of the lowlands, the cooler climate is welcoming, making this a great Malaysia short trip suggestion. Spanning some 71,000 hectares, there is a huge amount to do here, especially for nature lovers and hikers.
English influences are strong across the region, including attractions such as Mrs. Robertson’s Rose Garden or Raaju’s Hill Strawberry Farm.
One of the highlights of this short staycation in Malaysia will be visiting the Boh Tea Plantation. Established in 1929, this is one of the most famous brands of tea in the country. Learn how the tea is harvested and grown and enjoy the stunning lush green terrace plantation vistas.
Feeling energetic? Trek to the summit of Mount Brinchang, one of the main peaks of the Cameron Highlands – or take the easier but still hair-raising drive up along a winding mountain road. Alternatively, head out on any one of the many tracks to discover the lush jungles, an abundance of flora and fauna, waterfalls, and scenic mountain views.
Along the way you will meet various indigenous groups of the Orang Asli, “Original People” in Malay, who live in traditional villages dotted around the area. Honeybee farms, lavender and butterfly gardens, Chinese and Hindu temples, local markets and the spectacular Thompson Falls will also keep you entertained!
Relax your tired feet, and stop at a traditional mock-Tudor mansion, and dine on delicious traditional English cream tea.
Finally, drive an hour to the Blue Valley and marvel at the majestic Rafflesia flower, the largest flower in the world.
For the ultimate luxury, stay over at the Cameron Highlands Resort, a majestic colonial hotel with stunning views of Pahang’s rolling hills. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, this peaceful retreat offers rooms with four-poster beds, polished teak furniture, silk fabrics and balconies overlooking the adjacent golf course. Perfection.
6. Food And Culture At Penang
One of our favorite places in Malaysia, Penang is a terrific fun mixture of culture, beaches and history. Add in some of the tastiest food in Malaysia and you possibly have the best place for short vacation in Malaysia.
A small island located off the west coast peninsular of Malaysia, Penang is easy to reach by road as it’s connected to the mainland by bridges or by flying into its international airport.
George Town, the capital and Malaysia’s second largest city, was first settled by the British in the 1700’s and is UNESCO listed thanks to its unique architecture and culture. A melting pot of Asian and European traditions has made the city a unique destination.
Start your short stay in Malaysia by riding a funicular tram up to Penang Hill for a great viewing point of George Town and the island. Head down to Kek Lok Si Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, with pretty gardens and ponds.
Over lunch, discover epic George Town with its traditional Chinese settlement area, Clan Jetties. Dating back to the 19th century the wooden stilt houses built over the water spirit you back in time as you watch locals going about their simple daily rituals.
Nearby is Fort Cornwallis, the largest remaining British fort in Malaysia. A small onsite museum provides a quick history lesson. And then, it’s on to Peranakan Mansion, home to a Chinese community whose cultural heritage has merged with the local Malay culture creating a unique neighbourhood.
One of the nicest looking buildings in Penang is the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, better known as the Blue Mansion thanks to its colour. Discover more about Chinese history at this merchant house.
Stroll down beautiful Love Lane, a stretch of colonial shop houses, with lovely cafes and enjoy a famous Malaysian white coffee.
Coming to the end of your day, drop by the Kapitan Keling Mosque, built by Indian Muslims in early 1800. And, as dusk falls, head to Armenian Street, a truly beautiful part of George Town. Once home to Chinese clan-houses and secret societies, today it’s full of shops and cafes, as well as Buddhist temples and food stalls.
Known as the food capital of Malaysia, in the evening you must try the popular night hawker centers. We recommend visiting the Gurney Drive Hawker Centre and try to taste as many things as you can. Tempting smells waft through the air as you stroll past the numerous stalls and the noisy sellers call out inviting you to try their dishes.
Gurney is one of the biggest and most famous eateries in Penang. Said to offer the widest variety of street food, it’s a great place to sample local cuisine such as char koay kak, soft white radish stir-fried with crunchy bean sprouts, chili, egg and pork lard – simply delicious!
Another great venue is the New Lane Hawker Centre. With the area closed to traffic from 4pm every day, it’s a little less frenetic as Gurney but still a thriving outdoor hawker food center. Specialties include char kway teow (flat rice noodles with cockles, prawns, chili and bean sprouts) and chee cheong fun (rice noodle rolls). Or, try their Chinese comfort food – congee – Chinese porridge made with rice instead of oats, with side dishes of crab, eggs, pork and ginger chicken. Finger lickin good.
Penang has accommodation for all budgets, from the lowest to the highest. Treat yourself to a stay at the renowned Edison George Town, a vision of architectural splendor. Elegant suites are decorated with vibrant jade accents and a central courtyard provides a quiet respite from the busy city.
Penang is the best place for short getaway in Malaysia, with an abundance of culture and activities for couples and families.
7. Beach And Relaxation At Langkawi
An archipelago made up of 99 islands on Malaysia’s west coast, Langkawi is paradise. Surrounded by turquoise sea and with an interior of paddy fields and jungle-clad hills, this is a winner of a destination for a short holiday trip in Malaysia.
Jump on a short flight from Kuala Lumpur and this nature lover’s island with powder-fine sand and swaying coconut trees will win you over.
Malaysia’s premier tourist destination, the island offers a wide range of outdoor recreational activities. A massive playground for nature lovers by day, once the sun sets the island transforms with lively beachfront bars that overlook the Andaman Sea.
Spend your day at this short trip recommendation in Malaysia at any one of the pristine beaches – Datai Bay, Pantai Cenang and Tanjung Rhu – all of which are rated amongst the best in the world. We suggest renting a car and discovering them all!
Take the Langkawi Cable Car for the 15-minute ride to the top of Mount Mat Cincang, offering breath-taking views of Langkawi’s rainforests, islets, and waterfalls.
Discover the underwater world at Pulau Payar – 30km south of Langkawi the island is an amazing spot for diving or snorkeling. Travel there by catamaran or speedboat, and look out for manta rays, barracuda, snapper, and colorful corals.
Back on top of the water, spend an afternoon island hopping enjoying swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing in small coves. Or take a sunset dinner cruise on a catamaran and enjoy a delicious barbecue as you savor the sunset views of Langkawi.
Hike the hills of Gunung Raya, the highest peak in Langkawi, covered in dense rainforest that’s home to numerous wildlife such as leaf monkeys, flying foxes, macaque monkeys, mountain hawk eagles and great hornbills.
Horseback ride along the beach, try a relaxing treatment at any one of the luxury 5-star spas dotted across the island – most with an extensive choice of Malay, Ayurveda, Chinese, Turkish, Swedish and Indonesian massages – or discover Underwater World Langkawi at Pantai Cenang beach town with its 500 species of sea creatures.
The island has an abundance of accommodation options, from backpacker inns to a plethora of 5-star sprawling beach resorts. If you are looking for a budget short trip in Malaysia this could be it!
But our top choice is The Datai Langkawi, recently reopened after a 46M renovation. The revitalized resort is set amongst 46 acres of virgin rainforest and has a fresh focus on nature and the environment, aiming to be one of the top luxury Asian retreats.
The hotel’s 121 rooms, suites and villas offer stunning rainforest views, with daily wildlife sightings from monkeys to exotic birds. Villas come in all designs – some with balconies or built on stilts, others with 10-metre pools and designed as chic log cabins, or elect to stay at a Beach Villa with private pool and direct shore access.
The incredible setting, along with the island’s nature makes for a spectacularly nice place for a short trip in Malaysia and is top of luxury short vacation ideas for couples in Malaysia.
8. Coastal Fun At Desaru
At the southern end of the east coast of Malaysia, facing the South China Sea, the coast of Desaru stretches for an almost endless 22km.
From Kuala Lumpur it is either a 5-hour drive or a quick flight to Johor Bahru and a 1-hour transfer. Nearer to Singapore, Desaru Coast is possible to reach within a day-trip, either by a 2-hour drive along the causeway or a 1-hour ferry ride.
Home to several top resorts the Desaru Coast is a perfect place to stay for a long weekend and is an ideal Malaysia short trip from Singapore.
Retaining an almost untouched feel, the area is expanding slowly with 21-acres of fun for the family, boasting five spectacular wet and dry zones in the Adventure Waterpark, a world-class golf course and other attractions.
A free shuttle service whisks you around the integrated destination and evening and live events are regularly programmed at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues.
But foremost for most visitors at this one of the places for short getaway in Malaysia is simply to relax at one of the empty stretches of beach, with fine golden sand and calm waters perfect for swimming.
Tear yourself away from the beach and play a round at the Ernie Els signature designed championship golf course. Or check out the Desaru Ostrich Farm or Desaru Fruit Farm where you can learn about 100 different varieties of tropical fruit.
Include a trip to the Tanjung Balau Fishermen Museum to discover how the local traditional fishing villages survive or catch feeding time for the 1000 crocs at the Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm.
If shopping is your thing, the Desaru Coast Riverside Village will keep you busy. A 23-acre waterfront modern shopping precinct with some great shops and restaurants.
In the evening, join a firefly cruise through the Sungai Lebam Wetlands, cruising down the Bujang River surrounded by thousands of fireflies that light up the night sky.
A handful of 5-star hotels offer a mixture of accommodation, with the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast a favourite for families. Another strong favourite for those looking for a more relaxing stay, focusing on wellness and fine dining, is the One and Only Desaru Coast adjacent to the Els Club and opening on to the beach.
Make this a 2D1N short trip in Malaysia to fully enjoy all the activities and wonderful beaches.
9. Island Escape At Tioman
Thinking where to go for a short holiday in Malaysia? Close your eyes and picture an exotic jungle-clad island, surrounded by gorgeous beaches… we give you Tioman Island!
Off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia, this small island offers excellent diving, snorkeling and other water sports, small secluded beaches and an exciting untamed interior great for short hikes. The ultimate Malaysian getaway? We think so.
Not the easiest place to reach, the island quietly lures travelers from both Malaysia and Singapore via ferry from the port town of Mersing, 7-hours by bus from Kuala Lumpur.
Ferries make various stops around the island, docking at infrequent small jetties. Before departing, pay the marine park fee at the Mersing Ferry Terminal and then let the crew know where on Tioman you intend to jump off.
The island has a handful of bays with lush beaches dotted around the island. ABC – Air Batong – is perhaps the most popular for budget travellers. Snorkeling and sunsets are both terrific here.
Juara is a quiet beach, and a little remote on the east side. Offering, in our opinion, the best sand and swimming on the island, it is definitely worth checking out.
Salang offers great visibility for swimming and another excellent strip of sand, with a terrific snorkeling point at the southern end.
And finally, Genting is a boulder-strewn picturesque beach, with a few eating options clustered nearby.
Part of the charm of Tioman is the lack of paved roads. Travel between beaches by boat, walk or rent a bicycle. Watch out for large monitor lizards and monkeys along the way!
There is little to do on the island except for jungle treks, with almost no shops or villages to discover. Take time to relax, read a good book or discover the underwater world.
Visit in June, July or August for the best weather or the shoulder months of May and September for quieter beaches. Avoid the rainiest months of November-January as ferry schedules are often disrupted by storms.
Accommodation is mostly rustic aside from a handful of larger resorts which often have private grounds. A relatively good option is Japamala Tioman Island, with Treetop, Hillside, Seacliff and Beach Villas or Chalets.
Dine at Il Tempio for Italian cuisine or the romantic setting of Mandi-Mandi built over the waters and fitted with overhanging pavilions.
A stay at Tioman is ideal for honeymooners not looking for five-star luxury, or scuba and snorkeling enthusiasts, and anyone wanting to escape the rat race for a few days. Some great accommodation deals can be found for those looking for a cheap short getaway in Malaysia.
10. Jungle And Rivers In Kuching
Borneo, the third largest island in the world and largest in Asia, is in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago, shared by the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, Indonesian Kalimantan, and the tiny nation of Brunei.
World-renowned for its beaches and ancient, biodiverse rainforests and home to wildlife including orangutans and sun bears, Borneo is full of places to go for a short getaway in Malaysia.
Kuching is situated on the Sarawak River, at the southwest tip of Sarawak and is the largest city in Borneo. Taking pride in being the cleanest city in Malaysia, the people of Kuching come from diverse cultures such as Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, original Indian migrants – split between Tamils, Sikhs and Punjabis – and indigenous races such as Bidayuhs, Melanau, Javanese and Orang Ulu settlers.
Enjoying sunshine almost throughout the year, this tropical region is easy to reach from Kuala Lumpur or any Malaysian domestic airport making it an ideal short trip getaway Malaysia. Flying into Kuching International Airport, daily flights are also available from Singapore.
Kuching is an ideal base from which to go exploring, with nearby national parks including the famous Bako, home of the rare proboscis monkey and with seven different eco-systems including towering cliff sides and mangrove swamps. Other national parks include Gunung Gading where giant rafflesia flowers bloom, Kuching Wetlands which protects a fascinating mangrove ecosystem, and Kubah with its rare palms and orchids.
Semenggoh Nature Reserve is 40 minutes from Kuching and easy to enjoy as a day trip. Tourists flock here to see the orangutans and the centre has a great rehabilitation programme. You’ll also find many birds, mammals and reptiles roaming the forests. Try to catch the orangutans feeding session, where the released animals come to the feeding platforms to feast on fruits and vegetables.
Bau is another popular place to visit for its two beautiful limestone caves, and a prime rock-climbing destination of Kuching. With over 500 cave entrances marked in the Kuching area one-day adventures and multi-day expeditions can be arranged for all fitness and experience levels.
Ever-wet rainforests are a delight for birdwatchers and home to a dizzying array of tropical wildlife, with almost all of Borneo’s 650 bird species having been recorded in the state.
Kuching is bisected by the Sarawak River. Hire a traditional wooden boat and driver to enjoy a leisurely trip along the river taking in views of the city. Alternatively, there are many companies offering kayak adventures on the Sarawak River or choose to kayak out to sea in search of pods of dolphins.
If you have time, don’t miss a trip to Annah Rais, a Bidayuh village about 100 km outside of Kuching. Made up of a traditional Bidayuh longhouse, with many families living under one roof following a communal way of life, you can visit the longhouse and see how people have lived and worked across the centuries.
You will find a great mix of budget and luxury accommodation in Kuching. If you prefer to stay outside of the city, we recommend the luxurious Damai Beach Resort. Located on a white-sand beach overlooking the South China Sea, this modern four-star hotel includes a sports and recreation centre and on-site spa service. The majestic foothills of Mount Santubong surround the resort and it is a good base for heading off to Bako or Kubah National Park.
All 224 rooms are designed in chalet style and the resort has a large pool and gym. Guests have the service of a shuttle bus for heading into Kuching – approx. 40 minutes. A great hotel for families and those looking to explore the national parks of Sarawak but also want to enjoy a Malaysia beach vacation.
Looking for a budget short vacation in Malaysia or just considering where to go in Malaysia for a short holiday, Kuching should be high on your list with its unbelievable nature experiences.
11. Orangutans And Sun Bears In Sandakan
David Attenborough once said that “when I was right in the middle of Borneo, you thought you were in a different world” and, despite globally publicized environmental issues, much of Borneo remains untouched and offers unique animal experiences that make the island a wonderful short holiday getaway in Malaysia.
On the northeast coast of Borneo is the Malaysian state of Sabah, and on the east coast of Sabah lies Sandakan, rich in culture and historical background. However, most visitors flock here for the famous Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and adjacent Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
Sepilok is 25 km west of Sandakan and there are many group or private tours available which include the roundtrip travel. Alternatively, make your own way to Sepilok but ensure to time your visit well for the feeding session.
The centre originally opened in 1964 and was the first orangutan rehabilitation project focused on rescuing orphans (and more recently injured adults) whose lives had been affected by the logging industry, plantations, illegal hunting and illegal pet trade. Only found in the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra, Orangutans left without a mother are rehabilitated through Sepilok, taking almost ten years to graduate back to the jungle.
Join them at feeding time and observe from the viewing platform or outdoor nursery.
Entrance fee is minimal and the centre needs all the support it can get, so if you’re considering where to go for a short getaway in Malaysia a visit to Sepilok is not only enjoyable but also vital for the ongoing survival of orangutans.
Almost everyone combines a visit to Sepilok with the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Opened in 2008, the sanctuary offers a rehabilitation programme for injured or previously captured sun bears. The smallest bears in the world, they are again in danger due to loss of habitat, illegal hunting and the illegal pet trade industry.
Around 40 bears are housed in the sanctuary and visitors can observe them from an elevated wooden walkway, but similar to Sepilok you cannot come into direct contact with the animals.
Expect to spend at least 2-3 hours visiting the two centres, learning about these endangered animals and how you can help to ensure their environment and ability to survive in the wild continues for decades to come.
Accommodation in Sandakan is moderately basic, with the best selection perhaps the Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan.
Most tourists choose to travel on into the jungle after visiting Sepilok, staying along the Kinabatangan River. Home to proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, crocodiles, and stunning birdlife, stay at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge.
Our favourite destination in Malaysia, Borneo is a magical destination for a short trip vacation in Malaysia.
Map Of Where To Go For Short Trip In Malaysia
We hope you found this short trip in Malaysia blog useful and have come up with the best place in Malaysia for short trip for your needs! Remember, you can find more Malaysia short vacation ideas complete with 3 day itineraries here or our best weekend getaway ideas here. Find our complete Malaysia travel planning guide here.