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, then this is the perfect guide for you! We know you don’t always have weeks or months to see a place and perhaps on this occasion, you just need inspiration for the 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.

11 Options For The Best Short Getaway In Malaysia

Below, in our short vacay Malaysia guide we’ve listed (in no particular order) 11 places for the perfect short getaway Malaysia trip.

1. Kuala Lumpur City Stay

best time to visit kl

Kuala Lumpur

If you haven’t been to Kuala Lumpur before then this is the #1 answer to where to go for a short trip in Malaysia. It’s a big, vibrant city with so much to offer tourists. Whether you’re looking for a short getaway in Malaysia for family, a romantic weekend getaway Malaysia offers, a cheap short vacay in Malaysia or something else entirely – this city offers something for everyone!

It’s also a very easy option for your Malaysia short trip if you are flying into Malaysia from overseas, as no doubt you’ll probably arrive in KL anyway.

On arrival, start your short vacation Malaysia trip by heading straight into the city. 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 and for a quick Malaysia getaway, you want to be central to everything! Click here for more details.

During your short vacay in Malaysia, there is so much you can do in KL. 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.  No matter your budget or what type of trip you’re after KL is the perfect location.

Click here to see our full guide to Kuala Lumpur

2. Crazy Fun At Sunway Lagoon

Kuala Lumpur 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.  A few days here and your kids will think all their Christmases have come at once!

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 – it’s not just a theme park. 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 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.  It is hands down the best getaway in Malaysia for families, even more so if you’re after a short getaway near KL.

If you do decide to bring the kids here, we recommend staying right on site at the Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa.  This way you won’t miss a single second of fun. More details here.

Click here to see our full review of Sunway Lagoon

3. Sea-Top Relaxation At Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson

Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson

Lexis Hibiscus

Many of our short getaways in Malaysia have been in Port Dickson thanks to affordable 5 star resorts which are totally awesome!  This is my pick if you’re looking for the best beach short getaway Malaysia 2021 offers.

Lexis Hibiscus is our absolute favourite resort. 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 – so you can see why I recommend it for the best place for short vacay in Malaysia – particularly a relaxing one.

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.

You can click here for the latest prices or here for our full review. Click here for our full Port Dickson guide.

4. Great Food And Hot Springs At Banjaran Hotsprings Resort In Ipoh

Ipoh Rice Noodles

If you enjoy being surrounded by nature – then probably the best short trip Malaysia for you is the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat in Ipoh.  Located 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.  So leave the kids at home for this short getaway from KL!

Rejuvenating and revitalizing, the hotel is well known for its thermal steam caves, hiking trails, crystal caverns and meditation spots, all set amidst limestone hills and lush green jungle.  Undoubtedly the perfect destination for short getaways for couples in Malaysia.

There are some great facilities on offer here, including a well-equipped modern gym and swimming pool, 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 as 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.  It’s the perfect destination whether you’re after a short getaway from Penang or KL.

Click here to see the latest prices for the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat.

Click here to see our full guide to Ipoh.

5. Cool Down In Cameron Highlands

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 and is another one of the ideal short Malaysia getaways.  Dating from the 19th century, the region was founded by a British colonialist, Sir William Cameron, and modeled on a traditional English village.

Cameron Highlands is a great place to go in Malaysia for short trip if you need a respite from the heat of the lowlands. Spanning some 71,000 hectares, there is a huge amount to do here, and is a great Malaysia short trip suggestion 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 is 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.

If you’re feeling energetic, then you can trek to the summit of Mount Brinchang, one of the main peaks of the Cameron Highlands.  Another option is to 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 short escape in Malay, 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.  Easily one of the best places to go in Malaysia for short trip.

Click here for more information on the Cameron Highlands Resort or click here to see our full guide to Cameron Highlands.

6. Food And Culture At Penang

Penang National Park sightseeing in Penang Malaysia

One of our favourite places for a short weekend getaway Malaysia is Penang. Penang is a terrific fun mixture of culture, beaches and history as well as some of the tastiest food in Malaysia.  Altogether this makes it possibly the best place for short vacation in Malaysia.

Penang is a small island located off the west coast peninsular of Malaysia and 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 is great for a range of different types of short trips in Malaysia.  Here you will find accommodation for all budgets, from super cheap to luxurious.  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. 

Click here to find more details on the Edison

Penang is the best place for short getaway in Malaysia, with an abundance of culture and activities for couples and families.

Click here to see our full guide to Penang.

7. Beach And Relaxation At Langkawi

Boats_Langkawi

Langkawi is perfect if you’re looking for an island short escape in Malaysia.  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.  

You can easily jump on a short flight from Kuala Lumpur and be in this nature lover’s island with powder-fine sand and swaying coconut trees in a jiffy!

Malaysia’s premier tourist destination, the island offers a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, making it the best weekend getaway in Malaysia.  Langkawi is a massive playground for nature lovers by day and then once the sun sets the island transforms with lively beachfront bars that overlook the Andaman Sea. 

Here you can 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.  It’s best to rent a car so you can discover 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.  Did I not tell you this was the best short vacay in Malaysia!!

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.  Perfect for those after romantic holidays in Malaysia.

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 an awesome place for a short trip in Malaysia and is top of luxury short vacation ideas for couples in Malaysia.

Click here for more information about The Datai or click here to see our full guide to Langkawi.

8. Coastal Fun At Desaru

Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark

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.  This is yet another fantastic idea for a short getaway trip Malaysia offers families, couples, groups – pretty much all kinds of travellers.

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.  

The Desary Coast is home to several top resorts and is a perfect place to stay for a long weekend and is a particularly great 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.

This is one of the places for short getaway in Malaysia to simply relax.  There are several empty stretches of beach to choose from, with fine golden sand and calm waters perfect for swimming.

If you can tear yourself away from the beach, then consider playing a round of golf 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.

It’s also recommended to 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 your idea of the best short escape in Malaysia includes some shopping, then the Desaru Coast Riverside Village will keep you busy. The village is 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 more relaxing getaway places in Malaysia is the One and Only Desaru Coast adjacent to the Els Club and opening on to the beach.

Click here for more details on Hard Rock Desaru Coast.

Make this a 2D1N short trip in Malaysia to fully enjoy all the activities and wonderful beaches.

Click here to see our full guide to Desaru.

9. Island Escape At Tioman

Genting Village Tioman

Genting Village

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.   

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.  Ferries make various stops around the island, docking at infrequent small jetties. 

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 snorkelling 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. The perfect place for families, nature lovers or even those looking for short romantic holidays Malaysia offers.

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 storms often disrupt ferry schedules. 

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.  

Click here for more details.

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 snorkelling 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.

Click here to see our full guide to Tioman Island.

10. Jungle And Rivers In Kuching

Sarawak River, Kuching

Kuching

Kuching is located on 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.  Despite not being located on peninsular Malaysia, Kuching is relatively easy to reach and therefore still one of the great short breaks from Kuala Lumpur

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 just being one of them.

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 daily 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 offers.  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.  The Sarawak River bisects Kuching.  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, making it ideal for a weekend getaway in Malaysia on any budget.  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 which is just  40 minutes away.  The Damai Beach Resort is a great hotel for families and those looking to explore the national parks of Sarawak but also want to enjoy a Malaysia beach vacation.

Click here for more information on the Damai Beach Resort.

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

Borneo Orangutan In Sandakan Sepilok. Sabah, Malays

Borneo Orangutan in Sandakan Sepilok. Sabah, Malaysia, Borneo.

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 making it the perfect getaway Malaysia 2021 offers for animal lovers.

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 Sabah Hotel Sandakan.  

Click here for more information.

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 Proboscis Lodge Bukit Melapi.

Click here for more information.

Our favourite destination in Malaysia, Borneo is a magical destination for a short trip vacation in Malaysia.  Read our guide on things to do in Sandakan here.

Looking for the ultimate Malaysia Itinerary Planner for your trip? Click here to get it now!

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.

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