One Week Itinerary for Malaysia

I’m not sure what originally attracted me to Malaysia. Maybe it was that I know very few Americans who have traveled there, therefore it was sort of a mystery to me. Once I started investigating, I was blown away by how many amazing things Malaysia has to offer. I finally settled on visiting three places in the time I had allotted. Here is my one week itinerary for Malaysia.

Useful Info

Language: Bahasa Malaysia is official language but many people speak English

Currency:  Ringgit (MYR).   ATMs are not hard to find. Most places require cash so carry plenty. Credit cards can be used at hotels and some restaurants but don’t count on it.

Getting around:  There is good infrastructure with buses between various cities. Within Kuala Lumpur are several rail systems, including the LRT (light rail), the KMT commuter train and the KL monorail to make a few. Traffic often gridlocked so good to use trains. Officials at stations are very helpful.

Uber and Grab Car both widely available as are taxis. All are safe.


Malaysia has incredible diversity;  roughly  61 % of country is Muslim, 19% Buddhist , 9% Christian, 6% Hindu with people of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and other backgrounds. This results in an eclectic array of architecture and food, and Malaysia truly is a foodie paradise. If you read my Singapore post, you will see that many of the same unique foods can be enjoyed here as well.

Read More: Top Six Activities Singapore


Known as “The Pearl of the Orient” and located on the Northwest coast, this was my favorite spot in Malaysia. I spent two and a half days here (three nights), which was perfect, but you could probably see everything I did in two days if you have less time. Penang Island, specifically the UNESCO heritage area of Georgetown is where the action is.

These are a few of my favorite things:

Street Art


The art here is world famous and there are murals scattered around Georgetown. You can get maps of where the various murals are and go find them, scavenger hunt style. Great fun and they are really cool, incorporating real objects into them.

One Week Itinerary for Malaysia

Upside Down Museum

I adored this place. Most fun I’ve ever had in a museum and for around $6 USD, it is a great place to get out of the heat and spend an hour. I have a whole post on this, I liked it so much!

One Week Itinerary for Malaysia

Read More:  Upside Down Museum, Penang Malaysia

Religious Buildings

Many religions and cultures = cool interesting buildings and holy sites to look at. A few of the most photogenic ones pictured below.

The Nagarathar Sivan Hindu Temple 

One Week Itinerary For Malaysia

The Masjid Kapitan Keling Mosque

One Week Itinerary Malaysia

Hok Tiek Sin Chang Temple

Penang Hill

This is a nice half day tour you can do. Ride the funicular to the top for cooler weather and fantastic vistas.  I booked through my hotel with Phillip from Tour Incentive Travel. He was the best!

Also you can see the largest Chinese Buddhist Temple in Malaysia, Kek Lok Si.

Penang Hill

This is the Shrine to the Goddess of MercyPenang Hill

Eat All The Food

Like…all of it.  Try the coconut ice cream, white coffee, nasi lemak, roti, satay, oyster omelet, pie tee, just to name a few.  Here are some places that I loved:

The nightlife ain’t too bad here. The hot spot for bars is Love Lane. Another bar I really liked is called Y Not and has a friendly fun staff, serves food and is always a good time.

Clan Jetties

These jetties have been owned by the same Chinese families since the 19th century. Some of them are just residential while some are more commercial with restaurants and shops. I visited three of them and truly enjoyed seeing this old way of life preserved. 

One Week Itinerary Penang

Cameron Highlands

These green plateaus were first noted by William Cameron in 1885 during a mapping expedition. The Cameron Highlands became popular during the colonial era when British planters realized the potential of its fertile mountain slopes for growing the prized commodity, tea.  It became a favorite retreat for the colonial British offering relief from the hot tropical lowlands.

One Week Itinerary Malaysia

I took a five-hour bus ride from Penang which cost approximately $10 USD.  I arrived around 1300 which is too late for tours. There’s not much you can do on your own unless you have a car or driver. I walked around the town of Tanah Rata which has many shops and restaurants. I ate more great food here including my favorite, Indian. One Week Itinerary for MalaysiaThis is Nasi Lemak, sometimes served in a banana leaf. Coconut rice with spicy sambal sauce and usually served with an egg and chicken optional.  Below is a fresh grilled naan and tandoor chicken with daal.
One Week Itinerary for Malaysia

The next day I did a full day tour with Eco Cameron. It’s a long day but covers almost all the activities available.

We visited the Boh Tea Plantation, dating back to 1930.

One Week Itinerary for Malaysia

We went to the 2nd highest point in the Cameron Highlands, Gunung Brinchang. The day was foggy and there was no view. Sad.

Next we walked through a mossy forest and our guide taught us about local medicinal plants.

This was pretty, but it was a cold damp day and none of us felt like walking for more than ten minutes.One Week itinerary for Malaysia

Tea Time! I tried the classic Cameron Highlands Golden Blend….delicious. One Week Itinerary Malaysia

Next was a Butterfly Farm full of butterflies.  There were also many cool and creepy insects to look at (more like recoil in horror). Then the part I didn’t like…mammals, including bunnies and raccoons in cages. I found this unnecessary and upsetting and wouldn’t do this again because of that. Just stick with butterflies people!  There was much more on the tour including a strawberry farm, but I found it rather touristy and unremarkable.

Overall the CH was not a stand out part of my trip, but if you have the time…it’s a nice place.

Kuala Lumpur

I took a four-hour bus ride from CH to KL and was dropped off somewhere kind of random. It’s a busy huge city and not easily walkable. There wasn’t an obvious metro station nearby and my phone service wasn’t working for me to order an uber or use a map. I couldn’t flag a taxi. I finally walked and found a fancy hotel, the St. Regis. I walked into the lobby to beg for wifi. They were so kind, offering me a seat while the doorman waited for my car. As if I was one of their guests.  I have to give them a shout out!

Where to Stay

I found an Airbnb with the most incredible pool! Upon arrival, I immediately jumped in (obvy). I was shameless…taking hundreds of pics, using my GoPro, my tripod, harassing strangers, etc.  How to get this wonderful place? Just google “Regalia Residences KL” and you will find links to Airbnb and other sites with apartments for rent. My unit had floor to ceiling windows with this city view so I could see the light show without ever putting on pants! (Move over Marina Bay Sands…this place is a tenth of your cost)

One Week Itinerary Malaysia

Where to Eat

This is not hard. The whole city smells delicious. You can find food everywhere!

Jalan Alor:  This is “THE” food street with hawker style local food but different than a food court. Each has its own sitting area and waiters.

One week itinerary Malaysia

Tried stingray with chili sauce, some kind of spicy green, dumplings, and Mee Goreng (spicy Indonesian noodles)

One Week Itinerary for Malaysia

Hutong at Lot 10:  This is an indoor upscale food court serving mostly Japanese and Chinese specialties. You can sit down and order here as well. I tried the famous Chili Crab. It was finger licking good. Literally. They give you warm water to clean your hands…you know for after you lick them.

One Week Itinerary Malaysia

DC Superheroes Cafe: This is usually not my style, but it looked interesting and I needed a break from local food. I was impressed. The attention to detail was impressive and the food was actually good. Funnest lunch I’ve had in a while!

One Week Itinerary for Malaysia

Batu Caves

One Week Itinerary Malaysia

These Hindu Temples in caves are 13 km from KL and accessible by the KTM commuter train. It is about twenty minutes ride from KL. This took about half a day. Go in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat.

One Week Itinerary Malaysia

There are several caves, each with its own admission fee. This one has 247 steps and you MUST HAVE A SKIRT COVERING MOST OF YOUR LEGS!

The first and last caves were the best, the rest kind of…meh. I was upset to once again find raccoons in a horrible cage outside one of the temples. I found a manager and complained that I would not advise people to spend money here. This one in question is called Kalaikoodam. Avoid!  The two that I have pictured are the best ones.

 There is very good Indian food here including many vegetarian restaurants such as Dhivya’s Cafe where I had a nice Roti and Daal.


This rooftop bar is a great place to watch the sunset but get there early because there will be a line. They make you purchase a drink before heading up to the top. I don’t understand the system but that’s life. By the time I stood in line and waited for my drink, I missed sunset but enjoyed the night lights.

One Week Itinerary for Malaysia

Symphony Lake and Petronas Towers

This man-made lake is located next to the Petronas Towers. Every night at 1930 there is a water and light show with music.

The first song they played was “We Are The World”. I had to Snapchat myself singing along. Yes, people laughed at me. One Week Itinerary Malaysia

After this you can walk around and gawk at the stunning Petronas Towers, the tallest twin buildings in the world,  lit up for nighttime.

One Week Itinerary Malaysia

So, I said a week, but it was really 8 nights. This easily could be done in less time. Two days is probably enough for KL. I didn’t visit Langkawi, known for fab beaches because I have plenty of beach time on this trip.  If that is something you wanted to add, you could spend less time in other places and see Langkawi. It is a short ferry ride from Penang.

Malaysia has many options to choose from. A bustling metropolis, cultural gems, misty cool highlands and gorgeous beaches.  The infrastructure is good and it is easy to get around. The people are friendly and helpful, and the food has a high hygienic standard. What’s not to like?

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one week itinerary for Malaysia

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  1. Geraldene Rose Banal | 19th Mar 18

    This is so helpful. I will be travelling to Malaysia on my own too, and seeing your blog is a really big help. This made me more excited! 🙂

    • csaradar | 13th Apr 18

      This makes me happy to read. I hope you love Malaysia as much as I did!

  2. Angel | 5th Mar 18

    This is what EXACTLY i need! Thanks for this post. 🙂

    • csaradar | 13th Mar 18

      This makes me happy to read!!!

  3. jong | 3rd Feb 18

    Hi Cherene, found your blog through your very candid and super hilarious post in Huffpost about solo female traveller above..yep..our super cool age group.. ;) I was looking for inspiration to travel solo myself. I am a malaysian and if you ever think about making a pit stop here again next time, u should definitely go to Sabah or Sarawak (two malaysian states in the island of borneo). i have homestay contacts in the Bario Highlands of Sarawak, where you can stay with the Kelabit indigenous people in their long houses. they speak good english so no language issue for foreigners. i was there two weeks ago where we went trekking in the rain forest. if you love nature and wildlife, these are the places in malaysia that will truly wow you…tropical rain forests that are full of beautiful tribal culture, heritage and tradition. and of course, you need to visit Melaka too, the historical town where i am from ;).

    • csaradar | 3rd Feb 18

      Also thanks for that information! I definitely want to see those regions so someday I will be back!

    • csaradar | 13th Mar 18

      Hey there! Your comments are so kind! Thank you! I want so badly to visit all those places you mentioned and I definitely will next time I’m in SouthEast Asia. I loved Malaysia and I know there is so much more to see there.

  4. byronicone | 25th Nov 17

    I can’t wait to hit up Penang. I’m trying to narrow down activities in Malaysia, and this post has been bookmarked, clipped to Evernote, and stored in the mental ‘YES!” bank. Thanks for writeup!

    • csaradar | 25th Nov 17

      So glad to be helpful! Hope you love it as much as I did!

  5. Bjorn | 26th Mar 17

    Happy you found Regalia! It’s a sweet spot!

    • csaradar | 27th Mar 17

      It is such a find!!

  6. Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul | 6th Mar 17

    Were planning a stopover in Kuala Lumpur in May! Wish we had more time to explore outside the city though (we’ll only have the day) – Malaysia looks like such a beautiful place! I love all the wall art too 🙂

    • csaradar | 11th Mar 17

      The wall art was amazing and I wish I had time to see all of it!! Enjoy KL! It’s wonderful and the food…omg!

  7. Happily Tanned | 5th Mar 17

    Beautiful photography!

    I am going on a business trip to Malaysia next month. I will cover few places from your itinerary. Very helpful post

    • csaradar | 11th Mar 17

      So happy it will help you. I think you will really enjoy Malaysia. It was such a pleasant surprise for me.

  8. Alice Chen | 5th Mar 17

    Wow interesting itinerary! I spent half my week in Malaysia in Melacca! I’m surprised it wasn’t included in your itinerary.

    • csaradar | 5th Mar 17

      I would have loved to go there but in 8 days I thought I should not try to go to 4 different places! I chose three very different areas to get a taste. I would have loved to see Melacca, Lankawi, Taman Negara and Malaysian Borneo. I would need 2 months!

  9. Meg | 4th Mar 17

    Can’t wait to visit soon! I have a flight booked to KL where I’ll spend 3 days and then I’ll have three weeks to cover as much as I can. I’m thinking of also going to Borneo. Great post with loads of information. I’m going to save this to help me plan!

    • csaradar | 5th Mar 17

      You’re going to have a great trip. You can do what I did plus Langkawi, Melacca and Borneo!

  10. Kyntra Strickland | 4th Mar 17

    Saving this for when I finally take a trip to Malaysia! I love this itinerary. The food looks delicious, your pictures are beautiful, and the Upside Down Museum looks so fun! Thanks for sharing.

    • csaradar | 5th Mar 17

      Thanks for the lovely comment. That museum was a hoot!

  11. Jackie | 4th Mar 17

    I’m so glad to see you enjoying Asia!! That eco tour looked like a scene out of Avatar – so cool! Can’t wait to see more of your posts from Asia!

    • csaradar | 5th Mar 17

      Thank Jackie! There are many more to come! Definitely loving it here.

  12. Hannah | 4th Mar 17

    I only had a couple days in Malaysia when I visited, so didn’t see much outside of KL area but I would love to visit the cameron highlands and Penang. The street art in Penang is unreal!

    • csaradar | 4th Mar 17

      I could have spent two days looking at the street art!

  13. chikonahoka | 4th Mar 17

    You are so much fun! Did you notice the mouse around the corner from the cat (the Penang pic), surreptitiously hiding from it?

    • csaradar | 4th Mar 17

      Haha I did! Such a cute mural. There was another one with a kitty and a hiding mouse too.

  14. Karen | 4th Mar 17

    So, I stayed at the Regalia Residences, but due to a crappy taxi, we came too late to experience the pool… Need to go back to do so. 🙁 Anyways, I just need a whole month in Malyasia to see the mainland now that I’ve been to Borneo!

    • csaradar | 4th Mar 17

      no way! It seems the Regalia is the place to be! You do need to go back. I wish I had a month to spend there. I am so jealous of your Borneo trip!

  15. Laura M Tenekjian | 1st Mar 17

    I love all of the street art in Penang, and of course the food looks delicious, my mouth is watering!

    • csaradar | 4th Mar 17

      Thanks girl! I had no idea the food would be so good. Nice surprise!!

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