Visiting one of the biggest cities in Asia will be an exceptional trip! Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, may not be as iconic as other Asian cities, but it is an amazing place to visit. Some of the best museums in Kuala Lumpur are just waiting to be explored and restaurants are ready to delight. Browsing the stores for unique finds is another activity to plan too.
But after spending a few days discovering Kuala Lumpur including Chinatown, the Petronas Towers, and the Botanical Gardens, you will be ready to get out of the big city. The surrounding region has several marvelous places that make the best day trips.
Day trips from Kuala Lumpur are a terrific way to get out and explore a little more of Malaysia during your vacation. And once you leave your bags at a Kuala Lumpur luggage storage service you'll be ready to plan your adventure. See the natural beauty of mainland Malaysia including a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Genting Highlands, and the Selangor River.
How to get out of Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia has modern public transportation options including trains and buses; these are usually the cheapest way to get to destinations outside of Kuala Lumpur. You can use taxi services but these are generally more expensive.
Of course, if you are comfortable navigating the streets of Malaysia, driving is an option. Rental cars can be pricey but worth it so you have the freedom to come and go as you please.
If you do not want to explore by yourself, there are several different tour companies in Kuala Lumpur that offer half-day trips, day trips, and even weekend trips from Kuala Lumpur. All of your travel worries are laid to rest as your tour guide leads you through the different areas of Malaysia.
From Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Selangor
To the west of Kuala Lumpur is Kuala Selangor, a small coastal town that happens to be the home of the biggest firefly colony in the world. Stick around for nightfall to see the incredible light display put on by the fireflies. Local guides claim the best way to see the Kuala Selangor fireflies is on the Selangor River during a boat tour.
Plan on visiting the Melawati Bird Sanctuary filled with rare birds and monkeys as well. The Kuala Selangor Nature Park is one of the best-preserved estuarine wetlands in Asia. The nature park is home to the endangered milky stork and if you are lucky, you will see one or two during your visit. Macaques, silver leaf monkeys, and herons can also be seen.
How to get to Kuala Selangor
The Kuala Selangor Nature Park is only about two hours from Kuala Lumpur by bus and is on the west coast of Malaysia. Depart from the Medan Pasar Bus Hub in Kuala Lumpur; buses depart every half hour. You can drive yourself and cut your trip in half, but if you are not familiar with the area, public transport may be the best option.
From Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
Who would not love spending time at an elephant sanctuary? When you visit Kuala Lumpur, you are within an hour and a half to two hours away from one of the greatest elephant sanctuaries in Malaysia. Located on the Krau Game Preserve, the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary rescues elephants and rehabilitates and relocates them to safe habitats.
There is an educational center that gives visitors an up-close-and-personal look at the elephants as they are being fed and bathed. You can also watch informational videos, look at artifacts, and even buy small souvenirs. The sanctuary works hard to protect Asian elephants, even those that have become nuisance animals to local farmers or have been ousted from their herds.
How to get to Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
You can take public transport to get to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary by taking a bus from the Pekeliling Bus Terminal to Lanchang Town. Then you have to take a taxi to the Krau Game Reserve where the elephant sanctuary is located. It is easier to drive to the sanctuary and when you leave the center of Kuala Lumpur you are only about 90 minutes from the sanctuary.
If you happen to drive, plan on expanding your day trip to include Genting Highlands, a rather lively theme park city, a stop at the Chamang Waterfall, and a stroll through the peaceful Japanese Garden. The Batu Caves and Hindu shrines are also nearby and a tour would round out your day trip nicely.
From Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves
The Batu Caves are only about eight miles outside the city center of Kuala Lumpur and can be easily be reached by train or car. It is free to visit the Batu Caves but it is a strenuous climb to reach the entrance; exactly 272 steps have to be climbed. There are three large caverns in these limestone caves and then several smaller caves that branch off the main caverns.
Outside the huge limestone caves, you will find an enormous statue of Lord Murugan and as you make your way inside there will be numerous Swamis and Hindu shrines. Plan your visit for a clear day and look out at the Kuala Lumpur skyline from the top of the stairs. It is better than any view from an observation deck.
Monkeys will actually greet you when you reach the caves so you may want to bring along a treat for them, bananas or peanuts are their favorite treats from visitors.
How to get to Batu Caves
Hop on the train at the Kuala Lumpur Sentral and in 30 minutes you will be at the Batu Caves. You can drive if you choose, but you will miss spectacular scenery as you watch the road and try to figure out where you are going.
From Kuala Lumpur to Cameron Highlands
It is a bit of a journey to reach the Cameron Highlands from Kuala Lumpur. Plan on a three-hour trip each way but the drive alone is well worth the trip as you will go through lush, breathtaking forests before reaching the biggest highlands resort in Malaysia which is also a popular tourist attraction.
The first thing you will notice when you reach the Cameron Highlands is the cooler, fresher air, making this the ideal day trip from Kuala Lumpur during the warm summer season. While here, you have to plan to visit the tea plantations. As you sip a warm cup of tea you can look out over the lush vegetation and feel such relaxing peace.
There are strawberry farms where you can pick your own strawberries and enjoy treats made from these ripe, red berries. Visit butterfly and honeybee farms and sample the golden nectar made from the finest honeybees in Malaysia. Meander through blooming rose gardens and you will see there is plenty to keep you busy when you visit the Cameron Highlands.
If you are feeling adventurous, visit the Lata Iskandar waterfall where you can dive into the freezing cold waters as a sort of polar plunge experience.
How to get to Cameron Highlands
Take the train from Kuala Lumpur and then grab a taxi to the highlands. This will take just over three hours. You can also drive or take a taxi the entire way, which will be just about three hours. The cheapest way to get to Cameron Highlands is by bus but this will take you around five hours. You can extend your trip and spend the night at the resort before making the return trip to Kuala Lumpur.
From Kuala Lumpur to Malacca
This charming, quaint town is a UNESCO World Heritage City, and you will feel as though you have stepped into a different world fromKuala Lumpur. Having once been home to Dutch and Portuguese settlers, Malacca still has many influences from these cultures. It has been under English, Dutch, and Portuguese rule. Prior to that, it was the capital of a commanding Malay kingdom.
The Malacca Museum is the best way to learn more about the Dutch and Portuguese settlers. You cannot miss the museum; it is housed in the bright pink buildings that were once the Dutch administrative offices. Malacca, also known as Melaka, is an old city that is waiting to be seen.
The collision of colonial architecture and exciting Asian colors makes Melaka a fun place. The white-pillared homes with purple and red roofs will not be found anywhere else in Malaysia. Be sure to visit A Famosa, named after Afonso de Albequerque. This Portuguese fort can be found among the more modern building of Malacca.
Jonker Street is the place to be in Malacca on the weekend. The biggest market in Malacca is held here each weekend and you will find street food vendors offering local and exotic dishes. Foodies will want to take a weekend trip to Malacca just to check out this market and all the delicious food offered, it is a culinary hotspot.
How to get to Malacca
Melaka is located about 93 miles south of Kuala Lumpur. Taking a direct bus from Kuala Lumpur is probably the best option. The bus leaves from Bandar Tasik Selatan, about 30 minutes from central Kuala Lumpur.
From Kuala Lumpur to Genting Highlands
The only casino resort in Malaysia, the Genting Highlands is a very popular resort high in the mountains north of Kuala Lumpur. Even if you are not into gambling, you will want to visit the Genting Highlands. The gigantic indoor and outdoor theme park is perfect for children and adults complete with spine-chilling roller coasters and Asia’s only skydiving simulator.
This theme park city is also home to one of the fastest and longest cable cars in Asia. Hop aboard and check out the mind-boggling views of the rainforest down below. You can access this hilltop resort by skyward cable car. There are five hotels in this resort, including the First World Hotel, so if you want to extend your day trip into a weekend trip, you have plenty of options.
How to get to Genting Highlands
Take a bus from the Kuala Lumpur Sentral directly to the Genting Highlands or hop off at the Awana Skyway and make the 15-minute cable car ride to the top. Your trip should take anywhere from one hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half depending on whether or not you ride the cable car.
From Kuala Lumpur to Bentong
Founded by tin miners, Bentong is a quaint town to visit when you are trying to get out of crowded Kuala Lumpur. Bentong is near the Perting River and Repas River. Not your typical tourist destination, Bentong is filled with delicious food, especially sweets.
Stroll through the streets, sit back and relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of the town. You absolutely have to sample the locally made ice cream, it is creamy and delicious. The pineapple puffs are also a must-try, this sweet and tangy treat will make your taste buds sing. Stop by Jimmy’s Durian Orchard and sample the rather infamous smelly durian fruit, it is an experience all its own.
How to get to Bentong
Riding the bus to Bentong from Kuala Lumpur is filled with beautiful scenery that you do not want to miss. The bus ride takes about an hour and a half. You can take a taxi to Bentong, which will only take about 50 minutes but it can be pricey.
From Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh
Many claim Ipoh is a culinary hotspot with the local markets offering all kinds of local and exotic foods to sample. You can snack all day as you wander through the markets but when it comes time to sit down for a proper meal, the shredded chicken noodles of the Ipoh chicken and rice are what you want to order.
Sip a cup of Ipoh White Coffee at Nam Heong and then take a walk through the streets of Ipoh to admire vibrant and fun street art. Explore the hidden temples, and end the day by visiting the Lost World of Tambun and soak in the hot springs. Visit Ipoh when you are in search of a delicious seafood dinner.
How to get to Ipoh
When you are planning a trip to Ipoh, the train or bus will be your cheapest way to get there. The train will only take about two and a half hours whereas the bus will take about three hours to get to Ipoh from Kuala Lumpur. You can certainly drive or take a taxi which will take just over two hours to get to Ipoh, but a taxi can be expensive.
See Kuala Lumpur and Beyond
Whether you are hoping to visit the Petronas Twin Towers, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, or Kuala Kubu Bharu, when you plan a visit to Kuala Lumpur you can do all this and more. Hike through a national park, visit Fraser's Hill, stay at a hill resort, dine in a small fishing village, or explore Port Dickson.
From theme parks to Las Vegas-inspired casinos, Malaysia has a lot to offer. Ride the fastest cable car and view countless small waterfalls and geological rock formations. Visiting Kuala Lumpur will be a fun and exciting adventure when you plan on taking day trips to the surrounding towns and villages.