Kuala Lumpur, the Capital of Malaysia, is a bustling metropolis that offers plenty for everyone. But, although KL (as the locals call it) boasts of the major attractions, you’ll find most of the country’s best scenic destinations outside of the city. Yes, you read that right! KL is not just about the iconic Petronas Towers. And, you can enjoy the places outside the capital by conveniently taking short trips from Kuala Lumpur.
Weekends mean a lot to working-people. These are the only days on which people Live Life King Size. And, especially if you live in mega metropolitan cities like Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai etc., you would love to go out for a quick trip during the weekends, away from the hustle-bustle of regular life. Whether you are living in KL or visiting there during your Malaysian holiday, these quick trips from Kuala Lumpur will definitely brighten up your weekend. So, continuing on our road-trip-series around the globe, here are the top weekend getaways that you can enjoy from Kuala Lumpur.
If you are planning to take these weekend trips post-COVID-19 lock-downs, you need to be careful. Although short road-trips are one of the safest travel options after the peak of the pandemic is over, but everyone still needs to take precautions. Try to avoid crowded places. If you rent a car or bike, don’t forget to wash/sanitise it properly before driving.
15+ AMAZING GETAWAYS AROUND KUALA LUMPUR
1-day / 2-day Trips from Kuala Lumpur
In this section, you will find more than 10 wonderful destinations for quick and short trips from Kuala Lumpur.
Explored and Recommended by us 🙂
Putrajaya, the modern and planned sister city of KL, is the federal administrative centre of the Malaysian capital. It is merely 35 km from KL, midway between the city center and Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The highlight of Putrajaya is the Putra Mosque, whose rose-tinted granite dome helped it to earn the nickname of the Pink Mosque. And right nest to the mosque is Perdana Putra, a compound which houses the office complex of Malaysia’s official government. In addition, you can also visit Taman Warisan Pertanian Agricultural Park and enjoy views of Putrajaya Lake and Putra Bridge.
Travel Tip: exploring and enjoying Putrajaya usually takes half-a-day (around 4-5 hours). So, if you are a traveller, we suggest that you can plan Putrajaya for the last day, especially if your return flight is in the evening. We did Putrajaya and the iconic Blue Mosque on the very last day of our trip, as both of these places are just a slight detour on the way to the airport from KL city.
ALSO READ – our day Trip to Putrajaya and Blue Mosque from KL
Explored and Recommended by us 🙂
A perfect contrast to the chaos and bustle of Kuala Lumpur, Melaka is known for its architecture, heritage sites and cuisine. The historical city of Melaka or Malacca is merely 150 km (2.5 hours) from KL and it is very easily accessible by road. The best way is to go by bus – there are buses every 30 minutes from KL’s main bus-station (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan). Bus fare is only RM10 ($2.5).
While in Malacca, don’t miss out on the Portuguese A Famosa Fort, Dutch Square and St Paul’s Cathedral. Another interesting activity is to check out the wonderful street art along the Melaka River. And, in the end, you can try some local street food along the Jonker Walk.
ALSO READ – our 1-day Trip to Malacca from KL
Explored and Recommended by Nisha & Vasu (www.lemonicks.com)
At around 70 km from Kuala Lumpur, Port Dickson makes a perfect choice for a short trip. Located in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, Port Dickson has been attracting nature lovers and food enthusiasts from all over the world.
However, there’s no public transport which takes you directly there. You can either take a train or bus till Seremban which is 32 KMs away and then a bus to Port Dickson. Or if you have your own vehicle, drive down there. Or hiring a car or taxi would be the best option.
There are many things to do in Port Dickson. First, Lukut Museum and Fort is one of the must-see places in Port Dickson. It showcases historical artefacts and monuments of Lukut. The one liked most here was a sunken Dutch battleship. Another museum which you can explore is the Army museum. Preserving the military history, this museum exhibits artefacts in its 2 ancient army buildings and 9 galleries. Entrance is free of charge.
Along the Coastal Road stands Wan Loong Chinese Temple. With its eye-catching architectural design and grand fortress wall, this temple is the largest Chinese temple in Port Dickson. You can see the locals offering incense sticks, fruits and praying sincerely to deities like Monkey King and Kuan Yi. While you are at the temple, there are many seafood restaurants nearby that serve delightful seafood dishes. If you are with family, a place not to be missed is Alive 3D Art Gallery. The 3D arts and paintings are so real that they take you in a virtual world.
PD Ostrich Farm is also something which one shouldn’t miss. There are many activities such as animal feeding, ostrich riding, etc. There are many nice restaurants in Port Dickson which serve you delicious seafood. My favourite is the Ikan Bakar.
Explored and Recommended by Stephen (www.asia-hikes.com)
For travellers looking for an escape from the hustle of city life in Kuala Lumpur and an escape from the heat of the Malaysian coast, hiking in the Cameron Highlands has a popular outing since the town of Tanah Rata was founded by the British as a hill station in 1925.
A series of interconnecting trails to nearby tea plantations and remote peaks creates the potential for a busy weekend of hiking on rugged jungle trails, while a handful of tasting rooms atop rolling manicured hills of tea bushes offer the opportunity to enjoy the landscapes at a more laid back pace. For visiting families, it’s also popular to visit a handful of local attractions like strawberry farms, rose gardens, and a butterfly farm. Between all the activities available in the Cameron Highlands there’s plenty to do for a week or more, but the area remains exceedingly popular as a two- to three-day trip from Kuala Lumpur as a quick break from the city.
Travel between Kuala Lumpur and the Cameron Highlands takes around four and a half hours by bus to cover the 215 kilometres from KL’s TBS Station – tickets range from 22 to 38 MYR depending on the operator.
Explored and Recommended by Manpreet Kaur (www.hellomanpreet.com)
Upon arriving at Kanching Falls, we were rather surprised that this was not a destination mentioned on many of the blogs we read before travelling. It was in fact recommended by a friend who recently visited the city. The falls are situated within the rainforest and footpaths are made to help you reach the beautiful site. One great thing was that the car park entrance to the falls is located about 30 minutes away from the main city. You can expect to pay about $15 by taxi to get there, with the trip being approx 25km. Aside from the falls, walking around the rainforest is a very spiritual and calming experience. While walking on the paths, you will notice lots of wildlife
on the walk to the falls especially the resident monkeys, who may grab any loose food they see hanging from your bag! In all honesty, we felt no fear of being attacked and felt safe at all times.
On reaching the waterfall, the water is incredibly clear with the base having a lovely shallow pool for visitors to take a swim. The walkway will take you to level 3 of the falls and you can continue your journey upwards to the top of falls by hiking.
Explored and Recommended by Sean Lau (www.livingoutlau.com)
While staying in Kuala Lumpur, chances are, you might get tired of the persistent noise and pollution in this metropolitan city. If that is the case, a visit to the fishing village of Sekinchan is a must!
Located a little under 100 kilometres away from Kuala Lumpur on the western coast of the Malay Peninsula, it only takes about 1.5 hours to reach Sekinchan by driving. Though public transportation is available, it is highly recommended that you have your own vehicle, as getting around the village itself can be quite difficult. Taxi-hailing apps such as Grab are not reliable in a small village like Sekinchan.
Not only is Sekinchan a fishing village with sublime seafood, but there is also another attraction in Sekinchan worth noting, the lush rice paddies fields. The rice paddies fields surround the exterior perimeter of Sekinchan, and their simplistic beauty is the perfect way to de-stress from Kuala Lumpur. The rice plants can grow as tall as a human, and strolling down the narrow man-made walkway allows for some extraordinary photo opportunities. After exploring the rice paddies, grab an iced coconut and watch the sunset at the popular Redang Beach. When the last bit of sun rays have dipped behind the horizon, make a wish at the nearby Sekinchan Wishing Tree. Don’t forget to end your day with dinner at one of the family-owned seafood restaurants. I highly recommend Loong Hau Seafood Restaurant or Wan Lau Seafood.
Though a Sekinchan day trip is entirely feasible, I highly recommend you to stay for a weekend to properly relax. Combined Sekinchan with nearby Kuala Selangor attractions such as Fireflies tour or Sky Mirror and you will have yourself a perfect weekend in Malaysia!
Sepang International Circuit
Explored and Recommended by Andrew Balfour (www.gpdestinations.com)
Located next to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) around 60km south of the Malaysian capital, Sepang International Circuit is one of Asia’s most popular motorsport circuits. Designed by Hermann Tilke and opened in 1999, Sepang hosted the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix until 2017. The circuit has also welcomed the highest category of motorcycle racing, MotoGP, every year since 1999. With cheap ticket prices and excellent spectating, events at Sepang have proved popular with both local and international fans. Several grandstands offer views over large sections of the circuit.
When there is no on-track action, you can take a guided tour of the circuit for 60RM, including visits to race control, the paddock, media center and a photo op on the winners’ podium. The welcome centre at Sepang is also home to the National Automobile Museum, which has a large selection of road and racing cars with free entrance. Sepang also puts on regular track days, allowing members of the public to drive their own car on the circuit.
The best way to get to Sepang is by private car; the trip from central Kuala Lumpur to the circuit should take around one hour. Alternatively, you can take the train to KLIA, then get a taxi for the short ride to the circuit. Dedicated buses are available from both the city and the airport to the circuit on major race weekends.
Explored and Recommended by Hannah Golton (www.hannahshappyadventures.com)
Kapas Island is hands down one of the best places to visit in Malaysia and a perfect short trip from Kuala Lumpur. To visit take a flight to Kuala Terengganu, followed by a taxi to Marang Jetty. Here it’s a short 15-minute boat ride to the island. Alternatively, buses are available to Kuala Terengganu but they take around 8 hours compared with a 30-minute flight.
Kapas Island is a beautiful piece of paradise with white sandy beaches and clear blue water. It remains a hidden part of Malaysia and is mainly visited by domestic tourists. It isn’t built up and only has a handful of hotels and campsites on the island. One side of the island is a series of beaches connected by walkways.
You can snorkel from the beaches onto the stunning coral reefs, or take a boat tour out to even more beautiful coral reefs. Kayaking and diving are also available on the island. It’s one of the cheapest places to get your PADI open water, coming in at less than 300 USD.
I recommend staying at Qimi’s Chalet with its own private beach, where the rooms are wooden and each has a private balcony. They also offer a beautiful candlelit BBQ dinner on the beach in the evenings.
Explored and Recommended by James (www.thetravelscribes.com)
About a three hour drive (or bus ride) from the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur is the off-the-beaten track town of Ipoh. This former tin-mining town used to be a magnet for trade until tin fell out of favour, but is now seeing a bit of a revival, largely due to Ipoh’s focus on tourism and some of the cool attractions the city boasts.
Speaking of attractions, Ipoh’s street art scene might not be as famous as that of fellow city counterpart, George Town on Penang, but it definitely packs a punch. The town’s streets are punctuated by magnificent murals, some created by acclaimed artist Ernest Zacharevic with others from local artists like Eric Lai. Usually depicting scenes from the tin or coffee industries, the murals are dotted across the town but don’t attract the hordes of crowds you’d find in other street art meccas.
If street art isn’t your thing, Ipoh is well-known for two more pursuits: white coffee and cave temples. The former since Ipoh is where white coffee was invented, a drink of coffee beans roasted with palm oil and then served with sickly sweet condensed milk. Definitely head on down to Nam Heong, the buzzing café that claims (although contested!) to have concocted it first.
And the latter since the city boasts six amazing cave temples, like the limestone cave of Kek Lok Tong, the cavernous Sam Poh Tong and further afield options like Perak Tong and Kwan Ying Tong. Regardless of what you do in Ipoh, you’ll fall in love with this charming city and it’s well worth a day trip (or a weekend) out of crazy Kuala Lumpur.
Explored and Recommended by Beth Jarrett (www.frugalfemaleabroad.com)
Penang is the perfect weekend destination from Kuala Lumpur. It is an island that is 350km north of Kuala Lumpur and will take just over 3 ½ hours to drive there. Although driving isn’t the only way to reach Penang. You can also catch the ETS train from KL Sentral to Butterworth and then hop on the ferry to George Town, which is the capital of Penang.
George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site as it is a remarkable example of a colonial town. The area is famous for its street art, and it should be on the top of your list of things to look at when you visit. You can go on a trishaw tour to see the art without tiring your legs out!
Other things to see around the George Town area to see include the Clan Jetties of Penang which are examples of traditional stilt houses over the waterfront. The Fort Cornwallis area is also worthwhile visiting.
Temples and mosques are plentiful on the island of Penang. These buildings are examples of amazing architecture. Within George Town, there is Sri Mahamariamman Temple in the Little India area. Further from George Town, there is the Floating Mosque of Tanjung Bunga and the Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple complex.
Other activities can include visiting Entopia, which is a butterfly park. You can reach Entopia by using the hop-on/hop-off bus. There’s also Penang Hill with the steepest funicular railway tunnel in the world.
Penang also has many trick art photography places which are always a bit of fun! Most of these are in the George Town district. Penang is full of attractions and things to do and is the perfect location for a weekend away!
Explored and Recommended by Marco Ferrarese (www.penang-insider.com)
Everybody goes to Penang and for a good reason. But truth be told, George Town has become a bit too much of a tourist magnet, with gentrification and cookie-cutter cafes spread all over the once empty, charming streets of the UNESCO-protected heritage town.
Virtually nobody knows that there are many things to do in Bukit Mertajam, a town on Seberang Prai, the mainland part of Penang state.
The best way to come is driving from KL: follow the Northsouth expressway for 370km all the way to the Juru toll, and instead of turning on Penang’s First bridge, turn left at Auto-City and here you are in Bukit Mertajam.
For starters, the old town of Bukit Mertajam developed around the now sadly destroyed by fire Pek Kong Cheng temple, has a lot of great food. Try the “Black Man Rojak”, selling Malaysian fruit rojak — fruit drenched in a sweet-sour sauce — or the refreshing BM Best cendol or the BM Cup Rice. Both stalls have dished up delicacies for over 40 years.
Bukit Mertajam’s old town architecture is all the more forgotten and authentic than Penang’s. Here you’ll come across some really neglected Chinese shophouses surrounded by vines and tropical vegetation that will throw you back to the times of colonial Malaya.
Don’t forget the many hiking trails like Cherok Tokun and Bukit D.O., or paying a visit to St. Anne’s Church — a very important pilgrimage site for Catholics all over India and Southeast Asia. Penang’s gentrification and hip cafes? Please leave them across the Penang bridge, and come to Bukit Mertajam for a real, timeless Malaysian experience.
3-day / Long-Weekend Trips from KL
Explored and Recommended by us 🙂
Langkawi has by far been the best experience during our Malaysia Trip, right from the ambience, the scenic landscapes, the finger-licking street-food, the idyllic islands and the turquoise water. Langkawi has something for everyone.
Langkawi, being an archipelago, is not strictly in the Malaysian mainland, but it can easily be enjoyed over a 3-day weekend. A quick and short flight (50 mins only) from KL will take you to the beautiful islands of Langkawi – try to take a window seat and don’t miss out on the landing!
We recommend that you start your Langkawi exploration with the iconic Sky-Bridge and Cable-car. The cable-car ride is a stunning experience and the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking. And in the evening, take a gastronomic ride at the night markets of Langkawi and try out some local street food.
While in Langkawi, you can check out island hopping tour on a speedboat, shopping at the duty-free stores of Langkawi, relaxing at the beautiful beaches (Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah, Pantai Kok, Black sand beach and more), check out Galeria Perdana (museum), visit the Langkawi Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise, Hike to Durian Pernangin waterfalls and top it off with a visit to the famous Eagle square. For those who have a fascination towards ecotourism, the Langkawi Mangrove tour is highly recommended. All these make Langkawi a perfect getaway spot for long-weekends (3 days).
ALSO READ – our 3-day Langkawi itinerary – perfect way to enjoy the archipelago!
Explored and Recommended by Bisola (www.bistotheworld.com)
A great destination for a short trip from Kuala Lumper isn’t even in Malaysia at all! Welcome to Singapore! Located about 350km from KL, it’s not very far and you can easily get there by train, bus or by air! The best and fastest way is by plane, it’s a quick 1-hour direct flight. Several low-cost airlines have multiple flights a day ranging from as little as £45 ($55) return, which is insane!
For a small country, Singapore packs a lot which makes it perfect for a short break!
Gardens by the Bay is one of the best and most unique things to do or experience in Singapore. It’s a beautiful blending of nature and technology. Starting in Supertree Grove, with a collection of man-made Supertrees as high as 50m tall, that mimic nature. Each tree is a vertical garden sustaining a range of plants and even function as the cooling systems for some of the garden’s domes. Make sure you walk around the suspended walkway, it’s totally worth it! Oh, and don’t forget Cloud Forest, a temperature-controlled dome that’s home to the world’s largest indoor waterfall that is just stunning!
Need a break from the city? Explore one of 5 islands within an hour of Singapore! Sentosa Island is the closest and a great place for kids (or big kids!) to ride roller coasters at Universal Studios or just enjoy the beach clubs. Lazarus Island, 25 mins away is very tranquil. There isn’t much there but it’s great to enjoy long stretches of white sand beach.
For a more authentic dining experience, forget the fancy restaurants and head to one of the hawker centres dotted around the city packed full of food stalls (some even Michelin starred!). Make sure you try Chicken Rice, Singapore’s national dish.
Orangutan Trek in Bukit Lawang
Explored and Recommended by Becki Rendell (www.meetmeindepartures.com)
For an insanely full-on yet insanely rewarding weekend trip from Kuala Lumpur, you can’t beat a trip to Bukit Lawan in northern Sumatra to see Orangutans in the wild. To ensure this fits into your weekend schedule, be sure you book all your transfers, accommodation and jungle guide in advance to make the most out of your time.
On Friday afternoon, catch a flight directly to the city of Medan, this is the largest city in the region and the closet airport to Bukit Lawang. The flight takes less than an hour and you’ll only need hand luggage for this trip, so no need to waste time waiting about for baggage reclaim. Before your trip, arrange your transfer to with your accommodation in Bukit Lawang. On average, the journey takes about 4 hours, but the day I went, there was a national holiday, so the traffic was busy (hint – plan a weekend that’s NOT a national holiday!)
Arrive in Bukit Lawang in the evening and meet up with your trek guide to have your briefing for what to expect on the trek. Then head off to bed ready for an early start on Saturday.
An early start, for your first day of trekking into the UNESCO listed Gunung Leuser, National Park. Your chances of seeing orangutans are pretty high. On our trip, we were lucky enough to see a mother and her baby high in the trees above us. As the sun starts to set, you’ll camp for the night in the jungle.
Another early start on Sunday for more jungle trekking and hopefully more opportunities to see the Orangutans. After a well-earnt lunch near the river, you’ll then bundle into inflated tubes to sail down the rapids back to the village of Bukit Lawang.
You’ll arrive back int the village with enough time to freshen up ready to catch your taxi transfer back to Medan airport for your flight back to KL on Sunday evening.
This is an action-packed full-on weekend, but 100% worth it to have the opportunity to see the Orangutans.