Thousands of backpackers flock to Malaysia each year to experience the vibrant mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences which swirl throughout the country’s cities and towns. This mainland route takes you through the peninsular half of Malaysia, from Singapore in the south to the fringes of Thailand in the north.
Begin your Malaysia mainland route adventure in Singapore, an island city-state surrounded by the balmy waters of the South China Sea. For the ultimate shopping experience, head to Marina Bay Sands. After an afternoon of shopping, you can take a boat ride through the shopping centre, or go up to the observation deck to take in the incredible panoramic views of the city.
2. Johor Bahru
Just across the Johor Strait is Johor Bahru. This southern city is the gateway to Malaysia. Although many travellers here are just passing through, the street bazaars in Larkin are definitely worth a look.
The historic port city of Melaka has been infused over the centuries with a strong Chinese trading influence.
4. Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia’s capital is a vibrant and exciting city, where the cutting edge bristles against ancient Malay tradition. A popular favourite amongst backpackers
5. Cameron Highlands
The rolling hills and plantations of the Cameron Highlands is a great place to grab a cup of freshly-grown tea.
6. Pulau Pangkor
This small, jungle swept island is well-worth the short ferry-ride through the Strait of Malacc.
Nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, Penang is famous for its soft sandy beaches and is fondly regarded as the food capital of Malaysia.
8. Perhentian Islands
The Perhentian Islands, floating in the waters off the East Coast, are perfect beach spots.
9. Kota Bharu
Situated close to the Thai border, Kota Bharu is awash with different traditions. It has a big Islamic population, and in the areas surrounding the city there are many temples and palaces. Must-see after-dark attractions include the city’s renowned night markets.