Tired of working and just want to get away from it all for the long weekend? Malaysia is perfect for you. It’s just a short flight of 4 and a half hours, and you can literally keep it as minimalistic as you like. You can combine islands and cities but if you’re looking to hop across for a few days, don’t over complicate things. I went on a 6 days break and visited one island. I wanted time to chill and relax instead of playing the vagabond this time. I decided to take a trip to Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur and the not so popular but still very awesome Cameron Highlands.
Flights: Malaysia Airlines offers direct flights every day and they’re actually pretty cheap. Book well in advance and you won’t pay much more than what you probably would for an intra-city trip.
Visa: If you’re Indian, getting a visa is a 15 minute process if you’re going for less than 15 days. Log on to https://www.malaysiavisa.com.my/ create an account and upload your ticket, itinerary and photograph. The e-NTRI visa valid for 15 days is generated instantly. The fee is a mere INR 4,000.
If you’re going for longer than 15 days, you will need the e-visa and this will take longer to procure.
Brochures: While there are plenty of brochures available on the tourism website for Malaysia, it’s best not to waste your time on these. https://www.malaysia.travel/en/in is the website to visit for more information.
Best Time to Visit: I went in the middle of August around the Independence Day weekend. It was thoroughly enjoyable at that time. Langkawi was cool and rainy without being extremely hot, Kuala Lumpur was awesome for shopping thanks to all the sales that were on and Cameron Highlands was 7 degrees C! I kinda thought it was perfect.
Langkawi usually expects rains during this time, and there was quite a bit of rain during the time that we were there. I thoroughly enjoyed it though. We had rain, sun time on the beach and some great time at the bar!
What to pack: Most of Langkawi is covered with rainforest, so if you fancy a bit of a hike through the woods, carry appropriate gear.
Cameron Highlands is a hill station and you will definitely need something warm while you’re up there.
Other than the above, pack for a usual beach holiday in a tropical and generally hot and humid country.
Currency: The currency used in Malaysia is MYR or Malaysian rupee. You can exchange currency just outside the airport. American dollars, Euros, Pounds and Indian Rupees are all accepted for conversion.
Getting Around: Getting around is largely dependent on what part of the country you’re in. In Langkawi, just hire a car and drive it around. An international driver’s license is valid in Malaysia for 90 days. I suggest you drive yourself from Langkawi to Cameron Highlands. It’s a four hour journey, but the roads after the expressway can get winding. If you don’t have a good driver, you will feel nausea which is what happened to me.
In Kuala Lumpur, driving can be problematic given high traffic. It is best to use Uber while you are in KL.
Cameron Highlands is a small place and you will likely need no driving around. Taking a car from the hotel or calling for a taxi is a good option.
Where to Stay: Malaysia has so many lovely places to stay, both in the budget and the luxury category. I wanted time off just to relax and so this time I booked hotels instead of looking for hostels. I was in the mood to pamper myself.
Langkawi – I picked the Datai in Langkawi for several reasons. It has a huge forested area and I simply loved trekking through their hotel to the club house at the beach. The prices were not that bad since August is considered off season for Langkawi.
This resort is right at the end of the island though so if you want to be in the centre of things, this is not the place for you. I wanted the nature reserve and the calm and quiet, therefore the Datai.
Cameron Highlands – At Cameron Highlands, I stayed at the Cameron Highlands Resort and honestly, I feel like I relaxed here more than anywhere else. The resort overlooks the golf course, entry to which is free if you’re living at the resort. It has a very old Victorian charm, so if you like the way the British did it years ago, you will love this place.
Kuala Lumpur – Kuala Lumpur has a lot of options. I stayed at the Face Suites. The funny thing about this place is that it is also available on AirBnb because there are some apartments that are private. So you get the same hotel at a marginal price. Check it out.
The place is central but is crowded with youngsters and their boom boxes. Not your typical quiet place. Having said that, the infinity pool overlooking the Petronas Towers, the gym, the city view from the restaurant, and the rooms themselves are absolutely awesome.
What to eat: If you’re non vegetarian, you should be indulging in a lot of seafood. I’ve given more details of where I ate in the itinerary. You will of course have plenty of vegetarian options available, but there is nothing quite like tasting the local produce.
Like most Asian countries, don’t drink water from the taps. Drink bottled water only.
Download a more detailed itinerary below.