Shake up your holiday cocktail when you set your sights on this fascinating, welcoming and truly beautiful nation in Southeast Asia.
Like a perfectly seasoned dish swimming with spices and exotic flavours, Malaysia offers a taste of some of the world’s most vibrant cultures. Arrivals from China, India and elsewhere have shaped the history, architecture, cuisine and attitudes of Malaysia and its people, making it a great choice for first-time visitors to Asia.
You can enjoy Malaysia holidays in Peninsular Malaysia (also known as West Malaysia) or across the South China Sea in East Malaysia.
In Peninsula Malaysia, which is located between Thailand and Singapore, the capital city of Kuala Lumpur attracts visitors to skyscraper hotels, bustling markets, sparkling shopping malls and lush open spaces. The island of Penang - the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ - is off the west coast and an ideal destination for those looking to combine city pursuits with days on the beach and trips to serene temples. Further north of Penang is the holiday island of Langkawi, home to many luxury, all inclusive Malaysia hotels.
East Malaysia, also known as Malaysian Borneo, consists of Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan. Holidays here can be taken in Kota Kinabalu, which is a great city base for adventures in the nearby national parklands.
If you are thinking of travelling to Malaysia, holiday deals are easy to find. Package holidays are ideal for breaks in the main destinations featured in our guide. Use the search tool on TravelSupermarket to compare deals.
Find out what the weather is like throughout the year in Malaysia…
Peak time for travel to the west-coast destinations of Penang and Langkawi is between December and March, which is the driest season. Daytime temperatures throughout the year rarely veer from a balmy 30C.
In Kuala Lumpur, it is hot and humid with rainy peaks in October, November and April.
Kota Kinabalu experiences its driest weather between January and April.
This is a tropical destination and warm rainfall usually comes in quick, heavy bursts, so don’t let wet weather put you off booking cheap holidays to Malaysia.
Here are just three of the top annual events in Malaysia…
Chinese New Year; January/February: With large Chinese communities across Malaysia, this event is widely celebrated and there is likely to be something happening wherever you are. If you are in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Street’s Chinatown is the obvious place to be. Get there early to take your place for parades, dragon dancers and much feasting.
Malaysian Grand Prix; March: This always-popular race on the F1 calendar is held in Sepang, an hour south of Kuala Lumpur by road.
George Town Festival in Penang; August: Now celebrated in August (it used to be held in June/July), this feast of the arts is a favourite on the Penang calendar. There are free events as well as ticketed performances and it is the ideal time to get a taste for magical Malaysian creativity.
Make your holiday in Malaysia one to remember by taking advantage of some of the amazing experiences on offer. Here are just a few…
Grown-up families: All aboard the Penang Hill Railway! Kids will love the crawl up the steep railway, while the sweeping views at the top will delight passengers of all ages.
Romance: Stay in a west-facing water villa in Langkawi for a sunset that neither of you will ever forget.
Active types: An extensive network of hiking trails covers the islands that make up Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, near Kota Kinabalu. You can catch a ferry from the city to take one of these scenic walks.
Free and cheap: Guided walks around the gorgeous Perdana Botanical Garden, in Central Kuala Lumpur, are offered at no charge for visitors. Check in advance for the exact times.
Shopping: Whether you prefer designer boutiques or traditional markets, you can experience every kind of shopping in Kuala Lumpur. Suria KLCC, at the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers, is a good bet for upmarket clothing and accessories, while serious bargain hunters will love the market stalls of Petaling Street.