“Malaysia, truly Asia” — a tagline that encapsulates the essence of our country’s unique diversity. Home to mouth-watering cuisines, scenic adventures and rich heritage, Malaysia is a melting pot of culture. The country thrives on its colonial and modern architecture, lush greenery and serene beaches. And if you didn’t know, Malaysia is ranked 18th as the Most Peaceful Country in the 2022 Global Peace Index.

Whether you’re thinking of planning a road trip with your loved ones or are craving Malaysia’s finest cuisines, we got you. Don’t feel stressed or utterly confused about where you should explore next. With our curated guide to Malaysia, we’re celebrating our beautiful home by helping you find unique spots to boast about in Malaysia. From city adventures to hiking trips, prepare for an experience of a lifetime.

In the spirit of Malaysia Day today, September 16, we showcase everything that our amazing nation has to offer.

The complete guide to exploring Malaysia, from food to travel

guide to malaysia
Kuala Lumpur in all its glory. (Image: Unsplash/Esmonde Yong)

Travel

15 nature retreats within a two-hour drive from KL

Take a trip to the forest, and embrace your inner zen at these 15 nature retreats near KL city.

Glamping sites to book for a weekend getaway in Malaysia

Yurts, tipis and geodomes; it’s the best kind of camping without having to sacrifice the comfort of luxury. Surprise your friends and family with a glamping holiday in Malaysia.

7 hiking trails in Peninsular Malaysia that lead to delectable food and drinks

Blessed with gorgeous beaches, untouched jungles and gushing waterfalls, Malaysia has plenty to offer for the avid hiker. While a typical excursion prioritises natural beauty, the hiking trails we are introducing to you below emphasise on good food as a reward for getting out and about.

8 breathtakingly beautiful island resorts in Malaysia to check out

Nature lover, wildlife enthusiast, conservationist or simply a seeker of comfort — whatever tag you may give yourself, an uninterrupted getaway at a luxury island resort is something that everyone craves. These are the most gorgeous ones in Malaysia.

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Yearning for an island escape? (Image: Gem Island Resort, Terengganu)

10 hotels to check out around Penang for a staycation

When it comes to a short getaway, Penang is always a good idea. A haven for street food, its fair share of hipster joints and pockets of culture await visitors. Here are 10 charming hotels to stay at.

5 private islands in Malaysia to consider for your next beach escape

These hidden gems make for a desirable destination for many travellers. With this guide, find out which island around Malaysia will be your next beach getaway.

7 Malaysia road trips you need to add to your bucket list

You deserve a good holiday. You know you do. Why not skip the sea of selfie sticks and boorish tour-bus throngs for a proper road trip in Malaysia?

5 interstate day trips from KL and Selangor for some rest and relaxation

If spending the night away from your home doesn’t appeal to you that much, here is a list of day trips in the vicinity of KL and Selangor you can contemplate.

3 ways to best spend 2 days in Langkawi: Spa, zipline and cruise

Planning a quick jaunt to Langkawi over the weekend? Here’s how you can make the most of your time.

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Batu Caves. (Image: Unsplash/Alex Azaache)

From paragliding to white water rafting, try these best outdoor activities in Malaysia

Skip the mall, breathe in that fresh air and soak up the best outdoor activities by booking these adventures in Malaysia.

Most exciting luxury hotels in Malaysia that are currently in development

The Malaysian tourism industry is all geared up for a massive wave of travellers to return. More and more luxury hotels have sprouted up across the nation in 2022, and even more are currently in development, with both 5 star hotels in KL and Penang. Here are the ones on our radar.

All about Malaysia’s First World Hotel, the world’s largest hotel

Located in Resorts World Genting in Pahang Darul Makmur, Malaysia, First World Hotel stands proud as the world’s largest hotel. We find out more about the historic building.

Check into the newly opened, eco-friendly Parkroyal Collection Kuala Lumpur

As the first of the brand to arrive in Malaysia, the 5-star hotel sets the bar for future establishments with its chic design and total commitment to the environment.

Waldorf Astoria is opening its first hotel in Kuala Lumpur

Luxury hotel brand Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts will be launching its first hotel in Kuala Lumpur in 2024.

Beach resorts in Johor Bahru perfect for a quick weekend getaway

In need of a tropical holiday? These luxury beach resorts in Johor might be your next holiday destination.

Few things can rival a relaxing beach vacation. (Image: One & Only Desaru)

A list of beach resorts in Malaysia for family vacations

Seeking a family-friendly beach resort for your next vacation with your loved ones? We’ve got you covered.

Your getaway guide to Desaru Coast: Where to stay, what to do

If you’re more inclined towards a road trip somewhere nearer, maybe Desaru Coast should be on your cards. Here’s a complete rundown on where to stay and all the sights you should check out.

Desaru Coast Guide: Must-see attractions for a memorable holiday

Known for its pristine beaches and coastal town, Desaru is a great way to escape the bustling city and hectic schedule, and also offers a smorgasbord of attractions and activities.

Sail away to these 10 picturesque destinations with a yacht charter in Malaysia

As one of Southeast Asia’s largest and most powerful countries, Malaysia is endowed with both economic prosperity and natural bounty. This makes Malaysia a great place to start a long and luxurious yacht charter vacation.

Private jet charter in Malaysia: How much it costs and how to book one

How many times have you seen business tycoons and other eminent personalities make a grand entry with private jets and secretly wanted to experience it at least once in your lifetime? Well, here’s all you need to know about booking a private jet charter in Malaysia.

Food & Drink

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A plate of nasi lemak (Image credit: Getty Images)

10 best nasi lemak places in KL and PJ that’ll hit the spot

If there is one dish that Malaysians can never say no to, it would be nasi lemak. Check out our guide to Malaysia for the best nasi lemak joints in KL and PJ.

Where to find the tastiest and crispiest murtabak in KL and PJ

On the hunt for the best murtabak? We can help with you that. If you’re a fan of omelette pancakes, trust the murtabak to come to the rescue.

Malaysia’s asam laksa, nasi lemak and rojak among 50 best street foods of Asia

Exploring the outstanding diversity of Asia’s cuisines and cultures, CNN, in partnership with Turkish Airlines, has released a list of 50 street foods in Asia that the publication calls the best — and three of Malaysia’s local offerings are included.

These talented Malaysia-born chefs are making waves in the gastronomic world

Putting Malaysia on the map, these cooks and chefs are introducing heritage recipes, authentic Malaysian flavours, and classic nostalgic dishes such as nasi lemak, roti canai, dosa, laksa, and mee goreng to the global level.

These Malaysian restaurants rank among Asia’s Top 50 Pizzas 2022

Luce Osteria Contemporanea and Proof Pizza + Wine have placed among Asia’s Top 50 Pizzas 2022, a list of rankings that surveys all the best pizzerias on the continent.

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A scrumptious pie from one of Asia’s top pizzerias. (Image: Luce Osteria Contemporanea)

Your guide to the best Japanese omakase restaurants in Kuala Lumpur

The term omakase means “I’ll leave it up to you” and is commonly used in Japan where patrons let the chef choose and serve specially curated specialties that are often seasonal.

A list of the best new Japanese restaurants in Kuala Lumpur this 2022

Malaysians’ taste in Japanese food has clearly evolved from conveyer belt sushi to more authentic and traditional Japanese cuisine, such as omakase and izakaya-style meals. If you just can’t get enough of Japanese cuisine, here are the best new restaurants to visit.

Where to taste the juiciest, most buttery cuts of wagyu in KL

Real wagyu beef is one of the most highly sought-after and expensive meats in the world. This is because of its unique and high marbling content which imparts a luxurious texture and buttery flavour. Here are the best restaurants in KL dishing up this decadent delicacy.

4 places to get lip-smacking American BBQ in the Klang Valley

You can indulge in the very best American BBQ right here in the Klang Valley – we’re talking delicious smoky ribs, brisket, burgers, and more.

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You can find excellent American BBQ in the Klang Valley. (Image: Jez Timms/ Unsplash)

7 places to get your Korean fried chicken fix in Klang Valley

Korean fried chicken is among the best variations of chicken available, hands down, and these eateries promise to satisfy your craving.

6 places to find delicious waffles in the Klang Valley

For many of us Malaysians especially, our first memory of waffles would probably be the A&W fast food version with vanilla ice cream. These Klang Valley spots however, serve up much more elaborate renditions that straddle both savoury and sweet.

Where to find the best fine dining restaurants in Penang

From Asian Fusion to Contemporary French, Penang really does have it all when it comes to food.

5 of the best spots for cafe-hopping in George Town, Penang

Brunch outings are great, but for a full-day itinerary in Penang, cafe-hopping in George Town is actually the tastier fit. Here’s where to go.

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Chocolate never fails to delight. (Image credit: Unsplash/Egor Lyfar)

Satisfy your sweet tooth with these best artisanal chocolatiers in Malaysia

Even if you’re not a fan of sweets, there are so many types of chocolates out there that can cater to different palates.

A list of the most irresistible chocolate cakes in KL

It’s moist, it’s rich and contains a sinful taste of dark and dangerous quality. You can never go wrong with chocolate cakes, and we found the best spots in the city that provide the most delicious decadent treat.

3 Malaysian eateries have made it onto the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants extended list

Cilantro, Eat and Cook, and Nadodi have been included in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022’s 51–100 honour roll.

From Timah Whiskey to ReissJaden wine: Raise a toast with these Malaysian wines and spirits

From scintillating red wines to homegrown whiskeys and gins, these different Malaysian wines and spirits have varied flavour profiles and tropical tastes that are sure to linger on your taste buds.

Timah is Malaysia’s award-winning, double peated whiskey

Timah is the first locally produced, award-winning whiskey and is named after the Malay word for ‘tin’ — recalling the tin mining era of British Malaya, which was one of the earliest types of mining operated in Malaysia.

Timah whiskey is the first locally-produced whiskey in Malaysia. (Image: Timah whiskey)

Awesome new cocktail and highball bars in KL and PJ to visit

These cocktail bars go beyond serving the classic margarita. Bartenders here use their creativity and innovation to conjure up unique recipes using ingredients and recipes that you wouldn’t usually find in an alcoholic drink. Tag your friends and keep these new cocktail bars in mind next time you’re looking for a place to have a fun night out in KL.

BAC and Reka:Bar inject more excitement in Bukit Damansara

These two relatively new bars in Bukit Damansara are located in the quieter side of the area, along Jalan Setia Bakti. Therefore, you wouldn’t have to deal with too much of the crowds, and there’s a sense of exclusivity when you visit either BAC or Reka:Bar.

Asia’s 50 Best Bars: Bar Trigona is Malaysia’s best bar again

Bar Trigona at Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur has been named the Best Bar in Malaysia by Asia’s 50 Best Bars for the third consecutive year, excelling once again in the seventh edition of the annual event.

Bar Trigona introduces a refreshed cocktail menu spotlighting Malaysian farms

Malaysia’s best bar showcases a repertoire that draws inspiration from Malaysian terroir, farmers and their produce, and features drinks infused with a diversity of locally-sourced ingredients such as figs, cocoa and kedondong.

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022: 3 bars in KL and Penang rank on the extended list

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022 has revealed its extended list from 51 till 100 — and Coley, Backdoor Bodega and Three X Co have made the cut.

Culture

Mat Kilau is the highest-grossing local film. (Image: Mat Kilau/Netflix)

The top 10 highest-grossing local movies in Malaysia

From Syamsul Yusof’s top-charting Mat Kilau to the best-selling animated film Ejen Ali: The Movie, we have curated a list of the highest-grossing local films in Malaysia and where you can watch them.

Getting to know Sean Lee, the Malaysian actor voicing a character in ‘DC League of Super-Pets’

We briefly chatted with Sean about how he landed the role in Warner Bros’ latest DC League of Super-Pets and what the process was like voicing an adorable dog named Waffles.

Henry Golding to Ronny Chieng: 6 of the most successful Malaysians in Hollywood

From Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh to Henry Golding and Ronny Chieng, many homegrown names are making waves in the global entertainment industry in their unique ways — and putting Malaysia on the world map.

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Henry Golding in ‘Snake Eyes’. (Image: HBO GO)

Sean Lee and other up-and-coming Malaysian actors poised to take on the world stage

There’s a chance you may recognise these names. But if any of them seem unfamiliar to you, it’s time to discover these up-and-coming stars and add them to your radar.

Isaac Voo to Sabrina Azhar: These talented Malaysians are thriving in South Korea

Is it safe to say that Hallyu, or the K-wave, is taking over the world? Yes, indeed. But several Malaysians are also making our country proud with their burgeoning influence in South Korea.

Bond with your family over these Malaysian movies this Merdeka Day

We’ve curated a list of the most iconic Malaysian film worth watching that tackle historical event and essential yet relatable issues.

Merdeka Day: 6 riveting reads about life in Malaya

Ever wondered what life was like for dwellers of Malaya of yore? These gratifying books of novels and memoirs about life in Malaya written pre-Merdeka will appease your curiosity.

British writer Anthony Burgess was a prolific novelist whose work encapsulated the spirit of Malaya, pre-Merdeka
British writer Anthony Burgess at his home. (Image: The International Anthony Burgess Foundation)

First and foremost: 15 firsts that ushered Malaysia into a new era

Contributing to the development of Malaysia in the 21st Century, these innovations have monumental implications in the fields of politics, science, sports, arts, and culture.

Breaking Barriers: Individuals showcasing true Malaysian spirit

We speak to various talented individuals who cross cultural lines and embrace the art forms that are typically performed by different races, in true Malaysian spirit.

Sarawak Day: History, facts and everything you’ve wanted to know

Curious about Sarawak Day which falls on July 22? We delve into the story behind the official independence day of the state of Sarawak in northwest Borneo.

Fashion

Places In The Klang Valley Where You Can Donate And Recycle Old Clothes

These organisations are where you can donate old clothes to, whether at the headquarters or bins located all around Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. Some can even arrange collection from you if you have plenty to part with.

Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2022: The annual style showcase celebrates its 10th anniversary

Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week (or KLFW) is one of the most-anticipated cultural events in the country. Its recently concluded edition marked its 10th anniversary.

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Hatta Dolmat.

Earth Day 2022: Hatta Dolmat on his sustainable Raya collection

Coupled with the courage to look inward instead of yielding to how things have always been done, Hatta’s singular vision to introduce new ways of creating stylish clothes, has won him a unique accolade in the Malaysian Book of Records.

5 Raya collections to check out this 2022

Whether you’re a stickler for tradition or you’re looking to experiment with new styles, these are the standout Raya collections of 2022.

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur

(Main image: Esmonde Yong/ Unsplash; Featured image: Wengang Zhai/ Unsplash)

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