These are simply the most rewarding hiking trails in Peninsular Malaysia. Why, you wonder? Food. 

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. Even an intrepid gourmand can tag along. 

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

Kiara Hill, Kuala Lumpur 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Punctuated by numerous mountain biking and hiking trails, Kiara Hill is a recreational haven among TTDI and Mont Kiara residents. The primary trail linking both neighbourhoods begins at an unmarked path in Mont Kiara and ends at the extended paved loop in TTDI, and vice-versa. To ensure you are on the right track, a metal gate which you have to enter indicates the halfway point. The moderate hike consumes around an hour. A significantly more strenuous trail spans Kiara Hill and Sri Bintang Hill, doubling the duration. It takes you from TTDI to North Kiara.  

TTDI and Mont Kiara are respected epicurean centres in KL, with café, restaurants and bars aplenty. Check out Der Backmeister and Common Man for pastry and coffee in TTDI, as well as B-Lab and Soffle for pasta and dessert in Mont Kiara.  

Monkey Beach, Penang National Park 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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While tourists converge in Georgetown for its decadent array of street foods, the daring head to Penang National Park. Navigable on foot or by chartering a vessel, several secluded bays attract hikers to the smallest national park in Malaysia. The famous attraction is Monkey Beach, christened as such for its colony of primates inhabiting the surroundings. What’s more rehydrating after an hour of profuse perspiration? Cold beer and coconut juice at Tiger Monkey Bar & Leisure. Freshly caught seafood is available on the open grill. 

Penang Hill 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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On a bustling day, ascending the Penang Hill on the funicular might take up as much time as hiking up on foot due to limited capacity. At 833m tall and over 3km in length, the trail is not the most intense but a certain level of fitness is expected. As temperatures cool as you gain altitude, vegetation begins to evolve. Migratory birds and small mammals too are a common sight. There are several epicurean options on the summit. Choose between David Brown’s Restaurant & Tea Terrace (afternoon tea), Monkey Cup Garden (coffee) and Hickory on Penang Hill (set meals).  

Cameron Highlands 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The hill resort teems with dozens of trails that draw adrenalin junkies from across the globe. A majority of trails begin or end in Tanah Rata, the most populous town in Cameron Highlands. The most decadent way to absorb all that Cameron Highlands has to offer is to pick a route that takes you through the jungle and concludes at a tea plantation for a cuppa and jam-filled scones. Trail 10 takes you up the picturesque peak of Jasar Mountain, while trail 6 leads you from the summit down to the tea house in Cameron Bharat Plantation. Set aside 5 hours. A map can be downloaded to help you stay on the right course.  

Tioman  

 

 
 
 
 
 
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An island made for hiking, snorkelling and diving, the rustic Tioman can be traversed on foot or by water taxi and scooter. As the majority of holidaymakers tend to concentrate on the sunset side, you can excuse yourself from the madding crowd by venturing to the eastern shores of Tioman. While a paved road extends from Tekek to Juara, there is an undulating jungle trail that connects both townlets. The 7km traipse starts in Tekek and ends in Juara. Upon arrival you may treat yourself to unpretentious but no less delicious iced tea, pancakes and burgers at Mia Café.  

Emerald Bay, Pangkor Laut 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The prerequisite to checking this hike off the list is to spend the night at the acclaimed Pangkor Laut Resort. A private island inhabited by the hornbill and whose waters give life to turtles, Pangkor Laut has long been a preferred honeymoon destination. Stilted villas and hillside chalets dot the eastern half of the island. A naturalist offers guided jungle trekking through the northern perimeter and a longer alternative leading to stunning views of the sea from the top of the southern perimeter. The climax, however, is the beautiful Emerald Bay residing at the western cove. Here Chapman’s Bar awaits your presence with cocktails, and a range of local and international fare. 

Perhentian Kecil 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Enveloped by turquoise waters, Perhentian Kecil enthrals visitors with its unique nightlife offerings revolving around conviviality and fire performance. It also doesn’t lack in daytime activities as the island is embedded with several trails. The most popular of which whisks hikers to the windmill, a landmark of Perhentian Kecil. This proposed route starts with chartering a boat to drop you off at Adam and Eve Beach, followed by a hike to the windmill and finally arriving at Long Beach. End the day at Santai, where the restaurant serves up delectables such as lobster, filet mignon and lava cake.

This article first appeared in Lifestyle Asia KL.

Hero and feature images of hiking trails in Malaysia by Fidelia Zheng on Unsplash

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