10 day itinerary in magical Malaysia
My 10 day travel diary exploring Malaysia’s captivating coastlines, some of the finest hotels in the world and a history few people delve into…
Kuala Lumpur is more than a capital city. This metropolis is a cultural melting pot where the diverse nations and cultures of Southeast Asia come together and sophisticated skyscrapers and street food stalls harmoniously coexist. This charm is part of what attracted my daughter Rosalia and I to Malaysia for our magical adventure.
When I search for a holiday destination, I usually start with a global flight search. Being bound to travelling during school holidays dramatically increases the cost of travel so I get very excited when I find an affordable flight during my preferred dates, in this case; Christmas!
KLM had surprisingly low airfares to Kuala Lumpur for that notoriously expensive time of year and the quick, one hour transit in Amsterdam sealed the deal.
The next step is accommodation
The top rated 5 star Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur is the place to stay for location, luxury and service. For less than £120 per night we stayed in a Horizon club room with fabulous views which included access to the club lounge serving free afternoon tea and refreshments.
Day 1: jetlagged!
We missed breakfast! But staying in a great location makes finding amazing restaurants easy. Rosalia still talks about “the best waffles in the world” she had at Gravy Baby! KLCC Aquaria located underneath the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre has many interactive exhibits – and all in English.
Just outside the aquarium, the 50 acre KLCC Park, has expansive adventure playgrounds with clean public children’s swimming pools. I recommend spend the day there and finishing off with the Lake Symphony Water Fountain Show.
The famous Petronas Twin Towers overlook the park, making it the perfect opportunity to visit the top and cross the bridge between the towers for those unparalleled views. Unfortunately booking those tickets in advance is imperative, so we missed out!
Day 2 – Cave discovery
I highly recommend the climb to the Batu Caves.
This popular Hindu shrine is set in 400-year-old limestone caves, giving this temple a unique fauna. Signs at the entrance picturing the inhabiting snakes and bats wasn’t helping me to persuade Rosie to enter the optional Dark Cave, but I begged and we went.
We didn’t see much wildlife but the noises and the natural history lessons made it worthwhile.
Afterwards, we deserved a plunge in the hotel pool before our shopping spree. There are at least 6 humongous malls located within 5 minutes from the hotel.
Day 3 – Bargain hunting in a busy market.
Firstly getting around is super easy. Uber is so cheap in Kuala Lumpur, taxi journeys are between £1 and £5 per ride. The underground is brand new, fully air conditioned and literally costs pennies to use.
We used the latter to get to Pasar Seni or the Central Market. The souvenirs are so pretty and many of the stalls have an intriguing personality of their own.
Chinatown wasn’t as impressive but it was literally around the corner from Pasar Seni so worth passing by.
For dinner we went to Songket Restaurant which serves delicious authentic Malaysian cuisine and has a traditional dancing show. The sea bass was exquisite and our obsession with watermelon juice was catered to.
Day 4 : A Visit to Penang
Air Asia has easy and affordable internal flights in Malaysia, but we went by executive coach upon recommendation. These coaches, costing less than £50 return each, are comparable to business class seats, complete with fully reclining armchairs and personal TVs. The journey took about 4,5 hour but was comfortable and we loved the scenery.
Why Penang? The east coast of Malaysia is in monsoon season between mid-October and March so we focussed on the west. After seeing the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort in Penang, I was sold. This expansive luxury beach side resort is set on the popular Batu Feringgi Beach.
Their signature spa CHI offers treatments centred around ancient Chinese and Himalayan traditions and rituals, to be enjoyed in the sanctuary of your private spa villa. While I did that, Rosie had a blast in the kids club and on-site water park “Splash Zone”. It was wonderful.
After a couple of relaxation days in the hotel, we were ready for exploration again.
Day 6 – Up the coast
Boasting views of pristine white beaches while indulging on delicious Thai food, the Tree Monkey Restaurant by the Tropical Spice Garden is a great place to stop on this coastal stretch between Penang National Park and the popular Batu Ferringhi Beach.
After lunch we went to the amazing Entopia Butterfly Park before grabbing a roasted corn on the cob from a food stall on route home.
Following TripAdvisor’s advice we had dinner at the Ferringhi Garden which was so stunning and delicious that we went 2 nights in a row.
Day 7- boat trip
I spent £5 on an Uber to Penang National Park where I paid £35 for a private boat and boatsman to take me to Monkey beach and the turtle sanctuary on the remote Pantai Kerachut beach.
When I called up to book this boat trip they quoted me £400 pound, so make sure you haggle!
Day 8 – Historic George Town
George Town in Penang has such incredible architecture and history that UNESCO listed it as a World Cultural Heritage site. Within a one mile radius you can visit:
- Chew Jetty: a settlement of wooden houses built on stilts originally for Chinese settlers
- The Little India, which has tonnes of character and delicious vegetarian food.
- The Thai Buddhist Temple and the Burmese Buddhist temple are opposite each other and truly spectacular. We couldn’t resist getting a blessing from the monks.
Day 9 and 10
We travelled back to Kuala Lumpur to prepare for the wonderful dinner at Manja Bar and Restaurant, their menu looked so incredible that we just ordered everything and every dish was delicious.
After that our amazing 10 day Malaysian adventure came to an end. We enjoyed every moment and most of all the quality time we shared.