Ultimate guide to short getaways in Malaysia

Looking for the next perfect short getaway in Malaysia
for your family or friends?  If yes, then check out this guide

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Check out this guide to help you plan and prepare for your short getaway in Malaysia.  Short getaways and vacations are on the rise and it’s been scientifically proven that breaking from the routine can release stress, increase work productivity and generally make you a happier person (and we all want that!!). The best thing about these weekend getaways is that you can have more of them a year and would only require you to use a day or 2 of your annual leave. Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country often overlooked but all that is beginning to change. It is a perfect getaway destination for the locals and perfect for a tourist stopover during their Asian trip or for locals to actually look around their own country. Malaysia is where many people come for their honeymoon and who can disagree.  From it’s lush green parks to white sandy beaches and home to some of the most diverse cultures, there is no wonder Malaysia has started to build its name as one of Asia’s top vacation destinations. If you are new to Malaysia then check out more info below. With Ecoteer living up to its name and working towards it’s certification on becoming carbon neutral, if not all, most of our recommendations will be more local, eco-friendly and/or sustainable choices. During your travels, if you’re in the mood to do something good or just simply learn about how NGO’s work then you can join one of our short eco trips in Malaysia, there are also lots of volunteer programmes in Malaysia you could check out.

Short getaway ideas for Malaysia

Short getaway in selangor batu

Short getaways in KL, Putrajaya and selangor

Explore the capital and the surrounding areas. KL is one of the greenest capital cities in Asia. Visit the local parks or break out into nature on the fringes of the capital city in the state of Selangor.  You could even tick off all the green buildings.

Short getaway in Johor

short getaways in Johor and Melaka

South of KL there are lots of secret hide outs.  Areas such as the rainforests and waterfalls of Endau Rompin and Gunung Ledang to the nooks and crannies of Melaka Old town.  You can even explore paradise islands such as Tioman and Sibu.

For short getaways in Johor, Melaka click below.

short getaway in Langkawi

short getaways in Penang, Perak, Kedah and Perlis

The north and west has some of the most famous tourist hotspots in Peninsular Malaysia – Langkawi, Penang, Gopeng and Royal Belum are a few.  Check our guide here to find a few new locations and activities that are lighter on the planet.

For short getaways in Penang, Langkawi, Perak, Perlis and Kedah then click below.

Short getaway in Terengganu Turtle conservation

short getaways in Terengganu and Kelantan

The east coast of Peninsular Malaysia has some awesome weekend getaway options. You can go from mountain to reef within an hour and help conservation organisations with turtle conservation and coral reef protection. Don’t forget all the food. For short getaways in Terengganu and Kelantan then check out this article.

Basic Facts About Malaysia

Map of Malaysia

Located between Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, Malaysia consists of 14 states and 2 federal territories which are composed amongst two non-contiguous regions which are West Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia) and East Malaysia (located on the island of Borneo).

Malaysia has a rich multiracial, multiethnic and multicultural image which makes Malaysia such a unique place to visit. The vast majority of Malaysians are the Malays standing at a huge 50.4% of Malaysia’s population while the remaining 49.6% comprise of Chinese and Indians as well as the Orang Asli (Native Tribes).

Even though Malay is the country’s national language, Chinese, Tamil and the various languages and dialects are used.  English is also widely spoken. You can take a little time to learn a little bit of the language before coming over as it’s not all that difficult.

Malaysia is about 2° and 7° north from the equator making the weather pretty much sunny and warm all year round with an average temperature of 28°C but don’t expect perfect weather when you come as rain can come at any time. However, there are two main seasons to observe, hot & humid and the monsoon but we usually refer to the monsoon seasons. The monsoon season occurs in different parts of the country at different times of the year. 

If you’re looking into visiting the West coast of Malaysia, the best times would be December through February whereas the best times for the East coast would be April through September. In The weather in East Malaysia (Borneo), The weather is different there too.

There are a few highlands in Malaysia and the popular attractions are Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands. Both are famous for totally different reasons. Temperatures there can drop to as low as 15°C during the day and can get pretty cold at night.

Tips for your Short getaway in Malaysia and things to think about before researching

Malaysia is pretty much the whole package. There are islands, beaches, jungle, mountains, lakes and cities. To help you plan your ultimate weekend getaway, here’s what you will need to help you plan it all.

Know What You Want

When planning a getaway, you really need to know what you want and why you’re taking a break. A relaxing, legs up, room service, sun bathing kind of vacation? What about an adventure? An “experience something new” kind of holiday? Touristy kind of holiday? How about a “do something good” holiday? Once you know what kind of short getaway you’re looking at then planning becomes so much easier.

Budget

Financing is always a factor when planning a holiday. It’s very important to set a budget for your trip no matter what. Not everyone can afford to pay thousands on each trip they take, so setting a budget before planning your trip  Short trips are far cheaper than longer holidays simply because you are paying for less nights in a hotel. When planning your budget, you would need to consider the cost of transportation, accommodations, activities and food. The best thing about short getaways is that you’ll probably be travelling closer to home and road trips are certainly a lot more fun and cheap!

Transportation

Choosing a mode of transportation you are going to use is important. First of all, you need to find out how long it takes to get to where you plan on going. If you plan on driving, you can always check on waze or google maps on how long your drive time will take. The thing about driving yourself is that you have the flexibility to stop  at places along the way and stay wherever you want as you won’t be relying on public transportation to get around. If you plan on travelling to somewhere a little further than 3 hours, a bus could be a great option. For instance when travelling to Perhentian Island, we’d definitely recommend you taking the night bus to arrive in the morning in time for the first boat out. Check out the bus schedule beforehand and if you decide to want to travel during the festive season, booking a month in advance is always recommended. Trains for long distance travel are available but can seem rather inconvenient for most destinations. If you’re opting for a most scenic view and on a laid-back trip, the train could be an option. Bare in mind, when taking a short getaway, time is an essence. If you’re planning to go to an island, be sure to plan your travel time around the boat schedules.

Accommodation

When considering accommodation options, remember that you don’t need to limit yourself to hotels. There are a variety of places to stay such as b&bs, guest houses, airbnb rentals, campsites, etc. These options are usually more sustainable too as it supports local businesses. Where you stay really depends on where you’re going and what kind of a getaway you’re looking into. If you plan on travelling during festive holidays or even long public holiday weekends, be sure to book your accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment (the rates are usually better too!).

Plan must do activities in advance

Many travellers don’t like to plan anything else but their flights or buses. This can be really fun and spontaneous but when you’re planning a short vacation with limited time, this may not be the best way to travel. You don’t want to be wasting your time looking for a place to stay, or getting somewhere on a Sunday with hopes to visit a famous attraction only to find out it’s closed on a Sunday. This is why it’s important to have some ideas about all the things you’d like to see and do. Make a list of the places you’d like to visit. Don’t worry if the list is too long because then you kinda have a bucket list for the next time you go there. Heh! But honestly, with a big list, you’ll then be able to prioritise and if something were to happen to one plan, you have a back up. If you have something you definitely MUST DO during your getaway, why not book it in advance so you know you’ll be doing it for sure.

Check out local events

It’s always recommended to check out local events in the area you are going to. Many activities found online are usually the touristy stuff. If you’re looking for something a little different like going for an open mic session, food truck festival, comedy night or even volunteering at a local NGO, you might be glad you looked this up! Make sure you don’t miss anything!!

Roughly Plan Each Day

Just like mentioned previously, to avoid any disappointment. Once you’ve done your research on the things to do at your destination, it is then time to plan things out to make sure you’re able to do all the things you want to do and/or see. Planning ahead makes life so much more easier and allows you to cram as much activities as possible and allows you to make the most of your time.

Eat local

Eating local is a more sustainable way to eat. Food doesn’t need to travel so far to make it on your plate. By going to a local stall or restaurant, this helps with reducing gas house emissions and contributes in reducing our carbon footprint especially when we travel quite a distance. Eating local also benefits the local economy including local farmers, and other local producers. This encourages sustainable agriculture. Another awesome reason to eat local is that locally harvested foods are given more time to ripen and tastes so much better.

Pack light

Now that you got everything about your quick getaway planned, it’s time to think about what to pack. Many of us fall victim to over-packing and when it comes to a weekend trip, there really is no need to pack too much. For just a 3-day trip, you won’t actually need even half the stuff you think you need. We tend to always think about the what-if’s when it comes to the weather and the activities we’ve planned. Yes, it’s good to be prepared but it’s better then you’re travelling with a lighter bag. As hard as it may be to leave that hair dryer at home, you don’t need it. Plus, you don’t need those 17 different outfits for 4 days, just pack one outfit for each day with a set of pyjamas of course, some comfy walking shoes, a pair of flip flops and you are set (ok, maybe a few more pairs of undies)! Do take account of weather and spare clothes, just don’t go overboard.
public holidays in Malaysia

When to travel

Now that you know all that you need about your trip, it’s time to pick a date of which you intend to have your short holiday. Here in Malaysia, it’s always joked about that public holidays are more than working days. This is simply because due to Malaysia being such a multicultural country, we celebrate most popular festivities. So choose your weekends wisely. During most religious festivities, locals tend to “balik kampung” meaning, head back to their hometowns. This is a time most people dread to travel as the traffic can be horrendous but there are other long weekends you too could consider. 

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