Located in between Singapore and Thailand, Malaysia is a must-stop whether you’re backpacking Southeast Asia or on a well-deserved relaxing vacation.
During your two-week Malaysia itinerary, you will travel from big cities towered by massive skyscrapers to smaller historical towns covered with 3D street arts, explore around cave formations on the hunt for stunning views and relax on white-sand beaches off the Andaman coast.
This Malaysia itinerary packs all the major highlights with some off the beaten path locations. From Melaka to Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Penang and Langkawi, there are so many things to see and do in Malaysia on a budget.
Of course, you can modify it according to your taste and if you have more time in Malaysia and I’ve included a few options at the end of this travel guide.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MALAYSIA
Malaysia is a tropical destination with hot and humid weather year-round. The wet season in West Malaysia is between April and October while November to February is usually the driest. I’ve visited Malaysia during the months of January to March and November and experience rain showers mostly during the evenings, but they generally lasted for about an hour.
HOW TO GET AROUND MALAYSIA?
Budget airlines such as Air Asia are great for traveling between the different cities. Alternatively, if you’re on a tight budget, you can book train and bus tickets on easybook.com or busonlineticket.com.
Discount codes can be obtained by just typing “easybook discount code” on Google. I found that the price is slightly cheaper on easybook combined with the discount code, so it’s my go-to when traveling around Malaysia.
Grab is much cheaper compared to taxis and very convenient when getting around Malaysia.
If you’re coming from Singapore, the cheapest option is to take the bus (which will save you the hassle of going to the airport early for check-in). The bus journey lasts for about 4-4.5 hours to Melaka or 5-6 hours to Kuala Lumpur.
At the Singapore border, you will just have to take your passport and go through immigration. It’s only when you reach the Malaysian border that you will need to take your luggage for scanning and customs clearance.
My bus left Singapore at 2 pm and the process was quick and easy. Just keep in mind that if you’re traveling during peak hours, Customs clearance may take longer.
ACCOMMODATION IN MALAYSIA
There are many options when booking hotels in Malaysia. I mostly use booking.com since I’ve noticed that prices are slightly cheaper. Some hotels will allow you to book without a credit card and even offer free cancelation. If you booked at least two times, you’ll be able to benefit from a 10% genius discount!
I’ve also used Agoda and Airbnb quite a few times when hotels were not available on booking.com
WHERE TO BUY SIM CARD IN MALAYSIA?
Most hotels will have free Wi-Fi but if you need to use the GPS to navigate around Malaysia, you can buy a Maxis Hotlink Red sim card. They cost about US$ 2.40 (RM 10) and you can easily top up from any 7-eleven or buy an “internet pass” directly from the Hotlink app. 1.5 GB data costs US$ 2.40 (RM 10) and will be valid for 7 days.
If you prefer a much easier and cheaper option, you can buy a Malaysia tourist sim card in advance at a discounted rate on Klook.
The table below shows all the different sim cards available. To buy a Malaysia tourist sim card, just click on the one that best suits you depending on where you’re starting your Malaysia itinerary and you can easily pick up at the airport by following the instructions given.
|Celcom 4G Sim Card||Tune Talk 4G Sim Card||Digi 4G Sim Card|
|Pick-up location||Kuala Lumpur (KLIA2)||Kuala Lumpur (KLIA2), Penang, Langkawi||Kuala Lumpur (KLIA and KLIA2)|
|Data Package||12 GB and 15 GB||15 GB and 20 GB||9 GB and 25 GB|
|Validity||7 and 30 days||7 and 14 days||7 and 15 days|
|Price||US$ 4.29 and US$ 8.35||US$ 5.49 and US$ 10.75||US$ 4.55 and US$ 9.30|
MALAYSIA ITINERARY FOR TWO WEEKS
This Malaysia itinerary is totally doable on a low budget. By spending two weeks in Malaysia, you will be able to visit some of the most popular destinations.
I started my Malaysia itinerary in Melaka and took the 707Inc bus for US$ 16.70 from Queen Street in Singapore. The bus journey took four hours and I was dropped just a few minutes’
Whereas, buses from Kuala Lumpur will drop you off at Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal and a Grab to the main town will cost about US$ 2.90.
DAY 1-2: MELAKA
From cobblestone pathways leading to colorful buildings to huge murals serving as awesome photo backdrops and without forgetting the mouth-watering food, Melaka (Malacca) is the perfect place to start your 2-week Malaysia itinerary.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, Melaka is full of history and this can be seen in the architecture all over town.
Start off with the most important meal of the day at the Daily Fix Café which serves the best pandan pancakes! Once you’re all fueled up, stroll around the Dutch Square, in other words, the heart of Melaka.
The Christ Church, St Paul’s Church, A’Famosa Fort and Stadthuys are all found within this area. Wander around the canals to hunt for colorful street arts or take a cruise along the river.
Next head out to the revolving Menara Taming Sari to get a 360-degree view of the whole city or the Maritime and Naval Museum to learn about the history of Melaka when it was still under the ruling of the Portuguese, Dutch and British.
Make sure you find a nice spot to watch the golden hour at the Melaka Straits Mosque and finally indulge in street food at the Jonker Street Night Market which happens every weekend.
Check out my Melaka travel guide if you want more details on the best things to do in Melaka!
Where to stay in Melaka?
Hotel Arissa features clean and modern rooms that can fit up to three people. Although a bit far from the main attractions, it is located in a quiet neighborhood. Prices start from US$ 23 for a twin room without breakfast.
Buffalo Soldier Home is located right in the center of Melaka. Prices for dorm rooms start from US$ 6 per bed and US$ 24 for family rooms. They offer free breakfast (toast and coffee) and drinking water.
Check out more hotel prices on booking.com
How to get from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur on a budget?
The bus from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur takes about 2-2.5 hours and costs US$ 2.82 with Delima. The bus will drop you off at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan and from there a Grab to the city will cost about RM 21 (US$ 5).
DAY 3-5: KUALA LUMPUR
A trip to Malaysia isn’t complete without visiting Kuala Lumpur! Although overlooked for cities like Singapore or Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur still deserves to be explored for its multicultural diversity, great food and affordable shopping.
As you walk around the neighborhoods, you’ll be transported into different countries. From Little India to Chinatown where Chinese and Hindu temples and Mosques are just a few steps from each other, there’s so much to learn and discover about the different religions and cultures of Malaysia.
If you’re craving for some greenery, there are plenty of options such as the KL Eco Forest Park where you can walk over a canopy bridge in the middle of a rainforest or conquer the steps of Batu Caves (while dodging monkeys). The Butterfly and Bird parks are also great for adults and kids alike.
Want to shop till you drop without breaking the bank? Take a look at the shopping malls in Bukit Bintang! Or, if you want to feast on some delicious Malaysian food, Hu Tong Lot 10 and Jalan Alor Night Market are where you should be headed!
Don’t forget to read my guide for 17 things to do in Kuala Lumpur in 2 days or more!
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur?
I stayed at Gold 3 Boutique Hotel (from US$ 32) and Ansa Hotel Kuala Lumpur (from US$ 73) during my visits. Both are centrally located in Bukit Bintang, just a stone’s throw from the main attractions.
Check out more hotel prices on booking.com
How to get from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh on a budget?
The bus journey from the airport (KLIA1 or KLIA2) takes approximately 4 hours and costs US$ 10.65 with Starmart Express. If you’re traveling from Kuala Lumpur center, the bus will leave from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan and will cost only US$ 5.70 with Sri Maju Group.
You’ll be dropped you off at Ipoh Amanjaya which is found 20 minutes from the center. From there, you can take a Grab for about RM 15 (US$ 4).
Trains are also available, usually taking about 3 hours. Tickets cost approximately RM 40 (US$ 10). The train station is located less than 5 minutes from Ipoh Old Town.
DAY 6-7: IPOH
On the 6th day of your Malaysia itinerary, it’s time to travel to Ipoh Town. Dubbed the underrated version of Penang, Ipoh is a small, sleepy town located in the state of Perak.
The streets are lined with almost run-down buildings but the colorful street arts have helped a lot to revive the town.
Ernest Zacharevic along with a few local artists have painted the buildings with colorful and interactive street arts, showcasing the history and cultural diversity of Ipoh.
At some point, you may feel completely alone while walking the streets of Ipoh but as soon as you step into the Old Town, you’ll be back in civilization. You can choose to scout out street arts or if you lack the energy, sip on the famous Ipoh white coffee and bite into egg tarts.
If you fancy doing some souvenir shopping, take a look at Concubine Lane as well as Kong Heng Square.
For some stunning views, explore the many cave temples that make the pride of Ipoh. A few of them include Perak Tong, Sam Poh Tong and Kek Lok Tong.
If this sparked your curiosity, check out these fun things to do in Ipoh!
Where to stay in Ipoh?
Grayhaus Soho Ipoh has single and queen rooms with private bathroom and cost RM 50 (US$ 12) and RM 65 (US$ 16) respectively. Coffee and toast are available anytime during the day and night. Laundry service costs RM 15 (US$ 4) per load.
Check out more hotel prices on booking.com
How to get from Ipoh to Penang on a budget?
The bus journey from Ipoh to Penang usually lasts for about two hours and costs US$ 5.92 with Sri Maju Group. You will be dropped off at Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal which is located 20 minutes from the center. From there, you can take a Grab for about RM 17 (US$ 4.10).
DAY 8-10: GEORGETOWN, PENANG
I based myself in Georgetown, the capital of Penang, mainly to hunt down street arts and eat as much food as I possibly could! Simply get lost around town and you’ll discover some cool murals.
The well-preserved historical buildings and cultural diversity got Georgetown a spot in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Make sure you visit some of the most famous spots such as the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (Blue Mansion), Pinang Peranakan Mansion and Clan Jetties.
You can’t travel to the food capital of Malaysia without bringing your appetite! Tasting the street food in Penang was the highlight of my Malaysia itinerary!
From Nasi Kandar to Wan Tan Mee and Cendol, you will be served the best food at every corner of the streets.
But there are also a lot of things do outside of Georgetown. Rise and shine early to hike up Penang Hill or if you prefer, take the funicular to the top.
And don’t miss out on the impressive Kek Lok Si temple, especially during Chinese New Year. If you’re a nature lover, take a stroll around the Penang National Park or the Botanical Gardens.
Wanna know more? I wrote a full 3-day itinerary for all the best things to do in Penang!
Where to stay in Penang?
Hotel Chennai by Wink is located right in the center of Georgetown with most of the attractions within walking distance. What I loved most about this hotel is that I could watch both the sunrise and sunset from the rooftop area which even has a jacuzzi! You can also refill your water bottle for free. Prices start from US$ 14.
Check out more hotel prices on booking.com
How to get from Penang to Langkawi on a budget?
You can buy tickets for the high-speed ferry from the many travel agents found near the Penang port which is located right by the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower in Georgetown. Tickets cost RM 70 (US$ 16.70) and the journey takes 2-2.5 hours.
Alternatively, you can also fly to Langkawi with Air Asia. Tickets start as from US$ 12 without checked luggage during low seasons or US$ 25 during high season.
DAY 11-14: LANGKAWI
Why not save the best for last and end your 2-week Malaysia itinerary by relaxing on the beach? Lying on the white sand beaches of Pantai Cenang while sipping on a cocktail is totally acceptable in Langkawi!
Langkawi is mostly known for its watersport activities such a jet skiing and parasailing (which can come at a hefty price, in my opinion) but there are many other free or cheap things to do on the island.
You can choose to take a tour of the Langkawi archipelago that is made up of over 100 islands or hike to the top of Seven Wells Waterfall which is totally free and boasts incredible views of the rainforest-covered mountains.
Take the cable car to the Langkawi Skybridge, the world’s tallest suspension bridge floating at 660 meters above sea level. You may even spot some of the Thai islands on a clear day! Prices start at RM 55 (US$ 13.10) for adults and RM 40 (US$ 9.55) for children. Just book online to avoid long waiting lines.
If you want to taste the best food in Langkawi, just follow the locals to the night markets which happen every day in different parts of the island.
Unfortunately, all goods things must come to an end. Head back to Kuala Lumpur to catch your flight home but, if you didn’t get enough of the beaches, you can take a Ferry to the neighboring Thai island of Koh Lipe which is located only 1.5 hours from Langkawi.
Where to stay in Langkawi?
Chenang Inn is located less than a five minutes’ walk from Cenang beach. They have clean and spacious rooms with private balconies and prices start from US$ 30. Laundry service is cheap, costing only RM 10 (US$ 2.40).
Check out more hotel prices on booking.com
How to get from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur on a budget?
If you’re short on time, there are daily flights from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur through Air Asia or if you’re not in a hurry and on a tight budget, you can take the Ferry back to the mainland and a bus to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
MORE TIME IN MALAYSIA?
If you scored a few more days in Malaysia, you can make a stop to the Cameron Highlands which is famous for its hiking trails and tea plantations.
The Putra Mosque (Pink Mosque) in Putrajaya is found only 40 minutes from Kuala Lumpur and is an amazing place to visit if you want to know more about the Islamic culture.
If you have an extra week in Malaysia, fly out to Borneo to explore Bako National park, hike Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s highest peak and spot the various wildlife species, including the orangutans and proboscis monkey.
TRAVEL BUDGET FOR 2 WEEKS IN MALAYSIA
It’s very easy to save money when traveling to Malaysia. Below is an estimated breakdown of all the costs you may incur when traveling to Malaysia for 2 weeks.
Keep in mind that it’s mostly catered for solo travelers who like a minimum of comfort while still sticking to a low budget but at the same time want to splurge every now and then.
Another thing to consider is that you may be spending more money on attractions and hotels in Kuala Lumpur but you will be spending much less in other cities like Ipoh or Penang. So, the daily budget only represents an average of the total cost.
Booking.com is a great option for finding accommodations in Malaysia. Prices are usually cheaper and some hotels don’t require any prepayment and even offer free cancelation.
Don’t forget that you will have to pay a tourist tax of RM 10 (US$ 2.40) for every night stay. If you book with Airbnb, you won’t have to pay the tourist tax but on the downside, you’ll have to pay for a service fee.
Estimated budget for hotels in Malaysia: RM 105 (US$ 25) per night or RM 1470 (US$ 355) total.
The good news is that most attractions in Malaysia are free! Some of them include the KL Forest Eco park, Thean Hou Temple and Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Christ Church, St Paul’s Church, A’Famosa Fort in Melaka, cave temples in Ipoh and Kek Lok Si temple in Penang (although you have to pay a small fee of RM 2 to access the Pagoda).
For example, if you can’t afford to visit the Petronas Twin Towers, you can still enjoy the view from outside (they are even more spectacular when they light up at night)!
To save money on most paid attractions in Malaysia, book your tickets on Klook!
If you plan on hitting all the attractions mentioned in this 2 weeks Malaysia itinerary, budget about RM 50 (US$12) per day or RM 700 (US$ 169) total.
When traveling around Kuala Lumpur, take advantage of the free Go KL City bus which operates daily. The buses are easily recognizable by their purple color and go around all the popular attractions. You can get more info about the different routes and operating hours here.
In Penang, there is the free CAT shuttle bus that takes you to the main attractions around Georgetown.
Alternatively, you can travel around Malaysia by train. If you’re traveling from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), take the KLIA Ekspres for RM 55 for adults or RM 25 for children to KL Sentral and a Grab for RM 21 (US$ 5) to the city center.
Another option is to use the Asian version of Uber called Grab. Prices start from RM 5 (US$ 1.20) per trip.
Estimated budget for transportation: RM 38 (US$ 9) per day or RM 532 (US$ 128) total.
Malaysia is pretty much a foodie’s destination! Head out to the night markets all around Malaysia to eat the best street food. Expect to pay from RM 1.20 (US$ 0.30) for snacks such as Apong (Malaysian pancake), Samosas and Satays and RM 5 (US$ 1.20) for Nasi Candar and Nasi Lemak.
You can also get a delicious meal from RM 8 (US$1.95) at the food courts in most shopping malls.
Estimated daily budget for food and drinks: RM 30 (US$ 7) per day or RM 420 (US$ 101) total.
TOURIST SIM CARD
You can buy a tourist sim card for as low as US$ 8.35 for 30 days of data on Klook and just pick up at the airport in either Kuala Lumpur, Penang or Langkawi.
Overall estimated budget for 2 weeks in Malaysia: RM 225 (US$ 54) per day or RM 3,150 (USS 760) total.
There you go! The complete guide to Malaysia for 14 days on a budget! Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed reading this Malaysia itinerary and which cities you’re more excited to explore! And if you have any other recommendations feel free to share them!
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