With a great network of highways, gorgeous coastal roads and rewarding detours and pitstops, there’s no better way to see the country than on four wheels
With international borders still closed, it’s the ideal time for a great Malaysian road trip – one that begins right at your doorstep. If, however, you aren’t up for quite so much driving and want to start closer to the finish, just take one of Malaysia Airlines’ newly reinstated domestic flights to your starting point, and pick up a rental car from there.
What’s more, if kicking back on a beautiful white-sand beach – as you sip on an icy cold drink and listen to the sound of waves gently lapping against the shore – sounds like your idea of paradise, we have some great news for you. Redoxon has just launched its Travel Immunity Contest, where you stand the chance to win an all-expenses paid 4D3N holiday at Tanjung Rhu Resort in Langkawi.
The contest runs from 1 September to 31 December 2020, and a total of two families can win the grand prize. All you have to do is post your personal travel immunity story and tips with an accompanying picture; include the caption “I travel with Rexodon because…” and share it on your Facebook or Instagram page. Do remember to set your account to public, include the hashtag #RedoxonTravelImmunity and tag @RedoxonMY.
Wherever you choose to go, we guarantee you’ll be floored by what you see: from dense ancient forests and Unesco Heritage sites, to dreamy coastlines and staggering mountains – not to mention all the amazing food. These eight Malaysian road trips will quench your wanderlust until foreign travel is back on the cards, and make you fall in love with our amazing country all over again.
From the nation’s capital to the food capital of Malaysia
Total distance: 355km
Before leaving KL, stop by the beautiful Istana Negara, Malaysia’s national palace, which commands a prime position overlooking the Klang River. You can’t go inside, but you’re welcome to take photos by the main entrance.
Then make your way to Kuala Selangor, before trundling down quiet back roads along the Strait of Malacca to the town of Sabak. Just before you enter Penang, drive through Taiping, voted third-most sustainable city in the world. Stretch your legs with a hike up Bukit Larut, also known as Maxwell Hill. Standing at 1,250m tall, Bukit Larut is no walk in the park, but the fresh air and lack of crowds make it an ideal day climb.
Hop back on the highway into George Town, where you can make a longer stop to explore the heritage sites and slurp up the street food that Penang’s capital is famous for. Make sure to allow enough time for a stop by Butterworth Bird Park (also known as Penang Bird Park), Malaysia’s first and largest avian-focused park.
Suggested stops along the way include: The Ascott KL, The Somerset KL, De.Wan KL, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang and Spa, Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya and Projek Nasi Lemak. See our full itinerary here
A nature-filled drive that takes you to the Jewel of Kedah
Total distance: 494km
It usually takes less than two hours to reach Ipoh from Petaling Jaya, but to make a trip of it, you could explore Fraser’s Hill along the way, or even make an overnight detour to the Cameron Highlands for some cool mountain air.
To start your drive feeling fresh, stop in Rawang, about 30 minutes from Petaling Jaya on the AH2/E1, for a quick dip in the spectacular Taman Eko Rimba Kanching Waterfalls. There are seven tiers to the waterfall, and each has a pond for swimming.
Drive on another half hour or so and you’ll reach the Selangor Fruit Valley, where you and your family can experience being a farmer for the day and, of course, sample some of the delicious produce.
After a food- and heritage-filled jaunt in Ipoh, make your way farther north to the Kuala Perlis ferry terminal where you can park your car at the port or take it to the island via a car ferry (operated by either Langkawi Auto Express or Langkawi Ro-Ro Ferry Services). Enjoy a mangrove cruise to admire tranquil coastal forests or explore the rice fields around Padang Matsirat on a bike.
Suggested stops along the way include: Sunway Lagoon, Somerset Damansara Uptown Petaling Jaya, Citadines DPulze Cyberjaya, Glaze Eatery, Lost World Of Tambun, Angsana Ipoh Mall, Tiga Bar, Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa Langkawi. See our full itinerary here
A journey marked with key religious sites and royal palaces
Total distance: 367km
Federal Route 3 is one of the most scenic highways not just in Malaysia but in all of Asia. Before you hit the highway, though, pay a visit to Batu Caves, just 20 minutes from central KL. This limestone cave complex houses Hindu temples filled with shrines and mystical dioramas, accessible via 272 rainbow-coloured steps. It’s definitely worth taking a tour to witness some of the fascinating plants and animals that live in the caves.
If you have time for an overnight stop, drive another hour or so up into Genting Highlands. The hotels, shopping malls, theme parks and casinos that make up this sprawling hillside resort guarantee round-the-clock fun. If natural attractions are more your thing, take a hike up Gunung Nuang or pay a visit to Genting Strawberry Leisure Farm to pick (and eat) your own fruit.
From Mersing, the highway joins the coastline, making for some scenic seaside views out the window. At Pekan, which is the royal seat of the Pahang sultanate, you’ll cross the Sultan Abu Bakar Bridge over the Pahang River before continuing on to Kuantan. From there, it’s an hour’s drive to the resort town of Cherating.
Suggested stops along the way include: Element Kuala Lumpur, Hilton Garden Inn Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman South, Miss Ellie Tea House, Ancasa Royale Pekan, Pahang and Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa. See our full itinerary here
For a grand Malaysian adventure that takes you up mountains and deep into the sea
Total distance: 120km
Drive over the Penang Bridge and head north to Kuala Perlis. Along the way, stop at Tupah Recreational Forest in Kedah. This lowland forest has a mighty river running through it and is a popular spot to hike, swim and picnic. Adventure-seekers can do an additional detour further south, to the Lojing Highlands, which form the start of the trail up Mount Yong Belar. It’s not an easy climb, even if you’re fit, but the views are worth it.
When you arrive at Kuala Perlis, take your car on the ferry to Langkawi or leave it in a parking lot, which costs about RM10 per day.
When you have had enough time lounging out in one of Langkawi’s many beach bars, head on a hike to Gunung Raya Reserve Forest’s granite peak. Schedule in enough time for birdwatching, kayaking and dives to explore the secret sights of the seabed.
Suggested stops along the way include: Stone Nine, Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La, JungleWalla, Mega Water Sports, Ambong Pool Villas. See our full itinerary here
An epic trip that takes you from the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula to its eastern tip
Total distance: 826km
The drive from Johor Bahru to Port Dickson is relatively short (just over three hours) but you can maximise your road trip by making stops along the way at towns such as Batu Pahat, Muar, Malacca and Seremban.
Malacca is best known for its delicious traditional food, but Seremban is no lightweight either. This underrated foodie haven is most famous for the Seremban siew pau, a flaky pastry bun with a meat filling.
From Seremban, it’s just 30 minutes to the resort town of Port Dickson, where you can feast on fresh seafood. When you’re ready to hit the road again, continue on to Kuala Lumpur on the North-South Highway before cutting across the interior of the country and taking the scenic B-roads that hug the eastern coastline all the way to Terengganu. Stop by the Lentang Forest Reserve, an hour from downtown KL, where you can cool off in one of the many natural pools. Alternatively, drive a little further on to the Sungai Pandan waterfall for a dip beneath the 100m-high cascading rapids, followed by a relaxing picnic lunch. When you get to Terengganu, find out more the city’s artistic heritage at the Terengganu Handicraft Centre or the Bazar Warisan (Heritage Bazaar). Terengganu is also the jumping off point for islands such as Redang and the Perhentian Islands.
Suggested stops along the way include: Angsana JB Mall, DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Bahru, Somerset Medini Iskandar Puteri, D&F Boutique Hotel, AnCasa Residences, Port Dickson, AnCasa Hotel Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Terengganu Golf Resort. See our full itinerary here
A quick and easy getaway from the capital to the beaches along the eastern coast
Total distance: 294km
The journey from downtown KL to Kuantan takes just 2.5 hours if you drive nonstop but where’s the fun in that?
Your first refuelling stop should be Bentong – famous for its durians – to feast on the King of Fruits.
Do also schedule a visit to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre, about 1.5 hours from KL, to witness the great work the sanctuary does in caring for young elephants that have been orphaned by poaching or logging. You can even help the mahouts give the elephants their bath.
After stopping in Kuantan for a hearty meal of nasi kukus (rice with spiced chicken) and curry noodles, it’ll take you less than an hour to reach the resort town of Cherating, where sun, sand and even a little surf await.
Suggested stops along the way include: Mountain Cat Durian, Ascott Sentral Kuala Lumpur, Oh Cha Matcha, Puteh Beach Bar, White & Black Cabin, MTree Hotel Puchong and The Kasturi. See our full itinerary here
An adventure through the eco-tourism hub of Southeast Asia
Total distance: 332km
It’s a relatively easy drive from Sabah’s capital city, Kota Kinabalu, to its nearest town, Kundasang, but pay attention around the lower slopes of Mount Kinabalu as there are some sharp bends, and roads in Sabah can sometimes be bumpy.
About an hour out of Kota Kinabalu, make a stop at Upside Down House Sabah, a quirky tourist attraction where, you guessed it, a traditional house stands on its roof. After snapping some pictures, drive another hour or so to Kundasang. This is the highest settlement in Malaysia and just 6km from Kinabalu National Park, home to more than 4,500 species of plants and animals and of course, Mount Kinabalu, Borneo’s highest peak. Definitely schedule in some time to explore this amazing park.
From there, it’s a four-hour drive to Sandakan, on the northeast coast. Here, make a short detour to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to experience one of the twice-daily feeding sessions.
Suggested stops along the way include: Borneo Divers, Borneo Exotika, Teppanya, 50 Shades Bistro, Shangri-la Tanjung Aru and Hilton KK. See our full itinerary here
A carefree journey along the coastline with plenty of sun, sand and sea
Total distance: 365km
It’s just 215km from JB to Malacca, making for a breezy 2.5-hour drive with several interesting pitstops along the way.
The first should be Pekan Nanas, or Pineapple Town, just 30 minutes from JB, to pick up some juicy road snacks. From there, Batu Pahat and Muar both have plenty of old-time coffee shops where you can perk up with a cup of traditional kopi.
Forego the highway from Malacca to KL in favour of the old coastal roads. It will take you a few extra hours’ driving, but it’s a much more scenic and interesting drive.
After about 1.5 hours on Route 5, you’ll reach Port Dickson, where you can stay overnight at one of the many beach resorts. If you prefer something quieter, head to Carey Island, about an hour outside KL. Here you can learn about the ancient culture of the Mah Meri indigenous community before digging into a seafood feast at one of the town’s fantastic restaurants.
Suggested stops along the way include: AladdinTi Malaysia, San Shu Gong, DoubleTree by Hilton Melaka, Stone Nine, Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. See our full itinerary here