There’s a famous quote which goes: “It isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey”. Although the saying defines the journey of life, it can also be adapted to the experience of travelling.
Sure, we may not always have the budget to go on foreign and exotic holidays. But local destinations can prove to be just as exciting, especially when you factor in the beautiful journey to get there.
With a combination of nature and culture, road trips across Malaysia offer the chance for such a worthwhile experience. This is especially true when you share that journey with someone you are close with.
Here, we list down 5 beautiful road trips in Malaysia you should take once in your lifetime.
1. Kota Kinabalu – Ranau
Estimated distance: 129 km
As we previously revealed in a blog post, there are plenty of fun and budget-friendly activities you can do in Kota Kinabalu. Just two hours’ drive away, you will be in for a treat as you reach the small town of Kundasang in Ranau.
This area is famously known for landscapes akin to New Zealand. At the Desa Cattle Dairy Farm, expect to witness picturesque sceneries with cows grazing on lush green fields along the breathtaking Kundasang Valley.
And while you’re there, don’t forget to indulge in the farm’s signature ice cream and yogurt!
Kundasang is also home to the highest peak in Southeast Asia, Mount Kinabalu, and also the Kundasang War Memorial. Other attractions at Ranau include Poring Hot Spring, Sungai Moroli Fish Massage, and Sabah Tea Garden.
2. Kuantan – Teluk Ketapang
Estimated distance: 251 km
Teluk Ketapang is a seaside village north of Kuala Terengganu famous for its pristine beaches and crystal clear ocean. This is also the place where you can get delicious seafood and traditional fried snacks such as keropok lekor and keropok keeping.
Although there is an expressway connecting the city of Kuantan to Kuala Terengganu, for road trip purposes, we recommend going through the towns of Chukai, Marang, and Jalan Pantai. It will add a few more hours on the road but the scenic views will make for a more enjoyable ride. After all, Terengganu has the longest stretch of beaches in Malaysia.
Once you reach Kuala Terengganu, be sure to visit the famous Crystal Mosque and savour local cuisines such as Nasi Dagang, Otak-Otak, and Sata.
From the city centre, it will be only a 20-minute drive towards the scenic Teluk Ketapang.
3. Kuala Lumpur – Fraser’s Hill (via Berjaya Hills)
Estimated distance: 144 km
If you’re in the mood for a road trip that feels like a journey overseas, you’ll be glad to know you can start right here in Kuala Lumpur. Go through a route of higher attitudes on your way to Berjaya Hills in Pahang (previously known as Bukit Tinggi).
The area of Colmar Tropicale here is a French-themed village modelled after the ones you would find in the Alsace region in France. Nearby, you will get another sample of foreign scenery in the Japanese Village. The botanical garden and rabbit park here will be relaxing spots for you to de-stress from the hustle and bustle of city life.
You can then continue your journey to Fraser’s Hill which is famous for its British imprints. Here, you can expect to engage in more nature-based activities such as archery, bird-watching, horse-riding, and hiking.
4. Kampar – Penang
Estimated distance: 195 km
Kampar is a town in the state of Perak which was known as a tin mining area during the 1920s. In fact, there is a museum specially dedicated to the area’s booming past. The quiet town has a quaint and rustic charm to it that will make for an interesting start for your road trip.
From there, you can head to the cities of Ipoh and Taiping. The former is home to Qing Xin Ling, a park with natural limestone caves, cliffs, and lake. Also, make sure you sample some of Ipoh’s famous delicacies such as Nasi Vanggey, Nasi Ganja, Ipoh Chicken Rice, and White Coffee.
Further North is Taiping, which is home to Lake Gardens, Matang Forest Reserve, and Taiping Night Safari.
Complete your road trip by crossing over to the island of Penang. Not sure what to do once you’ve arrived? Check out our blog post 10 Tourist Attractions to Visit for Free or Under RM5 in Penang.
5. Shah Alam – Sekinchan
Estimated distance: 93 km
On your way to Sekinchan from Shah Alam, be sure to make a stop at the town of Kuala Selangor. At this hidden gem, you will find some historic monuments such as Makam Keramat Anak Dara (Virgin’s Grave), Tanjong Keramat Fort, Altingsburg Lighthouse, and Poisoned Well. The mangrove swamps of Kampung Kuantan, on the other hand, is a firefly attraction during the night.
The journey from there to Sekinchan will be filled with scenic views of beautiful green paddy fields, especially around the time of September. In fact, as mentioned in our article 7 Spots to Capture Stunning Pre-Wedding Photos in Malaysia, this scenery has made the town of Sekinchan a popular tourist destination!
Before you set out…
It’ll be worthwhile to note here that a credit card comes in handy during your trips. While travel credit cards help you get cheaper flight tickets, seat upgrades and deals on hotel bookings (depending on the air miles points you accumulate), petrol cards are useful in cutting down fuel expenses.
That said, always consider things like minimum spend requirements, cashback caps, air mile conversion rates, etc. before choosing a credit card that best suits your lifestyle requirements and spending patterns.
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Need more tips to explore our beautiful country? Here are some of our other popular travel blogs:
- Let’s Go! A 3 Days 2 Nights Budget Itinerary for Langkawi Under RM400
- 8 Fun-Filled Spots in Malaysia Your Kids Would Absolutely Love!
- 10 Tourist Attractions to Visit for Free or Under RM10 in Sarawak
- Let’s Go! A 3 Days 2 Nights Itinerary for a Memorable Holiday in Kuching
- 10 Fun and Cheap(ish) Things to Do in Malacca
- 6 Fun and Cheap(ish) Things to Do in Putrajaya and Cyberjaya