Kuala Lumpur, the Capital of Malaysia and one of the largest cities in Asia, is a bustling city which offers plenty to do for everyone.
You could visit the iconic Petronas Towers, get lost in Chinatown, or take in some nature by exploring the Botanical Gardens and Bird Park.
Kuala Lumpur — or KL, as the locals call it — is so big and has so much to offer that you could probably spend a lifetime exploring it and still find daily surprises within the city.
However, if you find yourself in this modern city, it would be a shame if you didn’t take the time to check out some of the other amazing places that mainland Malaysia has to offer.
Here, you will find the best neighboring places to take a day trip to while getting out of the big city and exploring beautiful Malaysia.
1. Batu Caves
Batu Caves is the easiest destination to get to on our list and can be reached in a short time, either by car or train since it is only about 13 kilometers outside of the city.
The caves are free to enter but be prepared for a little exercise; the entrance is located at the top of 272 stairs. The limestone caves consist of three large caverns as well as several smaller caves off the main rooms.
Inside the caves, there are several Hindu shrines and Swamis to view, and outside of the caves, there is a giant statue of Lord Murgan.
If you are lucky enough to go on a clear day, you will get a great view of the KL skyline from atop the stairs.
Recommended tour: Kuala Lumpur: Private Tour to the Batu Caves
2. Kuala Selangor
Heading west out of Kuala Lumpur, you will reach the small coastal town of Kuala Selangor. It is home to the largest firefly colony in the world, which creates an amazing scene every night.
The best way to view the fireflies is on a relaxing boat tour up the Selangor river with a local guide, who will give you lots of information about the area.
If the fireflies aren’t enough for you, Kuala Selangor is also home to the Melawati Bird Sanctuary, where you can spot countless rare birds and monkeys. If you find yourself hungry, make sure to try some of the local seafood that is caught fresh daily.
Suggested tour: Kuala Selangor: Fireflies Tour with Batu Caves & Dinner
3. Genting Highlands
If you are feeling lucky, make sure to take a trip out to Genting Highlands, Malaysia’s only casino resort located in the beautiful mountains just north of Kuala Lumpur.
If gambling isn’t your thing that’s fine, you can enjoy the huge indoor/outdoor theme park. With roller coasters, the only skydiving simulator in Asia, and many more rides, it is sure to get adrenaline pumping through your veins.
Lastly, don’t forget the chance to go on the longest and fastest cable car in Asia that will provide you with stunning views of the rainforest beneath.
Available tour: From Kuala Lumpur: Genting Highlands and Batu Caves Day Trip
4. Cameron Highlands
The Cameron Highlands are 200 kilometers outside of Kuala Lumpur and the journey takes about three hours each way.
The drive alone is worth it, as it takes you through beautiful green forests before arriving at Malaysia’s largest highlands resort.
The temperatures are cooler and the air is noticeably fresher in the Cameron Highlands which makes it a great place to escape to during the warm summer months.
Visiting the tea plantations and sipping on a nice warm cup of tea is a must. You can also pick strawberries on strawberry farms, wander through rose gardens, and visit butterfly and honeybee farms.
If you are feeling extra brave, take a dip in the freezing cold waters of Lata Iskandar waterfall.
Recommended tour: From Kuala Lumpur: Cameron Highlands Private Full Day Tour
Malacca is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a charming little town — much different than the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur.
Malacca was once home to both Portuguese and Dutch settlers, and you can still see many signs of both cultures in the small town. If you want to learn more about the early settlers, visit the Malacca Museum, located in bright pink buildings which used to be home to Dutch administrative offices.
Walking down Jonker Street is a must; if you are lucky enough to be in Malacca on the weekend, Jonker Street is home to the biggest market in the town, where you can try all different kinds of local food.
Available tour: Full-Day Trip to Historical Malacca from Kuala Lumpur
Bentong is a quaint little town that was originally built by tin miners after they found tin in the Perting and Repas rivers.
Bentong is the perfect place to escape to if you are tired of the rush in Kuala Lumpur and looking for some peace and quiet. It is off the beaten path of tourists and home to both delicious food and nature.
If you have a sweet tooth, make sure to try some of the local homemade ice cream or the pineapple puffs.
If you are feeling adventurous, go try some of the infamous smelly durian fruit at Jimmy’s Durian Orchard.
7. Taman Negara
If you are a nature enthusiast and love spending time in the great outdoors, then Taman Negara is an absolute must. People literally travel from all over the world to get the chance to explore one of the most biodiverse places on our planet.
Taman Negara is home to some of the rarest animals alive today and is one of the oldest rainforests on earth.
Day treks with local guides are available or you can do multi-day treks if you are up for sleeping out with the wildlife. Boat rides and a canopy walk are also possible while in Taman Negara.
Recommended tour: From Kuala Lumpur: Private Full Day Tour to Taman Negara
Klang is not the most common day trip from Kuala Lumpur but it has more than enough attractions to create a fun day.
Klang has a large Indian population and a lot of Indian influence and this is transparent in some of the most interesting places in the city.
Little India is a great place to start your trip to Klang and some of the mosques, like Masjid India Klang, are also beautiful to visit.
If you are looking to do any shopping on your day trip from KL, Klang also has great malls.
Klang Parade and the Big Mall are just two of the many large shopping complexes that you can end up finding yourself spending money in for hours.
9. Bukit Tinggi
In Bukit Tinggi, the most popular activity is exploring the Colmar Tropical Resort, which feels like you are walking through a 16th-century French village. The buildings are all constructed in old European architecture, there are delicious French bakeries, and there are even cobblestone streets.
If you are up for more walking, you can hike up to the Japanese Gardens and enjoy an authentic cup of tea and a spa.
There are no public buses that go to Bukit Tinggi, so plan accordingly; you can either take a private shuttle bus from Kuala Lumpur or hire a taxi, but that would most likely be quite an expensive trip.
Ipoh is well-regarded as a culinary hot spot within Malaysia. In the local markets of Ipoh, you will find all different kinds of exotic food to taste. When it’s time for a proper meal, make sure to try either the Ipoh chicken rice or the shredded chicken noodle’s.
Once your stomach is full of food, head over to Nam Heong, home of the world-famous Ipoh White Coffee.
Walking around Ipoh, you will also find many small, hidden temples and some fascinating street art.
The perfect place to end the day is soaking in the hot springs of The Lost World of Tambun.
11. Fraser’s Hill
Fraser’s Hill is full of popular hiking trails and a great place to escape from the city. Even though it is one of the most popular places to go outside of Kuala Lumpur — since there are lots of different trails and activities — you can easily avoid the people.
Along the trails, there are countless small waterfalls and hundreds of different species of birds. If bird watching is really your thing, you can hire a private guide to take you out.
If you are more of a golfer, tee off at the Royal Fraser’s Hill Golf Club.
12. Pulau Ketam
Pulau Ketam — or Crab Island — is a small fishing village to the west of Kuala Lumpur that has been completely built upon stilts over mangrove swamps.
Even though it is not located far from KL, you could not envision a place that is more different.
The people here are almost all fisherman and seeing them hard at work during the day or night is an impressive sight.
It is famous for its fresh seafood, so make sure to indulge and try as many of the different local foods as you can.
Putrajaya is not normally on the tourist map but it has many things to offer. Putrajaya is the federal administrative capital of Malaysia and home to some of the most famous landmarks in Malaysia.
On a walking tour of the city, you can see the pink-domed Putra Mosque, the Prime Minister’s office, Seri Perdana, and a handful of famous bridges.
The Natural History Museum houses many Malaysian national treasures and is also a great place to learn about local plants, animals, and geological rock formations.
If you want to escape the urban landscapes, check out the botanical gardens, home to over 700 plant species.
14. Port Dickson
For anyone looking to relax at the beach and soak up some rays, this is the ideal day trip getaway. There are over 11 miles of beaches to choose from, so you will be able to find a calm and quiet place for yourself.
The Blue Lagoon is the most popular swimming spot along the coast and is a great place to take a dip if you are so inclined.
If you want to work up a sweat before going in the water, hike up to the Cape Rachado lighthouse for breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean.
Malaysia is not as well known for their rice fields as some other Asian countries, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any.
Sekinchan has field after field of rice paddies that you can wander around and has scenic views year-round.
The local fishing village catches fresh seafood daily, so after you have worked up an appetite, go and dine on some local seafood and rice that grew right where you were just walking.
If you want to learn more about the rice and how it is grown and produced, visit the Paddy Processing Gallery.
Lastly, don’t forget to make all your wishes come true by visiting Sekinchan’s Wishing Tree.