A very short trip to Malaysia, only 5 days, but some unforgettable memories! From Penang Island to Langkawi is a magical itinerary that will fulfill most of your dreams of wonderful sand beaches, luxurious vegetation, and spiritual enlightenment!
This trip was made without planning much in advance but with the (useful) help of the Lonely Planet: Southeast Asia on a Shoestring travel guide
Days 1-2: Penang Island
We reached Penang Island after a long night on a bus, which took us from Kuala Lumpur to George Town, the capital of the State of Penang.
5 am is not a good time to arrive in George Town, let’s make it clear right now! I strongly advise you to check the travel details before jumping on the first bus you see at the bus station in Kuala Lumpur…
Anyway, we found a hotel that was pretty well-located in the city center and manage to negotiate a bit to get our room early and get some rest. We then went on a tour of the city, soon renting scooters to be able to see more locations. Here again, my advice will be to really TAKE CARE when driving. Even if you are an expert at driving motorbikes, the traffic is extremely dense in the city and it’s no easy task to orientate yourself!
Enough said, here are my recommendations for you:
Kek Lok Si Temple: one of the largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia, this temple is really impressive and you’ll need at least 2 hours to do a great visit. It will give you a nice reward when reaching the top: a (truly) amazing view of Georgetown! Do NOT miss the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas…
The Penang Botanic Gardens is located nearby Jalan Air Terjun in George Town. Originally established in 1884, it has grown into one of the greatest botanical gardens in South-East Asia. Don’t miss the collections of rare plant species in Fern House, Palm Collection, Orchidarium, Cactus House, Bromeliad, and Begonia House! Follow the monkeys…
The view at Penang Hill… You’ll get there (735 m!) using the Penang Hill Railway, a funicular railway that climbs Penang Hill from Air Itam. The view is stunning up there, don’t miss it.
Days 3-5: Langkawi
Going from Penang Island to Langkawi, we used the bus and a boat. We first went north by bus to Kuala Perlis, and we then took a boat to Langkawi. Reaching Langkawi is truly sensational, as this is an archipelago that counts more than 100 islands all more beautiful than the others.
After looking for a decent hostel not too far away from the beach of Kampung Lubok Buaya, we were pleased to see that they rented scooters. This gave us a lot of autonomy and made us able to visit a little more than 10 beaches in one day.
We also went hiking on Mount Machinchang. If you’re willing to get up there without the sweat, you’ll be able to use the impressive cable car that is not too far away. In this area, don’t miss the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls!
If you’re looking for great beaches, try:
Finally, my last (and maybe best) advice would be to enjoy the amazing food and atmosphere on the beach in the evening… Smoked fish with a fresh beer and some reggae music will make you feel in paradise 🙂