by Harper Reid |
Planning your next Malaysian adventure? Whether you’re a local or a tourist, going on a road trip is one of the best ways to discover Malaysia’s natural beauty, fascinating culture and delicious food.
The roads are generally easy to navigate, well maintained, and safe – so your real challenge is figuring out where to go. Every scenic drive has its own unique qualities, with different things to see and do along the way. Here are just a few of Malaysia’s most scenic drives that aren’t to be missed.
Teluk Bahang – Balik Pulau
The Drive from Teluk Bahang to Balik Pulau in the state of Penang is an exhilarating journey that takes you along tight road bends and loops. The road eventually opens up to a wide valley that is dotted with mini-orchards and kampung (village) houses. Before descending into Balik Pulau, make sure to stop at the observation ledge for a spectacular view of the other side of Penang Island.
For this road trip starting in Negeri Sembilan’s state capital Seremban, you can either take the fast route via the dual carriageway bridge or go through the historic Bukit Putus road. Along the way, you can stop at the Ulu Bendul Recreation Forest for a refreshing swim in the river or even take a hike up Gunung Angsi. From here onwards, you’ll be in the beautiful countryside surrounded by kampung houses.
Changlun – Kuala Perlis
The freeway to Kuala Perlis begins at the small town of Changlun. Along the drive, you’ll see endless rows of paddy fields and beautiful limestone hills. The ideal time to drive this route is just before dusk, when you can enjoy the changing colours of the sky against the breathtaking surrounding scenery.
Kuala Lumpur – Bukit Tinggi – Fraser’s Hill
Bukit Tinggi is only an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur, so it’s perfect for a quick day trip.
This small town is home to Colmar Tropicale, a charming French styled area with loads of hotels, shops and restaurants. There’s also a great Japanese village with a lovely botanical garden that’s worth visiting. Moving upwards to Fraser’s Hill, you’ll find plenty of nature-based activities, including archery and horse-riding. There are also several trails you can explore by foot, such as the Bishop Trail, Jeriau Waterfall and Hemmant Trail.
Kuantan – Sungai Lembing
The drive from Kuantan takes you along a stretch of palm oil plantations until you reach Gua Charas, a limestone cave that is home to a sleeping Buddha, as well as a colony of fruits bats. Drive just another 20 minutes from here, and you’ll be in the quiet town of Sungai Lembing, which was once home to the world’s biggest underground tin mine shaft. The main street of town is lined with two rows of shops. If you’re keen on nature, you can also enjoy a hike in the nearby Bukit Panorama, or take a drive to the gorgeous Rainbow Waterfalls.
Dungun – Kuala Terengganu
Terengganu’s coastal highway is dotted with gorgeous coconut and casuarina trees, and the side street stalls offer great opportunities to taste unique dishes and snacks on the east coast. Starting the drive from Dungun, you’ll pass by an array of island paradises. The idyllic island of Pulau Kapas off Marang is a real highlight here, so be on the lookout!
Kuala Lumpur – Cameron Highlands
Taking the scenic route out of Kuala Lumpur to the Cameron Highlands is definitely a journey worth taking. The Cameron Highlands is Malaysia’s biggest colonial hill station, with an ever-present ‘little England’ vibe here is ever-present. There are quaint villages, tea plantations, and honey farms dotted all around the landscape, making for a picturesque and fascinating driving experience.
Road trips are definitely one of Harper’s favourite ways to explore a new city – the views are priceless! She tries to travel to a new place each year, and has previously written for travel and hospitality sites such as Tanoa Dateline. Discover more about Harper here.