Planning on exploring and backpacking through Malaysia? Here’s what you need to know!

Backpacking through Malaysia
Read further for our tips on backpacking through Malaysia

Backpackers love visiting and exploring Malaysia. Affordable cost of travel, wide selection of delicious food, multiculturalism, biodiversity, beaches and a vibrant rural scene are just some of the reasons that attract backpackers to this wonderful land. In short, Malaysia has it all. What’s more, Malaysia is one of the places on this planet that celebrates and promotes biodiversity. From Borneo’s untouched primary rainforests to the jungle surrounding Kuala Lumpur, backpackers can immerse themselves in a world of natural wonders. Hiking and trekking trails are within a stone’s throw of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and other cities. But when you do plan to go backpacking through Malaysia, there are some things you must consider such as booking bus tickets online, places to visit, etc.

Best Time to Visit Malaysia

Malaysia does not enjoy four seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter. However, there are some months where it appears as if the seasons in Malaysia corresponds the four seasons climate. The spring season in Malaysia is from March to May and even though the temperature is relatively high during this time and the sun is shining bright, there is a slight breeze to keep you cool in the evenings. If beaches are part of your backpacking itinerary, this is the best time to visit Malaysia.

backpacking through Malaysia and visit Blue Lagoon, Port Dickson
Blue Lagoon, Port Dickson

When the summer season arrives in June, expect the temperatures to go soaring high with a bout of rainfall to bring respite now and then. Again, this is ideal weather conditions for hitting the beach and indulging in watersports. The Gawai festival takes place during these months where you can witness incredible dance and music, and enjoy good food. Autumn in Malaysia starts in September and extends up to November. Temperatures may still be on the higher side but there is a considerable increase in the showers so make sure to carry an umbrella if you are travelling during these months! Another upside of visiting Malaysia during September to November is the cheaper accommodation and flight costs.

December, January and February are said to be the winter season months in Malaysia. Celebrating Christmas, New Years and the festival of Hari Raya in Malaysia during the winter season is a fun experience. The rainfall during this season is severe and the temperature is also falling. If you are visiting during these months, you should not miss out on the festivals like the Chinese New Year and Thaipusam. These festivals are celebrated extravagantly here and witnessing them are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Where to Stay

Perhaps the most common and obvious choice for any backpacker would be to stay in a hostel since it is affordable and most of them are situated in popular locations. Hostels are also a great place to meet fellow travellers and backpackers from all over the world and make new friends you can enjoy exploring Malaysia with. If not hostels, another option would be couchsurfing. Here, you get to stay with locals at their home and spend a night or two on their couch. Generally, you don’t have to pay for couchsurfing but it is considered a nice gesture if you give a small token of appreciation to your hosts.

Backpacking through Malaysia and stay at hostels
A hostel room in Penang

How to Get Around

There are numerous ways you can get around Malaysia and explore the wonderful country. From bikes to buses to boats, you can backpack your way through Malaysia in many different ways. The most feasible and affordable options are buses, trains, bikes and trains. Cabs are also an option but they can be very expensive and drivers tend to not go by the meter and quote their own fee, even more if you are a tourist. It is best if you get an MRT pass or buy train and bus tickets online so that you don’t have to worry about these things at the station.

MRT is one of the modes to travel in Malaysia
MRT Kajang Line

Places to Visit while backpacking through Malaysia

Being a popular tourist destination, Malaysia proves to be a backpacker’s paradise with many things to do and places to visit in Malaysia. What’s more, with the option and ease of booking bus tickets and all other transportation tickets online, you don’t have to worry about the travelling aspect. Here are some places that backpackers must include in their itinerary:

  • Pangkor Island
  • Malacca City
  • Penang
  • Langkawi
  • Perhentian Islands
  • The Cameron Highlands
  • Borneo
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Kota Bharu
  • Tioman Island

Backpacking through Malaysia: Tips

Whether you are a first-time backpacker or a seasoned traveller, certain tips and hacks always come in handy. Here are some tips that will help you while backpacking through Malaysia:

  • Embrace street food and make it your best friend.
  • Enjoy the eco-tourism
  • Be careful but at the same time, don’t be afraid to take risks
  • Indulge in some street shopping
  • Immerse yourself in the wonders of nature


Malaysia has many wonderful places and experiences in store, as long as you are willing to go with the flow (with a bit of planning and preparation). One thing you must do is book bus tickets and other public transportation tickets well in advance. There are various portals available that will offer different features and make the entire process easier and hassle-free.

Terdapat banyak cara untuk seseorang menjelajah Malaysia. Anda boleh merancang keseluruhan perjalanan dengan mengambil peluang untuk menaiki setiap bentuk pengangkutan sekurang-kurangnya sekali. Apa yang anda perlu lakukan hanyalah membuat tempahan awal tiket bas online berserta tiket pengangkutan awam lain.


We are Khai and Amira, Malaysian travel bloggers behind Kaki Jalans. Our travels have taken us to almost all the countries in Asean and several countries in Europe. We are still actively travelling and adding to this list.

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