The vibrant capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, widely known for the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and a skyline filled with skyscrapers, has a lot more to it than what meets the eye. The city is an eclectic mix of sights, sounds, tastes and all things Asian. But that’s not all. For those who care to find out, there’s a lot more you can do during your trip to Kuala Lumpur than just checking the usual things off the list.
If you’re looking for a quick relief from the usual city life for a change, here are a few places you can head to for a day away from the city. Most tourists tend to stick to the main city during their trips and rarely venture beyond it. Take our advice, and next time, hop on to a bus or a cab, and get ready to witness a heady mix of culture, nature and architecture!
Located about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Selangor is a must-visit for all travellers. This quaint little town is home to one of the largest colonies of fireflies in the world! It is a spectacle that can be witnessed only after 7 pm, when millions of fireflies come out and light up the surrounding forests. A starry affair, in the truest sense! Imagine slowly rowing down the Selangor River while watching the magical fireflies in full bloom in the adjacent forests. This is a rare experience that is not to be missed.
How to reach: Take a bus from Puduraya bus station in Kuala Lumpur, which will drop you at the Kuala Selangor bus station in about 2 hours. From there, take a cab to reach the firefly park. Alternatively, hire a cab from Kuala Lumpur itself at a pre-fixed rate to drop you at the firefly park and bring you back.
Bukit Fraser or Fraser’s Hill is a small hilly region about 100 kilometres away from Kuala Lumpur. The best way to get here is either by your private vehicle or by renting a taxi for the day. Originally built as a British colonial resort, Fraser’s Hill still maintains its old charm.
The town centre almost resembles an English village square, with an iconic central clock tower in place. This is also the part of the town which gets the most activity and the best way to experience it is by foot. Walk around the place and admire the scenic vistas while breathing is crisp, fresh air, or find a spot at one of the restaurants to spend a few hours of leisure.
Fraser’s Hill also has several hiking trails for those looking for some adventure. They are picturesque and allow you to truly connect with nature. Expect to find small waterfalls and hundreds of species of birds while you’re at it!
How to reach: The most convenient way to reach Fraser’s hill is by hiring a cab from Kuala Lumpur since there are no direct public buses that can take you there. You can also look into hiring a self-driven vehicle for the day is you want to be a little more adventurous!
If you’re looking for some respite from the city heat, head uphill to this beautiful little town called Bukit Tinggi. The 2 most popular attractions here are: a French-style resort called Colmar Tropicale and a Japanese village.
A walk through the beautifully designed resort will make you feel like you’ve been transported to a small French village, with its cobbled streets, French cafes and the distinct architecture.
But there’s a lot more you can do here than just strolling around, if you are up for some legwork. Take a hike up to the Japanese Village located 3500 feet above sea level, amidst lush forest. Inside the village, there’s a spa too, if your legs need some pampering after all the walking. Or you could even head to the Tea House for a taste of authentic Japanese tea while you admire the natural abundance around you.
How to reach: There are no public buses that ply directly to Bukit Tinggi, but there is a shuttle bus that runs from Berjaya Times Square shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur to Colmar Tropicale every day at 10am, 1pm and 5pm. The other option is of course to hire a cab from the city for the day.
All you beach bums, time to rejoice! Finally a beach-side getaway from Kuala Lumpur. This small town, about 100 kilometres away from the city is the perfect spot to head to if you’re looking for some sun, sand and sea. Gorge on delicious seafood and spend a lazy day on the popular Blue Lagoon beach, or go for a quick swim for some respite from the heat.
If you’re keen on engaging in more activities, the hike up to the Cape Rachado lighthouse is great fun! The lighthouse itself does not allow entry to visitors, but you can hike through the wild jungle trail to reach the hilltop for spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. Totally worth the effort!
How to reach: To reach Port Dickson town, take the KTM Komuter train from KL Sentral to Seremban station. Once you get there, hop on to a bus that’ll take you to Port Dickson.
This is appearing last on this list, but is probably one of the most popular getaway destinations from Kuala Lumpur! Whether you’re looking for a quick day-trip or a more extended weekend getaway, Melaka caters to all kinds of travellers.
A UNESCO World Heritage city, Melaka is located within 2 hours of driving time from Kuala Lumpur, and is a lovely place to explore, bustling with activity all year round. An erstwhile Portuguese colony, the city has maintained the heavy Portuguese influence on its culture and architecture.
The most famous attraction of this small town is undoubtedly, Jonker Street. The Jonker Walk is famously known for its lively night markets and the myriads of shops selling everything from handicrafts to snacks. Once you are done taking a leisurely stroll on this street, either head to the nearby beach or take a look at a few historic sites. The A’Famosa Fort and the Christ Church are the two most popular tourist attractions in this town.
If all this walking makes you hungry, find a cute little restaurant or cafe to stop by and taste the lip-smacking Nyonya cuisine – a fine blend of the Chinese and Malay styles of cooking, unique to this part of the country.
How to reach: The best way to get to Melaka is via buses that ply from Kuala Lumpur all day, every day. You can easily book a bus ticket online where you can also find the boarding and drop off points based on which bus you choose.
Unlike many other countries, in Malaysia, there’s something on offer for everyone, whether you like to hike or whether you like to sit back and relax on a beach. If you’re spending a few days in Kuala Lumpur, take a day or two out of your fast-paced itinerary and head to one of these off-beat destinations just outside the city and come back home with experiences like no other!
Chandrika is a travel, food and lifestyle blogger and she blogs at www.trippypassports.com. Her constant cravings for wanderlust and the desire to share her travel tales pushed her to break out of her corporate job and take up travel blogging as a full-time profession. Apart from travel and writing, the only other way to restore her sanity is probably by planning for the next trip!