best day trips from kuala lumpur

The Best Day Trips from Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur is a great place to base yourself while visiting the country.  Its strategic location means that you’re perfectly placed for visiting some of the areas round about.  So if you’ve found your perfect place to stay in KL why not stay put and explore some of the areas around on a day trip from Kuala Lumpur?  Whether you choose to go to the highlands for hiking, have fun at theme parks, or learn more about Malaysia by visiting cultural locations, there’s a great variety of options.  And if you’re short of time when visiting Malaysia, then taking day trips from Kuala Lumpur is a great way of using your time more efficiently.  Our guide to the best day trips from Kuala Lumpur includes some of the fabulous places we’ve visited nearby and stayed longer, so I’ve included details of what to do in them if you have more time!

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Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur

There are a host of places to stay in Kuala Lumpur – here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Kuala Lumpur, mid-range places to stay in Kuala Lumpur, and budget accommodation in Kuala Lumpur.

Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur: Located right in central Kuala Lumpur, the Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur provides world-class service. KL’s Grand Millennium’s modern-style rooms are furnished with air-conditioning, cable TV, floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views, a seating area, a desk, an iron/iron board, free WiFi, and a private bathroom. Totally chill out in the city at the outdoor pool or in the sauna. This top Kuala Lumpur hotel also has four dining options, The Mill Café, Lai Ching Yen, Haryana Japanese restaurant, and Bistro 160. There’s even a well-equipped gym and air-conditioned racquetball courts. The Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur is a gorgeous luxury hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Check out room rates and availability here.

Expressionz Suites by iHost Global, Kuala Lumpur: The Expressionz Suites is 30-minutes away from central Kuala Lumpur. Each room at KL’s Expressionz Suites is equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a dining area, a microwave, a fridge, an electric teapot, free WiFi, and a private bathroom with a bidet and hairdryer. This mid-range Kuala Lumpur accommodation also has an outdoor swimming pool, a garden, lake views, a fitness room, a sauna, and free WiFi. Expressionz Suite also has an outdoor and indoor play area for children, a karaoke room, and a Jacuzzi. The Expressionz Suites are a great mid-range hotel option in Kuala Lumpur. See rates and available dates here.

Hotel A-One, Kuala Lumpur: The Hotel A-One is situated right in the center of Kuala Lumpur. This budget-friendly accommodation features rooms with a flat-screen TV, free WiFi access, air-conditioning, a dresser, a telephone, and a private bathroom. The budget KL hotel also has daily housekeeping and baggage storage. Hotel A-One is the perfect place to stay if you’re watching your budget and if you want to easily explore more of Kuala Lumpur. Read more reviews, and check room rates, and available dates here.

Here’s the Best KL Day Trips

Go to Putrajaya on a Day Trip from Kuala Lumpur

Putrajaya is a region in the south of Kuala Lumpur popular for 20th-century architecture like the Putra Mosque and Perdana Putra. The most visited building in Putrajaya is the Putra Mosque, a rose-colored building made of granite highlighting the pink dome. This is the landmark of this city including the Putra Bridge which has 3-tiered and 4 minaret-type manmade piers located on Putrajaya Lake.  A day trip to Putrajaya is best undertaken as a tour. Since it comes with a means of transport and a guide, it will simplify your trip and provide you with a knowledgeable guide who will help you learn about this coastal town. You’ll even get to see the landscape around on a river cruise around Putrajaya, this fun tour lasts for 4-5 hours.

Visit the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park at a KL Day Trip

Sunway Lagoon Theme Park is situated 22 km southwest of Kuala Lumpur, and the drive is less than an hour depending on the traffic. If you are traveling with young children, you have to take them to Sunway Lagoon where they can enjoy water slides, rides, outdoor activities, and plenty of dining options.  For adults looking for some heart-pounding activity, get roped up for bungee jumping and walk the suspension bridge. You can easily spend a day here, it’s a perfect place to cool off from the hot weather of KL.  There are a few ways to get to Sunway Lagoon. You can drive a rental car and take the road E38 to E10. You can also take trains KJL and KMUTER, where you need to change at KL Sentral station. Booking a taxi or Grab car is also possible. But the best way to get to Sunway Lagoon is by booking a tour.

By joining a transport-included tour, you’ll get a transfer to and from KL plus the admission ticket. This means that you don’t have to waste time waiting in line at the entrance to buy tickets or figuring out how to get to the theme park. If you only have a day to spare, you definitely want to book a day trip to Sunway Lagoon from KL.

Visit Ipoh on a day trip from Kuala Lumpur

Ipoh is a city in the north of Malaysia, about a 3-hour drive from KL, just before you reach Penang, you can also visit from Penang, and it’s one of our recommended things to do in Penang. Ipoh is famous for its cave temples, Ipoh’s white coffee, and the art scene. Ipoh is a nice break from the bustle of Kuala Lumpur. This area has quaint little villages with lots of natural attractions and you could easily spend a lot more time here.  The top locations to explore in Ipoh are Perak Tong, Sam Poh Tong, Kek Lok Tong, and Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village. There are also hiking trails such as Kledan Hill and Buntong Falls.   Read more about what to see in Ipoh here.

If you’re driving, it will take you more than 3 hours to get to Ipoh. You can also hop on a train combined with a bus which takes about 4 hours, not exactly great for a day trip, but there’s also an option to book a tour which is a convenient option if you have limited time. The tour will arrange all the transportation to Ipoh and back to Kuala Lumpur. There’s a tour guide and lunch included as well. You will be visiting all the popular places, it’s the most hassle-free way to visit Ipoh.  Check out this awesome day trip from KL to Ipoh here.

Visit Melaka on a day trip from KL

Melaka aka Malacca is another UNESCO World Heritage city not too far from Kuala Lumpur, about 3-4 hours away south of KL. Once you get there, the city is popular to explore on a push bike if you have time (and our guide to Melaka is here) But if you don’t, you can hop on a tour from Kuala Lumpur, enjoy the drive, and explore Melaka with a guide. You can also get there on your own with a rental car or by taking a bus.

The must-see places in Malacca are the Jonker Street Night Market, A Famosa, Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum, Masjid Selat, Menara Taming Sari, and Cheng Hoon Teng Temple. Book a heritage day trip to Melaka from KL to save you time, plus having a local guide means that you’ll get to see the highlights efficiently and with transport arranged means you can enjoy the trip and have less to worry about.

Visit the Cameron Highlands from Kuala Lumpur

The Cameron Highlands is a haven in the middle of Malaysia. It’s a region sitting in an elevated location that offers one of the best refreshing and cooling temperature in the tropical country of Malaysia.  Our guide to the top things to do in Cameron Highlands is here, but you can also visit Cameron Highlands on a day trip from KL.

It’s a place with rolling hills, endless tea farms, and hiking trails. The must-see places in Cameron Highlands include Mossy Forest, strawberry farms, Boh Tea plantations, the Time Tunnel Museum, and seeing the beautiful Mount Brinchang.

The distance between Cameron Highlands and Kuala Lumpur is significant, this is the part you don’t want to plan on your own, especially with limited time. Unless you’re planning to stay longer in Cameron Highlands, then it’s not really doable as a day trip unless you join a tour. This tour of Cameron Highlands from KL includes a round-trip transfer, lunch, and a guide, and ensures that you visit the top destinations in Cameron Highlands.

Visit the Rice Fields of Sekinchan from KL

Home to the Paddy Processing Factory and a local rice industry museum, Sekinchan is on the west coast of Malaysia and is only 2 hours northwest of Kuala Lumpur. Sekinchan is home to rice fields and a wishing tree and it’s a great place for a day trip from KL. If you come to Sekinchan on a day trip you should visit the rice fields, tie a coin on a red ribbon for Pantai Redang,  and plan on seeing the bioluminescence planktons, as well as the fireflies. This day trip from KL can’t be more unique than that.

You can of course get to Sekinchan on your own. You can either drive for 2 hours or take the bus. It can be confusing to take public transport due to the possibility of bus change at some point. Going on a guided tour of Sekinchan from KL is hassle-free and more convenient especially if you don’t have a lot of time.

Go to Port Dickson on a KL Day Trip

Port Dickson is directly south of Kuala Lumpur and is around a 2-hour drive from Malaysia’s capital city. This is a great place to visit if you love nature and appreciate bird watching. Its coast is also the location of the 16-the-century Cape Rachado Lighthouse right in the heart of the wildlife reserve of Tanjung Tuan Forest.

Port Dickson is also a heritage and cultural destination. It has a museum called Kota Kulut where you can learn about the town’s history. Other attractions in Port Dickson are the Army Museum, the nature reserve of PD Forest Sg Menyala, visit the Sky Ladder Pineapple Farm, and enjoy its beaches such as Pantai Bagan Pinang, Pantai Saujana, and Port Dickson Beach.  If you have a rental car then the drive is just over 2 hours. You can also take a train, but the journey will take nearly 4 house

Visit Colmar Tropicale and the Japanese Village

If a water park is not a theme park you find interesting, you probably should check out Colmar Tropicale which is also known as Colmar Tropical Bukit Tinggi Resort to locals. It’s a manmade theme resort inspired by a French village. Colmar Tropicale also highlights a peaceful Japanese garden. You can stay here overnight but you can also come to visit for a day trip too.

North of Colmar Tropicale is the Japanese Village.  It’s about a 40-minute walk and a unique location where you can experience an authentic Japanese atmosphere. There is a teahouse where you can dress up in kimonos and witness a tea ceremony. You can also relax by signing up for a traditional Japanese massage.

You can’t get to this area by bus or train but you can drive here. It’s more convenient to book a tour where you don’t have to worry about transport and obtaining a ticket once you arrive.

Go to Kuala Selangor on a trip from Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Selangor is a fantastic location for many reasons. Its mangroves offer a home to fireflies, but other than that, it’s also a heritage and historical place. You take a day trip to Kuala Selangor and spend the entire day exploring pre-war buildings, checking out the Royal Town, and before you head back to KL, see the famous “blue tears” which are bioluminescent plankton.

The quickest way to get to Kuala Selangor is by car which takes a little over an hour. Taking a bus is also possible but it will eat up to 6 hours of your day (!). The most hassle-free option is to join a tour. Round-trip transportation will be taken care of and you will be sure to see all the top attractions of Kuala Selangor. Plus a delicious seafood dinner and a local guide are also included – you can check the costs here.

If you need to rent a car in Malaysia we recommend Discover Cars for car hire.  You can search, compare and save up to 70%, with no hidden fees and free cancellation, it’s the perfect option! Get a price for a rental car in Malaysia here.

Take Day Trip to Genting Highlands from KL

These highlands aren’t anything like the Cameron Highlands, the Genting Highlands is known for its flashy casino buildings, vibrant theme parks, and stunning view from the cable cars. It differs, though from Las Vegas as Genting Highlands has a cooler climate due to its location at an altitude. Taking a day trip to the Genting Highlands is great fun, and you’re likely to forget that you are in Malaysia.

Adults can enjoy the casino and resorts while there’s also entertainment for kids of all ages in spacious and colorful theme parks with rides and attractions. Don’t miss riding the fastest cable car in Southeast Asia – Awana SkyWay. The top casinos and resorts that you must visit are Resorts World, First World Hotel, and Genting SkyWorlds Theme Park. Don’t forget to stop by Genting Highlands Premium Outlets and visit the Chin Swee Cave Temple.

Genting Highlands is only a bit over an hour away north of Kuala Lumpur or 2 hours by bus. Taking a guided tour though will provide you with comfortable transport to Genting Highlands and back to KL. It includes a tour guide and a 2-way ticket for Awana SkyWay as well. Don’t worry, the tour will not keep you on a fixed itinerary, you can explore on your own and get back with the group to journey back to Kuala Lumpur together.  See what the times and costs are here.

Go White Water Rafting from Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Kubu Bharu is north of KL, just past Genting Highlands. It’s right on the path of the Selangor River, a long river that divides the provinces of Perak and Selangor. If you are looking for an adrenaline-packed day trip from KL, then you can try white rafting on the Selangor River right at the foothills of Fraser’s Hill.  You can get to Kuala Kubu Bharu by car or bus which both take about 2 hours. On the other hand, there’s a tour that you can book from Kuala Lumpur. The tour includes transportation, a guide, food, safety equipment for white rafting, and professional photography and videography service to capture this epic experience.

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Take a KL Day Trip to Pulau Ketam

Pulau Ketam is one of the islands west of Port Klang, it’s also called “Crab Island”. It’s a known location for crab fishing, houses on stilts, and of course crab lunches!! A visit to Pulau Ketam is a nice break from the busy KL where you can experience this authentic region of Malaysia. You can also learn about crab fishing, the life of locals living on the “floating houses”, and enjoy a seafood lunch.

Getting here on your own is nearly impossible and time-consuming. The easiest way is through a guided tour where the operator can arrange all the necessary transportation (on land and water). This day trip to Pulau Ketam from KL also has a local guide who can answer all your questions, it includes lunch and transportation back to KL. 

Visit the Elephant Sanctuary

The Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre also called Pusat Konservasi Gajah Kebangsaan Kuala Gandah in Malay is an elephant sanctuary with a goal dedicated to looking after and protecting Borneo elephants. This conservation center educates visitors about elephants and why it’s important to protect and ensure that its population is safeguarded.

While you will get to see elephants up close, you’re not allowed to touch or ride them, as it’s not appropriate.  You can, though, see the elephants being fed and learn more about this species. This is a great trip for all ages but young children, will I think really enjoy it. There is no entrance fee but donations are appreciated to fund the conservation efforts of the center.

You can get here easily if you have a rental car, the drive from KL takes around 1.5 hours. There are no direct buses that will take you to Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre. However, you can join a tour that also includes a stop at Deerland and Aboriginal Settlement or one that includes a firefly night cruise with a seafood dinner.

Have a Spa Day in KL

Exploring Kuala Lumpur can really drain your energy after days of walking and exploring the city, you’ll likely find the heat extremely tiring, so don’t leave KL without experiencing a fancy and full-body spa experience to completely chill out.  A spa day can be expensive but if you book online and in advance, you can score an affordable 5-star full-body spa at Sheraton Imperial Hotel. You can choose between a fancy foot rub, face treatment, full-body massage, or traditional Balinese massage. Bliss.  This activity is a perfect way to end your Kuala Lumpur trip.  Get a great rate at the Sheraton Mandara Spa here.

Malaysia Travel Tips

Final Words on the Best Day Trips from KL

Especially if you have limited time in Malaysia it makes sense to base yourself in one location and Kuala Lumpur is a fabulously liveable city to do that in.  And it’s a great place from where to explore other parts of the country.  So when you’re done exploring all the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur, then you can head out and see some of the cultural highlights of the country from the Cameron Highlands, to Melaka, and the fab theme parks of Genting Highlands.

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