Anyone wants to know the destinations to visit in Malaysia, the information given is usually the capital city, Kuala Lumpur (KL), the islands of Penang and Langkawi, the historical city Melaka and the jungles of Borneo in East Malaysia. With the exception of Melaka which is only a two-hour drive from KL, the other places require driving around four to five hours or a flight time of two hours or so. Depending how much time one has in Malaysia, the aforementioned places might not be doable especially if one has only two or three days at hand.
However, we, as locals of KL, are aware that there are indeed a couple of places nearby that we often go during weekends or long weekends. Plus with cheap booking hotel online, we can sometimes decide on a trip on a spur of the moment. Here are a few destinations within reach of Kuala Lumpur for your consideration:
- Janda Baik
Janda Baik is a small Malay village in the state of Pahang with a population of approximately 1,000 people. Located an hour’s drive from KL, Janda Baik (translation: Good Widow) is a tranquil place surrounded by pristine rainforest at an altitude of 600m above sea level on the Titiwangsa mountain range, river streams, babbling brooks and waterfalls. The village has been popular as a weekend retreat for families and private companies; many operators and local families offer homestays and chalets.
A current trend in weekend retreats in Janda Baik is glamping, a recreational form of camping for folks who want to experience the outdoors in comfort. Sailor’s Rest in Janda Baik has glamping tents pitched by the riverbank, and Malay kampung/village style chalets, a houseboat and a bungalow for visitors to stay over the weekend. The gardens of Sailor’s Rest are beautifully done with tropical flowers and fruit trees, providing urbanites the tranquility needed to get away from the hustle and bustle of KL city.
- Genting Highlands
Genting Highlands or also known as Resorts World Genting is a hill resort enterprise in the state of Pahangen comprising hotels, casinos, shopping malls and a theme park. Situated at an elevation of 1,800m high on the Titiwangsa mountain range, it takes only 45 minutes’ drive from KL to Genting Highlands.
Aside from the casinos and theme parks, the activities in Genting Highlands are no different from shopping malls in KL. However, the interesting feature is the cable car ride (Awana Skyway) which on a clear day, provides a spectacular view of the rainforest. As the cable car ascends further up the hill resort, clouds of mist envelope the mountain range and the climate get considerably cooler (14 to 25 degrees Celsius).
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Genting Highlands because I’m not into casinos and theme parks. However, many folks in KL love going there for a day trip or to stay a night mainly to escape the heat and humidity in the city and to have a good time shopping, eating and having fun.
Note: 20th Century Fox World theme park will be opened in Genting in 2018. There will be exciting rides based on Hollywood movies made by Fox such as Rio, Ice Age, Planet of the Apes, Aliens vs Predator.
- Port Dickson
Port Dickson, or commonly known as PD, is a coastal town in the state of Negri Sembilan and is the nearest beach destination to KL. A wide range of accommodation is located along PD’s 10-mile beach stretch – budget hotels, family apartments and luxury resorts – and during school holidays and long weekends, many tourists are seen having barbecues at the beach apartments, watching the sunset or just chilling out by the beach.
PD was at the peak of its popularity during the 1990s but after some time, the number of visitors reduced significantly when the sea waters and the beach became polluted. Realising that decline in visitors impacted hotel occupancy rates, the hotel operators worked closely with local authorities to rehabilitate the environment and to clean up the beach. Now PD is back in business with a cleaner beach and sparkling sea waters.
The last time I went to PD was when I was four or five years old. I have no memories of the beach except from old photos from the family album showed that we had a picnic on the beach with family friends. Maybe it’s about time I return to PD – after all, it’s only 45 minutes’ drive from KL 😊
Go further south for another hour from Port Dickson is the historical state of Melaka. Melaka is a unique destination – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – easily reached from KL in a matter of 1.5 to 2 hours’ drive, and spending a short stay in Melaka will give you historical and cultural insights of the city which had seen influences from the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule, and the Baba and Nyonya (Peranakan) community of mixed Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.
In addition to exploring the heritage and cultures of Melaka city, many Malaysian families enjoy staycations at A’Famosa Resort, a hotel resort-cum-theme-park located in Alor Gajah district, an hour’s drive from Melaka city centre. You can book afamosa resort on Traveloka for great offers and convenience.
Have you been to these getaway places near Kuala Lumpur and what were your experiences? Or do you know of other places perfect for a short getaway from KL? Do share your experiences in the comments below – would love to read them!