Top 5 day trips from Kuala Lumpur
By Natasha Von Geldern
The Malaysian capital is a city of fascinating contrasts, rich culture and wonderful street food but make sure you take time to get out of the city and experience one or more of these top five day trips from Kuala Lumpur:
1. The Batu Caves
A revered Hindu temple, an impressive geological feature and just 13 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves is deservedly one of the most popular day trips from the city.
The shrine is dedicated to Lord Murugan, a Hindu deity, and the 143-foot-high statue gold-painted at the entrance of the caves is quite a sight.
First you have to get past the guard of confident macaque monkeys waiting for tourists foolish enough to bring food, and then climb the 272 steps to the shrine.
There are a number of caves to visit – the Cathedral Cave is 100 metres high, then there is an Art Gallery and Museum Cave with a collection of Hindu statues and paintings of Murugan. Finally the Ramayana Cave has a 50-foot-tall statue of Hanuman.
In January or February each year the Batu Caves host the famous Thaipusam festival. A silver chariot carrying the effigy of Lord Murugan is paraded from the Hindu temple in the city and out to the Batu Caves. Devotees pierce themselves with metal skewers and hooks to show their piety.
2. The Genting Highlands
The Genting Highlands is a hill resort offering a retreat from the steamy lowlands to the cool air at nearly 2,000 metres above sea level.
This area is less than an hour from Kuala Lumpur and has the added attraction of the longest cable car ride in Southeast Asia – the three-kilometre Genting Skyway.
Once you arrive at the summit there is an impressive selection of theme parks, restaurants and even a big casino. Or you can spend time walking the jungle trails and enjoying the lush scenery.
The Genting Highlands hill resort was established in the early 1970s and is set amid dense tropical jungle in rugged mountainous terrain.
This ‘fun city above the clouds’ makes a great day trip or weekend break from Kuala Lumpur.
3. Kuala Selangor
The small town of Kuala Selangor was once a royal capital and contains the ruins of fortifications built by the Dutch during the colonial period.
The Kuala Selangor Nature Park is nearly two-and-a-half square kilometres of forest reserve well known for its mangrove swamps and bird sanctuary.
Kuala Selangor is picturesque in its natural setting but the main attraction for visitors coming from Kuala Lumpur is the famous firefly phenomenon.
Just an hour from busy Kuala Lumpur a colony of fireflies lives in the thick mangrove trees growing along the banks of the river Kampong Kuantan.
After a dinner of fresh seafood at the pier catch a boat from Kuala Selangor and float upstream to watch the incredible show. At night the fireflies sparkle and glitter in a quite magical way.
These are some of the biggest mangrove swamps in Malaysia and other wildlife to spot includes silver leaf monkeys and a variety of migratory birds.
4. The Chiling Waterfall
Also in the Selangor region north of Kuala Lumpur, the Chiling Waterfall offers a natural escape from the bustle of Kuala Lumpur.
The road takes you past the blue waters of the Selangor Dam and through the pretty town of Kuala Kubu Bahru with its pastel-coloured buildings.
There is an interesting Buddhist Temple to visit at Rawang, very attractive among the manicured pine trees.
It takes one-and-a-half-hours trekking through the jungle to the thundering waterfall in its cool, dim gorge overhung with forest creepers and misted with water spray. On the way you may see exquisite orchids, pitcher plants and butterflies.
Wear appropriate footwear and quick-dry clothing as the terrain can be rough and there a number of river crossings. The first river crossing now has a suspension bridge and during times of high water ropes may be needed to cross the river.
Thanks to government protection the river is well stocked with native fish that love to nibble at your toes in the water. There are several tiers of waterfalls and pools, some with drops of up to 80 metres.
5. Port Dickson
If you’ve got time at the beach on your mind while visiting Kuala Lumpur, take a day trip to Port Dickson. Malaysia’s west coast enjoys spectacular sunsets and the 18 kilometres of beaches near the town of Port Dickson are sandy and clean.
Fringed by tropical palms and banyan trees, there are many options along the coastal road between Port Dickson and Cape Rachado to stop and swim or relax on the beach.
The most popular beach is Teluk Kemang with its colourful street market and tasty food stalls. Another great option is Pantai Saujana, which has smooth white sand and calm water. There are good amenities here including watersports hire.
Finally the Blue Lagoon is a small, secluded bay just before Cape Rachado. Protected by a coral reef it has clear water and is great for exploring along towards the headland and walking in the forest reserve.
Or find your own piece of beach paradise just an hour from Kuala Lumpur. Regular buses to Port Dickson from Kuala Lumpur leave from Puduraya station.
Natasha Von Geldern
Natasha Von Geldern lives in Sydney but is the Wandering Kiwi, a freelance travel writer whose obsession is discovering and covering the world – making the pages of the atlas real, one trip at a time. See her blog at WorldWanderingKiwi.com.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about travelling to Malaysia, please visit the Tourism Malaysia website