Charming small towns and villages in Malaysia for your next road trip
Road trip anyone? Don’t fret if you’re on a tight budget but still want to explore and travel. Malaysia is full of hidden gems just waiting to be explored. While you may have done the rounds on the more popular touristy cities like George Town, Melaka and Ipoh, there are still a handful of smaller towns and villages just waiting to be discovered.
These small but charming towns and villages are full of distinctive cultures, sights, good food and character, that certainly deserve a spot on your Instagram and TikTok feeds. Ready to be pleasantly surprised? Here we go!
1. Bentong, Pahang
Most of you have probably been to Bentong before, a huge district in the state of Pahang and known for popular weekend getaway spots such as Bukit Tinggi, Genting Highlands and Janda Baik.
However there is more to Bentong than meets the eye, this place hides some pretty sweet durian orchards, gorgeous waterfalls and an aesthetic laid-back old town with good food. Go explore and soak in the lovely morning atmosphere at the Bentong Morning Market, take your coffee at a quaint shop that has been in business for decades and take a refreshing dip at the beautiful Chamang Waterfall.
Also what is a trip without souvenirs, do not forget to bring back Bentong's famous ginger, soy sauce and durian snacks.
2. Kluang, Johor
When your friends suggest a road trip to Kluang, just accept!
Nestled in central Johor, Kluang has some of Malaysia's largest organic farms, where you can pick your own herbs, befriend some goats and sheep and take selfies to fill your whole phone gallery. There are hills waiting to be conquered, a colourful street adorned with murals and if you are a coffee enthusiast, there is a coffee powder factory you are able to explore.
Go early and start with an aromatic cup of Kluang coffee and kaya toast at a kopitiam established in 1938 and walk off those calories by admiring the murals and then take the whole day to explore the beautiful organic farms and learn how organic vegetables, fruits and herbs are farmed!
3. Gopeng, Perak
Everyone associates Perak with Ipoh, rightly so, but have you ever set foot in Gopeng? Gopeng is a former tin mining town, with a laid-back vibe perfect for nature lovers who love exploring majestic rainforests, rivers, caves and limestone cliffs.
Home to the 400-million-year-old Gua Tempurung, those craving for an adrenaline rush can try out white water rafting at the Kampar River, or hike Bukit Batu Putih. History buffs can learn the history of this town at the Gopeng Museum.
For those who love the idea of camping but are not really into roughing it out, there are many glamping sites to also explore.
4. Teluk Intan, Perak
If you miss the days of old and love quaint towns then lean into Teluk Intan or formerly known as Teluk Anson. This town is most known for the iconic leaning tower of Teluk Intan, Malaysia's version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
The tower which was built in 1885 for the purpose of storing water during the drought season and to guide ships to the town's port is slanted leftward due to the underground stream.
While there aren't a lot of things to see in this quiet laid-back town, the food will make the trip worth it. Go on a foodie adventure and start with some hearty nasi kandar, yummy rojak, and chinese pastries. Cool down with a refreshing bowl of ais kacang at the Glutton Square food court which has been a local favourite for almost 60 years.
5. Kangar, Perlis
The capital of Perlis, Kangar is more known as a transit station for overland travel between Malaysia and Thailand. While Kangar is not some snazzy metropolis full of exciting lights and vibrant streets, it has a charming old town vibe that makes it refreshing to explore.
Because of its close proximity to the Thai border, most locals speak Thai and for those who stay by the border some even just walk over the immigration line to visit family and friends.
Surrounded by vast fields and farms, you can even get aesthetic photos at its beautiful sunflower field filled with rows and rows of sunflowers located in its snake and reptile park. There is also a petting zoo and reptile conservatory for an educational and fun-filled time for the kids.
6. Rompin, Pahang
Dotted with natural gems and located by the sea and the river, surrounded by lush rainforests, if you're off the adventurous sort then Rompin is the district for you.
Explore the off-the-beaten path, see beautiful waterfalls, visit orang asli villages, soak in the sun at one of the beaches and be prepared to be mesmerised by a picturesque lake with clear blue waters in Bukit Ibam called Tasik Biru.
The district also merges with the edges of the popular Endau-Rompin National Park, the second-largest national park in Peninsular Malaysia after Taman Negara.
Covering an area of almost 900 square kilometres, this nature gem makes up a part of two Malaysian states (Pahang and Johor) and is home to pristine forests, majestic waterfalls and endangered animals including the Malayan Tiger and Sumatran Rhinoceros.