Malaysia Beach & Adventure Self Drive

Malaysia Beach & Adventure Self Drive gives you a taste of independent travel along the country’s strikingly calm and well maintained roads. Start in the vibrant capital of Kuala Lumpur, drive north to trek through Belum-Temengor rainforest, cross to Penang for foodie culture, and finish on Langkawi’s idyllic beaches.

At a glance
  • Wander through Kuala Lumpur’s rich heritage
  • Drive through lush Malay countryside
  • Spot wildlife in the Belum rainforest
  • Discover Georgetown’s street art scene
  • Cycle through Penang’s rural villages
  • Glide over Langkawi in a cable car
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Kuala Lumpur - 2 nights

Since the late 19th century, Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, has grown from a tiny jungle settlement to become one of Asia’s key metropolitan destinations. Although the skyline has altered greatly over the centuries, and still continues to change, the city holds tight to a strong cultural heritage that’s evident on every street; high rise structures sit side-by-side with ancient markets and grand colonial architecture. The wealth of sights, sounds and tastes represents the crossroads of cultures that co-exist in one of the most eclectic cities in South-East Asia.

Day 1 - Arrive Kuala Lumpur

On arrival in Malaysia, you'll be met by your private guide, who will drive you to your hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Welcome to Selective Asia! This level of personal service (such as private transfers, private tours etc) is what you can expect throughout your trip. A few services (eg boat cruises) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

The rest of your day will be at leisure to explore the city.

Day 2 - Heritage walking tour

Includes:

Take to the streets for a walking tour of KL’s unsung heroes. Accompanied by your expert local guide, wander past colonial buildings and take inspiration from the varied architectural styles and mix of cultures that have shaped the city over the years. Stop at Jamek Mosque, the oldest mosque in the city; buy everything from traditional remedies to everyday clothes in Malay Street; and enjoy a cup of local Tarik ‘pulled’ tea alongside sweet roti canai on Indian Mosque Street. Wander on to the historic Colonial Core city centre, Medan Pasar’s Old Market Square, the Central Market, Sin Sze Si Ya Taoist temple, and the highly ornate Sri Maha Mariamman temple. Pause for lunch in Chinatown, and take a look around the beautifully preserved Chan She Shu Yuen clan house, before returning to your hotel where the rest of your day will be at leisure.

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Belum Rainforest - 2 nights

Situated close to the Malay-Thai border, the Belum-Temengor Rainforest is home to over 3,000 species of flowering plants, including the extraordinary Rafflesia, which produces the largest single flowers in the world. The forest is about four times the size of Singapore, making it the perfect habitat for large animals such as the Malaysian Sunbear, Asian elephants and the endangered Malaysian Tiger to roam freely. It provides the ideal growing conditions for a vast array of beautiful ferns and mosses, and the large freshwater lake has an impressive 23 species of fish and five breeds of turtle swimming beneath the surface.

Day 3 - Self-drive to Belum Rainforest

Includes:

This morning your hire car will be delivered to your hotel for the start of your self-drive journey to the Belum-Temengor Rainforest. Driving in Kuala Lumpur can be a little hectic, but streets are well signposted and once out of the city the roads become quieter. It’s a straightforward drive north along the country’s main highway, driving on the left, at manageable speeds, with signposts in English as well as Malay. Once you arrive at the chic and secluded Belum Rainforest Resort the rest of your day will at leisure to soak in the serene surroundings.

Day 4 - Venture into the rainforest

Includes:

Set out, first by boat then on foot, in search of the unique Rafflesias: huge plants with broad, other-worldly looking flowers that, rather unsettlingly, smell like rotting flesh (hence its alternative name of 'corpse flower'). Go on the Orang Asli Village to observe the lifestyle of the Jahai tribe, and buy locally-made souvenirs such as blow pipes, bracelets and necklaces all made from materials sustainably gathered in the rainforest. Continue to the wet salt lick at Sg. Jenut, where you can see some of the forest’s animals, such as tapirs, deers and even tigers, come to gather essential minerals and nutrients. The final stop of the day is at the Sg.Ruok waterfalls to take a dip in the cool pools.

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Penang - 3 nights

Penang, the oldest of the British Straits settlements in Malaysia, and a one-time outpost of the East India Company, is a bustling destination for adventurous travellers. At its heart, the state capital of Georgetown is a fascinating labyrinth of Chinese shop houses, Hindu and Chinese temples, colonial architecture and a broad range of restaurants. Though they’re all within easy walking distance, there’s always a trusty trishaw driver close by to help you find your way around should you need them. Explore the impressive 18th century fort, stroll through the lush Botanical Gardens and see live vipers winding through the unique Snake Temple.

Day 5 - Self-drive to Penang

Includes:

Drive west from Belum-Temengor Rainforest towards Penang. At the coast, leave the Malay Peninsula and cross one of the world's longest bridges onto Penang Island. Once you’ve dropped off your hire car, the rest of your day will be at leisure to take in your historic Georgetown surroundings.

Day 6 - Georgetown ‘Old & New’ walking tour

Includes:

Georgetown’s melting pot of culture and historic architecture is home to a burgeoning street art scene. Murals by Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic are dotted throughout the streets, and over the course of your tour your guide will point out key examples. Visit a morning wet market at Chowrasta that sells everything from fresh fruit, to sweets, spices and second hand books, and take a tea break in a local dim sum restaurant. Continue through Georgetown’s maze of streets, stopping to observe the famous murals along Armenian Street, where many of the traditional shop houses have been renovated and now house art galleries and cafes. Wander down Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, known as the ‘Street of Harmony’, to see the Kapitan Keling Mosque, Sri Mahamariamman Temple (the oldest Hindu temple on the island), the Goddess of Mercy Temple, and the first Anglican church in South-East Asia.

Day 7 - Cycling tour around Balik Pulau

Includes:

Get up bright and early to meet your cycling guide and transfer by shared vehicle to Balik Pulau in the southwest of Penang. In contrast to the busy streets of Georgetown, Balik Pulau is a rural idyll of rice fields and fruit plantations where local life continues much as it has done for generations. The area produces nutmeg, cloves and a variety of fruit, but is particularly well known for its durians, which locals swear are the best in the country. The best way to explore is by bike, and having swapped four wheels for two in Balik Pulau town, follow your guide along quiet roads and pathways into the countryside, glimpsing the day to day lives of the local people. After a couple of hours leisurely cycling, your guide will drive you and your fellow cyclists back to Georgetown where the rest of your day will be at leisure.

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Langkawi - 3 nights

Langkawi is Malaysia’s best-known beach destination; a tropical paradise of long sandy beaches, warm crystal waters and stunning sunsets with a lush jungle-clad interior. Ride a cable car in the north-west of the island, built without constructing any roads through the jungle, that claims to be the world’s longest suspension between two stations, and offers unbeatable views over the Langkawi Islands, Kedah and southern Thailand. Take a boat trip through the mangroves, floating past limestone caves and spotting diverse wildlife from eagles to primates. And then, of course, there are those fabulous beaches…

Day 8 - Fly to Langkawi

Includes:

Your day is at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your flight to Langkawi, where you’ll meet your driver on arrival and head straight to your hotel.

Day 9 - SkyCab cable car flight

Includes:

Start in the foothills of Mount Machinchang where you’ll board the ‘SkyCab’ for a 20-minute ride over the jungle-clad mountainside. This is the steepest cable car ride in Asia, covering 1.3 miles and rising 2,320 feet above sea level, affording you fantastic views of the forest and waterfalls, and glimpses of birds and wildlife, as you slowly ascend. Pause at a viewing platform to take in the scenery before continuing to the top. Once there, take a short walk up to the peak for 360-degree views over the forested slopes and surrounding islands. On a clear day, you can see as far as Thailand to the north and Indonesia to the south-west. Take some time to appreciate the scene below, before heading back to the base and being driven to your hotel where the rest of your day will be at leisure.

Day 10 - At leisure on Langkawi

Includes:

Kick back for some blissful r&r in Langkawi.

Day 11 - Depart Langkawi

Includes:

Your day will be at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 - 4 5 - 6
First Class £1,332US$1,746 £1,265US$1,657 £1,125US$1,474

The Kuala Lumpur Journal

The Kuala Lumpur Journal is a streamlined boutique hotel right on the doorstep of the shopping & entertainment district, ideal if you’re on a city break and looking for a tranquil hub... See more

Belum Rainforest Resort

The surprisingly stylish Belum Rainforest Resort is located in Pulau Banding, a man-made island in the very heart of the Belum-Temengor Rainforest, one of the oldest rainforests in the world... See more

Noordin Mews

Tucked away behind heavily carved wooden doors, in a walled garden, Noordin Mews is a boutique gem... See more

Berjaya Langkawi Resort

A leafy rainforest backdrop and panoramic ocean view combine to create a charming island hideaway at the Berjaya Langkawi Resort… See more
Superior £1,524US$1,997 £1,377US$1,804 £1,317US$1,726

Traders Hotel

Part of the Shangri-La family of hotels, this contemporary city-centre property is located in the very heart of Kuala Lumpur, opposite the Petronas Twin Towers... See more

Belum Rainforest Resort

The surprisingly stylish Belum Rainforest Resort is located in Pulau Banding, a man-made island in the very heart of the Belum-Temengor Rainforest, one of the oldest rainforests in the world... See more

Clans Kongsi Georgetown

These unique houses which fringe the Khoo Kongsi Temple have been carefully restored into 43 guestrooms, providing an unforgettable insight into the culture of UNESCO Heritage site of Georgetown... See more

Casa del Mar

Meaning 'home by the sea' in Spanish, the Mediterranean influence is evident throughout the Casa del Mar. The beachfront resort's... See more
Deluxe £1,614US$2,115 £1,515US$1,985 £1,452US$1,903

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel

Located in Kuala Lumpur's 'Golden Triangle' district, only a short walk from the city's main shopping and entertainment area; the Ritz-Carlton boasts exceptional standards of service...

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Belum Rainforest Resort

The surprisingly stylish Belum Rainforest Resort is located in Pulau Banding, a man-made island in the very heart of the Belum-Temengor Rainforest, one of the oldest rainforests in the world... See more

Seven Terraces

What was once a terrace of seven 19th century Anglo Chinese shop houses (hence the name Seven Terraces), has been converted into a secluded oasis... See more

The Andaman Langkawi

Set within a 50-million year old rainforest and overlooking a coral reef, pristine white sand and deep blue sea, no-one could ever accuse the Andaman Langkawi of not having the looks... See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions

  • If you have time, add on a couple of nights in the Cameron Highlands - a vast area of rolling green hills, tea plantations and colonial architecture. It's an easy 4 hour drive north from Kuala Lumpur and then you can continue northwards from the Cameron Highlands to Penang or onto the Belum Rainforest.
  • Instead of flying from Penang to Langkawi for your beach time, keep your car and drive to Pangkor Laut - just a 2.5 hour drive and a short boat trip from Penang.
  • If this self-drive itinerary has inspired you but you would prefer to drive along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, that's also possible. Your Selective Asia consultant can talk you through the route.
At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
Whilst many clients are happy with of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

The important stuff

Please note: During high season periods (such as Christmas and New Year) hotels often levy a surcharge and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Inclusive:
  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • Car rental as listed with GPS device (including unlimited kilometres, Liability Reduction Option (LRO), insurance cover for third party property damage and unlimited third party bodily injuries, Passenger liability protection)
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed (B: Breakfast, L: lunch, D: Dinner)
  • International flight reconfirmation.

Exclusive:
  • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights for all our clients, regardless of whether you are departing from the UK or from almost any other worldwide destination.
  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

Extras

Flights

We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

Visa

You may require a visa to enter Malaysia. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.

Passport

Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

Insurance

You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

Booking Procedure

Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

Travelling Responsibly

We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Claire – Malaysia tailor-made specialist

'A fly-drive is a remarkably easy way to see Malaysia: at your own pace, stopping where you please and seeing a side of the country that you wouldn’t see otherwise.'

ClaireMalaysia tailor-made specialist

Speak to Claire on 01273 670 001

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides

You'll typically have your own private guides throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know. In Malaysia, your guide will also act as your driver, which is standard practise in the country. If you’d rather have a separate guide and driver for your tours, we’ll happily arrange this for you.