Written by Nadia Crowe
Co-written by Veyroniqa, Candice Neo and Nur Batrisya
Kuala Lumpur is the place to be for those who love a fast-paced lifestyle. While it’s great for late night eats, shopping until you drop, and the occasional affordable luxury fine dining treat, it can get a little overwhelming!
The 9-to-5 grind is hard, and a short break to the countryside is sometimes exactly what you need! So if you don’t want to spend on accommodation for an overnight stay, why not take a day trip?
Now the places that come immediately to mind might be the usual Melaka, Port Dickson or Genting, but guess what, we’ve found places with sprawling landscapes and ocean breezes that are a bit more off the tourist radar – places that are more local, and what’s best is that they are all less than 2 hours’ drive from KL!
Here’s sharing with you some hidden gems we’ve found, some of which are even our regular day trip destinations!
As restrictions might not have been lifted on some attractions yet due to the MCO, do check directly with the various attractions if they are open on your day of visit.
b) Afternoon tea picnic by the river and luxury glamping: Tiarasa Escapes
1 hour from Kuala Lumpur: Tanah Aina Fareena cafe is a hidden riverside restaurant in the rainforests near Bukit Tinggi with an organic garden!
10 Large villas/retreats in cool weather near KL for your weekend staycation with family and friends (3 BR, with 6-10 pax)!
1. Janda Baik (45 minutes)
A cooling escape from the heat of KL
Janda Baik used to be a quiet retreat with cool forests with nice chilly breezes, but it has been getting a lot of hype recently with new cafes and Instagram-worthy experiences. 26 minutes’ drive away, at Bukit Tinggi, you will find a sprawling resort with its own French village and Japanese garden.
a) Have your afternoon tea at this forest cafe right by the pond: Pineyard
Pineyard cafe is a definite special find with its pine wood floors and pillars to its minimalistic steel white arches – this place oozes cosiness and warmth within the chilly forest of Janda Baik. You can have your coffee indoors by their bar or maybe outside on the grass near a pond. Wherever you choose, every corner is just dreamy.
If you have the whole weekend to spare, why not stay for the night? It’s easy to pretend that you’re in the savannah at this gorgeous glamping site (when you’re in fact only 45 minutes away from KL). They offer delicious local cuisine too.
They’ve also recently launched an afternoon tea experience where you can picnic right by the river in the resort area (RM 120 a set for 2 people)!
c) A gardening workshop with a gourmet spread for lunch: A Little Farm on the Hill, Janda Baik
How much more fun can your meals get when you get to see it being made from the ground up? Starting with tips on gardening in the tropics to having lunch whipped up with freshly picked ingredients of the morning’s class, A Little Farm on the Hill should not be missed especially if you have a green thumb or are interested in planting your own produce!
d) Get your daily dose of nature: Lata Tampit Waterfall
Chasing waterfalls is a hobby that everyone should take up! Janda Baik is home to Lata Tampit Waterfall which has a whopping seven levels for you to explore! What’s even better, you can take things up a notch by choosing to abseil down one of the highest levels! Hard work with a cooling fresh reward straight after – how perfect!
2. Bentong (1 hour from KL)
Ginger, soy, and impeccable nature!
Home to a multitude of different food specialties, your taste buds will be jumping for joy as soon as you enter Bentong! Make sure to fully explore the different varieties of sauces, syrups, and fresh foods, and don’t forget to pair them with some adventure too!
a) Stay in a scenic glasshouse: Bilut Hills (in between Bentong and Raub)
It’s every girl’s dream to stay in a glasshouse like this up in the hills and you can make that come true with just a short weekend trip from KL!
Bilut Hills comprises 5 different themed rooms catering to couples and families, from glasshouse, kampung house to even Tudor-themed rooms. Our favourite is hands-down the glasshouse-themed Premium Chalet from which you can get a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding hills and rainforest!
You can even dine among the clouds during breakfast!
b) A gorgeous cascade over smooth rocks: Chamang waterfall
A huge rushing river is responsible for this waterfall, while a magnificent cluster of rocks take the form of a long and seemingly never-ending waterfall before coming to rest at the bottom in a massive plunge pool.
This pool is relatively clean and immensely fun to swim in, so take a dip to relieve your body from the hot Malaysian sun, and bask on one of the rocks while indulging in a home-made picnic. Bliss!
TripCanvas’ Tip: The current can be very strong, particularly towards the centre of the river so do be careful!
c) Extreme activities and thrilling adventures: Bilut Extreme Park (in between Bentong and Raub)
A fun-filled day full of heart pumping activities is just what the doctor ordered! From archery to ATV riding, you’ll feel elated at every turn!
Enjoy zooming through streams and splashing people you’re racing, then focus your attention on the bullseye and let an arrow go flying through the air! Whatever it is, it’ll be a day filled with extreme fun!
d) Discover the original way everyone’s favourite soy sauce is made: Kicap Bentong Sdn Bhd
When you open the fridge at any Asian household (with permission, of course), you’ll most likely find a bottle of soy sauce. Whether it’s salty or sweet, you’ll see it’s there!
People don’t seem to realise that this liquid gold takes a lot of work to get from soybean to soy sauce, and it’s fascinating. Take a short tour around this factory and learn the process from attentive staff and wander around the massive fermentation pots!
e) Bentong ginger syrup with beancurd pudding: Bentong Tau Fu Sdn Bhd – Auntie Mok
Tau Fu Fa (beancurd pudding) is a local delicacy that most of us in Malaysia know and love. The blend of tastes from the soft pudding and the sugary syrup makes for the perfect sweet ending after a meal, or even while walking through a night market.
The Tau Fu Fa at Bentong Tau Fu Sdn Bhd is even more special – their syrup is infused with ginger! It’s only fitting that a place famous for ginger figured out a way to make it part of this wonderful dessert.
f) If ginger and durian are what you’re looking for: Sunday Morning Market, Bentong
Every Sunday, people flock to this morning market, but it’s not just for locals. People who are keen to try Bentong specialties such as ginger and soy sauce will definitely find them here.
And durian lovers take note! You’ll be able to get your favourite Musang King here for prices that are way more reasonable than KL, if you come during the right season when durian supplies increase!
3. Tadom Hill Resorts (50 minutes from KL)
Outbound adventures for the whole family by the lake
Tadom Hill is the perfect place to go on a day trip with a group of friends. Not only is their day pass extremely affordable, there’s just so much to do there! You can take a leisurely swim in the lake, try out their Tarzan swing, or attempt to cross the lake on a bamboo raft! Not to mention have fun with basketball and volleyball in the sand if you’re coming in a group. Kids can have a go at running around their bamboo playground with obstacle course too – it’s the ultimate family destination!
If you’re feeling extra adventurous, for a little extra cash, you can also go on their flying fox or ride the ATV! Did I also mention that they have archery? Head there for a full day of adventurous fun!
P.S. Make it an even bigger adventure by staying there for a night in one of their adorable bamboo huts!
4. ATV Adventure Park (35 minutes from KL)
Get on an adrenaline high!
As much as we all love heading to the mall, cafes or cinema, there’s no denying that sometimes a little adrenaline makes us feel good. Less than an hour away from KL is a super cool ATV park!
Zip around in the mud along forest floors and enjoy the wind in your hair as you ride a massive four wheeler – it’s sure to get your blood pumping! There’s also a waterfall nearby that you can go for a dip in to cool off after building up all that sweat!
5. Sekinchan (1.5 hours from KL)
Find vast paddy fields and fishing villages
With so many things to do and places to eat in Sekinchan, you’ll almost feel like you’ve taken a holiday abroad! Fancy the paddy fields of Bali? How about the sleepy fishing villages of Vietnam? Or a good old fashioned beach day?! All can be found here!
a) Private fine dining in the middle of the paddy fields: Ninja Private Kitchen
Now you can dine in the middle of the paddy fields just like in Bali! Head to Sekinchan for a day trip or weekend getaway, and you can indulge in steamed mud crabs, fresh oysters, tropical fruit and more!
Even Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau has dined here on a previous trip to Malaysia!
b) Reminiscent of a hot summer’s day: Pantai Redang Sekinchan
There’s nothing better than spending an afternoon basking in the sun, smelling the sea spray, and feeling the ocean currents across your toes whenever you stroll along the shore. Stick around for sunset when you’ll witness a beautiful display of colours dancing across the sky, and the magnificent moment when day turns to night!
c) Take a trip to the Bali of Sekinchan: Sekinchan Padi Field
While endless hues of blue are a sight to behold, endless shades of green are even more spectacular! Witness the origins of one of Southeast Asia’s most important grains (rice!) and see how it grows, thrives, and most importantly, take gorgeous pictures with the sprawling fields as your background!
TripCanvas’ Tip: Harvesting occurs during June and December so avoid those months, as you wouldn’t be able to see a sea of green!
d) Seafood lovers rejoice!: Sekinchan Fishing Port & Restoran Guan Hwat
Imagine biting into succulent prawns, fresh fish, and indulgent crabs!
Seafood is the star of the show in Sekinchan thanks to its proximity to the ocean. At Sekinchan Fishing Port, you’ll be able to watch how the residents of one of Selangor’s biggest fishing villages live their lives.
After, head to Restoran Guan Hwat for a delicious seafood feast! You’ll be going home with a full belly and a mind full of experience!
e) Make a wish: Sekinchan wishing tree
With bright red ribbons hanging from each and every branch, it’s no wonder that people flock here to take photos of this incredibly unique tree. But what most people forget is that it’s actually much more than just a sight!
Prayers are offered to the deities at the small temple first, then each person is given a ribbon tied to a Chinese coin to write their wish on. The ribbon must then be thrown up into the tree to hang for your wish to come true. They say the higher the ribbon, the higher the chance it’ll come true!
f) Big, yellow, juicy sweetness: Mango King
You may have heard of Musang King for durians, but have you ever heard of Mango King? The queue at Mango King can be intimidating, but trust us, it’s worth it! You can choose to have your mango fresh or blended into an ice-cold smoothie, the perfect remedy for a hot day!
6. Kuala Selangor (1 hour from KL)
Fireflies, nature and blue phytoplankton
Kuala Selangor is literally right next door to us, and it is teeming with not just nature and wonder, but adventure and incredible modern feats too! A day trip to Kuala Selangor will definitely be filled to the brim with fun, but it’s even better if you can spend the weekend there so you truly get to explore each place!
a) Enjoy the deep green shrubbery and relax: Taman Alam Kuala Selangor Nature Park
Some people enjoy the beach, others love the fresh aroma of the forest. Hiking in Taman Alam Kuala Selangor Nature Park is a great way to spend your morning, where you can explore pathways lined with towering thin trees, or even cycle around if you’re willing to bring your bikes!
It may seem eerie but it makes for some striking photographs and cool adventures with your friends!
b) Flickering lights illuminate your boat ride: Kuala Selangor Fireflies
Can you imagine a thousand little fairy lights floating all around you as you drift quietly down a river and along the trees?
In the quiet of the night, an experienced raftsman will take you among the mangroves to watch as these tiny but incredible creatures light up the night sky! Make sure to keep quiet, and you may be able to even hold one in your hand – it’s the most wonderful feeling, just make sure not to squish it and also put them back where they belong!
c) Experience the thrill of coursing rapids: White water rafting
Getting a good dose of adrenaline is one of the best ways to spend your day, and what better way to do so than coursing down some white water rapids with your family clinging on to nothing but an oar!
This tour takes all the guesswork out of the adventure – all you have to do is wake up early and wear shoes that you don’t mind getting wet, head over to one of their two pick up points (check the website) or arrange for them to pick you up from whichever hotel you’re at in KL (they’ll also drop you back)! On a hot day, this is the ultimate remedy.
d) Witness a bright blue magical phenomena!: Blue Tears Phenomena, Kuala Selangor River
Who knew such magic existed so close to KL, when the sun sets and you’re encompassed by darkness, a bright blue marvel comes to the rescue to light up your life! Thanks to bioluminescent phytoplankton in the water, as you cruise along Kuala Selangor River, the disrupted water will glow and make it seem like the river is crying, hence the name Blue Tears!
A 45-minute boat tour with Sky Mirror Tour & Travel Sdn Bhd will take you on this magnificent journey to witness nature at its finest!
7. Raub (1.5 hours from KL)
Straight to the land of durians!
Durian lovers, rejoice! Raub is where you’ll find an entire area just dedicated to the stinky goodness of durian. While definitely worth it for a day trip, extending your stay slightly may do you some good, as driving home on a full stomach of sugar makes a sleepy driver!
a) Discover a plantation filled with the king of fruits!: Raub Durian Orchard
Apparently the love for durian is genetic, your genes determine how it tastes so you either love it or hate it, there’s no in between. Personally, my genes are in favour, and while I’m not as crazy about it as some, Raub Durian Orchard still entices me!
Raub is home to the famous Musang King, so you can be assured you’ll be picking and tasting deliciousness! While there is definitely a season, they claim their off-season durians are just as good, care to give it a shot?
b) Tuck yourself away surrounded by durians: Laman Pesona Resort and Spa
Food is a big thing for us Malaysians, so why not head to a quality restaurant surrounded by nature to finish off the evening at Laman Pesona Resort & Spa! If you’re keen to stay for another round of durian, you could even stay the night. A hidden gem, this place is filled with different fruit trees and animals to make you truly feel like you’re surrounded by greenery.
Plus, if you come during durian season, you might get lucky and hear them dropping to the ground; it’s yours for the taking!
8. Tanjung Sepat (1.5 hours from KL)
Enjoy some freshly grown fruit and vegetables along the beachside
Tanjung Sepat feels so different from KL; not only can you enjoy beachside sunset views, you can enjoy them while munching on some delicious, succulent fruits that are freshly grown in the many farms here. Truly a hidden gem of a day trip!
a) Enjoy lilac sunsets along the pier: Lover’s Bridge Tanjung Sepat
Take a stroll during sunset along the colourful boardwalks of Tanjung Sepat Beach, head down Lover’s Bridge hand-in-hand with your partner, and walk some 260 metres away from the shore and into The Straits of Malacca.
Stare out into the ocean and smell the salty air before heading back knowing you had a wonderful day!
b) The king of fungi rules over this farm: Ganofarm
Personally, mushrooms are one of my favourite things to eat, plus they’re said to boost your memory. At Ganofarm, they pay tribute to the wonderful things and allow you to wander around so you can see how they’re grown.
They also have Lingzhi mushrooms which are supposed to do wonders for your health, so head on over and find out why, I’m not going to ruin the surprise! 😉 And yes, you can purchase some of these exotic fungi here too.
c) Your daily dose of caffeine plus a little health benefit!: Joo Fa Trading
A Tanjung Sepat specialty, this slow-roasted authentic and traditional coffee will both pick you up and make you feel better! Their pure coffee powder is said to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, so make sure to bring home a few packets of those.
While you’re there, chat it up with the owner and watch him turn red, green, and brown beans into delicious aromatic coffee!
d) Bite into a fresh, succulent homemade bun: Mr Black Bao Shop
Whether you’re into the soft, fluffy, steamed kind of bun or the crispy fried, flaky bun, you’ll find both here, and whatever you choose will be delicious! With many different fillings available, from the usual savoury char siew, sweet red bean paste, to salted fish, otak otak, and vegetarian baos, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
A simple solution, get as many as possible and stuff your face silly!
e) Affordable, succulent and fresh dragon fruit: Multi-Rich Pitaya Dragon Fruit Farm
This farm grows some of the freshest and juiciest dragon fruit you’ll find in and around KL, not to mention they are cheaper than those you get in the city too!
You can get a free sample tasting, but warning – you’ll soon find that you absolutely have to buy a bunch to bring home. They do grow other fruits as well, but the bright pink beauties are definitely the star of the show and should be prioritised for your taste buds!
9. Pulau Ketam (1.5 hours from KL)
Discover a different kind of island!
There’s no doubt that we all love a good island getaway, but while sandy beaches are the norm, why not explore a different kind of island? A 20-minute boat ride from Port Klang will get you to Pulau Ketam (direct translation: Crab Island)!
A quaint little fishing village makes up the most of this place, so you’re in for a treat, seafood lovers! Cycle and explore around the island with a rented bike before settling in for an indulgent and authentic meal. Photographers will also adore the different angles available here!
Don’t you say there’s nothing to do on weekends now! Leave the city behind and take these day trips just less than 2 hours’ away for a very different day out! 😉 Tag all your weekend buddies now!