Kuala Lumpur is known to be the heart of Malaysia that never sleeps—from the iconic Petronas Towers and Bukit Bintang shopping district, to bustling Chinatown on Petaling Street. KL can get a tad overwhelming, and so we recommend the 3 best places for a quick zip out of the city.
First up, easily the most popular day trip option — Batu Caves. Just 13km north of Kuala Lumpur is the biggest tourist attraction of Selangor, easily accessible from Kuala Lumpur via train or bus. This towering limestone outcrop is home to three main caves featuring temples and shrines. But first, you’ll need to climb a flight of 272 steps leading up to the Temple Cave while adorable monkeys curl up at your feet or attempt to steal your food. If the stairs and monkeys are not up your alley, this visit is still enjoyable with the majestic 143-foot high golden statue of Lord Murugan, a Hindu deity whom the sacred caves are dedicated to.
Getting there: KTM Komuter train from KL Sentral Station to Sentul Station / Monorail service from KL Sentral Station to Titiwanga station, and a bus to Batu Caves / Cars or taxis via highway of MRR2. The caves are opened 6am to 9pm.
(Source for directions: malaysia.travel/en/places/states-of-malaysia/selangor/batu-caves)
Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
Lanchang is a small village where the Kuala Gandah Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary resides. This conservation centre is only a 2-hour drive (200km) from Kuala Lumpur. Only elephants that are seriously injured, orphaned and/or incapable of surviving in the wild on their own are brought back to the sanctuary by the Elephant Capture & Translocation Unit (ECTU). There is no other centre of its type in Malaysia. Get up close with these gentle giants. You can feed them by hand, or even frolic in the river with them! Just remember to bring a change of clothes. Entrance fee is by donation only and is open to a limited number of visitors a day.
Getting there: Take a taxi, rent a car or follow an organised tour. The elephant sanctuary is located along the East Coast Expressway between Kuala Lumpur and the city of Kuantan in eastern peninsula. The sanctuary is opened daily between 10.30am to about 4pm.
(Source for directions: wonderfulmalaysia.com/kuala-gandah-elephant-sanctuary.htm)
Fraser Hill, or Bukit Fraser is a hill resort, situated on the Titiwangsa Ridge in Malaysia, 100km north of Kuala Lumpur. While it is a popular getaway destination, Bukit Fraser is way off-the-beaten path. No public transport brings you here except for a few taxis in the nearby Kuala Kubu Bahru Town. Cool fresh air, tropical canopy and diverse bird population make trekking the peak’s pristine nature trails very invigorating. There are eight nature trails available, ranging from easy to hard. Stay for a foggy night to rejuvenate at one of the quaint hotels or bungalows.
Getting there: Travel through Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB) or Bentong towns to take the Karak Highway, passing by Genting Highlands and turning off at Bentong. By railway, the KTM Train from KL Sentral stops at KKB station; you then need a taxi to bring you up. (Source for directions: fraserhill.info/how-to-go.htm)