Once in a while, we all need an escape from busy city life…and in case you didn’t know Malaysia has many amazing places for a uniquely local staycation. There are kampung homestays run by local entrepreneurs, rainforest retreats that get up close and personal with Nature, eco-friendly resorts and hidden ethnic villages – not something you’d experience in the city!
Ready for a one-of-a-kind getaway? Rally your lepak gang and head over to some of these simply Malaysian retreats!
1. Kampung Sijangkang (Selangor)
Book your staycation at Kampung Sijangkang.25km away from Shah Alam, within Kampung Sijangkang stands Malaysia’s 1st container house. The Container House is the brainchild of Azree, who decided to turn a used shipping container into a two-storey home to solve the difficulty of buying a home.
Today, it welcomes guests eager to experience peaceful kampung living. You can do gardening, meet the resident geese, watch stars on the rooftop, cook kampung-style food and go exploring! Close to the homestay, there are beaches, a mangrove park, fishermen jetty and other heritage landmarks.
2. Bekok, Johor
Bekok is a traditional New Village at the entrance of Endau Rompin National Park. Small as it may seem, there is actually plenty to do here. There are community-created street art peppered around the village, a waterfall, a century-old train station, old cinema and places that still run on its traditional trades.
The homestays in Bekok have a certain small town charm, some of which arranges cycling tours to all the historical and natural landmarks.
3. Pasir Belanda, Kota Bharu (Kelantan)
Pasir Belanda is located by the riverside of a traditional village, away from Kota Bharu city centre and towards Pantai Cahaya Bulan. Apart from the laidback atmosphere and kampung-style chalets, it’s a perfect place to experience Malay culture.
You could watch batik artists, songket weavers, kite makers, shadow puppet makers and fishermen in action – and even join in the workshops! As you explore the surroundings by bike or boat, you’ll discover the little details that keep Kelantan’s rural heritage alive.
4. Kampung Baru Sauk (Perak)
If you are looking for an escape from the city life, there is the idyllic Kampung Baru Sauk. Don’t just take it from us though! Mr Kam, local homestay owner, actually left the city to run his business in his grandfather’s hometown. The scenic cycling routes, lake and natural attractions are some of the things that add to its undisturbed charm.
5. Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest, Pulai (Johor)
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, Gunung Pulai Recreational Park is a lovely spot to embrace Nature up close, where you can go hiking, swim in a waterfall, enjoy bird-watching or trek up Mount Kulai.
You can also stay in the Rainforest Tree House, an eco-retreat that fits beautifully against the lush backdrop. Its founder, Ah Yao, who is passionate about the environment, hopes to generate greater understanding about sustainable living and organic farming.
6. Royal Belum Rainforest (Perak)
How would you like to stay in one of Malaysia’s largest and oldest forest reserves? Better yet, you could sleep on a refurbished boathouse in the middle of Lake Temenggor.
At night, you have the pristine tropical forest and starry sky to accompany you, while a beautiful sunrise and occasional wildlife greet you in the morning. You can even visit an aboriginal village, fish at the freshwater lake or join the other recreational activities. Whatever floats your boat, really!
7. Ulu Muda Forest Reserve (Kedah)
If you haven’t heard of Ulu Muda, you’re not alone. This ancient tropical rainforest in Kedah is situated along the remote section of the Thai border. There are numerous salt licks, misty hills and greenery teeming with biodiversity – and you can live right at the heart of it!
8. KOREF Eco Farm (Johor)
KOREF Eco Farm is a farm living experience that merges eco-tourism, rice farming and nature-inspired activities. With many uniquely designed chalets catering to different group sizes, city folk can head here for a fun-filled, leisure escape.
9. Titi Eco Farm (Negeri Sembilan)
Inspired by the sustainable agricultural movement, Titi Eco Farm brings guests into an eco-friendly world that lets you experience organic farming and pure relaxation. Built with traditional Malay designs, the long house and semi-detached chalets look out upon green valley.
10. Tanah Aina, Raub (Pahang)
Merely an hour away from Kuala Lumpur, Tanah Aina is conceptualised to help preserve the unspoilt streams and rivers in Malaysia. You can choose to live in a campsite, dormitory or a chalet.
If you’re one for the adventure, you can try flying fox down the magnificent forest, or free jump into the emerald lagoon from the 15 feet platform “Leap of Faith”. Otherwise, you can just take the chill pill and enjoy Nature’s symphony by the river.
11. The Plantation (Pahang)
Located 85km away from Kuala Lumpur, The Plantation is an eco-friendly retreat with modified treehouses and open concept spaces. If you’re looking for a place to escape with a large group of friends, it’s a good place for recreational activities including water tubing, X Ball, cycling, swimming and bonfire gatherings.
12. Saloma Villagestay (Sarawak)
Close to the Kuching River is a Bidayuh village run by Saloma, a Bidayuh native who hopes to improve the living conditions of the village through her homestay. Not only will you be staying in the jungle, you also get to visit a longhouse, swim in waterfalls, meet orangutans and trek in the rainforest of Borneo.
13. Sina Rang Lemulun Homestay and Handicraft, Bario (Sarawak)
Sina Rang Lemulun Homestay is located in Bario Highland, a Kelabit territory fondly known as the “land of a hundred handshakes”. Perhaps that tells you how friendly the locals are!
Its founder, Sina Rang Lemulun is an artist who strives to keep the local handicraft industry alive through her traditional Sarawakian handicraft– so you get to see some of her work too.
This rustic highlands is a great place to uncover authentic Kelabit culture.
14. Kampung Kiding (Sarawak)
Hidden upon Mount Kiding is a traditional Bidayuh village only accessible by a 2 hour trek. Take in the chilly atmosphere, unsurpassed mountain views and refreshing waterfall. Try traditional games like blowpiping and gasing. On top of it all, you’ll enjoy a unique staycation you can’t forget.
15. Kampung Sadir (Sarawak)
At Kampung Sadir, you can live with Bidayuh villagers while learning about their lifestyle and culture. For a more local experience, you can be brought around by a native who was born and bred in Kampung Sadir. There are seven easily accessible waterfalls around the village and sceneries that will leave you falling in love with Nature.