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Do you want a quick getaway from the big, bad city for a while, but don’t know where to go on a tight budget? Malaysia is full of gems tucked away in islands, waterfalls and tradition and they are just waiting for you to discover them little by little.

While you’ve been busy in the KL city lights, you’re advised to kick back and look around at the wondrous places Malaysia is loved for. So go ahead, be tourists for a change and set your schedules for one of these fantastic places without feeling like you’ve burnt a hole through your pocket!

If you’re looking for beaches and duty free-shopping: Langkawi Island

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Langkawi Island is the favourite place to go when it comes to duty-free shopping… well that and airports. The beautiful island can be just a car ride and a ferry away, or by plane if you don’t feel like spending so much time on the road, or if you’re easily seasick from the boat ride.

You can stay in beautiful and friendly budget guesthouses, and even though they’re tourist friendly they still provide good cheap and clean places for you to stay.

The beaches in Pantai Cenang, Mahsuri’s Museum and the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls are must visit places.

If you’re looking for history, culture and Nyonya food: Malacca

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Perfect for a short and spontaneous long weekend trip, Malacca is filled with so many places to see and to experience. The area around Christ Church has a great place to take pictures in front of the fountains, and you can even take really outrageous rides around the city with a floral covered ‘beca’. You can also visit a bunch of different museums, and some of them are even pop up museums you can see once in a lifetime.

The must visit places are Jonker Street for shopping and eating, Saint Paul’s Church, and Porta de Santiago.

If you’re looking for good food, beaches and culture: Penang Island

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When you ask a Penang-ite the best thing about Penang, they would also respond with food. Food is everywhere here, and they can be so cheap you will probably never ever go hungry there. Penang is separated in two parts, the mainland and the island, but arguably the most fun is on the island!

You can probably skip Batu Ferringhi, unless you’re feeling extra touristy and want to spend a little more cash, but you can visit the many temples and museums and butterfly and bird parks and gardens, because the culture there is breathtaking enough. The list of the places to go is endless.

But the Gurney Plaza area, snake temple and Penang Hill are must visit places.

If you’re looking for cave exploring and outdoorsy/spiritual adventures: Ipoh

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One of the gems that a lot of people miss out is how great the caves are in Ipoh. But they’re not for the lighthearted, and are definitely not for people who can’t walk without needing an inhaler or an oxygen tank every three steps. But once you conquer a walk up Gua Tempurung, you’ll feel like you walked he world, and you won’t even need to spend more than 9 ringgit for the tour.

For those who are looking for an extra adventure, you can explore more of the cave like going for the river adventure where you crawl through holes and slide down slippery places, and you can even opt for the grand tour where you everything plus tons of physical challenges to explore the entire cave.

For the more spiritual side to caves, the cave temples like Sam Poh Ting and Nam Ting Tong have actual temples in actual caves.

To relax, you could unwind with a visit to the hot springs.

Gua Tempurung, Sam Poh Ting and the Banjaran Hot Springs are must visit places.

If you’re just looking for a simple but adventurous place to unwind: Chiling Falls

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Chiling Falls is right in Selangor, so people from KL don’t have to go too far to experience a great waterfall place. You would have to go through a vigorous trek to get there, but the place will be worth it. There will be an open field and a river, with a campsite if you want to spend your time there overnight.

Be advised to wait for good weather conditions because of flash floods there during the rainy season.