There are hidden gems everywhere. It's not hard to spot them if you take a moment to explore and discover what mother nature and the brilliant minds behind these amazing establishments have to offer. The true wonder of travel lies in getting lost in the beauty of a place, and the adrenaline that comes with the discovery is truly a rewarding feeling. From remote jungles to glorious blue beaches, witness these hidden destinations in Malaysia and be inspired because Malaysia Truly Asia, you don’t have to go far.
Photo credits: Wikiloc
Only accessible by boat or a gruelling 90 min hike, you will find Turtle Beach (also known as Pantai Kerachut) with white grain sand beneath your feet and an unobstructed view of the sea. Paired with the lush greenery of Penang National Park, it is truly a hidden gem in Penang.
If you ever get hungry, pop over to Kafe Alaf Sejahtera for a bite. It's a family-run restaurant located along Jalan Hassan Abasin Teluk Bahang that has been in business for the past two decades. Here you'll find some authentically local dishes that we guarantee you've never heard of before, like gulai nangka, pajeri nenas and pucuk rebung masak lemak.
Location: Teluk Bahang, Tanjung Bungah, Penang
Photo credits: veganliving
Hidden away in Pulau Tikus is this hearty cafe that believes in nourishing the mind and body alike through gratitude, positivity and not skimping on quality ingredients.
Sourcing from local farmers, baking artisanal sourdough from scratch and even down to making sure that only filtered water is used, they've spared no expense. Combined with a soothing ambience, this place is a hidden (gem) refuge to recharge your body and soul. If you visit, you HAVE to try their savoury open-faced sourdough toasts and housemade jams!
Operating Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm (Closed on Thursdays)
The Coffee Cottage
Photo credits: Thecoffee.cottage (Facebook)
Showcasing how a proper cottage hut should look like is this hidden gem in Penang. Nestled in the gardens of England House, this charming cafe is a great spot to catch up with coffee and an array of cakes like the crowd favourite Lychee Rose Bavarois. Fortunately for all photography enthusiasts, the premises is great ground to cover for that Insta-worthy photo.
Operating Hours: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)
Pos Yum Waterfalls
Photo credits: onesteponefootprint.com
The next hidden adventure you’ve been looking for. Hike your way up to this stunning waterfall, located in the Orang Asli village of Kampung Pendeq, Pos Yum, just a 2-hour drive from Ipoh.
Experience the natural beauty and lush greenery of this magnificent secluded waterfall with sounds of birds chirping and flowing streams trickling nearby. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are endless activities to spark the adrenaline rush in you such as white water rafting, rock climbing or crawling your way through Guar Tempurung. This experience is bound to leave a thrilling memory meant to be shared with family or friends.
Photo credits: Mawardi Yunus
A 121-year-old landmark that makes you feel like you’re on a movie set, invoking both fear and excitement. If the name didn't give it away, the bridge was built by the British and named after Queen Victoria. Located about ten kilometres away from Kuala Kangsar, it is one of Malaysia’s oldest railway bridges.
This national hidden gem in Malaysia was built to connect the railway line from Enggor to Kuala Kangsar, but in 1910 the bridge was used entirely for the railway line from Seberang Perai, Penang to Johor Baharu. Now it's a location that has caught the eyes of many visitors and is one of the most Instagrammable spots to grace your feed with.
Location: Kampung Kapor, 31050 Enggor, Perak
The Story Eatery
Photo credits: Ipoh Echo
As Ipoh’s first eatery to operate with its own in-house florist, this multi-faceted cafe is photo-worthy beyond one’s Instagram feed. Upon entering, you'll be greeted by a surrounding scene of fresh blooms with a chic black and white interior paired with hanging pots of potted plants adding to its whimsical vibe. Not only are you welcomed with a delightful sensory visual, tickle your taste buds with their extensive menu of western delights.
Did we mention that The Story Eatery serves vegetarian-friendly dishes too? Hop on by for tea time or if you’re just looking to get a bouquet of flowers for your loved ones.
Operating Hours: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm (closed on Wednesdays)
Kedai Kopi Klasik Kemaman
If you’re looking for a rustic cafe that can offer a trip down memory lane, pay Kedai Kopi Klasik Kemaman ****a visit. As the name suggests, this retro classic hidden gem can be found with vintage knick-knacks, posters and antiquities that gives it its old-school charm.
Though the cafe is somewhat hidden, it’s not too hard to spot as you’ll be able to find a classic Volkswagen Beetle parked in the front yard. Make a pit stop if you’re in the area and enjoy a Malaysian classic roti bakar and in house special, kopi butter.
Operating Hours: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Selangor / Kuala Lumpur
BMC Blue Lake
Photo credits: alltrails.com
If you’re thinking this can’t possibly be in Malaysia, you’re in for a surprise as this magnificent blue lake is on 45 minutes away from the city. Located in Bandar Mahkota Cheras, this stunning blue lake was once a mining area. Looking like a scene out of a movie, this 10 min hike from the residential area is definitely worth a visit before everyone else finds out about this place!
Mangrove Forest @ Bagan Lalang
Photo credits: dasiatravels.com
This hidden gem in Selangor is 45 minutes away along Sepang Besar, perfect for our outdoor enthusiast with a love for kayaking. If you’re looking for a serene evening surrounded by the company of flora and fauna, this is the place for you. There are other activities available nearby if you prefer a picnic or walk on the beach, camping, fishing, playing kites, or sailing. If you ever get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants and stalls nearby the beach.
Photo credits: Twitter
Put Coffee Meets Bagel on hold, it's time to head out for real coffee! Kopi Senget is an under-the-radar-find situated in Telok Panglima Garang. This new cafe pays a nice homage to life’s philosophical view where it's not always straight but sometimes senget (aka slanted). There’s an array of pastries and traditional nasi lemak bungkus for you to enjoy with a nice hot/cold cuppa.
GO Bulk - Tamarind Square
Photo credits: gobulk
If you aren’t already aware, the zero-waste movement has taken on a gradual growth in Southeast Asia, especially amid concerns of rising pollution and waste clogging up our landfills and oceans.
With more people consciously making an effort to reduce their wastage, Go Bulk in Tamarind Square is a hidden gem in Kuala Lumpur joining in the movement. This place is great if you want to refill household items, such as sugar, salt, flour, spices, and much more. So ditch the toxic plastic packaging, bring your own containers and head over there during the weekend!
Operating Hours: Saturday & Sunday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
The Dough Factory
Photo credits: Dough Factory (Facebook)
There's no shortage of cosy cafes in Bandar Sri Damansara, The Dough Factory that recently opened is one to visit over the weekend. They have a standout selection of over 40 types of pastries laid out the moment you walk in. While you're there, do yourself the grandest favour and order up their take on a classic aglio olio but paired with squid ink pasta and their signature dish, seasonal mushroom with a generous serving of stracciatella cheese on top of sourdough.
Operating Hours: Daily, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Ever wonder what it would feel like to live in a terrarium space? This one of a kind cafe is nestled outside a humble interior design house at Jalan Ekoperniagaan, you’ll find hanging dried flowers and live plants decorated as part of the interior. Unlike an actual terrarium, this one is comfortably air-conditioned and paired with an aromatherapeutic element to elevate your dining experience. While you’re there, don’t forget to grab a bite of their beautifully handcrafted desserts.
Location: 8, Jalan Ekoperniagaan2/7 JB
Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm (Closed on Mondays)
Photo: @faisalabdrahim (Instagram)
What used to be an old Jetty is now a hidden gem in Johor where locals drop by to take pictures of this magnificent landmark. To get here, however, takes a little patience and a whole lot of adventure. To locate this hidden gem, you’d need to look out for the Guan Yin Temple and there you will find the pillars of what is left of this abandoned jetty.
Location: 90, 81600 Bandar Penawar, Johor
Photo credits: Thesmartlocal.com
Have you ever climbed up a treehouse? Now’s your chance to make your way to a hidden gem located in Kulai and live out your inner child’s dream.
This rainforest retreat offers city dwellers a chance to get off the grid from the noise and pollution, hustle and bustle of urban life. Among the activities available to you is river/jungle trekking, chilling around the hammock area or even better enjoying tea time at their very own in house cafe where you’d be served wood fire cakes and loaves of bread baked in an earth oven that they made by scratch.
Walk on Rainbow Bridge
Photo credits: trekhackers.com
One thing you’d probably never expect to find in a forest of mangroves is a well-hidden colourful bridge. That's exactly what you'll come across when you travel into the Pitas Mangrove Forest in Rosob. This hidden gem in Sabah is so under the radar, it's not even registered on Google Maps yet! Save our map location below, it's near the SK Rosob school.
Did you know Sabah has the largest area of mangroves of any state in Malaysia? With over 232,000 hectares, mainly along Sabah’s east and southeast coast. Despite their looks, mangroves play an important role for humans, protecting communities from major storms. With lush greenery, calm waters and a certain sense of tranquillity, take a walk down the colourful bridge as there aren’t many places as idyllic and enchanting as this.
Location: Pitas Mangrove, Rosob, Sabah
Photo credits: Sabaheats.com
If you google "islands in Sabah", we're pretty sure the first few that pops up is Sipadan. But have you heard of this underrated island of Kudat?
Aptly dubbed the "Tip of Borneo", this stretch of beach leads up to the most northern point of Borneo and provides a tranquil view with white sands, clear blue waters and best of all, no crowds of people if you’d wish to have that extra privacy. Accessible to an array of villas and chalets around, finding a place to stay the night is as easy as ever. No beach trip is ever complete without taking an hour or two to catch the breathtaking sunsets.
Hounon Ridge Farm
Photo credits: @sesatinmalaysia IG
Would you like to feel like you’re in New Zealand? This closer to home destination is known to be the most family-friendly camping ground. Located 21km away from Kinabalu Park, imagine all that this scenic location has to offer: peace and quiet, stunning surroundings facing the mountain and sleeping under the stars. The camping fee is MYR20 per night or you can opt to book a room at MYR35/night.
Location: Kg. Himbaan, Bundu Tuhan,, 89308 Ranau, Sabah
Visit their page for more info Facebook: hounonridge
Photo credits: siakapkeli.com
If you’ve ever seen Jurassic Park in the movies, this mythical place located in Lahad Datu Sabah would make you feel like you’re in it. Test your endurance and trek across this 3 km river surrounded by a tall lush forest of fauna and flora. Do note that this trip would mean you’d be wading through the river most of the time, do make sure proper gear and shoes are worn and most importantly, enjoy the exploration of natural beauty.
Photo Credit: @hafffiss (Instagram)
Get your daily dose of nostalgic vibes at this newly opened cafe in Sarawak. Known for their Kopi Chai Latte Teduh Nadi, hit pause, take a break and head to this perfect cosy nook for a quick coffee pick-me-up. If your eye catches the sign of the hope wall, do leave your footprint behind and share your very own hope story and be inspired by the ones left by others.
Location: 30, Jalan Tabuan 93100 Kuching Sarawak
Opening Hours: 12:00 pm- 10:00 pm (closed Wed)
Photo credits: Olive Faith Langgi (Youtube)
This one’s for all the plant enthusiasts out there that probably found a new passion and love for plants during this whole pandemic.
The founder, Emil Hamlyn is a spirited, joyful soul and some may know him as the jovial celebrity gardener (follow him on Instagram @emilsgardenngalery, you’ll see why). This lovely nursery is located at Stephen Yong Road with endless options to choose from, leaving you spoilt for choice. Drop by and say hi, Emil would be more than happy to show you around the garden in search of your plant/gardening essentials.
Operating Hours: 9:00 am - 4.30 pm
Hidden Gems in Malaysia to visit after MCO
As soon as you’re inspired to take a trip again, pack your bags and take a road trip in Malaysia until borders for international travel are open again. Even if it's just in our Malaysian neighbourhood, there's so much for you to experience as you can see. You'll also be directly helping with someone's livelihood and boosting our economy, it's a bigger (and humbler) role anyone could have!
For those taking extra precautions but would like to get some fresh air out instead of lurking at home, you may want to take baby steps and travel somewhere closer to home. A quick reminder, let's abide by SOPs, stay safe and let's curb Covid 19 together!
Discovered a hidden gem of a location that you think we should include in this article? Let us know in the comments below!