Why you need to put Penang and Melaka on your Malaysian travel bucket list. Source: Shutterstock

MALAYSIA is undoubtedly one of the most exciting destinations in Asia and travelers travel from far and wide to discover it.

From the soaring tops of Kuala Lumpur city’s shiny skyscrapers to lush tropical greens and pristine beaches of East Malaysia, coupled with a diverse melting pot of cultures and incredible fusion cuisines, the Southeast Asian country provides endless adventures for both you and your appetite.

It goes without saying that a visit to Malaysia will not disappoint.

Beyond the Kuala Lumpur metropolis are two cities, Penang and Melaka, that are well worth visiting. Located on almost either ends of the peninsula, Penang in the north and Melaka along the south, the two heritage destinations are Malaysia’s pride and joy – and for a score of reasons.

Here is why you need to put Penang and Melaka on your Malaysian travel bucket list:

Delicious food for days

Be sure to visit both cities with an empty stomach and an excellent appetite because they are havens for some of Malaysia’s best local food.

Some of the signature “must-eat”s on the island of Penang include char koay teow (stir-fried rice cake strips, go for the duck egg option), assam laksa (spicy and sour fish noodles), nasi kandar (a variety of curry-based meat dishes and vegetables), curry mee (curry noodles), and oh chien (oyster omelette), just to name a few.

Assam laksa. Source: Shutterstock

Whereas in Melaka, along its bustling Jonker Street, you will stumble upon a variety of delicious street eats including chicken rice ball, cendol (a dessert of coconut milk, green starched noodles with pandan flavoring, shaved ice, and palm sugar), popiah (spring rolls), and more.

Insta-worthy streets

Both destinations boast artsy and vibrant streets which are sure to be the envy of your Instagram followers.

Pop by the charming streets of Georgetown on Penang island and challenge yourself to find as many Ernest Zacharevic-commissioned artworks as you can. Zacharevic is a talented Lithuanian which transformed the Georgetown streetscape over the years with some of his most popular murals including Boy on a Bike and Little Children on a Bicycle.

“Little Children on a Bicycle”. Source: Shutterstock

Melaka is no different, of course. Some of its biggest and most colorful street art can be found along the Melaka River so whip out your camera and start snapping!

Sites steeped in history

What good are heritage destinations if not for their historical sites?

Georgetown in Penang was listed as a Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008 with some of the best sightseeing spots such as the 114-year-old Kek Lok Si Temple, the Khoo Kongsi clan house, Fort Cornwallis, and the sprawling Botanical Gardens.

Christ Church. Source: Shutterstock

Bearing the name of Malaysia’s historical city for a reason, Melaka was inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008, boasting Christ Church (one of the oldest Protestant churches outside of Europe), the Stadthuys (the oldest-surviving Dutch building in the East), and A Famosa (a former Portuguese fortress).

Getting there: Thinking of flying direct between the two destinations? You are in luck because AirAsia has introduced a new domestic flight – Flight AK6284 – to its schedule which will take you from Penang to Melaka. Go here to book today.

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