February is a month of love, with Valentine's Day and Chap Goh Meh (Chinese Valentine's Day/15th day of the lunar new year) within just days of each other.
No money to spend during this season of love? No worries! Here are some places in Malaysia that you can head to, as well as activities that you can check out with your loved one that do not cost much.
Camping under the stars
If the idea of sleeping under the stars and being serenaded by crickets or cicadas appeals to you, then head outdoors for a night of romance. There are many places in Malaysia where you can go camping at night like Janda Baik and Kenong Rimba State Park (Pahang), Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Chiling Waterfall and Sungai Congkak Recreational Forest (Selangor) and Endau-Rompin National Park (Johor).
In Sabah, you can head to the Kota Belud district, where you can find several notable areas known for star-gazing activities and overnight camping.
Some of these are public areas, while others are parks that charge a minimal entry fee and/or camping fees. A few are also protected forests which may require a guide. If you’re worried about safety, you can always go with a group of friends and bring your own individual tents for privacy.
Pack a picnic
A picnic, whether it’s by the lake or in the middle of a beautiful botanical garden, is one of the most romantic outings for a couple.
Plan and prepare your picnic basket – light snacks and drinks are a must, but do remember to bring a mat to sit on, some napkins and perhaps a bottle of water too. Since it’s the season of love, why not throw in some chocolates or some other lovely desserts in the mix?
You can up your game by making all the food yourself, but if you’re not much of a cook, then it’s perfectly fine to buy everything. Go to your partner’s favourite coffeeshop or restaurant and get some dishes there.
Some good places for a picnic include Perdana Botanical Gardens, Bukit Kiara Park, Desa Parkcity Central Park, KLCC Park and Kepong Metropolitan Park in Kuala Lumpur; Putrajaya Lake in Putrajaya, and Taiping Lake Gardens in Perak.
Otherwise, you can also head to the nearest beach and have your picnic there.
On two wheels
If you’re a fit couple who share a love for exercise, then how about going cycling together? Malaysia is a top destination in South-East Asia for cycling so it definitely won’t be difficult to find a good route to try.
There’s no need to pack any food with you either as you can always pause for a snack along the way.
Some interesting routes for couple cycling are Putrajaya (stop for some yummy nasi lemak and roti jala), Bukit Cahaya in Shah Alam where you can cycle on a tarmac road surrounded by nature, Sekinchan where you can enjoy paddy field views (and eat fresh seafood), Genting Sempah in Bentong, Pahang (try the local desserts) and Bukit Kokol in Menggatal, Sabah where the air is just lovely.
Go for a walk
How well do you and your partner know your city? Discover lesser-known parts of your city by going on a walking tour. Many of the major cities or town in Malaysia have walking tours that you can check out, although not all of them are free of charge. Some are self-guided – just get a brochure or map from the tourist office, or download them from official state tourism websites – so you can do it at your own leisure.
There will be many opportunities to take that perfect Instagram shot, so be sure to bring your smartphones and power bank along.
Some of the walking tours available include Kuala Lumpur Heritage Trail, Jalan-Jalan Kampung Baru, KL Night Walk, Kuala Kangsar Royal Town Heritage Trail, Ipoh Heritage Trails, Melaka Heritage Trail, Johor Heritage Trail, George Town Heritage Trail and Sandakan Heritage Trail.
If you’re adventurous enough, you can also plan your own walking tour itinerary with foodstops along the way to refuel.
If you both enjoy taking photos and prefer something more urban, how about hitting the streets with your cameras (or smartphone if you prefer)? Discover the city’s wall art and other interesting nooks and corners and take couple photos together. Bring along a selfie stick to help you with this. From quirky and funny poses, to sweet and romantic gestures, this would be the ideal time to do them.
Since you’re in the city, you can also check out nice cafes and restaurants.
If you and your loved one are into the arts, then how about watching some cultural performances or visiting an art gallery?
A simple research online would yield plenty of options for you to choose from.
Some art galleries to check out in the Klang Valley include Galeri Petronas, Taksu, Ilham Gallery and Wei-Ling Gallery, and Hin Bus Depot Art Centre, Run Amok Gallery and Daiichi Modern Art Gallery in Penang.
For cultural experiences, go for a wayang kulit show at Gelanggang Seni in Kelantan.