If I had to choose only one word to describe Malaysia it will be “diversity”. I’ve never been to a country that spreads such great cultural liberalism and variety! In March 2017 I spent some wonderful 3 weeks in West Malaysia. The time was enough to experience the amazing diversity of this country when it comes to culture, religion, nature, sightseeing and the local cuisine! Malaysia is the exotic dream because of its amazing “Always Summer” climate too! There are so many wonderful destinations to visit – from highly spiritual, to very modern places, or such where you can reconnect with the breathtaking nature of Mother Earth! Malaysia is the best country to enjoy the flair of South East Asia without sharing all the best spots with tonnes of tourists! Visit Malaysia now, before it turns as touristy as its neighbour countries.
Reasons To Visit Malaysia
1. The Extremely Friendly People
I have good friends from all over the World, but before going to Malaysia I’ve never had a chance to meet anyone from this beautiful country! The very first person from Malaysia I talked to was the girl sitting right next to me in the flight from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur. She was one of the kindest “strangers” I’ve ever been talking to in my entire life. The girl told me pretty much everything about how to make the best of our stay in Malaysia. She gave me the best tips on how to do like a local in order to save money and time!
I was absolutely surprised about how open and helpful she was, but she was the first of all different kind persons we met during our stay in Malaysia! When we arrived in Kuala Lumpur (KL) we talked to many locals and we realized how warm, kind and friendly all Malaysians are! Maybe because of the overly rich cultural and religious background, but the Malay people are absolutely welcoming and open to any kind of cultural diversity!
2. The “Always” Warm Weather
I’m the greatest “Warm-Weather-Junkie” who loves and reckons the one and only Sun God! Malaysia has the best weather I could imagine for myself. One of the girls I met during my holidays told me something very serious “You know, we have four seasons too – warm, hot, hotter, the hottest”. And then she laughed at me! Even during the monsoon season, it is still hot in Malaysia! In March it was raining for 30 minutes in the afternoon, maybe every second day. The rain in South Asia is the mother of all rains:
“We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain … and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath.” – Forrest Gump
But the funny thing about it – only 15 minutes after the rain, every single raindrop was gone!!! And this is the reason why Kuala Lumpur the greenest capital is I’ve ever seen so far.
3. Malaysia is a Cultural Hub
All Asian cultures are presented and respected in Malaysia. Additionally, there is a colourful mixture of people from all over the World who live here. Malaysia is a country of many different cultures and beliefs and there is enough place for everybody! The Malays are about 50% of the population, about 25% Chinese, 10-12% Indians and the rest is Orang Asli or the “aboriginal people” in Malay. The same situation is the religion.
The Malay live in a peaceful environment full of respect and admiration for each other! The people of Malaysia practice Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism and others. They live together. They respect each other.
The Malay build their Hindu temple right next to the Buddha temple, right next to the Mosque, and right next to the Church. They celebrate all kinds of religious and cultural holidays. They celebrate all together. And yes, they have many holidays during the year!
4. The Language
Malaysia is home to many cultures and people from all over the world! Therefore, as a foreigner you won’t have problems because of your language skills – all Malays speak at least Manglish! Manglish is the colloquial form of spoken English here, which has a heavy influence on Malay or Chinese language. Peninsular Malaysia is represented by speakers of 41 different languages! The most common are Malay, Sarawak, Chinese, Tamil, Thai and of course English.
5. OMG, the Food!
Malaysia is the worst country if you’re on a diet! Don’t do it during your vacation, do it after your vacation! There is nothing you cannot eat here! The richness of Malaysian cuisine is nothing I was expecting it to be! The whole World meets in your stomach and celebrates the existence of delicious Malay food! If you ask me what the traditional Malaysian food is? The very delicious food is the traditional food! Again, it is influenced by Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Indian cultures and often is very spicy. You’ll find a lot of rice and noodle dishes, but the Malays eat a lot of meat and vegetable too! And my favourite part – the variety of tropical fruits! Welcome to Heaven!
6. Malaysia is a Budget Friendly Destination
If you’re living in the USA, Australia or Western Europe you will definitely consider Malaysia as a budget-friendly destination. Anyway, the country is much more expensive than Thailand, Cambodia or Indonesia. I would say that the price level is very similar to the price level in Eastern Europe.
7. The Modern Architecture
The city of Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic example of modern architecture in Malaysia! The skyline in KL is terrific and probably one of the most iconic in Asia! The most well-known buildings are the Petronas Twin Towers, which also are the highest Twin buildings in the World!
8. The Infrastructure and Transport
The Infrastructure and transport in Malaysia were nothing I had in mind before visiting the country! If you have some pictures in your mind from Thailand where the whole family enjoys a single roller at the same time? Or from Vietnam, where you wait like half an hour if you want to cross the street? Or a picture of an insanely crowded train in India? Malaysia is different! This country has blown my mind by how well-developed the infrastructure is! In fact, it is waaaay better than the infrastructure in the Balkan countries! The public transport in KL is even better than the public (stinky) transport in Paris for example – much cleaner, modern and always on time!
9. The Chinatowns
I’m the biggest fan of Chinatowns! I could stay here for hours while searching for the next “must buy” thing! And in Malaysia, I was definitely a “lucky girl”! We visited several Chinatowns in these three weeks, the largest of which was in George Town, Penang. In this Chinatown, you can see the Kuan Yin Teng Temple which has more than 200 years of history to share with its visitors.
Hindu Temples, Buddha Temples, all kinds of Temples! They are everywhere in Malaysia and I love them! My favourite Hindu Temple is definitive the Temple in Batu Caves. And my favourite Buddha Temple – the Kek Log Si in Penang!
11. Tea Plantations
As I saw the pictures of the Cameroon Highlands on Google, I was sure I’m going to visit Malaysia this year! The flora and fauna in this mountain region are more than just stunning! The Cameron Highlands are located right in the heart of the Malaysian peninsula and is also well known for their diverse wildlife but most of all for their tea plantations! If you are travelling to Malaysia, make sure that the tea plantations of Cameroon Highland have a place on your bucket list!
12. Colonial Architecture
Malaysia has a very long colonial history! A good evidence for this is the colonial architecture as the country has been ruled by the British, Portuguese and Dutch! Best examples of colonial architecture can be seen in Cameroon Highlands, George Town and Melaka.
13. OMG the Beaches!
“Life is better at the beach” in Malaysia! Why are the tropical beaches in Malaysia better than the beaches in Thailand for example? It is still less touristy and nature is still virgin! Malaysia is not that well known for its waterfront, but it has miles of coastline and plenty of beautiful beaches! Anyway, the best beaches are located in the tropical paradise of the South China Sea – the islands Pulau Redang, the Perhentians, Pulau Tioman and the beaches of Borneo.
14. Diving and Snorkelling
One of the best reasons to visit Malaysia is for the chance to go diving and snorkelling. This country has some of the best coral reefs in the world! The best examples where you can enjoy marine nature and wildlife are again the islands Pulau Redang, the Perhentians, Pulau Tioman and the beaches of Borneo. Here you can see pretty everything – coral reefs, huge turtles, whale sharks, reef sharks, skatefish, giant mussels, barracudas … and you will find Nemo and Dori too!
15. The Rainforests and Wildlife
If you want to discover Malaysia’s authentic wildlife – go for a (guided) trekking tour! The National Park Taman Negara and the jungle of Borneo are the perfect places for such an experience! Malaysia has the greatest diversity when it comes to wildlife: big cats (e.g. Indochinese tiger, the Malayan tiger, the Indochinese leopard), rhinoceros, the tapir, Asian elephants, orang-utans, gibbons, macaques, all kinds of monkeys, langurs and many, many others! Unfortunately, Malaysia is home to 250 reptile species to, among which 150 different kinds of snakes (which terrifies me a lot!). If you go for some trekking experience in the jungle, I would recommend you to book a guided tour – you don’t want to become a continental breakfast, right?
If you love travelling and spending your holidays in beautiful and tropical countries, you definitely need to visit Malaysia! Of course, there are plenty of reasons why you should choose Malaysia among all other countries in South East Asia, but these are my top 15!
You Might Be Interested In
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