Malaysia is one of those countries that many backpackers don’t make it to. Unlike Thailand with its infamous beach parties or Bali with its relaxing yoga retreats, Malaysia has no claim to fame. Most people only know of the country through its commercial, which proclaims, “Malaysia Truly Asia.” The video leaves you with vague conceptions of a country full of fireworks, chopsticks and Chinese people. Subsequently, not many backpackers put Malaysia on the list.
However, the truth is, Malaysia is one of the coolest countries in South East Asia if not the World. They do have fireworks, chopsticks and a bunch of Chinese people, but they also have beaches and islands just as spectacular as Thailand. They have a notorious nightlife in Kuala Lumpur, and an incredibly delicious diversity of culture, people and food. Not to mention, Malaysia is pretty darn cheap and clean, and as the people go, they couldn’t be friendlier. Whether you’re a budget backpacker or just plain holidaymaker, this is a country I highly recommend.
The People of Malaysia
In some countries the bringing together of different ethnicities and cultures has led to violent conflict. However, in countries like Malaysia, this has produced cooperation and a unique cultural mélange. The mixing of Chinese, Indian, and Malay people has created a society that is remarkably friendly and open-minded. It has also led to a diverse selection of foods and many hybrid dishes.
The Food of Malaysia
Malaysia has some of the best street food in the world. All your favorite Chinese, Indian, and traditional Malay foods are found in abundance at most night markets. If you’re in Penang, head to China town for some of the most delicious grandma made Won Ton soup in the world. If you’re in little India, in Kuala Lumpur, be sure to taste the simple yet delectable Indian pancake called Roti Prati. When it comes to Malay food, the Chili Pan Mee or any bowel of noodles you slurp down won’t disappoint you. Afterwards you can wash it all down with coconut milk or some of the best fresh fruit shakes found anywhere.
Islands of Malaysia
The islands of Thailand are known for their scooter crowded streets and virginity robbing full moon parties. It is no doubt the place to go if you’re looking to lose you sandals and have your drink drugged. However, if you’re in search of relaxing beach bungalows on remote and nearly tourist-less islands, Malaysia is the place. Some of the best islands in Malaysia are on the East coast near the border to Thailand such as Pulau Redang.
Cool Things to See and Do
Check out the night life in Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Bintang where girls drink for free.(Try Yoko’s Latin bar for some good beats)
Head to the viewing deck at the Petronas Towers (great Views of the city)
Get a “Special Massage” at the Alpha Hotel (guys only :))
Visit the Hindu Temple built into the Batu Caves (Incredible must see temple)
See the largest Budhha in Penang at Kek Lok Si Temple. (It’s massive!)
The truth is, Malaysia isn’t as cheap as Thailand but it is not much more expensive either. And in return for the extra cost, you get a country with advanced infrastructure and high quality transport services. For example, business class like bus seats between Melaka and Kuala Lumpur run for only 12 RM or 3.80$. Food, especially at the night market, goes for cheap too. You will generally be able to stuff yourself with goodness for under 3 bucks. Regarding accommodation, most dorms will only run for around 7 dollars, while the cheapest private rooms go for around 11$. Finally, when or if you’ve had enough of Malaysia, you can catch a flight out on their budget airlines, Air Asia, to anywhere in Asia for 100$ or less. Malaysia is not only very advanced and clean but it is also relatively cheap.
From Malaysia’s people and food to it’s magnificent islands and relatively cheap prices, the country of Malaysia is a little known paradise on Earth. It’s a good thing not many people know yet because once they do, it is sure to fill up just like Thailand. In agreement with their tourist bureau commercial, Malaysia truly is a country where the diversity of Asia can be experienced all in one place.