Malaysia: A Complete Guide



*This post is contributed by Ellie Jo for Blissful Snapshots. Featured photo from Pixabay

When it comes to travel, many of us stick to the same old beaten track that friends and family members have been on before us. Who can blame us? We listen to them preaching about their trip and admire their holiday snaps while they are aware, eventually deciding that we want to share that experience too. 

Surveys have shown that the majority of us tend to book trips to the Caribbean (Jamaica in particular), Cancun in Mexico, or US territories such as San Juan in Puerto Rico or Hawaii. But when it comes to travel, the world is your oyster, and you don’t have to limit your experience to the same places that everyone else visits. 

Why not look for somewhere a little different when planning your next vacation? For now, let’s take a look at Malaysia. This Southeast Asian country has a whole lot to offer holidaymakers and should be somewhere where you seriously consider taking a trip.

Planning Your Trip

When visiting Malaysia, you need to decide whether you intend to visit for a week or so, or even longer. If you have a short trip, you’re likely to stay in one area, and it’s best to remain there in order to make the most of it rather than trying to branch out further. This could merely end up in you trying to cram too much in and not living each experience to its utmost potential. 

If you’re staying for longer, you can afford to travel a little further across the country, ticking multiple locations or experiences off your bucket list or travel checklist. Either way, one of the most important things that you need to secure is your accommodation. After all, this can make or break a trip. 

You need it to be of a high standard to fully enjoy yourself and feel comfortable returning to it at the end of long days out. If you are staying for a short period, search for high-quality hotels. If you are staying for longer, consider taking a look at property for rent, as this will essentially provide you with a home away from home and could save you a lot of cash in the long run. 

You should also know what to pack for your trip. Make an itinerary of things that you want to do beforehand, as this will allow you to pack appropriately. If you’re going for a relaxing beach holiday, you will need more swimwear, sarongs, and light items of clothing. 

If you’re going for a city break, you will need practical footwear. If you are going to be trekking rural areas, you will need more specialist equipment. Always look at weather forecasts and pack sufficient sun protection and sun aftercare.

*Image Credit - Pexels

Kuala Lumpur

When it comes to travel, it’s generally best to seek out the capital of any given location that you intend to visit. Why? Because it is bound to give you bang for your buck! Major cities are often packed with tourist sites and hotspots and have plenty to see and do around the clock. 

The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, doesn’t disappoint on this front. Covering 243 kilometres squared of land and called home by over 1.5 million people, it really is all hustle and bustle. The modern skyline is dominated by the Petronas Twin Towers, which are iconic skyscrapers reaching 88 stories in height. Experience the astounding cityscape from the top floors by purchasing tickets in advance and walk the skywalk between the two if you dare! 

If you enjoy heights and crave even more, you could also visit the Kuala Lumpur Tower. Again, you can make your way to the top and look out across the city from the viewing or observation deck or even the sky deck. If you fancy more cultural attractions, check out the city’s Islamic Arts Museum. It is open plan and has four floors’ worth of exhibits. 

For the more scientifically minded than arts-oriented, there’s also the Petrosains Science Discovery Centre (this is interactive and located within the Petronas Towers).

*Image Credit - Pexels

Borneo

Borneo is a huge, rugged island existing in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago. It is actually shared by the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, as well as Indonesian Kalimantan, and the small nation of Brunei. So what does this island have to offer? 

Well, Borneo is best known for its ancient equatorial rainforests, which are extremely biodiverse and serve as a home to hundreds of thousands of species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, and fish. Perhaps most popular among these often prove to be the Bornean Orangutan. This is a highly intelligent primate (sharing 97% of its DNA with us) that sports signature orange hair. 

Today they are critically endangered due to habitat destruction and poaching, but Borneo is the only place where you can see them in the wild. The rainforests also provide a home for the Proboscis Monkey (with its unmissable nose), the Bornean Slow Loris, Pygmy Squirrels, Flying Squirrels, Rhinoceros, Pygmy Elephants, the Borneo Bay Cat, Clouded Leopards, and the semi-aquatic Sunda Otter-Civet to name just a few species that attract a lot of attention in the region. 

In order to see as many of these creatures at once, consider visiting National Parks where you will be able to spot them in the natural habitats they’re meant to live in. This is so much more rewarding than endorsing animal cruelty and the violation of animal rights by seeing them in a zoo or safari park complex. 

The Gunung Mulu National Park is perhaps your best bet if you want to witness as many natural marvels in one trip as possible. It has stunning and accessible caves, old-growth tropical rainforests, and natural oddities such as the Pinnacles formation on Mount Api. It’s World Heritage listed for a reason!

*Image Credit - Pexels

Penang

Penang is a Malaysian state that comprises mainland Seberang Perai and Penang Island. The state capital lies on Penang Island and is called George Town. This area of Malaysia is extremely interesting due to its cultural diversity. The area has been profoundly affected by years’ worth of colonial influence, and this can be seen in colonial landmarks such as the Fort Cornwallis, Khoo Kongsi (a Chinese clan house), and the Kapitan Keling Mosque. 

These sites are all worth visiting in their own right. The area has long served as a link between some of Asia’s great kingdoms, as well as being an important outlet to Europe and the Middle East. As well as combining various cultural influences, it also balances the traditional and the modern. You can expect to see plenty of traditional sights such as trishaws still being used, tea houses, and joss smoke. 

However, there are modern additions to the art scene, festivals, and carnivals. If you do choose to visit this area, consider stopping by the Tropical Spice Gardens in Teluk Bahang. This is a beautifully landscaped haven filled with more than 500 species of tropical flora and fauna. You can purchase an audio guide which will take you on a low-speed adventure across terraced gardens, teaching you about all of the plants that inhabit the space.

These are just a few things to consider when planning a vacation to Malaysia and a brief overview of just three different places in the region that you can visit. There is, of course, a lot more to take into consideration and plenty of other places that you might enjoy, but hopefully, this will get your imagination going and get you started with planning your journey and stay on the right foot!




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