As a traveller, there are things you should know and should do and there are things you should not! After a while, it all gets easier. But not all countries are the same. Malaysia, is one unique place on earth which you can least expect the best and what it has to offer. Here are some MUST-KNOWs
It is a no brainer that Malaysia is known for its food. Jalan Alor is the place to go if you are looking for a variety of foods. Chinese, Malay, Indian, French or even Japanese. But when you are there, make sure that you check the prices before ordering. If you are in doubt, request for the price or go to another stall. This is most important if you are a tourist. Another place that you can go is to Lot 10 Shopping Centre. You get the best hawker foods in the luxury of a food court.
There is a limit to great food. Most will tell you to look for hawker food or to mamak stalls. But if the place do not look too enticing or hygienic, run away! No matter how good the food is. There is no point risking your bowel system for a moment of good food. So, although it is a bit pricier, eat at shopping malls.
Drugs means death
Drug trafficking in Malaysia carries the DEATH PENALTY! There is no 2-ways about it. If you are not looking for trouble, don’t bring drugs. Also, if you are clubbing or enjoying the night life, there might be people selling drugs in these outlets. If you do not feel comfortable, leave the premises. If they approach you, just tell them NO! its better to be safe than sorry.
Passport your only ID
No one knows who you are if you do not have your ID. In a foreign country, your passport is your only form of identification. Your home I/D bears no meaning here. So, wherever you go, bring your passport with you. It might be cumbersome but it will be worth it if you are stopped by the police or when asked for identification
Going around on public transport
Malaysia’s public transportation system is quite good. In fact, the train and railway systems in the city is among the most efficient. But if you are going around and you are not the explorative type, you might want to use ride-sharing services. Grab is the main mobile app here. There really is no point relying on taxis. They never use the meter and you will end up paying a lot more than you are supposed to. Grab is controlled and you can be sure of getting to where you want at an affordable price.
Drive your own?
This is one of the many things tourists like to consider. You might want to rent your own car to get around. But take note:
- Malaysia practices right hand drive. If you are from the US, then this might be a problem for you
- Traffic laws – You will encounter speed traps and police blocks in most major cities like Johor, Ipoh, Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Abide by the rules and you will be fine
- Roadside assistance – if you encounter an accident, call the car rental company. NEVER use roadside assistance who approaches you.
Malaysia has a strong multi-cultural background of people. Here are some major tips:
- Malaysians take off their shoes before entering a house
- They usually shake hands and give things using the right and NEVER the left! You won’t want to know why
Believe it or not, Malaysia has everything you look for in a tourist destination. Except SNOW! There are highlands, islands, seaside resorts, rainforests, caves, city centres, villages, stilt homes, historical buildings, architecture wonders, religious places of worship, great food, red light districts, intelligent cities and many more. The only thing you cannot find here is snow, but you can go to the highlands to enjoy some cool weather though. Ultimately, you get to choose what you like, so choose wisely because you can never cover everything. If that is what you want, you might need to come here a few times.
Whatever you do, never dress indecently. Be sensitive to the people here because some of them are quite religious. If you really need to dress up (or indecently), do that at the clubs. Even if that is so, do this in moderation. There is no need to get overly excited even if you are going out for a good time. If you are visiting the places of interest, it is all the more important to cover as many of your body parts as possible.