Malaysia is a renowned multicultural country with a diverse population in the eyes of the world. You’ll gain more than just experience and memories with every visit to Malaysia as travelers learn a lot about local culture and celebrations among the different races and religions – Malay, Chinese, Indian and many other ethnic groups in the country.
Generally, Westerners can enter Malaysia without applying for visa as a 30, 60 or 90 days entry permit will be issued to travelers once they get into the country. However, some nationalities are required to obtain a tourist visa on arrival. Travelers from Israel, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Montenegro are required to gain permission from Malaysia Ministry of Home Affairs prior to their trip in Malaysia.
Malaysia Airports & Airlines
Tourists can choose to travel into Malaysia by plane either by taking the national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) or the world’s best low cost airline AirAsia. International flights will land at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) while those who take no frills carrier AirAsia, passengers will land at KLIA2 or formerly LCC Terminal slightly further away from KLIA. Besides the capital city, Kuala Lumpur, foreigners usually flock into other hotspots such as Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi and Penang.
Once you reach KLIA or KLIA2, you can either take a bus, Express Rail Link or taxi to get into Kuala Lumpur city centre. It takes about an hour to get to city centre from airport. There are 13 states and 3 federal territories in Malaysia. Once you touch down in Malaysia, you have to explore not only Kuala Lumpur but also other historic towns and cities such as Penang, Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Labuan and plenty more.
Generally, traveling around Peninsular Malaysia is convenient and affordable thanks to no frills low cost carrier, AirAsia. In addition to AirAsia, passengers can also travel by Firefly or MAS to get around the country. These carriers offer competitive rates to boost tourism industry in the country. For those who would like to embark on a road trip, you may rent a car, take a bus or train from one state to another. Overall, the transportation system between states is quite efficient.
However, if you intend to spend few days in other less developed state such as Kuantan, Ipoh, Perlis et ct, geared up as you either have to walk long distance to visit all the state’s tourist hotspot or hire a cab. Therefore, it is recommended to hire a rental car to travel when you are holidaying in these states.
Festivals & Celebrations
Travelers are advised not to travel to Malaysia during peak tourist seasons – from December until end of January. This is because major public holidays such as Christmas, Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Puasa/ Aidilfitri and school holidays last between these two months. The hotels and accommodations are fully booked during peak tourist seasons.
However, for those who would like to enjoy local festive celebrations, then you just have to plan ahead and book the hotels few months earlier. During festive seasons such as Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Christmas, there are plenty of open houses organized by the government for people from different races to enjoy the celebrations and holidays together harmoniously.
Basically, Malaysia is a hot and humid country. Therefore, bring light and comfortable clothes if you plan to go sightseeing in the country. However, do take note on the dress code in Malaysia (since there is a mix of many religions but predominantly Muslims).
Westerners traveling in Asian countries can be rewarding and challenging at the same time as you do not know the local language (that will complicate matters and your journey in that particular country). But in Malaysia, no worries if you do not know how to converse in Malay Language since English is widely spoken nationwide especially in capital cities and tourists hotspots.
Various exciting and fun-filled activities await you in Malaysia. From golfing in world class courses to shopping, diving to outdoor activities, there is always something out there for you! Every year, a number of golf enthusiasts flocked into the country as Malaysia is a well-known golfers’ paradise in the world. So perhaps, you can try golfing in Kuala Lumpur while enjoying the scenic view of Petronas Twin Towers.
Among some of the must visit spotlight destinations in Malaysia are Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Pulau Redang, Pulau Pangkor, Langkawi, Mount Kinabalu, Endau Rompin Park and Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park.
Penang for foreigners
The beautiful Penang was voted as a Food Haven by New York Times Readers for scrumptious and mouth-watery local delicacies such as laksa, prawn mee, char kuey teow and plenty more hawkers’ food. In addition to that, beach lovers must also visit Batu Feringghi which is on the northern side of the island. Devout Buddhists must not miss out the opportunity to check out the reclining Buddha in Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple.
Other than the above mentioned Batu Feringghi, beach lovers also must spend some quality time with your loved ones at beautiful tranquil Pangkor Island and the pristine Redang Island. These are some of the must visit spotlight destinations in the country.
On the other hand, here are some city excitement attractions – Penang Museum and Art Gallery, Jalan Temenggong Kelantan, Petronas Twin Tower, Blue Mosque in Selangor, Cultural Handicraft Complex in Negeri Sembilan, Jonker Walk in Malacca and Jalan Satok Sunday Market in Sarawak.
For those who missed out the opportunity to try food in Penang, do not be disappointed as Malaysia is a food haven. Travelers can still get delicious and delightful delicacies nationwide. Dining in Malaysia is affordable and inexpensive. Among some of the must-try food are char kuey teow, nasi lemak, nasi briyani, roti canai, satay, prawn mee, asam laksa, teh tarik and plenty more.
Top 10 things to do in Malaysia are shopping, eco-adventure, events/festivals, hill resorts, spa & wellness, culture/homestay and hill resorts.
Local Markets and Bazaars
Exciting experience awaits you in Malaysia’s rich ecosystem – from Niah Caves to Gua Tempurung, Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary to Royal Belum Forest, as well as Mulu Caves and Gunung Ledang. And similar to any other country, Malaysia also has its own version of Chinatown which is more commonly known as Petaling Street among locals. Shopaholics can purchase anything here from electronic gadgets to toys, t-shirts and even incense. Just remember to bargain with vendors or they’ll take advantage of you.
Travelers and holiday makers can travel all-year round as Malaysia has plenty of world class and local events to entertain you. One of the best events available annually in Malaysia is the Rainforest World Music Festival that features talented indigenous musicians from Indonesia, India, Canada, Russia, Burkina Faso, Japan, Iran, France, Peru and our local musicians from Sarawak. Other must-see festivals in Malaysia are Harvest Festivals in Sarawak and Sabah.
Where are the Budget Hotels
Malaysia offers wide array of accommodation from budget hotels to world-class services city hotels, as well as fascinating island and beach resorts. For those who would like to enjoy great stay but have limited budget for accommodation, perhaps you can book for rooms in Tune Hotel. Run by Tune Group Company, the concept is pretty much similar to Air Asia – no frill hotels.
Tune Hotels can be found in Danga Bay, Johor Bahru; Kota Kinabalu, Kota Damansara, KLIA-LCCT Airport, Downtown Kuala Lumpur, Waterfront Kuching and Penang. The hotels offer three luxuries to visitors – bed, shower and security. Visitors can request for additional services such as toiletries, wireless internet connection and air-conditioner by paying a little extra.
Foreigners who would like to experience village-style living can learn more about Malaysia’s multi-racial culture and practices, then homestay would be one of the best choices available for you to mingle with the locals. Homestay enables you to pick up lessons on preparing local delicacies, to harvest local fruits and cultural performances will entertain you in the evenings.
So all in all, homestay is an excellent choice for you to learn about Malaysia’s multi-racial culture. It can be fun and safe for foreigners. Instead of staying in world-class city hotels, you have a choice of staying far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.