“Malaysia is a bit more expensive than Thailand. The advantage of Malaysia, however, is that the locals are not so practiced in the arts of fleecing tourists.
The Batu Caves, near Kuala Lumpur, were no disappointment – truly spectacular. It probably isn’t worth spending more than two days in Kuala Lumpur itself, though.
The view from the Langkawi Sky Bridge, reached by cable car, is absolutely spectacular, and it was wonderfully relaxing to walk the quaint streets of Georgetown, Penang. In Sabah, the North Borneo Steam Railway is a great way to see some beautiful scenery.
“What I liked about Malaysia was that it isn’t crammed with tourists, and nobody hassles you to buy things. The Malaysians themselves are friendly, and were always happy to help us with directions when we got lost.
We were surprised at how rich it is: I had pictured it as a less developed country.
Another positive was the diversity of cultures and landscapes, and the exhilarating contrast between the old and the new.
We weren’t particularly blown away by the Batu Caves, because the surrounding area was full of litter.
You have to watch out in Malaysia, because you’re constantly going from the warm, humid outdoors to cool, air-conditioned interiors. I twice caught a cold.
They have a fantastically rich culinary tradition, and make creative combinations of Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and Western elements.
One of the highlights of our trip through Malaysia was a visit to the tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands. I’ve never seen such spectacular greens in all my life.
My other favorite was the town of Malacca, which is much more authentically Malaysian than Kuala Lumpur, and full of history and culture.” (T. D., 2016)
“The fact is… Malaysians are totally different to the people of Burma, Laos and Thailand. They strike me as more intelligent and refined, preferring peace and quiet to continually blasting some weird music. They don’t even like that screeching Thai karaoke. In general, the people we met throughout the country were friendly, good-natured and interested.
Malaysia itself is unbelievably rich in natural beauty, and its mountains, valleys, gorgeous coastlines, magical islands, diving paradises, lush rainforests, and evergreen landscape are all a balm to the soul. They take care of it, too – there are many national parks, all with good litter collection systems, and the parks and gardens of the city are all well-tended. Nor is the landscape simply a beautiful, deserted wilderness – it supports a huge diversity of tropical plant and animal life, which is at least one of the things this country is most famous for.
All movies filmed in Malaysia – and all Western films shown in public places – are censored, and in many instances so many scenes are cut that it becomes difficult to follow the story. Any scenes of passionate kissing, for instance, have to go, but if it simply shows a man hitting a woman then it can stay.
There is free Wi-Fi virtually everywhere in Malaysia. Not in the rainforests, of course, but you’ll find it even at run-down bus stops and cheap hotels.
The country is generally both well developed and reasonably priced, but the accommodation situation in Kuala Lumpur is a nightmare: There’s no cheap accommodation, and the cheapest on offer isn’t a room at all, but just a windowless, plywood cell. At least there’s air-con everywhere. With only 1.5 million inhabitants,
Kuala Lumpur is a dwarf compared to the other metropolises of Southeast Asia, but the traffic situation is still appalling. We arrived several times by bus, and always ended up in a horrendous traffic jam on the boulevard heading towards Central Station. On the other hand, at least the buses in Malaysia are almost all of the highest standing in terms of comfort – easily better than in Thailand. There are also VIP and Super-VIP categories, with seats as roomy and comfortable as in the business class of any upscale airline.” (2017)