Our original travel plans didn’t include Malaysia, it was bad weather in the Philippines that led us here, and now that we’ve spent 3 weeks in this beautiful country I’m wondering why we would of missed it. It’s been a while since we’ve provided a list of our hints and highlights, so with Malaysia being a less popular destination for backpackers we thought we’d get back on it.
- Spend as much time as possible in George Town. It’s a real treat for the eyes, nose and stomach. With so many sights to take in, so much food to try, you could never tire of wandering the streets searching for street art, eating curries in Little India or Laska from street cafes.
- Be confident when crossing the road otherwise you will just stand there for hours. Hold your palm up and make eye contact with the driver, forcing him to stop and let you by…believe me I’ve tried it and I’m still alive.
- Take the trip to Borneo and stay with a family. The locals are so friendly and there’s animals galore. A trip to Semenggoh is a definite must.
- The heat can get too much in the cities and the highlands are really accessible. If you like sleeping with an actual quilt instead of a sheet get yourself to the Cameron Highlands.
- Like most places in Asia, do things early. Not only do you miss the midday heat, but you skip the crowds too. This is an essential tip if you want to see any animals, especially the monkeys, they do get scared off and the likelihood is that you won’t see one in the afternoon, unless at a scheduled feeding. Though if you want a guaranteed viewing, head to a zoo.
- Don’t be scared of bus travel, the coaches here are some of the best we’ve been on. Huge reclining seats (that you don’t have to share), good air con and the added bonus of no loud music or bad smells.
- Drink tea, eat cake and pastries to your hearts content. BOH tea is some of the best and the apple pies and scones can rival those back home in England.
- Visit a tea plantation, it smells better than Yorkshire tea.
- Wear lots of mozzie spray in the jungles, the bites we’ve had have been some of the worst. Huge and unbearably itchy, even our favoured Tiger Balm can’t save us!
- If you’re female and plan on going anywhere alone, factor in an extra 15 minutes. People will stop you at every opportunity to ask where you’re from and how you are.
The highlights, as always, are hard to narrow down.
For Kyle it’s an obvious boys choice, food. Especially the curry’s from Little India, Penang. He also enjoyed the coolness of the Highlands and taking a break from the sweating, visiting a tea plantation and enjoying fresh BOH tea. The obvious highlight for us both was seeing the orangutangs and being able to get so close, seeing them in their natural habitat and getting to meet the new arrivals was brilliant. I have also enjoyed the feel of Malaysia as a whole, the architecture is stunning and not something I’m usually blown away by, but the old colourful buildings have really got my eye. Again the people have been so welcoming and friendly, and the diverse mix of ethnicities and religions is something to feel inspired by. I suppose I should say that the walkings actually been ok too, I don’t know how I’ve survived it but it’s been pretty good. Oh and being able to get decent puddings has been amazing! I'm an absolute cake lover so the scones, moon cakes and pies have been a dream. (Don't worry Poppy, Selina and Cindy, they're not quite as good as yours)
Overall, if you like good food, happy people, animals, culture and architecture then Malaysia is the place for you! I certainly will be putting it on my list of places that I would like to visit again soon!
Love Carrie xxx