Malaysia – review
The country is interesting, vibrant, diverse, and. for the amateur.
For a lover to learn and experience other and different things. But for the connoisseur of rest in the style of Turkish ollinclusives, or even a Thai resort option – options are possible. For fans of recreation in an understandable and not tearing patterns – it can also be difficult. For local specifics here is enough. And it is various and breaks habitual perception in different directions. Everything is mixed up here, including India, China, Europe, Asia, oil, palm trees, Petronas skyscrapers and rats in the streets, the graceful Portuguese architecture of Murdek Square and road-crawling monkeys, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, local cults and Chinese traditions. Mixed in, but not digested. And it all collapses on your senses with a mishmash of smells, sounds, hot streets, cold air conditioning, stuffiness, humidity, visual flux, and if you are not used to it, it explodes the brain. Of course, you can soften this with a cool and comfortable tourist bus and excursions to iconic places. But would that be the real Malaysia?
I would divide a trip through this country into two main parts – urban and natural. The cities are “ugh.” I would even say “Ugh!” Nature is not pumped up here too, although the beach and tourist infrastructure is a South-East Asia with a Muslim accent. The region is predominantly Islamic.
I’ll tell you what I saw.
Kuala Lumpur was like a blow, to dive into a humid, stuffy mishmash of sounds, smells, faces, cultures, languages. I have told you a little about this city, although it seems to me that it is inexhaustible. Staying there for a long time may not be worth it, yet it tires even the most habitual person. Well, maybe only a fan of immersion in such a rich broth can enjoy it for a long time, and the rest, not to boil, it is better to sip a spoonful. Moreover, it is quite convenient, because Kuala Lumpur is a huge transport hub and the home of the main Asian low-cost carrier (although it is not very “low” anymore) Air Asia and many trans-Asian routes pass through it. That’s how you can – use the transit and see the city, or fly here from somewhere else, stop for a day or two and go on by land.
Pinang and its main city, Georgetown. There hasn’t been much about it here either.
I call Georgetown “Kuala Light,” which means it’s the same mix of cultures, but with a “human face,” everything is smaller, simpler, more homely.
And it’s easier to breathe, after all the island – the sea, beaches and nature are very close. And again, the ideal – the city “walk on foot, and then a motorcycle – and around the island.
Langkawi is probably the most famous and most visited beach tourist island in Malaysia. It is where most of the tour packages for Malaysian beach vacations are sold. The more usual beach-tourist infrastructure is concentrated here – great hotels and attractions for this type of vacation. But from this side I don’t know it at all. For me, Langkawi is all about nature. Most of the island is covered with rainforests. The very, very real jungle that you don’t see everywhere else. These are the same lush green hats, tiered and constantly ringing, crackling, chomping and squawking, full of abundant life. Langkawi is worth a visit just to see these forests.
Pangkor – a very small but quite interesting island, mostly for beach pleasures, but with the possibility of trips to the surrounding area, especially since the road goes along the entire coast – such a circular, you can see the island and stop in some places.
And there are interesting Hindu and Chinese temples and pieces of the Portuguese fort and beautiful views. In addition, apparently because of its small size and lack of airport, the island has bypassed the “big tourism” and the atmosphere is very homelike, the beaches are very cool, natural, with good sand and water entry, without rows of sun beds and umbrellas, hotels are small and very cozy in a village way.
Thus an infrastructure very good, all necessary is. Well, except that the Internet problematic, but it is a specificity of all small islands.
Malaysian Borneo and Guyana. Places are not the most famous, so tell me more about it. We got there by chance, I actually wanted to go to Singapore. But when we stopped by the Air Asia office in Thai Chiang Mai to see where we could fly to tomorrow or so, we stumbled upon a ticket promotion to Kota Kinabalu. “Where’s that?” – we hovered (this was back in the pre-smartphone and ubiquitous-internet days). “I think it’s Borneo,” I murmured uncertainly. Malaysia? Indonesia? Here it should be clarified that most of Borneo belongs to Indonesia, which at the time was a visa-free island, and a slice belongs to Malaysia, to which we could fly without any problems. We bent to the window, “Kota Kinabalu – what country is that? Malaysia?” “Yes, yes, Malaysia,” the cashier said cheerfully. Well, that’s where we wanted to go. So we bought a flight to distant Borneo, about which we knew next to nothing (and then very few people knew, and the information on the Internet was not the same as it is now).
We arrived in Kota Kinabalu in the evening. The city seemed more like a Chinese city.
And the cuisine was immediately different, the soups exuded not the heat of chili peppers, as in Thailand, or the invariable Indian curry (and in Kuala, yes in Ramadan, we were hostages of Indian eateries), but garlic. However, the soup was excellent. But where to live here – it was not clear. Although we were in the center, we didn’t see anything that looked like a hotel. And we wanted to find a place to stay and put our things. We had to go another way – to search for internet cafe and to get the necessary information from the few pieces of information from those who have visited. But so we did and settled down. The second task was to understand what to do here. The evening and morning reconnaissance has led to a conclusion that there are variants here, but they do not suit us. For example, there are some interesting places in the neighborhood, but it was impossible to take a motorcycle by ourselves. It was necessary to get in touch with excursions, drivers and the like. We didn’t want that at all, so we decided to go away from here, for example to one of the neighboring islands, where the ships went. That island turned out to be Guyana.
It turned out that you can feel like Robinsons here. The island is a nice little hotel with houses in the sea on stilts, a small number of local people, whom we did not even find, except for a few members of staff and a couple of tourists, I think besides us – either left when we arrived, or the opposite arrived when we left.
The main part of the island is mountainous and covered with jungle. In which there are many, many wild monkeys. And it really was. It was this part of the island’s population that was most disturbing. When swimming, it was impossible to leave things on the shore because of them. We had to tie everything tightly to a tree and keep watch. And in general, it was desirable for someone not to go away from them. Yes, yes, just like that, and that on a deserted shore, where we were alone, and an approaching person, if any, we would see from afar. There were also varanas swimming between the huts,
a wild boar once jumped out on the shore, and there were a lot of starfish on the bottom of the beaches. All in all, that’s the life here. The first day we wandered along the coast, swam, and enjoyed the quiet in the evening.
But the next day came out the storm – I was raised to meet the sunrise. Well, where to go. Although, of course, the awakening tropical island was beautiful.
After breakfast, we also had serious plans – we went deep into the island – in the mountains and jungle. There is such a trail, well, more like just a path through the woods all over the island. We set off, straight into the humid heat and dense shade under the jungle canopy. They are not the same here as, for example, on Langkawi. Here, perhaps, an even rarer biocenosis is the primary jungle. It is characterized by the absence of tiering. That is, the forest consists of tall trees with dense crowns at the top and minimal undergrowth, because it cannot grow in constant darkness.
But the so-called secondary jungle – it emerges and develops differently, the whole space is overgrown there, and it is much more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to move (remember the scenes in movies, when the heroes cut their way through). Here it was easier to walk, in the sense that nothing was in the way, but… scary. Because the ground was covered with a layer of fallen leaves. And what and who was under them? Poisonous insects? Snakes? We tried to walk, stomping and patting the ground with a picked up stick, in the expectation that the critters themselves will leave the road, hearing and feeling the suspicious sounds and vibrations. Still, we did catch one snake. I heard it by the characteristic sound (it is difficult not to make noise among dry leaves). I heard it, but we could not see it at once, even knowing that it was here somewhere. Amazing mimicry. Even in the photo, where the frame is pointing at her, it’s not so easy to see her.
In general, excellent trekking turned out, and exercise and interesting, such a forest, so unhiked, though with a special hiking trail marked for tourists, not often meet. Going down and out of the forest to the hotel, we went for a swim in the sea, although caught low tide and swimming was very specific. But still it was great to lie in the shallow water.
And then a boat trip and Kota Kinabalu again, where we caught a mind-blowing sunset.
Airplane to airport to Kuala. Immersion in a whole other world.
Summary: Malaysia is less of a relaxing country, there are other places for that. But for the interested and learning, open to new and different – a great place.
12 amazing facts about Malaysia that you probably did not know.
Often tourists ignore this country, going to more popular Singapore, Thailand or Indonesia.
But if you take the time to take a closer look at Malaysia, you will be surprised to find that this country has a rich cultural heritage, wonderful people, and the food in Malaysia is worthy of all praise.
So, here are some of the facts about Malaysia that you probably didn’t know:
1. Malaysia is the most multicultural country in Asia
Only 50% of the population of the country is indigenous Malaysians. The remaining 50% are distributed as follows: 23% are Chinese, 7% are Indians, and 12% are minorities.
The official religion in Malaysia is Islam. About 61% of the population is Muslim, but there are also Buddhists, Christians, and Hinduism followers.
2. No one knows when there will be elections in Malaysia
Unlike many countries, elections in Malaysia are not scheduled for a specific day, and one can only guess when it will happen.
Malaysia’s constitution requires parliamentary elections to be held at least once every five years. But the prime minister can force early elections at any time by dissolving parliament, a rather effective method of controlling the date.
3. Penang – Asia’s street food capital
The Malaysian state of Penang, particularly its capital Georgetown, is known for the best street food in Asia, if not the world. Walk around Georgetown and you’ll come across hundreds of stalls with food for every taste, from samosas and spicy curry noodles to chandol, a dessert of palm sugar, starchy noodles and coconut milk.
4. The largest flower in the world grows in Malaysia
The most famous plant in Malaysia is the rafflesia. Rafflesia flower is the largest in the world, its diameter can reach more than a meter! During flowering, it emits a terrible smell of rot, because of which it was nicknamed “corpse flower”.
5. Playing with a dog here can get you killed
Malaysia’s Muslim government considers dogs unclean and forbidden.
In 2014, however, this did not stop more than 1,000 Malaysians from coming to a public event called “I Want to Touch a Dog. There, Muslims could pet a dog for the first time and then be instructed in ritual ablutions.
But after the event, its organizer, Sayyid Azmi Alhabshi, began receiving death threats from Muslims who felt he had insulted their religion. Said was even forced into temporary hiding.
6. The “king of fruits” grows here, but not every stomach can digest this fruit
Durian is the most controversial fruit on earth.
In Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries it is known as the “king of fruits,” except that the smell of the “royalty” is so disgusting that many Malaysian hotels have even prohibited bringing it into the room with you.
Food columnist Richard Sterling once described the fruit’s aroma as smelling like “pig, turpentine, and onions seasoned with socks after a workout.”
But if you peel off the tough prickly skin, you’ll find a soft, sweet fruit. Its savory flavor is a whimsical combination of pineapple, onion, caramel, almonds, butter and cheese.
7. The best badminton player in the world comes from Malaysia.
Malayan Lee Chong Wei has been the world leader in badminton for the past 10 years.
He is ranked No. 1 in the world by the World Badminton Federation.
8. Possession of drugs here can be punishable by death
According to the law on dangerous drugs the citizens of Malaysia will be punished by death for possessing 15 grams of heroin and morphine, 1 kilogram of opium, 40 grams of cocaine or 200 grams of marijuana.
9. Malaysia has some of the world’s most budget airlines
AirAsia’s eye-catching red-and-white planes fly to more than 20 Asian countries, including tourist hot spots like Thailand, Vietnam and Bali. Such a flight often costs less than $100 round-trip.
The airline also flies long distances to India, Saudi Arabia, and Australia.
10. Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to two of the world’s tallest skyscrapers
On the skyline of Kuala Lumpur you can always see the silhouettes of the Petronas Towers – when they were built in 1998 they were the tallest buildings in the world.
At 51.9 meters tall, these towers remain the tallest twin skyscrapers in the world.
11.To travel around the country, you will need a passport
Sabah and Sarawak, the two states on the island of Borneo have their own rules that apply even to native Malaysians: if you are traveling from mainland Malaysia, you must go through immigration control, where you will need a passport or any other identification.
12. Students take part in collaborative synchronized speech competitions
Many students in Malaysia take part in what is known as “speech chorus,” a competition in which students must recite English-language speech in unison while performing intricate choreographic elements.