Every time I go to Malaysia I find something more to enjoy about this amazing destination…
There are a lot of things during my various visits to Malaysia that have just filled me with wonder and pleasure. It is a fantastic and exciting destination I can’t wait to visit again.
I remember the first time I ever went to Malaysia.
I arrived late at night and took the last bus from the Kuala Lumpur International airport to Kuala Lumpur city. This took an hour and my introduction to this amazing country was in a mix of darkness and bright lights.
And this experience introduced me to one of the things that I find so enthralling about Malaysia:
The buildings – as you can see above – can be substantial in size. Aside from the well-known Petronas Towers in the capital, every where you travel you will come across impressive structures.
Aside from travelling via bus from the airport to the capital, I also went by bus from the capital down the coast of Malaysia to Butterworth, and further crossed Malaysia by train into Thailand as well.
During these travels I observed some strange and beautiful structures of many types, interesting to me for their often peculiar lack of symmetry – ones very wide at the base and tapering off as it rises. And other buildings that amazed me with their combination of height and narrowness.
Another dimension of their beauty is the strong Islamic influence and that can be seen interestingly influencing many modern structures. That in addition to actual historic religious sites.
The Cultural Mix
There is such a rich mix of culture in Malaysia and it all seems to blend so well together creating excitement and colour everywhere. This is not a boring place to be by any means.
Aside from that created by the people that populate the country – mainly Malay, Chinese and Indians – the remnants of a colourful historical past also influences the feeling of richness. I found this to be especially apparent in Georgetown on Penang Island.
There, a matter of a few steps can take you from one distinct look and feel to another in a few moments, from the grounds of a beautiful Muslim mosque to a Buddhist temple that seems from another time, then into a paved alley way with Dutch influenced buildings.
Needless to say, with such a rich cultural mix, the food is bound to be influenced. But I was switched onto the difference in the food situation while I was still in the airport.
It started at the airport where, as a dedicated chili-eater, I was greeted with chili sauce dispensers at Macdonalds – Heaven on Earth.
But that was just the beginning.
Like much of Asia, freshly cut fruit of all sorts is available cheaply everywhere. Interestingly, the fruit I had found lacking taste in Thailand – like dragon fruit – was sweetly addictive where ever I tried it in Malaysia.
Don’t even get me started on the amazing fresh starfruit juice I got a taste for in Penang.
Meanwhile, its no surprise that you can find the most amazing manifestations of spicy food that is in general a mix of the best of spicy Asian and Spicy Indian curries and side dishes in various different forms. Think laksas and savoury noodle soups, to name a few.
Having spent a lot of time around trains in another life, I was interested in doing some more train travel during my time abroad. So I took the opportunity to take a trip on the KLIA Ekspres from the capital to the airport.
It was a great service and better and faster than many similar services you encounter in the West.
I also had a long train journey from the coast of Malaysia all the way to Bangkok in Thailand, and that was another exciting experience for me.
For me Malaysia is a great place to shop. I love exotic prints and designs and interesting tribal jewellery. And I always like scouting out a good deal. All the above is to be found in Malaysia – and whats – more the sizes of clothes are larger and more likely to fit less petite travellers.
As you can see, I made the most of my visit, getting for myself a colourful head scarf, earrings and an embroidered top…to name a few.
All of them were of great quality…not like much of the questionable tourist-targeted wear that abounds in many parts of Asia.
Of course, it depends where you go, but I just wandered the streets and ventured into interesting alleys to make my finds. Just looking for this stuff is half the fun…but be adventurous and go where the locals go to find the best deals.
If you love Malaysia as much as I do, you will want to have plenty of time to explore it.
Luckily it has one of the best arrangements for Australians – and those from the UK, Ireland and a number of other countries – whereby you can stay for up to ninety days provided you can show proof of onward travel, if requested.
This makes Malaysia an amazing spot to hang out without the pressure of an expiring visa hanging over you…of course always depending upon which country you hail from.
Have you been to Malaysia? What do you love about it? Are you planning to go there soon? Let us know in the comments below.