Planning a trip to Malaysia? Well then, you can’t miss out these 10 things that you must know before you depart.
According to World Atlas, Malaysia is one of the top 10 most visited countries in the world. If you have never been to any country in South East Asia, Malaysia could easily be your number one choice.
This is because Malaysia offers a lot of surprises due to its geographic location and also being a multi-races country, it makes Malaysia a place with multi-diverse cultures and foods.
Having said all that, let’s talk about the things you need to know when you visit Malaysia:
1. Malaysians can speak many languages
First, Malaysians can speak many languages. And don’t worry because the majority of the locals can speak English.
Although Malay is the most spoken language in Malaysia, English is a compulsory subject in school. And thus, making the majority of Malaysian understand and able to converse in English without much problem.
Plus, you have to understand that Malaysia is a multi-racial country. The 3 majority races in Malaysia are Malay, Chinese, and Indian.
You can travel smoothly with English. However, don’t let that stops you from learning some of the simple local languages to make your journey more fun and exciting.
2. There are a variety of foods and cuisines
And because it is a multi-ethnic country, you can find all kinds of foods here. If you are traveling around Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, you can basically find cuisines from around the world.
There are local foods, Korean and Japanese restaurants everywhere, Arabian and Western foods too.
But since you’re visiting Malaysia, the local and street foods are a must-try. Here are some of the examples of local cuisine that you cannot miss out:
- Nasi lemak – one of the most famous local foods enjoyed by many. It is served in aromatic rice, spicy sambal, and usually, with fried or the rendang chicken.
- Bak kut te – this local dish is non-halal and the restaurant selling bak kut te is usually managed by the Chinese. It is a more like pork in herbal soup. Taste amazing.
- Roti canai – another of the famous local food you must try. Basically, it is the Indian-influenced flatbread. You can find a
mamak(Indian-Muslim restaurant) everywhere in Malaysia.
- Cendol – the local desert. Taste not as sweet as the Thais, but has an amazing flavor especially when added with the Gula Melaka (brown sugar) and durian.
- Satay – Barbeque meat on a stick. The local will enjoy the satay dip into the sauce (heavy-flavored chili and peanuts sauce)
- Coffee and kaya butter toast – A famous Malaysian style breakfast. A cup of coffee, which is usually the white coffee, and serve together with kaya butter toast. Kaya is a coconut spread that tastes absolutely mesmerizing.
- Milo – do you know that most Malaysian drinks milo, the cocoa malt drink? It has the largest Milo factory in the world. You can even buy a cup of milo from KFC and McDonald’s in Malaysia.
- Char Kuey Teow – the stir-fried rice cake strips that is very popular in Malaysia. If you ever go to Penang, make sure you try it.
3. Malaysia’s weather is always hot
Due to its strategic location, Malaysia enjoys a tropical monsoon climate and it is always hot and humid the entire year.
Thus, make sure you pack the right clothes. And don’t be surprised to encounter heavy rain during the monsoon season.
Although Malaysia’s weather is hot and humid all year long, if you plan to visit the eastern peninsular (states like Kedah and Kelantan), it is best to avoid the monsoon from November to January.
4. You can’t miss out the beaches in Malaysia
It is a tropical country, so what do you expect? Beautiful beaches.
First, in Peninsular Malaysia (the west side), there are some amazing islands and beaches you should visit. Such as Pulau Redang, Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Langkawi, etc.
For your information, the word ‘Pulau’ means island in Malay.
Next, let’s talk about East Malaysia. Sabah and Sarawak are the two largest states that make up eastern Malaysia, which can also be known as the Borneo.
In Sabah, you can explore and discover some of the most amazing beaches and scuba diving spots like Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Layang-Layang.
Scuba Travel has ranked the Barracuda Point in Sipadan Island the #1 top dive sites. If you’re a scuba diving enthusiast, you definitely shouldn’t miss out visiting Sabah.
5. Getting around is easy in Malaysia
Yes, Malaysia’s infrastructure is well-connected and considered one of the best in South East Asia. It is easy to get around.
If you can drive, you should rent a car and drive around Malaysia. This way, you can visit many other states like Melaka, Penang, Johor, and much, much more. You don’t have to just stick to Kuala Lumpur.
The public transport system in Malaysia is good. The cities are well-connected and you can use buses, trains, Taxis to get around in Malaysia. This is especially true in Kuala Lumpur. You can use Grab (e-hailing service like Uber) to get around town.
And if you are traveling around states, make sure you plan your trip. For tourists, if you’re not driving, usually, you will have to travel with buses or simply hire a driver to do so.
6. There are other amazing places besides Kuala Lumpur
As I said, if you have time, you should go to other states like Melaka and Penang, both states are named under Unesco World Heritage Site.
If you have more time, here are some of the great places you should consider visiting. You can spend a few days if you want to:
- Melaka and Penang – a state on its own. Both states have their own uniqueness and are totally different from the Kuala Lumpur you know.
- Cameron Highlands – a cool runaway from the hot weather where you can also visit the Boh Tea Plantation and many other attractions.
- Genting Highlands – theme park and casinos.
- Pulau Langkawi – a duty-free island with beautiful beaches and plenty of seafood to enjoy.
- Gunung Kinabalu – the highest mountain in Malaysia that is located in Sabah. If you love hiking, it will be a must-visit.
7. It is safe to travel around in Malaysia
It is absolutely safe when you’re traveling in Malaysia. While there are some cases like robbery, but overall, Malaysia is a very safe country to visit.
The locals are helpful and passionate. They are willing to show you the direction and also helpful in case if you need it.
Most eateries and food streets are available until late at night. This is especially true if you are in Kuala Lumpur.
The local love to meet up for supper. And that means the city will still be very much lively even at late night.
8. Malaysia has megadiverse plants and animals species
This is what the article from CNN Travel has to say:
“Malaysia is one of just a handful of countries considered “megadiverse,” said to harbor 20% of the world’s animal species in its rich ecosystems.
This natural biodiversity puts it in the same league as Brazil. In fact, the Amazon rainforest is a baby at 55 million years old compared with Malaysia’s Taman Negara, which has been around for 130 million years and is reputed to be the world’s oldest.”
Wild elephants, orangutans, and tigers are still roaming freely in the national parks and reserves.
Plus, the rare Rafflesia arnoldii, which is also known as the corpse flower and also the world’s largest flower, can be found on East Malaysia, the Borneo side.
9. Malaysia is one of the most open and free Islamic countries
Although Malaysia is an Islamic country with Malay Muslims made up the majority, it is one of the most open and free countries you can find.
The non-muslims are free to adopt their own religions and practice their own cultures. This is what makes Malaysia a multi-racial country that respected by most.
You can see the Malaysians celebrate each ethnic group’s special occasions time from time. Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Diwali, and more, are celebrated by most in Malaysia.
Even during Ramadan, the fasting month, the non-muslims are not restricted from eating or drinking. Of course, although the non-muslims are free to eat and drink, it is still an important manner to show respect to other races.
You will truly experience the real harmony whereby all races with different religions and cultures are able to live peacefully in this country.
10. Malaysia is a good shopping destination
The Malaysian loves shopping. Probably due to the hot weather, Malaysians rather spend their time indoor than outdoor.
There are plenty of mega-sized shopping malls in Malaysia, especially in Kuala Lumpur. Here are some worth mention – Suria KLCC, Pavilion Bukit Bintang, Sunway Pyramid, Midvalley Megamall, One Utama, and more.
And you can literally find everything you need from the malls. In addition, it is very convenient to get to these shopping destinations because highways and roads are well designed.