Malaysia Holiday Guide

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First updated : 14 April 2009
Last Updated : 02 July 2012

Welcome to my new series travel guides about Malaysia. As with all holiday articles that I do, this one will cover the major destinations and a bit about Malaysia's transport system and of course motorcycles. I have also avoided the unnecessary commentary on issues that should not effect you when on holidays!

There are so many reasons to get away and for me, an imminent personal crisis meant that a good holiday was what I needed! A break to gain new prospective and introspective - basically everything that defines us as human. So after looking chatting to friends who where also going to Malaysia I decided to meet up with them. Besides have not been there is a long time.

Apart for the need for a break, going to Malaysia is quite a convenient choice due to its location near Australia.  Malaysia is nearby and there the language barrier is not that large.  The other reason was that there is so much interesting food, so a food eating expedition should also be on the agenda.  There are also plenty of shops to go to. And dependent on the currency exchange rate you could get a bargain or two.  However there are several issues which I'll expand on later in the series.

Malaysia's geographic location is could be described as right in the middle of South East Asia. It directly borders both Thailand, Indonesia and even Brunei. The other South East Asian countries are very nearby too!  From what I see the population consists of Malay, Bumiputra, Chinese and Indians. So you can expect a mix of cultures. I found the history of the Chinese, Indian and the Bumiputra fascinating reading.  However for more challenging reading try the history of a town called Malacca!  Not the Wikipedia entry a real history book.  It's full of corporate and world wars, trade, diplomatic marriages, political assassinations and more.

The most important thing you should know about Malaysia is that it is located in the tropics.  Secondly the major religion is Islam although you don't often hear the scheduled 'call to pay' from the mosques.

The capital city is called Kuala Lumpur or simply KL as it is often called.

Climate wise it is hot and very humid most of the time. So be ready to dress accordingly. Locals wear trousers and even jeans! On 'cold days' even jackets! I do not know how they manage to wear so much because I dehydrated just walking up the street!  So unless used to living in high temperatures and humidity do not try to dress like a local purely for health reasons.  However don't underdress either though because you do not want to be uncivilized.

The official currency for Malaysia is called the Ringgit. It's all in metric so you should be fine. Due to the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) there are many good holiday deals about so check all the usual sources.  You can even do it yourself. As for medical vaccines, precautions should be taken if you are from a highly sterilized or remote part of a country. (Or if you are prone to getting sick from even low level germs.)  Free from all the major diseases the only one that you should really be concerned about is stomach related distress!  This advice applies to any country since you will eat some local food which your body has never tried before! Malaysia is a children friendly holiday destination so if they can cope with the heat and lots of walking things should be fine.

There is no significant crime or safety issues apart from the usual warnings.  Eg.  stay our of dark alleys, avoid suspicious people and look after your wallet/handbag and travel documents.  

Like most countries you can either choose a relaxing holiday or a activity filled holiday. I prefer activity since you can always relax at home!  There are a number of tourist type activities and places to see in Malaysia so I don't think you'll be bored.  I personally like watching the locals go about their daily routine, it gives you some prospective.

Getting here is very easy! Many airlines and visitors land in Singapore and then take a connecting flight Kuala Lumpur. Of course there are direct flights to Kuala Lumpur too! It is up to you really which country you want to land in first! The history of Singapore and Malaysia is also fascinating reading!  Get a proper history book to learn more not the bland tourist guides! (You know what I'm referring to)

Malaysia travel guide - Introduction
Malaysia travel guide - Penang

Malaysia travel guide - Penang Accommodation & Transport
Malaysia travel guide - Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia travel guide - Cars and Motorcycles
Malaysia travel guide - Malacca (Melaka)
Malaysia travel guide - Genting Highlands

Malaysia travel guide - Final Thoughts



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