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5 Essential Things to Know When Traveling to Malaysia

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Have you ever considered a trip to Malaysia? It’s not the most popular destination and certainly not on many bucket lists. However, as many are beginning to discover, travel to Malaysia is easy, affordable and exciting!

The Batu Caves just outside Kuala Lumpur is not to be missed!

Culture

You get to sample culture that is a mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and indigenous people all in one place! Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of Middle Eastern, South Asian and many other cultures. Experience food, festivals, music and traditions from many ethnic groups—all in one place.

Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.
The famous Petronas Twin Towers are most spectacular at night!

Communicating

Communication in Malaysia is easy since english is widely spoken. The official language is “Bahasa Melayu” and is relatively easy for travelers to speak and learn.

Many monkeys hang out at the Batu caves.

Getting Around

Currency is the Malaysian ringgit, with one Canadian dollar getting you 3.07 ringgits. ATMs can be found throughout the country and all primary currencies can be exchanged in cities and tourist destinations.  Credit cards are accepted only in shopping malls and in the larger hotels.

Roads and travel infrastructure are generally in good condition. You’ll find no shortage of taxis in the city, though most points in the city can be reached on foot. The train is a good way to go since there can be a lot of traffic on the streets. When travelling to further points, flying is inexpensive and a quick way to get to your destination.

Beaches with white sand, and clear blue water await you.

Places to Visit

Kuala Lumpur or KL as it is known to travellers, can seem hectic, but it has a unique character and has some interesting neighbourhoods to explore on foot: from Chinatown, Bukit Bintang, Little India, to the Batu Caves, and Perdana Lake Gardens. KL city centre is dominated by the Petronas Twin Towers, once the tallest buildings in the world. The glowing towers are connected by a sky bridge and visitors are allowed to cross over for a view of the city. Also, not to be missed is the Menara KL Tower which offers a magnificent view from the top. From the Chinese temples to the Central Market, KL bird park, butterfly park there’s lots to see and do around the city.

Malaysia is home to many colourful birds.

If you need to escape the hectic city, the Bukit Nanas Forest is the place to go. Bukit Nanas is a green space with picnic areas, a few monkeys and beautiful flowers. The Perdanna Lake Gardens are also a nice green well-manicured getaway from the crowds.

There are many opportunities for snorkelling.

There are many beautiful surrounding islands to explore. Penang, the large island off the west coast of Malaysia has a multi-cultural heritage and has a thriving food scene. Then there is the island of Borneo, which is a nature-lovers dream with wild orangutans and plenty of rainforests to explore. The Perhentian Islands are two islands with different personalities and no matter which you choose to visit, you will enjoy the white sand, and clear blue water teeming with fish. If you want to try snorkelling this is the place for you. Tioman Island has many beaches with nice resorts, and again snorkelling allows you to explore over a dozen shipwrecks. Langkawi island to the north is duty-free is also recognized for its’ diving opportunities. It has a magnificent 125meter long pedestrian sky bridge that offers views all around.

Magnificent and sometimes terrifying views from the sky-bridge!
Each region has its’ own version of Laksa.
The street food is delicious and cheap!

Food

In Malaysia, it’s all about the food! The food is a fusion of Chinese, Indian and Malaysian culture. The street food in KL is delicious and cheap. Street food vendors often specialize in only one or two dishes, that they cook night after night, so they have become masters in preparing their dish. Delight in dishes such as Hokkien Mee, barbecued pork with shrimps, shallots and a fish-based chilli paste. Also, to try is Laksa, a tangy wholesome Malaysian noodle dish—a must try when in Malaysia. And you don’t need to worry about the safety of street food, as it is arguably safer than eating food served in restaurants.

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