Southeast Asia forum

know anything about malaysia?

  • alisonmilli-
    ken

    Joined Travelfish
    10th December, 2006
    Posts: 70
    Total reviews: 2

    Hey,
    I know technically malaysia is not really included in Indochina or anywhere in the site I can find... But our plan is to head to Thailand (esp. South Khao Lak) in July next year. We will have about 3 weeks and want to go to places we haven;t been before. (We lived in Thailand 3 years so have been to quite a few places...)
    I was thinking an entirely new country might do the trick, does anyone know anything about cool places to see in Malaysia? maybe not KL, but other intereting stuff...
    Thanks... alison

    #1 Posted: 6/9/2007 - 14:48

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  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    Hi alison

    We traveled from Koh Lipe by ferry to Langkawi, then to Penang where we spent 10 days (I like Penang very much - lots of cutural variations within a compact walkable distance - Islam, Christian, Buddhist, Indian and Chinese) plus a few days in KL.

    The East-West highway from Gerik to Kota Bharu is regarded as an engineering masterpiece with superb views - the jungle railway follows a similiar route - the LP guide recommends taking a daytime local train. This was on our to do list but we ran out of time.

    I liked what I saw of Malaysia although it definitely has a different vibe to the rest of SE Asia. We found the Polis (Police) to be incredibly helpful when we were lost (popped into quite a few stesen polis for directions) and once we were approached by headscarved female polis packing big pistols offering an emergency phone number in case we had any problems. All in all very helpful people.

    I wish we had had time to explore Malaysia in greater detail.

    Kind regards

    Marian

    #2 Posted: 6/9/2007 - 15:49

  • chopin

    Joined Travelfish
    28th April, 2007
    Posts: 150
    Total reviews: 2

    Hi Alison,

    Being a Malaysian myself, I'd like to make some recommendations regarding my country. I try to list places in order of importance, depending the total number of days you have, you might or might not see all.


    1. Penang Island (4 days – 4 months)
    ------------------------------------

    The crown jewel of cultural and historical melting pot. British colonization of Malaya started here. The streets of George Town still has many of those colonial era buildings, and many Chinese, Muslim, and Indian style buildings, temples, mosques, churches, clan houses, etc. Food – THE reason many Malaysians make their seasonal pilgrimage to Panang from all over the country, all sorts of delicious Malay, Indian, and Chinese foods will keep your taste buds busy for weeks, with no repetition. The people – friendly (as in most places in Malaysia), helpful, and approachable; and English is the 2nd or 3rd language for most. This is the very few places where you can see 3 or more languages on shop signs. It has beaches, clubs, botanical, and recreational parks too. Georgetown is such a charming small city that can retain you indefinitely.


    2. Taman Negara (National Park) (3 – 10 days)
    ---------------------------------------------

    Situated in the state of Pahang, it contains the oldest tropical rain forest in the world. You can opt to camp there or stay in resort or hostels. Activities include jungle+mountain trekking, canopy walking, overnight animal sighting (tigers, elephants, tapirs, cougars, etc.), and kayaking. It this is the cup of your tea, you can go further on to the Endau-Rompin National Park (Johor state) which is less touristy.


    3. Kelantan + Trengganu (4 – 10 days)
    -------------------------------------

    These two East coast, Malay-dominated, states are the least developed in West Malaysia, and therefore they retain much of the charm of the traditional rural culture and lifestyle. The lack of (shallow) tourist attractions is the main attraction here. You will love the slow pace here, giving you ample opportunity to fully enjoy the sun, the coconut trees that sway with the breezes, the white sandy beaches (the best in Malaysia), the blue South China Sea, and the giant sea turtles that come back to lay eggs every year (one of the last few places in the world.) This is the Muslims’ heartland of Malaysia with the Islamic Party ruling Kelantan, and English is least spoken here, but fear not, the people here is also the most peaceful ones in the country. Trust me – I’m of Chinese descend.


    4. Melaka (3 – 6 days)
    ----------------------

    This is the most important historic city in Malaysia, for the Malay civilization reached its pinnacle during the Melaka Empier before falling into the Portuguese’ hands, thus marked the beginning of 450 years of colonization of the Tanah Melayu. Similar to Penang, it retains many (older) buildings, forts, churches, and narrow streets lined with ancient houses which are still inhibited. Some of the remnants of the Portuguese still remain here, many have inter-married with locals, giving us the Eurasian people; while some Chinese have adopted the local Malay customs and developed a special Peranakan culture (found in Penang too). A very unique place. Unfortunately, those short-sighted politicians who want to make a quick buck have embarked on development projects that are slowly (or rapidly, depends on ones sense of urgency) destroying the history of this city. Come and see it and photograph it, before it is gone forever.


    5. Tropical islands (3 – 10 days, each)
    ---------------------------------------

    Sipadan (Sabah state, East Malaysia), Perhentian, Redang, Tioman, Kapas (all on the East Coast), Lagkawi (West Coast) – listed roughly in order of beauty. These islands rival the best of those in Thailand, with Sipadan hailed as one of the top 10 diving site in the world. Needless to say, they all have great clear waters, corals, fishes, and white sandy beaches.


    6. Cameron Highland
    -------------------

    7. Fire flies in Kuala Selangor
    -------------------------------


    That's about it for this time. Let me know if you want more listing. Hope this helps.

    #3 Posted: 6/9/2007 - 21:41

  • alisonmilli-
    ken

    Joined Travelfish
    10th December, 2006
    Posts: 70
    Total reviews: 2

    Hey,
    THanks very much for the information, now I am really excited about the possiblity of seeing Malaysia next July. (Wish I didn't have to wait so long...)
    We will probably spend about 3 weeks on our holiday, about a week or so in Thailand and then somewhere else... now it looks like Malaysia will be fun.
    So what would you suggest for about 10 days - we would be coming via Phuket area. Oh, and we will have a 6mth old baby too so a quiet relaxing but fun trip would be the best...
    Any ideas please help!
    thanks again ALISON

    #4 Posted: 7/9/2007 - 16:29

  • saraw

    Joined Travelfish
    7th September, 2007
    Posts: 1

    Hi Alison,

    I just back from malaysia this Mon. Yeah, I agree that Malaysia has several beautiful islands which are worth to vist. Just one more suggestion, U can take Melaka as ur last stop in Malaysia since it is so peaceful place that everyone I met there wanted to stay longer to relax.

    #5 Posted: 7/9/2007 - 17:51

  • rmeyer

    Joined Travelfish
    10th September, 2007
    Posts: 3

    Hi Alison,

    Everyone seems only to mention the mainland, however the best states of Malaysia are Sarawak and Sabah both located on the Island of Borneo. Sarawak with Kuching as it's Capital are my favourite destination. Wonderful people, excellent National Parks. Worth looking into.

    I have been there many times an still keep going back.

    Regards
    Rudy

    #6 Posted: 10/9/2007 - 12:20

  • rmeyer

    Joined Travelfish
    10th September, 2007
    Posts: 3

    Hi Alison,

    Everyone seems only to mention the mainland, however the best states of Malaysia are Sarawak and Sabah both located on the Island of Borneo. Sarawak with Kuching as it's Capital are my favourite destination. Wonderful people, excellent National Parks. Worth looking into.

    I have been there many times an still keep going back.

    Regards
    Rudy

    #7 Posted: 10/9/2007 - 12:21

  • alisonmilli-
    ken

    Joined Travelfish
    10th December, 2006
    Posts: 70
    Total reviews: 2

    Hey, Thanks for everyone's help so far! Now we REALLY want to go to Malaysia!
    Since we will probably have about 10 - 12 days, next July, dies anyone have any MUST SEES. We want to spend a quiet time, with time to explore at our own pace, and not have to rush around to too many differnet places all over, we will have a 6 mth old baby with us.
    So it is more a taste of Malaysia we are thinking of than a totally indepth total travel thing.
    And although Borneo sounds wonderful, maybe with a baby along it would be hard?
    Thanks again! alison

    #8 Posted: 11/9/2007 - 15:33

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    Hi alison

    I'd still recommend checking out Georgetown on Penang (easy to get around on the free shuttle bus and public transport to the outlying attractions is pretty easy) - after Phuket you might like a change from the beach environment - maybe a visit to the Cameron Highlands as well?

    Regards

    Marian

    #9 Posted: 11/9/2007 - 16:49

  • alisonmilli-
    ken

    Joined Travelfish
    10th December, 2006
    Posts: 70
    Total reviews: 2

    Hi
    Those sound good options, The Cameron Highlands sound like they would make a good change from the beach... Is it easy to get there and get around? I of course know nothing...
    I think a good look around there could be fabulous.
    ALISON

    #10 Posted: 12/9/2007 - 16:47

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  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    Hi again

    There are 4 buses daily (6 hrs) from Penang so getting there won't be a problem (also 5 buses to KL (5 hrs)if you fly out from there). There are travel agents at Komtar where you can compare ticket prices. It's worth taking the pick-up from your accommodation option - I can't remember if it was free or a small charge - as the long distance bus station is 20 or so mins out along the airport road and I found taxis expensive.

    I'm reading my LP guide here - cos we ran out of time and couldn't get there - wish we had. The main town of Tanah Rata is only a couple of Km's long. There is a half day tour which is a good way to see all the attractions that are spread out and hard, if not impossible, to get to by public transport.

    Hope that helps

    Marian

    #11 Posted: 13/9/2007 - 06:28

  • chopin

    Joined Travelfish
    28th April, 2007
    Posts: 150
    Total reviews: 2

    Hi Alison,

    Rudy is right, East Malaysia could be a more interesting place to go as it has more nature to explore, and the people there are much friendlier. But based on your time available, I think it is more practical for you to come to the west side for this time. You should come to East Malaysia when you can spare more time.

    If you have 10-12 days for West Malaysia, and your previous destination is Phuket, then I'd suggest the following itinerary:

    Penang - Cameron Highlands - Kuala Lumpur - KLIA (airport)

    There are many buses that go to Cameron Highlands from both Penang and KL. Cameron Highlands is cooling, with many tea plantations and orchards. I'm not sure about local transport though, we normally drive there. But tourism is a significant source of income here, transport should be easy. We need farangs who have been there to tell us more about this.

    KL is included because most likely you will exit the country from KLIA - an hour away from KL. Though it does not have that much character compared to Bangkok and Penang or Kuching, it should still have enough to keep you interested there for 2 days.

    Another choice would be:

    Penang - Cameron Highlands - Melaka - KLIA

    The journey between Melaka and KL is less than 2 hours. That way, you can bypass KL and only get to KLIA from Melaka.

    Yet another route is:

    Penang -- Kota Bharu (Kelantan) -- Gemas - - Tampin -- Melaka - KLIA

    The journey from Penang to Kelantan via the East-West highway is visually stunning, please make sure you travel during day time. The train journey from KB to Tampin is also recommended to be had during day time. This is the much less traveled route, many Malaysians haven't even seen this part of the country yet. Read LP's or Rough Guide's notes to get a better idea. This route is however, a bit more taxing as more time will be spent on transport, but you will be richly rewarded. Consider adding a day or 2 for Malaysia.

    Hope it helps.

    #12 Posted: 13/9/2007 - 22:13

  • chopin

    Joined Travelfish
    28th April, 2007
    Posts: 150
    Total reviews: 2

    Found two interesting pieces about the "Jungle Train" (Gemas - Kota Bharu):

    http://impressions.com.my/jungle_train.htm

    http://wikitravel.org/en/Jungle_Railway

    #13 Posted: 13/9/2007 - 22:46

  • alisonmilli-
    ken

    Joined Travelfish
    10th December, 2006
    Posts: 70
    Total reviews: 2

    Hi,
    Thanks for all the help so far, especially with the suggested itineraries! They all sound really good.
    I was wondering about the bus to Cameron Highlands - are there other travel options to get there - the idea of a 6 hr bus ride with a 6 mth old doesn't sound very appealing... although once we got the there it would be great I'm sure...
    Thanks ALISON

    #14 Posted: 16/9/2007 - 16:56

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    Hi again

    You can take the train - at least you can walk around - from Butterworth (mainland opposite Georgetown) to Tapah Road - then take a taxi to Tanah Rata. Or hire a taxi from Butterworth, depends on your budget.

    Regards

    Marian

    #15 Posted: 16/9/2007 - 17:33

  • alisonmilli-
    ken

    Joined Travelfish
    10th December, 2006
    Posts: 70
    Total reviews: 2

    Hey,
    Thanks for the advice! A train does sound better that a bus with a baby, I will definitely investigate that option!
    Any other exciting plans? Everyone has been so fabulous so far!
    Thanks again, ALISON

    #16 Posted: 17/9/2007 - 17:06

  • suzswa

    Joined Travelfish
    8th April, 2009
    Posts: 1

    Hi everyone,
    I'm planning to go to Malaysia in a few weeks time, ive been travelling for eight months already and im running low on funds.Can anyone tell me how expensive malaysia is....accomadation, transport, food etc. Were thinking of going to Penang, one of the national parks, the cameron islands and KL. thanks
    suzy

    #17 Posted: 8/4/2009 - 10:50

  • brucemoon

    Click here to learn more about brucemoon
    Joined Travelfish
    27th December, 2008
    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    suzswa

    Peninsula Malaysia is 'everything' from upmarket Kuala Lumpur, to homespun (and 'rustic') Kuala Berang.

    And, the price 'ranges' reflect that.

    KL can be very expensive.

    Penang can be a lot cheaper (but - like always - it depends on where you stay and what you do).

    As a 'top of the head' statement, I'd say peninsular Malaysia is about 10 - 20% more expensive than Thailand.

    If you can get to Taman Negara, you'll not be disappointed.

    My wife & I were there some 18 months ago. We went up river in a long boat, stayed at Kuala Tahan, and did some trekking on our own. By sheer luck, coincidence, whatever, we came across a 'settlement' of Orang Asli (a native group that are still existing as hunter-gatherers). For us 21st century westerner's, meeting a still existing hunter-gather group (or correctly, clan) was a profound experience. I think we were one of an extremely small band of so fortunate people.

    Cheers

    #18 Posted: 3/5/2009 - 06:42

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