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Malaysia forum

Starting in Malaysia

Posted by susanne2306 on 2/3/2015 at 07:41

Hi, I am planning a solo 5-6 month trip around Southeast Asia, starting early next year. I have created a rough itinerary for myself which starts in Malaysia. Is Malaysia a good destination to start my trip? I am a young female and I have never been to Southeast Asia or traveled alone before. Just taking into account that less backpackers go to Malaysia etc, will I be able to comfortably start my adventure here? Or should I begin somewhere else and come to Malaysia later? I also plan to visit Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. My general plan in Malaysia is to visit KL, The Cameron Highlands, Penang and Langkawi.

Thanks in advance

#1 susanne2306 has been a member since 2/3/2015. Posts: 1

Posted by goonistik on 2/3/2015 at 19:15

Malaysia is a bit more expensive than the the other SEA countries and that is why fewer tourists use it as the starting point. Other than the issue of costs, it s perfectly fine to use Malaysia as a starting point for your trip.

#2 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 563

Posted by daawgon on 2/3/2015 at 21:57

Quite honestly, I think Malaysia is the wrong place to start your trip. This is also my first trip to Malaysia (now in Kuching on Borneo), but I've been to SE Asia many times before. Thailand is the place to start for most anyone because it has the most tourist services, and it's fairly cheap and just plain nice. I would start in Bangkok if I were you. You will find Thailand to be "almost" developed, and pretty clean if you're selective about where you stay.

Actually, my favorite country in SEA is still Vietnam, but it's much harder to travel there for several reasons, but well worth the effort. Not as developed and much poorer than Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, the people who deal with tourists can be a tad aggressive at first if you don't know the ropes - I don't stand for such treatment personally - I just move on to the next merchant, hotel or taxi.

I have now been in Malaysia for about 6 days. I took the train down from Bangkok to Butterworth (very nice train) and then the short ferry on to Penang . I must say that Penang disappointed me a little. I had heard so much about the excellent food in Georgetown, but I do think the good food is really hard to find, and Georgetown is a big hot and dirty place unless you head to the fancier areas like Gurney Drive or out to Batu Ferringi (very nice beach opposite the Holiday Inn Resort). Yesterday I took an early Air Asia flight to Kuching on Borneo. Kuching is much smaller, and really a nicer/friendlier place than Penang in my opinion, but it still has limited tourist services (Thailand and Vietnam really spoil a traveler!) I'm taking a tour out to the Orangutan Preserve this afernoon - you have to pay for a private tour when you travel solo (minimum about 120MYR).

I would leave Malaysia and Indonesia until last because you might like Thailand and Indochina enough to spend all of your time there - you will not run out of places to go or see!

I forgot to say that I find the people in Vietnam to be the friendliest I have dealt with in the region, and after 6 trips, I have several very generous friends in this wonderful country (Hanoi is fantastic, but not for everyone!)

#3 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 1,159

Posted by gecktrek on 3/3/2015 at 00:56

hey, i guess it depends on where you are flying from and if you have chosen to fly in and out of KL as a result of a cheap flight?... bear in mind that KL is also a hub for cheap flights throughout asia. what is your rough itinerary?

#4 gecktrek has been a member since 24/3/2013. Location: Australia. Posts: 178

Posted by antoniamitchell on 4/3/2015 at 13:43

First, let me say that I love Malaysia (it's one of my favourite countries) BUT as you say that you've never traveled solo before, I'd also recommend that you start in Thailand.

Thailand is an incredibly easy country to travel solo in - good infrastructure, really friendly and helpful people, most people that you're likely to encounter speak at least a little English, etc. For example, every time I got lost in Thailand, all I had to do was stand there looking confused, and within about 60 seconds some nice passerby would stop and ask if I needed directions. It's a good place to build your confidence before you move onto the "harder" countries.

That said, there's nothing "wrong" with starting in Malaysia - it's still a great country, the infrastructure's good, and English is widely spoken. It's just not quite as geared up to make life as easy as possible for tourists, the way Thailand is.
Best of luck, and have a great time!

#5 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 569

Posted by roro1990 on 6/3/2015 at 09:57

I just arrived in Kuala Lumpur 3 hours ago, didn't know what to expect. I'm from a relatively small city (Dublin, Ireland) so KL has left me awestruck so far. It's nowhere near as expensive as it's made out to be (I just ate fantastic naan bread and Indian curry with a coke for 12.7 ringots)which is roughly 112 baht - slightly more expensive than Thailand but hardly budget breaking. It reminds me of Bangkok but a bit more modernized, and definitely different vibe. based on my 3 hours I'd recommend thoroughly. Will report back with more :)

#6 roro1990 has been a member since 9/8/2013. Posts: 38

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