A summary of my trip to Malaysia: where I stayed, what I did and saw and what I learned about this beautiful country.
When I headed out for my trip to Malaysia, I didn’t expect to learn and see all that I did. True, I didn’t stay in one of the luxury beach resorts all over Malaysia, but I did see amazing things and meet really interesting people.
Where I stayed
Cheap guest houses and backpackers’ hostels fill the cities of Malaysia. Wherever you land, bus or walk to, there will be some place ready to accommodate you for as little as US$10 a night. I found some great spots in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Penang, as well as in the smaller villages around the country. Learn bits of the local language and you might even get a discount!
It’s cheaper to stay on the peninsula than the islands. The islands are more isolated, thus more expensive. But there are tons of small bungalows to rent, and if you’re coming with friends you can split the price. If you’re lucky like us, you might even be able to rent a beach bungalow for US$60 for an entire week!
What I did
Although there aren’t big attractions in Malaysia, the whole country is one in itself. History, religion, culture fill every region of the country. For those who like art and clearly organized history, the museums in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka were the best.
You can also find Buddhist temples and Muslim mosques everywhere, all quite beautiful and holy. The western part of the country is mostly Muslim, while the eastern is Buddhist. There are even ancient religious caves all over the country, but especially around Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh.
What I saw
Malaysia is filled with natural wonders. I could have spent a year visiting the islands, relaxing on their beaches and observing the marine and bird life. If you’re a diver, you’ll find your match for sure. Jungle walks are always invigorating and beautiful.
If you’re more into human gardens, the Malays specialize in lake gardens. Visit one at night when hundreds of lanterns are lighted up. Tea plantations dot the entire country, so take the time to visit one or two and to taste their exclusive tea brews. I’ve discovered some amazing blends that can’t be found anywhere else.
What I learned
If you’re a white girl, dress conservatively. My friends kept getting harassed, especially in the Muslim parts of the country. Long pants and loose, long-sleeved are best. Cotton-linen blends are great in the heat and humidity.
Also, you won’t find cheap alcohol in Malaysia. Because it’s a Muslim country, drinking is not approved and beer is definitely not cheap: one can cost you the price of a night at the hostel.