For our readers on the go, our writer Shonita is giving you a quick summary to all the things you need to remember before you plan your travel to Malaysia. You can also check out our ‘Top 10 Places to Visit in Kuala Lampur.’
- Tourism Malaysia offers many pre-designed tour packages depending on the number of days (even a few hours) that you may have. Once you’ve done your study, you can choose any one of these packages depending on your preference.
- Make sure you check the Tourism website prior to your trip, for a calendar schedule of the on-going festivals in different parts of the country. There are food-fests, sports competitions, shopping-bonanzas and many more to choose from. Each state has a lot to offer and you can read more on it in our previous article here.
Additionally, you could visit the Tourism Malaysia office at the airport and collect the calendar schedule on festivals and the guide book if you’d like to go independently on your travels.
- Local guides make an excellent way to study the city. I owe most of my understanding to my two very able guides, Mr.Azar in KL and John Khor. If you’re a traveller who really likes to study a place, it’s a good idea to book a local guide online.*
- If you visit Malls, do carry your passport. On declaration of being a Tourist, you can get often get additional discount packages.
- During Ramadan, most hotels and restaurants will offer food butthe street food options are limited. Also, it might be disrespectful to carry out your food in the public, so make note of it.
- Malaysia is a liberal and modern nation, there’s no doubt. But while attending Government functions or official events, it is mandatory to avoid shorts, skirts or tank tops. Also, public display of affection, or PDA (Kissing or any sexual act) is illegal.
- For Muslims, every hotel, mall, tourist-spot and airport is equipped with a prayer hall and facilities, Also, ‘Halal eateries’ are easy to locate.
- If you have the time and the Ringgits, then watch the theatrical performance ‘MUD’ in KL. The musical takes you on to a colourful and fascinating journey through the history of Malaysia.
- The newest attraction in Malaysia is the ‘Jump Street Park’, an urban playground with interconnected trampolines allowing you to jump in every direction and style.
- Culinary Delight:For any place, the food is of great importance. And for the Malaysians, they have the best of three worlds – Chinese, Indian and Malay. So there’s a large variety for every kind of foodie but make note, if you’re a vegetarian, the options are significantly limited for you. (Unless you visit an Indian restaurant or choose to survive on rice and curry).
However, if you’re in Malaysia, make sure you try:
a. Air Batu Campur (ABC) or the Malaysian Ice-cream- This wonderful dessert is quite literally made on crushed ice along with syrups, dry fruit and jelly toppings and many other * that differ from place to place. You can pick and choose your style to customize it to your liking. A great way to beat the heat, wherever you are in Malaysia, make sure to give the ABC a try!
b. Cendol: (Sen-doh) – Another flavoursome dessert is the ‘Cendol’ which includes noodle-shaped jelly mixed with beans and a sweet syrup in coconut milk. A glass or a bowl of it and you’ll feel refreshed.
c. Durian- If the thorny exterior is your worry, then this King of Fruit has more to offer. Durian, known for its peculiar odour, has one of the most pungent of smells. In fact, the smell is so strong, that many airports and hotels ban tourists from carrying it along. But the fruit tastes just as sweet and flavourful. Give the Durian a try and if you don’t like it in the first go, remember your first taste of Beer. It gets better as you take in more!
d.Teh-Tarik- Dubbed as the ‘Tea-Latte’, you could called this the ‘Malaysian Chai’. The pulling of the milk (poured from one vessel to another) to make it frothy is what gives it is distinctive style and bubbly taste.
e. Cool drinks like Bandung (Rose Milk)& Nutmeg- Bandung is quite similar to what we’d call ‘Rose Milk’ and is a popular drink. Nutmeg on the other hand is sweet and gives you the feeling of having sweetened ice-tea.
Also – you’ll find stalls selling ‘Otea Drinks’ which are fruit drinks with Tapeoka. Originally from Taiwan, these make incredibly refreshing drinks!
For meat lovers:
The Malays like to taste their meat, and unlike the Indian style of ‘currying’ everything up, often you’ll find the meat having a very peculiar taste. And of the many options, do try:
(i) Char Kuey Teow (Stir Fried Noodles) : Flat noodles cooked with eggs, prawns, bean sprouts and chives. You could also ask them to remove the meat and go veg.
(ii) Rojak: A vegetable salad with brown-shrimp sauce
(iii) Assma Laksa : Rice Noodles in a fishy soup
Also, if you’re not use to the idea of ‘removing the shrimp shell’, then remember this trick – cut the ends first and skin the shell off delicate with your fork! It’s the simple!
What that in place, you are now a tourist on a mission! And do make the most of it!