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Tips for getting around Malaysia

March 25, 2009

Although I have no wish to make this blog into a guidebook, I’d like to pass on some tips to readers who are thinking or planning their adventure to this diverse country.

Expect to see more than just beaches

by Cate

by Cate

Ancient jungles and golden sandy beaches are some of Malaysia’s popular attractions, but there is much more on offer here if you care to explore. Cameron Highlands, widely famous for its market gardens and tea plantations, has some of the country’s highest mountains. And what a spectacular view.

Getting to the highlands is easy and inexpensive, most travellers go by bus. I stayed in a small town called Tanah Rata, which is popular for budget travellers and has some excellent hostels (click: Fathers Guest House). I also took a guided tour around the area which can be organised either in town or through a hostel. The tours are around 100 ringet for a full day (60 for half a day) and well worth it. You are taken into the highland plantations and also to the highest point (2000 m). On a clear morning, when the clouds have moved on and the air is cool, you can see the lay of the land. Keep following this blog, I plan on bringing more of my tour adventures to you in future posts.

Borneo island is also another area filled with jungles and mountains. I never made it to Malaysia Borneo, but after staying in Brunei I got an idea of this island’s attractions.

Food – noodles, noodles, rice, and curries

by Cate

by Cate

I love noodles and Malaysia has some tasty dishes based around noodles. Of course there are other dishes with an Indonesian influence: nasi goreng (rice dish). Local food is inexpensive and multi cultural: curries, chinese, malay,western. My favourites are laksa and kuay teow, both worth trying. Most dishes are relatively mild in heat but can be spiced up if requested. Kopi is the local coffee brew; strong and dark with condensed milk to sweeten.

Food prices can vary depending on where you choose to dine. Local cafes or street vendors range around 6 -10 ringet and at fancier restaurants you can expect to pay double that.

You will never have problems finding western food most fast food chains have set up business here. Convenience stores usually sell snacks and breads, street vendors sell delicious treats such as satay.

Inexpensive transport

by Cate

by Cate

Malaysia has a good reliable (kind of) inexpensive transport system. Buses run throughout the peninsular and you can organise direct routes from Singapore through to Thailand if necessary. Border crossings by bus or train are quick and easy. Most buses are decked out in armchair style seating, air conditioning and comfort. Just make sure the bus driver keeps his hands on the steering wheel at all times.

If  you are in KL the main bus depot is Puduraya station. Chaotic, hot and wildy entertaining. You can buy tickets here through numerous operators, most buses leave and arrive from this station. Getting to station can be a mission.

Trains are also relatively cheap depending on which class you book. Check out my recent post on train travel for more information.

Safe to travel?

In my experience – most definitely. I travelled alone and felt safe throughout my time there. A large number of the population speak english and are very helpful towards most travellers including the solo or lost traveller. Ipoh locals were on the aloof side but still quite friendly.

Go with the flow

Life in South East Asia is much slower and more relaxed than the fast pace in other countries. If you haven’t travelled through Asia at all, one of the best tips I can pass on (and practice myself) is to be patient. Anger or frustration will only hinder the situation.  Ignore touts if they are constantly bugging you, and the feet masseurs hanging around KL city centre.

Hopefully I have covered the basic information you need to know. If you have more tips to share, add them in the comments section.

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. March 26, 2009 8:32 am

    really loved the layers of mountains in the landscape image!

    • March 28, 2009 6:22 am

      Thanks Joshi and Sunflowerluv, happy that you enjoyed the shots and tips.

  2. sunflowerluv permalink
    March 27, 2009 10:57 am

    I’m really craving for that plate of noodles!!!
    thanks a lot for all the useful info!!

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