Within the countries of Southeast Asia, Malaysia may not be most popular. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great country to stop by! If you can, Malaysia has a much different feel than its neighbors; visiting here will be a doozy! Check out this tag to find more about Malaysia! Go to this tag to find more “Everything You Need to Know” posts!
Each metric is given an overall score between 1 and 10, and the ratings are briefly explained.
Go here if you are looking for: A unique mix of Chinese, Indian, Indigenous, and European history.
This explains the prevailing sort of experience you might have in this country.
Overall experience: 6.71/10
What your travel experience might revolve around.
Natural and landscape views: 6
- How beautiful and unique are the landscape and nature views?
- While most of Malaysia is surrounded by water, I didn’t see too much of the beach. However, I did see lots of forest on bus rides, and views of Malacca and Kuala Lumpur from atop hills and the Petronas Towers, respectively. While they’re not the most impressive views, they make do. Malaysia also has the Batu Caves, though, and those are definitely worth seeing.
Historical attractions: 7
- To what extent can you see physical evidence of the country’s culture?
- Malacca is basically dedicated to preserving its physical history. While some of the city’s historical attractions have been destroyed over the years, they actually have some replicas that show what the structures (such as the wall around the city) used to look like. It doesn’t give you the same feel all over the city, but the portion that the replica covers is quite interesting.
City culture: 7
- How should you expect locals to react to you? How does it feel to be in the city?
- While there are far fewer tourists in Malaysia than its neighbors in Southeast Asia, most people are used to helping tourists.
- How unique is the local food and how available is food from home?
- Because Malaysia brings together such a unique mix of cultures – Chinese, Indian, Indigenous, and Muslim – they also have a very interesting mix of foods. For example, the night market of Malacca has plenty of Taiwanese snacks, and the malls of Kuala Lumpur have anything you can think of.
- How much do souvenirs cost relative to everyday items and how representative are they of the local culture?
- While elephants dominate many of the souvenirs in Thailand and Cambodia, and flowers are on a lot of Singapore’s, there’s not really a common theme for Malaysian souvenirs. If you collect things from each country you go to, something may catch your eye. If you want something that you use/wear, you might not come up with anything.
- How clean is everything, including trash along the streets, water, and food?
- For the most part, you won’t see trash along the streets, and street food is fine to eat. In this category, Malaysia is more like Singapore to the south than Thailand to the north.
Tourism services: 7
- Are there people who specifically serve tourists outside private hotels and accommodation?
- If you need help, you can go to information desks at any mall, or the tourism office of the city where they have free walking tours. The availability depends on the city, but Malacca’s walking tour was comprehensive and worthwhile!
[Recommended Read: Everything You Need to Know About Thailand]
- Are you going to freeze or sweat to death?
- Unfortunately, the weather is HOT year ‘round.
- What currency is used? (Not a rated category)
Cost: 6 (higher rating means lower cost)
- Overall, is this country expensive or not?
- While not an expensive country, definitely not as cheap as its neighbors to the north.
Approximate time needed to visit the whole country: 2 weeks
- How much time do you need to devote here? (Not a rated category)
- Spend some time in Malacca, the Cameron Highlands, and Kuala Lumpur. The rest of the time can be spent on some of Malaysia’s islands, which I didn’t get to see.
Speed of Wi-Fi: 5
- How fast is the Wi-Fi?
- Not for people who want to play serious internet games at night.
Accessibility of Wi-Fi: 5
- Can you connect to Wi-Fi when you need it?
- Honestly, you’re probably not going to find lots of Wi-Fi. Fortunately, you can buy SIM cards pretty easily.
[Recommended Read: Everything You Need to Know About Singapore]
Culture and Immersion: 7.25/10
- What language do locals speak? (Not a rated category)
English level of the typical local: 8
- If you really needed help, how much could a typical local help?
- While the official language is Malay, English is a “recognized” language, which means it’ll be hard to find someone who doesn’t speak it.
Approachability of locals if you can’t speak the language: 7
- If you can’t speak the local language, how willing are locals to patiently help you?
- People speak English, so that isn’t a barrier. Because a good proportion of the population is Muslim, the culture does tend to be more conservative, so Malaysians can sometimes be shy to speak to you. However, they are willing to help if you ask.
Signage for an English speaker: 8
- If you can’t read the local language, can you read the signs?
- Malay uses Latin letters, and many signs are in English.
- If you buy something (especially at street markets), how much do you need to haggle?
- Some things can’t be bargained for, but at small stalls and street markets, you can probably bring down what you pay at least by a little.
[Recommended Read: Expedition Execution: Spend Consciously Every Day]
Transportation in Malaysia: 7/10
Intercity buses, trains, and planes: 7
- How easy is it to get from one city to another? How understandable is the system?
- You’ll find buses to get basically anywhere you want, but it’s not exactly the easiest system to figure out. In general, you can get buses at major malls in the city or from the airport if you’re in Kuala Lumpur. People at the information desks will be happy to help you find what you need.
Taxi reliability: 5
- How many taxis are there? Are they to cheat you? How friendly are the drivers to foreigners, especially if you don’t speak the local language?
- You’re best off taking public transportation; you can ask your accommodations how to get from the airport or bus station to where you’re staying. Taxis can be a good option if you are in a rush, but sometimes they may quote you a price that is much higher than it should be.
Intra-city transportation: 8
- How easy is it to get where you want to go within the city?
- Walking is a good option for short distances, and Kuala Lumpur has a great subway system that can take you wherever you want! There is also a special tourist bus that goes in a loop around the city and is free to use.
- If you want to get some exercise, how easy it is to walk from place to place?
- I had no problems walking in Malacca, even in the heat, and combined walking and public transportation in Kuala Lumpur without using a taxi at all.
Want to Pin this post for later?
Did this help you plan your trip? What else do you want to know? Leave a comment below!