We have spent almost half the year in Malaysia during 2019 and visited this one country more than any other destination, so we've been asked a lot - why choose Malaysia?
Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. It's known for its beaches, rainforests and mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai and European cultural influences.
January 2019 was going to be our longest trip so far and we planned just over 6 weeks, and after due diligence, worked out a rough idea of where we wanted to go.
10 tips for visiting Malaysia -
Tadau Ka’amatan Harvest Festival
Chinese New Year
Hari Raya Aidil Fitri
Sarawak Gawai Festival
Mooncake Festival & Hungry Ghost Festival
Hari Raya Haji
Our go to cuisine here in Malaysia is Indian and in these street restaurants you can find a morning speciality called Roti Canai.
Roti Canai (flying bread) is a flat pancake like breakfast somewhere between a naan and a croissant. It's far more dramatic cousin Roti Tisu is the preferred choice of our daughter (maybe because it is drizzled in honey)
It's served usually with a curry and dal dip and often Sambal. We team it up with teh halia (Ginger Tea made with condensed milk) and the savoury, sweet and slightly spicy combination is heaven for breakfast – just probably not healthy for every morning.
Our kids LOVE the stuff though and would eat it morning, noon and night. Fortunately it is hard to find a restaurant that will make this round the clock and it is usually served at breakfast and dinner time only.
Typically, the buffet will be dished for you and if so just go ahead and start eating but if not you simply take what you want then head to a member of staff to price up your meal. Payment is still done at the end.
Another delicous option if you really don't know what you might like is to head to a banana leaf restaurant - here you will have a large banana leaf placed in front of you and filled with steamed rice, then an assortment of curries spooned around the circumference.
Eat the curries you like and leave the ones you don't, you can even ask for more, included in the price and to give you an idea on price; a meal for the four of us very rarely costs more than 25RM (£5)
This Jungle thrives because of the humid climate, which to a visitor can be pretty uncomfortable at times.
Unfortunately there is no avoiding the heat if you have to be outdoors, and if you want to explore the peninsular 11 states properly then, that you will be the vast majority of the time.
However you begin to feel a little less uncomfortable about your sweat stained t-shirt when you realise that, even the local find it hot - this one fact also brings the added benefit of having most building heavily air-conditioned.
2. Be prepared and carry tissues around with you.
3. Hope that even though there is no toilet roll there will be "hand tissues" which you can grab before you go in.
Ok so embracing a nation's toilet habits is probably not what you had in mind when it came to being a traveling spirit but even if that's where you draw the line; make sure you jump with both feet into the rest of it (also been done with the squat toilet)
This is a hard too to write because I believe you should engulf yourself in a countries traditions and way of life in order to truly appreciate it - however Malaysia does not force this upon you.
My point however is that a short or long trip to Malaysia could come with as many or as little of the home comforts as you wish; allowing any level of traveller visit this unique, and exciting country whilst feeling relaxed and at home.
Malaysia is in fact the perfect destination for families, looking for an easy travel destination, with rich history, idyllic beaches, relaxation, luxury and all that jazz.
For us though – it’s more about the activities.
There is a time and a place for a relaxing holiday but I for one want to know where the nearest theme park, splash pool, Zoo, play park, Science Museum, trekking jungle are for if the kids get bored (solely for the kids – it’s all about the kids)
Malaysia is full of them and in the most part they are awesome.
Even the play parks, like the KLCC. Overlooked by the famous Petronas Towers is a HUGE play area, with climbing frames, swings, seesaws, monkey bars etc as far as the eye can see. Plus, a pool and waterfall and all free to use in the centre of KL.
The Theme Parks in Malaysia are epic too and you will find one just about everywhere around the country. Now we love a Theme Park, but I know many families do not, and I get it – they are packed, stressful, expensive and you spend all day queuing!
Except in Malaysia that’s not the case – midweek the Theme Parks are empty, pretty good value for money and a pleasure to be at – we went so often to Legoland that the staff greeted us each day by name!
It’s not just about the parks though; just walk down any street in KL, Malacca or Penang and you will usually find something cool to do, a temple to explore, a clan house to admire, a street seller to watch – there is activity on every corner, of every town.
For us the perfect travel destination for our young family, is a place where we can relax, indulge, play, learn, discover and be surprised – and for that Malaysia ticks every box.