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Malaysia

MALAYSIA
DESTINATION GUIDE

The Ultimate Guide Before You Plan for your Next Trip

Malaysia, a country blessed with natural beauties and urban affluence, is a great tourist destination for Indians and others. With plenty of hillocks, mountains, and rain forests Malaysia has a rich collection of national parks and greenery. The country also has a huge number of white sandy beaches and crystal clean water for the tourists to enjoy. The multi-cultural vibrant country of Malaysia has the glittering lifestyle of Kuala Lumpur on hand whilst on the other it is also known for the tranquil places like the forests and the beaches surrounded by coral reefs. Never again will you see a place which will allow you to come close to nature and yet enjoy the urban lifestyle.

Attractions in Malaysia

Starting from the dazzling skyscrapers to Buddhist temples, from dense green forests to white sandy beaches, the tourist attractions in Malaysia will certainly mesmerize you beyond means.

Georgetown Inner City

Malaysia is not just about tranquil beaches and rich dense forests, as the country also has some colonial heritage scattered all across the peninsula. Named after King George III of England this town has a unique appeal. With a majority of Chinese population this colonial town still have a huge number of British era shop houses and many colonial buildings. The unique architecture and cultural essence of this place will certainly allow you to enjoy to the fullest as you will find many traditional customs and practices being carried out, remembering the British era. There are many colonial shops with Chinese hawkers, a blend of cultures for you to rejoice.

Sipaden

Malaysia's one and only oceanic island is made of coral reefs formed on a ancient volcano. It has a serene appeal and it is certainly a diver's paradise. It is needless to say that the place is rich in its marine life and people from all over the world come here to enjoy some free diving activity, under the nature. Snorkeling is also a favorite activity of this island as it allows people to come face-to-face with some sea turtles and other colorful fish. With more than 100 different size and type of corals and more than 3000 different kinds of fish it is certainly a place to dive and come up-close to the aquatic world.

Butik Bintang

Malaysia is not just about enchanting islands, coral reefs, and dense jungles. Kuala Lumpur allows the travelers to get absorbed in the urban fantasies of the place. Once you land on Kuala Lumpur you must definitely visit the Butik Bintang region as it is a shopper's paradise. The streets of this place is lined with shopping malls including the likes of the famous Benaya Times Square, which is regarded as the largest mall in the world. The mall also contains plenty of indoor theme parks for the kids and the families to enjoy. Apart from being a top notch shopping destination the place is also is known as a trendy entertainment zone with plenty of cinema, cafes, and restaurants all around the region.

Cameron Highlands

The Cameron Highlands was first established as a prominent hill station of Malaysia, back in the 1920's by the erstwhile British rulers. Now it is an heavenly tourist destination with lots of fascinating spots for the tourists to enjoy. A multi-cultural community comprising of Chinese, Malay, and Indians have created a magical paradise for peace loving tourists. There are many waterfalls and nice jungle trails which you are bound to enjoy. Apart from the jungles, the Cameron Highlands is also blessed with tea plantations and the guides also offer you some charming "tea factory" tours.

Semenggoh Nature Reserve

The Malaysian government has done its part to preserve the natural habitat of its wildlife and this nature reserve is also dedicated to the precious apes called the orangutans. It initially started as an orphanage for the abandoned and sickly baby orangutans and now with the thick forest cover surrounding the place it has created a thriving population of the species. The morning and afternoon feeding sessions of the orangutans is a delight to watch as you can see many baby and adults sweetly accepting fruits from the caretakers. The natural reserve is also the home to many exotic Malaysian birds like the black magpie, Malaysian honeyguide, yellow flowpecker and many others.

When To Reach

Malaysia experiences a sub-tropical climate with heavy rainfall in the coastal areas. However, the temperature remains in the range of 21 to 32 degree Celsius throughout the year though the amount of rainfall differs. So, whilst choosing an ideal time to visit you should make sure that you do not get caught in the rain whilst you are trekking through the jungle or having to run away from the warm comfort of the beaches then you should plan your travels during the months of November to March. But if you are planning on entering into water based activities then the months between April to September is perfect. The coastal areas experience fewer rainfall during those months.

Seasonality

High Season: Winter is of course the high season when it comes to visiting Malaysia. The weather is cold and dry and it is comfortable for the tourists to go on a jungle hike or sunbathe in the beaches.


Shoulder Season: The period during July to September is also preferred by many tourists as the weather remains relatively cool and the humidity is lower.


Low Season: The months between March and June are hot and humid and unsuitable for traveling. The amount of rainfall is also very high during this time of the year.

How To Reach

Reaching Malaysia from India is not at all a problem because apart from direct flights to the capital city of Kuala Lumpur there are also several flights connecting most of the Indian metropolis with the locations like Penang, Langkawi, Kuching and other destinations. There are plenty of airlines operating on a regular basis like in the form of the Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia, Jet Airways, Malindo Air and many other. The likes of Thai Smile, China Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Qatar Airways, Ethiad Airways, Tigerair, Thai Airasia, China Southern, China Eastern, all have their direct flights to the several cities and locations of Malaysia.

Why should you go?

The multi-cultural and vibrant country of Malaysia is one of the most convenient and affordable destination for the Indians. With a strong Indian community staying over there you will be hardly away from home whilst you are in Malaysia. Apart from that Malaysia has a huge array of beautiful archipelagos and enchanting white sandy beaches for the tourists to savor. Whilst the glittering skyscrapers dazzle the cities of the country it is the thick dense rain forests and the coral reef which welcomes you to have an exotic tropical experience. You will find no other place in earth with so much diversity in terms of culture, traditions, and even natural resources.
10 Reasons to visit Malaysia -
  • Malaysia is a convenient and affordable destination for the Indians as plenty of flights are available on a daily basis.
  • Malaysia is a fascinating honeymoon destination for Indian couples as there are many beaches and fun places to explore.
  • Malaysia is blessed with an immense natural resource and from dense forests to green hills there are many things you can enjoy.
  • The country has a very wide coastal region along with islands and so it gives you the perfect opportunity to enter into some water-based activities.
  • The national parks of Malaysia are simply mind blowing and apart from the caves and the waterfalls the jungles also have many beautiful wild animals and birds.
  • Malaysia has plenty of beaches for the tourists to enjoy and since there are so many no particular beach is extremely crowded.
  • The various cultures of Malaysia allows you to see many religious architectures like in the form of Malay, Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Muslim.
  • Just like the culture itself the food scene is also very vibrant in Malaysia as you can taste various kinds of Indian, Malay, and Chinese cuisine.
  • Kuala Lumpur is an extraordinary city with great urban lavishness and it can certainly be compared to any other western city.
  • The hill stations of Malaysia has a great colonial charm and you can still find steam engine trains for the tourists to enjoy.
  • Last but not the least Malaysia has a very strong Indian community and that is why you will feel at home once you reach there.

Getting Around

From flights to ferries, from buses to train, the options of traveling around Malaysia are plenty. With eight international airports the domestic flights fly around at a regular interval. Apart from the flights there are inter-city train lines and bus networks which will allow you as a tourist to go from one city to another. Since Malaysia has both a peninsular land and a collection of island there are also ferry connectivity amongst them. Ferries are frequent and they also allow you to enjoy the beautiful sights. Rented cabs are also available for intra-city traveling.

Flights

Flights are frequent and plenty as far as Malaysia is concerned. There are as much as eight international airport apart from many other domestic airports spread throughout the peninsular country and also the islands. Locals as well as the tourists avail these flights to go from one destination to another without wasting too much time on the road.

Trains

The Singaporean buses also allow the tourists to obtain a Singapore Tourist Pass thereby allowing the tourists to travel cash-free from one place to another. The buses take more time than the train but it allows you to enjoy the journey.

Bus

There are many luxury buses operating within the Malaysian borders with facilities which match that of an Express train. However, the buses take more time to reach their destinations but traveling by bus allows you to enjoy the sight of the countryside and the rain forest.

Ferry

Malaysia's ferry network is undoubtedly strong mostly due to the presence of the various islands. The ferry takes more of an effort when compared to a direct flight connecting to destinations but nonetheless the ferry offers the tourists with the great view of the coral reefs and the islands and also of the bordering rain forests.

Weather

The climate of Malaysia is sub-tropical in nature with lots of rainfall and humidity. The temperature however, remains constant within the range of 21 degree to 32 degrees Celsius, throughout the year. The summers are hot and humid with lots of rainfall happening during the months of March, April, May, and June. The weather cools down down a bit during the autumn months as the humidity also lowers. The humidity and the rainfall remains the lowest during the winter and for such reasons it is also the ideal time to visit Malaysia. Winter is ideal also for the reason that the temperature is not very low allowing the Indian travelers to enjoy a trip in a cool and soothing weather.

What to take in your suitcase?

  • Loose shirts and tops is what you should take for your trip. Take many changes as you are bound to sweat due to the high humidity during the day.
  • Carry beach-wears and shorts since it is impossible to visit Malaysia without spending some quality time on the beach. Hats, sunscreen lotions, and sunglasses are also a must.
  • If you are traveling in winter then carry a light jacket for the night, especially if you are up on the hills or inside a forest resort. It can get a bit chilly but not unbearable for an Indian traveler.
  • Carry both heavy and light shoes because you cannot possibly wear the heavy shoes throughout the day and at the same time it is impossible to hike in your flip-flops. Hence both are needed.
  • Carry at least one umbrella each person in your group because rainfall can happen anytime during your trip.
In the Spotlight

The restaurant scene is quite vibrant when it comes to Malaysia. The country surrounded by coral reef islands and thick dense forests brings a kind of exotic appeal when it comes to its fabulous eateries. A mix of Chinese, Malay, and Indian eateries are ready to serve you with some scrumptious delicacies as the options are plenty for you to choose from. Whether you are in the peninsular Malaysia or in the island of Borneo, you are bound to get a treat of your lifetime. The best part of Malaysian restaurants is that you do not have to eat a single kind of cuisine every single day. The restaurants offer a wide range of cuisines allowing you to savor the real ethnic flavors of the country.

Lot 10 Hutong Food Court : Located in the Butik Bintang region of Kuala Lumpur this food court is quite famous amongst the locals of Malaysia. The Malaysians love the concept of food court and common eating spaces
and this place is special in regards of its strategic location and the range of food they offer. The area is mainly dominated by the Chinese vendors selling hot noodles and dumplings and it is indeed a pocket-friendly option for tourists traveling in a group. The Chinese food available in Malaysia has a kind of Malay and Thai flavor adhered to it and it is best if you scroll down all the stalls and decide well before placing your order.
The Dyak: If it is authentic Malaysian food you are looking for then this new restaurant in the island of Borneo is definitely a must-visit place for you.
Rediscovering the tribal dayak recipes this place has already made a tremendous impact on the island's food scene. The ornate dining room decorated with exotic artifact evokes a traditional feeling which will connect you to the history and culture of the place. The menu is quite unique, as one can expect, and you can try out the various local fruit dishes available there. Apart from that the braised chicken recipe served with thick and creamy coconut cream is a popular item preferred by the tourists.
Devi's Corner : You cannot complete a trip of the Malaysian restaurants without digging your fingers into an authentic Malay cuisine. Devi's Corner is that special place where you will have the opportunity
to taste the most authentic Malayan cuisine served on fresh green banana leaf. With yellow rice, meat and salad you will be served a hearty meal as you can select the items from a whole lot of options available to you. They will definitely offer you the assistance of an English cutlery set consisting of a fork and a spoon, but why would you waste an opportunity to taste the food with your hand like a real South Asian citizen?
Jambu : It would literally be a sin if you visit the island of Borneo and do not try out on the exclusive collection of seafood available in that part of Malaysia.
The fishermen villages, spread all across the island, catch some of the most delicious seafood items and no other restaurant sources them better than Jambu. The colonial style decor of the place is complemented well with the selection of French style starter menu and you cannot possibly miss out on the homemade chicken pate along with the various steaks and the special grilled fish. Then there is of course the very famous sea bass dish which is served with Bornean coconut cream or lemongrass flavor. Jazz music is being played in the restaurant and the wine collection is also quite fascinating.
Bakti Woodlands: Thinking that you will miss home food? Not a chance when you are in Malaysia. The country has a huge collection of Indian eateries and no other place is as famous as the Bakti Woodlands in Kuala Lumpur.
From the North to the South this place is an absolute heaven for Indians and everyone else who has rightly fallen in love with Indian cuisine. There is an exclusive vegetarian menu option in front of you and you get to taste some of the best set meals like uttapam, naan, and also thalis of different kinds. The portions here are large and it is indeed very affordable. It is very likely that you will encounter your fellow Indian travelers here in this restaurant.

Malaysian cuisine has gained its uniqueness from the combination of Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Malay recipes. The overall influence of the Islamic traditions and lifestyle also has impacted the food scene of the country as the Dayak tribes have made the food of the island of Borneo something quite special. So, you can well imagine the large spectrum of cuisine that you can explore once you are there in Malaysia. From the chicken cooked in coconut milk to an oriental style of Biriyani, you will certainly be mesmerized by the range of food you can try out in Malaysia. Whilst some parts of the country are inclined towards the Chinese delicacies there are other parts which prefer a Malay or an Indian menu.

Kari Kapitan: It is a traditional Malaysian chicken curry recipe made from exotic spices and a whole lot of coconut milk.

Otak Otak: It is a kind of popular finger-food in the form fish cakes which is steamed with spices, wrapped in a banana leaf.

Ayam Percik: It is a very popular Malaysian grilled chicken recipe which is marinated with coconut milk and different herbs.

Nasi briyani gam:It is a Malay version of our well-known biriyani and it is basically rice cooked with herbs, spices, and meat.

Mee bandung: The Chinese influence in the Malaysian cuisines is well-reflected in this cuisine made from noodles with gravy of shrimp or beef.

The markets of Malaysia always don a festive cloak as the supermarkets and the beach stalls all are decorated with glittering lanterns and paintings. The multi-cultural vibe of the place can be felt in these markets. From food to handicrafts, from art to antiques even as a tourist you will find different kinds of items to buy from these shops. Some of the markets are weekly whilst some bustle on every day of the week. The markets here will definitely remind you of home, a bit, just that the range of people and items is quite large when you compare it to your local bazaar. You will encounter stalls selling authentic Chinese decorative items and also stalls selling Indian curry in the same marketplace.

Batu Ferringhi Night Market: This beach side bazaar has a tacky and yet classy appeal adhered to it. Still carrying a bit of its colonial charm the stalls, of the market, lining the beach glitter in the backdrop of the evening sky.
Adjoining some charming beach-side bars this market in Penang offers you the perfect excuse to kill your time before you get ready for the fabulous beach party at night. The endless row of stalls selling souvenirs and local food will keep you occupied for a long time for sure. The place is perfect for the seafood eateries to source there clam and crabs from as you can find some stalls selling Chinese lanterns and other handicrafts which you can take home as a token. Talking about tokens you will find many vendors selling T-shirts saying "I Love Penang" on the chest.
Jonker Walk Night Market : The South East Asian countries are famous for their night markets and Malaysia is no exception. The Jonker Market of Melaka is known for its wide array of food stalls and eateries.
Held in the historic site of Malacca, the night market of Jonker sells some of the culinary delights like Cendol, which is a sweet dessert made from coconut milk and it is very famous in this part of the country. Apart from the desserts there are many other stalls selling other kinds of comfort foods like for instance the chicken rice balls and popiah, which is a Peranakan dish made from very thing slices of turnip. Malaysia's experimentation with food is reflected well in this bazaar as you can find few of the most unique food items being sold here.
Gaya Street Sunday Market: This weekly market Kota Kinabalu has an authentic charm. People from the church gather in this market after their sermons are over and tourists from all the over the world
get to witness some of the most unique handicrafts displayed in the stalls. Once you enter the market you will find many people looking for batik sarongs which are wax dyed fabrics used for various kinds of artwork in that part of the world. Apart from that there are plenty of stalls selling fresh anchovies, which are a favorite amongst the Sabahans. You will also find many food stalls selling hot and tasty delights and there are many stalls selling pet animals, birds, and fish.
Petaling Street : Since you now know about the Bukit Bintang street of Kuala Lumpur it is time for us to introduce you to another hot shopping destination of the city-Petaling Street.
If you feel that Butik Bintang is a bit expensive then this marketplace of Kuala Lumpur will certainly satisfy you. Hundreds of stalls line across the lanes of Petaling selling different kinds of items including fashion-wears, restaurants, and also banks. The place is an absolute delight to visit because you will see energetic hawkers selling their items and you can find various kinds of swanky t-shirt designs on display. The replicas of famous brands are available in abundance in this lane and it is a great place to bargain. Sometimes the shoppers will sell you items at a 50% less price than what was quoted initially.
Satok Weekend Market: The markets held in the island of Borneo have an exotic appeal and the Satok Weekened Market of Kuching is perhaps the most colorful market that you can find in entire Malaysia.
The food section of this marketplace is simply divine as the locals claim that all the best farm produces of Eastern Malaysia come to this market to be sold. Do not be surprised to see many chefs and hotel staffs gathering in front of the food stalls early in the morning. Produces like fresh pineapples and jelly fish are found in plenty and you will also find a local favorite the purple colored dabai fruit in plenty. There are also separate section selling potted plants as the flower loving Malaysian gather to to take some cacti or orchids back home. There is also a pets section where many caged animals and birds are kept on display.

The currency of Malaysia is Malaysian ringgit and it is the only currency which is accepted in all the shops, hotels, restaurants and the beach side shacks. Since there are no limit as to how much currency you can carry in Malaysia it is vital that you carry enough for your entire trip by converting the Indian Rupee into Ringgit in any FOREX, before your travel. Malaysia though accept international debit or credit cards is mostly a cash dependent economy and for that reason it is vital that you carry enough cash with you. As per the current exchange rates 1 Malaysian Ringgit is about 17 Indian Rupees. So before you travel you convert as much INR to Ringgit you need during your travels.

Special Tips

  • Malaysia is cash oriented economy and from simple commute fairs to restaurant bill, they expect you to pay by cash.
  • If you are traveling with your family then there should be at least 500 ringgit per day per person you should carry.
  • Now if you are planning on doing some expensive shopping then the bar should be raised to 750-1000 ringgit per day per person
  • 500 ringgit per person in a day will allow you to have lunch and dinner in good places and you can also hit the smaller markets around the town.
  • The bigger hotels and restaurants do accept international debit card and credit card but you need to tip the waiters in cash.

Indian tourists can apply for three types of visas for Malaysia when they are traveling as a tourist. The first type is the Malaysian eNTRI visa which will allow you to stay in the country for 15 days at a stretch. The second category is the Malaysia single entry eVisa which allows you to stay for 30 days at a stretch. The final category of visa is the Malaysia 30 days multiple entry eVisa. This visa is mostly organized by the tour operators who are taking more than 2 people on the same trip. The Malaysian eNTRI visa takes around 1 to 2 working days to be issued whilst the latter two visas take a bit more time.

Special Tips

Depending on your group size and the duration of stay you can choose any of three types of tourist visas to Malaysia. The first category of visa will grant you entry into mainland peninsular Malaysia from India along with countries like Thailand, Brunei, and Singapore. The second two categories of visa allow you to enter from any country, even though you will carry your Indian Passports. The visa fees for the three categories of visa are INR 2800, INR 4000, and INR 4500 respectively. The tour operators normally apply for the third category of visa. For information check out the VFS Malaysia website.

Malaysia is a relatively safe country to travel but it has strict Islamic laws which prohibits you from doing many things which you might do well in Thailand or Singapore. You should carry your passport all the time with you and should be aware of the location of your embassy. Malaysia is known for its petty crimes like credit card frauds and scams. That is why it is important that you do not use your cards much whilst paying. Be aware of your surrounding and do not roam away from your group. Accessing sensitive information using public WiFi is also risy in Malaysia and that is why do not open your bank accounts or social media accounts using public networks. Keep your cash close to you and carry sufficient amount for the day.

  • Police and Ambulance: 999
  • Fire: 994
  • Civil Defense: 991
  • Accidents/Natural Disasters: 991
  • Indian Embassy: 03-253-3510/ 511

Entertainment & Event

The thick and dense rain forests is the home to many tropical animals as the multi-cultural urban life makes way for many festivals.

  • Flora and Fauna

    For a country covered densely in tropical rain forest and coral reefs it is natural that the flora and fauna population will be quite high. The forestland of peninsular Malaysia comprise of plant species like camphor, ebony, fig trees, and many other kinds of hardwood plants. There is also huge population of sandalwood available in Malaysia. Apart from these the coastal areas of Malaysia has a thick population of mangroves, palm trees, and coconut trees. The weather and the climate of the hilly regions and the coastal regions of the country are quite different and that is the reason why Malaysia experiences different kinds of flora formations.

    As far as the fauna population is concerned Malaysia is blessed with different kinds of birds, reptiles and mammals. The collection of apes in their forests is simply mesmerizing the favorites being the orangutans which the government is making brilliant efforts of conserving. Apart from the friendly apes there are other species like black bear, Indian elephants, various kinds of deer, tapirs, and even rhinos. Birds in the world of magpies and flower-peckers can be sighted in the different areas of the woods. Apart from these there are also crocodiles and snakes observed around the coastal areas of Malaysia. Jungle cats and civets can be sighted in plenty during your jungle treks across the various national parks.

  • Festivals

    Due to its multi-cultural population Malaysia ends up celebrating various kinds of festivals all throughout the year. It is definitely one of the most vibrant Asian countries because it celebrates Buddhist, Christian, Chinese, Malay, Islamic, and even Hindu festivals to a great extent. Id Eul Fitr is one of the prime festivals of Malaysia due to its high Muslim population and apart from this the people of the country also celebrates the Chinese New Year with much vigor and pride. The Buddhist festival of Wesak is also celebrated whole-heartedly in Malaysia as the Buddhist community welcomes guests from all over Asia.

    Diwali is also a popular festival in Malaysia and essentially connects the Indian community of the country with the majority of Islamic and Buddhist population. Whilst Diwali is a well-known festival in India the Hindus of Malaysia also celebrates Thiapusum with music and songs in order to cleanse their sins. Even though only 9 percent of the population are Christians, Christmas is also widely celebrated in the country and it is treated as a national holiday. So from Chinese to Indian, from Islamic to Buddhist, all kinds of religious and cultural festivals are celebrated in Malaysia.

  • Culture

    Malaysia is a big melting pot when it comes to cultural identity of the country. People from many countries have come and settled in this enchanting little peninsula and island nation and together they have created a harmony which should be set as an example to the rest of the world. The strong influence of Malay culture, the Chinese culture, along with the Indian and Eurasian culture. Since the country itself is geographically divided into several parts in the form of the island, archipelagos, and the main peninsula, there are certain cultural differences observed in the regions.

    The island people are culturally more inclined towards the tribal community and practices whilst the people from the mainland tend to be more urban. However, despite their differences what makes Malaysia an absolutely stunning place is the fact that all the communities, be it Chinese or Malay, they are very welcoming and accommodating to the tourists. The communities are also very focused on keeping their cities tidy and ornate and wherever you go in Malaysia you will see beautiful plants in their gardens.

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