Cuisine: Malaysia is a popular place for food lovers and you can find a nice mixture of various Asian dishes from all over.
High Season for Tourists: Winter/ Spring
Highlights: Kuala Lumpur is a must see, especially Bukit Bintang for the best nightlife and restaurants all around. I traveled in Malaysia with my mom on a mother-daughter trip and we went out every evening to different restaurants and cool places to grab a drink in the evening. We also tried Dining in the Dark which was a ton of fun! It was completely dark and we could not see anything in the room but it was an awesome experience which we shared with two fellow Australian girls that were on a girl’s trip together. My mom and I also celebrated New Years in KL overlooking the Petronas Tower from the Sky Bar. It was a very memorable evening and a great way to bring in 2016!
Local Scams: Avoid eating cookies from a stranger on the street as some tourists have been drugged only to wake up and find all their belongings stolen. Also, be wary of people on motorbikes doing the snatch and grab, be sure to wear your purse across your shoulder.
How to Get Around: Bus was an easy means of transportation from place to place or car rentals if you want more comfort. We used “Flix Bus” and found it to be very affordable and comfortable. We traveled from K.L to a hotel further north in Malaysia and spent several days relaxing by the coast.
My favorites: Ok, so I am a horse-crazy girl but my mother and I spent our first few nights in Kuala Lumpur in the “Golden Palace Hotel.” There were no horse stables, which I found strange, however there was horse statues, horse paintings, horse ornaments, horse decorations, horse fountains, and horse EVERYTHING. It was literally my 6-year-old childhood fantasy come to life. I was astounded by the detailed art pieces of horses and the lengths which the Golden Palace went to really capture the majestic beauty of my equine hero’s. Anyone with a love or respect for the beauty of horses is simply going to love this palace!
Another favorite place of mine in the food/drinks category in the Bukit Bintang was the Whiskey bar, the Opium den restaurant bar and of course the Dining in the Dark which I already mentioned.
Fun activities: I went to a play which has regular shows and is about the history of Malaysia and specifically Kuala Lumpur. It was very interesting to watch this play, not just for the fun dancing and awesome sets and costumes, but because they did a great job of capturing the history of the city and educated me a lot about many things I had not known prior to this event. Another, admittedly favorite activity of mine which I started on my trips to various Asian countries, are the “Escape Rooms” which are becoming increasingly popular. I of course had to try my hand at it again and my mom and I got to team up and try to break out of yet another maze of rooms.
My mother and I also visited the Aquarium. I usually don’t like to go to zoo’s because I don’t like seeing animals in cages, but the Aquarium was quite large and very nice to spend a couple hours.
One of the oddest things I did in Malaysia was try my hand at archery.
We even splurged and took a golf lesson from a professional Malaysian Golfer. It was definitely not something I would have expected to be among my list of activities in this country but we had a lot of fun and enjoyed our holiday as tourists. I admit, I had always traveled for work or as an expat so being a tourist was a bit new to me, but we had a lovely trip and my mom and I bonded over many fun activities.
Good to Know: Malaysia is a Muslim country and there are many women who cover themselves. I found the people to be very friendly and made friends with several men and women from Malaysia (whom I had actually met while traveling through Vietnam!). Although it is a Muslim country I found the city to be pretty modern and it was common to see women wearing dresses and men in shorts. After all, it can get pretty hot and humid!
Pewter in Malyasia: There are lots of cups, figurines and necklaces made from pewter as it’s a popular craft in this country. I found the ornaments to be quite beautiful and it was fun to window shop in the various markets. The Royal Selangor in Malaysia is the largest manufacturer of Pewter in the world. In the British era, pewter was used a lot for nearly everything including utensils and common household tools. Nowadays its more of a decorative art and is used for gifts and souvenirs.
Food: Penang is known for having the best food market in Malaysia. I did not get a chance to visit, unfortunately but I heard about it over and over again from others during my travels.
My mother and I did enjoy eating the Hot Pot which is a popular dish known in the surrounding countries. There is a large pot in the middle of your table with boiling water and you grab a bowl of meat and vegetables (buffet style) to throw into your pot. You basically cook your soup-like dish while at your table and it is a lot of fun and you can mix and match it according to your taste! These dishes are pretty big so its best to share with a table of people. My mother and I were completely full and the bill was very cheap.
Another key street food item to try is the Satay. Its essentially meat on a stick and tastes very good! You can find this in many street stalls.
Another fun thing about eating food in Malaysia is eating your rice and meat on a banana leaf. If you feel overwhelmed by the menus, many have pictures so you can point at what you would like to try, but if not then just look around at what the locals are eating and ask the waiter for the same!