Malaysia holds its own in the South Eastern region despite strong competition from its neighbours: Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. The country is a beautiful amalgamation of the old and new, and a great stop when cruising to the Orient to get back in touch with one’s cultural roots.
Festivals like Hari Raya Hajji, Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, Deepavalli and Thaipusam, just to name a few, are celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm. Most cultural events take place throughout the year. One can get a feel of every day simplicities of the Malaysian life in almost every nook and cranny of the country.
Allow yourself to be awed with its beauty, rich cultural tradition, shopping and eclectic cuisines.
Shopping in Malaysia ranges from swank malls to street markets that appease the hunger of bargain lovers. You don’t have to venture far to other states to appreciate local arts and crafts from Malaysia. Traditional fabrics and garments such as ‘Kain Songket’, a distinct, beautiful Malaysian brocade can be found in pretty much every tourist destination in Malaysia. The nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to Royal Selangor pewter, unique to Malaysia and makes exclusive souvenirs and memorabilia’s to take back home.
Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang are great places for some authentic Malaysian Batik and pottery.
Check us out for more information on shopping in Malaysia.
In multiracial Malaysia, one can spend an entire holiday just savoring its many different cuisines, ranging from traditional Malay, Chinese influenced and regional cuisines like Cantonese, Peking, Hakka, Sichuan and Taiwanese to Indian and Indonesian. These influences also aid in making Malaysian cuisine flavorful and a melting pot of spices and herbs. Nasi Ayam (chicken rice) and Nasi Campur (mixed rice) are two favorites and available in most coffee shops, roadside stalls and even chain restaurants. One of the most unique Malay dishes is the “Roti jala”, lace pancakes, served with lots of rich gravy.
Rice is the staple diet in any Malay meal and is often served for breakfast, lunch, dinner and sometimes even supper (11:00pm +). Most meals are eaten by hand and all dishes are served at the same time, accompanied by a refreshing drink.
A perfect Malaysian day starts with a simple breakfast of toast splattered with butter and kaya spread, canonically accompanied by runny eggs and strong, sweet coffee (kopi). Teh tarik, the national drink which literally means pulled tea owing to the theatrical motion used to serve it is generally served hot and with a dose of condensed milk making it very sweet.
Some of the must try dishes when in Malaysia are Laksa; Satay from Kajang in Selangor; Rojak, a unique Malaysian salad; Fish head curry and Peranakan or Nonya cuisine, born from the mixed Malay and Chinese communities of the Straits Settlements (modern-day Singapore, Penang and Malacca) and much more.
Desserts are a must for any Malay meal. Easily available at most local restaurants and roadside stalls, Malay desserts are very sweet and soaked in coconut milk.
While on your rediscovering trip, it may not be a bad idea to indulge a little bit and experience the Malaysian fine art of beauty and wellness with some Herbal baths and Luxury spa treatments that use traditional massage techniques. The best place to start your quest for indulgence is the swish Starhill Gallery on Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur. The ‘Pamper’ floor is dedicated to exclusive spa and beauty treatments. If top-end spas seem out of reach, Old Asia, the central market in Chinatown, has many street spas with fairly consistent pricing- around RM65 ($20) per hour for a full body massage and around RM25 ($8) for thirty minutes of foot reflexology. Chinatown is only just getting the spa bug, but Old Asia, offers a full range of rubs and scrubs.
This guide to traveling Malaysia was prepared specially for the Asiance Magazine by the www.malaysiaexplorer.netMalaysia travel and tourism guide written by a small team of locals with a passion for exploring!