Who Else Wants to Visit Malaysia?
Do you know you want to explore more of Asia? After 14 months in China, we knew we were ready to leave China, but not Asia. After some research and a few inquiry e-mails to other ex-pat families already living in Malaysia, we knew it was a must-see before we could depart South East Asia.
Penang was a natural choice considering it is known for its’ fabulous food, great weather, laid back vibe, and friendly people. It is roughly 3 hours from Kuala Lumpur, so weekend trips to the capital would be accessible from Penang.
Penang and most of Malaysia is an effortless travel spot for any English speaker. Everywhere English is spoken. Even the taxi drivers spoke English. After spending over a year in China where the taxi drivers barely understood our Chinese or our lovely translators over the phone, this was a fantastic discovery. We could get a taxi and tell them where we wanted to go and they understood us? It made getting around so much easier!
Culture in Malaysia
The people were amazingly friendly and hospitable. In Penang, there is a broad mix of people from China, India, Indonesia, and western ex-pats. So you are bound to find someone that you connect with. The atmosphere is amazingly friendly and vibrant.
We would recommend visiting Malaysia to anyone looking for some relaxing South East Asia living and of course, eating delicious food. We do wish we would have planned it so that we could have experienced some of Malaysia's festive holidays. We enjoyed our Malaysia holiday (vacation) so much, we plan on taking more Malaysia holidays very soon, and recommend it to everyone. Since Malaysia has such a blend of cultures and religions, you can experience them all in one location and eat some amazing food dishes.
Weather in Malaysia
In general, temperatures range between 77 - 95 °F (29°C - 35) during the day and 78 - 84 °F (26°C - 29°C) during the night, June to August are the hottest months. It was an average of 78- 93 °F during our month, and that was perfect. Considering we were there in April, we experienced the wettest periods of the year being April to May and from October to November. However, for the rest of our stay we would have some rain at about 4 pm for maybe 30 minutes and then that would be it for the day. This was actually very nice because everything cooled off, and it was a good excuse to relax for a bit.
Food in Malaysia
When trying to describe all of the exquisitely affordable food we ate in Malaysia, I came across this definition from Wikipedia-Malaysian Cuisine. Since they describe it so well, I thought, let's just use that!
"Malaysian cuisine consists of cooking traditions, and practices found in Malaysia and reflects the multi-ethnic makeup of its population. The vast majority of Malaysia's population can roughly be divided among three major ethnic groups: Malays, Chinese and Indians. The remainder consists of the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia, the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia, the Peranakan and Eurasian creole communities, as well as a significant number of foreign workers and expatriates.
As a result of historical migrations, colonization by foreign powers, and its geographical position within its wider home region, Malaysia's culinary style in the present day is primarily a melange of traditions from its Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and ethnic Bornean citizens, with heavy to light influences from Thai, Portuguese, Dutch, Arabian cuisines and British cuisines, to name a few. This resulted in a symphony of flavors, making Malaysian cuisine highly complex and diverse. The condiments and spices used in cooking vary as the land is blessed with these natural resources that bring bursting flavors in the outcome of meal preparation." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysian_cuisine
How can you not be intrigued and googling the closest Malay restaurant to you right now!! Eating your way through Malaysia and individually, Penang is not a wrong way to spend your time. Not to mention that our average meal out cost us $10 for the four of us.
Our favorite dishes
Banana Leaf (right picture)
Best Adventures in Malaysia
Helping families create their own adventures is our jam. The positive impacts of traveling, adventuring and exploring as a family is something that I am very passionate about.
No matter what your family's ages or abilities, you can enjoy adventuring in varying degrees. If you have little kids, maybe just a visit to the caves to see some bats. If you have bad knees, take a shorter trek or plan a long picnic to give those old legs a break. The importance isn't the "extremeness" it is the intention and mindset that adventuring as a family brings with it.
Here are some awesome adventures in Malaysia to check out!
If you love adventure and are not scared of insects, caving is one of the primary activities that you can enjoy in Malaysia. There are lots of caves here with excessive growth of stalagmites and stalactites, a complete haven for people who are interested to study about ecology and natural biodiversity.
Highlights – The caves are completely dark; hence you need to be careful while coming here. Worms, spiders, cockroaches, centipedes and a lot of other insects are found on the cave-floors in plenty. Every evening, a large number of bats come out of the caves and leave their droppings on the floors, which forms the food for these insects. Easy, pilgrimage and adventure types caves are found here.
Location – Batu Caves, Gua Kelam, Gunung Reng, Perak Tong Cave Temple, Gua Tempurung Cave, Gua Charas and many more.
Timing – Caving can be done all through the year, as long as the weather is favorable.
Price – Varies as per the complexity of caves
Though there are many trekking trails in South East Asia, the ones in Malaysia are considered to be one of the best. With a rich ecology, tropical forests, rich flora and fauna, and a pleasant climate, the mountains in Malaysia are considered to be perfect havens for trekking enthusiasts.
Highlights – Some of the nest peaks in Malaysia are Mount Kinabalu, Mount Nuang, Mount Gayong, Mount Gagau, Mount Jerai, Mount Tahan, Mount Angsi, Mount Ledang, Mount Beremdun, and Mount Korbu.
Taman Negara National Park Jungle Trekking
Taman Negara National Park is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Malaysia. Located at about 240km from Kuala Lumpur, this national park is rich in cultural diversity and has a tropical climate that attracts local and international tourists.
Highlights – If you are an adventure enthusiast, you should not miss trekking at this 130-year-old virgin rain forest. Apart from trekking, you can enjoy various other activities like nature trails and rock climbing, when you come here. The trekking trails in this national park are very dangerous and can be undertaken by experienced trekkers only.
Location – Taman Negara National Park, at about 3 to 4 hours’ drive from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
Timing – Trekking can be done all through the year due to the tropical climate.
Price – Entry fee into the park is RM1 and from there, you can take individual tours or packages. Packages start at an average of RM300 per person.