Malaysia is often known as the melting pot of Asia; various ethnic groups (from an assortment of religious groups in the Malays to Indians and Chinese) live there with the native Dayaks. The result of this mixture of cultures is an astounding array of cuisine, festivals, experiences, and people to meet. Aside from the cultural beauty, Malaysia is known for its idyllic natural beauty in the beaches, diverse animal species, equatorial national parks, ancient rainforests, and islands. Here is your guide to travelling the beautiful Malaysia (on the cheap):
- The City of Penang
Penang is the lesser-known foodie capital of both Asia and the world. Because of the ethnic diversity, cheap food, and authentic cooking traditions, the gastronomic scene in this city is nothing less than eye-opening and astounding. Street food is an integral part of Asian cuisine, and Penang does it best. From Georgetown’s Chinatown to its Little India, walking the streets of Penang offers a sensory overload of fresh spices and aromatic dishes being served. Start at the waterfront, ready to walk and eat your heart out, then go to Gurney Drive to continue around the city square. You can get anything from freshly-cooked meat to biryani, from chili dishes to Hainan Chicken Rice. One of the most iconic dishes of Malaysia is Char Koay Teow, a noodle dish that evolved in the Guangdong province in China and combines prawns stir-fried with flat noodles, soy and chili sauces, blood cockles, bean sprouts, and often other proteins like egg or chicken.
(Information taken from a great article on Matador: https://matadornetwork.com/read/penang-malaysia-food/)
- Batu Caves
Located in Selangor, the Batu Caves are the site of a Hindu temple and a large shrine of the Hindu God (Brahman), in addition to the three caves. If you like animals, monkeys are everywhere here, but make sure to guard your personal belongings, as they’re known to steal. The limestone on the caves is also perfect for rock-climbing enthusiasts. The official tour of the caves is around $50, but you can explore on your own for as little as $5– a strategy recommended more from various attendee reviews. Take a gander at some of the most beautiful forms of geological growth!
- Langkawi Sky Cab
If the “steepest cable-car trip in the world” title isn’t enough for you, the picturesque views of the stunning beaches and tropical forests surely will be. The Langkawi Sky Cab offers an astounding view for $17 per adult ticket–which may seem a little pricey, but the experience is priceless. It’s a cross between a closed Ferris wheel and a ski-lift (or vernacular), which easily makes it easy to feel on top of the world.
- Teman Negara Hike
While being in the major cities is fun and upbeat, nothing beats being out in nature, and with the Teman Negara Hiking Trails, it’s even easier to feel tranquility in the wraps of a beautiful rainforest– the oldest one in the world, that is. There are a myriad of trail options, from one that lasts an hour to one for nearly 7 days. You can even explore the caves or do their famous “canopy-walk” suspended among the tall trees and magnificent birds.
(Learn more at http://www.tamannegaratravel.com/taman-negara-trails-trek/)
- Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
$7 can take you far in Malaysia, but nothing might be as spectacular as the orangutan rehabilitation centre in the Sabah District of North Borneo in Malaysia. The centre primarily rehabilitates young orangutans orphaned as a result of illegal logging and deforestation or illegally being traded and kept as pets, and visitors can have a chance to see the renewal of life for these magnificent animals. Whether zoology is one of your interests or not, this experience is an unforgettable one.
(Visit their website at https://www.orangutan-appeal.org.uk/about-us/sepilok-orangutan-rehabilitation-centre)
By: Ally Sickles