A Local’s Guide to Traveling Around Malaysia

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Have you ever really travelled around Malaysia? I’ll be the first to admit, Malaysia isn’t world-renowned for its efficient train schedules, or its accurate road signs, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring the wonderful, and at times, a little confusing, country that is Malaysia.

Though life may seem hectic as a university student, some say that it’s the best years of your life. And what better way than to colour these years with experiences from all over Malaysia. To guide you on this journey, here are some tips and tricks on travelling around Malaysia.

 

First and foremost, transportation.

Where are you travelling to? How are you getting there?

There is greater the likelihood of landing cheap flight tickets the earlier you book them. There’s a plethora of good deals, ranging from Air Asia to Firefly, allowing you to fly from KLIA2 to many destinations.

An alternative to flying would be the (relatively new) ETS to get to your destination. Traveling by ETS has a few benefits. First, with the addition of new stops all the way up North, you could easily get to Penang mainland in a few hours, or to Ipoh in just under two.

If flights or trains are not to your fancy, then maybe a bus ride would better suit you. Bus rides, despite being longer, are generally cheaper.

If you happen to have a car, or know a fellow traveller friends, carpooling is also a great idea! By driving, you have a lot more control of when and where you make stops and the detours you take on the journey to your destination. This way, it’ll not only be a good bonding experience, it’ll also sharpen your Waze skills!

 

Marking specific dates in advance will all but guarantee a perfect trip.

Traveling during the off-peak seasons will greatly reduce prices in tourist spots. One of the peak tourist seasons falls from the beginning of December to the end of January. So, instead of waiting for the long holidays, go for a weekend-getaway! Weekend-getaways need not be to a far away place, it could be just a state away, accessible by the KTM or a car ride.

 

Weather is an important factor that many neglect when planning their trip.

The rainy (monsoon) season in Malaysia, generally last from November to March, which may deter some from traveling to islands, which are normally closed for that duration. However, a little rain should not halt your trip. If you’re traveling during the rainy season, an umbrella or a raincoat in your arsenal would do you good.

 

Accommodation is one of the main worriers when one plans a trip, with the location and budget per night.

Fret not, in this day and age, accommodation is fairly easy to come by, with the almost endless list of hostels to hotels, as well as apartments to rent for a weekend. With the use of websites that compare prices of hotels for you, it makes the process of choosing the best accommodation for your trip easier. An example of such websites would be Agoda. It is easy to navigate and matches the comparisons you want.

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Food is an important part of any trip so, go all out trying the local foods from the town that you’re currently in.

Eating at local restaurants, instead of at other fast food joints, will save you some money as well. Trying local delicacies are always fun, sometimes a little weird, but it’ll always make a funny Instagram caption, or a Snapchat story. Each state has at least one famous dish to boast and it is normally well worth trying the Dim Sum in Ipoh, the Asam Laksa in Penang, and the Kerepok Lekor in Terengganu.

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Be sure to try the Dim Sum in Ipoh, Asam Laksa in Penang, Keropok Lekor in Terengganu

 

Tips from Other Travellers

However, these tips may not prove well just on their own so, maybe hearing some suggestions from a few who have travelled may help.

Emelyn: I went on a 3 days 2 nights trip with a few other friends of mine. We took the ETS train to Penang mainland, then hopped on a ferry to the island. A tip that I think is worth sharing would be to choose a hotel with the amenities that you would like. I chose my hotel because its location seemed best, which meant that most of the tourist spots were within walking distance. However, when we checked in, I really did not like the layout and what it had to offer. Another tip I would suggest is to call an Uber or Grab to get around, that’s what I did.

Tennielle: I don’t really remember my last trip but I normally travel with my family, so we go by car. My number one tip would be to bring snacks for the journey. Car rides can seem so long and boring so snacks always come in handy.

Jill: I think a good tip would be to use the app, “TripAdvisor”. This app is really helpful to use when looking for good places to dine, amazing tourist attractions to venture and comfortable accommodations to stay. I always use this app when I travel to find new places to visit. Another app I would recommend using is “Waze” as it helps me figure out unfamiliar roads thus reducing the possibility of getting lost.

 

As with most tips and tricks, it would be better if you do not follow them to the T. Get lost, get drunk, get caught in a two-hour traffic jam!

Traveling should be an adventure, so have fun with your trips!

 

By Natalie Kara Jim

Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.

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