Saturday, 15 December 2012

Why Malaysia Is Great For First Time Backpackers

One and half year ago I set off on my first backpacking adventure travelling across Thailand and the Indochina. These days I’d like to think my horizon have broadened as far as challenging myself and experiencing new cultures, however, if you have never been backpacking before, Malaysia is definitely a great place to make that transition and first step, as well as just being a lot of fun!
Kuala Lumpur skyline at night

The combination of beach, jungle, mountain, heritage sites, multi religious place of worship, multi ethnic indigenous people and city and rural landscapes in Malaysia, is definitely a great way for a first time traveller trying out various activities and see a variety of sights. And the food, yes, the food is what Malaysia is synonymous with, and they are cheap too! With all this variety in one country it really allows you to find out what aspects of travel you really like within the comfort of a developed, bureaucratically stable country. Most travellers found it a great place to learn the basics of travel, and a chance to make and learn from any mistakes they made along the way without too many repercussions.

One of the main contributing factors of Malaysia being a great destination is obviously the sunshine. In any parts of the country, be it Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu, you can wake up to sunny skies every day of the year. It really does make a difference to your day as most of Malaysia’s towns and cities are on the coast and that means you can make a trip to the beach at the drop of a hat. The sunny climate is also reflected in the laid back “no worries” attitude of the locals. With most first time backpackers, you are either trying to escape the stresses of the 9 to 5, or looking for a well-deserved break from the university. This definitely helps when you’re trying to relax and have fun.

A resort at Sipadan Island, Sabah.

Malaysia is definitely an easy country to adapt to if you are coming from either Europe or North America, especially so if you are from an English speaking country or can speak the language well. Despite the fact that Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language) is the official language here, the majority of Malaysians are able to speak decent English, even in the rural areas. Although travellers are encouraged to push themselves to visit countries where they don’t speak your language, or have different customs, traditions, or ways of life, but for a first time traveller it really helps that they speak a universally recognised language. Also, even if you don’t speak much English people are normally willing to help where they can. I came to know of a young Japanese lady who backpacks from Vietnam and Thailand. She speaks very little English but at the end her three week’s stay in Malaysia, she could speak great conversational English and some Bahasa Melayu as well!

And as for the food, like I mentioned earlier, is one of the local’s favourite pastime, that is surely going to rub off on any travellers. Malaysian cuisine is as diverse as the nation itself, fusing the culinary traditions and flavours of the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Arabian and European cooking, making it an appetising destination to visit for travellers who love food. Displaying the same fertile blend of influences, Malaysia has "one of the best assortments of delicious cuisines in the world" according to the Lonely Planet travel guide.

Satay, one of Malaysia's favourite delicacies.

There are so many reasons why Malaysia is a great backpacking destination, especially for first time travellers that I couldn’t possibly write them all. My advice would be to visit this great country and really experience the true meaning of ‘diverse’. If it gives you the travel bug, then it will inspire you to see more of the world, which is only a good thing in my mind.

Tourism is booming in Malaysia and the World Travel Guide sums it up very well -  "Tropical islands and endless white, sandy beaches offer a taste of paradise, while beneath warm coral seas, world-class dive sites await exploration. Orang-utans, the oldest rainforest in the world, city skyscrapers and majestic mosques and temples, plus a gorgeous coastline are enough to tempt even the most jaded visitor" 


  1. Yes, Malaysia is really a nice and unique country. A must visit for backpackers!

  2. The way i see it,
    Malaysia is full everything, and that everything is not perfect.
    Tourist (and even Malaysian!) have to learn to cope and improvise, and that is the exciting part!

    A perfectly balanced country this is.

  3. I hear about Malaysia being good country to visit for backpackers like me but never got the chance. I have traveled to many countries but I think i will start with Malaysia as first country in Southeast Asia. Maybe next year. Can you help me? I am Maria from Austria.

    1. Hi Maria. Thank you for visiting my blog. I will be glad to assist you when you come here for a visit. Please feel free to drop me a mail at Happy New Year Maria!

  4. What a fantastic blog! Makes me fall in love with Malaysia all over again....


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