Malaysia : My First Impressions


 
So here I am, finally writing about my Malaysian trip over a month since returning from there (yaaay?).. so soo sorry to keep you all waiting for my posts on Malaysia, therefore without further ado, let’s get started already!

For the first post on Malaysia, I thought of writing about my first impressions of the country. This way, I can sum up my initial experience as well as what I liked or disliked there. Of course I didn’t visit the whole country that I can ‘judge’ everything at once, but what I’m mentioning here corresponds to the part of the country which I have visited – that includes the capital Kuala Lumpur (obviously) and its neighboring cities of Putrajaya and Shah Alam, the lush Cameron Highlands, and the eastern coastal city of Kuala Terengganu.

 

The famous Twin Towers glowing at night

 

Light fountain show at KLCC Park

 

I already had a good knowledge of the country even before visiting there, so I knew that like most other east and southeast Asian countries, Malaysia was naturally beautiful as well. And of course, everyone knows about the famous twin towers! I love skyscrapers btw, mostly due to their interesting architecture. So I was really looking forward to Kuala Lumpur because of its numerous skyscrapers and impressive city skyline. Not to forget its ‘traditional’ side as well obviously! To experience the natural side of the country, I booked a day tour to Cameron Highlands – and I will write an exclusive post on this soon 🙂 Although Malaysia is famous for palm trees and palm oil production, this particular fact didn’t come to my mind until our plane was landing at Kuala Lumpur…lol.

 

Malaysian countryside nature

 

A flowing stream

Did Malaysia meet my expectations then? For the most part, yes! Let’s have a look.

Having visited other countries in the region recently such as Indonesia and Vietnam, I kind of knew what to expect of Malaysia in terms of city life and/or public lifestyle. But Malaysia (and Kuala Lumpur) is far more developed than its regional neighbors, only behind Singapore. So perhaps things could be bit different here?


Weather

Malaysia lies almost at the equator, so hot and humid weather was expected with temperatures between 30°C – 40°C during the day. In addition, rain is almost always expected for few hours at anytime of the day. Google’s weather forecast showed that it would mostly be raining with a thunderstorm or two during my 8 days stay there – and that didn’t sound good!

 

Expect cloudy skies like this on most days

 

Fortunately though, the weather wasn’t all that bad in reality. Yep, it was indeed hot and sweaty during the day (especially from 11 am – 4 pm) but most days were cloudy. And yes, it did rain more or less everyday but it wasn’t a continuous downpour. The rain usually lasts for couple of minutes to half an hour; though at times for a few hours even. According to the locals, it wasn’t supposed to rain because February-March is usually ‘dry season’ but with global warming nowadays, anything is possible…

 

Though in the mountains clouds can create a beautiful effect!

 

People & Language

As expected, the people I’ve come across throughout my trip in Malaysia were generally very friendly. Whether it’s the Malaysian Uber/Grab driver, or the Indian waiter at a restaurant, or the Bangladeshi bartender at a pub, or the Chinese taxi driver, it was simply great talking to many different people about different topics! It’s just very easy to strike up a conversation with almost anyone that can eventually lead to making new friends.

 

Malaysia’s National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur

 

What makes Malaysia awesome is that the country’s population is made up of people of different ethnicity, cultures, and religions. Aside from native Malays, a significant part of the population is made up of Chinese, Indian, Tamil, Bangladeshi, Filipino and indigenous people. And Kuala Lumpur is practically a very international city. Although Bahasa Malaysia is the official language, you would be perfectly fine with your English skills to survive 😉 Though for me I had the extra advantage of speaking in Bengali because of Bangladeshi waiters, bartenders, shopkeepers etc being literally everywhere. So my native language was pretty useful in Malaysia! Generally I’ve noticed that a lot of signs and directions in public spaces were in 4 languages – Malay, English, Chinese, and Tamil – which I found really interesting!

 

St. John’s Cathedral from top!

 

Nature

Malaysia is full of beautiful green nature. Its natural landscape is made up of mountains, rainforests, rivers, and most importantly, palm and banana trees; not to forget the beaches too! And some places can be really breathtaking, like the Cameron Highlands or Langkawi. A trip to Malaysia would really be incomplete without visiting these places! As I was there only around a week, I unfortunately couldn’t make it to Langkawi, but my trip to Cameron Highlands was definitely worth it – which I will write about in more details in another post 🙂

 

Tea Gardens at Cameron Highlands

 

Money Matters

Coming from a more developed country like Germany, I found Malaysia to be relatively cheap. But I wouldn’t say it was cheap when comparing to its neighbors like Indonesia or Vietnam for example. Being more developed than its neighbors (except Singapore), you can expect prices to be slightly higher, especially for taxi rides, guided tours, souvenirs, accommodation, and drinks at a bar/pub. The food on the other hand is seriously cheap, like you can really have a delicious, full-course meal for less than €4,00! Malaysia for sure remains a popular, affordable destination for almost everyone, so that’s another reason to visit there. It definitely isn’t as bad as Singapore when it comes to your wallet 😉

 

Shopping in malls can make your wallet lighter though 😉

 

Conclusion

That’s all I have to say about Malaysia? Of course not! These are just some of the first impressions of the country for the sake of this ‘introductory’ post. I have a lot more to write about – the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur, the ‘trouble’ at Cameron Highlands, the short one-day trip I took to Kuala Terengganu, the food in Malaysia, and of course, some ‘survival’ tips and/or guides!

Speaking of food, I think Malaysia didn’t agree with me somehow (or it could even be the weather..) and that was very surprising for me. Because normally my stomach can tolerate almost any food anywhere in the world. And never had any stomach issues in any country before. But for some strange reason, Malaysia seemed to be the exception because there were at least 3 days when I woke up in the morning due to stomach cramps. The worst of it was on my last day there… This made me wonder whether it was due to some food poisoning or weather or the combination of both…

Anyways, stay tuned for more ladies and gents! The best is yet to come.. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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