3 Novel Ways to Experience Malaysia
It’s often said that Malaysia is really two countries in one. On the west is Pensinsula Malaysia, home to the capital Kuala Lumpur, while Malaysia Borneo rests on the other side of the South China Sea with its pristine rainforests and untouched islands. Malaysia hotels can offer travellers the highest levels of luxury and comfort. With its cuisine, attractive natural landscapes, and bustling cities and markets, Malaysia presents novel experiences for any traveller. These are three novel ideas for your next Malaysia holiday.
1. Take a Culinary Tour of the Country
Malaysian food reflects the country’s multicultural heritage. There are at least five distinct cuisines within the country.
- Malay cuisine. The Malay peoples have made a distinct impression on the cuisines of places such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Brunei. While different Malay regions emphasise different ingredients and each have their own distinct dishes, there is a uniform generous use of spices, coconut milt, belacan, and rice. Nasi Lemak is probably one of the most famous Malay dishes.
- Malaysian Indian cuisine. Malay Indian cuisine uses lots of Indian spices, coconut milk, and curry leaves. Some popular dishes include chicken curry and banana leaf rice.
- Malaysian Chinese cuisine. Rooted in traditional Chinese cuisine, Malaysian Chinese food has been influenced by the local culture, with the use of herbs and spices being one of the key influences. Bak Kut Teh and Hainanese Chicken Rice are just some ppular examples.
- Nonya cuisine. The Nyonya (Straits Chinese) and the Peranakan peoples are credited with developing the Nonya cuisine. While ingredients tend to be the same as that used in Chinese cuisine, ingredients such as lemongrass, tumeric, sambal, and coconut milk are incoporated. Asam Laksa is a famous example of Nonya cuisine.
- Sarawak Indigenous Cuisine. Sarawakians have a distinct cuisine which is sometimes influenced by the Chinese or Indian cuisines. Popular dishes include Laksa Sarawak, a mouth-watering dish of rice vermicelli noodles with curry gravy, chicken, egg, and chilli paste.
One great way to experience the food of Malaysia is signing up for the many cooking schools or casual street food tours available in Malaysia.
2. Take a Malaysia Festival Holiday
One of the most distinctive elements of Malaysia’s culture is how the local population celebrate festival periods during the year. During festival periods, Malaysians adopt an open house policy where friends and families visit each other to celebrate and to share traditional delicacies. For travellers, there are lots of things to see and do.
Key festivals and holidays:
- Ramadan. The fasting month is one during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. The month ends with Eid ul-Fitr, during which locals will take one or two weeks off work to return home and visit family and friends. During this period, Kuala Lumpur and other major cities are relatively quiet.
- Chinese New Year. The lunar New Year usually falls around January or February of the solar calendar. It’s a very lively and festive time in Malaysia, especially around the Chinatown, Ipoh, and Penang areas with large Chinese communities.
- Deepavali or Diwali. The Hindu festival of lights happens around October or November of each year and is an official holiday in Malaysia. The Hindu population will celebrate by visiting temples.
- Buddhist holiday of Wesak. Wesak is celebrate in May by Buddhist to mark the Buddha’s life. Buddhists gather at temples to meditate, provide food to the needy, and chant sutras.
3. Take an Island Holiday
Malaysia has many captivating islands with great beaches for relaxing and opportunities for water activities.
- Rawa Island or Pulau Rawa – idyllic island with white sandy beaches.
- Sipadan Island or Pulau Sipadan – one of the top diving destinations in Malaysia, Sipadan is located on the eastern side of Sabah Borneo.
- Langkawi Island or Pulau Langkawi – one of the most popular islands for travellers, with direct flights from different regional airlines and plenty of luxury accommodation that equal that offered by quality Doha hotels or quality accommodation elsewhere in the world.
- Sapi Island in Sabah – a very popular day trip destination that’s great for snorkelling and relaxing.