Ah, Malaysia, the tropical paradise of south-eastern Asia – who wouldn’t want to visit it and have the time of their life? Well, if you are one of the people who are interested in that part of the world, then buckle up, for we’ve got just the thing for you! Today we are going to talk about the top six things to know before visiting the federal constitutional monarchy that is Malaysia!
1. Language barriers:
If you think that south-eastern Asia is a confusing place for some reason, we are happy to tell you that you are most likely wrong. Why? Because over 62% of the population of Malaysia speaks English and countless people are quite proficient at it. What this means is that, though the only official language is Malaysian, English is widely-recognised as the runner-up. Establishments such as restaurants, hotels and even fast-foods will often have staff that will be able to help you out in all cases. Grabbing the travel-dictionary is not a necessity here, but a commodity (wink)!
There are few places upon the face of Planet Earth that offer such a holiday-like weather as Malaysia. Located deep within the bounds of the equatorial climate zone, it is a tropical paradise by all means and standards. The only things to keep an eye out for are the south-west and the north-east Monsoons. The former usually hits between April and October whilst the latter in the October-February interval. What this means is that, no matter where you might tread there, you are going to be faced with a great deal of humidity. If you do not mind tropical rains, then just go without a single worry but if you like to stay dry, pack yourself an umbrella or a poncho for you are not likely to regret it (wink)!
Tipping in Malaysia is usually not practiced as a service charge is generally added to the bill. Of course, that should not prevent you from leaving a few extra Ringgits (the local currency) as a means to express your appreciation. If you do choose to tip, know that it should generally be in the 2-10 Ringgit interval. The only situation in which you could say that tipping is still practiced is when you are dealing with porters or housekeepers (hotels). This is due to the fact that, though the locals are not used to this custom, international hotels operate on their own terms.
4. Island hopping:
You read that right for Malaysia is quite probably the king of kings when it comes to exploring islands. According to the data provided by the Department of Survey and Mapping, Malaysia has a total of 878 islands. Furthermore, it has also been reported that there are 535 unnamed islands that the country is formally integrating at the moment. Strike a deal with a local with a boat and get yourself on some of the most scenic and paradisiacal islands in the world! Oh, and do pick up some snorkelling equipment – you are not going to regret it (wink)!
Well, if you are looking to experience Malaysia for what it is, you should know that its prices are all over the place. You can get just about anything cheap but also for prices sky-high. Housing is an aspect that is heavily influenced by incessant inflow of international tourists and for this particular reason, renowned hotel chains are bound to charge you celestial amounts when compared to local motels/hotels. The good news, though, is that you can visit on a tight budget and have a wonderful time, eating great food. The best part of it (but also an inconvenient one for introverted people) is that bargaining is at least as practiced as in Arabic countries – time to put that haggling to the test. Stand your ground and demand that you be given a fair price – this can often work wonders. If you do not like what they are offering you, feel free to walk away – no harm, no foul (wink)!
6. Cabs and driving:
Here’s the first thing that you should know when it comes to driving in Malaysia: they do it on the left. That’s right, if you are from the UK or from Australia, you are not going to find that queer, but, dear people from the other parts of the world, you are going to need to get used to the local infrastructure before you can go about cruising casually. Additionally, we highly recommend that you avoid taxis if you can. Why? Well, first of all, the most intense haggling in the country happens in cabs – agreeing on a price is crucial in avoiding pirate cabs. Secondly, they are far too expensive for the sane mind. If they see a tourist, they will try and exploit you as much as they can. Stick to rented cars (or scooters) and public transportation – these are the wise words of the day (double wink)!
Did you enjoy our list? What experiences can you share about your trip to Malaysia? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about it! Oh, and do check back from time to time to see if we have some exciting updates! Safe travels and stalwart haggling (triple wink)!