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Tioman Island, Malaysia © _paVan_/Flickr
Tioman Island, Malaysia © _paVan_/Flickr

11 Things People Miss When They Leave Malaysia

Picture of Lu Yin Wai
Updated: 10 November 2017

There’s no place quite like Malaysia. A country that personifies diversity itself, filled with a beautiful mix of peoples, cultures, and cuisine. If you’re from Malaysia and have recently moved abroad, or spent time there as a lucky visitor, you can’t help but miss all the things that make this place so special. So sit down, grab a steaming cup of kopi tiam, and prepare to get all gooey-nostalgic as we list 11 things all people miss when they leave Malaysia. Malaysia boleh!

Food

If there’s anything people gain in Malaysia, it’s kilograms. Malaysia’s multicultural dishes are filled with a mouth-watering diversity of flavours from across the country’s different states. Remember heart-warming nasi lemak served with spicy chilli sambal ? Yum. Penang and Melaka are the most popular food destinations that indulge the cravings for Malaysian food. Travellers won’t be able to enjoy these authentic delicacies in their home countries. Don’t forget about satay (skewered meat cooked over charcoal), laksa (spicy curry noodles) and cendol (iced dessert). Food is the very first thing people think of when leaving Malaysia.

Nasi Lemak © Sham Hardy/Flickr

Tropical Weather

They might be living in a country with four seasons. When it’s cold outside, they remember the warm tropical weather in Malaysia. Put on some sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses and explore Malaysia with amazing tropical weather. Although there are frequent rain showers in Malaysia, no complaints on the humidity.

Rainforest & National Parks

The rainforest and national parks take travellers to Malaysia’s wide array of flora and fauna. Away from the busy towns and concrete cities to become one with the tropical nature. Looking back, explorers discover not only the rainforests (Taman Negara and Bako National Park) but also beaches (Penang National Park), caves (Mulu Caves National Park), mountains (Kinabalu Park) and waterfalls (Lambir Hills National Park). It is one of the most memorable adventures in Malaysia. Walking along the trails and canopies, going on boat rides along the rivers and camping under the night sky are some of the fun activities during their visit.

Taman Negara, Malaysia © Peter Gronemann/Flickr

Islands

Travellers soak in with sunny sky, sandy beaches and sea breeze at the islands in Malaysia, one of the most popular holiday getaways in Asia. The beaches are not only ideal for families and couples but also adrenaline adventurers too! We enjoy island-hopping via boat rides or jet skiing, scuba diving, zip-lining with flying fox across the clear blue seas and just relaxing by the beaches. You might be hanging out at the secluded beaches to enjoy the tranquil and scenic views of islands. And you can’t forget the mesmerising sunset views across the calm seas.

Rocky beach in Perhentian Island © Jakub Michankow/Flickr

Hiking

They took the challenge in hiking through different trails, with various levels, in the rain forests, mountains, islands and even at the hills. After the hardcore hiking in the trails, they are welcomed by the panoramic scenic views of Malaysia. In between, discover a wide array of flora and fauna in the rain forests. At times, they will catch the sunrise views and glad that they made it this far. They end their hiking trip by having a dip in the natural pools and by the waterfalls on the way back. A challenging and refreshing experience they will never forget.

View of Mount Kinabalu © Wikimedia Commons

Language

There are various languages spoken in a multi-racial Malaysia. Most of the locals speak in English, but they also have their own language such as Malay, Chinese and Tamil. Also, in different states, some of the locals speak their own dialect such as Hokkien in Penang and Malay in Kelatanese. Their language represents their unique culture, community and everyday life. Some enthusiastic travellers are willing to learn a few words and/or sentences to talk with the locals. Also, they hope those visitors will come back and able to speak their language in simple words.

Music

Music plays in the streets and hot spots of Malaysia. Visitors discover international and local acts gathered in live music venues. There are diverse genres, from indie rock to upbeat electronic. Not only that, they also are mesmerized by the traditional music especially from the local tribes of Sabah and Sarawak. The balance of contemporary and traditional music that is played across the region by enthusiastic and passionate musicians touches the travellers’ heart. They probably have some of these songs in their playlist to listen to while they are back in their home country.

Cultural Dance

Visitors may find the wonderful cultural dance performances during the festive seasons and cultural-related events. There are also ethnic cultural performances shown at the cultural villages of Sabah and Sarawak. Some of the performers invite the travellers to join in the fun and experience learning a few dance steps. Dressed in beautiful costumes, they couldn’t take their eyes off their detailed and breathtaking dance moves. Different cultural dances have their own history and hopes that future generations will continue to showcase them as part of their distinct culture to locals and travellers abroad.

Ngajat, Iban Warrior Dance © John Ragai/Flickr

Art & Handicrafts

Malaysia’s art and handicrafts have their own distinctive style with traditional and contemporary aesthetics. They learn about Malaysia’s art and handicrafts by having hands-on experiences by local artisans. Batik painting, screen painting and wood carving are one of the handicrafts activities travellers enjoy. Besides that, visiting the shops and markets selling handicrafts souvenirs is common. Art lovers visit creative hubs, art galleries and museums to understand the Malaysian art scene. There are also exhibitions and merchandise designed by the local artists. Artistic murals are discovered while walking along the streets of Malaysia.

Children on the Swing Mural in George Town, Penang © Louis Bavent/Flickr

Night Life

People enjoy the night. They visit places with wonderful night views, drinks and live music. Some of them have their meals at the street food markets and restaurants before the fun begins. Trying out the locally crafted cocktails at the cocktail bars, dancing and singing their hearts out at live music venues and sitting on balconies to enjoy the views are great activities to enjoy the night life in Malaysia. These are the nights to remember.

Historical Buildings

The historical buildings still exist in congested cities and towns as these have their own story to tell. The colonial shophouses are still in the modern city of Kuala Lumpur and vibrant towns of Penang, Melaka and Ipoh. The stories of iconic structures, frequently visited by travellers, are told by the locals such as Dataran Merdeka, a Famosa Fortress, and Kellie’s Castle. Malaysia’s historical buildings, with detailed architecture, are a strong representation of modern society. Its history and traditions should continue to be protected and told to locals and travellers.

Kellie’s Castle, Ipoh © musimpanas/Flickr