Roundup Malaysia: Tracing the colonial past on well established paths

Posted by on October 28, 2013

Kuala Lumpur-1-2Overall I spent about three weeks in Malaysia, a country which wasn’t even on my list when I started my journey. Another stopover in Kuala Lumpur before heading to Myanmar / Burma made me decide to at least explore a little bit of that country. I mean, I was there already so why not take advantage of it? Since I had only a few weeks, I decided to travel the Malaysian Peninsula and not Borneo. Maybe a mistake after all looking at it now. But first things first…

Crossing the border from Singapore was a piece of cake and probably the quickest border crossing I have done so far. Everything went so smoothly and was so well organized, a phenomenon which would characterize my entire travels in Malaysia until the very end. It is a very developed country and the government seems to really put a lot of emphasis on tourism, already being the country’s second biggest source of income just after coconut exports. Hence the industry is well developed and set up to cater for every kind of tourist. Buses are super comfortable, always on time and run at regular intervals. Bookings and all inclusive tours can be arranged literally everywhere and hotels and hostels are available for every taste and budget. That is probably the reason why the country is so popular and hence quiet touristy. It is safe to say that I met by far the most German tourists in Malaysia than anywhere else in Asia. I remember staying in a guesthouse in the Cameron Highlands where about 95% of the guests where Germans. Quiet a funny situation back then but not exactly what I am looking for when traveling abroad.

In the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands.

In the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands.

For me personally the country was too developed, too organized, to clean and traveling way too easy. A little bit of adventure, thrill and uncertainty is the spice of traveling and in Malaysia this ingredient was missing a little bit. But then again, what makes a journey rather unexciting for me is just what others might prefer and need to have a great time. So once again, this is my very own and personal perspective on traveling Malaysia. If I would have to choose again, I would probably head for Malaysian Borneo instead the Peninsula Region. I heard good things about that part of the country and it seems to be a little more tailored for the individual tourist.

Trishaw galore in Penang.

Trishaw galore in Penang.

However, I still don’t regret having traveled this part of the world. Places like Malacca and Penang are definitely worth a visit. The architecture and the colonial flair of these two cities are just very special and unique. The food, especially the cheap eats on the streets in the bigger cities are among the best in Asia and my trip into the jungle of Taman Negara was also an unforgettable experience.

Getting lost in the streets of Malacca

Getting lost in the streets of Malacca

To sum things up, I want to quote Tourism Malaysia. They do a very good job in attracting foreign visitors and facilitating tourism in their country and they promote it with the claim „Malaysia, truly Asia“. This catchy phrase sure seems to work well but after having now traveled all of the countries in South East Asia, I can say that this is nothing more and nothing less than just that…a catchphrase. If you want to see the real Asia, other countries in the region offer a way more authentic experience.  It might take some effort, but the rewards will be great. If you are looking for safe and organized travel to take in a lot of places within a short holiday or just want to try traveling Asia for the first time, than Malaysia is the place to be.

Where I’ve been:
2 days Malacca
2 days Kuala Lumpur (plus 5 days for a previous stopover)
3 days Cameron Highlands, Tanah Ratah
3 days Taman Negara National Park
1 day Kota Baru
3 days Perhentian Kecil, Perhentian Islands
5 days Penang
2 days Kuala Lumpur

Transportation used:
Bus, Minivan, River Boat, River Taxi, Ferry, Train, Speedboat, Nightbus

Colonial Flair, Chinese influenced culture, Street Art, Good and cheap streetfood

Too touristy, Stupid people on Party island Perhentian Kecil, too organized and too little adventure

Average expenditure for accommodation:
24,50 Ringgit or 5,60 EUR (almost only dorms)

Types of accommodation used:
Dorms, single room, hammock in the jungle

Aimlessly wandering the little streets and alleys of Malacca and surviving the jungle of Taman Negara

Spending too much time in Kuala Lumpur and wasting my time on the Perhentian Islands

Photos shot and kept on file:

What’s next:
About 3,5 weeks in Myanmar / Burma

Below I put a selection of my favorite Malaysia pictures. I hope you enjoyed my reports and the photos I posted. I know things haven’t been too spectacular but the upcoming reports on Myanmar will blow your minds. I will post the probably best pictures I have taken during this whole trip so far. I will try  to post the update very soon but it takes time and some effort. So please bear with me, stay tuned and patient.  In the meantime feel free to message me or share your thoughts about your experiences traveling Malaysia or traveling in general. Thanks all for stopping by and the positive feedback, I really appreciate it.

13 Responses to Roundup Malaysia: Tracing the colonial past on well established paths

  1. samokan

    Malaysia definitely has its own charm. I have to say though, I was surprise at their buses. On time and definitely fast and probably the most efficient way to travel. I am not a KL fan but I do love my impromptu trip to Melaka, it’s definitely a place worth visiting.

    Have fun on your next destination and eagerly waiting for the stories to come 🙂

    • Phil D.

      Oh yeah, as I said, Melacca was my highlight as well. I will hopefully be able to start reporting on Myanmar soon. Can’t wait myself but I still have a lot of pictures to sort out and edit. Sucks a little bit but I know it will be worth it. How are you doing anyhow?

    • Phil D.

      Hi Samokan, how are you? Long time n see!

  2. chilliandmint

    stunning photos as always. You bring the places alive with the photos you select and your write ups. Looking forward to hearing about Burma, definitely on my to do list.

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Thanks Chilli, I am looking forward to do the writeups myself. It is has been really amazing there and probably the best leg of my journey. If you need any info on the country just let me know. Can also hook you up with a local contact in Yangon ….. Cheers, Philipp

  3. twistedbade

    Hi sir!

    question.. is it safe for solo travel?especially for women??and since youve been around asia , around the world..which country do you like the best? except for the Pinas?
    btw.. just love what you did with the motorcycle and the kid, hahah astig! Penang has pretty wicked street art huh??cool! like the little girl in a blue overall.. cute and a bit creepy.
    love it cause it doesnt look so crowded… a tourist paradise.

    more travels for you!


    • Philipp Dukatz

      Sure it is safe.. Malaysia is a very developed country in most parts. Traveling there is easy. Penang and Melacca were definitely some of my highlights there. Penang does have a nice feel to it. Spend quite some time there as I was waiting for a flight out and found it better than KL. I like Myanmar a lot and I wanna back there. Cheers, Phil

  4. berns

    No doubts with Myanmar..was amazing.