Truly Malaysia: The Exciting Sights And Sounds In This Southeast Asian Country
Discover the exciting and the exotic in Malaysia on your next vacation, as this small country tucked in Southeast Asia offers a bounty of sights and delights for the eyes. As a country with diverse people and rich origins, it becomes the perfect destination for those in search of culture, food, and exciting attractions.
Straddle the lines between the bucolic and urbanized, and taste the spirit of a “Truly Asia” Malaysia.
Here’s what to do on your next trip.
Food and Festivals: A Feast for the Senses
There’s no shortage of gastronomic experiences as Malaysia dishes up a fusion of Malay, Chinese, and Indian flavors. Find a thriving food paradise in this country that considers food as its national obsession. “Sudah makan?” is the phrase for “Have you eaten already?” Live it, learn it, and taste it. From hawker centers and food courts to restaurants and outdoor dining, it’s a feast for the eyes and the taste buds as there’s plenty to savor and sample in Malaysia.
In Penang, the food capital of Malaysia, don’t pass up the chance to eat at the Gurney Drive, a seafood promenade offering street food and high-end cuisine. Discover the bold flavors of the Penang Laksa, Bak Kuk Teh, a herbal stew of pork ribs, Oh Chien or fried oyster omelette, and nasi lemak.
When on the island, don’t forget to drop by the Chowrasta Market as well, one of the two community markets in inner George Town and a well-known watering hole. Within the lively marketplace, find an assortment of delicious picks from Penang-style curry noodles, Koay Teow Thng, Chee Cheong Fun, dim sum and more! Here, fuel up on great food and great energy.
Homestay: Live Like the Locals
The Malaysian homestay program, launched in 1995, presents tourists the opportunity to stay in a kampung or a traditional village and live like the locals.
A kampong is usually a locality with 10,000 or fewer people, typically containing a masjid or mosque, paddy fields and Malay houses on stilts. Try living in one of the well-known kampungs, and learn how the locals pass time with activities like kite-flying, top spinning, and congkak, a mancala game played with cowrie shells.
Shopping: Rich Retail Therapy
Tourism Malaysia launched the Secretariat Shopping Malaysia (SSM) in 2002 with a vision of promoting Malaysia as a world-class shopping destination. Shop ‘til you drop, anytime and anywhere.
One of its most popular shopping centers, and featured as one of the world’s fourth best shopping city, is BBKLCC. Walk from Bukit Bantang (BB) to Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC), and see a long stretch of shops with plenty of fashion finds.
Art + Entertainment: Picture Perfect
There’s plenty to do while in Malaysia apart from the sight-seeing and the food-tripping. Visit Malaysia’s picturesque islands and beaches and artful corners to discover that, indeed, from every angle, Malaysia is picture perfect.
If you want to fill up your Instagram feed with beautiful photos, head to George Town in Penang and discover delightful art and street murals at every corner. Take a walking tour and snap up a pic with your favorite ones! The art is larger than life.
Another beautiful backdrop for your album would be the Clan Jetties, near the Penang Ferry terminal. These waterfront communities are over a century old and are home to several clans. At the Chew Jetty–one of the more accessible ones–find a cluster of stilt houses, a temple and plenty of corners that’ll help you capture amazing views of the sunset and crisp blue waters.
Culture and Heritage: Travel Back in Time
In this land of converging cultures, there are many sites that showcase the rich history and diversity of the Malaysian peninsula. When in the country, don’t forget to squeeze in a visit to St. George’s Church, the Yap Temple, the Maha Mariamman and the Kapital Keling Mosque, beautiful religious sites for the different faiths: Anglican, Hindi, Muslim, and Buddhist.
Built in 1917 by the East India Company, St. George’s Church, which sits right next to the Penang State Museum & Art Gallery, is one of the oldest buildings in Penang and the oldest Anglican Church in southeast Asia. The awe-inspiring architecture with its well-preserved paintings and soothing palette for the interiors helps to inspire a greater appreciation for the Divine.
The Yap Temple, on the other hand, is the clan temple of the Lum Yeong Tong Yap Kongsi, and is also found in George town. The temple might be tiny, but it exudes greatness with its ornate and colorful dragons and pearl on its emerald roof. Inside, find more impressive stone carvings on its walls and pillars.
Another iconic site in Penang, the Sree Maha Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple which serves as the spiritual and social center for Singaporeans. It’s a sight to behold with its colorful five-tiered gopuram (tower), which rises to over 75ft. On the tower sit Hindu gods sculpted by artisans from Southern India. For a truly memorable experience, head to the temple during the Deepavali festival held during the last quarter of the year.
Built in 1801, the Kapitan Keling Mosque is the largest mosque in Georgetown and is a stunning piece of architecture with its Indo-Moorish-Greek influences. It’s celestial-white exteriors, golden Mughal-style domes, crescents and stars, and roman arches are striking and exude grandeur. But once you step in, the interiors are even more stunning. The walls are adorned with stained glass windows featuring arabesque designs and floral motifs. and the floor gleams as it is made from polished white marble.
When on Penang Island and in Malaysia, find no lack of sights, sounds, flavors and experiences to keep you inspired.
For more information about Malaysia and its other attractions and sites, visit www.malaysia.travel