Considered to be the cultural melting pot of Asia, Malaysia is a tropical country in Southeast Asia that occupies the southern reaches of the Malay Peninsula (West Malaysia) and the northern part of the island of Borneo (East Malaysia). There is a world of difference between these two geographically separated ‘halves’ of the country, with East Malaysia being larger and richer in natural resources like oil and gas, but less developed and less densely populated than peninsular Malaysia.
Sharing its borders with Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Brunei, Malaysia is a curious oxymoron of jungle wilderness and development, where futuristic skyscrapers rise out of the surrounding jungle and an intricate network of superhighways carve their way through it.
The country received approximately 26.7 million tourists in 2016, with almost half of these coming from Singapore. Malaysia is obviously an attractive destination with a lot to offer the visitor. Its appeal mainly lies in its pristine offshore islands with postcard-perfect beaches, deliciously cool highlands with beautiful tea estates, alluring caves, spectacular waterfalls, virgin rainforests with rich birdlife and other wildlife, diverse culture (Malay, Chinese, Indian etc.), beautiful Chinese, Buddhist and Hindu temples, tribal ethnic groups (orang asli) and more. Unfortunately, much of this appeal is being gradually undermined in the face of rapid economic development and the unchecked growth of palm oil plantations.
Because of the cultural diversity in Malaysia, it has arguably the best food in Southeast Asia alongside Singapore, and here you are usually spoiled for choice between Indian, Chinese and Malay cuisine. Alcohol is expensive due to high Government taxation however and not always readily available. Hence Malaysia is not a very popular destination with young backpackers looking to throw a party and drink cheap booze.
Travel costs are very low overall in Malaysia, although transport and accommodation costs can be a little higher than in some neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Thailand. However the standard is accordingly higher in Malaysia with virtually all the buses air-conditioned and most rooms come with AC too.
We’ve spent a total of 3 months in Malaysia to date, split up into three separate 1-month trips. So far, we have only visited peninsular Malaysia (west Malaysia), but east Malaysia is definitely on the cards in the future.
The following videos are laid out in the same order that they were filmed and should give you a good overview of the country. Stay tuned for more Malaysia videos on this page as we still have more coming from our last trip.