Malaysia is an often overlooked country.
Situated between Thailand and Indonesia, it is sometimes forgotten by tourists,
other than those making a quick stop in capital city Kuala Lumpur. Tourists
rarely get outside of this city, which is a shame, because Malaysia has many
hidden treasures that will reward those who persevere.
Pro: Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is one of the most
vibrant cities in the world. Its main draw is the Petronas Twin
Towers, which have been the setting for films, such as "Entrapment,"
games, such as "Hit Man 2: Silent Assassin." The rest of the
city has much to offer travelers, such as the Islamic Arts Museum
Borneo may have become more
tourist-friendly over the years, but it still rewards travelers
willing to make the trip with a unique blend of jungles and beaches.
Although it is shared between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei,
Malaysian Borneo still has a lot to offer, such as 4,000-meter-high
Malaysia, like most of South East
Asia, is a very cheap destination for those coming from the United
States or Europe. A tourist can live comfortably on $60 per day,
including a reasonable quality hotel room. Kuala Lumpur and other
major cities will cost more than this, but $60 a day is a good
guideline for the rest of the country.
Parts of Malaysia, according to
the UK Foreign Office, have a high risk of violent crime and
terrorism. These attacks are directed at foreigners and have taken
place in east Malaysia, eastern Sabah and near the Thai border. The
Foreign Office advises against all but essential
to these areas.
Although there is crime in most
countries, in Malaysia there is a higher chance of being a victim of
crime because tourists are targets or crime. The most common crime
involves thieves snatching bags and speeding away on motorbikes. ATM
fraud, where card details have been cloned by fraudulent machines,
has also been reported. There have also been reports of spiked
drinks and gambling scams that target foreigners. Common sense
advice, such as keeping an eye on your passport and cash and wearing
a money belt, will save you a lot of heartache.
Con: Not Tourist Friendly
There have been some reports by
travelers to Malaysia that local travel agents are not as helpful as
their Thai counterparts. People in Malaysia are generally more
reserved than those who are frequently exposed to tourists. The rest
of Malaysia outside of Kuala Lumpur is gradually opening up to
tourists and backpackers, but there is not a lot of information
available about public transportation for independent travelers.