Visit Malaysia year 2014: My fab-five!

 

How many times have you spent time surfing about your dream destination but been left disappointed? How many times you have searched for interesting experiences in a new country but all you have found is a list of mandatory places to visit? It has happened to me many times during most of my travel researches.

I am the kind of traveler who looks at the holistic experience while going somewhere. For me, it’s not about the tick-mark items like Eiffel Tower in Paris and Big Ben in London, rather it’s about going into the back alleys of Paris and spending hours at a coffee shop observing the beauty of Parisian local life. I want to know the exact moment when Bill Bryson would have made that wonderful observation which goes something like this: “I love to watch cities wake up, and Paris wakes up more abruptly, more startlingly, than any place I know.” 

So when The Husband (henceforth, TH) and I decided to go to Malaysia this year for our anniversary after a very eventful discussion (read my previous post for details), I started searching again and felt that same sense of vacuum as always. As I knew and expected, I found the plethora of wonders that Malaysia is bestowed with, I found the names of beaches and mountains, of cities and malls, or restaurants and islands, but what I didn’t find was experiences. What I didn’t find were moments that will touch me, that will modify me gently and leave me forever a better and more sensitive person, because I believe only travel and reading has the power to do this; and traveling even more immediately so. By allowing you to go through that steeping experience, the new place forever colors you into brighter and deeper shades!

As you may have already read in my previous post, Malaysia is the dream destination for TH and me – between us we love the adventures of outdoors as well as the glamour of cities, the bustle of people as well as the serenity of nothingness; and Malaysia is the perfect spot to find that balance. I have been researching a lot for our anniversary trip and found just the kind of things that a traveler like us would like to do in a new destination – go through steeping experiences.

By the way, for those of you who didn’t know already, 2014 is the Visit Malaysia year! So there really cannot be a better time to visit the country. There are a bunch of events, activities, surprises and bonanzas planned for tourists this year and they’re surely not to be missed. As the honorable Prime Minister of Malaysia says in his welcome address, “Malaysia is an exotic land of diversity and culture. It is here that Asia truly comes alive. … Above all we are building a tourism infrastructure that celebrates the Malaysian warmth and hospitality, treating every visitor as guests in our own home with open arms and the best of care. …” 

I’m sharing 5 such experiences here which will help you look at not only Malaysia, but any other destination in a new light (or so I hope). 

Experience warmth of the local people: From the beautiful images of Tourism Malaysia advertisements, you may remember the quintessential slogan "Malaysia Truly Asia". But it is more than just a slogan. "Malaysia Truly Asia" reflects precisely who Malaysians are. The country is a beautiful melting pot of many diverse sets of people.

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual nation. One moment you may come across a mosque next to a temple and church. The next moment, you will meet a Malay, Chinese, Indian and a Eurasian dining on the same table in a restaurant. Malaysians are nice and simple people, they are tolerant, friendly and most importantly, respect one another regardless of one’s race, religion and background.  It is this true Malaysian value that binds them all together into perfect harmony.



And if you want to experience the local life in an intimate way, you can participate in th Malaysia Home Stay program. A homestay programme gives tourists the opportunity to stay with a chosen family, interact and experience the daily life of their homestay family and learn the culture and lifestyle of the rural community in Malaysia. you can get to know the details here. 

Sample the delicious local cuisine: All my friends who have spent time in Malysia have come back raving about the sheer variety and depth of food. Rightly counted among world's great cuisines, Malaysian food is a magical blend of Chinese, Indian and Malay cooking styles and ingredients. Malaysia is renowned for its street-level which is simple, fresh and delicious. Dishes like chicken and beef satay, chicken rice, spicy fish salads and fresh noodle dishes of all kinds are plentiful, economical and addictive. The Malaysian fine dining restaurants are also equal to anywhere in the world.



There is so much to the legacy and history behind Malaysian culinary world that one can dedicate an entire trip just to gourmet discovery. Always known as an important source of spices like cinnamon, star anise, cardamom and cloves for the new world, Malaysia lovingly promises to satisfy the foodie in you! Read more on Tourism Malaysia website, here and here! 

Enjoy the bliss of world-class shopping: With immense danger to my credit card and to that of my husband, the next thing on my cards in Malaysia is shopping. Featured as the world’s fourth best shopping city in CNNGo, Kuala Lumpur is indeed a shopper’s paradise. Some of the sales that are help in KL are to-die-for and three of the world’s 10 largest malls are housed in KL – I could really go on and on as you count your bucks.



Since I want to ensure that the experiences I plan for myself and TH are the best, I did a lot of research on shopping too. I read that the BBKLCC stretch from Bukit Bintang to Kuala Lumpur City Centre, is bursting at its seams with abundant fashion, food and entertainment options. There is a huge selection of local and international brands available across nine signature malls within the area. What’s more, getting to these places is made very convenient for shoppers and tourists. The shopping district is also well-connected via a covered pedestrian walkway and an efficient network of public transportation. Read more here. 

2014 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix: How can we go to Malaysia during the Visit Malaysia year in 2014 and not witness the maha event! Formula One is a powerful symbol of excellence. Formula One racing travels across five continents and draws global television audiences in the hundreds of millions. This year will see the 16th edition of Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix™.



A mecca for all motorsports fans throughout the world, 2014 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix will be a mix of thrill, glamour, adrenalin and exhilaration. Scheduled s this year from March 28 to March 30, the race will have 56 laps. The circuit length is 5.543 km with a race distance of 310.408 km. I can already see myself wild with excitement on the Sepang International Circuit! Find more here. 

Bask in nature and outdoors: This one is for TH. A thorough environment and outdoor lover, his visit won’t be complete till we savor the Malaysian forests and hills to the fullest! We read that with spectacular vistas, undulating terrains, primeval rainforests and national parks, Malaysia offers unlimited opportunities for a trekker to unlock the treasure trove of nature.

From the freshwater swamp forests of the Kinabatangan floodplain where Proboscis monkeys squat in treetops munching leaves, to the undisturbed dipterocarp rainforests of Taman Negara, one of Asia's finest conservation areas, trekking in Malaysia surely pomises to be an unforgettable experience. What’s more, camps are available in some places like national parks for those who would like to stay overnight after a tiring trek.



Some of the recommended Places to Visit are:
  • Taman NegaraMulu 
  • National Park
  • Kinabalu National Park 
  • Endau Rompin National Park 
  • Danum Valley 
  • Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)
We found some interesting information here.


So these are my fab-five! With these experiences added to my repertoire, I am sure 2014 will turn out to be the best year of my life so far! I intend to document every bit of my stay and visit through my journal and my blog, so that any time I miss the scenic warmth of Malaysia, I can re-visit it, again and again and again….

Given the fact that I just wrote a post on my desire to go to Malaysia (read my previous post) and the next thing I saw was this wonderful initiative by Tourism Malaysia to take some bloggers there for a familiarization trip, I have a feeling that TH and my trip to Malaysia in 2014 is just meant to be. While I cross my fingers, you can read this quote that summarizes my love for travel beautifully, again in the words of the lovely Bill Bryson, 

“I could spend my life arriving each evening in a new city.”

 
I am participating in the MalaysiaJao Blogathon Contest in association with BlogAdda.com.
All pictures are from the websites quoted through the article.


Comments

Sangeeta said…
Nicely narrated! All the best for the contest :)
Canary said…
Hey Sangeeta! Welcome to my blog and thanks so much for your appreciation and best wishes :)
Looking forward to seeing you around here regularly :)
Arvind Passey said…
Definitely a change from the usual 'here are the 5 places I'd go to...' stuff. Yes, the abstraction in the post came as a relief. All the best!

Arvind Passey
www.passey.info
http://passey.info/2014/03/intellectual-seduction-needs-repeat-visits/
Disha Kotak said…
Hey ,
Loved your approach ,
Hope your vacuum gets filled soon
All the best
A unique spin on the prompt something 'hatke' from all the other entries including mine :)

All the best for the contest!

munniofalltrades.blogspot.in
Canary said…
Glad that you appreciated the abstraction Mr. Passey, I always value looking at things with a slight slant.. thanks for dropping by and your wishes :)

@Disha: thanks babe, happy you loved my approach!! :) :)
Do keep flying around my blog!

#Khushboo: You're just too kind :)
I'm thrilled so many people have appreciated my 'hat-ke' and unique take on the subject! But then travel is so! It's always different than what it appears on the surface - it is deeply enriching whether we realize it or now :)
Thanks and good luck to you too!

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