I have travelled, safely and happily, several times to Malaysia, once independently as a single, female vacationer and other times on group travel assignments.
A good introduction is to go during the Annual Colours of Malaysia Parade .Check the date, which can change slightly each year. The two and a half hour parade, one of the best in the world, showcases the diverse cultures and colourful, traditional regalia of the welcoming Malaysian people. Do take an extra camera battery, since you will be taking dozens of fantastic photos.
Of course visit the capital of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Malacca along the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca.
However extend your experience and take a 3 hour long-boat trip up the Tembeling River in the Taman Negara Park on the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia on the South China Sea. Here you can take a tree-canopy walk, witness the Oran Asli or Batek Aboriginal Nomadic Tribe use blow pipes and view a flower that only blooms at night.
Fly over to Malaysian Borneo and visit 2 Orangutan Rehab. Sanctuaries at Sepilok in Sabah, 25km from Sanderkan and Semenggoh near Kuching in Sarawak.
I loved seeing a Proboscis monkey with his large “Durante style” nose and pot belly, and harem of several females leaping through the mangrove forest as we glided along a river estuary.
In July, the annual Rainforest World Music Festival, near Kuching, throbs with traditional and international musical workshops and main stage evening concerts.
No one goes hungry with the culinary diversity of Malaysian food, ranging from Eurasian, Nonya, Malay and Indian to sizzling steaks which the former colonial planters loved. My favorite beverage, Teh Tarik or “pull tea” is made by “pulling” the black tea and condensed milk, with great showmanship, repeatedly between 2 jugs from a height, to give it more aroma and form a great froth.
Malaysia is a winner! Go and experience it yourself!
Lenora A. Hayman