Malaysia Again? Ner.

by Poi on January 4, 2012

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Can you guess where this post is going? We don’t like Malaysia… Chances are you have and you’ve come here to shout as us and tell us how wrong we are but the fact is we won’t be going back again on this trip other than to fly home.

But Why?

The place has never really inspired us, when we first visited in March we were very excited to start exploring but our first impression of Kuala Lumpur wasn’t the best and we left without really ever falling in love or even really enjoying it despite hearing good thing from loads of people.  I guess first impressions are everything!

Petronas Towers - Malaysia

Kirsty at the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur

I returned in October after being invited to stay in a very nice hostel in Penang, and again I was bored within a couple of days.  I saw the hotspots of Georgetown in an afternoon, spent half a day in the national park and even tried out the main beach but nothing was doing it for me.  Had I not met some awesome people I think I would have considered leaving early and returning home, yes Penang has great food but what are you meant to do between meals?

Finally, during the floods in Bangkok, we spent four nights on Langkawi – a place we were both looking forward to exploring after hearing great things about, and again we left feeling disappointed.  We hired a car and explored most of the island, went on boat trips and tried to enjoy the nightlife but all of it just in no way compared to places we had been in the past.  If  anyone ever asked me where to go in South East Asia I would always tell them to explore Laos and Cambodia over the places I have seen in Malaysia.

Yes the beaches are lovely, but there are nicer ones in Thailand, the scenery is gorgeous but we’ve seen better in Laos.  For me, Langkawi resembled an English seaside town which hadn’t been touched since the 80’s, everything was a little sh*t. For example, we headed to the view point, which apparently has stunning views across the rice fields and out to the sea – although we couldn’t tell you as it looked like no one had been there in years and all the trees had grown to block out the view.

I reckon we have been spoilt in our time in Asia, if this was our first country then I think we would love it, unfortunately other places have captured our hearts and this just pails into comparison!

On the beach in Langkawi

Kirsty and I during sunset on Langkawi

My advice: if you want to go to Malaysia, go there first!

So you’ve read this and now you’re thinking:

“But you’ve only been to three places and you’re writing off the whole country!”

Well yeah, but that’s the beauty of travelling, we don’t have anyone else to please and if we’re not enjoying a place why would we stay there or go back. This is our journey.

Have you been anywhere you’ve wanted to love but just can’t?

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Camels & Chocolate January 5, 2012 at 12:11 am

ME NEITHER. This seems to be the common consensus, as I’ve read a few other posts recently by bloggers who were very MEH about the experience.

Scott and I spent three weeks in Malaysian Borneo for our honeymoon in 2010, and while we definitely had a good time, we weren’t wild about the destination as a whole (though the diving was awesome). Then, we were in Penang in October for Semester at Sea, and I’d heard so many great things about the city and…we weren’t impressed. Not even slightly. Sadly, I had to work every day while at that port, so we didn’t have a chance to hop over to Langkawi as many did on our ship. Maybe that would help change my mind about the country, however marginal.

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Poi January 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I’m glad someone agrees, felt quite bad putting this post up but there are so many nicer places in South East Asia – this just isn’t in the same league!

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Peter January 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I’ve never been myself but I love the fact that you are putting forward a negative review. Good stuff. Travel blogging world needs more honest opinions.

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Poi January 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Thanks Peter – we always try and give our honest opinions of all our travels good and bad!

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Martin January 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I am probably guilty of the first trip starry eyes on Malaysia! I agree that Langkawi is very different to what we imagined, but there are some nice bits. It probably helped that we stayed away from Cenang. Have to disagree on KL though, loved it there – mind you we did do 2 weeks total there and had more of a chance to see all of it!

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Poi January 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Yeah KL for us was busy tiring and we got completely lost (the first time it has really happened the whole trip). But even so, it’s just not as good as other big cities like Singapore or Bangkok…. unfortunately for us (or fortunately) there are always better alternatives we have already been to!

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Andi of My Beautiful Adventures January 6, 2012 at 4:20 am

I feel this way about certain states in the USA haha.

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Poi January 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I think there are always places like this around the world, luckily other people can love it for us!

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Zablon Mukuba January 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm

i love how you ended the blog, trying to love a place you cant love

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Poi January 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Thanks Zablon we do feel bad about it!

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Kim January 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Interesting post and I love that you are being honest – not just talking about the awesome places but also about the not so awesome places. We all enjoy different things ‘one mans trash is another’s treasure’ – not that you thought Malaysia was ‘trash’ but you get my drift.

We head to Malaysia as the first stop on our RTW trip so after reading this am very pleased we made it stop number 1 and can’t wait to see what our experience is like 🙂

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Poi January 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I hop you have a better time than we did there – I know there are some awesome place in Malaysia so having nothing to compare them to will probably make them appreciate them more 🙂 Happy travels!

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Cole @ Four Jandals January 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Can’t comment on Malaysia but there is definitely no point staying somewhere just to say “you have been”. If you don’t like it then get the hell out in my opinion. Too many other places to see.
And don’t worry you haven’t put me off visiting there 🙂

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Poi January 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Good – I want people to experience it but as you say there are so many other places to see!

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Kjersti January 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Hi guys! Have to say I am inclined to agree. We haven’t been here long, but after a little time in Malacca and KL we are on our way out of here. The only reason we are staying 1 more night is because I got sick and want to wait it out.

But now I am really looking forward to the rest of SEA though, so thank you for that! 🙂

Cheers, Kjersti @backpackified.com

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Poi January 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Hi Kjersti, you’ve got a lot to look forward to through the rest of SE Asia – hope you enjoy it more than Malaysia!

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Ali January 7, 2012 at 9:07 am

You can’t like everywhere you go. I wasn’t blown away by Laos like everyone else seems to be, but I was also hitting my worst point of missing Andy and wanting to be back in Germany. I did think it was a gorgeous country though, and if I ever get the opportunity to give it a second chance, I will. You guys gave Malaysia 3 chances and it still isn’t a country you enjoy, so I can understand why you’re done with it.

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Poi January 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm

OH no we loved Laos haha but like you say it’s different for everyone. There’s still plenty of places we need to explore in SE Asia before we go home so no point wasting time somewhere we don’t like!

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George January 8, 2012 at 1:51 am

I agree that it is good to give a negative review once in a while if you don’t like somewhere say! Maybe fewer people would waste as much time going there and having similar experiences

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Poi January 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Yeah it would be nice if everyone wasn;t so positive all the time haha, some places aren’t worth the time!

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Jeremy January 9, 2012 at 7:13 am

I wasnt impressed with Hong Kong. I liked Langkawi quite a bit and would have to say my highlight of Malaysia was the Cameron Highlands because it was gorgeous. The one plus I’ll let you know on Malaysia is that the Indian food is phenomenal. Nom nom nom.

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Poi January 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I won’t argue with the quality of the Indian food it’s just the hours in-between that are the problem!

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Ed Rex January 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I’m so glad that you posted this post!

Even though I haven’t been anywhere remotely to the region, I’ve always felt that Malaysia will be boring for me unless you go to Borneo and see the Orang-u-tans there.

So I’m trying to loosely plan my journey in SE Asia by visiting as much as I can for Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia with a good few days end in Singapore. But Malaysia in between, I feel guilty not giving the place a big chance and I think I’ll end up staying in KL for 2 days and head on to Singapore.

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Poi January 20, 2012 at 11:10 am

I imagine Borneo is pretty special and people always seem to rave about it so would be worth giving that place ago if you have the time.

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Debz January 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Malaysia is the kind of place that grows on you the longer you are here. We are leaving on Monday having spent 3 months here and can’t wait to come back.

My fly in the SEA ointment is Vietnam, 3 weeks was enough and I have no desire to return. We just can’t love it everywhere so I do understand. 🙂

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Poi January 20, 2012 at 11:11 am

haha see we loved Vietnam and spent 6 week there.

Thats what makes us all different though hey? can only be a good thing.

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Monica February 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I’m really glad you wrote this post, I didn’t like Malaysia either. I don’t really know why because I still feel like I should have but I just didn’t.
I liked going to Borneo and seeing the orang-utans and climbing Mt Kinabalu but wasn’t keen on the rest of the country. I keep seeing these posts about how amazing Malaysian food is – seriously? I must have missed something because it was nothing compared to a good old Thai red curry.

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Jessie on a Journey March 12, 2012 at 8:22 am

“we don’t have anyone else to please and if we’re not enjoying a place why would we stay there or go back. This is our journey” <- excellent advice! 🙂

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Alice January 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

Who ask you to visit penang or langkawi? malaysians themselves dont even visit langkawi. the nice beaches are in Kuala terenganu (Pulau Redang) and Sabah (Pulao Sipadan).

dont come malaysia if you dont like. so ignorant

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Poi January 16, 2013 at 4:24 am

I’m sorry but ignorant would be deciding we didn’t like the place without even giving it a chance. This is just an opinion and I would encourage everyone to make their own on Malaysia however, this is our blog: our opinion.

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Tika January 9, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Hye….as a malaysian myself, i felt sorry for how you feel about my country. I used to read about how foreigners love Malaysia and this wld be my first time reading negative comments. But im not hating it..you have your reasons. I admit, there are a lot of things i kinda dissapointed with too. Especially KL…i hate going there. There just lots of immigrants from indonesia, thailand, pakistan, bangladesh so on and the city is too crowded. Even the beaches are not as beautiful as before. Me and my family wld prefer going to phuket or bali for beaches instead langkawi. But, i believe Malaysia too has its own charm. We do have beautiful islands like perhentian or sipadan and mountains. But i think, what makes Malaysia interesting wld be the blends of different culture we have here.
I just hope that people who read your review will give Malaysia a second chance. I suggest for those who wish to come here, please do some studies first on where to go, where to stay and what to do by reading other traveller reviews, so that you will know what to expect here.
Anyway, wish you a happiness and may you find a perfect life you wish for. Tq 🙂

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Poi January 9, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Hi Tika,

Thanks a lot for your comment and putting your point across so well. We would never discourage people from visiting Malaysia as I’m sure the majority of visitors love it and it’s up to people to make their own decision.

To be fair if we were to do it all again we would probably pick completely different parts of the country to visit and I’m sure we’d have a completely different experience.

Thanks for visiting 🙂

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Adam October 26, 2014 at 6:01 am

Hi Poi,

I recently came back from a trip to Malaysia. I had a feeling that I would not completely enjoy it, and for a moment, I thought that was true. The city did feel a little overwhelming, especially with certain issues that have happened to me and friends during our travel to KL (late accommodation changes, broken phones, disputes with taxi drivers etc). However, I think that the best part of my trip, was the great food (delicious roti chanai, nasi lemak, iced teh tarik) that I found in off the beat places, the cultural diversity that I witnessed, whenever travelling in Malaysia and the friendly people that I came across, especially in the beach resort that we stayed at Redang island. I stayed at Wisana in Pulau Redang for four days, absolutely stunning and breathtaking beach scenery with crystal clear waters and white sands. Coming back to Australia, I just felt….well I know this sounds crazy but I really miss Malaysia. I know that we have spectacular beaches, landscapes and friendly people but I know that my journey to Malaysia was just the beginning of an incredible adventure, like opening a book and finding exciting chapters to read. I do apologise for my bad analogy but I hope to be back next year, particularly to places like Sabah, Sibuan island, Malacca, Cameron Highlands and Rawa island. I really do wish that you get another chance to discover the feeling, that I had, when visiting Malaysia, all the best!!!

P.S: Here are the photos that I took from Redang island, enjoy!!!
Link: http://imgur.com/a/fghkk

Regards,
Adam

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Siti December 19, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Honestly, as a Malaysian, I do agree with what your said. I never enjoy Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi but really enjoyed my trip to Borneo. It’s something else there.

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Andy Mack March 21, 2015 at 9:55 am

It’s a big country and you’ve been to the capital and 2 of the most ‘moneyed tourist’ areas. Surprised you didn’t like KL but it is a sprawling city which certainly isn’t as lively as BK and most of the bits with a spark either aren’t cheap or are spread out but it’s certainly not a bad place (I know you didn’t say it was). Langkawi and Penang are ‘international holiday destinations’ now so the local atmosphere has been rather sterilised out of them. Try somewhere a little off the beaten track next time.

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