As far as holiday destinations go, Malaysia has a myriad of options to suit all tastes, budgets and ages. It’s culture separates it heavily from the unpredictable nature of nearby Thailand and Vietnam, but at the same time has that quintessential Asian feel to. For the keen trekker or the beach fanatic, Malaysia can give you what you want...
Climb Mt. Kinabalu
Situated 2 miles from Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, the climb up Mt. Kinabalu is an interesting one. Whilst it may not be Everest, it certainly poses a challenge to us students who will certainly feel the effects of their beer belly at 3am in the morning and 4000 metres up. Should you go in the rainy season, the walk up to base camp will resemble something similar to gorge walking, and the early morning 1am rise to reach the summit will certainly brush the sleep out your eyes with temperatures as low as -1 degrees. Should you make it to the top however, the sense of achievement rivals that of your first ever 1st in a university paper. Certainly not one for the faint-hearted, or even the weak kneed.
Having been an adventurer in white-water rivers in America and Thailand several times, I thought I’d experienced rough and scary waters. Those times were like a tap drop compared to a flood when I saw the monster I’d be facing in Malaysia. Having to manoeuvre our way through various eddies and whirlpools over a 20km section of rapids,the rafting was no easy task. Whilst definitely not family-friendly, if you require that extra bit of adrenaline then look no further than Borneo’s waters.
Stay at the Shangri La, Rasa Ria
Should you have saved up an extra few pennies during the year, or even be using the Bank of Dad, staying at the Shangri La is a definite must while in Sabah, Borneo. Situated on its own stretch of beach, the only thing surrounding it is the huge golf courses and the monkey calls from the nearby jungle. Having its own Orang-utan reserve where sick and injured primates are nursed back to health and released back to the jungle, the Shangri La is immersed in nature while possessing that hint of eloquence and sophistication that has made its brand so famous. Relaxing on the beach with a book, or fine dining in one of its several huge buffets, it’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur.
Eat at the hawker stalls in Kuala Lumpur
In a city so cosmopolitan as Kuala Lumpur, or KL as the locals call it, you’re never far from a huge range of restaurants to eat at. It’s easy to splash the cash at some of the fantastic restaurants here, but if you really want to experience traditional Malaysia, visit the hawker stalls. It’s true here that the cheaper the plastic seat, the cheaper the beer, but the food quality is completely the opposite. Saucy seafood to crackling chicken, your taste buds will be taken on an adventure like no other, and the service is like something out of the Ivy in London. As long as you don’t mind the street kids offering you their latest invention while you eat, this is a must if visiting Malaysia, there is nothing more traditional.