Traveling is both an educational and leisurely activity. Going to different places gives people a chance to learn about new cultures and traditions which can help in the promotion of a pluralistic society. In every place that I explore, I make sure that I enjoy the journey whether it is just by land, water, air or even walking so that I can be able to appreciate fully the destination. In 2004, I had the chance to go to Asia, in the exquisite country of Malaysia.
Malaysia is located at the Southerneastern part of Asia. This unique tropical paradise takes pride of their natural resources and Islamic customs.
Malaysia has an extensive coastline and a captivating landscape of rolling hills and mountains. These natural wonders of Malaysia have attracted many tourists to explore their beautiful scenery. According to Lonely Planet, this country is “one of the most pleasant, hassle-free countries to visit in southeast Asia. ” More so, it is a spirited and rich nation that has integrated other cultures to create a diverse but a unified Malaysian society (“Malaysia:Overview”).
In addition, Malaysia is filled with diverse cities and towns and each city or town have their own unique charisma that makes each place unique.
Checking out these places will display the rich history and authentic culture of Malaysia. I have been to three gorgeous cities in Malaysia namely: Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Pahang. In Kuala Lumpur a lot of traditional and modern infrastructures can be seen in this city. In fact it has been branded as the roaring Asian tiger because it has transformed from being nothing into a contemporary city. One of the world’s tallest infrastructures which is the Petronas Tower was built in this urban haven. I was in awe of its towering height and aesthetic beauty. More so, this twin towers showcased the economic prowess and cultural wealth of Malaysia.
I was surprised to see the many free standing skyscrapers in this part of Asia. But as I walked around Kuala Lumpur, I also discovered that there were still a lot of remnants of its past and cultural diversity. There were rustic colonial houses and buildings, a lively Chinatown with lots of bet buy items and the dynamic Little India which gives a snippet of the colorful Indian culture. Kuala Lumpur is a relatively large city, my family and I opted to just walk instead of exploring the place aboard a tour bus. For me, walking is the best way to get to know Kuala Lumpur.
By just leisurely walking and not adhering to any tour schedules, we were able to visit and enjoy the different local tourist spots and attractions at our own pace. Among the places that we have explored were the Guandi Temple in China Town where the Taoists pray to their gods, the Orchids Garden where different types of orchids are exhibited, the Petaling Street Market where assorted merchandise ranging from bags to DVDs and lastly the Taman Tasik Titiwangsa where people go to unwind and enjoy the skyline of Malaysia. Moreover, since I am into sports, I also checked out some the local action in Kuala Lumpur.
There are a variety of things to do here from indoor to outdoor games and land to water sports. Both the locals and foreigners are greatly entertained by these activities. The most popular sport in this part of the country is golf followed by cycling. There are numerous golf courses and clubs in Kuala Lumpur where golf enthusiasts can practice their swings to end up with a hole in one. More so, cycling is also considered as a main sport of the Malaysians. My favorite sport is biking so I tried to navigate the city through riding a bike wherein I saw numerous amazing views that took my breath away.
Biking can really be tiring but in Kuala Lumpur biking lanes are provided that made the ride easy and hassle-free from traffic. Also, when I biked around the city, I was really having a great experience and at the same while doing this, I got a free workout. So it was like hitting two birds with one stone. Aside from biking, I also tried my hands on swimming, bowling and diving wherein I had a great time and met some of the friendly locals who accommodatingly made my stay at Kuala Lumpur very memorable. The next city that I explored in Malaysia was Penang.
This place has one of the smallest land area in Malaysia. Despite its petite size, it ranked eight in the most populated places in the country. Penang is also called “Pearl of the Orient” because of its exotic landscapes and pristine beaches. Upon arrival in Penang, I noticed immediately that it was different with Kuala Lumpur. Penang has a more rural atmosphere because of the presence of beaches, mountains and other organic sceneries while Kuala Lumpur is more of a contemporary place filled modern amenities. In Penang, we visited several ancient temples.
These places are considered sacred because they emanate the spirituality of the Malaysians. One of the temples that we visited was the Snake Temple. This place of worship got its name from a myth that upon the completion of the construction of the temple, it was swarmed by snakes from the jungle. From then on, snakes have been permanent fixtures in the temple. We also went to the temple of Kek Lok Si at Air Itam where we learned that it is one of the largest and most beautiful temple in the entire Southeast Asia.
In the temple, we saw the different designs, statues and adornments that reminded us about other cultures. Influences from Thailand, China and Burma were very visible in the architectural design and craftsmanship of the temple. In addition, the temple was highlighted by a a very tall pagoda adding up to its grandiose quality. Even though we were not fully knowledgeable about the religion and the spiritual traditions of Malaysians, we still respected their beliefs by not making noise or doing anything that will offend them especially when were inside the temple.
Aside from this, there are other things to see in Penang. I indulged in bird watching at Penang Bird Park, trekking at the summit of the Penang Hill and exploring the vastness of the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve. This experience made me appreciate more the beauty and fecundity of nature. Moreover, since Penang is an island, most of the sport activities involve water. It can either be sailing, swimming or surfing. Since I love playing in the water, I tried to learn to surf in one of the beach resorts. Surfing may seem easy but when you are actually doing it, it can really be difficult.
But the frustration to ride the waves was properly compensated by the crystal blue water, the refreshing breeze and the warm smiles of the locals. Nonetheless, this small but captivating place has a lot to offer to locals and visitors as well. If you are looking for a place to relax and stray away from the hustle and bustle of the city, I definitely recommend Penang as the place to explore. The last place I went to in Malaysia was in Pahang. One of their main attractions is the Genting Highlands. It is a luxurious vacation retreat situated on top of a mountain.
Generally, the area of the mountain retreat is small but there is a saying that good things come in small packages and this is true in the case of the Genting Highlands. This place is packed with a variety of entertainment and leisure activities that everyone can enjoy. For me, this place is like a one stop shop where everything you need is located in one place. It has a theme park, a shopping mall, golf course, country club and a hotel so visitors would not ran out of things to do here. When we went there, we rented a car and drove there from Kuala Lumpur.
The trip was a little long but we did not notice the time because we were preoccupied by the scenic and extraordinary sights that we saw. Then, after our arrival, we rode a cable car to have a birds eye view of the estate. Since there are a lot of things to explore in Genting Highlands, we tried to make a schedule so that we would be able to all the attractions. We started first with the theme park. This park is adorned with numerous exhilarating rides. Some are located indoors while the majority are outdoor rides such as the roller coaster, cyclone and spinner.
I really had a blast with these rides. It was an adrenaline-pumping, thrilling and exciting experience for me and the rest of my family. Next to the theme park, we went to the shopping mall called First World Plaza to catch our breaths after going through all those rides. We took this time to buy things to bring back at home as souvenirs and gift for our friends. Actually in this mall, people can splurge on many fashionable items and essential merchandises available here. In Genting Highlands, we stayed at their accommodating and lavish hotel for two nights.
The staff of the hotel were very friendly who made us feel that we were home away from home. Actually, the hotel is acclaimed for its amenities and services that is why many local and international stars go here to relax and even perform for entertainment. Also, if you are not into theme parks or shopping, there are other options like playing in the casinos or if the visitor wants more adrenaline rush, you can try biking, jungle trekking or horse-riding and finishing an 18-hole golf course.
After experiencing these, I can say that all the money that we have spent here was all worth it because the memories, the adventure and the laughs we had here are all priceless. Malaysia is indeed a place where you can enjoy ancient customs and the same time splurge yourself with the modern day amenities. My Malaysian experience will forever be embedded in my consciousness for it has brought educational and memorable experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
“Malaysia:Overview. ” 2008. Lonely Planet. 10 June 2008 <>.