I'm off back travelling in May and starting my journey in Thailand! I spent 6 months in Thailand last year and am aware of getting across to Laos and Cambodia, but would like to know how easy it is to cross in2 Malaysia and how easy it is to travel round the country. Does anyone have any routes, places or recommendations? i'm quite in2 culture and beaches, so any advice would be much appreciated.
is Malaysia an expensive place to travel?
I found the crossing from Thailand to Malaysia really straightforward and well organised. Managed to get from Ko Phi Phi in Thailand to Georgetown (Penang)Malaysia all in one day. It involved a bus from Krabi to Hat Yai, then another from there to the border and on. We got a tourist minibuses, which was a bit dearer but air-con and dvds! Penang wasn't very nice by the way, I wouldn't bother!
You should definatly go to the Cameron Highlands. Amazingly lush and green, with tea plantations and loads of flowers. Cos its so high, the cooler climate is a blissful relief. The main town is Tanah Rata, and I'd recommend Father's Guest House, v friendly and has weird metal-roofed huts. There are lots of really nice walks.
If you want beaches, the Perhentian Islands is gorgeous. If you are there in May, its a great time, because while the monsoon season will have just started in Thailand and the Western side of Malaysia, on the East side of Malaysia it has just finished, so you should get perfect weather! I learnt to dive there, and it was just as cheap as Thailand, RM800 for Open Water.
Taman Negara is supposed to be good, I regret not going, its a national park in the rainforest.
Coming from Thailand, you'll find Malaysia quite a bit more expensive. If you are on a tight budget and are alone, you can stay in dorms rather than rooms. Food is still good and cheap though, and in places like Kuala Lumpur if you eat in the food courts you'll do very well. With Malaysia being a muslim country, alcaholic drinks are (relatively) quite expensive. Kuala Lumpur is quite good for shopping, but to be honest, I think Bangkok is better.
Transport is a very good standard in Malaysia, and like Thailand, its easy to organise. But watch out for freezing cold air-conditioning!
I love this web site, so dam useful. Anyway i'm in Malasia right now traveling around on my own and generally find it pretty easy to get around, the buses are comfortable enough and have gone to all the places i've wanted to go from main stations. People are very friendly and are only too happy to recieve a smile from you. Am in Cherating on the East coast right now after spending a few days in Melaka. I went to Melaka for cultural reasons but found the culture of the city was mainly centered around tourist sites rather than the people. Happy to have found Cherating as it's very peaceful here. I'm interested in your question as i'm traveling up the other way into Thailand so i'm curious to know too.
Thankyou for all the info, cant wait to get myself over there.
if you are heading in2 Thailand i would definately go the islands. Krabi has cute little islands and beautiful limestone formations.
I spent alot of time on koh Phangn and found it really relaxing and also entertaining. i would avoid koh samoui as i think it is rather package holiday nowadays.
another place i enjoyed was kanchanaburi, where the thai-burma railway is situated or the death valley railway. i found that so eductaional and moving. it is also in a beautiful loctaion. its only a couple of hours drive from bangkok.
everyone should head to Bangkok, even if its only for 1 day. I had a love/hate relationship with the city. The day i arrievd in Thailand i was in ore of Bagkok. Often, i would absolutley adore the place, the next you couldn't get me out of there quick enough. i like the slowere pace in life, but bangkok is a brilliant, brilliant city!!! Also, i had to keep ventureing back and fourth to the place each time i extended my ticket home. so i s'pose the city became rather a chore. I am so looking forward and cant wait to get back to Bangkok as i speak/write
any other questions you'd like to know about thailand, i would be happy to answer
Mostly agree with Clarabell's post apart from I liked Penang, thought Georgetown was pretty interesting.
Also - Taman Negara is definitely worth a visit if you want to see the jungle.
If you're interested in historical stuff melacca (sp?), the old capital of Malaysia, might be worth it too.