Love is in the air! Chocolates, flowers and candlelit dinners abound; cheesy love songs and romantic dedications play around the clock. Yes, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
While typically celebrated between loved ones, this Valentine’s why not switch the beat and celebrate love of a different kind?
Get swept off your feet with Malaysia’s curious offerings as Agoda, one of the world’s fastest growing digital travel platforms, shares an exploration of six fun, quirky things that make Malaysia the truly lovable and unique country that it is.
1. The land that eats round the clock
The word on the street is that Malaysians eat only one meal a day: they start in the morning and don’t stop till just before bedtime! As absurd as that may sound, this is one unique trait that is relatable to most Malaysians.
In fact, typically agreeable Malaysians can become some of the most passionate and opinionated people when it comes to food.
And why shouldn’t they be? A nation blessed with a myriad of 24-hour eateries, Malaysia is a rare culinary paradise that champions the delicacies of all ethnicity.
For a heady mix of culture, check out George Town – the capital city of Penang, where the street and hawker food scene remains a dominant draw for locals and tourists alike.
While there, check into the Seven Terraces Hotel, a row of houses converted from 19th Century Anglo-Chinese terraces and now decked out in opulent Peranakan Chinese furniture.
Located only a stone’s throw away from Chulia Street, the hotel is within walking distance to a haven of local hawker fare, eateries and watering holes.
2. Indulge in the exotic King of Fruits
Ahh Malaysia, the land where the pungent, spiky fruit is king!
Arguably the world’s most divisive fruit, the native Durian is well known for its powerful aroma and distinctive taste, and is as much a cultural icon as it is a treasured delicacy.
Dubbed the “King of Fruits”, there are over 134 varieties of durian registered 1 , the most popular being Malaysia’s Musang King, D24 and XO. It’s no wonder there is a high demand for the fruit from China and other neighbouring countries!
Set your taste buds on an adventure and travel to the quaint town of Raub, Pahang from June to August when the durian harvest is plentiful. While there, stay at the Casabrina Vacation Villas, a beautiful and serene villa surrounded by lush greenery.
Apart from hunting down the best durians, you can even sign up for in-house activities like white water rafting and jungle trekking to hunt down Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower.
3. Ipoh – Where home grown talents abound
Malaysia certainly punches its weight when it comes to churning out world renowned celebrities.
From the likes of veteran TVB actress Mimi Chu and Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Michelle Yeoh, who played the infamously rich family matriarch in the recent Hollywood blockbuster; to Datuk Jimmy Choo, the name and face of iconic luxury fashion brand donned by the stars of Hollywood, each of these celebrities hold one thing in common, they hail from this beautiful country we call home – two in particular are from the bustling town of Ipoh.
The bustling town of Ipoh, known for its whimsical appeal, has plenty of sights, sounds and smells to keep you occupied. Check in to Homestay Ipoh – Octogon for a lovely weekend exploring all that the town has to offer.
4. A language to connect all languages
Only in Malaysia will you hear four languages squeezed into a sentence – usually an amalgamation of Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil. For the unsuspecting tourist, hearing what is known as ‘bahasa rojak’ will seem oddly confusing, but for any local, the lingo is perfectly understood and accepted as a true symbol of Malaysian-ness.
You will hear most of these conversations take place in our comfort zones – local hawker centres, where food is aplenty.
The well-known Jalan Alor Food Street located in the heart of the Kuala Lumpur City Center would be a good place to start, for a taste of local lingo as well as local fare.
Stay at the Kuala Lumpur Journal Hotel for easy access to all the hip and trendy places in town.
P.S, If you think the hotel looks familiar, it’s probably because you saw it in Love At First Swipe! This is the place where Jess was working freelance for her sister’s event.
5. Post your letters..under water
While the proliferation of technology has given rise to high-speed internet and the existence of e-mails and instant messaging, nothing can compare to receiving hand-written letters and notes.
Well, in Malaysia, we go to the ends of the earth, or precisely to the bottom of the sea to do it!
There are not one but TWO functional underwater postboxes that allow divers to post letters or postcards to anyone in the world. One is located in Mataking Island, a jewel in the Celebes Sea located off the East Coast of Sabah.
A haven for divers and discerning tourists, the island is home to Malaysia’s first ‘Underwater Post Office’ also known as the ‘Shipwreck Post’.
Stay at the Reef Dive Resort, a charming hideaway that serves as a gateway to an incredible world beneath the sea, and send your first underwater mail from here!
6. Where standing tall isn’t a tall order
Standing majestically at 4,095 meters, Mount Kinabalu is one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia and Malaysia’s pride and joy.
The summit climb takes two days and one night to reach Mount Kinabalu’s prominent peak. A glimpse of the epic sunrise vistas from the summit will be worth the trek!
Those seeking a less heart-pumping getaway can check into the Spring Garden villa in Kundasang which provides unobstructed views of the mountain.
The villa is also located a stone’s throw away from the UNESCO Kinabalu Park where the world’s largest collections of flora and fauna abound.
See… Malaysia is truly a wonderful country after all. If tourists could love our country, we should learn to love it too, if we haven’t already, lah.