Malaysia – Travel Tips

malaysia

  • See the Malaysia Wikitravel page
  • Malaysia is split between Peninsula Malaysia and Borneo Malaysia. Air Asia is the best bet for travel between the two.
  • Kuala Lumpur – The capital; see the Tourist Board dance show and the Eye on Malaysia Ferris wheel and light show. Restaurants in the capital are great, and Chinatown is worth a visit. The Petronas Towers viewing platform is surprisingly underwhelming.
  • Cameron Highlands – Take a tour and see the local farms, rose garden, waterfalls, jungles etc..
  • Penang – Island off the north west, fantastic colonial history.
  • Perhentian Islands – Two dreamy tropical islands off the north-east coast. Find a quieter beach than the main Long Beach and relax amongst the sea turtles, monitor lizards, crystal clear water and laidback atmosphere. Snorkelling and diving are great here, and it is accessible by direct tourist minivan. Unmissable.
  • In Borneo Malaysia, the main cities are Kuching in the West (‘Cat city’ – see the orang-utan sanctuary and the excellent free museums), Miri (a stop off before Brunei) and Kota Kinabalu (the main hub for treks into the mountains, jungles and minority villages).

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Download all of my Southeast Asia travel tips as a PDF.

Indonesia – Travel Tips

indonesia

  • See the Indonesia Wikitravel page
  • It is possible to enter overland from Singapore by taking a ferry to Batam in Sumatra. Beware of the persistent touts on the Indonesian side and make a beeline for the airport or the next city.
  • Jakarta – The capital disappoints most visitors as it is mostly an administrative base with very little to do for tourists, beyond the national museums. I would suggest hopping on a train to Yogyakarta as soon as possible.
  • Yogyakarta & Borobudur – Be sure to see gamelan music and a cultural performance either here or in Bali. A day trip to Borobudur will take you to the ‘Angkor’ of Indonesia – a splendid, recently resorted ninth-century Mahayana Buddhist monument.
  • Bali – Split your time between the tourist and nightclubbing hub of Kuta (the ‘Kao San’ area of Indonesia, full of mainly Australian backpackers) and Ubud (the arts/crafts capital, very laidback, be sure to see a cultural song/dance performance and the Enchanted Monkey Forest). Bungee jumping, trekking, white-water rafting and other adventure sports are all possible in Indonesia’s tourist centre.
  • Gilis and Lombock – Two beautiful islands near Bali, great to escape to and excellent diving.

Adventures – Chicken Suit Bungee

indonesia

Journal Extract:

…I drove back to Kuta to do my third and final bungee jump on the beach. I’d bought a deluxe package of 3 jumps – a standard jump where the cord is attached at the feet, a ‘spider’ jump with a harness around the waist giving you more freefall freedom and a final jump where you do a run-up on a BMX (the bike is attached to you). In preparation, I’d not eaten for a while and did the biggest poo I could muster to ensure no messy accidents during the escapade…

I’ll be honest – I derived no enjoyment at all from the exercise and literally spent 8 minutes ‘contemplating’ on the edge of the platform during the first jump. By the second one I’d cut my emotional crisis on the edge down to 6 minutes. The crew told me that the longer I wait, the harder it would be – they weren’t wrong and I wish they’d have just pushed me. They say skydives are easier – I have a couple of solo skydives to my credit and agree, at least, that parachute jumps are more abstract – you’re up in the clouds and are generally pushed out! However, here you have a situation where you can see the ground clearly and are being asked carry out an action which your brain reminds you is – in essence – an act of suicide.