Malaysia has been under the radar lately, especially for Western travellers. Well you might be surprised at how it beats out Thailand, Singapore and China for the title of Leading Travel Destination in the Asia Pacific at the 2015 World Travel Awards!
Malaysia pushes with neighbouring Thailand for third position on the list of most visited Asia Pacific destinations (China and Hong Kong occupy the top 2 spots). 2014 has already brought around 27 million international arrivals to the country. Malaysia has grown as a travel destination, though perhaps the image of its capital, Kuala Lumpur, as a modernized, Westernized city can’t easily compete with exotic Thailand or Vietnam.
A VERY PRACTICAL DESTINATION
Malaysia’s capital is worth a bit more attention than it gets from travellers from the West. On a practical level, it is one of the cheapest modern cities in the world. Emergence of budget guesthouses and hostels, of course contributes to this. However, Malaysia also practices the lowest hotel rates overall in the region. Travellers can stay in a four-star or five-star but at the same price as much lower quality hotel somewhere else!
Another practical trait: AirAsia, also known as one of the biggest low-cost carriers, is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur. This makes it a great base for discovering the region via cheap flights. English is also widely spoken throughout Malaysia. Many urban residents, especially those of Chinese and South Asia origin, actually speak English as the first language.
The public transit system in Kuala Lumpur is also very convenient!
MICROCOSM OF THE REGION
The country’s ethnic combination also provides a preview of Asia’s major cultures. South Asians, people of Chinese ancestry and Malays (not to mention a huge colonial community) create a mixture of cultures and cuisines. Yes, ethnic strains sometimes pop up amongst Malaysia’s different groups, but all things considered, everyone gets along sensibly well.
AN ACCESSIBLE PLACE
You could argue endlessly about the shades of what makes a good destination or what variables should be considered when relating the qualities of different destinations. But, from a purely touristic perspective, Malaysia is arguably one of the world’s most practical destinations.
The World Travel Awards made a right choice to recognize Malaysia this year. It provides the perfect user-friendly, preliminary experience to travels new to the region (or new to international travel in general).