Whether you head for the popular Peninsular Malaysia or East Malaysia (also known as Malaysian Borneo), a holiday in Malaysia is sure to astound, delight and inspire in equal measure. From the sprawling, multicultural metropolis of its capital, Kuala Lumpur, to the colonial splendour of Penang and the epic national parks with their breathtaking wildlife, there really is something for everyone who goes on a Malaysia holiday. And let's not forget tropical islands such as Langkawi, all of which offer blissful escape from the stress and hectic pace of everyday life.
Most flights to Malaysia are indirect from UK airports, although you can fly straight to Kuala Lumpur from London Gatwick on no frills airline Air Asia. Kuala Lumpur International Airport is almost 60 kilometres from the city itself, and the KLIA Ekspres will make the journey non-stop in less than half an hour. Cheap flights in Malaysia are readily available if booked in advance, while there is also an extensive rail network. Saying that, the road system is of a very high standard and buses offer an extremely cost-effective way to explore the country.
One way to take in the exotic sights of Peninsular Malaysia is by travelling on the famous Jungle Railway. It's slow going but offers an intimate look at Malaysia, stopping as it does in jungle-bound villages and assorted remote settlements. From rice fields to rainforests, it's all on show as the train travels through the lush landscape.
Cheap hotels in Malaysia are very easy to come by - from very basic accommodation to the budget Tune Hotel chain. You don't need to splurge too much on good food and refreshments either - look out for the coffee shops known as kedai kopi, which sell a variety of traditional Malaysian drinks and food. Those of us used to the rampant prices charged in Western coffee shops for lattes will be pleasantly surprised by how cheap your caffeine hit will be in Malaysia, although be warned: coffee's default setting here is very sweet and milky, so you may want to mention how you'd like yours made.
The "mamak" stalls also serve delicious street food at very low prices. You can also go a little bit more upmarket at the more restaurant-like but still reassuringly affordable kedai makanan. Just brace yourself for the vibrant and aromatic and spice-filled dishes that form Malay cuisine.
Updated 15th May 2013
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