Going on a vacation allows one to sit back, relax and go with the flow. It takes away all our worries. That is unless of course something tragic happens in the middle of our trip. (But, who would wish for that to happen, right?). Like many of you, I would opt for a holiday abroad. But what if I told you that unique and memorable cultural experiences can be gained just by travelling domestically? Despite Malaysia’s small size, you’d be surprised by what a local holiday can offer and leave you with.
Hop between different states – In order to experience the subtleties and distinctive elements of each state the best way is to travel between different states. Even if you say that you’ve travelled much (of the globe), some of the things that each state offers may be rather unfamiliar.
If anything, those from the Northern states in Malaysia speak different dialects of Malay. Let me tell you something: I never knew there was Sarawakian-Malay until I overheard my Sarawakian-Chinese ex-colleague clarifying with her sister (Just for context purposes, both work within the same firm).
If you’re looking for something stunning, check out Tempurung Caves in Perak, as well as Kelantan’s spectacular Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah.
Opt for a homestay – If possible, choose to stay away from the usual hotels. This time, rent to stay at someone’s place. If the person is nice, he or she would even show you certain recipes and how some local delicacies are made. In fact, best to bunk in with a local family. Holidaying on a budget and going on a food adventure – the perfect combination.
Feast on local treats – This is one of the best ways to experience the local culture. Instead of going to your favourite fast food chain, ask the folks around for some other decent places to eat. Maybe even the cab driver. Who knows, he might give you some places for the best Nasi Dagang or Keropok Lekor. Go fast to enjoy the culinary delights in full before it gets overly commercialized or turns into a crowded planet.
Go to a local museum – My Australian classmate, who was on exchange to Malaysia for six months, told me one day ‘Hey, I went to the Malacca Museum, which was pretty impressive!’ Imagine my reaction. More than that, it was within earshot of some of my other Malaysian classmates. I didn’t manage to ask him where exactly he went because otherwise we’d be chatting non-stop! Oh, by the way, he is a history buff. According to a travel booking and review site, besides the well-known Stadhuys, there’s the Malacca Maritime Museum, Time Machine Gallery and even Upside Down House! Dear Malaysians reading this, please tell me you’ve been to at least one of these places before 😛
While one cannot deny the wonders of international travel, a domestic vacation may just be as memorable and enriching. This is provided you’ve done your research and are up for it. So, what’s stopping you? Get packing already!