If you’ve got the travel bug, the natural next step is to want to stay. Maybe you visited once and always wanted to go back, or you’re looking for potential gap year destinations, or somewhere to retire. If you’ve fallen head over heels in love with Malaysia, or you’re shopping around for a home abroad, consider Malaysia as an option with this guide to why you will want to stay.
The natural beauty
Malaysia is a popular wedding venue for those who can afford it, and for good reason. You don’t have to be saying your vows to appreciate the rain forests, hill stations and tropical islands with a minimal population leaving a lot of it untouched.
You could spend your days strolling past white sand beaches or snorkel around the coral reef with its many creatures to admire or explore the Batu Caves full of monkeys or the Gomatong Cave’s birds’ nests. A day out could start with a hike through the rainforest national park in Taman Negara and its beautiful fauna that makes it feel so wonderous or climbing to the top of Mount Kinabalu. All of these sights sitting right outside your window, along with the leafy trees, turquoise seas, and friendly creatures of the islands.
It would be hard to be bored in a place like this, but also hard to be overwhelmed. The nature-infused environment allows for a slower pace of life, with naturally occurring ways for stress to dissipate.
The cost of living
To ease even more stress, the cost of living in Malaysia is famously low. A pension from a developed country can last a long time, offering a better standard of living than in your own country. And to put the cherry on top, remittances from abroad are not taxed at source. Your alcohol and your vehicles will be more expensive, but petrol a lot cheaper than in developed countries and Malaysia’s low-priced restaurants balance out your dining bill.
House prices have been rising for the past few years but is still reasonable in comparison to other countries and it is a buyers’ market. Detached houses (or bungalows) are widely available for rent and purchase, which would beat any inner-city apartment above a bar or below a Soundcloud artist musician. Apartment living in Malaysia means living in a building constructed in the past 20 years and a variety of facilities like tennis courts, pools, BBQ areas, gyms and more.
However, moving during MCO (Movement Control Order) in Malaysia is a fluid operation that is constantly updating as COVID is being dealt with, so check that you are entering and moving around the islands safely.
The delicious food
Being an island just a quick hop away from a variety of countries, Malaysia has a diverse population, which means, a large variety of delicious food. The islands have three major types of local cuisine: Malay, Chinese and Indian, with the cross variations that would naturally come with.
They are all famously adored in the western world, so to try the authentic alternative would make every meal an exciting opportunity.
Try the Indian dish mee goreng mamak, made up of yellow noodles, beef, chicken or shrimp, soy sauce, veggies, eggs and chilis, or the sweet treat of apam balik which is a pancake served like an omelet filed with sugar, peanuts, and/or corn. Or join the queues waiting to try more of the blue rice dish, nasi kerabu. Originally from Kelantan on the northern end of the peninsula, the blue rice dish gets its intriguing color from telang flowers which are crushed into flour, mixed with the rice, and topped with bean sprouts, dried coconut and spicy budu fish sauce.
Eat in the open-air stalls for an affordable holiday experience or visit one of the many western-themed restaurants if you get homesick. Browse the supermarkets for impressive collections of the beautiful foods of the islands.
The Malaysian people are a warm and friendly bunch, welcoming foreigners with open arms, unlike most other countries. A lot of the people speak English, making it easy to make friends to take out on the town.
There are a number of international sports competitions hosted in Malaysia, from golf to athletic events – and there is no shortage of venues to host them or you, including golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, etc. If you are near the coast, it is also easy to get into sailing.
But the main attraction is the local festivals. They all reflect Malaysia’s diverse range of cultures and offer more public holidays than most countries. For example, Thaipusam is a festival held in late January that commemorates the victory over the evil spirit Soorapadam with great pageantry. A three-day celebration is held at the golden shrine at the entrance of the Batu Caves around the day of the full moon. A silver chariot carries Lord Muruga to the sound of chants and drums – and that’s just one example.