Five things we learned from Travel Geeks: a taste of Malaysia
On 7 December, National Geographic Traveller (UK) hosted Travel Geeks: a taste of Malaysia, a digital event sponsored by Malaysia Airlines and Tourism Malaysia to explore all the country has to offer. National Geographic Traveller project editor Farida Zeynalova was joined by Malaysia-based photographer Matt Brandon, stand-up comedian and presenter Ollie Horn, freelance travel journalist Laura Holt and National Geographic Traveller content editor Charlotte Wigram-Evans. Whether you’re looking for an off-the-grid jungle escape or a culture-fuelled food tour, our panellists gave all the advice and recommendations needed to plan an unforgettable trip.
1. Why Malaysia?
There’s a plethora of reasons to travel to Malaysia, but our panellists gave us an insight into the most persuasive ones. “Malaysia speaks to your inner explorer,” said Charlotte, and with its dense lush rainforests, some older than the Amazon, there really is no shortage of adventures to be had. The country allows travellers to get away from everything that’s familiar at home, too, Laura added.
2. The diversity of culture
Indian, Chinese and Malay communities all co-exist in Malaysia, adding to a vibrant and exciting atmosphere — so much so, said Ollie, that visiting the country “feels like exploring Asia on cheat mode”. From a Singaporean shopping mall experience to a deep jungle hike, there’s something for everyone. Matt emphasised that, due to the various religious festivals happening regularly, it’s easy for travellers to get immersed in the local culture.
3. It’s a great place to disconnect
Laura recommended heading to Batang Ai National Park, on the island of Borneo, to head up the river with the Iban tribe on a longboat and stay in a traditional long house in the middle of the jungle. It’s a way to get an idea of what it’s like to live in the middle of nowhere, completely unplugged from wi-fi, phone service and the outside world.
4. To drive or not to drive?
Ollie explained that Malaysia has a great public transport system, including a great selection of long-distance buses, adding that Kuala Lumpur isn’t designed with pedestrians in mind. On the other hand, Matt said the country’s roads are “some of the best around”. Ultimately, renting a car in Malaysia is in no way essential but may be a fun luxury to make your trip a little easier.
5. Malaysian cuisine
For those who travel with food in mind, Malaysia offers a huge variety of culinary delights: from Indian to Chinese, plenty of delectable oriental cuisines are available. However, despite the range of nationalities present in Malaysia, the food on offer is unlike that of any other country, said Ollie. For example, the char sui in Malaysia is different to that in Hong Kong: “these are unique versions of a dish,” he explained.
If your destination or company is interested in partnering on a future online event, we’d love to discuss any ideas you might have, or help you come up with the best way we can work together. Contact [email protected] or call 020 7253 9909.