Faces of
Malaysia
Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu is the capital of the state of Sabah on Borneo. With an estimated population of 532,129 in the city and 700,000 in the urban area, it is the largest urban centre in Sabah and the sixth largest in Malaysia. It is located close to Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South-East Asia.

Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu, KT in short, is located at the east coast of the Peninsula Malaysia and at the mouth of the Sungai Terengganu (or Terengganu River) that empties here into the South China Sea. It is the capital of the state of Terengganu, which forms, together with Kedah and Kelatan, the heartland of Malay culture. KT is a good stop for one or 2 days before moving on along the east coast or towards the National Park / Tasik Kenyir.

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Kampung Life

10 plus years of perpetual travelling

Konni and Matt retired some 10 plus years ago and are since then living everybody's dream - travelling around the world non-stop (their Blog: konniandmatt.blogspot.com). They sailed off with a boat in Europe, and after a few years cruising around the Middle East and the Indian Ocean, they eventually made it to South-East Asia. Since then, Konni and Matt continued their trip via land and air transport and travelled extensively through this part of the world with their favourite carrier Air Asia. Matt talks about his experiences in Malaysia, which became something like a home base to them.
Konni and Matt in Malaysia
Konni & Matt in action


Having travelled Asia extensively in the last couple of years, you keep returning to Malaysia for trips through Peninsular and Borneo or as a transit destination (Kuala Lumpur is Air Asia's main hub).
You have also lived in Kuala Lumpur for several months. What do you appreciate about Malaysia, how does it differ from the surrounding countries?


OK, you want me to generalise: Malaysia is (i) a well-functioning country with (ii) a friendly population. The surrounding countries have only either one of these two constituents.


Were there any difficulties / frustrations you experienced in Malaysia as a traveller?

The size of the rats in Jalan Alor wink


Chinese temple in Penang
Chinese temple in Penang


How does travelling in Sabah and Sarawak (the Malaysian part of Borneo) differ from West Malaysia?

The local people from both Sarawak and Sabah even surpass the usual Malaysian friendliness and the beer in Sarawak is cheaper. Just embark for a river ride on the Rajang River, meet local Iban people and, together with them, knock down a few beers on the roof of an express boat…


What are your Top 5 destinations in Borneo?

Kota Kinabalu where we had the second-best seafood ever and which is a city where we could settle and retire.
view blog entry

Kelabit Highlands which is a great hiking destination.
view blog entry

Nanga Mayeng where you can meet hospitable Ibans in their longhouses without doing one of these operetta-like tours for backpacker.
view blog entry

Sibu where we met famous and entertaining Mr Tan at the pagoda.
view blog entry

Similajau which is an underrated spot for a relaxing beach holiday.
view blog entry


Niah Caves, Sarawak, Borneo
Niah Caves, Sarawak, Borneo


Nanga Mayeng, Sarawak, Borneo
Nanga Mayeng, Sarawak, Borneo


What are your Top 5 destination in West Malaysia?


Kuala Lumpur which is not as clean as Singapur but clean enough and which is not as sexy as Bangcock but sexy enough.
view blog entry

Johor Bahru which has a great history, excellent food and is an excellent and economical stepping stone for your budget-conscious Singapore trips.
view blog entry

Chukai which is almost backpacker-free and has the most delicous stuffed crabs.
view blog entry

Pulau Kapas which has great beaches and where we could spot egg-lying turtles.
view blog entry

Georgetown whose atmosphere reminds us of Cape Town (without the Tabel Mountain).
view blog entry


Chinese temple in Penang
clown fishes, off Pulau Tioman


Being a multi-racial country, Malaysia offers and wide range of cultures and, hence, food. What were your favourite dishes you tried in Malaysia?
We used to be “aquatarians” (vegetarians who do occasionally eat fish and seafood), but have recently stopped eating fish and seafood. Vegetarians have mainly three options in Malaysia: the Indian veg restaurants, the (often overcooked) veggies in the Malay restaurants or the Chinese vegetarian restaurants with their funny mock meat. If you can square it with your conscience, you can go the salad bar in a steakhouse. Generally, fresh food is quite overpriced in Malaysia. Malaysia is definitely no salad country, just have a look at the healthy paunches of many Malaysians!


market in Kota Bharu
market in Kota Bharu (east coast, West Malaysia)


After years and years of Backpacking through Asia, you certainly become a master of stretching your budget. What are you advices on travelling cheap in Malaysia?
Stay away from the organised tourism and the highly commercialised backpacking industry. Avoid guide books, tour guides, packet tours etc. Do as the locals do and pay the local prices. Eat street food; it is mostly better, cheaper and more fun than restaurant fare. Use the regular public transport and use web resources like forums or Wikitravel.



Tell us a little bit about your blog, and why should people follow it?
At the beginning, we just wanted to keep our grandsons in Toronto up to date with our travels. Only later, we learned that many other travellers and dreamers are also interested in our travel notes. Especially people, who plan to travel around the world after their retirement. These people like the concreteness and the many details in our blog http://konniandmatt.blogspot.com. There are so many different ways to live and to travel; we are just one out of many ...

Last but not least, what was your most memorable moment on your travels in Malaysia?
Thaipusam at the Batu Caves.

Thaipusam at Bat Caves, Kuala Lumpur



all photos courtesy of Konni & Matt
have a look at their blog for many many more...


http://konniandmatt.blogspot.com