If you're headed to Malaysia, you'll find hot springs and luxury goods, beaches and nature areas, SCUBA diving and street markets. This makes this Asian country of some 25 million people one of the best destinations anywhere around the globe.
While Kuala Lumpur, its capital city, is both historical and commerical--it is places like the country's tropical rainforests that are exceptionally popular.
A jungle trek isn't for the faint of heart, so many head to Malaysia's beaches to snorkel or SCUBA. There are two monsoon seasons, the southwest monsoons hit between May and September; northeast monsoons come November to March. Still, the beaches are extraordinary--and worth visiting even if it is raining.
Nature lovers will want to see its Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary, and the country's hot springs will have tired muscles feeling like new in no time flat.
Feeling invigorated? Try shopping, where at the Street Markets you'll find everything from luxury goods to wood carvings. The Night Markets are a form of nightlife in Malaysia, often not even opening until around 4pm.
Kuala Lumpur does have bars and nightclubs, but alcohol is banned for Muslims. Local beers include Tiger and Anchor, if you want to give them a chance. Or, do like the locals and try some sugar cane juice.
Malaysia's national dish is Nasi lemak, made with rice and coconut milk. The roti canai is delicious if you like curry sause served over a fried flat bread.Be sure that anything you eat is well-cooked, and don't worry about eating at most street stalls--since most are considered safe. Avoid dairy if you can, though; and try to remember to eat with your right hand.
Vaccations are a good idea against most diseases before you leave home. Take extra care to avoid any mosquito bites, as Dengue Fever can happen.
With that out of the way, all you have to worry about is keeping your passport in order. And you don't really even need a visa, but always check beforehand.
Visa and passport regulations are probably more complicated than getting around in (or to) Malaysia. Luxury trains arrive from Singapore, while commercial buses and trains will get you around the cities easy enough. Metered taxis are widely available, but getting agreeing with your driver for a fixed price isn't unheard of.
Rail passes are good for getting around to the more remote areas, but the remotest area of Sarawak is best gotten to by express boat.
If you're worried about not speaking the official language of Bahasa Melayu, both Chinese and English are spoken throughout the country.
Then again, if you're too busy shopping, snorkeling, or snacking--you don't have to worry about it.