Malaysia is an often overlooked country. Situated between Thailand and Indonesia, it is sometimes forgotten by tourists, other than those making a quick stop in capital city Kuala Lumpur. Tourists rarely get outside of this city, which is a shame, because Malaysia has many hidden treasures that will reward those who persevere.
Pro: Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Its main draw is the Petronas Twin Towers, which have been the setting for films, such as "Entrapment," and video games, such as "Hit Man 2: Silent Assassin." The rest of the city has much to offer travelers, such as the Islamic Arts Museum and Lake Gardens Park.
Borneo may have become more tourist-friendly over the years, but it still rewards travelers willing to make the trip with a unique blend of jungles and beaches. Although it is shared between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, Malaysian Borneo still has a lot to offer, such as 4,000-meter-high Mount Kinabalu.
Malaysia, like most of South East Asia, is a very cheap destination for those coming from the United States or Europe. A tourist can live comfortably on $60 per day, including a reasonable quality hotel room. Kuala Lumpur and other major cities will cost more than this, but $60 a day is a good guideline for the rest of the country.
Parts of Malaysia, according to the UK Foreign Office, have a high risk of violent crime and terrorism. These attacks are directed at foreigners and have taken place in east Malaysia, eastern Sabah and near the Thai border. The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to these areas.
Although there is crime in most countries, in Malaysia there is a higher chance of being a victim of crime because tourists are targets or crime. The most common crime involves thieves snatching bags and speeding away on motorbikes. ATM fraud, where card details have been cloned by fraudulent machines, has also been reported. There have also been reports of spiked drinks and gambling scams that target foreigners. Common sense advice, such as keeping an eye on your passport and cash and wearing a money belt, will save you a lot of heartache.
Con: Not Tourist Friendly
There have been some reports by travelers to Malaysia that local travel agents are not as helpful as their Thai counterparts. People in Malaysia are generally more reserved than those who are frequently exposed to tourists. The rest of Malaysia outside of Kuala Lumpur is gradually opening up to tourists and backpackers, but there is not a lot of information available about public transportation for independent travelers.