Exploring your own country is an enriching yet often overlooked way of travelling. We travel to experience different cultures, sights, food and people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be far away.
Malaysia has her share of diverse cultures, divine food and unique local communities – so much so that we bet you can’t have seen them all. So why is it important to travel locally in Malaysia? Here are 10 reasons to start exploring neighbourhoods in this beautiful little country.
1. You help to support the local economy
For every local attraction you visit, every bowl of noodles you buy from a local vendor, or souvenir you get from local businesses, the money goes back to the community. Apart from having better quality to keep their customers coming, local businesses also tend to appreciate your money even more. Not to mention, it helps to stimulate the economy and can pave the way for better infrastructure in that area in the future.
2. You save on accommodation and transportation
Your biggest spend when you travel abroad is the accommodation and transportation, especially the flight tickets! Saving on the bulk of these costs gives you greater spending power, so you can treat yourself to fun travel activities or a better stay. Spending less on a trip also means you can go on more getaways without burning a hole in your pocket.
3. Planning is less stressful and more spontaneous
Travelling abroad means there is a lot more to arrange to ensure that you don’t get stuck in the airport, or lost in a country you don’t know. When you travel locally, you already know how to get around, without worrying too much about the language or whether your phone would work. You can decide to whisk away for the weekend whenever you want, and still feel just as calm.
4. Malaysia has plenty of cultural beauty worth exploring
Doesn’t it surprise you when foreign travellers come all the way to Malaysia to visit places you haven’t even been to? Or did you know that there are many UNESCO heritage sites and world renowned ecotourism gems here? It goes to show that there are many attractions and adventures scattered around us, each with their own historical significance and role in shaping the country. All it takes is a closer look.
5. You haven’t seen the best of Malaysia yet
At the mention of Malaysia, most people think all there is to visit is Kuala Lumpur, Penang island, Melaka, and Borneo. That’s simply what typical guidebooks tell you, and it is a small percentage of what the country has to offer. Malaysia is peppered with villages, small towns, indigenous communities and natural gems that have yet to shine in the tourism limelight. You never know which local destination you go to could be the country’s next big thing, and you can proudly say that you have been there before everyone else.
6. There is great food everywhere
Malaysians are passionate about food, so everywhere you go, the locals would enthusiastically share the best places to eat in the area. So you think you’ve tried it all? Even small villages like Bekok, Tanjung Sepat and Gopeng have their own signature dishes you can’t find anywhere else in Malaysia, flavoured by the local history of each destination. Needless to say, you’ll probably find good food you haven’t tried before wherever you go in Malaysia.
7. You can develop more meaningful connections
Whether it is because you know the language, or are familiar with the Malaysian quirks and culture, it can be easier to develop a meaningful connection with the locals you meet. At the same time, interacting with communities you are not as familiar with can break down stereotypes about your own country and her people. Perhaps you’ll see that at the heart of it all, we are all the same. You may even find some new friends along the way that are way easier to keep in touch with.
8. You can explore deeply
People tend to be more relaxed with they travel locally. That’s because there isn’t the pressure to see and try everything in two days. Venturing to places close to home means you have the opportunity to go back again, so you can slow down and travel deeply. Go to your favourite coffee shop where the owner knows your order. Have a conversation with the auntie from the market you frequent. Experience what it is like to be a local.
9. You can fit vacations during the weekends
If you are usually a busy person or can’t afford to take leave, travelling locally lets you make use of all those weekends and public holidays. Fitting in any last minute plans is so much easier and you don’t have to plan way in advance. Better yet, you can easily rope in friends for a quick getaway.
10. You can make Malaysia the next go-to destination
To let the world know about Malaysia, it takes the locals to know and share about Malaysia. There is so much that is still undiscovered in our wonderful homeland, if only we take a closer look at at our backyard. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a nation to raise our little dot on the map to the eyes of the world.
So tell us, where would you visit first?
Discover the beauty of Malaysia with local experts on LokaLocal
LokaLocal is a travel platform that connects you to local experts with amazing experiences to share in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. You can find activities such as cooking classes, creative workshops, heritage walks, glamping experiences and outdoor activities, all run by the people that matter most in any destination – the locals.
What’s better than enjoying an adventure of a lifetime, is that you can empower the local community, and experience the country in a more meaningful way.