After visiting Malaysia numerous times, and living in Thailand for four years. I have often wondered why more people love Thailand than they love Malaysia.
If you wanted to sum up the two countries it would go like this. Thailand the hot younger sister that likes to take off her clothes and party, while Malaysia is the more mature older sister, that knows parting and taking your clothes off is not the way to get attention, she is also hot, but it is hard to tell because she is conservative.
Thailand’s beaches are like a worn out towel, you would like to think it still serves it’s purpose, but in reality it doesn’t. There is no end to development on formerly glorious beaches. With buses running up and down the coast anyone that can say the word beach is able to travel to a Thai beach. On top of that there are so many different types of moon parties, that most beaches are turned into frat parties.
Malaysia on the other hand still has beaches that are peaceful and far far away (Perhentian Islands) from the frat boy party atmosphere of Thailand. With that said, Malaysia has sacrificed some of it’s beaches to the tourism gods. Malaysia still has a few spared fury of the tourism gods.
KL vs Bangkok:
Bangkok: Is where all of Thailand meets for various reasons, either looking for work, going to school, or trying to get ahead. Bangkok is a great place to go to get a feel of Thailand. With that said, Bangkok is like another country compared to the rest of Thailand, what drives Bangkok doesn’t always drive the rest of the country. Bangkok has a great food scene. Ranging from street food to hip restaurants with all day brunches. It also has loads of history waiting to be discovered. The downside of all of Thailand gathering in ones place is it also becomes the place Thailand gathers to solve its political problems. These problems take some of the shine off of Bangkok. Problems have never stopped Bangkok from succeeding nor tourism from flowing into the capital.
KL: The hopes of the nation are embodied in the Petronas towers. With all of its sleek buildings, and well connected public transportation system, KL still comes off a little boring compared to Bangkok.But under its sleek exterior KL has colorful ethnic neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own feel and traditions. Ranging from the traditional Chinatown to Little India and for good measure KL still has places embracing its colonial past (good places for tea). The colors and smells of KL are worth the journey.
Winner: Bangkok, because it is more interesting.
Thailand There no such thing as national parks, only places where developers with the right sway can build there resort in a lovely natural environment. If you are hopping to enter the wild, you will be sadly mistaken in Thailand. National parks have food stands, resorts and easy hikes with in ear short of civilization. With all of that said, if you are looking for a low intensity jungle experience Thailand may be the right place for you.
Malaysia Is much more wild. Entering the jungle really means entering the jungle (Thanks to what is left of the jungle in Borneo). Resorts in the park are almost unheard of. While Malaysia still has vast tracks of wilderness left, it is doing its best to replace them with palm oil plantations. Malaysia may not have the resort in the wilderness problem that Thailand has, but it does have a real problem with palm plantations taking over the wilderness and displacing the animals that live in the wilderness. Even with the destruction of its wildernesses, there is a much greater chance of seeing wildlife in Malaysia then in Thailand.
Winner: Malaysia (Narrowly)
The purpose of this posting wasn’t to trash Thailand, but to challenge Thailand’s overdrawn reputation. At one point Thailand was a true wonderland. At this point it is worn out, and needs a break from the travel gods love. Malaysia on the other hand is just as wonderful as Thailand if not more, but for some reason doesn’t have the love and affection of the travel gods. Malaysia should be cherished because it is not like Thailand. It has become a wealthy nation not by exploring tourist, but by exploiting its natural wealth. Both countries are beautiful countries that have pursued easy money to the extremes.