Yearstarter2019: 6 new travel paths for Malaysians to explore

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Every traveller’s objective is a good holiday, and following the latest travel fads might reveal experiences we might otherwise overlook. Whether you’re after a family vacation or a solo escapade, these are the domestic trends to look for in 2019.

Rural Tourism/Agrotourism

With quaint villages everywhere in Malaysia, the country is primed for rural tourism. Think slower pace of life and living with friendly local villagers. This could mean a homestay in an Orang Asli community where travellers are able to experience authentic indigenous culture.

Another aspect tied with rural tourism is agritourism. It’s where visitors live and work part-time on a farm or with farmers.

Rural tourism is poised for growth, thanks to renewed interest from the government. The Rural Development Ministry has announced plans to encourage participation of rural folk in tourism.

Cruise Tourism

Photo: Genting Cruise Line

Cruise holidays are making waves in the waters off Malaysia. Industry players have remarked that there’s tremendous potential for cruise vacations in the country. Malaysia currently has 12 ports of call to accommodate cruise ship arrivals.

Penang and Langkawi aside, Selangor has courted ships into its cruise terminal at Port Klang. Star Cruises’ SuperStar Gemini recently celebrated its arrival and inaugural homeport deployment here.

Popular cruise itineraries departing from Malaysia usually include voyages to surrounding countries like Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. Holidaymakers can also enjoy on-board entertainment while cruising these places.

Self-Drive Holiday

Photo: PLUS

Are we there yet? Because road trips in 2019 are all about going that extra mile. Travelling the length and breadth of Peninsular Malaysia is relatively easy, thanks to a network of highways. A self-drive holiday is ideal as there are ample Rest & Service Areas to freshen up at.

Ipoh and Melaka are popular stopovers, but there are other interesting detours too. Look for attractions in exits like Temerloh (Pahang), Kemaman (Terengganu), Kampar (Perak) and Yong Peng (Johor). Apart from the scenic highways, travellers have the option of driving along trunk roads.

Dark Tourism

Tsunami Gallery in Kota Kuala Muda, Kedah.

Up for a macabre vacation? Dark tourism is something to check out. This branch of travelling is touted as visiting destinations with a dark or tragic history, specifically involving death and disaster.

In the past, talk of turning a human trafficking camp in Wang Kelian, Perlis, into a tourist destination raised public furore. But thanks to TV shows like Netflix’s Dark Tourist, Malaysians are warming up to the idea of sites with an awful past, like the Tsunami Gallery in Kota Kuala Muda, Kedah.

Wellness Holiday


Relax and recharge the next time you travel domestically. Wellness tourism is on the rise, thanks to its emphasis on promoting health and well-being. It’s the fastest growing travel sector globally, according to Lonely Planet. In Malaysia, places like the Chateau Wellness Resort in Pahang and Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat in Ipoh offer curated packages.

Food Trails


Malaysian cuisine is fantastic and it’s one of the reasons many international visitors flock to the country. A food trail vacation is here to stay! The usual suspects are destinations like Penang, Ipoh, Melaka and Sabah. But Lonely Planet has revealed a growing trend of travellers wanting to check out specific tours like coffee trails and barhopping.

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