Malaysians can plan 'Cuti-Cuti Malaysia' with these special travel itineraries


  • Malaysia Premium
  • Sunday, 14 Jun 2020

Get away from the city with a holiday at Malaysia's many breathtaking islands. Photos: Tourism Malaysia

After months of travel bans and restrictions, Malaysians are finally allowed to travel within the country. On June 7, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the country will be going through the recovery movement control order (MCO) from June 10 to Aug 31. Under the recovery MCO, interstate travel will be allowed, effectively opening up the domestic tourism sector in Malaysia.

National carrier Malaysia Airlines, as well as AirAsia and Malindo have also announced that they will gradually increase their domestic flight frequencies, to meet the demands of customers who are itching to return to their hometowns or just go somewhere for a long-awaited holiday.

In fact, many travel experts were actually of the opinion that Malaysians will probably keep their holidays close to home in the near foreseeable future.

Malaysian homestay programmes can also help with the economic recovery post Covid-19 in rural areas.Malaysian homestay programmes can also help with the economic recovery post Covid-19 in rural areas.

Editor's note: Scroll down for three specially curated travel itineraries that cover island, rainforest and homestay holidays in Malaysia.

“If we look at the worldwide situation amid Covid-19, we will not be expecting international travel to be the same as before.

“Apart from managing expectations and confidence, economic pressures will set limitations on travellers in the future, ” Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said in an interview.

   Perhentian, with its crystal clear waters, is a great place for snorkelling.Perhentian, with its crystal clear waters, is a great place for snorkelling.Marriott International area vice president (Singapore, Malaysia & Maldives) Rivero Delgado expects Malaysians to opt for staycations close to home.

“Travel in this new world will look different and our approach towards tourism is evolving in congruence with it. People will want options that are closer to home, safer, and more affordable, ” she said.The preference for domestic holidays is also echoed by Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang.

“After the pandemic is over, it is recommended to travel closer to home. Furthermore, it is much easier for the government or industry stakeholders to do emergency evacuation within the country, ” he said.

ALSO READ: Why is it so important for Malaysians to travel local post Covid-19?

Tourism Malaysia director general Datuk Musa Yusof said Malaysians should prioritise making their first trips within Malaysia.

“We would strongly urge our fellow Malaysians to prioritise travelling local as a way to help our local businesses and boost the domestic economy, ” he said.

   Feast on local food and engage in traditional games with your hosts at a local village.Feast on local food and engage in traditional games with your hosts at a local village.

Musa suggests making a list of places to discover and go on food trips to look out for the best local delicacies in every state.

“We sincerely hope that every Malaysian will join us and become Malaysia’s own ambassadors in spreading good vibes and positivity as they travel within the country, ” he said.

With the help of Tourism Malaysia, here are three specially curated itineraries to help you plan a Cuti-Cuti Malaysia and experience the country again.

Go on a rainforest adventure

Malaysia, with its rich and diverse ecosystem, has a thriving ecotourism scene boasting renowned national and state parks. The country is thriving with unique wildlife and lush tropical rainforests, all of which can be found at these gazetted venues.

The forests in the country don’t get any older than the ones at Taman Negara. Taman Negara – which is Bahasa Malaysia for national park – is regarded as one of the oldest in the world. Its forests were already flourishing when Earth’s tectonic plates were still shifting!

The park extends across the states of Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu.

   Go on a jungle trekking adventure at any of the country’s national parks.Go on a jungle trekking adventure at any of the country’s national parks.

TAMAN NEGARA, PAHANG

Day One: After checking in to one of the many chalets here, unwind by looking at the lush greenery around you. The real adventure begins when the sun sets. Once you’re done with dinner, head out for a night jungle walk. Learn more about the jungle as you wander through tropical forest nightlife. Make a stop at Tahan Hide to observe wild animals that are attracted to the salt lick.

Day Two: Go trekking on the famous Canopy Walkway. The walk at Taman Negara, at 530m long and 40m above the ground, is the world’s longest canopy walkway. Trekking in the daytime will unearth a different kind of experience from the trek you did the night before. Take the time to spot special tree species and do some bird watching.

Proceed uphill to Teresek Hill and enjoy the panoramic view of Tahan Mountain and the tree canopy covering the hills and verdant valley. Be sure to visit Lata Berkoh River Safari to catch a glimpse of the long riverbank and hear the sound of the jungle. Another reason to visit? You’ll get to dip in the spectacular cascades for a “natural jacuzzi” experience.

Day Three: Proceed to visit an Orang Asli village. You will get to see the tribes going about their daily activities. There are two tribes in Taman Negara – Batik and Semokberi – and their settlements are usually found alongside the trail and river. Just remember to be a responsible and respectful visitor when you enter these villages. In return, the villagers will show you unique practices such as bamboo hunting, blow pipe techniques and how to make fire.

After that, do rapid shooting at Kuala Trenggan and Trenggan River. Be prepared to get drenched as you ride upstream in a wooden boat and shoot the rapids. There are seven major rapids here: Nusa, Dua, Abai, Teras, Dedari, Panjang and Trenggan.

Soaking up sea and sun

Malaysia has its fair share of gorgeous island getaways that almost always make it to the bucket list of island and beach lovers (and for very good reasons). Think clear waters, sandy beaches and deep-sea diving.

Some hidden gems to consider include Mataking Island and Lankayan Island in Sabah; Tenggol Island in Terengganu and Aur Island in Johor.

Of course, there are the more popular options too such as Pangkor, Tioman, Perhentian, Sipadan and Redang.

Malaysia has an abundance of breathtaking islands. — Tourism MalaysiaMalaysia has an abundance of breathtaking islands. — Tourism Malaysia

PULAU PERHENTIAN, REDANG and LANG TENGAH, TERENGGANU

Day One: Your island getaway begins with a speedboat transfer from the Kuala Besut Jetty. Upon arrival at Perhentian Island, check-in to your resort and have lunch. It’s pretty much free and easy throughout the day. Once you’re well-rested, go snorkelling around the island to explore coral reefs.

The crystal clear water and diverse marine life make Perhentian one of the best places to snorkel. There are several popular snorkelling spots such as Shark Point, Teluk Pauh and Tanjung Basi. Otherwise, just do it right in front of your resort’s coastline.

Day Two: Take a boat transfer service for another snorkelling adventure on your second day. This time around, check out the waters of Redang and Lang Tengah. On boat snorkelling trips, there will be guides to ensure the site is safe and free from currents, as well as to render assistance.

Redang and Lang Tengah, much like Perhentian, also offer crystal clear waters that allow you to get up close to magnificent marine life. Enjoy the sun and sea breeze on the boat before heading back to your accommodation. Make it back before dusk to catch the breathtaking sunset by the beach.

Day Three: Up for a little morning adventure? Then check out a number of trails around the island. These trails will bring you through lush rainforests and past idyllic rivers. Once you’re done exploring, head back for breakfast and depart to Kuala Besut Jetty by speedboat.

Help rural community prosper

Have you always wanted to experience life in a traditional Malaysian village? Then a local homestay or kampung stay experience is just for you.

It’s worth noting that the Malaysian homestay programme can also help with economic recovery in rural areas.

Have you always wanted to experience life in a traditional Malaysian village? Then a local homestay or kampungstay experience is just for you. — Tourism MalaysiaHave you always wanted to experience life in a traditional Malaysian village? Then a local homestay or kampungstay experience is just for you. — Tourism Malaysia

But that aside, a kampung stay allows you to experience authentic culture. Some of these include preparation of food using traditional methods, going to the orchard to harvest fruits or feeding livestock in the farm.

Alternatively, you can also explore the natural surroundings with the family. And in the eve-ning, join cultural dances, musical performances or even witness a mock wedding ceremony.

Some notable progammes are Mengkuang Titi Homestay (Penang), Homestay Parit Bugis (Johor) and the award-winning Misompuru Homestay (Sabah).

Depending on which village you stay at, activities may differ. Below is a sample itinerary.

HOMESTAYS AROUND MALAYSIA

Day One: Be greeted by the local representatives upon your arrival at your selected kampung. After being briefed on what to expect from the friendly locals, you will be introduced to your foster family, whom you will be living with during your visit.Your first meal is usually with your host family.

In the evening, join the villagers for a game of sepak takraw or explore the village on a bicycle. You can opt to take a bath, kampung-style, using a bucket and dipper. Then get ready for a hearty traditional meal.After dinner, stroll to the local community hall to watch a cultural performance.

Day Two: Wake up to the crowing of cockerels and after a quick bath, proceed for breakfast, which might be the popular nasi lemak. This is usually followed by a school visit, where you will get to interact with the youths.

After lunch, follow a farmer out to the plantation to try your hand at tapping rubber or watch how the kampung folk process agricultural produce such as paddy or cocoa. You can also try batik-making.In the evening, some villages may organise a mock traditional wedding. Here is where you can immerse yourself in a festive mood and dig in to more scrumptious traditional delicacies.

Day Three: Make your way to a local waterfall for a quick splash in the morning. If you have some time to spare, indulge your host in a game of congkak or gasing. After a hearty meal, it is time to say goodbye to your foster family.
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