As Malaysia nears the 90% adult vaccination rate, the reopening of interstate travel, and eventually international travel, appears to be on the horizon. As exciting as that may be, many of us might opt to forgo international tourism in the near term because of quarantine rules for entry and re-entry and elevated cases in other countries. For those considering domestic tourism, the Langkawi travel bubble has demonstrated the relative safety of interstate tourism if the relevant SOPs are maintained. That being said, it is not without risk; 149 positive cases were detected from the screening of 40,458 people at entry points to Pulau Langkawi as at the 4th of October 2021. Additionally, 59 staff at a Langkawi hotel tested positive (n.b. these were said to be due to local transmission from the Dah Teluk Nibung Cluster). While these numbers remain small in comparison to the total number of travellers into Langkawi, anyone thinking of travelling interstate on holiday ought to weigh the risks themselves. But as we inch toward that 90% threshold, what Malaysian destinations should we have on our radar?
For the Zen Master: Seremban
For those that had a stressful past few months – who hasn’t? – chilling out in the middle of the forest might just be the thing you need. For that, the retreats located close to Seremban offer a peaceful, distraction-free holiday. Activities may differ upon where you stay but generally you can trek, go on photography walks, or just soak in the sun and fresh air by the pool. As a friend said:
For the Hedon: Desaru Coast
It’s no secret that the pandemic had an unequal effect on households. While many Malaysians had the rug pulled out from under them, some are coming out of the pandemic financially stronger. Whether it be from all the market mania that happened or from the increased household savings caused by stay-at-home orders, there are some with pent-up demand and the funds to act on it. If you want to treat yourself for trading rubber gloves stocks/Bitcoin at the opportune time or for those who just want to indulge, you might want to consider the Desaru Coast of Johor.
For the Day Tripper: Malacca
Just under two hours away from KL and with enough history, food, art, and culture to keep you occupied for a full day, Malacca is the ideal day trip. It’s small enough to just park your car and see the city by foot, taking in the sights and sounds of the more relaxed and slow-paced life there.
For the Foodie: Penang
For many Malaysians, Penang is the bastion of food. Regardless of whether you have a proclivity for Char Koay Teow, Asam Laksa, or Hokkien Mee, someone you know is going to claim that “the best one is in Penang”. So do yourself a favour and go on an epicurean adventure in Penang; if you still disagree with them, at least you can do so having tasted their argument.
For the Explorer: Mount Kinabalu
Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia, the third-highest peak of an island on Earth, and 20th most prominent mountain in the world by topographic prominence (whatever that means). Its not an easy climb but its also not the toughest and does not require that much training from my experience. The 2 day, 1 night hike involved staying a night at the basecamp, before ascending to the peak for a stunning sunrise. Plus, you get a certificate to back up your brags.
Malaysia has a lot to offer for every type of traveller. As of writing, we are 1.2% away from the 90% vaccine threshold to reopen domestic tourism. With a resemblance of normality returning, there is an argument to be made for going out and helping businesses get back up on their feet. Despite the risks, if we maintain to the SOPs and remain sensible, tourism can be done in a COVID-safe way. So if you are planning your next staycation, go, but go with caution.
For more information on Malaysia’s COVID-19 progress, visit: https://covidnow.moh.gov.my
Rene Himpe is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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