Worthing versus Malaysia – the original, came in at 28 points and I wrote
hopefully someone will read this and sort a few things out ready for our return,
But did it work out like that, or were my pleas ignored by the Malaysian powers that be? If you keep on reading, you’ll find out.
You’ll no doubt remember that we started our trip in Kuala Lumpur, then headed south through Malaysia for Singapore, then went to Bali. After those two binary opposites we went back to Kuala Lumpur and rumbled northwards through the Cameron Highlands, Kota Bharu, Penang and Langkawi. Here’s the results.
1. Is the weather better than Brighton?
Of course it is. That said, Malaysia should lose points for belting it down with rain the moment we arrived in the Cameron Highlands but you get them back for the comedy guy checking us in who said “get yourselves settled, enjoy the rain and I’ll see you later”.
The heavens also opened in Langkawi. The sort of rain where you can’t see where you’re going and have to find shelter as soon as possible. Malaysia, you should lose points for that, but I’m letting you keep them as I got to take this photo.
Your weather was mostly great, and when it wasn’t great it gave me happiness in the form of a wet t-shirt wife. It’s got to be 8 points
2. Proximity and quality of the seaside (a pier must be present for full points here)
A major losing area for Malaysia last time, in the rematch we left nothing to chance. Look at this beautiful Langkawi beach.
And the thing is, when it was at it’s most beautiful with a lush sunset I didn’t have my camera so it got even better than that!
Mind you, if this is your best shot at a pier you need your head read.
Gorgeous Langkawi beach with nobody else on it really. Lovely. Rickety old pier with no amusements drops points though Malaysia – 7 points
3. Local delicacies and quality of food
In the Cameron Highlands, we got proper English breakfasts (though with over-sized beans) which was lush. Other than that the food was similar to last time but with less pineapple, and we did have a really expensive sandwich that tasted of nothing but salt and couldn’t be chewed.
In Penang we were mostly in Chinatown to save the Ringgits and it was all good, all the time. In the Cameron Highlands it was all a bit hit and miss, but Kota Bharu absolutely rocked my culinary world delivering me a lush tom yam and surprising the higgedy out of me when I enjoyed a banana murtabak – a sort of fried pancake thing (friends from Cogapp will be amused to hear I have not only eaten banana but also had a map out in public, asked directions, annoyed countless locals on trains by being new to the system, been nice to shop assistants who ask me about my personal life, enjoyed ale from a tap not a pump and sheltered under an umbrella – what have I become?).
Finished on a bit of a bracketed tangent there, but the food ranged from cheap and exceptional to pricey and not nice – 7 points
4. Friendliness and attractiveness of the locals
As discussed last time, Malaysian people are really friendly and lovely even if they can’t read a map. We continued to encounter this everywhere, even on the jungle railway where a rather-grumpy-at-first station master let us leave our napsacks in his office all day, and when we got off a bus and all the hostel touts tried to help us get to our hostel rather than sell their place to other people, and when we were in Kota Bharu and met one of the sweetest ladies ever working at Pad D Backpackers and when a Penang bus driver took us to the door of a museum rather than let us off at the stop with everyone else.
Everyone is lovely and that’s one of the main reasons you should visit Malaysia. It’s on the up and it’s going to be well touristy in a few years – you can tell from all the building going on in the more holidayish places – so go there, and go there soon.
Ah, another tangent. I need to go back to writing these when I’m sober. Basically everyone is lovely – even the legendary grumpy bloke at Zachry’s guesthouse is nice really – 8 points
5. Availability and quality of real ale
No ale, but we did go to a duty-free island where beer was 35p a can. Plus Malaysia does the best sweet tea you’ll ever get, made with Carnation condensed milk.
Maybe I’m going soft, or perhaps it’s a reflection of me being so tight, but give me a can of booze for 35p and I don’t mind if it’s ale, lager or Old Spice – 10 points
In conclusions, I loved being in Malaysia and I cannot recommend it to you enough. If you can go there, go there. If you can’t go there, go to Worthing. They’re not the same but Worthing is totally amazing and you’ll love it more than you expect to (so maybe Worthing and Malaysia do have something in common after all) – Malaysia (the rematch) scores 40 points and finds itself in a strong position on the leaderboard.