Houses in George Town

Malaysia – expectations vs reality

When I bought tickets do Malaysia, I had no expectations. It was a good deal, I like Southeast Asia, so I got tickets. I had a loooot of time to read about Malaysia before the departure. 10 months. So I did my homework, but it didn’t change a lot. I still had no expectations. I was sure it would be great, I was going on holidays after all. But there were a few things that came to my mind and I wrote them down. Now it’s time to confront them with reality. Like always.

Sunset at Langkawi

Expectation: lots of rain. It shouldn’t be surprising. Malaysia has equatorial climate, so it rains a lot. It was November, shoulder season, so it rains. And I was going on holidays, it always rains on my holidays. It’s as certain as taxes.

Reality: maybe it doesn’t rain when I’m on holidays. Maybe it’s not just rain, but weather anomalies. Or maybe tropical climate isn’t as bad as it seems. Sometimes it was raining for an hour in the evening. Few times in the morning, once in the afternoon. And it wasn’t bad. Conclusion: Malaysia in November? I highly recommend!

Sitting at the Langkawi beach

Expectation: it will be ok. Let me explain. I read a lot about Malaysia. Some people were amazed, but there were many opinions saying that Malaysia is ok, but Thailand is better. Well, Thailand is Thailand. I probably read too much and became a bit sceptical. I assumed that Malaysia won’t be very pretty, interesting or fascinating. Just ok. Average. That was the optimistic version. Some days I was afraid it would be a disappointment. And it was the pessimistic version.

Reality: it was more than ok. Oh how wrong I was. If you have low expectations, there’s a chance you’ll be surprised. That’s me and Malaysia. It’s a really interesting, beautiful and underestimated country. The architecture, nature, people. Everything made an impression. That’s the reality vs expectations I like!

Houses in George Town

Expectation: there’ll be lots of good food. George Town on Penang Island is a local capital of street food. Some say it’s a world street food capital. That’s enough to get my attention. I went to Penang to eat.

Reality: let me quote a guy we met on a bus to Kuala Lumpur: this food thing in George Town is is some kind of hysteria. We found street food, but it took us some time. We stayed at two different hotels and only one person from these hotels were able to tell us where hawker stalls were. Once we found them, food was good. But calling George Town a world street food capital? I’m not convinced.


Expectation: Kuala Lumpur is a big city and doesn’t offer a lot. That’s basically a summary of the opinions I read. It didn’t discourage me and I wouldn’t skip KL. I was dreaming about seeing Petronas Twin Towers for 17 years and I had to see them.

Reality: if I see one more opinion saying that KL is not interesting I will write the longest essay of my life and give a speech to prove this person wrong. Kuala Lumpur has everything which every big city should have – alluring architecture, green areas and a bit of local chaos. If you ask me, it’s a perfect blend.

KL by night

Extra category: surprise. Malaysians are the kindest people on Earth. They’re so kind, it took me a few days not to pay attention. They were curious where we are from and how we like their country. They were really pleased every time we said we loved it there. One lady even sad “thank you”. They were authentically happy and I was happy that they were happy.

Kuala Lumpur

Hey, it’s a series! See more expectations vs reality:


  • Maria

    Bardzo się cieszę, że to przeczytałam. wybieramy się w listopadzie do Malezji i byłam dośc sceptycznie nastawiona, fajnie, że będzie lepiej niz mysle,:)))

    • Karolina | Worldwide Panda

      Ja do samego końca nie wierzyłam w dobrą pogodę, a naprawdę nie miałam na co narzekać!

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