With travel restrictions taking place around the world
, travelling to far-flung destinations is something we have to set aside for now. While we miss eating halal ramen in Tokyo
, taking a hot air balloon in Dubai
, and planning a solo trip to Seoul
, the silver lining to the current situation is the chance to reconnect with the beauty of our home, Malaysia.
Blessed with pristine beaches, stunning islands, and charming hometowns, there are many sights and sounds to discover at our own backyard. Before planning your future trip abroad, here are some reasons why every Malaysian should be a tourist in their own country first when it's finally safe to travel again.
1. Your hometown misses you
Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan and Hoi An in Vietnam may be beautiful, but nothing hit close to home than our hometown. No matter where you are in Malaysia, the journey always begins with an exciting road trip and ends with the sight of your grandparents waiting at the door.
Credit: Qaedi Shamsuddin on Flickr
If you didn't get the chance to meet your grandparents during Hari Raya Aidilfitri, plan a surprise road trip to your hometown and give them a warm hug. While you're there, take the opportunity to support local businesses too, from your favourite keropok lekor stall to the local sundry shops that you've always visited as a kid.
2. Our hotels are ready to host your staycationsCredit: Alila Bangsar on Facebook
It's heartbreaking to know that more hotels in Malaysia are closing down for good, especially the ones located in Ipoh, Penang and other smaller towns. With the current travel restrictions in Malaysia, international tourists are no longer checking-in and the operational cost is too much to bear when occupancies are low.
While the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MOH) will be introducing a clean and safe certification
for hotels to regain confidence in the tourism industry, there are many hotels in Malaysia that are waiting to host your future staycations. From breathtaking beach resorts in Langkawi
to Instagram-worthy boutique hotels in Penang
, check their date flexibility and plan a staycation when it's finally safe to do so.
3. Our attractions need you now more than ever
Take a 3-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur and you'll find one of the oldest rainforests in the world, Taman Negara. Despite being famous for its amazing diversity of flora and fauna as well as eco-adventures, domestic travellers only make up 38% of Taman Negara's total visitors in 2019, whereas 68% are international travellers, according to Pahang Tourism
With the absence of international travellers due to the travel restrictions in Malaysia, tourist attractions like Taman Negara, Zoo Negara and other theme parks need you now more than ever.
When the situation gets better, the local attractions and other tourism industry players in Malaysia are planning to entice locals with attractive travel discounts and tour packages. With that in mind, take the chance to visit these attractions, but remember to practice good hygiene and social distancing when you're out and about.
4. Our local eateries have a table just for you
Ordering takeaways and food deliveries may be the best option during the pandemic, but our restaurants and independent cafes need all the help they can get. As we're starting to see more eateries closing their shutters and unable to sustain their businesses during this difficult time, little things matter to get back on their feet.
Credit: amrufm on Flickr
Whether you're enjoying a cup of teh tarik at your favourite mamak or buying nasi lemak from a roadside stall, there's no better time to relive the best street food that our country is famous for - and support them along the way. When the time is right, you can also plan a foodie's trip to Penang, Ipoh and other states in Malaysia to support our local eateries.
5. Our beaches are quiet without you
While there are many breathtaking places in Southeast Asia that look just like the Maldives
, we tend to forget how blessed we are to have sandy white beaches in Malaysia too. If it's been a while since you last leave footprints in the sand, plan a short trip to the beautiful beaches or stunning islands in Malaysia.
While you're at it, try something that you've always wanted to do like learning how to snorkel for the first time or watching the sunset while enjoying the sea breeze. After being cooped up at home for so long, it's the little escapade we need and you don't need a flight ticket to experience this paradise.
6. Fly high with our local airlines
In the past few months, the pandemic has weighed a huge burden on our local airlines such as Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Firefly and MASwings. Some of which includes pay cuts for Malaysia Airlines' senior management
and AirAsia announcing salary cuts for their entire workforce
as part of their cost-cutting measures.
Once more countries are relaxing their lockdown measures and easing their travel restrictions, we can support them by flying domestically when it's safe to do so.
7. Together, we can go back to the way it used to be
The tourism industry in Malaysia has taken a huge hit during the pandemic, and domestic travel may be the solution to get our tourism industry players, hotels and attractions back on track.
Besides, Malaysia has many beautiful places that are perfect for every traveller. Whether you're a beach lover or a city dweller, stepping into the shoes of a traveller and experiencing the beauty of Malaysia may be the thing we need to do together to revive our tourism industry once more.
With travel restrictions happening around the world, don't let it stop you from dreaming about your next getaway. In fact, Malaysia is a great place to plan your next trip when it's safe to travel again. Whether you're planning a road trip to your hometown or a staycation with your loved ones, let these articles inspire you to visit the wonders of Malaysia again.