I’ve been playing a game with my travels – looking back at places I have visited and forcing myself to decide whether I think they are underrated or overrated. Even if I think they are completely deserving of the reputation they have, I must decide whether they slip just above or below the line. I’ve already done this with Thailand and Hong Kong and Laos so now I’ll move on to my third round – Malaysia and Singapore.
So, looking at where I visited in Malaysia (and Singapore separately) here’s whether I think each place is underrated or overrated.
We mainly visited the Cameron Highlands because it was a convenient location to stop off on our journey through Thailand to Kuala Lumpur. However, I also liked the idea of visiting a hilltop destination known for its tea plantations as it offered something different to the towns and beaches we had been exploring. Cameron Highlands was a welcome respite to months of being on the road; we stayed in a cosy little hostel, drank copious amounts of tea and wandered idly around the small town surveying the green hills covered in tea plantations. Another plus point of the Cameron Highlands was the food; the Malaysian style banana leaf curries they served were more delicious than in any other destination we visited in Malaysia. Another local delicacy was the tea with scones, cream and jam which are served in the tearooms and created using locally grown tea and strawberries. I enjoyed my time in Cameron Highlands and haven’t met anyone else who has been there so I’d say it’s…
I loved Kuala Lumpur. After months of travelling around backpacker havens, small towns and beaches, I was craving a big city and KL delivered. It had awesome skyscrapers, a fabulous foodie scene, a fascinating mish mash of Malay, Indian and Chinese culture and interesting historical sights to explore. I enjoyed it so much I even went back again for a visit a few years later when we lived in South Korea. As a destination to visit, I would definitely say Kuala Lumpur is…
Melaka, on Malaysia’s south west coast, is a former Portuguese colonial town with a well preserved historical centre. It was a popular place to visit when we arrived, and appears to become even more popular after its centre was crowned a Unesco World Heritage Sight, but I’m not sure if it’s really worth a visit. It’s small, it’s pretty but not mind blowingly pretty, and there’s not a hell of a lot of interesting things to see and do. For those reasons, I would say it is…
Singapore is one of the most recognisable and influential cities in the world. It has a reputation for being clean (chewing gum is famously banned) and as a result it feels quite sterile. It also felt eerily quiet at times; Paul and I went to the bars at Clarke Quay, supposedly one of the liveliest nightlife spots in the city, and there was barely anyone there. In my opinion, Singapore is not as interesting, vibrant or rich in culture or identity as other Asian metropolitans like nearby Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo or Hong Kong. For that reason, I would say it’s