Thailand v Malaysia

Mar 11th, 2006, 12:54 PM
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Thailand v Malaysia

I have been to Thailand twice and was in the process of planning a third trip for August 2006. It has been suggested to me that the east coast of Malaysia would be a great trip as well.

I love thailand and was planning a month trip on the gulf side both mainland Kanchaburi, Hua Hin, Chomphon and island hopping Koh toa, Phangan samui.

My alternative for Malaysia would be to hire a car from Singapore and drive up the east coast staying at a few places and then out to Redang and the Perehetian islands.

Has anyone been to both of these proposed locations that can give me an honest comparison that may assist me in making a final decision. Just some background my partner and I are both beach people who love snorking love to eat and try different restaurants and the odd scenic bush walk and also look at local sights. Which have people like best Maylasia or Thailand and why. Thanks in advance for your honest opinions.
maisymoo is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 02:32 PM
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On the whole, I much preferred Thailand to Malaysia. I am not sure I can really put my finger on it - however, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Perhentian Islands. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, far better snorkelling and diving than Ko Tao etc. Even from the boat arriving on the island, we could see Manta Rays and turtles swimming around. It is far less developed than Ko Tao etc too - and best it stays that way imo. To my knowledge (although this might have changed) it has stayed well off the package tour route and you don't seem to be able to book it through the independent ages either from here (UK). So the people visiting are KL weekenders and backpacker really. One islands has more upmarket resorts - although no five * humongous ones - and the other backpacker/budget accommodation (we preferred the latter btw when we were there, more soul although friends stayed in a really nice little place on the other island that I would recommend - will dig out the name if you are interested). The islanders are lovely people.

I would go back in a shot - and last time combined it with a trip to Thailand. We flew down to a town in Thailand nr the border and got a motorbike taxi from that town to the border and crossed over by foot, picking up a taxi the other side and heading straight to the port. Unfortunately, I don't think it is safe to go to that town nr the border anymore (am sorry, the name of it escapes me).

So, I prefer Thailand - the warmth of the people, the food, the temples, Bangkok - it holds a place in my heart (hence we are getting married there). But if you have been twice already, then perhaps you should go to Malaysia with a nice long stay on the Perhentians. Be warned though, once you are there, it is very hard to leave...
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 02:42 PM
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The place on Perhential Besar where our friends stayed was Coral View. We stayed at Perhentian Island Resort, which - at that time at least - was the most expensive place and was our 'treat'. I thought it was rundown though and soulless. Coral View was more charming.

On Perhential Kecil, we stayed on Long Beach. There are very few places that you can book in advance on this island, but there are a couple. Long Beach is absolutely stunning.

Thai town that we flew to near the border was Narathiwat.

Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 07:06 PM
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Thanks Bella. Unfortunately someone has told my partner that Malaysia is a dirty place and not to go there and he is putting up resistence. Did you find Malaysia dirty??? Thanks for your accomodation suggestions do you know of any internet booking sites for Malaysia so I can price some places as in the end it may come down to cost. How did you find the cost of food etc in Malaysia compared to thailand
maisymoo is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 09:21 PM
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There are lots of lovely places to go in Malaysia. I can't imagine what the comment that Malaysia is "dirty" is about. For price comparisons, you might check the site (though their prices aren't as good as they used to be). For Thailand, try Note that they also have some Malaysia hotels.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 10:21 PM
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Here is a list of resorts available on the Perhentian Islands and their prices.

Malaysia is not dirty. When compared to Singapore, I'd say Malaysia is not "as clean" but still far from "dirty".

JannaG is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 11:02 PM
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Hi M,

Malaysia "dirty"? Depends on your relative standard - if it is to BKK, pristine may be a better word, compared to Singapore, dirtier as someone mentioned may be more apt. Also, depends on what you are looking at - we make fun of our public toilets (that I agree could do with better housekeeping) but in general, not bad.

Wrt to your questions about the islands, if it is parties and "happening" places you are thinking of wrt to beaches and islands, scratch the East Coast islands - loveliest of islands in its natural form, but it is very natural...and parties, nightlife, etc. The mainland States near the islands are vert rural, rustic, and lovely - friendly folks etc, but again, no wild parties... unlike Thailand.

If it is food, tons of varieties of food, try Penang, but unfortunately the beaches are so-so.
greenham is offline  
Mar 11th, 2006, 11:37 PM
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Hi Maisy - we didn't find it dirty, other than in one unspeakable hostel in Kota Bharu. This was just unfortunate though, we arrived without reservations in the middle of a Muslim festival and this was the only place with beds left and it was obvious why.

Greenham is right to point out that the east coast islands are not party islands - but I know from your posts regarding Thailand that this is absolutely not what you are looking for anyway so I don't think this will be a problem for you. On the Perhentian Islands, there are very low key beach restaurants. Not much alcohol is served but on Long Beach last time I stayed, there was a place where you could buy cans of beer but that was it.

btw, do you dive? If not, Perhentian would be a fantastic place to learn.
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 12:26 AM
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Malaysia dirty? I found it cleaner than Thailand!!!
Kuala Lumpur then, is a mcuch more clean city than Bangkok.
Tere is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 02:29 AM
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I've found Malaysia to be a bit more user-friendly than Thailand, as English is more widely spoken and street signs and so on are in English. There's also more variety in food. However, Thailand has more to offer in terms of culture and diversity of scenery. In my opinion Thailand is cleaner than Malaysia, I've come across some vile smelling toilets - even in upmarket venues in Malaysia but haven't noticed this in Thailand. All in all I prefer Thailand but I also like Malaysia and enjoy going there for a change.
TexasSlim is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 03:49 AM
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It's difficult to compare as they are different. I like KL, have been to Penang and Langkawi quite a few times, they are different from Thailand, scenary can be similar but that's about it. I enjoy a few days but admit to being very glad to get back to Thailand !
JamesA is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 11:26 AM
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Currently we are thinking of going to Langkawi till I read your posting about
Perhentian. Can you please describe the Perhentian beach to Lankawi beach? We don't dive. How do you get to Perhentian from Kuala Lumpur? I guess we will fly into kuala terengganu from Kuala lumpur. Do we take a ferry to get to Perhentian island from the kuala terengganu, which resort is the nicest resort in Kuala terengganu? Thank you.
clear is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 11:29 AM
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Where is Perhential Kecil?,How do you get to Perhential Kecil from Kuala lumpur? thank you.
clear is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 11:57 AM
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The beaches in Langkawi are far surpassed by Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil. The Perhentian Islands, in particular Long Beach, have white silky sand and completely crystal clear turquoise waters. We didn't really think the beaches of Langkawi were that wonderful, although the beach by the Datai was better.

Langkawi is well developed compared to the Perhentians - it has duty free shopping malls, big 5* resorts, tourist infrastructure, an airport. Perhentians are relatively undeveloped with only a few more upmarket resorts (none on the scale or standard of Langkawi however). There are no shops, no international restaurants. In the daytime, the activities are focused on the water (diving and snorkelling) although you can trek in the jungle like centre of the islands or paint your own batik cloth.

Langkawi is a duty free island so you have full bar service in most resorts. In Perhentian, at least on my last visit, this was not the case. Beer was available but little else - and if it was it was incredibly expensive.

In the Perhentians, you can snorkel straight from the beach - the snorkelling is amazing, even if you don't dive. In Langkawi, there is more to do besides water activities and to dive you need to go quite far away in a boat. I don't recall being able to snorkel from shore either.

To get there from KL, you fly to Kota Bharu and then get a taxi to the boat pier and then over to the islands.

In terms of which resort is nicest, in Perhentian Kecil (which is where Long Beach is), we just stayed in wooden huts, fan only, cold water only, electricity was not on 24 hours a day. There wasn't much choice other than this standard of accommodation although I think there may have been one place on Long Beach with air con. I remember thinking that if we were in Thailand on Ko Tao or Ko Pha Ngan, we would not be paying as much for our hut.

On Perhentian Besar, I would recommend Coral View and NOT Perhentian Island Resort. However, there are more places on that island with air con etc and I didn't take a look at those.
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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Should add - we went there last 4 years ago which is a v short time in Asia. It could be v built up by now!!

Another place - Tuna Island Resort or something like that in Perhentian Besar. Bubu in Perhentian Kecil.
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 01:42 PM
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The Perhentians sounds soooo beautiful. I wish I could fit them in on my trip next month, but that's just not possible. I guess I have yet another reason to start planning that second trip!
LA_FadeAway is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 02:02 PM
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I quite agree LA - as I was writing this I am thinking could I change our plans this summer to fit in 5 days or so on the Perhentians...
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 07:14 PM
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Bella blue would it be the same route to Redang as Perhetians we are thinking of also doing this island. Did you fit this island into your travels at all.
maisymoo is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 08:43 PM
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I like both countries. I believe the weather will be an important factor in making your decision.

August is a monsoon season (rainy) for certain parts of Thailand (Phuket). Not sure what season it is in Malaysia. Also, note that each part of the country has different rainy seasons. For example, in some months it's rainy in Phuket but dry in Koh Samui.

I once went to Phuket (stupidly without checking the climate charts) when it was rainy. I did not go to the beach at all and the weather was stormy.
Barkinpark is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 09:39 PM
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Bella_Bluebell - surprised you didn't like the Perhentian Island Resort - I stayed there late 2002, right before the monsoon, and found it more comfortable than the Coral View. I thought the Perhentians were a great place to just rest up, and do very little beside eating and snorkelling. maisymoo, you might want to check the current policy on alcohol.

While Malaysia is not as clean as Singapore (is anywhere?) I certainly wouldn't call it dirty. It's also very easy travelling, with good long-distance buses.
thursdaysd is offline  

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