Fireworks, theme parks, roller coasters and a bike ride…

Editor Jennifer Merigan with 6PR's Harvey Deegan at Legoland in Malaysia.

Every time I step off the plane in Kuala Lumpur I feel as if I am returning to an old friend.

Travelling to KL takes just over five hours flying time and there is no time change for Western Australian visitors.

Malaysia Airlines offers two flights a day to KL and I always enjoy travelling on this full service airline.Part of the reason for my visit was to attend the launch of Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

Officially launching the campaign was the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Datuk Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak at a fabulous event which was held at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium to begin the promotions to woo 28 million tourists to the country in 2014.

The evening showcased Malaysia’s multi cultural ‘Malaysia – Truly Asia’ theme with much pomp and ceremony culminating with a spectacular fireworks display.

You can share the event by joining the Have a Go News facebook page where I have posted a variety of videos.

As one of our closest neighbours, Malaysia offers the Australian visitor a wide variety of options from beaches, islands and eco tourism, some of the best shopping and undoubtedly some of Asia’s best food.

Even though I have visited this country regularly over the last ten years, the enthusiasm by Malaysians to deliver the very best experience for tourists means that there is always something new and exciting to do on a visit.

My first new experience was a bicycle tour of Putrajaya where we donned our sports gear early on a Saturday morning for a cycling tour of this purpose built government satellite city.

The bike tour through the Indah wetlands in the early morning cool was exhilarating.

There are a variety of tours available and if you love bike riding but just want to be able to do it in a safe environment than these tours are perfect for the visitor.

I have travelled to many places in Malaysia but I had never before been to Jahor Bahru (JB) which is just near the Singapore border, and the home to Malaysia’s newest theme park attraction Legoland and Hello Kitty World.

Now you may think these theme parks are just for the kids but you should have seen me, a 46 year old, our guide Su who is 56 and 6PR’s Harvey Deegan who in his 60s enjoy the attractions as much as any child.

Harvey Deegan and I worked out that Su our guide actually had a deep love for rollercoasters and made sure we experienced them all at the park.

We had an absolute ball and one of the highlights of the park is the Miniland where there are lego replica cities and towns of some of Asia’s most famous landmarks.

The Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat and the replica city of KL were truly amazing and so realistic.
The displays are interactive and you could easily spend hours there.

Legoland is a must do especially if you are holidaying with the grandchildren, whatever age they may be.

Hello Kitty world is also in JB and we had a lovely time at this indoor theme park.
It is definitely targeted to the younger child with lots of interactive games and rides through the two floors.

I think I regressed back to my inner child as I went on every ride and did all the activities from cookie decorating to the Black Wonder Hello Kitty Rescue.

My tip for travellers to both parks is to plan to go on a Monday or Tuesday as the weekends are extremely busy.

The other great thing about the theme parks is they are very reasonably priced.
Now two other great attractions to mention about a visit  to JB include myriad golf courses, there’s more than 20 in the area and for those who love to shop a visit to Jahor Premium Outlets for discounted labels is a must.

Our four-day visit was coming to an end and we flew back to KL for our final night where I squeezed in a quick trip to Chinatown in Petaling Street and dinner with Harvey Deegan at the fabulous street food market in Jalan Alor which is just off Bukit Bintang.

I think our dinner of satays and delicious soups with a couple of beers cost us about $15 for the two of us but the highlight of the night for me was big hearted Harvey who bought a little singing bear for a local family enjoying a late night dinner who were sitting next to us.

The joy of the little girl who was probably aged about one being given this toy was priceless and even more enjoyable was the look of delight from Harvey when the little girl hugged the toy with great affection.

Harvey you are a true Australian gentleman!

As always a visit to Malaysia never disappoints.

Malaysian Home Stay Program

Malaysians are generally well known for their friendliness and warm hospitality especially to guests of their homes.

Now the Malaysian traditional communities across the country have opened up their homes to foreign guests to give them a tasted of the village life.

A home stay experience is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get to know the real Malaysia.

At a homestay the full spectrum of village life will be experienced by visitors and you will have the opportunity to have a cooking lesson and of course experience the local cuisine whilst eating with your ‘Malay’ family.

Other activities include harvesting fruits, trying your hand at rubber tree tapping, flying a kite or playing some of the traditional Malay games.

Depending on where you home stay is located determines the activities but there is a plethora of things to do in village life including experiencing a local wedding.

The villages involved in the program are committed to ensuring that you experiencee village style living in a clean and safe environment – all follow the standards expected from the Ministry of Tourism.

My Malaysia

I have just enjoyed my 25th trip to Malaysia and on each visit I learn something new about the culture, the history and the people. It certainly is my specialist country and these days it also feels like my second home. Tourism Malaysia are constantly promoting interesting places to visit and opportunities to discover more about one of our closest neighbours. This web page will feature regular Malaysian updates about accommodation, tours and activities.

There is so much to see and do, whether it’s a visit to the rain forests of Sabah and Sarawak or shopping until you drop in Kuala Lumpur or enjoying an island holiday in Penang or Langkawi, there truly is something for everyone there.

At the bottom of this page you can see videos taken on my last trip – just scroll down.

If you would like more information please don’t hesitate to contact my either by email – click the link above or call the office on 9227 8283.

Malaysia Fast Facts

Malaysia comprises Peninsular Malaysia (11 states) with Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo.
Area – 329,758 kilometre per square
Population – 27.17 million
Capital City – Kuala Lumpur
The People – 57 per cent of the population are Malays with Chinese, Indians, Eurasians and other indigenous groups forming the rest.
The Language – Malay is the national language but English is widely spoken. Many of the indigenous groups have their own language and dialects.
The Government – Malaysia is a federal parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch – bicameral legislative system. The head of government is the Prime Minister.
Economic profile – Manufacturing is the leading sector that contributes to the national economy which is then followed by tourism and primary commodities such as pertroluem and palm oil, natural rubber and timber.
Currency – The Ringgit is Malaysia’s national currency. The exchange rate to the Australian dollar is around AUD$1 to RM3.
Time Zone – Malaysia is on the same time zone as Perth, Australia.
Electrical power – The voltage is 220 – 240 volt AC with a standard English three pin rectangle plug and socket.
Weight and measurement – Malaysia follows the metric system.
Passport and Visa – visitors to Malaysia must hold a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended travel period.
Australians do not require a visa for social or business visits.