Thanks for all the comments everyone!
Originally Posted by destroycreate
I've heard mixed reviews on Malaysia; that it is sterile and lacks a specific culture. Is this true in comparison to surrounding countries? These photos don't show that, that's for sure.
I hate to say it, but to be honest there is some truth in that. My personal favorite South East Asian countries are Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos. I have never been to the Philippines though, but I think I would love it. But Malaysia is ONLY lacking if you are comparing to other South East Asian countries. Having travelled all over the region, Malaysia is certainly the country that seems to lack a specific culture as you say. However that is not necessarily a bad thing. What makes Malaysia interesting is the multiculturalism. There is an effortless blend of the ethnic muslim Malays, Indians and Chinese, all with a healthy dose of colonial Britishness. I dont think there are many other places on earth where you can so effortlessly see the 2 great Asian cultures (India and China) side by side. In Malaysia there are Hindu temples in chinatown, chinese temples in Little India, it is quite amazing.
Also the food in Malaysia is great!
The fact that it is strict Muslim makes it less wild than other places, which can be a good or bad thing. Certainly if you enjoy wild partying then Malaysia is no Thailand thats for sure.
So I would say, whilst still a great place, I preferred other South East Asian countries, and if you have never been to Asia you will probably be mindblown. That said, there is certainly something to be enjoyed in Malaysia for everyone.
If you go, make sure you visit Penang, I loved it. Also, I haven't been but the Eastern half of Malaysia on Borneo is supposed to be pretty amazing.