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Old 05-18-2015, 02:31 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
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What do readers think of difference between travel in these countries? Will be traveling this summer (July) with about 10 days in each (Bangkok and Phuket, Thailand) then Penang, KL, and Genting Highlands (we have timeshare for one week there). How did you find food, costs, people, shopping, and getting around? We live in China and presume it will be easier language wise.
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Old 05-19-2015, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Phoenix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmlandis View Post
What do readers think of difference between travel in these countries? Will be traveling this summer (July) with about 10 days in each (Bangkok and Phuket, Thailand) then Penang, KL, and Genting Highlands (we have timeshare for one week there). How did you find food, costs, people, shopping, and getting around? We live in China and presume it will be easier language wise.
Malaysia is easier to get around with better roads and no language difficulties. Food costs are similar and both have fantastic cuisine and I would give a slight edge to Malaysia because of the 3 cultures there give the variety. Malaysia is more malls and Thai more smaller shops as far as shopping. I find the Thai much more open and friendly.
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Old 05-20-2015, 04:05 AM
 
Location: Minsk, Belarus
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How safe is it to travel in big cities like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur?
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Old 05-20-2015, 04:45 AM
 
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Traveling in major tourist destinations in Thailand should not be a problem, although there might be some language problems communicating in smaller shops, restaurants or taxi drivers.

You won't have problems in Malaysia at all. English is more widely spoken. Also, one can almost get by with only Chinese in Malaysian cities. Mandarin Chinese is widely spoken in both Penang and KL, Hokkien (Minnan) also goes a long way in Penang, Cantonese (Yue) in KL.

Although Malaysia is easier to go around in terms of language, I personally find Thailand more interesting as a travel destination. Both are pretty affordable and not difficult to go around. Statistically, Malaysia is probably safer than Thailand. But if you consider how much partying, drinking and prostitution goes on in Thailand, it's actually not bad at all.
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Phoenix
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Originally Posted by Marmel View Post
How safe is it to travel in big cities like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur?
Very safe. Bangkok has taxis, tuk tuk or skytrain to get around and all are safe but the tuk tuk often will try to take you to a shop that they are getting a commission from. KL has fairly extensive train travel around the city plus taxis are safe also. I think both cities are as safe basically as western European cities.
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Old 05-20-2015, 04:50 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
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Good to know. We were in Bangalore, India and the "tuk tuk" system is a mess. If you don't have a phone app, it's impossible to get a taxi. Plus many of the tuk tuks insist on stopping at their cousin's store.
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:34 AM
 
Location: Minsk, Belarus
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What about health risks in KL and Bangkok?
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:54 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
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I would imagine the both places are equally healthy - although I wouldn't drink their tap water (I don't here in China)

On a different note , has anyone traveled by land from Phuket to Penang (Georgetown). I understand you have to change buses at the Thai/Malay border. Is it possible to rent a driver (van) to take 4 people?? Or do we have to stop at the border anyhow and change transport?
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Old 05-22-2015, 03:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Marmel View Post
What about health risks in KL and Bangkok?
I would recommend the hepatitis A vaccine and maybe the hepatitis B vaccine as well. Dengue fever can be a risk and there's no vaccine, so watch out for mosquitoes.

Aside from hepatitis A, there a few other food- and water-borne diseases so watch out what you eat and drink. Even when there are no pathogens, it's also possible to get diarrhea if you're not used to the food there. Food in both KL and Bangkok are much spicier than those found in other places.
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Old 05-24-2015, 04:07 AM
 
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I'm familiar with both. Been to KL, Melaka, Ipoh, Penang, Taman Negara, Johor in Malaysia (not the East coast though), and Kuching in Sarawak, and Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai in Thailand. They're pretty different, although have obvious similarities. It would depend on what you want.

Cost - Depends where you go. Patong in Phuket and touristy parts of Bangkok can be a bit pricey, but overall Thailand is still a bit cheaper than Malaysia. Malaysia is still cheap - surprisingly so - since it's a fair bit richer than Thailand.

Shopping - Both are good shopping destinations if you're interested in that, at the cheaper end at least. At the higher end things are the same price as anywhere in the world.

Food - A matter of personal preference, they're both my favourite cuisines. Malay cuisine has influenced Thai cuisine a lot, and vice versa to a lesser extent. Cheap, delicious street food, hawker centres (mainly a Malaysian-Singapore thing), restaurants.etc anytime of day or night. Malaysia has a broader variety of foods, like excellent Indian food. In tourist areas, you can quite easily find Western food and if you must fast food like McDonald's.

Entertainment - Thailand is known for it's party atmosphere - well at least parts of Bangkok, Phuket, and a few other places like Pattaya, Koh Samui. If you like hedonistic pleasures I guess you'll like it. You can still have fun in Malaysia but there are fewer annoying backpackers, so in some ways I prefer it myself. The Full Moon Party makes me sick, though, mostly because of how they wreck the beach. After a FMP it's covered in trash >.

Nature - Malaysia wins in this department, no question. Hopefully though they'll stop cutting down forest for timber and palm oil plantations. Sadly Thailand has few areas of virgin rainforest left, but it has a few national parks and areas of forest. Most of it is farmland/modified. Central and East Malaysia is great for wildlife and jungle trekking, with things like rainforest, beaches, caves, mountains, coral reefs. Both have dive-spots, but you'll want to avoid places like around Phuket.

People - A lot of people bang on about how friendly Thais are - they certainly can be - but I feel it's overrated, and a lot of the time it's to butter up 'farangs.' Bangkok is very business-like, but if you get out of the touristy areas you'll find a lot of genuine friendliness. Even in Bangkok there is still a lot of that. Malaysians are a lot more ethnically diverse: Malays, Chinese and Indians have their own distinct cultural practices, languages, religion.etc, even if they share a Malaysian identity. English is obviously a lot more widely spoken in Malaysia.

Transport/ease of getting around - Both are well catered for in this regard, getting a lot of tourists. Trains, buses, etc are great ways to get around, but watch out for taxi drivers and in Thailand tuk-tuks.

Overall both can be great holiday destinations. I'd say factor in what you want to do, which will factor in where you visit in each other, time of year, type of accommodation etc.
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