Previously, I mentioned that we went to Ipoh for a day trip and will be planning a beach trip to Penang. And we did! As the lockdown measures eased up to allow interstate travel in Malaysia, I thought it is the best to stretched our legs and immerse ourselves into nature after being holed up in an apartment for 2.5 months. 

First of all, I do not advocate reckless behaviour. So even when I reasoned why travel is the best thing to do now, all precautionary measures such as wearing masks in public places, keeping top notch hygiene and observation of social distancing at all times is a must.

Secondly, if your government do not advocate interstate travel, please don’t do it yet. As always, safety comes first. At any point if you are hesitant about travel, listen to your guts. We only travel when the numbers of community infection are down to near zero.

Trust me, even with these measures in place, you will still be able to enjoy travel as much as before (even more so if you are an introvert).

And here are the reasons why:

The view of Penang taken at The Habitat – an awesome place for natural lovers.

Support The Locals

This is one of the best ways to help the economy to recover in your own country: by spending money supporting local brands. We choose to eat in small local eateries and shop at domestic stores, forging big foreign brands as much as possible.

Going our way out to smaller townships and kampungs is the best way to explore the rural locations while contributing to their livelihoods. Many of the locals are very happy to see us and some share their hardship stories with me.

All of them are glad that Malaysia Government are encouraging interstate tourism, even if the sales or the crowds will never be back to pre-pandemic, some profits are better than none.

Plus, I bet they were as bored as we were stuck at home. 

My little one enjoy the view and the cool breeze at The Habitat Penang. The whole place is so quiet and peaceful that it calms her down too.

Low prices everywhere

With the Malaysia government removing the service tax on hotels in addition to the fantastic hotels and restaurants deals, it is too attractive to give it a miss.

Our Shangri-La hotel in Penang was at 50% discount! Even tickets to attractions are at a discounted rate. Restaurants are promoting set meals and bars are advertising their happy hours.

Friendly faces all around

Whether it is due to not able to mingle around people (remember, those who work in hospitality and tourism are people persons) or maybe it’s fear of losing their jobs (lockdown since 18 March, many have seen companies coming down like dominos), all we saw are friendly faces all around. Smiles, waves and cheerful greetings.

Of course, it makes us feel so much better, knowing that we are welcomed here because we are contributing to their economy and not turned away because we are from the big city hence may be bringing viruses in. 

Gorgeous sunset at Sekinchan, Kuala Selangor. A quiet quaint fishing town with fresh and cheap seafood.

Lesser traffic

The usual drive from Kuala Lumpur to Penang will take us roughly 5 hours, in consideration to traffic jams and breaks. This time round, it only took us 3.5 hours to reach.

It sucks to be stuck in a traffic jam but what sucks even more is when you are stuck in the car with a small child. Luckily for us, our little one is a seasoned traveller. 5 hours in cars or flights no longer fazed her. Instead, she’ll sleep like a log, conserving energy to play once we reach our destination. Smart baby! 

A little crab is gently handled by my little one while we stood on the seabed in the middle of ocean that appears after low tide, a rare phenomenon. Yes, we did gently put back the crab with its crabby family.

No human crowd

You can be safe and have fun too

All the hotels and restaurants have to follow strict SOP in maintaining hygiene and adequate social distancing. We were greeted first with temperature checking and hand sanitising before we are shown to our table.

It is the same everywhere in Malaysia. So much so, my daughter is furious if she is missed out (probably because she’s 3 years old and adults are afraid of upsetting her with the thermometer), she will keep reminding the Uncle or Auntie to take her temperature and give her the hand sanitiser.

Sometimes, she even reminds me to put on a mask before stepping out of the car or the door. 

Nobody at the beach, we had the beach at Batu Ferringhi, Penang all to ourselves. No broken bottles, no cigarette butts, no plastic bags.

So Clean

Without the humans around, the beaches and seas are so much cleaner. Many folks have warned us of broken glasses and leftover cigarette butts on Penang beaches, nope.. nada.. didn’t come across any. Not even stranded washed up jellyfishes on the sand.

The beach was so clean, there wasn’t a stray plastic in sight. The sea was cleaner than my previous visit some years ago. 

Conclusion 

The decision to jump at the chance of traveling interstate the moment the government allowed us (1 June) was the right one. There wasn’t any crowd, not even in tourist attractions. Everyone was being extremely careful, observing social distancing. That made me feel safe enough to bring my 3 year old daughter around. 

Now we are hearing that resorts and hotels are fully booked and packed to the brim especially now it’s summer holidays for the international schools. Every parent is dying for a break away from the kids, a resort vacation will be the best place to contain everyone in one place yet in different activities. While everyone is rushing out to vacay, we are relaxing at home. 

However, this is still the best moment to pack up a weekend bag and go explore your country. Without the travel borders opening up, you won’t get an influx of tourists. This may be status quo for some time. 

87 replies on “Why Traveling is The Best Thing to Do Now?

    1. Awesome that you can travel too! Venice must be awesome. I haven’t been there yet but one day, I will since it is on my list of countries to visit once in my lifetime! Thanks, Cindy.

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  1. Well chosen destination. I am still a bit scared to mix but if you find a place like this….. perfect. I love that it is not polluted. The world is in better condition in this respect through the virus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m afraid to mix too but I am more afraid not to live a little. So finding a balance in the greyish area, the little one really relish her freedom in nature. I haven’t seen her laugh so loud for the longest time!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Allan. The break is worth it. I haven’t seen my daughter laugh so loud for the longest time. And yes, we avoid crowd like crazy, wear our masks and wash our hands all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice post, Kally. Seems like you had a great trip, especially with less people around and great deals by desperate businesses, ha. I agree that it’s important to support the local economy, especially small businesses. In Taiwan, domestic tourism is also being encouraged and in some places, it has become too successful and there are too many tourists as Taiwanese are unable to go abroad. I’m guessing since Malaysia is much bigger than Taiwan, they do not have this problem.
    By the way, that photo of that tiny crab being held by your little daughter is cute.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! My family wasn’t too happy that we were traveling around. I guess it was part worries and part envy. Since Singapore is too tiny for them to go anywhere. I am fortunate that I am in Malaysia and we get to choose obscure quaint places to visit to avoid the mainstream crowd.

      Now this weekend is a long holiday (Hari Raya), we are staying at home to binge watch Netflix so as to give the local some space for their family visitation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s amusing your family in Singapore were unhappy due to worries (especially considering Singapore has much cases than Malaysia) and because they themselves can’t travel much. I do understand their frustration because even in Taiwan (which is much bigger than Singapore but much smaller than Malaysia), I feel a little annoyed I might not be able to go overseas anytime this year. I do intend to go on a trip to another part of Taiwan soon.

        That’s certainly a good idea to stay home for a long holiday when there will be a lot of people traveling.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, first world problems. Lol. As much as they understand not traveling should be the least of their problems, they can’t help it either. The cases are mostly do to foreign workers in dormitories while community cases are in he low single digit every day.

          Taiwan have so many natural places to explore! The best thing is that Taiwan is safer than Malaysia (in terms of petty crime rates like snatch theft and robberies). If I am in Taiwan, I’ll probably hole up in one of the pretty Minsu at the coast areas or head up for a farm stay.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. OK, so Singapore is doing quite good if the community cases are so few. It’s sad that the foreign workers are still experiencing so many cases.

            I’ve heard of Malaysia’s crime issues and I was a little surprised since this part of Asia is usually very safe.
            Coincidentally, the country I’m from, Trinidad, has a serious crime problem that includes robberies and murders – this is one advantage of living and traveling in Asia.

            Yes, Taiwan is very safe and it has a lot of natural beauty, especially for a small island. I am planning on going to the east coast.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Yes, it is sad but not unexpected for the foreign workers to experience so many cases since they live in tightly packed dormitories.

            The poorer the country is, the higher the crime rate especially if the people is not taken care of and struggling to find jobs just to survive or to feed your family.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. I hope the authorities can get the foreign worker cases under control or improve their conditions because it surely can’t be good for them to be crammed into dormitories while waiting to be infected.

            Yes, crime is often caused by poverty and desperation, The sad thing is Malaysia and Trinidad are both middle-income nations with decent GDP per capita. I don’t know about Malaysia but in Trinidad, the issue is that inefficient and sometimes corrupt governance has caused wealth to be wasted so that a large amount of poverty still remains.

            In Asia, I am surprised by Malaysia because less wealthier nations like Thailand and China don’t have a bad crime reputation, other than scams and pickpockets. And I’ve also visited “poor” nations like Myanmar and Sri Lanka that are considered quite safe.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Long story with Malaysia. If you have the time, read the 1MDB story, that will give you some basis. It is very sad for Malaysians, they are super friendly and humbled folks who truly deserves a better life. They have the natural resources, vast land and manpower but yet next to the tiny Singapore (a country without natural resources), it is Malaysia $3 to Singapore $1.

            I always believe it is corruption and poor strategy in managing a country that will led to a country’s GDP to fall drastically.

            Liked by 2 people

          5. I have heard about the 1MDB affair and I still can’t get over the vast sums that were stolen from the country. I am glad that Najib Razak got sentenced to jail for his corruption. And I realized during our discussion here that it’s so strange how the leader of a relatively well-off country like Malaysia could have been so corrupt (for me, these guys were like the Philippines’ Marcos and African dictators).

            I agree with your points about Malaysia falling short and not making full use of its potential due to corruption and poor governance. I think when one considers that they built the Petronas in the 1990s and built their own car brand back then, it seems like they have stood still or even gone back a bit since then. I hope that they will progress more especially as they have locked up their corrupt leader.

            Liked by 1 person

          6. Unfortunately, during Najib period, the country has gone backwards. Just when the new party is trying to mend the patches and recover the economy, the pandemic strikes.

            But I know the “kampung spirit” of Malaysians are very much alive. I feel it everyday. They will recover eventually and hopefully become stronger than before. I truly believe what they need are good governance and good people to run the party.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. I hope Malaysia will recover from all of this. Whether good governance can happen soon remains to be seen, though at least they have done alright with handling the coronavirus.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I couldn’t agree more! Just came back from the mountains of North Carolina and Kentucky. People were so happy to see visitors! A lot of people rely on travelers to support themselves. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful experience, Kally – thanks for sharing it with us!

    How could the whole thing not fill your nights (and your days) with honeyed dreams for years to come?

    Especially, the little one. This likely jumped front-and-center among her happy childhood memories. Years from now, when she has little ones of her own, can you guess where she’s going to want to vacation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, my days and nights are filled with joy remembering her laughter when she was playing on the beach. I got it recorded too!

      Recently, she is torn between growing up to be a doctor or to be a scuba diver. I told her she don’t have to choose: she can do both. Haha!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS, Paola! I’m so super happy for you!!!!!!!!! Thank you for making me yelping in joy at your news. What a joyous way to start my weekend at a friend’s awesome news.

      Do you have a granddaughter or grandson?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful! And that careful examination of the crab is incredibly sweet!

    Fortunately, I live in a little tourist town in the mountains, the kind of place people usually go to get away from the city.

    Unfortunately, in the US that’s exactly what many people (who can) have done. Cities, like San Francisco (about 250 kilometres away) have lost large parts of their populations who can “work from a distance”. Presently, there isn’t square-meter to rent here, and the little town’s population is probably four times the usual number of residents through a typical winter. Add in weekend day-trippers, and the local infrastructure and wilderness are entirely overwhelmed. And of course, it’s also resulted in a local outbreak that quickly outstripped the resources of a little hospital more accustomed to dealing with ski and bike-riding injuries. “Paradise”, perhaps. Or just an upscale refugee camp.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Big hugs. You must be frustrated with all the tourists! It is so dangerous too. Is there anyway your town can restrict the number of outsiders coming into your town per day? That may be the only way to make sure everyone is safe and practicing social distancing. Hard to distance yourself when there are no space!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s been an attempt to limit the number of people in staffed locations, like State Parks and commercial areas. But the roads and the wilderness are overrun. Not much that can be done about it in the US… it’s hard enough to get Americans to just wear a mask in public. My solution is to get out before sunrise and enjoy the place before everyone else wakes up and realizes where they are. It’s still extraordinarily beautiful. And especially considering others’ situations, there’s a great deal to be thankful for.

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