Travel to Malaysia to backpack, study, intern, volunteer, work or live as a digital nomad, expat or emigrant?

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Intro: life and experiences in Malaysia

Backpacking in Malaysia?

  • Backpacking in Malaysia offers a combination of modern development, affordable prices, beautiful nature and a multicultural society. There is a great diversity of destination, from popular dive sites and vast rainforests, to modern cities and fresh highlands.
  • Features: diverse cultures and languages, English is spoken by many people, beautiful nature, affordable yet modern.

Traveling in Malaysia?

  • When traveling in Malaysia, think jungle rainforest to tropical (diving) paradise. Eat your fill of street food from all cultures, seek out the mighty orangutans and visit temples and mosques.
  • City spotting: Kuala Lumpur, George Town, Melaka, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi.
  • Activity spotting: visit historical sites, climb the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, jungle walks, dive in one of the most beautiful places in the world, shop in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Nature spotting: chill on the tropical beaches of the Perhentian Islands, spot biodiversity in the rainforests of Borneo, dive by the corals of Sipadan, and hike in the cool highlands of Cameron.
  • Animal spotting: as one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, you will find the Malay tiger, Borneo elephant, Sumatran rhino, orangutan, hornbills, king cobras, various sharks and sea turtles.

Studying in Malaysia?

  • Education in Malaysia: Malaysian universities are rising in world rankings and the quality of education is increasing with some universities now among the world's top.
  • Language: the language of instruction is Malay (Bahasa Malaysia). Nowadays, many programs are also offered in English at the larger universities.
  • Studies: a wide variety of studies can be found in Malaysia with popular directions being engineering, business and management, computer science, medicine, tourism.
  • Study cities: Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Penang, Johor Bahru.
  • Language learning: you can learn the language in many places, including through language centers linked to universities and in these cities themselves.

Internship in Malaysia?

  • Internships: internships can be found in all sectors. There are many multinational companies based in Malaysia, which offer good internships in technology, financial services and electronics. There are also many opportunities in the fields of health, biodiversity and research
  • Internship cities: Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Klang Valley, Borneo.
  • Characteristics: English will get you far in Malaysia although knowledge of Bahasa Malaysia opens just a little more doors. The work structure is hierarchical, courtesies (sir, ma'am) are important and communication is mostly indirect. Punctuality is valued and dress is relatively conservative.

Volunteer in Malaysia?

  • Volunteering can be found in many sectors in Malaysia, but particularly in nature and environmental conservation, teaching English and contributing to youth care is also popular.
  • Animal/nature projects: think rainforest protection projects, coral reefs and organizations protecting endangered species.
  • Characteristics: volunteering from a few weeks to a few months is easy to find.

Working in Malaysia?

  • Jobs: Malaysia has a strong economy and is open to foreign workers. You can find many jobs in financial services, palm oil, energy and the automotive industry in addition to (temporary) jobs in the tourism sector. 
  • Work culture: work can be 5 or 6 days a week and sometimes working outside working hours is expected. Try to avoid confrontations and form good personal ties.
  • Characteristics: take into account long working hours, indirect communication and a diversity of cultures in the workplace.

Working as a digital nomad in Malaysia?

  • Favorite locations: Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kuching, Melaka, Langkawi.
  • Characteristics: Malaysia encourages the arrival of digital nomads especially for certain sectors, internet connectivity is generally good and there are plenty of co-working spots to be found.

Living in Malaysia?

  • Language: the main language is Bahasa Malaysia, but many other languages are also spoken such as Tamil and Chinese dialects. English is widespread and is often taught and spoken as a second language.
  • Quality of life: modern facilities, good health care, a rich culture and a high standard of living provide a good quality of life.
  • Characteristics: the diversity of cultures, good work options, easy to make connections and lots to do.
  • Healthcare: the quality of healthcare in Malaysia is very good. Especially in the big cities, you will find many (specialized) clinics with high standards of care.
Favorite stories, blogs and texts related to Malaysia
Maleisie, Singapore

Zondag was mijn verjaardag aangebroken. Een dag waarop we hadden afgesproken vooral lekker niets te doen. We hebben een beetje door de stad gewandeld en zijn vroeg begonnen met lekkere verjaardagscocktails. Door Johan werd ik lekker verwend met vele cadeautjes, mijn sieradenkast is weer gevuld! Twee...


Welcome to Batu Puteh   Before leaving towards my 4 week volunteering project, I experienced a burst of severe stress. I lost my credit card between Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan without noticing it for half a day. Luckily, my credit card wasn’t used by anyone in the time period. I felt like...


I went to Malaisya for 6 weeks. The first 3 weeks I worked as a volunteer in the Tunn Hussein National Eye Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. This was a great experience for me, because of my Medicine study: I learned a lot in a proffesional way, and in the mean time I could help the people who need our help...

Favorite tips and suggestions related to Malaysia

A delicious, healthy and simple Maleysian meal learned from a Filipino!   Cook the rice and fry it later for a short while. Add the carrot, sausage and white cabbage while frying. Add garlic and soja sauce. Serve it with a fried egg and enjoy! Ready In: 15 min. Ingredients:

  • rice
  • ...


Penang, een eiland het noordwesten van Maleisie, staat bekend om haar streetfood. Je kunt hier heerlijk streetfood eten, wat dan dus ook nog eens super goedkoop is, perfect dus voor de arme backpacker!! Het voordeel van deze recepten is ook dat het super makkelijk is om zelf te maken, ideaal voor de...

  • Voor landen waar stopcontacten drie gaten hebben (type G), zoals bijvoorbeeld Maleisië en Sri Lanka, heb je in principe geen wereldstekker nodig.
  • Er is namelijk een truc om je Nederlandse stekker te gebruiken in dit type stopcontact: steek een pen in het bovenste gat...
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