Where to stay in Malaysia
Hotels in Malaysia range from inexpensive roadhouses to five-star hotels with cutting edge amenities. Facilities vary from the very basic (just a box room with a bed) to the truly luxurious: flat-screen TVs, in-room business facilities, and even private spa pools. Malaysia also has a number of atmospheric heritage hotels in historic mansions and colonial villas.
There is a tourism tax on hotel stays of 10 RM per night. Guests need to pay the tourism tax themselves at the hotels.
Kuala Lumpur has no shortage of hotel beds, but in smaller towns and at popular resorts, it is wise to book in advance, particularly during school and public holidays. Note that prices at the coastal resorts peak during the dry season – for bargain rates, travel during the monsoon months. A new official grading system was introduced in 2007, in which hotels are awarded 1-5 stars or an orchid rating for more modest establishments.
Resorts: Malaysia boasts some of the finest beach resorts in Asia, with on-site spas and pools and restaurants spilling right onto the sand. Most offer activities, including scuba-diving and other watersports. There are also plenty of moderately-priced resorts catering to local and international tourists, as well as budget resorts in the main backpacker hangouts.
There are camping facilities in most national parks and wild camping is possible on island beaches in many parts of the country. National park campsites usually provide tents, camp beds and mosquito nets, but you can often camp with your own equipment in remote areas with permission from the park authorities.
Youth Hostels: Malaysia is a member of Hostelling International, and there are a number of inexpensive youth hostels dotted around the country, including in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, and Langkawi. Accommodation is in dormitories and most hostels offer meals on-site (www.hi-malaysia.org.my).
Homestay Accommodation: The Malaysian government has an official homestay programme, with accommodation in family homes in rural areas of the country. By far the most atmospheric experience is staying in a tribal longhouse in Borneo, but there are strict rules about where and when you can stay, and arrangements must be made with a local guide.
Backpacking hostel: Malaysia is a popular backpacker destination and backpacker hostels and rest houses are found all over the country. Most offer air conditioning, internet access and lockers for valuables, but rooms often have shared bathrooms and noise can be a problem.