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When we think back on some of the most exciting, happy and fulfilled periods of our lives, many of them have been when we’ve been vacationing or traveling through foreign lands.

It’s that feeling you get when you’re surrounded by new sights, smells and sensations, and this is often something we choose to memorialize in our minds.

If you’ve chosen to travel to Malaysia, there’s a whole world of new experiences that await. A country packed with dynamic cities for urban adventure, beautiful beaches, ancient rainforests full of exotic wildlife, and a melting pot of Asian cultures, there are many memories you’ll create.

But how to preserve them? The following tips will help to really capture the memories you create, ensuring they keep on giving years after you’ve returned back home.

How to Make Lasting Memories From a Trip to Malaysia

Photography vs Selfies

Malaysia street art RF

While the rise of the ‘selfie’ has meant that many of the world’s most touristed sights are crowded with selfie sticks and outstretched arms trying to capture a whole family, these photos won’t necessarily come to epitomize your trip.

Instead, take photos – or, indeed, videos – of the places in Malaysia where you stay, the restaurants you enjoy, and the people you meet. When you look at these in the future, you’ll jog memories connected to places and faces which will remind you of the wonderful moments.

When it comes to photographing people, the language barrier in Malaysia may prevent you from verbally asking someone if you can take their photo. But it’s still very important to seek their permission.

A simple gesture with your camera or eyes and a smile is a great way to indicate your intentions, and most Malaysian locals are happy to oblige.

A great way to improve your vacation could be to hire a local photographer. Local photographers know the best locations in their city, and while selfies are ok, they’re no comparison to a professional photograph!

Make Friends

Friends fist bump RF

Think back to some of your most memorable overseas trips. Is there anything similar about the style of these trips? Any similarities that connect them?

The trips we remember the most are often those that have a human-centric angle on them. Visiting a new place is a great opportunity to make new friends, and when we do so we connect with a country on a much deeper level, and the experience is often more immersive.

While many people speak English in Malaysia, the official language is Malay. This is very similar to Indonesian, though other languages spoken include Manglish (a combination of English, Malay, Tamil, Cantonese, Mandarin, and other languages), Chinese, and Tamil.

The language barrier is what puts most people off wanting to make friends, so it’s a great idea to learn a few key words in Malay before you go. After-all, travel is all about getting to know a different culture, or different mindsets to enrich your own way of seeing things.

Thanks to social media and instant messaging tools, you’ll be able to keep in contact with the Malaysians you meet on your trip, even offering them a place to stay if they ever decide to visit your home country.

Gifts and Souvenirs

Another great way to preserve the memories of your trip to Malaysia is by taking advantage of the wonderful and sometimes wacky world of souvenirs.

Malaysia boasts a particularly exciting brand of these, and you’ll be able to pick through authentic markets in your aim to buy a souvenir gift for a loved one, and to find little reminder of your time away to keep in your home.

But don’t buy the cheesy tourist shot glass or fridge magnet, as these often end up in a box in the attic, collecting dust, completely forgotten. You want to buy something really unique, authentic and special to Malaysia to remember your trip.

A Batik is a great cultural souvenir from Malaysia; a Javanese-influenced style of fabric that is often made into sarongs and coin purses. Or perhaps you could go on the hunt for a Sape; a guitar like instrument in the shape of a boat that is indigenous to the tribes of Sarawak and used in healing rituals in Borneo.

These type of unique cultural souvenirs are things you’ll want to proudly display when you come home, as opposed to throwing them in a box which gets stored away.

Image: Jim Holmes for AusAID (CC BY 2.0) via DFAT on Flickr

Keep a Blog


The final tip to help you truly remember your trip to Malaysia is to keep and update a blog. This serves the dual purpose of keeping your friends and family up to date, while preserving the wonderful time you’re having as a permanent record of your time away.

When keeping a blog remember that no detail is too trivial, and no event too underwhelming, not to include on your blog. Often the smallest details are what brings an experience to life when written, and what will act to jog your memory and take you back to a specific day.

Keeping up a daily blog while you’re traveling can actually be very tough; you’re often exhausted by the end of a long day, and many people stop journalling half way through the journey. But if you can persevere and keep it up, you’ll thank yourself once you’re home.

The best way to stay motivated with this is to set up a daily routine and stick to it. Ie tell yourself you’ll spend 20 minutes at the end of each day before bed writing down everything you did. It’s best to do this daily while details and experiences are still fresh, otherwise you start to forget.


Malaysia Travel Guide

Lonely Planet Malaysia Singapore & Brunei 

Malaysia Travel Guide

Insight Guides Malaysia

Malaysia Travel Guide

The Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei


Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. Selfies rock too Meg but Team Photo, these days, mostly. Malaysia gives us ample opps to snap gorgeous photos. Especially in places like Penang, one of my fave islands. George Town is something else.

    • Yep, absolutely team photo on this end! Awesome to hear you had such a great time in Malaysia Ryan, Penang and George Town are incredible places, definitely glad we’re now living in the digital age; I definitely would be running out of film like crazy if we still only had 24 shots per roll!!

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