Home Agoda Travel Classic spots and quaint travel gems top picks among Malaysians, Agoda booking data reveals
Home Agoda Travel Classic spots and quaint travel gems top picks among Malaysians, Agoda booking data reveals

Classic spots and quaint travel gems top picks among Malaysians, Agoda booking data reveals

COVID hasn’t taken the shine off Malaysian tourism gems

The freshly lifted restrictions on interstate travel in the country is allowing fully vaccinated Malaysians to travel across states from October 11 onward. In view of a cautiously reopening travel sector, Agoda’s travel data indicates that Malaysians are still keen on well-known domestic tourist spots, with only minor shifts in the Top 20 destinations between 2019/20 and 2020/21 booking data.

While Kuala Lumpur and Penang retained top spots, Johor Bahru inched Malacca into fourth spot and Kuantan jumped from 7th to 5th spot, knocking Kota Kinabalu out the top five.

While the top 20 destinations are traditionally tourist-heavy areas, they are still beloved by many for being quintessentially Malaysian spots that symbolise the best the country has to offer. The urban and cosmopolitan settings of Kuala Lumpur and Penang offer all the sights and sounds of contemporary life, while maintaining their respective historical charms.

Penang also has the distinctive reputation of being a culinary haven. Far beyond its famed Char Kuey Teow, the city has translated its historically colorful cultural makeup into its cuisine. A similar claim can be made of Johor, with its emergence in the past few years as a spot for experiencing the flavors of the Southern Region, notably for its Arabic and Javanese-influenced takes on Malaysian dishes.

The enduring popularity of these destinations may also be reflective of recent patterns in Malaysians’ travel habits, in response to the changing travel restrictions through the course of the pandemic. With domestic tourism being the mainstay for many in the country, some may have been looking at new ways to travel, either by opting for staycations or short-term trips.

The booking data also shows that Malaysians, like counterparts across Asia, are going off-the-beaten track for their travels too, heading to less touristy destinations. As per the findings of Agoda’s Travel in 2021 survey released in June this year, among the top ways Malaysians have been exploring travel was by seeking out local destinations never visited before.

Kuala Rompin saw the largest jump, moving up 7 spots to land in the Top 50 list at #44. Other destinations which rose to the Top 50 this year were Kuala Selangor (#46) and Seri Manjung (#47), up from #52 and #53 respectively in 2019/20.

Kuala Rompin (#44), the top mover within the Top 50, used to be more commonly known for being the gateway to Tioman Island. The destination has since earned a reputation for being a seafood lover’s paradise, particularly for freshwater prawns and clams from the Rompin river.

Meanwhile, Kluang saw the second biggest jump, moving up by 6 spots to land at #28. Historically known as a railway town, Kluang offers tourists a glimpse into Malaysia’s past, while serving up eco-tourism attractions. From the iconic Kluang Rail Coffee brewing up the same style of coffee since the 1930s, to the numerous organic farms dotted around the town, Kluang gives urbanites a much-needed change of pace from the usual hustle and bustle of big city life.

The third highest jump within the Top 50 was Kuala Selangor, moving up 5 spots to reach #47. Located off the mainstream tourist trails, the small town of Kuala Selangor has maintained its quaint village style charm as well as its natural beauty. The nearby Bukit Melawati for instance, houses a 19th century fortress used by locals to spot oncoming intruders along the Malacca Straits—for modern day visitors, the hill offers breathtaking panoramic views of unspoiled greenery, including the lush Kuala Selangor Nature Park.

Other small-town locations also rose in the Top 50 list this year, with six destinations jumping up by 4 spots each. These locations include Desaru (#25), Kangar (#31), Teluk Intan (#37), Chukai (#38), Kulim (#40) and Seri Manjung (#49).

“Malaysians have been keeping the wanderlust spirit alive throughout the pandemic—albeit with slightly different tastes by opting for destinations closer to home, taking the time to go off-the-beaten track and explore hidden gems within the country to rediscover the wonders of Malaysia themselves

“Every day we are seeing signs of travel recovery, both in the domestic travel sector and internationally. We see spikes in searches for destinations within Malaysia and beyond after each restriction is lifted, a reflection of Malaysians’ desire to get back on the road, reconnect with each other and explore,” said Mr. Cleland Robertson, Country Director, Malaysia and Brunei, Agoda.

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