flat lay photography of camera, book, and bag

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


8 Ways to Spot a Malaysian When Travelling…

We’re definitely guilty of crossing the road using the hand stop sign. How about you?

We’re definitely guilty of crossing the road using the hand stop sign. How about you?


Though each one of us is surely unique, Malaysians in general still share similar characteristics when it comes to travelling. From a glance, you might just be able to spot a Malaysian when travelling overseas. Here are some of the things that Malaysians can relate to and bound to do when travelling:

1. Overpacking rations

Malaysians tend to overpack when travelling
Carrying around an overpacked rucksack is not a problem for Malaysians.

Malaysians want to pack everything from home if possible. By everything we mean instant noodles, biscuits, 3-in-1 beverage sachets and sarong. This is because quite a number of us are not adaptable to foreign flavours or tastes when travelling so we try to cram our own comfort food into the suitcase (if that is allowed by the destination we are heading), including medications like Panadol, cough syrups, and mint ointments!

2. Snapshots of passport/flight ticket

Tickets shot
Pictures or it didn’t happen.

Even for domestic travels, Malaysians would almost always snap the picture of the passport or flight ticket before boarding, not forgetting the mandatory plane window shot signifying we are currently travelling! You could see tons of this and we know, you might have done this too.


3. Tongue-d twister

A participant of Sigatoka River Safari warming up to a local Fijian child
A Malaysian participant of Sigatoka River Safari warming up to a local Fijian child

Blending in a new place means trying to speak the way of the locals. We tend to mimic the local accent and slang while learning the language. This happens most evidently when Malaysians travel to Indonesia and start speaking like an Indonesian while socialising. We automatically attempt to become local for the next several days before returning to Malaysia. Sometimes, it lingers longer, like jet lag.

4. Crossing the road using the hand sign

Many are familiar with the Malaysians’ way of crossing the road while gesticulating to ask for oncoming cars to slow down. It is amazing how the hand has the power to stop moving cars but beware because this habit is perilous and there’s a reason why pedestrians walks are invented. While most of the countries automatically slow down when they see pedestrians, Malaysians should not take the advantage by simply jaywalking.

5. Chilli and soups hunt-ed

Food tastes bland without the much needed spiciness!
Food tastes bland without the much needed spiciness!

Many Malaysians require spicy taste, alongside gravy or soup, when having their meals because we just cannot stomach bland or dry dishes. Malaysian literally dive in spicy meals from breakfast with nasi lemak and chilli paste on the side to lunch with caramelised beef and dinner comprising tempoyak (fermented durian) and rice. When travelling to countries that do not use as much spice as in Malaysia, some Malaysians would ask for chilli sauce, sometimes to the chagrin of the chef.

6. Taking away everything

Hotel minibar brings happiness to us!
Snacks from the hotel minibar bring happiness to us!

Sometimes Malaysians can’t help but nick something off the buffet table. It could be the croissant or even a banana. We don’t always know why we do it, but most probably saving it for later? And don’t tell us that you have never taken home hotel freebies too. Not thieves by nature, Malaysians maybe are just obsessed with bringing home as many souvenirs as possible from our travels, especially hotel toiletries.

7. Taking a gazillion pictures within every 100 metres of walking

person using iPhone
Everything just looks interesting when travelling! (Photo by pixel parker on Unsplash)

Roads in other countries differ from those in Malaysia. Same goes to the buildings, parks and everything in between. Malaysians often take photos whenever we find signages to indicate that we are there. We will then flood the photos taken during our travels into our social media accounts to share with family and friends back in Malaysia!


8. Converted everything in Malaysian Ringgit

Every Malaysian becomes a Mathematics expert when travelling.

Most Malaysians do this. Currency rate app is our best friend when traveling. Everything is inevitably converted into Malaysian Ringgit, even when we do not have intention to buy the items! When shopping, the trick is to be superfast when converting so that you can quickly assess whether the item is within your budget before checking out other items or places. Malaysians would even take the trouble in hunting for the best exchange rates even if it means they need to walk a distance for the best rates.

So Malaysians, we do see you, because you are easy to spot when travelling, clearly indicating that we Malaysians are unique in our idiosyncratic ways. So, have a great 58th Malaysia Day celebration everybody!


Filed in:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.