Malaysia is considered the melting pot of Asia - thanks to its range of cultural influences from its diverse communities. ‘Community-Based Tourism’ allows us to enjoy experiencing a new way of life through the eyes of local communities, while providing them with social and economic opportunities! Here are our top 5 Malaysian destinations that help support local communities in Malaysia:
Photo by @heartpatrick via Instagram
First established by Hainan fishermen in the 1870s, Pulau Ketam is home today to a community of about 8000 who have built wooden homes on stilts over the soft tidal mudflats.There are no roads or cars and the only way to get around is by boat or walking/cycling on the narrow boardwalks within the village. Their best claim to fame lies in their name - ‘ketam’ or crabs!
Photo by Kuala Selangor District Council
A small village surrounded by coconut and palm trees - Kampung Kuantan holds a magical secret. At night, millions of fireflies light up the night at its riverside. This is because the village is home to a tree known as the Berembang tree, which is home to these pretty night insects! The Berembang tree also acts as a filter for dirt and poison, producing clean water for organisms living in the river.
Photo by Sara Frederica Santa Maria Via New Naratif
The Portuguese settlement in Melaka is home to the Kristang community - an ethnic group of people of mixed Portuguese and Malaccan descent. Their unique community has passed down traditions that have existed since the 16th century, including its colourful folk dances and unique takes on curry and Portuguese-style BBQ fish. Learn more about the history and culture of this community by visiting its free museum located on the settlement itself.
Photo by @stickyricetravel via Instagram
Selakan island is home to the Bajau Laut community. For centuries, this ancient community of seafarers have lived on the sea for almost all their lives. The Bajau Laut community have mastered the art of freediving, with some being able to dive for 20 meters deep while holding their breath for several minutes on end. Spend some time with this ancient seafaring community and immerse yourself into the Bajau Laut way of life!
Photo by @ashlanhafadz via Instagram
The Royal Belum Rainforest Reserve is populated by the Jahai tribe of the indigenous Orang Asli. They live a relatively quiet way of life that honours nature and tradition - through fishing and collecting non-timber forest products as their main source of income. Pay a visit to the Royal Belum Rainforest Reserve and marvel at their traditionally built bamboo houses.
As we wait for travel to be safe again, we hope you'll consider adding these amazing destinations to your travel bucketlist! Meanwhile, we would like to remind everyone to stay safe during this period of restricted movement. See you again soon!