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Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

Norfolk, United...
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Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

Dear all

As a DE in Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur folks are going ask me to compare Thailand and Malaysia following the recent trip to Thailand and ask me to say which I liked best. Even if it is rather like saying which of your children or pets do you love most.

Both countries each has its own unique qualities. You can not go to one expecting to find the other.

IMO Kuala Lumpur still has the edge on Bangkok, just, and that is mainly because it’s a more compact city and has the Petronas Towers and KL Menara.

Thailand wins hands down on beaches. Malaysia does not compare, even the wonderful beaches in Borneo. The water is clean and clear and snorkelling possible right off hotel beach even in the busiest resorts whilst Malaysia is not so lucky.

Both are equal contenders for food. There is more ‘street’ food in Thailand and there is more choice of cheap local food around; whilst in Malaysia you get a wonderful eclectic mix of Malaysia, Thai, South East Asian, Chinese and Indian. All are very, very tasty.

Shopping, well, Thailand gets it, just, and that is because of the markets and MBK. Although the modern malls are the same the world round, and most modern malls you could be anywhere, Bluewater in the UK, or the Pavilion in Malaysia or Central World in Thailand, or Westfields in Australia. The brands and shops are pretty global and in the modern malls only the signs give the indication where you are.

Clothes sizing for men is pretty standard and Mr Mitch can buy jeans and shirts anywhere. Ladies clothes is less tailored to the western figure (curves) and unless you are a fairly petite UK 8/10 you will have limited choice but there is stuff out there if you look in both Malaysia and Thailand. Although FOS in Malaysia does have some larger sizes regularly on their rails. Shoes are everywhere and in a range of sizes except some of the ladies with large feet will have limited choice. There is a great choice of hi-end, mid-range and replica accessories for men and women everywhere and similarly priced.

Generally we found that the cost of clothes is about the same as the UK in both Malaysia and Thailand, be it the original item or replicas. Given the cheap price of clothes and other products in the UK and the weak pound when travelling, we often found we were actually paying more than we could at home.

Bargaining is a necessity in SE Asia, and you will get a better deal the more you buy. Although I am not sure that even I have a need for 5 handbags that are identical! There are some great replica products and some absolute rotters in both countries, shop wisely and expect to pay more for the better stuff, again prices are about the same.

There are some lovely souvenirs in both, and the usual household stuff like cushion covers and table runners, which are popular, and DVD prices are pretty similar throughout both Malaysia and Thailand.

We always use local laundries in both countries and avoided the expensive hotel laundry fees. You will get a really good deal by the kilo for washing, and washing and ironing. Came back clean and fresh.

Hotels are pretty standard for both countries, and not much to choose, a bad 3* and a wonderful 5* are pretty much the same the world round. You do find many more really nice smaller boutique hotels in Thailand – and they are a real pleasure.

Both countries have amazing sights both natural and man made. There is a great choice of things to see and do, and as what to see and do is a very personal thing no one could get bored in either as long as they have done their homework.

Both countries are easy to get round, internal flights are cheap and easy. Buses and ferries are plentiful.

Speaking a few words of Thai is a benefit, even to say yes, no, and thank you, but in hotels, pharmacies, airports etc everyone speaks some English. Whilst in Malaysia the majority speak English so it’s no problem. A smile is a universal greeting and appreciated everywhere.

Both countries felt safe for tourist; at no time did we feel in anyway concerned about our wellbeing.

We have used public transport in both countries without too many incidents. We used taxi, and whilst they are far worse in Kuala Lumpur in wanting to rip you off, we did not have any issues in Bangkok or Thailand in general.

So as I said at the beginning, it is like asking which of your children you love best. You can’t answer it. Please don’t go to one expecting the other. But if you do plenty of reading and research you will see which one is for you. Or you might be like us and love them both for what they are.

Malaysia
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1. Re: Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

The toilets at thailand are much much cleaner at most restaurants

Norfolk, United...
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for Chaweng, Ko Samui
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2. Re: Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

Hi

I think you are right there!! The restuarants we visited in Thailand had lovely loos, even the most seemingly not poshest one.

London
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3. Re: Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

Thanks for that detailed comparison, Mitch.

I'm going to KL in April, but strongly considered going to Bangkok.

The thing that put me off Bangkok is that it's a city that seems to be so huge. That seems extremely daunting especially if you have no command of the Thai language whatsoever.

I hope I have made the right choice.

Norfolk, United...
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for Chaweng, Ko Samui
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4. Re: Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

Hi

Not being able to speak Thai is not a problem - and most signs are in english as well as Thai. Bangkok is a huge city, and it does take a day or two long to get to know than Kuala Lumpur. Both have excellent skytrain / monorail / MRT systems that are easy to use.

why not have a read of my JBRs on the Thai forum. Just click on the links

Overall / General

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293915-i3686-k336…

Bangkok

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293916-i3687-k336…

Phuket

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293920-i5037-k336…

Samui

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293918-i7560-k336…

Bangkok

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293916-i3687-k336…

Have a great time whatever you decide. Always make the best of what you have and don't regret what you might have done!!

London
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5. Re: Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

I haven't ignored Thailand completely, as I am going to Krabi directly from KL.

Norfolk, United...
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for Chaweng, Ko Samui
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6. Re: Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

Krabi will be nice, if a lot quieter.

Brisbane, Australia
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7. Re: Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

Hi Mitch,

Really enjoyed reading this. As a long time traveller to both of these countries, I do agree.

However, I need to get you up to Chiang Mai. Have you been? Chiang Mai is the very best of Thailand in a small, more compact place. Amazing B&B's, places to eat and all the charm of Thai people without the pressure of a large city. Beautiful country side as well.

The shopping is also amazing with so many artists lining the streets and hand made things that you don't see anywhere else.

In recent years we've taken to avoiding Bangkok and flying KL into Chiang Mai directly with AA. Perfect combo.

Caroline.

Australia
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8. Re: Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

Thanks for that Travelling Mitch greatly appreciated your comparisons between the two. We are addicted to KL and see ourselves taking alot of trips there in the years to come but have been thinking about either Thailand or vietnam for a different trip - maybe next year. The snorkelling peaked my interest.......did you find alot of fish whilst snorkelling -after going on a stupid cruise IMO ;) we had the pleasure of 5 beautiful islands in the South Pacifc and we were introduced to the pleasure of snorkelling- so many beautiful fish under that water. Also, are the curries like KL as that is one of my highlights of KL cause they just aren't the same in Adelaide hehe we are coming to KL again in Sept and i am already drooling at the thought of Roti Chani and curry LOL

And thanks again TravellingMitch I always enjoy reading your posts and advice given :)

Norfolk, United...
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9. Re: Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

Thanks guys.

Jacks - saw loads of fishes, it was like being in 'saving nemo'! The coral round Phuket took a bashing with the Tsunami, but its recovering. We found the curries in Thailand better than KL. The choice was brilliant, but you don't get the chinese, indian, malay, etc, etc influances like you do in Malaysia.

Know what, Caroline, the number of folks that said you must just go to Chaing Mai and saying how wonderful it is. Including Thai friends. For us coming form the UK, going via KL is an 2 hours extra flight there and back again if we needed to avoid Bangkok.

(if you check out my profile you will see there are 5 JBRs for Thailand if you fancy a long read . . .)

Edited: 03 February 2010, 02:36
Brisbane, Australia
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10. Re: Kuala Lumpur vs Bangkok and Malaysia vs Thailand

I actually quite like Bangkok. So many of our friends have been there for one or two night on stops overs and HATE it - just think of it as a smog and traffic infested city. It's one of those places that you need to put the work in to appreciate. Lots of wonderful things about it that I love. I wouldn't go out of my way to avoid going there. However, it just can't compare to Chiang Mai. I know I am truly biased - but the things I love about Bangkok are all in Chiang Mai but easier to get to and more relaxed. Plus lot more in Chiang Mai like the hill tribes, arts villages, elephants and scenery.

Which is why we are loving Air Asia who give us cheap flights from GC to KL to CM.

I also have a soft spot for KL, so a win win.

Caroline.