Video: Spirit of Malaysia


It was only a month ago that I was back in one of my favourite countries, Malaysia. Before I left, I wrote about how I was excited to be returning but a bit anxious about how my return visit would be – if my previous notions would change in some way.

After a long 30-hour travel day, I arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Maybe it was the jetlag, but I was overcome with this surreal feeling as our bus made its way to our hotel. As we drove through the city, my memory was jogged by familiar buildings and street names. And once we arrived at our hotel, all of my senses were on overdrive. The noise of the traffic, the humidity that made everything stick together, and that familiar smell in the air; an earthy, smoky, burning aroma that still to this day I’m not sure what it is. Incense?

Those first few moments in the city were like an out-of-body experience. I was so far away from home yet there was a feeling of comfortableness and familiarity with my surroundings.

I was invited by the Malaysian Tourism Board along with 5 other bloggers to experience what the country has to offer for 7 full days. We started in Kuala Lumpur and explored the city, made our way down to Melaka and celebrated Deepavali, then flew over to Borneo and explored the city of Kuching, an orangutan rehabilitation centre, and longhouse villages in the state of Sarawak.

A collection of ‘Where I Stand’ photos from my week in Malaysia.

The Borneo side of Malaysia was definitely the highlight of this trip for me. In part it was my first time exploring Eastern Malaysia. But mainly it was because we had the opportunity to travel to more remote locations and learn about the country’s indigenous population, the culture around longhouse villages (which in the past were quite gruesome with tribal hunting ceremonies), and the efforts to rehabilitate orangutans.

Borneo, Malaysia
Driving inland from Kuching on the island of Borneo. It’s rolling landscape and greenery for as far as the eye can see.

My concerns about returning to a favourite destination were quickly quelled. In fact, my previous notions about Malaysia were only reinforced; the variety of experiences, the ease of which to get around, and the food are incredible. But there’s one reoccurring factor I’ve noticed when I think about some of my favourite destinations and that’s the people. The people shape my experience of a country. Their willingness to share their culture, their outlook on life, even just the warmth of their smiles. And that’s the number one reason why I love Malaysia. The people.

I was filming constantly for the entire week. I didn’t exactly know what the final end product would be but I made a point to film anything and everything I thought represented Malaysia. In the end, I think I’ve managed to visually show the beauty of the country and its people.

Not only do I hope you enjoy the video, but that you’ll consider exploring this amazing country for yourself!

*Make sure you’re watching in 1080p!

Have you been to Malaysia before? What did you love about it? And if you haven’t been, what would you like to see and experience?


  • Pingback: The Annah Rais Longhouse Village, Sarawak()

  • Roman

    video was very enjoyable to watch. well done. ..I also enjoyed reading about your experience of going back to Malaysia a second time.

    • Arienne

      So happy you enjoyed that Roman! Cheers!

  • Dan On The Road

    Great video! Coming from a Malaysian, it feels very honest and embracing of what Malaysia is :)

    • Arienne

      Wow, that’s quite the compliment :) Thank you!

  • Lorenzo Gonzalez

    Awesome video Arienne!

    • Arienne

      Thank you Lorenzo!

  • Getting Stamped

    Great video! We visited Malaysia in January 2014, our biggest problem was getting robbed in KL put a damper on our trip…

    • Arienne

      Oh geez, well that would dampen anyone’s trip. Sorry to hear that! Thank you for the kind words on the video :)