The Malaysian tourism industry continues to be strong in spite of recent challenges. Government officials, private developers and retailers are doing all they can to keep it this way. Summer 2015 is awash with new services, hotel openings, retail happenings and special festivals. Here is a brief overview:
Electric Train Service
On July 10, 2015, a new electric train service began whisking passengers speedily and comfortably from Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar. For now, the train will run twice daily. Once all reviews are in for this initial service, officials hope to increase the frequency. The trip takes 4 hours and 45 minutes. The cars look futuristic, with plush interiors, roomy seats and large windows to enjoy the view.
New Time Capsule Hotel for Those Looking for a Unique Stay
Travelers visiting George Town in Panang can now stay in the city’s newest Time Capsule Hotel: the latest in dormitory-style accommodations attracting young tourists, those traveling on a budget or anyone looking for an out-of-the ordinary experience. Each 'capsule' is designed to look like a flattened-out number eight, and is fully equipped with everything a traveler needs, including wifi and a safe for personal valuables. There are a total of 100 capsules spread over seven floors, with 33 units grouped together on each floor, and one floor for women only. One does not even need their own toiletries or pajamas, as these items are provided upon check-in. Shoes must be relinquished at the front desk, and replaced with slippers. The design includes special capsules offering space for reading, enjoying a drink or listening to music.
Looking for Something a Bit More Luxurious?
It will require just a short wait, but next year, also in Panang, travelers will be able to relax and rejuvenate in the new five-star Double Tree Hilton, which is being constructed on a sloping hillside next to the UNESCO Heritage Site of George Town. The Hilton promises a first-class stay for all guests, including private balconies, views of the sea and plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants.
A Shopaholic’s Dream Come True
Malaysia’s Mega Sale Carnival, running until the end of the summer, is turning Malaysia’s retail sector into a destination of choice for worldwide shoppers who are looking for the best bargains on the most exclusive items. Kuala Lampur is ranked as the fourth best shopping center in the world, with more than 350 retail outlets. During the Mega Sale Carnival, shoppers can reap the rewards of discounts with as much as 70% off their favorite clothing and technology products, as well as on visits to spas and restaurants.
Chinese Government Lifts Visa Requirement for Malaysians
Dr. Huang Huikang, Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia, announced during the 25th anniversary dinner of the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce at the end of June, that China will lift visa requirements for Malaysians wishing to visit China. Of course, Chinese officials hope that Malaysia will reciprocate and make it easier also for Chinese who want to travel to Malaysia. More work needs to be done, but officials on both sides see the opportunity not only to increase tourism, but to repair and strengthen cultural ties between the two nations.