Friday, May 24, 2013

Homestays in Malaysia

It is often said that you don’t really know a person until you have lived with that person. Perhaps this is what the intrepid Malaysian tour operators had in mind when they  created and launched a Malaysia homestay program in 1995, in an effort to encourage visitors to come and experience the ‘real’ Malaysia, by staying ‘at home’ with a Malaysian family.
The Malaysian homestay program was first launched in the town of Temerloh in Pahang state. It was a runaway success and the experiment was soon expanded nation-wide.  Today, Malaysia offers numerous diverse homestays at carefully chosen, trained and licensed abodes (licensed by the Ministry of Tourism) in more than 150 villages (kampungs) all over the country. The largest concentration of homestays can be found in villages and towns situated within the states of Johor, Selangor, Pahang, Sarawak and Sabah.
A homestay is not a merely a lodging experience for it enables a visitor to live and interact with a ‘local’ family on a daily basis. Visitors who choose to partake of the homestay program, not only have a chance to live in a traditional type of a dwelling like a longhouse in Malaysian Borneo or a Melanau tall house in Sarawak or even a historic bumbung panjang (an old-world timber house with a long, gable roof), but through a homestay, visitors have a chance to experience the Malaysian way at of life at close quarters by participating in various economic and cultural activities of their hosts.
A homestay also provides visitors with a comprehensive learning experience; for instance, during a homestay visitors may be introduced to various Malaysian crops like paddy, cocoa, palm oil along with exotic Malaysian produce like pandan, longan, mangosteen, rambutan, jackfruit and more. Further the visitors also have the chance to partake of traditional Malaysian meals like Penang Curry Mee, Nasi dagang, Nasi Ambeng and others as boarding is usually included in the price of a homestay.
Homestays, further offer visitors a chance to get acquainted with various Malaysia native arts and crafts, like batik painting, kite-crafting, woodcarving, pandan leaf mat-weaving, beading and potting. The local villagers also often invite their homestay guests to take part in diverse economic pursuits like planting (or husking) paddy, making tapioca chips, making bedak sajuk(cold powder) ,breeding fish, tapping rubber, so that by way of participation in these activitis they get a true  sense of life in the Malaysian countryside.
Duringa homestay, visitors are also introduced to various traditional Malaysian village past times and activities like gasing (top spinning), flying giant wau(kite-flying) and playing congkak(a Malaysian indoor game) or Sepak Raga (a traditional ball game). Visitors additionally also  have a chance to take part in more traditional tourist pursuits like sight-seeing, jungle trekking, white-water rafting and more.
So if you are planning a visit to Malaysia sometime soon, why not do something out of the ordinary and book a homestay in a traditional Malaysian kampong? Such a stay will provide you with a truly valuable insight to the Malaysian way of life.
Moreover, a true-blue Malaysian homestay a stay is very easy to book and plan through the official Malaysian government recognized website which offers various diverse homestay experiences in all regions of Malaysia.

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