Cultural Notes and Observations: East Malaysia (Borneo)

  • Steering wheel is on the right but you drive on the left side of the road
  • Kota Kinabalu – well off, bike lanes, adult playground equipment in parks, most people drive cars, safe
  • Muslim country
  • Most of the pastries are covered with sugar – even the cheese ones
  • Many more vegetables served in meals than the Philippines
  • Fancy drinks and desserts with corn, kidney beans, and multiple types and colours of jelly
  • Some toilets are western, some are Bidets, and some are squat. Chances are there are more than one style in a public washroom.
  • Durian is very popular – tastes tropical, with potato, with something slightly off
  • Uber and Grab are widely used in major cities
  • Beer and alcoholic beverages are expensive and not common in Sabah. However, they are sold in the streets in parts of Sarawak
  • Plastic obsessed! Everything is wrapped in plastic – even take away cups
  • Street food seems more trustworthy than in the Philippines
  • Different price for Malaysians vs No Malay for tourist attractions
  • Sometimes there are camera fees at tourist attractions
  • Have soccer fields! The Philippines only had basketball courts
  • Sabah’s highways are lined with Palm oil plantations. Sarawaks are lined with scrub brush and fields
  • Taxi drivers will not negotiate prices
  • Take you shoes off before entering some hostels, shops, etc
  • Buko Pandan – green drink that is delicious
  • ayam pansuh (Chicken cooked in bamboo)
  • KFC is very popular
  • Waiters and waitresses will seat you and then stay at the table until you place your order
  • All power outlets have an on/off switch
  • ABC Special
  • Roti!
  • Laksa
  • Teh C
  • Sabah tea
  • Nasi goring – rice stirfry
  • Mee goring – noodle stirfry
  • White Coffee
  • Red Tea

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