Homestay Experiencing a homestay in a traditional village or “kampung” is perhaps one of the fastest and easiest ways to get to know the real Malaysia. You will discover that things here move at a slower pace than in the city, and for those who relish the quiet calm of the rustic life, this is possibly as good as it gets. Homestay guests will not just be immersed in the lifestyle of the locals; they will also quickly establish a bond with their warm and welcoming families who will treat them like their own. Visitors will experience the full spectrum of village life. Start with home-cooking lessons, where the wide variety and sumptuousness of painstakingly prepared dishes can sometimes be enough to confuse most people! Learn how to prepare the food, which might include gathering vegetables fresh from the backyard, washing and cooking them. You will also have the opportunity to harvest fruits that are in season or try your skill at plucking coconuts out of palm trees 30–40 ft. above the ground with a bamboo pole. Spend time with the children after they return from school and indulge in traditional games that are still popular, such as kite flying, top-spinning, and congkak. Or opt to explore your surroundings: try your hand at riverside fishing or perhaps indulge in a spot of farming. In the evenings, enjoy cultural dances, musical performances and even a mock-wedding, all of which you will be encouraged to participate in. Experience the charm of Malay traditions that have been preserved throughout the ages. And when you return home, take with you a memorable cultural experience, and the friendships of a family happy to welcome you whenever you return to Malaysia. To know more about the homestay programmes, visit www.go2homestay.com. Key Tips Approach the homestay experience with an open heart and mind. This cultural experience is likely to be very different from anything you have experienced before. Malaysians remove their shoes before entering their homes. To be polite, you should do the same. Although your hosts eat with their hands, you are welcome to use cutlery – just ask your host for a fork and spoon (knives are usually only used at Western restaurants). In Malaysia, men and women who are not related do not hug and kiss each other. Malaysian villages offer basic comforts. Electricity and running water are available all over Malaysia. Homestay villages are connected to big cities via modern highways and public transport. The kampungs, or villages, that are involved in the homestay programme are committed to ensuring that you experience village-style living first-hand and are used to welcoming a variety of foreign guests from around the world. These kampungs have been carefully selected and conform with strict guidelines set by the Ministry of Tourism.