Don’t Panic! Hitchhiking through Malaysia

Trust in people, not in hearsay

This post is dedicated to the people of Malaysia.

But especially to Chong, Tan Koon Yam „David“ and Wong Soo Yin alias „Joey“, Abdul Halim, Albert Tai, Ida and Lyia, Saleh, Mohd Muaz Shah „Bobby“, Azhar and Salliza, Sufian, Matin Fawaz, Sulehman, Ibrahim Razali, Sufiyan, Aziz Haladin, Silva, Zali and Ain, Sukor, Dave Das, Jasond Tseng, Elin Chiang and Mei Yee.

None of them knew what I’m up to when they’ve spotted me suspiciously waiting on the roadside (mostly sweating, occasionally sunburned) holding a dirty piece of cardboard into the air. Two days ago I accomplished my loop around Malaysia’s mainland without taking any other means of transport than the cars of strangers. Neither was it a game, nor was it about saving money. My aim was to experience Malaysia in a different way and to proof that whatever race or belief, people are willing to assist. For some, their religion taught them to do good, others are curious, but most of them just have a good heart. In the western world, people rarely stop for hitchhikers because of bad rumors and their lack of time. On the other hand hitchhiking got out of fashion due to numerous online plattforms, but also the lack of time. Whilst most of us forget that real travelling is about the “in between places” and the people we meet.

Within roughly 3 weeks I covered 1600 kilometers of roads and got a ride from 25 genuine drivers – Malay, Chinese and Indians. Through their stories I learned about this fascinating country, their beliefs, their dreams and their fears. Furthermore I had been invited for lunch, breakfast, dinner, accomodation and the jackpot – a traditional malay wedding. Nothing Lonely Planet could ever come up with.

I couldn’t be more grateful than I am right now. Thank you all my friends! You made my stay.

And to all the people who consider hitchhiking to be dangerous. Don’t panic! And keep the spirit alive.