Malaysia is a known travel destination for city, culture, nature and beach lovers alike. It is however not known to be an orienteering destination yet. In this article, we will answer 3 questions as it relates to orienteering in Malaysia.
1. Can I drive my car to the races?
Of course you can rent a car in Malaysia (driving your own car to Malaysia is probably not practical unless you live in Singapore or Thailand)—but that won’t be necessary for orienteering events.
Almost all orienteering events are located in or near cities (Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley, Kuantan, etc.) You can take buses to orienteering events. Taxi is also not very expensive (e.g. in Kuantan it costs 28 ringgits for a distance of 20km, or around €6).
For the Tropical Orienteering Week there will be no dedicated parking zones. You can park in nearby public car parks where available. We encourage everyone to take the bus to the races (as the Hong Kong orienteers already do).
2. Malaysia is a tropical country. Would the heat be unbearable for orienteering?
Valid question, but don’t worry.
Malaysia does have a tropical climate, with an average temperature of 27°C. This is warm, if not very hot, but still nice for running/orienteering.
In tropical/subtropical orienteering communities (Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan etc.) the course length is often shorter than that of Europe/Oceania, e.g. a sprint for 3 km, a middle distance for 3–4 km, and a long distance for 7–9 km (seldom competed in Asia, not even in the Asian Orienteering Championships or the coming World Cup Finals in China).
But one thing is for sure: drink enough water!
3. Is the wildlife dangerous? (snakes, tigers etc.)
The animals themselves, of course, are dangerous. However, they are quite a distance away from the cities and people.
Snakes are often found in jungles and mangrove forests. However, they also tend to be quite afraid of people and are often nocturnal, so a crowd of orienteers (and other visitors) would be enough to scare them away. (Editor’s note: When I started orienteering in Hong Kong I also had the same fear, until I realise the above point. Hundreds of orienteering and trail running races have been held in Hong Kong without a single snake bite; ankle sprains are a far more common injury.)
The only place you can see a snake in cities is usually the reptile house (or maybe the snake restaurant, if you dare).
Do search for basic knowledge about what to do when seeing a snake. Mainly: don’t run away, back off slowly, if it’s not triggered, you’ll be fine.
Tigers—yes they exist, but usually in jungles far from cities, not where we usually have orienteering.