Beer & Wine in Malaysia

In a nutshell, there isn’t much, and what’s here, isn’t worth it. Being a predominantly Muslim country, and even though Malaysia is showing something of a growing tendency to be lenient as the tourism industry gathers pace, alcohol is scarce. Add to this the fact that alcohol doesn’t play a great part in the social structure of South East Asia, or the Orient, plus, as we discovered in India, even where alcohol is tolerated, food and alcohol are very rarely taken together, and you understand the scarcity.

Basically the upshot of this is that there is no concept of a “bar”, even here on the beaches, and most restaurants have no alcohol available. The only sources are some rare cafes, some hotels, or liquor stores and duty free shops. If you use the latter, you can’t, obviously, then take it into an alcohol free restaurant.

Logically therefore there is no such thing as draught beer, it’s bottles and cans only, and invariably two large bottles will cost you more than dinner for two. To put that in context though, we have not once paid more than £10 for a meal for two, anywhere, not even in KL.

Since we left the Sunway Putra Hotel in KL, which had a token offer of four reds, we have seen absolutely no evidence of or reference to wine until a duty free shop by the island ferry point at Tekek. Beer may be scarce but wine, it seems, plays no role at all.

In this sweltering humidity, and with jungle trails to explore, we don’t miss it at all, but we have to admit that a beer at a beach bar at the end of each day would have been nice. As it is, we are on target for a record holiday low!

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