Malaysia – Easy going, laid back Asian wonderland.

9 Feb

 

Malyasia was probably the last place I thought I would be going this year.  But as I started looking into places to go for my Winter break Malaysia kept creeping up!  Adding that the flight tickets there were also the cheapest of all South east Asian destinations, it really was a no brainer.  Malaysia is tropical, located very close to the equator, just what I needed to escape the freezing Korean winter.  I really did not know what to expect from Malaysia and in a way I think that is what made the place so amazing!

Arriving in KL we were greeted with humidity.  It was easy enough to get a bus into the city from where we took a taxi to China town.  We hadn’t made any hotel reservations for Malaysia.  Once we got to China town we looked at about two or three different cheap hotels before settling on one decent enough.  We wasted no time and went about exploring the city.  We took the hop on hop off bus as this would take us to the city’s main sites.  KL was amazing and everywhere I went I was amazed by how green and lush the vegetation was in the city.  There were many mosques and older buildings that transpired you to a time of sultans and flying carpets.  Everywhere we went there were these traditional Indian eateries were the locals ate.  It was easy enough to decipher the malay menu and indulge in the Indian goodness.  If nothing else Malaysia is definitely a food destination.  I fell in love with Kuala Lumpur, the scenery, the people, the vibe, the trees – just everything!  One thing that I immedietly noticed was the friendliness of the people.  Everywhere we went people wanted to talk to us and smiled at us.  It was strange experiencing this, especially coming from Korea where this is not common practice.  But what made Malaysia even more memorable was the fact that these people were genuine.  In many South East Asian countries (or poorer countries) people usually are very friendly but it’s with an agenda.  They want your money, to them you are just a big walking dollar sign.  But in Malaysia we never got that impression.  The people were genuinely friendly, they didn’t want to sell us anything or take us on a tuk-tuk, nothing.  It was great.

 

 

Kuala Lumpur’s multi-cultural population adds to the splendor of the city.  The mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian groups makes Malaysia a melting pot of Asia.  From the architecture to the food these influences are visible everywerhe you go.  Kuala Lumpur is definitely among my top 10 World cities!

 

From Kuala Lumpur we set out to the UNESCO world heritage city Malacca about two hours south of the capital.  Malacca is great with Dutch and Portuguese architecture and a very small but vibrant China town.  The main sights of Malacca are all concentrated in the town square area so it wasn’t too hard to see everything in one day.  So that same evening we returned to the bus station to catch a 7 hour bus ride to Lumut, north of Kuala Lumpur.

 

We arrived in Lumut freezing at 4am.  The AC on the bus was set at the minimum temperature and we soon realized that all forms of public transport were freezing!  It seemed like we were the only people awake in Lumut and just sat on a little bench to wait for the ferry at 7am.  I venutered a little donw the street and spotted a little restaurant/shop down the street.  We had a cup of the most fowl tasting coffee at this little place until it was time to board the ferry for Pangkor Island.  The lonely planet described Pangkor Island as the girl next door of islands and it truly is.  Very queiet with limited cars on the island we had a blast.  We spent our three days chilling on the beach.  We even had a small island all to ourselves for a full day!  It was great!  One of the days we rented a scooter and explored the island on our own.  It was really hard for us to leave Pangkor Island but we knew we wanted to more of Malaysia.  So back on the mainland we took a bus to Butterworth where we would catch the ferry for Penang Island.  Georgetown is described as the mecca of backpacker destinations.  We arrived on Penang on the day of the Hindu festival Thaipusam, so finding a place to sleep proved to more difficult than anywhere in Malaysia.  After seeing some of the most horrible places I’ve ever seen (literally beds separated by office dividers) we found something suitable and affordable.  We wanted to take the Ferry to Langkawi the following morning but could only get seats for the day after so we had an extra day on Penang.  Penang truly is the food Island as I had some of the most delicious Indian food here.  Restaurants and local eateries are everywhere.  Gerogetown is also a UNESCO world heritage city and everywhere you go you are surrounded by history.  Georgetown is really pretty and it has a certain charm to it that I don’t think you can experience anywhere else.  Our time in Penang quickly ran out so it was time to head to Langkawi by ferry.

 

Langkawi is a collection of 99 islands and it is truly beautiful.  I was really hesitant to visit Langkawi because from everything I read about it on the Internet it sounded like a Malaysian Phuket.  But due to the Monsoon season on the east coast we we had no choice but to visit Langkawi.  And contrary to what I’ve read Langkawi was nothing like Phuket.  It still felt like Malaysia and not just a cluster of tourists.  Among the Europeans and other backpackers there were many locals as well.  We spent another three days on Langkawi and once again just relaxed.  One of the days we took an excursion to Palau Island where we snorkeled and saw some of the most beautiful tropical fish.  We also swam with black tip reef sharks and it was an amazing experience.  We ended our Malaysian trip in style by taking a sunset dinner cruise on a yacht.  After our yacht trip we went to the airport for our flight back to Kuala Lumpur. We got into KL at midnight and our flight to Cambodia was at 6AM so we decided to just sleep at the airport!

 

Malaysia is one of my favourite countries and definitely in my top 5.  It’s an ideal holiday destination where you still get a feel of the people and not just feel like a tourist among thousands of other tourists like Thailand.  The people are some of the friendliest and warmest people I have ever come across and the culture is amazing.  The food is so great that being back in Korea is so hard because nothing can compare to it!

 

Malaysia, what a wonderful place!  I will definitely go back one day!

 

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One Response to “Malaysia – Easy going, laid back Asian wonderland.”

  1. fiqah June 26, 2011 at 01:10 #

    hello, what a nice & great review u’ve made. Please do come again to Malaysia. Especially during the celebrations & festivities ; Hari Raya, Chinese New Year,Deepavali,etc

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