Malaysia is a cultural soup; a mish-mash of Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian descents all mix into one diverse nation. From the big cities to the mountains to the beach, there’s a little something for everyone; and they do it all well. Whilst Malaysia didn’t offer the distinct flavors of food that other South East Asian countries are known for, it did have a diverse taste platter on offer. From curry to noodles, it won’t disappoint. We traveled Malaysia for two weeks in June 2017. Despite suffering from colds and flu for nearly the entire duration, we enjoyed all that Malaysia had to offer.
Our Malaysian journey began in Kuala Lumpur, sky scraper city. We went on the tourist trail to the KL Tower and Petronas Towers, but didn’t go up either due to the staggering price. However, we weren’t disappointed, as the view of them was good enough. Wandering around Chinatown trying to avoid the hawkers led us to be served beer by a 12-year-old business tycoon. This kid is in line for big things. We caught the train to the Batu Caves, which were a surreal experience. Bizarro Jerry cave was a highlight. The transport system both to the caves and to the bus station were a nightmare of epic proportions.
Finally finding our bus, we took the windy road up to the Cameron Highlands. Our accommodation was very quiet, with a creepy abandoned vibe. With Ben quite sick with a cold, we did what Cameron Highlands is known for and drank a lot of tea. We even visited the BOH tea plantation and had a tea party. Much to my delight, this included cheesecake for breakfast. The fog crept in and out all day long and the afternoons were rain-soaked.
We took a bus back down the mountain, where we were rudely abandoned on the side of the road. Eventually, narrowly avoiding being scammed by a taxi driver, we found the ferry to Penang Island. Once in Georgetown we roamed the streets admiring the street art and sculptures. The town is very old, but bought back to life with trendy restaurants and cafes. We went on a hike to Turtle Beach, saw some turtles, and hiked back. The forest was filled with monkeys, which was an adventure in itself. I also reconnected with an old school friend who gave us the inside scoop on Malaysia.
Our last stop was Langkawi Island, a dangerous speed boat ride from Penang Island. In Langkawi we kicked back and relaxed. There was little to do, with most businesses shut down for the end of Ramadan holiday. We swam at the beach, a rare treat, and read our books. Encountering numerous storms, one threatened to topple down our accommodation while we were sleeping. After four nights, it was time to leave and catch our flight to Bali, Indonesia.
Malaysia had fewer tourists than other places we have been. It may have been the time of year we were traveling, but we found it very quiet and peaceful. We had wanted to travel across to the eastern side of Malaysia, but a combination of lack of time and it being listed as a risky travel destination on Safe Travel NZ, we opted against it. Hopefully we can come back when the troubles there have eased, as I am confident it would delight.
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