Travel in Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur and George Town

Still feeling ravaged by my food poisoning, I gladly jumped on a plane and moved on to my next country: Malaysia. 🙌 🇲🇾

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Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia

Getting there:
To get to Malaysia, I flew from Jaipur to Kuala Lumpur, a.k.a. KL, with Air Asia. The journey took five hours and cost about 75 USD, with an additional 25 just to check my bag. 28206309788_7104fe7298_c

Sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur

Visiting this modern and green capital city was such a contrast to Jaipur! It was exactly what I needed! Wow! 🙏42034448672_6fd0c5684c_cUpon arrival at the airport in KL, I was greeted by modern chains, like H&M, Baskin Robins, and Subway.🙌🙌41338434824_17b06a14fc_cGetting to the city from the airport was quite easy as well. I bought a bus ticket with Star Shuttle. The journey took about 45 minutes and cost 3 USD. It also dropped me off within a five-minute walk of my hostel.

Accommodation:

While in KL, I stayed at Step Inn Guesthouse. Although I felt their common areas were not very inviting, I thought the staff was very friendly, and they even upgraded me to an air conditioned room due to the high temps. Although it is hot here, it’s still 25 degrees cooler than Jaipur, and it rains in the afternoons, which makes things even more bearable. 👍☔ As well, my guesthouse was located near the vibrant Chinatown district.

Cost: 8 USD /night

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Chinatown near my guesthouse

41357905244_c197884ea8_c42032323992_6d6de8d7eb_cThis area is well-known for its street food and the famous Hindu temple, Sri Mahamariamman.42032323932_c1b94e9713_cNow being such an urban hub, I was immediately surprised by KL’s lush and green cityscape!41357904694_4220df4dee_cMany of the sidewalks are lined with natural trees, and you can find tropical gardens located all across the city.42076892511_ecf0c2674d_c
27208961237_b604973349_cAs I walked around, I heard tropical birds cawing and cicadas chirping loudly.28204669218_625e85d7e6_cI also felt like the downtown was very clean and free of trash.42076892581_1ea5f327cc_cThe streets in general aren’t very crowded either. It’s really a tranquil place compared to the hustle and bustle of cities, like Jaipur.28204669328_1b54be54d8_cNow one of my first stops in the city was at the Petronas Towers. They are the largest twin towers in the world, and an undeniable icon of the city. 😍

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reflection of the Petronas Towers in my sunglasses 😎

Because Malaysia is a Muslim country, the architect designed the buildings in such a way that an aerial view of the towers appears to resemble the Star of Islam. The towers are also named after a major manufacturer of petroleum in Malaysia.40250795450_2cee8184ba_bNow aside from getting oodles of selfies at the towers, there were many guys trying to sell these fish-eye lenses, and they offered to take my photo with one as a sales tactic.

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fish-eye lens

The sales tactic was a fail though, since I thought my GoPro did just as good of a job! 😉42078622391_7a26eea0ca_cWhile there I also started talking with this Pakistani guy who helped me take some photos in front of the tower.

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color burst in front of the Petronas Towers

He was quite nice, and I felt bad I had to leave him suddenly because I was starting to feel ill. 🤢40271558110_2979a283c4_cAnyway, the remainder of my day was spent recovering at the posh Suria KLCC Mall.42076892621_5ae5ac8e8e_c42076892661_9ba48a1cb2_cThere are heaps of malls in KL, which is great for the air con and my beloved pastime of people-watching. 😉28206309878_3b2050a61a_cSuch cuties!42078622411_e0e62c6822_cAs I relaxed there in the afternoon trying to recover, this sweet worker at a tea shop brought me over a free iced tea as well! ☺🍵40271558080_83f3b87677_cNow before leaving the mall, I wanted to get some shots of the towers and the city at night.41357904774_f068d2d1ac_c40270636640_7b3143f14d_c40270636490_78d9439a8a_c41357904864_3ec9658c2a_cIn doing so, I sat and chatted with some Japanese girls for a while who shared their candy with me and asked me some basic questions to practice their English.42078523481_967f8d08a0_cOn the walk home, I walked past this bus stop, which I thought was quite cool. The stop was solar powered, had a plant garden, exercise bike, and charging station. Talk about eco friendly! 😮🌿40271558040_36ac2f7b4c_cThe next day I ventured over to the Batu Caves.27208961187_772f2a984d_cThe Batu Caves are one of the most popular Hindu shrines, set amidst three impressive limestone caves.42032367082_0874ddf74c_cThe largest of the caves is called Temple Cave. One must climb almost 300 steps to get there, and the inside is filled with stalactites, stalagmites, small Hindu shrines, and a few nocturnal critters as well.🦇40342076050_be5704236d_bThe shrine honors Murugan, a Hindu deity, with a 140-ft-tall steel statue built in his honor. It’s also painted with 80 gallons of gold paint. 😮42078622301_706a1edab0_cAt the caves you’ll also find a tranquil garden walk, lots cheeky monkeys, and plenty of vendors to stock up on drinks and snacks.41177438875_4bccce1b95_c42032366912_53ba31f5a8_c42032324082_f0503a5f57_c40270636410_5f53af89dd_cGetting there: To get to the caves I first took a public bus to the Sentral railway station, which cost 25 cents. Then, I bought a round-trip ticket to the caves, which cost a little over 1 USD. This trip involved a bus ride and four stops on the metro line.41359425184_9d558af6a5_cIt’s normally just a metro ride, but part of the metro is currently under construction, hence the bus ride.41359425144_f1f2cd8c01_cThe caves themselves are free to enter, making it a very budget-friendly day trip. 😀

Side note: Most day trips outside of Kuala Lumpur, aside from Batu Caves, aren’t accessible by public transit. Most people opt to rent a car or hire a private driver.

Anyway, after two days in Kuala Lumpur, I took a bus to the colonial capital of George Town in Penang. ❤42098270982_1828fa5bdb_cPenang is located on the Northwest of Peninsular Malaysia, and its capital of George Town is actually located on an adjacent island.

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the waterfront of George Town in Penang
Sightseeing in George Town, Penang

Getting there:

To get to George Town, I took a bus from Kuala Lumpur. I bought the ticket online with Easybook for about 10 USD. The journey took 3 more hours than expected, but we still arrived by about 2:30pm, which gave me plenty of time to explore the city before sunset.

George Town is a port city that was colonized by the British back in the 18th century.

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Fort Cornwallis, built during the British colonization
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colonial Town Hall in George Town

After, it quickly became a major trading hub for spices and tin, and also became one of the most economically prosperous cities in Malaysia. As a result, immigrants flocked here, turning its population into a cultural melting pot of Chinese, Malaysians, Indians, Armenians, Arabs, Thais, and many other ethnicities.

41243394405_5ae3044b61_cPenang is one of Malaysia’s most prosperous states with the lowest rate of unemployment[/caption]

These residents, coming from diverse cultural backgrounds with varying religious beliefs, coexist peacefully here. The perfect example of this is on the Street of Harmony in George Town, where you’ll find a mosque, church and temple standing right along side one another. ☮ 42144931251_b6b867fc6e_c41424341814_8e7fc02aa9_c41424341834_55f1823230_cUNESCO even recognized this city’s unique cultural diversity, and eclectic Asian and European architecture, by naming it a World Heritage Site.
27273861397_78ba8c2436_cSince its foundation by the British, Penang has maintained itself as one of the most prosperous states in Malaysia, and now has become a popular tourist hub as well.

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the tri-shaw, a popular form of tourist transport

More recently, during a film festival back in 2012, a Lithuanian artist created a series of wall murals in George Town depicting local culture.42098270942_21d0e6e103_cSince then, numerous other installations have been added around the city as well.42144987411_4d052d0e59_c41243677525_4b603a5a64_c41243677505_9b6c55e57e_c
41243677635_ae2f305ab8_cMany of the installations are interactive, which gives you the chance to be a part of the art.41243677585_52e43d0841_c41243576385_e7c1f00d52_c41243394475_7fe6ed50ec_c27273986197_d9ba312d37_c27274045467_9503dc137e_c42098373872_0d579b281a_c27273986067_dea2586957_c28272320518_6e63fc6a36_c//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js41243576195_2ae38928c2_c
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27273613687_a056acc98b_c27273613467_d713997df0_c41243394125_5836e343e0_c27273861377_facd947a1a_c27273861297_864198c1c0_c41243394245_a0ef7d4a82_c27273986157_947792f17b_c27273613737_b864f4be9f_c27273986167_315ae7f67f_c41243576245_328bf427f0_cAccommodation:
While in George Town, I stayed at Old Penang Guesthouse, which I absolutely loved! 🙌 It’s a 100-year-old building with mosaic tiled floors and shutters on the windows. It was just oozing with charm and met my standards of cleanliness as well! 42148159701_dcbc79db17_cThey also had a complimentary breakfast each morning of toast with coffee and fruit. Is this reminder even necessary though? Hah! 😛42098013352_f863b52c54_cCost: 9 USD/night

Malaysian cuisine and the road to recovery:

Now one of the highlights of visiting Malaysia is trying its unique cuisine. In fact, Penang was listed as one of the top street food cities in the world! 😮27274045427_0e0c96456c_c41243530995_2775b25e8a_cUnfortunately though, I had still been struggling with food illness during my visit, so I didn’t try any of the local dishes. Honestly, the whole week felt like the longest hangover of my life. Hah! I couldn’t even stomach the idea of ethnic cuisine. All I wanted was American fast food.27277158137_61b2485e25_cStages-of-a-hangoverAs such, I ate at a few different chains, and thought I would provide an honest review for all of you. 😀

KFC: Finger Lickin Good?

Initially I noticed that the KFC menu didn’t have any items that seemed very different from back home. Also, they don’t sell biscuits, which seems like a crime! 😥28206309858_39b79c14ac_cNo ketchup either…only sweet chili sauce. 🤨

USA: 1 , MALAYSIA: 0

Subway: Eat fresh?

Subway in Malaysia also has a similar menu to the States. Their meatball and chicken subs were delicious, although they didn’t have as many veggie options. They also don’t give free refills on soda! 😱
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USA: 1 , MALAYSIA: 0

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut in Malaysia appears much classier and cleaner than any establishment I can remember from back home. Also, their menu had some unique items that I hadn’t seen before, and their cheese pizza was on point! 🤤42101220772_bb7fdd870b_c41243330485_cc8c72bbae_cUSA: 0, MALAYSIA: 1

McDonald’s: I’m loving it!

The menu here in Malaysia seemed quite unique, like their nasi lemak burger. Nasi lemak is a traditional dish made with coconut rice, curry chicken, egg, and a spicy sambal sauce. 42076892691_3ecd81ac9c_cOf course, I still opted for a simple chicken sammie, but it was cool to see I had other options. 😉
41178915045_5f510c80c7_cFor breakfast, their sausage is also made with chicken, since pork is prohibited in Muslim culture. It was actually very tasty!41243329465_4e05af9815_cLastly, their happy meal toys are on-point! ☺

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Hello Kitty for the win!

USA: 0 , MALAYSIA: 1

Total: USA: 2 , MALAYSIA: 2 – a solid tie! 😉

Convenience stores in Malaysia:

Convenience stores are a big part of the culture in Southeast Asia. In Bangkok, 7-Eleven was a staple for me. In Malaysia, the options also include stores, like KK and Family Mart. Most are open 24/7.

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unique local finds like chicken and tapioca chips, water chestnut juice, and salted eggs

Personally I think 7-Eleven has the best canned coffee options, and a lot of Western brands as well. 41178915005_46f3e6c48f_c41359425094_38eceb2cac_cFamily Mart seems better for ready-made options, like this super delicious Japanese chicken steak with rice and mushroom gravy. They also microwave it for you and have an area where you can dine-in.40271557840_0a542aaa2b_cBathrooms in Asia: 

This might be TMI, but I like to keep it real, so here are some things you might want to know. Bathrooms in Asia are always sopping wet. There is a hose in each stall (for God knows what reason) and many bathrooms are even a combo toilet/shower. I guess for when you’re in a rush.🤔 Also, there are Western and non-Western options for public restrooms, and usually, no matter how nice the establishment, there never seems to be toilet paper. 🤔40271557960_18fd4ec797_cAnyway, that sums up my experience in Malaysia. I had a really superb time here, and it helped me fully recover from my illness. Anyway, up next I’m heading to Singapore. Stay tuned to hear all about it! Until then! 😁✈

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3 thoughts on “Travel in Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur and George Town

  1. 😂😂😂 That hose in the toilets is to wash your down there after your business! Aim well, tap open, rinse and dry with paper 😁😁 And yes, in many South East Asian countries it is normal to bring your own toilet paper….

    Liked by 1 person

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