Still feeling ravaged by my food poisoning, I gladly jumped on a plane and moved on to my next country: Malaysia. 🙌 🇲🇾
Sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur
Visiting this modern and green capital city was such a contrast to Jaipur! It was exactly what I needed! Wow! 🙏Upon arrival at the airport in KL, I was greeted by modern chains, like H&M, Baskin Robins, and Subway.🙌🙌Getting 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.
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
This area is well-known for its street food and the famous Hindu temple, Sri Mahamariamman.Now being such an urban hub, I was immediately surprised by KL’s lush and green cityscape!Many of the sidewalks are lined with natural trees, and you can find tropical gardens located all across the city.
As I walked around, I heard tropical birds cawing and cicadas chirping loudly.I also felt like the downtown was very clean and free of trash.The streets in general aren’t very crowded either. It’s really a tranquil place compared to the hustle and bustle of cities, like Jaipur.Now 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. 😍
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.Now 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.
The sales tactic was a fail though, since I thought my GoPro did just as good of a job! 😉While there I also started talking with this Pakistani guy who helped me take some photos in front of the tower.
He was quite nice, and I felt bad I had to leave him suddenly because I was starting to feel ill. 🤢Anyway, the remainder of my day was spent recovering at the posh Suria KLCC Mall.There are heaps of malls in KL, which is great for the air con and my beloved pastime of people-watching. 😉Such cuties!As 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! ☺🍵Now before leaving the mall, I wanted to get some shots of the towers and the city at night.In 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.On 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! 😮🌿The next day I ventured over to the Batu Caves.The Batu Caves are one of the most popular Hindu shrines, set amidst three impressive limestone caves.The 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.🦇The 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. 😮At the caves you’ll also find a tranquil garden walk, lots cheeky monkeys, and plenty of vendors to stock up on drinks and snacks.Getting 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.It’s normally just a metro ride, but part of the metro is currently under construction, hence the bus ride.The 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. ❤Penang is located on the Northwest of Peninsular Malaysia, and its capital of George Town is actually located on an adjacent island.
Sightseeing in George Town, Penang
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.
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.
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. ☮ UNESCO even recognized this city’s unique cultural diversity, and eclectic Asian and European architecture, by naming it a World Heritage Site.
Since 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.
More recently, during a film festival back in 2012, a Lithuanian artist created a series of wall murals in George Town depicting local culture.Since then, numerous other installations have been added around the city as well.
Many of the installations are interactive, which gives you the chance to be a part of the art.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
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! They also had a complimentary breakfast each morning of toast with coffee and fruit. Is this reminder even necessary though? Hah! 😛Cost: 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! 😮Unfortunately 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.As 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! 😥No 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! 😱
USA: 1 , MALAYSIA: 0
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! 🤤USA: 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. Of course, I still opted for a simple chicken sammie, but it was cool to see I had other options. 😉
For breakfast, their sausage is also made with chicken, since pork is prohibited in Muslim culture. It was actually very tasty!Lastly, their happy meal toys are on-point! ☺
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.
Personally I think 7-Eleven has the best canned coffee options, and a lot of Western brands as well. Family 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.Bathrooms 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. 🤔Anyway, 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! 😁✈