Why Malaysia, you ask?
As we travelled throughout Central and South America, we met many travellers who had travelled extensively throughout Asia. Since we had not decided where we wanted to go to in South East Asia, we posed this question to these travellers ,”If you would suggest only one country to visit in South East Asia, where would you recommend us to go?” The majority enthusiastically answered, ”Vietnam!” But as we travelled throughout Nepal, many highly recommended Malaysia. Also, we were in dire need of a beach and relaxation after our Himalayan adventure. Therefore, we decided to do over 2 weeks in Malaysia, a few days in Singapore, then 1 week in Vietnam.
Kuala Lumpur welcomed us with organized arms. After being in India and Nepal, organization was such a welcome feature! Malaysia was the first country we visited that did not require a stupid form to fill out at immigration. All you need to do is hand over your passport, have your fingerprints checked, and they can decipher whether you’re a criminal or not! I think that’s sufficient enough.
Kuala Lumpur is very multi-cultural city with a strong Muslim influence. It was refreshing to be in a city where men and women work as equals, couples can hold hands in public, women are not given unwanted attention for wearing a tank top and shorts, and people of different cultural and religious backgrounds are happily dining out together. Public transportation was efficient, the people are friendly and polite, and people actually drive in a designated lane! What a concept!
We stayed at an incredibly clean hostel in Chinatown. There was a fantastic food court nearby as well. Derek always gets fidgety and giddy whenever he gets excited about food – and here, he was thrilled!
The food was something Derek and I found to be something we eagerly looked forward to all the time. It’s delicious and Malaysians rightfully take much pride in their cuisine. It is ridiculously inexpensive to eat in Kuala Lumpur. At a Hawker stall, you can eat a hearty meal for less than $3 per person. When we “splurged” at an expensive restaurant, we would spend $20 in total! And don't forget to try the "local Penang coffee" -- it's so delicious!!
We actually spent time in the malls. For those who do not know Derek, he hates shopping. It’s his kryptonite. He literally loses energy, focus, and I believe he gets dizzy spells from it. Luckily for me, the malls actually have amazing food at the food courts so Derek had no choice but to go to the mall! Also, I discovered the Japanese clothing UNIQLO! Great stuff for great value! Finally, a brand of clothing for flat Asian bums like mine! But the greatest part about the mall is that it’s air-conditioned. It is so humid in KL and an escape from the humidity and heat outside is welcoming.
Strangely enough, our old friend S.A.M. happened to be in KL at the same time as us! We met up with him, had dinner in KLCC, and then checked out the Petronas Towers – the largest twin towers in the world.
We also visited Skybar because of its drinks and views. India and Nepal do not serve wine (well, they do but I think much taste as if it’s brewed in someone’s toilet), so I FINALLY had my wine fix! Oh yeah – the views are great too!
Kuala Lumpur was definitely a good choice to visit when trying to escape the craziness in Asia!