So, my Malaysia trip ended a couple of weeks ago and I am still day dreaming about the awesome time I had out there. Be it roaming around aimlessly around Georgetown with a map on my hand, or trying out all the great food in Kuala Lumpur, or be it the quiet serene beaches of Langkawi, I miss it all. I wish I could teleport myself back there. I mean seriously, I can not think of a single moment when I was not having fun or experiencing something new or eating something super delicious.
I landed in Kuala Lumpur with no hotel booking. I guess I have gained a bit of confidence over the last few trips. All I knew was there was a place called Chinatown where I could get some cheap hotels and hostels. And sure enough, I found one of the nicest hostels, Reggae Hostel and Bar, right in the middle of the Chinatown Market. There is another equally good hostel in which I stayed later in the trip called Raizzys. I recommend both, even though I prefer the latter because it has a friendlier atmosphere.
Another fond memory of the trip was seeing the Petronas twin towers and the KL tower. The twin towers, needless to say was super nice, but having drinks in the revolving restaurant on top of the KL tower was truly amazing. I read somewhere when I was planning for the trip that KL tower provides the best view of the city, better than even the much taller Petronas towers. And they were not wrong.
KL has one of the most complex train networks I have encountered. From what I understand, there are three (maybe four?) rail corporations which run the rail transit system in the city. So, these three (four?) lines cover different parts of the city, intersecting each other at a couple of points. The only problem is you need to purchase separate tokens for each line and the stations at these intersecting points are located quite far from each other (like 10 minutes walk). It wasn’t a hassle for the locals because it seemed they owned some fancy ass card which was acceptable to different lines, but for travelers like me, the whole process of buying separate tokens each time seemed like a pain in the butt. (I maybe wrong about the whole thing. There maybe easier ways to do this, I was confused the whole time. In case there is an easier way, please enlighten me.)
KL is a big city and more importantly a fun city. KL bird park, Aquaria, Times Square and the rest were great and exciting, but for me the most enjoyable part of being in KL was to just eat and drink the night away while sitting around in some roadside restaurant in Chinatown, doing some people watching.
After KL, I headed to Georgetown, via Butterworth by train. The overnight train ride not only saved me some day-light time, but it also saved me money that I otherwise would have spent on a night’s stay in some hostel. The train experience was extremely smooth and it makes me wonder when we are going to experience such services here at home. If the chaos in the rail stations in UP is anything to go by, it will take us another 143 years to get to that level.
Took a bus to Chulia Street from the ferry terminal, which I knew was the place to get some cheap accommodation, and spending some time looking around for hostels, which were mostly full, I found this nice Chinese place called the Hong Ping Hotel. The best thing about the hotel was not the big comfortable bed or the large bathroom, it was the view out the window.
All the fuss about Georgetown’s colonial buildings and landmarks are quite understandable but the real beauty of the place lies in sitting in the small cafes and tasting the delicious Malay cuisine and sea food. From the small street side roti stalls to the high end White Coffee outlets, Georgetown has something for everyone. It is rightly being referred to as the food capital of Malaysia. Staying here for just two nights was my biggest regret of the trip.
And then there is Langkawi. I stayed mostly near the Cenang area which is home to most of the cheap accommodation. I stayed, at first, at the AB Motel which was pretty disappointing for the price that I was paying them. The room was not clean and did not seem very safe either. The only thing going for the place was its proximity to the beach. A few days later, I moved on to a smaller dormitory which was much better. Costing just 15 RMs a night, the dorm provided a bed, a locker and the best part was the toilet area was extremely well maintained. Plus, there was wifi all around, which always comes in handy. I forgot the name of the place but it located right next to the famous Breakfast Bar and it pretty hard to miss. The thing that I miss the most about Langkawi are the slow afternoons and the evenings. My fondest memories of Langkawi does not involve me going to visit the famous Eagle statue or the Legenda Park, it was lying in the beach with my ipod plugged in, with no other living soul in sight, just looking at the waves and just drifting off to sleep. I remember the awesome couple of days when I just did nothing apart from getting to the beach just after breakfast, taking a dip in the sea and just hanging around the waves. In the afternoon, the local restaurant, Tomato, was where I would head off to lunch. The food there is delicious, trust me on that.
The Island hopping tour was another highlight of the trip, mainly because of the paddle boat ride around the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden (An incredibly shitty name for a lake that is so beautiful). The Malaysian songs that our guide was singing seemed soothing at first, but by the end of the tour I was listening to my ipod in full volume so that not even a bit of his irritating voice would reach my ears. He was a nice guy though. Good man.
All in all, Malaysia was nice. Better than I expected for sure and I can not wait to go back and explore a bit more.This was one place where I did not see even one person raising his voice on another, or trying to scam naive travelers. They were extremely friendly and helpful.
Malaysia, I love you in the most homosexual way possible.