Because of the monsoon, we only got to see a little bit of Malaysia, namely the peninsular west coast. From what we saw, Malaysia is a nation with many influences–Malay, Chinese, Indian, British. These influences are seen in the food, people, languages, and architecture.
Tomorrow we are taking the ferry to the tropical islands of Thailand, so let’s recap the brief two weeks we were in Malaysia.
Top three experiences?
- Eating the bean sprouts in Ipoh.
- Exploring Georgetown. It has great colonial architecture and nice people.
- Lounging in Traders in KL.
- Penang. With the rich history of Georgetown, the great food, and the amazingly decorated temples, what’s not to love?
- Cameron Highlands. It felt great to get back to cooler weather for a change.
- Ipoh. Great food, and the cave temples were pretty neat.
Bottom three experiences?
- The rain. Besides ruining some of our day plans, the monsoon prevented us from going east, where (I’m told) the best areas of Malaysia are.
- The ferry ride from Penang to Langkawi. The waves were huge and I was out of travel sickness medication. Luckily I didn’t get sick, but several other people on the boat did. Yuck.
- Generally being underwhelmed by Malaysia. It’s a nice place and I enjoyed myself, but nothing really struck me as amazing. As Ben from Ipoh said, “It doesn’t have that wow factor.”
- The night train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. It was already a bad night for Nikki, and this train didn’t help. The vestibule door wouldn’t close, so it was loud and the lights were on all night.
- Getting around in Kuala Lumpur. Crossing a busy street usually involved trust that the approaching cars would stop.
- Laundry in Kuala Lumpur. In Indonesia there were plenty of places that would wash laundry for you for very, very cheap. But not in Kuala Lumpur. We spent an afternoon hunting down such a place, and it turned out to be very expensive. We should have just done it in the sink at Traders like we’ve been doing in previous countries.
Nikki: We’ve had many great meals, but my favorite was (you guessed it) the Ipoh bean sprouts and chicken.
Brad: The meal at “Restaurant The Best” in Ipoh. The salted chicken was unbelievable!
Nikki: An Indian food tent in the Cameron Highlands. Just not very good.
Brad: Take-away breakfast at Kenny Rogers’ restaurant in a Kuala Lumpur food court. Not a fan of runny scrambled eggs.
Favorite person we met?
Nikki: I’m going to have to say that hotel worker in Georgetown, just because he made my Christmas. And he was always very nice to us and remembered us by name.
Brad: Ben from Los Angeles. He was very friendly, gave us lots of good tips (like Taiwan and the trans-Siberian railroad), and we got great dinner. I wish we could have found a durian vendor though.
Nikki: Don’t think we had any disasters, luckily! Closest thing to a disaster was not being able to eat our Christmas dinner at the restaurant we had chosen, but it worked out fine anyway.
Brad: We weren’t intending to spend very long on Langkawi island, mostly because we knew lodging would be so expensive. But we had to, because we booked a ferry from Penang to Langkawi and the ferries to Ko Lipe were sold out until three days later. We’ve tried making up for the expensiveness of this place by making our own food, and since it’s a duty-free island, beer is very, very cheap.
Favorite place we stayed?
Nikki: Traders in KL.
Brad: Hands-down, Traders in Kuala Lumpur. The five-star hotel was incredible.
Worst place we stayed?
Nikki: Kang’s Traveler’s Lodge in the Cameron Highlands. Our room was like a small, musty cell. At least it was cheap and there was a nice common area with free internet!
Brad: 75 Travelers Lodge in Georgetown. It was cheap, and in Malaysia with lodging you get what you pay for.
Best thing we didn’t blog about?
Nikki: We had to take the public bus out to Kek Lok Si in Georgetown. The bus driver knew where we were going, but we thought we saw the temple through the window, so I went up to ask him where we should get off. As soon as he saw me, he freaked out because we had already passed our stop and he had forgot to tell us. But he saw a bus coming in the opposite direction, so he pulled our bus over, motioned to us to follow him, ran out of the bus, flagged down the other bus and told the driver to take us to our stop for free. Super nice of him!
Brad: Geocaching in Langkawi. We found a cache at the “OASIS”, a fun restaurant near the beach. We got a couple beers and some wedge fries and it was a great place to relax.
Nikki: The Buddhist playground outside of Nan Tian Tong temple. Super creepy.
Brad: The Angry Birds merchandise that’s everywhere. We saw hats, shirts, flip-flops, balloons, backpacks, and shoes. How did a silly iPod game ever get so popular? And what will happen to all this stuff when the fad is over?
Statistics for Malaysia
Statistics for the Trip