Destination 1: Kuala Lumpur (Apr 15-17)The Flight: We left New Delhi on 14 April via ‘Air Asia’ flight which left around midnight. The good part about this particular airliner is, it is cheap. The bad part, the flight is too crowded with no in-flight entertainment system and little seating space which makes it slightly (read highly) uncomfortable to sit for 5 hours at one single position. It was like a GoAir or Indigo (actually much worse) except for a longer duration flight. Word of caution: Book Air Asia if you are really tight on budget. Else I would recommend Malaysia Airlines or some other slightly ‘premium’ carrier. (P.S. I never knew this about Air Asia while booking).Place to stay: Tune Hotels, DowntownStay Price: Rs 1500 per night (paid in India before leaving)We arrived KL on the morning of 15 April. The good part is I belong to a worldwide community called Toastmasters, and the great part is KL itself has more than 100 Toastmasters clubs. Hence the moment we landed on the KLIA2 Airport, one of the Toastmasters who I have been in touch with for attending a meeting was already there waiting for us. It was wonderfully kind and generous of him to do so. Malaysian hospitality by a British immigrant Toastmaster!After attending the meeting, we went to our hotel. Tune Hotel is like Oyo Rooms except that the rooms are somewhat smaller than Oyo. But with all the amenities and a good brand name it’s great for a budget hotel.Things to do:I have lived in almost all major cities of India. But when I began roaming around KL, I realized none of the places I have lived compare even an inch bit to the grandeur in appearance and the openness in culture that this city represents. We were awed with the high-rise buildings, the visits across the city from the monorail, the Petronas twin towers, the beautifully decorated cars, the dresses of the women of the city, the free KL bus, the evening rain, the people playing music on the streets for money, and a lot lot more.While in KL, we went to the following places (all of these are definitely Do’s):a. Batu Cavesb. Bukit Bintang – you will be awe-inspired by the gala of the place!c. Street Food opposite Bukit Bintang – heaven for foodiesd. The Petronas Twin Towers – you will keep walking in a shopping mall without realizing when you are underneath the Petronas twinTowers! We didn’t go all the way up to the deck. Personally speaking I didn’t find it worth to spend RM 85 for the view.e. KL City Gallery – You will come across a beautiful city museum with a lights show of entire KL. For RM5, this place is totally worth it.f. I Love KL – Right next to KL city gallery. Definitely the right place to get yourself clicked!g. Chinatown – This place is famous in KL for its Sarojini Nagar type low cost street shopping.h. Little India – If you are from India, do pay a visit and enjoy some inexpensive South Indian food. You can also buy stuff which is part Indian from the Malaysian Indian kirana stores.Food:Speaking of food, for all the vegetarians in the house, Malaysia has their own special version of vegetarian dish which is available almost everywhere in the country. It’s called Roti Canai (pronounced as roti-chanai). Roti Canai is nothing but plain naan served with dal. For a tasty, stomach filling inexpensive dish, this is a safe vegetarian option for those who do not indulge in other foods.Right next to the Tune hotel where we stayed is this place called ‘Pak Punjab’ which serves authentic north-Indian food. Yes, that means paratha, chholey, dal, naan and what not. With tasty food, reasonable prices and hospitable staff, I would recommend this place if you want to taste good north Indian food (believe me you do get craving for ghar ka khana (home food) while away from home).Yet another delicious Malaysian cuisine which I want everyone to taste is the ‘Teh Tarik’ or local Malaysian tea. It has a very different taste which you will never have tasted before. Not only is it unique, it’s delicious as well. We made sure we drink ‘Teh Tarik’ every single day while we were there!Transport:KL has a beautiful train system which was rather complicated for us as newcomers. The monorail connects with the main metro lines (the city has 3 of them). But the good part is, Uber is everywhere! And so is Grab car, which is the Ola of Malaysia (rather south-east Asia). If you have Uber app, no worries. People driving their awesome personal cars will pick you up and drop you to the place of your choice. Alternatively you can also download the ‘Grab’ app for more options.For outstation travel, Malaysia has impeccable roads and an excellent bus service which operates everyday to almost all important destinations across the country. You can book the bus in advance if you are the cautious kinds else you can also go to the bus station and get the tickets at the counter.So after two days of fun, frolic and masti (enjoyment) in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, we took the bus from the KL bus station and moved to our next destination – Cameron Highlands.
On the second day we decided to go on graffiti hunting. The whole of old town has interactive graffiti painted on the walls and has become quite a favourite with tourists. So we too, with a map in our hands, locate each one and get a picture taken with it. But this walk didn't end up being about pictures, it actually was a fun class in history of Penang.
Malacca is a historical place and it holds a great importance to it. Here you will find mostly museum and churches related to origin of Malaysia ,their culture and people. Also this city was important in terms for trading at that time.. You can enjoy the boat ride here to get a full view of the city. Night city looks more beautiful and charming. Please also try the tricycle ride in the city. Its a 1 day trip from KL takes approx 2 hours by Cab.Cab charged us 480 RM for a return trip ( We bargained from RM 600 to 480 ). There are buses which starts from KL central also they charge your around 100 RM ONE WAY. Also since Malaysia is in the tropical zone in summers it gets very hot there so don't forget to pack your hats and Umbrellas.
You will find plenty of unique shops, cafes and restaurants (unique apart from a branch of that nasty virulent golden arch chain) and there is big bargain department store (go here especially if you are in need of a new rucksack for the rain forest).
Not too long ago, Johor Bahru was not exactly a "tourist" spot. It was a dusty, dirty town. But, it has changed quite drastically since then. Situated on Malaysia's border with Singapore, this little town has developed enough to attract the tourists and sustain their interest, albeit for a while. Johor Bahru is filled with amazing Hindu temples decorated with glass mosaics. The second-largest city in Malaysia, Johor Bahu has come a long way with opening up of various amusements parks and other commercial complexes.
Half a day tour to Putrajaya: Putrajaya is an amazing new city just 25 KM away from the KL city. I was totally mesmerized by this beautiful and well-planned city. We had a great time taking snaps, enjoying the parks and botanical gardens.
A wonderful place where we can laze around and go on wonderful hikes.
We decided to make a spontaneous stop at Taiping between Tanah Rata and Penang. We took a bus to Ipoh and then to Taiping, a colonial city in northwestern Malaysia. While the people here were charming, there was not a great deal to do. There is a very nice lake garden, which is worth seeing. However, Taiping is not the reason we came here. We came here in search of Orangutans on the mysterious Palau Orang Utan. The island itself is quite a remarkable conservation effort of these magnificent creatures. They have minimal human interaction and roam free in their 5 acre designated area. As a visitor, you are in the cage to see them, separated by two fences in order not to disturb them. There is a nursery where young infants are looked after if there are complications at birth. Forced breeding is not encouraged and Orangutans have a very slow reproduction cycle, hence why every effort is made to safe newborns. If you have a soft spot for these animals or are unsure, this is a great place to visit.
Batu Feringghi Penang Malaysia
The long sandy northern beach in Batu Ferringhi is Penang's hub for watersports, although due to a rampant case of unlicensed vendors, the scene can be a bit of a gamble. But the beach makes for a spectacular vista for an old-fashioned sunset experience. Get here at around 4pm (bus 101 from George Town) for a quick dip and dry-off as you watch the sun go down. Sunsets on the island are long and drawn-out, perfect for a shoreside stroll under an orange sky. Stroll on to the night market at Batu Ferringhi, which gets going straight after sunset. The street-food vendors start serving soon after, right on time for dinner.3. Hike to the lighthouse in Penang National Park
Langkawi Kedah Malaysia
Destination 5 – Langkawi Island (Apr 26-Apr 30)Our ferry to Langkawi reached around 12 noon and while on the way we could see all these beautiful small sized islands popping out from the vast Andaman Sea. The rains made the scene even more catching for the eye.A quick search on Wiki will tell that Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands located in the Andaman Sea around 30km from the coast of northwestern Malaysia. Langkawi Island is the largest and the most populated island of all. Geography aside, Langkawi is pretty much similar to our Goa. The duty-free cheap liquor, the chilled out people, the nightlife on the beaches, the midnight markets, and the scenic roads in the daytime, all were signs of a relaxed bunch of folks who are on a perpetual state of ‘high’.The arrival in Langkawi via ferry is on the main Eagle Point Jetty. The moment you come out of the ferry, all the bike and car rental people start approaching you. We inquired both about bike and car rental prices. Bike rental costs RM 30 for 24 hours, and automatic transmission (AT) hatchback car was available at RM 60 for 24 hours. Having had a dearth of AT cars in India, it was a great opportunity for me to try out one and there was no way I was going to miss it! And I realized it was a great decision.As in Penang, even in Langkawi nobody asked for international driving license and I got the car on rent on my Indian driving license only. Although I’m not sure if it was absolutely legal, I had no reason to question the judgment of the service provider as I am a tourist.Before moving further let me state why getting the car was a great decision (as opposed to a bike) and I would suggest you do the same in Langkawi (but not in Penang). Langkawi is a big island. The places are relatively far from each other. The main Cenang beach is almost 10km from the Skywalk which is equally far from the black sand beach and so on. And there is no public transport. Only official cabs are available which are quite expensive. Uber and Grab are there but only sparingly. And riding a bike on such long distances could be really uncomfortable. Plus the car rental is not very high. Point being, rented car is best!Okay, now let’s zoom in to the island of Langkawi.Places to stay:a. Hotel Geopark Inn, Kuah: Broadly speaking, there are two major attraction areas in Langkawi – Kuah and Cenang. While Kuah has more of a city-like experience, Cenang offers a beach-like feel. It is in fact for this reason Cenang Beach is the most famous one and this is where most people land up in. And in this region there are hundreds of cheap and expensive dorms, rooms, chalets, and hotels available. But, this is not where we went to. We made our first destination in the town of Kuah. This particular hotel is a 3 star property, is good and comfortable, not a luxury by any means but totally worth the rental of RM 100 per room per night. We did not particularly stay in Cenang since we didn’t have the time. If you choose to live in Cenang, do let me know how was the experience!b. Tanjung Rhu Resort: The last two days of our journey were reserved for this amazingly beautiful five-star resort on the Tanjung Rhu beach. The resort only has suite rooms, has two different swimming pools, a private beach to boast of, an amazing view of the adjoining islands from the beach, and a lot more. When the tide is low, which happened for both evenings we were there, people walk down from the beach to the island in front for fishing or for fun. And before the sunset they simply walk back! I have never seen such pristine beach with an amazingly picturesque island view. If you have the money, definitely go and spend a few nights there. You will be amazed by the beauty of it, will relax and spend your days in the spa, the pool, the Jacuzzi, the café, or simply enjoying the view of the beach and the islands, while your nights will be spent having dinners in the restaurants, playing pool or just relaxing in your suite. Luckily we found a great deal online and booked two nights for Rs 11,000 for the beautiful suite (we booked this in advance before going). One last bit, while you’re there, do try the Malaysian massage. It is relaxing to the core.Things to do:a. The Skywalk: By far the key highlight of Langkawi is the Skywalk. It is a gondola ride, an engineering marvel built at the heart of the Geopark which takes you all the way up the mountain from where you can see lots of Langkawi islands, along with beauties of it. The moment the gondola took off and left the land, the entire atmosphere became insanely silent. It was as if all the sounds of the surroundings have somehow been vacuumed away into oblivion. The forest was utterly peaceful with marginal voices of the dwellers of the jungle. It was only humans who were disturbing the peace of the place with their conversations which once stopped one hears and enters in the realm of serenity. The first half of the gondola ride is this 42 degrees curved slope towards the hill top. The second half which was really breathtaking was the subsequent horizontal gondola ride toward the adjoining mountain. And from there we go to the Skybridge. It is a long cantilever bridge supported by just one pillar at the center and adjoining cables connected to the edges. It is thrilling to walk, look down, and even to run on the bridge. If you want to see the bridge, watch the final scene of SRK’s Don with Boman Irani and Arjun Rampal. The shoot of the climax of the film happened on the Skywalk and the Skybridge.b. The Skywalk – other attractions: Included in the ticket of the Skywalk are other attractions such as Skydome, T-Rex adventure, 7D etc. DO NOT miss Skydome at any cost. The way the dome is designed gives you a real-time feeling of sitting in a roller coaster which no 7-D or any other substitute can provide. While sitting on the seat, without any 3-D glasses or anything, just looking at the screen in front, I knew I was not on a roller coaster but my body and my mind totally failed the knowing and reacted as if I was actually going through the experience of sitting on one. It is definitely a must visit when going to Skywalk. Total ticket combo price was around RM 75 per person. Another piece of trivia: Avoid the Time Tunnel, it’s just stupid. There is neither Time nor a Tunnel. Unless you have kids between 3-5 years of age, it’s a total waste of time and money. The cost of the Time Tunnel itself was RM 27 per person which is really high for the stupid experience they provide. Everything else at the Skywalk is totally worth a visit.c. Oriental Village: Next to Skywalk in the same compound is the Oriental Village from where you can do shopping of souvenirs, clothes et al.d. Underwater World, Langkawi: Underwater world is an aquamarine park located on the Cenang Beach road. It is a zoo for sea animals and has tons of varieties of fish ranging from seals, to penguins, to sea birds, to stingrays, to nemos, to sharks, to strangely looking octopuses, to the first phytoplankton. The ticket is around RM 50 per person and the place is definitely worth the money. Another highlight of the park is the fish feeding time. There are specific times of the day when the divers enter the water to feed the fish. These are the times to visit the park as you will be amazed with the way the fish are fed and the experience it provides as an observer.e. Cenang Beach: Since we did not stay on the Cenang beach, for us the beach was more of a visit during the night. We sat on one of the shacks where the owners have put bean bags on the sand for guests to sit on, had lit candles for adding romance in the air, and there was a fire show going on with amateur fire players doing their craft for the audience. One piece of trivia, after visiting almost the entire Malaysia before entering Langkawi, we found the food to be most expensive in Langkawi, especially in the Cenang beach area. Liquor is cheap as it’s a duty-free island but food is on the pricy side. We had to search for places where we could get some good south-Indian vegetarian food which doesn’t dent our pockets too much.f. The Black Sand Beach: The black sand beach is a flat beach with sand which is black in color. But the highlight of the beach is the view of the islands in the sea which can be seen while sitting on the beach. I was awe-inspired to see islands popping out in front of me while I was walking on the beach. It’s a one of a kind experience.g. The Kilim Geoforest Ride: From the Tanjung Rhu beach, we hired a private boat who took us to the mangrove forest areas of the Kilim Geoforest. In the ride we came across Eagles, fish farms, mangroves, yachts, the backwaters, and most importantly the serene beauty of the Kilim Geofrest Park. Looking at that place gave me a feeling that till the time we have all this greenery preserved on such remote places of the plant, global warming and climate change are not the treats we should worry too much about. The ride cost RM 180 per person, which is on pricier side but definitely one you should consider.After spending four days at Langkawi, we finally marched back home by taking a cab from the Tanjung Rhu resort to the Langkawi Airport. From Langkawi Airport we had our first flight to KL Airport and then after a few hours wait our flight back home to New Delhi T3.Which brings me to the conclusion of this rather long description of our two weeks stay at the beautiful country of Malaysia! But then, there are so many places to see and to go to and so many memories to create that even 15 days is too little a time to actually visit the entire of Malaysia. Nonetheless, being a predominantly Muslim country, although you will find a lot of women wearing the traditional Muslim Hijab, at the same time you will also find a lot of them working at fuel pumps, at ticket counters, at the airports and bus stations, at shops, at the metro, at beaches and in the countryside, engaging themselves into means of livelihood even at odd hours of the day. The environment is open and safe for both sexes to work and coexist and to add value to the country’s development and to their own emancipation.All in all, if you are planning a trip with your family or your partner, Malaysia is definitely the place to be!You’ll love it, my promise!
Port Klang Selangor Malaysia
This cruise follows Singapore-Port Klang(MY)-SG route, it reached Port klang in the morning itself. If you are interested to go out, you can inform the reception and spend 4-5 hours easily. You dont need a visa as SG E visa is enough to out of the cruise to see the Port Klang.
Kota Belud Sabah Malaysia
Aravilla Homestay. The best part about Kota Belud. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aravilla-HomestayTaungusi-Village-Homestay/221922024553295 Tiara and Raman are rays of sunshine in this world, and while this part of Malaysia might have been my least favorite place, my experience because of them was one of the best in my life.
Genting Highlands: This is 45 minutes away from the KL city. Genting highlands are an integrated resort with casinos, theme parks, hotels perched on top of Gunung Ulu Kali Mountain. One can reach the resorts by the cable car. Genting cable car is the world’s fastest mono cable car. The view in the cable car is just awesome. We visited the snow world there and had a great time. Also, one can explore around and enjoy various entertainment opportunities the place has to offer.
Tumpat Kelantan Malaysia
Tumpat in Kelantan is famous for its Buddhist temples. In fact, there are 25 temples in the place and Wat Photivihanin kampung Jambu is said to be the famous among all of them. Simply because it houses the largest reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia measuring 40 meters in length and 9 meters in width. Since Tumpat is near the border of Thailand, you can obviously say that the temple itself in this area are typical examples of Thai Buddhist Temples. I haven’t been to a Buddhist temple before, that is why I make sure that it will be included in our itinerary. Its very visible upon entering the compound. Even if it doesn’t look colorful compare to other Buddhas and temples in the area, it still remains as the center of attraction because of its size.
Gelugor Penang Malaysia
The food in George Town accompanied by the street art that is around this place is amazing. There is trishaw around town so you can hop on for a 2.5 hour ride at $40 around and the trishaw man would guide you through and bring you to different art pieces. However, I prefer walking through town and discovering every little piece the place has to offer. The food in George town is also amazing. The Penang Laksa is a must try, the sourness of the gravy is really good. I think the coconut Ice-cream is now a very popular food around Asia, the glutinous rice is so yummy I think I can eat another 3 of it.
The Batu caves: These are the limestone caves comprising on 3 major caves and several small caves. This place is around 11 KMs away from the KL city. This is a 100-year-old temple and is considered as the important landmark by the Hindus. One has to climb a series of steps to reach the shrine. It was a really tiring journey but totally worth it.
Lurah Bilut Pahang Malaysia
The closest KL has to a Disneyland, only it also houses a casino!