After an amazing trip to Thailand in March, 2018, the travel bugs inside us (me and my husband) were craving to explore a new south Asian country, mainly because these are cheaper to travel to, have a rich culture and offer amazing culinary experiences. After doing a fair amount of research online we zeroed onto – Malaysia and Vietnam. As our plan was on only for 9 days (22nd September, 2018 to 30th September, 2018), we decided to visit only 1 country. It was not easy for us to pick any one between these amazing countries, but finally chose Malaysia, a country with diverse amalgamation of cultures and chooses to call itself truly Asia. As for the itinerary, we decided to cover Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Penang, and started looking for the accommodations accordingly.
After going through many apartments in Airbnb, we finalised the apartments for both KL and Penang. As Malacca can be covered in a day trip from Kuala Lumpur, we cancelled the plan of night stay in Malacca and decided for a day trip from Kuala Lumpur. In Kuala Lumpur, we booked a condominium apartment in Regalia Residence, Chow Kit and in Penang, we booked sea view apartment at Landmark Residence near George Town, 3 minutes away from Gurney. Both the places turned out to be amazing and I highly recommend these places to anyone who is planning to visit Malaysia.
Now, it was the time to apply the visa. Malaysia does not offer visa on arrival for Indians but offer a couple of different type of visas, more details can easily be found in the official website http://www.windowmalaysia.my/ or if you do a few quick Google searches on the same. The one we chose for, was the easiest and cheapest to apply for if you stay is less than 15 days and is called an eNTRI(Electronic Travel Registration & Information) note. There are a few restrictions though in terms of the entry and exit points to and from the country and it is valid on for single entry/exits eg. you cant go to another country, say Thailand or Singapore from Malaysia and again enter back to Malaysia but you can travel to another country and exit from there. For us it served the purpose well, please check for all the caveats before picking up one. For application you basically will need to upload all the required documents at http://www.windowmalaysia.my/ (photograph with white background, travel and stay documents) and pay the required fees(roughly around 1500 INR per person) and you get the note immediately. Don't fall for other websites that claim to do the same with a premium stating that the official website is not reliable. Of course there may be genuine websites but please use your own judgement.
The other things we booked before leaving for Malaysia were:
1) KL express train tickets from KL international airport to KL Sentral station via Klook app(website: https://www.klook.com) for about 1700 INR for 2 persons
2) Applied 2 SIM Cards (TuneTalk traveller SIM) again via Klook app which we collected in the airport arrival hall in the designated Tune Talk counter. It cost us about 761 INR for 2 SIM cards and gave 10GB data each plus some free call credits.
The applications you need to install in your mobile before you leave for Malaysia:
1) Grab – it is the Uber of South east Asia and is reliable/economic compared to other local cab providers. Uber is no more in Malaysia as on the date of writing this article and sold off/merged its business to/with Grab. It still works a few neighbouring countries though viz. Thailand, Singapore, etc.
2) Klook ( We booked the KL tower Sky Deck and Aquaria tickets via Klook during our stay in KL. The ticket prices in Klook are very budget friendly)
Now, the last thing we did before the trip was to collect a few Malaysian ringgits from local dealers in Mumbai. If you exchange in Airport they will almost always charge a huge premium. We carried about 2000 RM by exchanging about 36780 INR. Rupee was falling this time(about 72 INR ~ 1 USD) and we could have had a much better deal if done a few months before
Now, it was the time to wait for 22nd September and finally the day arrived.