I was a little cranky during my first week in Malaysia.
It started with seeing thundershowers the day I crossed the border from sunny Thailand to Penang, Malaysia. In Penang, the thunderstorms continued and the town didn’t have the charm I expected from a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Penang, I got nauseous during the curvy five-hour drive to the Cameron Highlands mountains. In Cameron Highlands, the rain continued. On the ride to Kuala Lumpur, I almost felt sick again.
While I’ve happily endured more challenging conditions in my 3 months of travel, such as in India, this series of events made me tired, restless and disappointed. In my first week of Malaysia, I felt as if I’d encountered more rain, more crappy guesthouses and strange travellers than in the last three months combined.
Fortunately, I started to feel better in Kuala Lumpur. At the Central Market near my Chinatown guesthouse, I found bubble tea, the first time since leaving home. Later, another traveller and I took the metro to Kuala Lumpur City Centre and the Petronas Twin Towers, once the tallest building in the world.
I was instantly delighted by the KLCC shopping mall under the Petronas Towers.
It was modern, air-conditioned, shiny, well-light, clean and filled with the brands from at home like GAP, Zara, MAC Cosmetics, Apple to Chanel and more. On my first visit to a ‘real’ shopping mall since leaving home in Toronto, I felt like I was at home seeing familiar faces.
While happily having plates of sushi that evening, I decided:
I don’t care what Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor or other travellers recommend I do in Kuala Lumpur, I’m going to spend my days doing what makes me happy.
I’d rather relax and recharge my batteries, than to see more but feel tired and cranky.
My 3-day date with comforts of home
So, in my three days in Kuala Lumpur, I’m happy to say:
I drank bubble tea, everyday.
Had my familiar caramel Frappuccino at Starbucks, everyday.
Indulged in sushi, twice.
Returned to the lovely air-conditioned KLCC shopping mall at Petronas, twice.
Saw an English movie (Black Swan), ate popcorn, once. 11 ringgits for the movie ($3.60 CAD), 10 ringgits for popcorn and drink ($3.50 CAD)
Visited the Petronas Towers, 3 times. These towers are possibly the shiniest and most alluring man-made buildings I’ve ever seen. More captivating in person than what I expected from postcards or online images. I took a hundred photos.
To continue the theme of feeling at home, I’ll only take my day pack for my 3-day “weekend trip” to Singapore and leaving the rest of my luggage for laundry at the Kuala Lumpur hostel.
If Singapore is as modern and comfortable as Kuala Lumpur, my days in Singapore should continue my mental recharge before I return to Kuala Lumpur for my 10 day silent meditation course.
>> How do you get your rest and relaxation while travelling? Do you feel re-energized by the comforts of home while you’re away?
Information and sample costs for Kuala Lumpur
- Free 90-day tourist visa issued on arrival
- Currency is Malaysian ringgits (MYR), $1 CAD = 3.1 MYR
- Monkee Inn guesthouse in Chinatown, 15 ringgits ($5) for a A/C dorm
See Hostelworld.com for other hostels.
- Mass Rapid Transit is an efficient and cheap way to get around, 4 stops from Chinatown (Pasar Seni) to KLCC (Petronas Towers) is 1.6 MYR one way
- Delicious and cheap food everywhere, 2 ringgits for 1.5L water, 8.50 ringgits for giant plate of noodles
- Visible ethnicities: Chinese, Indian and all the colours in between. Religions: Buddhist and Muslim. Languages: English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil
- See Wikipedia, WikiTravel and LonelyPlanet for more info