30 October 2017

Creepy Hotels and Incredible Islands in Malaysia


After Krabi we made our way to Satun where we boarded the Ferry to Langkawi, Malaysia. The crossing turned out to be easy, just a simple passport and baggage check on the Malaysian side. The only thing that's important to remember is your entry card that was issued on arrival into Thailand, however if you lose it bribes work well and are not uncommon. Aside from the sub-zero temperature inside the ferry, it was pretty relaxed. I would highly recommend taking a jumper though. 


Langkawi


On arrival, we were greeted by a lovely tour guide who explained the history of the island. Originally home to pirates and seafarers, it has been completely transformed into a major tourist resort. Along the way it fell into both Siamese and British rule before declaring independence in 1957. The culture change was immediately clear from the moment we stepped off the boat, as a mostly Muslim country, the women tended to be completely covered. Dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, I found this slightly uncomfortable and probably should have chosen a more appropriate outfit. On our first night we ended up eating at a big seaside bar/restaurant called Yellow Cafe. Although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for it's food, the cosy atmosphere and live music made this place perfect for casual drinks. It not only had a great view, but also cute little hammocks and beanbags on the beach.

My day consisted of riding a banana boat with some random guys, hiking up a few hundred steps to the Seven Wells waterfall, walking through a colourful market and visiting the Field of Burnt Rice. All of which I would definitely recommend. The white sand beaches are beautiful and not too crowded, I would recommend going in the morning or afternoon as it gets incredibly hot and there is very little shade. As it is an Island, everything is fairly close by and easy enough to get to via taxi. Langkawi is also home to the worlds steepest cable car and a sky bridge, unfortunately both were closed while I was there.

In the evening we all took a sunset dinner cruise, which weaved through the many, mini islands surrounding Langkawi. With free drinks, an extensive food buffet and the chance to sit in the opalescent water behind the boat, it's fair to say that this was one of my favourite experiences in Malaysia. That being said, it was also one of the most expensive. As I booked mine through Contiki, I didn't get the chance to look around for other deals, however I'm sure you could find other companies doing the same for a lot less. 







Penang 


Penang was a stark change from the lazy, serene beaches of Langkawi. Known for it's amazing street food, variety of eastern cultures and intricate street art, it is definitely a must see. It is also home to UNESCO listed Georgetown.


The Street art
Although I wouldn't say Penang was my favourite stop, due to the dirty streets and questionable mix of smells, it was undoubtedly worth it just for the street art. This arty city is covered with paintings, graffiti and random outdoor exhibits, making it impossible to visit without seeing at least one piece of incredible artwork. My favourites would have to be the famous, children on the swings and the man on the motorbike. Instead of just walking around aimlessly I would opt for an online guide, as it would also help with understanding the rich history of the area.


The Food
As a vegetarian in a predominantly meat-eating country, I was prepared for the worst. I was however pleasantly surprised by the variety of food in Penang. You could get anything from hawker stall noodles and steamed buns to five course fancy dining in Little India. Vegetarian food was still very limited, and I did end up eating cream cheese on stale bread one night, but it was certainly a step up from most other places in Malaysia.



Cameron Highlands 

From strawberry picking on a little farm to exploring the huge tea plantations, the Cameron Highlands were an interesting experience to say the least. Located way up in the Malaysian mountains, it certainly wouldn't have been my first pick. Despite my experience being slightly marred by the creepy hotel, which I swear was home to a cult, and the strange derelict funfair just outside of it, I still learnt a lot. 


Tea Plantations
The number one thing to see here. I would recommend having a guided tour around the tea plantation and trying some in the various cafes dotted around. I'm not big on tea, but the fresh green tea tiramisu I had was delicious.


Kuala Lumpur 



As we didn't have much time in KL we ended up doing pretty much everything in one day. Instead of going up the famous Petronas towers, which are very expensive and were almost fully booked, we decided to go to KL Tower. In some ways this was better as it not only gave an impressive view of KL but also of the Petronas towers. We all decided to get the slightly more expensive sky deck tickets, which turned out to be the right idea as we spent most of our time on the sky deck. The main difference is the sky deck in outside whereas the normal viewing platform is indoors. With the sky deck pass you also have access to the famous glass viewing boxes. In my opinion, these aren't that great, they look cool on photos but in practice are a little cramped and gimmicky. 
In the evening we ended up at the Skybar which had a stunning view of the Petronas towers at night. The atmosphere was nice, but the drinks extortionately expensive. We ended up leaving after less than an hour. I would definitely recommend going just for the view. 




Malacca

On our final day in Malaysia we stopped off at Malacca, another UNESCO listed site. With red brick buildings and cute

little rivers, this city was perfect for a day trip.

Extras


- Langkawi is a duty free island, if you want cheap electronics this is the perfect place to get them.
- Visit the Pavillion shopping centre in KL. It is massive.
- Petronas Tower light display.
- The butterfly sanctuaries in the Cameron Highlands. These also house a number of exotic creatures that you can hold and learn interesting facts about.
- Hawkers are the best place to get authentic Malaysian food.

✈ Next Singapore

Links:
Contiki Tours
Penang street art guide

10 comments so far

  1. Oh this looks like absolute paradise!

    xx Lisa | lisaautumn.com

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  2. The plantations look stunning, I really adore nature of this scale, it's so humbling. Your photos are beautiful, I would love to see Malaysia one day!

    Sending light & love your way,

    My Lovelier Days

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    Replies
    1. aw thank you! You should definitely go someday, it's stunning.

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  3. Your pictures are incredible, especially the skyline of the Petronas towers and that sunset! Magical. - x

    Lavinya Royes - Fashion & Lifestyle Blog

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  4. Stunning photos - looks absolutely incredible. Travel envy right here, right now.

    Zoey, www.zoeyolivia.com

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    Replies
    1. Was beautiful, you should definitely go if you get the chance!

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  5. Thanks for sharing yet another comprehensive and useful post, Meera! I'm planning a 7-10 days trip in the summer to Singapore and Malaysia. My relatives and I will arrive/leave from Singapore but only want to spend about 2 days there before going to KL. What are your top recommendations of things to do and places to visit during such a limited time frame? Should we start or end with Singapore? - LoriKemi || www.lorikemi.com

    ReplyDelete

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