Honestly, I did almost no research about Malaysia. I put my faith in G Adventures to show me the way. I think they did a good job. Our guide raved about the country saying it is his favorite though he prefers the area closer to Borneo. We went to 4 beautiful places in Malaysia: Penang, Cameron Highlands, Kuala Lumpur, and Melaka.
Penang was our first introduction into Malaysia. It is a quaint city on the Melacca Strait. We did a little street tour of temples, the dock and more. My favorite part of the tour was Kek Lok Si Temple s perched on a hill looking down at the bustling city. Most notably is the Kuan Yi Statue that stands at 36.2 meters tall. We made wishes on ribbons, took photos with a sea of statues, and enjoyed the beautiful view.
The next day we explored all of the street art commissioned by the city to liven up tourism. Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic was chosen to create art that attracted tourists while telling the story of the town. People gathered to take all the goofy photos they could with random murals, installations, and ironwork through the city. The small city vibe and Chinese New Year festivities made this city the perfect introduction to Malaysia.
We also visitied a cat cafe. It was my first time.
I was super excited for the Cameron Highlands to do some awesome outdoors activities I don’t get to enjoy as much when I’m solo traveling. I learned trekking and hiking are different things. (Trekking means there’s no path and it’s more intense.) So we trekked through the highlands in the mud to see a giant fungus that is shaped like a flower that was one of the highlights of the trip. After that, we went to a string of touristy spots that are easily forgettable but the floral-like fungus.
A stark contrast to the small town of Cameron Highlands is Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Sadly, we were only there for a day and a half. The first night we got in late and went to the HeliBar. It’s a bar on a helicopter pad AKA no walls on the 35th floor. We bought expensive drinks and enjoyed stunning panorama views. I got a little freaked after a while and had to leave early. It is terrifying if you are afraid of heights.
The next day we went to the Batu Caves. It’s free to get in once you ascend the giant staircase. When we were there, things lined up with a Hindu festival where people went up the stairs after fasting and with giant contraptions and hooks in their skin. Once inside there are shrines, murals, a prayer area, a temple and lots of monkeys begging for food. In the evening, we celebrated a birthday. I can’t remember the name of the bar but it was mayhem. It was empty when we got in and it was super early, so the bar joyfully offered girls free well drinks. Since our group was overwhelmingly beautiful women, it was a great deal for both parties. It got a little wild and we had a great time.
The last city we hit was Melaka and we had to get up early to get there so we were in the worst moods. Hungover, exhausted and piecing together the evening we reluctantly took a one day tour of the small town. I even told our guide that I would have preferred to skip this town for an extra day in KL or Singapore. Because the group only got a day in Singapore! Not enough time at all.
I was so surprised with Malaysia. A colorful country with beautiful sight and a unique blend of Chinese and Indian culture.