Malaysia Truly Asia: My Experience
My first ever country that I have visited is Malaysia.
Because it's truly Asia? hahaha. Well, since I have no point of comparison I couldn't comment much about that. What I could say is that I really saw how much of a melting pot Malaysia is. Every time I walk down the street, I always see people from different cultures, and it's always a fascinating sight.
It makes you want to stop from walking and just do people watching instead. It's really amazing to see how people from different countries live peacefully together. And yes, it is possible.
My travel to Malaysia first started with me being emotionally and legally ready for the trip. I guess that time, I was more concerned on the latter. My friend who traveled to Hongkong experienced a lot of stress, probably due to her lack of papers and proofs that the immigration was asking of her. Luckily I tried to secure all important documents. But when you're lining up for immigration's interview, I think a lot of you would agree that it's still nerve-racking, despite knowing that you don't have any bad intentions and you're nothing but legal.
Documents and Other RequirementsDocuments that they will be asking of you are your passport, a copy of your hotel reservations, air ticket to and fro, sometimes they'll ask you for a photocopy of the credit card used to purchase the tickets and even your id's. Do bring 1K ringgit with you, that's the maximum allowable amount of ringgits you could bring to Malaysia and you could take home, the rest you could deposit in your ATM (through EON) or have traveler's checks instead.
To Plan or Not to Plan
It's wise to plan ahead, but seriously when you're there already at times you couldn't follow your plan. When you check on google map landmarks in Malaysia appear to be very far but don't be fooled. It's not as far as you think, especially the Petronas towers, the Suria KLCC, KLCC park and the Aquaria. All these are somewhat connected.
The best way to travel around the city is through monorail. Hotels and inns usually have helpful maps and receptionists are also there to suggest good places or directions. If in case you have trouble finding your way, you could ask some locals. Not everyone there though could speak English, so choose whom to ask. If you have to take taxi, try to take the ones away from landmarks. There are only few honest taxi drivers. A lot of them will bribe you telling you that the place is far and it's traffic. So as much as possible don't take taxis. Monorails there are intertwined, so you could get to almost everywhere, you just have to walk to the station.
The food is very diverse. They have food from almost all around the world. Not to mention it's cheap. Simple restaurants would range from 3-8 ringgits, while more expensive ones would go up to 12-30 ringgits. Hotels are usually cheap and really convenient.
We had book ours in the middle of Kuala Lumpur, really close to China Town, called Petaling Market. It's where you could buy counterfeit bags and souvenirs. Street food is also amazing and cheap. There are a lot of backpackers around this area because everything is relatively cheap. If you want something more high-end, try to go to Pavilion. You could spot real branded items there. Just nearby is Aquaria that showcases different species of fishes, even forest animals, and insects could be seen there. Suria KLCC is just around the corner. It is where you could find the Petronas Towers.
Petaling Market *
|Aquaria KLCC *|
Petronas Towers *
If you wish to go all-out shopping with convenience I suggest you go south to Berjaya Times Square, one of the biggest malls in KL. They have Cosmo World Theme Park, and they have the longest roller coaster called Super Sonic Odyssey, that's 800m long. It costs around 35-45 ringgit for a ride.
Berjaya Times Square *
The Best View of the Towers
They said that the best view of the Petronas towers is in the bar of Trader's Hotel 33rd floor called SkyBar. You have to reserve in advance for the cabanas on the side of the pool. It is where you could have the best view of the city, not to mention the towers. Drinks and food are expensive here so try to bring extra cash. We bought our drinks for 20plus ringgits for each.
Please don't leave Malaysia without tasting Nasi lemak and chicken satay. These 2 are traditional malaysian food.
Chicken Satay *
Nasi Lemak *
The best place to eat street food is Jalan Alor and Imbi Market. The food is very diverse and cheap. Very good for backpackers like us.
Capoeira in the Middle of the City
Don't dare to miss street performance of street Roda, usually every night at Bukit Bintang. This is a group of people practicing capoeira. Aside from doing their own stunt they also do lovely percussion and chants that will get you going.
Travel TipsAs a tip for first time travelers, you should have at least a general itinerary for the day so you could get to experience more. Also make sure to have a map of the city with you so you won't get to ask people always. As I've said earlier maps are usually available in hotels or inns that you're staying. Also try to wake up early. I know night life in KL is fun but then you'll be missing out on a lot of stuff during the day.
Since Malaysia is an Islamic country, try to dress up decently. Usually when you want to visit temples, you're asked to cover yourself. And always bring your passport with you at all times.
It's ok if you haven't covered everything, what is more important is that you have get to experience the culture that is truly Malaysia.
* Images not mine