How many people can say they’ve gone to another country three times in a matter of days? Well, it happened to me, and the country in question is Malaysia. First I went to Penang, then when I was in Singapore, my friend and I, with her husband, crossed borders to Malaysia, and lastly, I went back to Kuala Lumpur for the transit to Manila.
This whole trip started in Penang where I explored the George Town street art on foot, visited one of the Chinese water villages, the Chew Jetty, chased after cats inside the Purrfect Cat Museum, checked out vintage cameras at the Camera Museum, then ended the trip on a sweet note with a chance meeting with a Catalan painter.
Crossing border from Singapore
Then I flew to Singapore and spent the next 3 days exploring the Lion City. In one of those days, my friend told me that we’d be going to Malaysia for a Thai massage. I kid you not, we went to another country just to get a massage and it happened to be the eve of my birthday.
My friend’s husband took the wheel, we drove for god knows how many hours (I napped), I saw how modern the Singapore border is, had my passport stamped, then next thing I knew we were in Malaysia. My friend said that it is much cheaper to get a massage in this area than in Singapore and her husband doesn’t mind the long drive. The food here is also budget-friendly, in fact, after our relaxing massage, we went stopped by a rundown noodle place that serves amazing food.
Sleeping in a hostel in Salak Tinggi
From Singapore, I had to return to Malaysia for my flight back to Manila. I only had half a day to spare as my flight was scheduled at night on the same day. With this in mind, I picked a hostel close to the airport. I found one in Salak Tinggi, only 2 stations away from KLIA2. The hostel is called Moon Eleven. From Salak Tinggi station I had to walk for 900 meters (11 minutes) to get to the hostel—again, not exactly a walk in the park when you’re pulling a suitcase.
The hostel is pretty basic, more like an apartment that has been turned into a hostel. I liked it because it’s cheap, has free breakfast, fast WiFi connection, and the owner is quite responsive on email and just as helpful in person.
She assigned me to a room with 4 beds. Apart from me, there is only one guest in this room. I saw her sleeping, I was very careful not to make any noise. She did wake up despite my efforts so I muttered my apologies. She dismissed it and said that it’s okay as she is leaving anyway.
We chatted a bit, I found out that she’s leaving Malaysia on that day and that she’d been traveling around the country for almost a month now. She’s a white girl from Europe, my guestimate is that she’s in her early 20s. She’s nice and very charming.
The mandatory picture taking with the Petronas Tower
Given the little time I had and the fact that I didn’t really get enough sleep when I left Singapore, I dropped all plans to explore and just went to the city center to see the Petronas Tower. It takes an hour to reach the city center from Salak Tinggi by train. I used that time to catch some zzz’s inside the train. By the time I opened my eyes, it was already 2 stations away to KLCC.
The Petronas twin towers are the most famous skyscrapers in Malaysia. It used to be the world’s tallest building from 1998 to 2004. From the KL Sentral station, I walked inside a mall, thought to grab something to eat; changed my mind, then headed outside to look for the towers.
I saw a group of police officers taking a rest under a shade. I approached them to ask for the direction. One of them volunteered to take me to the towers and he even offered to take my picture; boy it was a challenge. The tower is so tall, it was hard to take a picture with it as a background. As you can see in my photo above, the man wasn’t able to fully capture the Petronas.
Forest in the city
As I walked around I spotted this small park with tall trees, arranged in perfect alignment. Isn’t it beautiful?
When a friend told me that Malaysia is much more advanced than the Philippines, I didn’t believe him. Not that he is unreliable, just that I’ve always had this notion that the Philippines are just like Malaysia or Thailand. Turns out I needed to update my version of the truth; the Philippines is economically behind from its neighboring nations. Just like the progressive nations that I visited, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan, Malaysia has a very efficient and advanced train system. It is linked to the airport and it has seamless connections to all of their residential, commercial, and industrial areas.
The Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the Penang Airport are equally impressive. Everything is in order, both are well-maintained, and airport procedures are fast and efficient. [Read: 5 Flights, 3 Airports: the horrors and wonders of flying]
Rice is an add-on not part of the meal at KFC, they like curry food a lot, Penang looks just like a province in the Philippines, they have prayer rooms in their airports, they have a rainforest in the city, these are only some of the things that I observed during my short visit in Malaysia. I certainly didn’t expect I’d be visiting it thrice in just a matter of days, but I must say it made this trip all the more interesting.
What about you, have you been to Malaysia? What do you love about this country? Share in the comments below.