The Pearl Of Asia-My Malaysia/Mainland
My husband and I have been very fortunate to have spent more than 6 weeks in this true paradise. Malaysia is truly dynamic! She is a land of ready smiles and incredible contrasts which beckons you with her rich diversity of colors and flavours. There is so much to see and do, that one simply cannot cover it all here with enough justice. The country is beautiful, the exchange rate is extremely favourable and English is very commonly spoken! Many places, customs, festivals, art, rainforests, diving sites, marine parks and jungle life all are unique to Malaysia.
To give you just a taste of what I mean, I have listed off my first 5 of the must see’s in My Malaysia!
1. The Petronas Towers – Boasting a height of more than 421m, the twin towers dominate the skies of Kuala Lumpur, capital city of Malaysia. These stainless steel towers glisten as they pierce the sky over the city. An essential experience is visiting the sky bridge of the towers, which overlook the city. Seeing this view at dawn is an amazing sight! The shopping centre, found at the base of the towers, offers normal to high-end boutiques, designer clothing shops, and jewellery establishments. This complex is perfect for dining, and also contains a Science galleria and an amazing Aquarium! The LRT station, found in the subbasement, provides a convenient and a low-cost alternative to reach other places in Kuala Lumpur.
2. China town – Also found in Kuala Lumpur, this street is a true mecca for bargain shopping! Hawkers selling all types of wares and the scents of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as the smells of exotic freshly-cooked food permeate the air. You might wish to beware of a local fruit with an unusual reputation as a stinky fruit, the Durian. This very popular fruit is grown locally in the jungles. You can literally smell these before you see them, however I have to say, try it !! One thing I was shocked to find here was a Bob Marley Bar!!! Yes, Jamaica, right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur! And, by the writings all around the walls, people have visited this bar from every part of our world! Truly a popular spot to stop for a drink at night.
3. Batu Caves – is just 13km from downtown KL. These limestone caves are a popular tourist attraction for the annual Thaipusam festival. There are 272 steep steps straight up into the caves. The main temple cave is full of Hindu shrines and is over 100m high. And yes, my husband and I actually climbed all the way up!
4 Cameron Highlands – is 1820m above sea level and was settled by tea planters looking for a cool retreat from the heat. This area is still rich in agriculture to this day. In between the areas of jungle, tea plantations spread as far as the eye can see. It is an amazing drive up through the mountains, though it is mostly one lane with sheer cliffs up on one side and down the other. I found it most amusing to watch how buses and other vehicles had to manoeuvre around each other. This drive will also afford you the chance to see native villages and dwellings whilst watching out for chickens running on the road. Cameron Highlands is a place where I say you can smell and see the color green in all of its shades!!!
5 Fishing – Fishing takes on a whole new flavour in Malaysia. From soft green seas full of fish you usually see in your aquarium to the giant snakehead in the inland waters. There is fishing opportunities for everyone. You can go fishing like the locals or go fly-fishing or deep sea fishing and diving. The choices and options are endless.
6 Penang Hill – has one of the world’s oldest funicular railway systems. At 830 metres above sea level, it provides a panoramic view of the island and a beautiful view of Georgetown below. The ride up is slow as it meanders up the hill, past monkeys carrying their babies, pitcher plants and the amazing views of the bungalows and clearings throughout the jungle.
7. You cannot mention Malaysia without mentioning the temples. One of our favourites is the Kek Lok Si Temple , Air Itam. This complex is the largest in Southeast Asia and is continually expanding for over 20 years. It stands majestically on the top of the hill while the Golden Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin) glistens overlooking the city of Georgetown. This culminates with the beautifully crafted “Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas”
8. Langkawi – One of the things we loved most about Langkawi Island was the cable car which takes you up to the second highest peak of Mount Mat Cincang. To say it more simply, it takes you up, way way up! It takes about an hour to get to the top, with small stops in between. You seem to ride straight up the side of the mountain; as the jungle canopy becomes smaller as you ascend into the heavens above the jungle. Animals, birds and waterfalls get smaller beneath you as you drift into another world. It is said that on a clear day, you can even see parts of Thailand Indonesia as well as a large part of the island, from the top of the Mountain. It is the most amazing experience. We did it, and will do it again!
9. Night Markets – Found throughout all of Malaysia, you can’t go to Malaysia without a few evenings at the night markets (Pasar Malam)! In the evening, streets and sidewalks turn into eating areas and night markets. It is a magic transformation! The food in these stalls is freshly prepared while you wait, which makes it all the more delicious. From regional specialties like satay to fish and chips, you can get it all! It is the cheapest way to eat but also the most enjoyable as you sit out in the open-air or under large tents and soak in the sounds of Malaysia at night. The shopping is amazing, and bartering is a must! Pasar Malam always makes the night seem all too short!
10. Culture – Speaking of leaving the best, and arguably, the most important for last. You are immersed in this remarkable culture from the moment you arrive in this amazing country. It is seamless blend of Chinese, Indian and Malay cultures, with a bit of British, Thai, and Indonesian thrown in for good measure! Despite being half a world away, we didn’t feel like a foreigner in this country. The people are friendly and the blend of different cultures is fascinating. Malaysia has something for everyone, the historian, the businessman, the backpacker, the eco-tourist, city-hopper, beachcomber, the bargain shopper and YOU!