On October 20th, we left paradise (Koh Lanta) and began our journey to Malaysia. It took about 13 hours from start to finish, from Koh Lanta to Georgetown, on Penang Island in Malaysia. Typically this journey takes 8 hours but we did it ourselves, which meant we subjected ourselves to long waits and bus stop confusion, but didn’t have to deal with the hassle of being part of a tour.
People visit Penang for its food as well as the confluence of cultures and religions on the island. Unfortunately I was stricken with what I’m calling “Malaysian Malaise” for the 6 days we were in the country. No fever, just generalized weakness and random symptoms. I don’t blame Malaysia for this, but it definitely put a damper on the week in country.
Due to the malaise, we didn’t really get to enjoy the supposedly amazing food in Penang. Most of it seemed to be meat-based anyway, which we’re not eating. We did walk around a bit and loved walking past the temples (Buddhist and Hindu) and mosques. The smell of incense, the brightly colored facades, the breathtaking calls to prayer. In Penang, we also began our tour of Malaysia’s malls.
a Chinese temple in Georgetown, Penang
In Penang and Kuala Lumpur, there are malls everywhere. According to Wikipedia, there are 66 malls in the city. During our travels, we’ve gone to quite a few malls. Often just to get out of the heat and take note of local teenage customs. In Kuala Lumpur, we went to two malls – one at the base of the Petronas Towers and another called “Times Square.”
Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
The mall at the Petronas towers was like Pacific Place (in Seattle) or that fancy mall in Copley in Boston. We splurged and ate at the Sushi King, a conveyor belt style sushi parlor. Gotta get our fix whenever we can!
Then we hopped the subway to the “Times Square” mall — 13 floors! – and checked out the amusement park inside. Then we saw the American movie, “Red.”
Amusement Park in Mall, Kuala Lumpur
One day we headed out to the Batu Caves, easily reachable by the Kommuter train. An aside – KL’s public transportation seems to be pretty expansive, except there doesn’t appear to be a transfer system between lines (as they’re run by separate entities).
The Batu Caves are a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan (that’s him standing out front). They are loaded with macaques, which also makes for a fun time. We climbed the steps to the top and checked out the 400 million year old caves. Maybe a good spot to ride out the apocalypse?
Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
Back in downtown, KL we began to prep ourselves for our return to India, by eating Indian food!
One night Brandon tried to order a masala dosa and the waiter said “no, too small.” He suggested the paper dosa. Brandon obliged and look at it!! The potato filling was served in a separate dish. If I were eating it, I would have squashed it down first, but he kept it nice and rounded the whole time. So disciplined he is!
Giant paper dosa
Finally, I got myself a drink in a bag. The 2 months we’ve been in SE Asia I’ve seen people drinking beverages from bags. But whenever I’d ordered one, I always got a cup. Not on our last morning. I got myself some iced coffee.
Finally! Iced coffee in a bag!
Actually, the coffee was awful… way too sweet. But it still made me happy.