Monday, April 12, 2010

MALAYSIA.... truly Asia.

KUALA LUMPUR

There's really only two things that you need to do with your time in Kuala Lumpur: shop and eat. (Essentially the only two activities we ever think about, right?)
Shopping
- Petaling St or Chinatown is said to be too crowded with tourists and have little variation from stall to stall... but can you really complain when all they are heavily stocked with is 'luxury goods'? Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu, Rolex, Tag Heuer, Prada, Fendi, Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Mont Blanc... often neatly wrapped in tissue paper, accompanied by a warranty card, in a box and shopping bag with appropriate logos. You name it, they'll sell it! Ray Ban wayfarers anyone? Strings of Swarovski crystal? Scattered amongst the stalls are delicious hawker food stalls too so you won't go hungry or thirsty while bargaining and purchasing!

- The shopping malls are generally all similar, having the same chain stores in each complex. My favourite were Sungei Wang Plaza and Pavilion. These two are very different, however: (1)The former is much older, darker and brimming with cheap, alternative, urban, young fashion, accessories, DVDs, electrical goods, everything. It's where the cool kids go. (2)Pavilion is my haven in KL. It's clean, beautiful, new and shiny. It can be quiet and peaceful in some areas but just as chaotic as the streets of KL in others! Get your fix of Zara, Topshop, Bebe, and Charles & Keith there!
Eating
- I had heard Pavilion's food court for dinner is a good idea before arriving in Malaysia, so we went to scope it out on the first night. Lo, behold! Our eyes clapped with the most magnificent, stupendous, wonderful-est food court we'd ever seen! You must try char keuh teow (pictured above), nasi lemak, mi goreng, Portuguese egg tarts, and green tea egg tarts... all fresh and warm straight from the frying pan or oven! (It is approximately AUD$3 a meal and the portions are not large as they are here. It is very easy to get carried away trying lots of different Malaysian dishes and, boy, do they like to pack in flavour!)
- Nearby, KL's biggest collection of roadside restaurants sprawl all along Jalan Alor. The biggest restaurant there makes this amazing Thai mango chicken dish that is out of this world. Also worth trying deep-fried Barramundi, mango kacang (mango + sago + syrup + coconut milk + shaved ice), and Asian green vegies of your choice (to meet some dietary fibre requirements and maintain good bowel movements too)!

It is a good idea to avoid going too close to Chinese New Year as many places are closed (it is the most highly anticipated, widely-celebrated public holiday on the calendar and festivities can go on for weeks). We arrived about 2-3 weeks after Chinese New Year and these decorations were still up! There were still impressive lion dances to be seen.... they danced atop metal posts about 2-3 metres high!


MELACCA


Melacca is a beautiful old town filled with heritage and rich in culture, a ~2h bus ride from KL. This is Christ Church with the tourist market in front and on the left is St Francis Xavier's Church. Both date back to the 16th century. I loved the rows and rows of narrow, historical, quaint townhouses most. There's a night market on weekends, lots of arts/crafts/handmade jewellery stores during the day, and Chicken Rice Balls (popular with the Chinese tourists) is a must try!


PENANG



- Really only worth visiting for the Tropical Spice Garden. A stunning large garden or a miniature jungle? I don't know! Either way, there is lots to learn and lots of exotic things see. I highly recommend the visit, with a guided tour and cooking class (all before 2pm)!
- Spend another 24 hours in Penang to explore old colonial buildings, hotels, shops, streets... and the movie set of Anna and the King (1999)! There is naan to be had, coconut pastries to be eaten and manicures to be done!


LANGKAWI

- Words and photos do it no justice. Need I say more? You must see for yourself!
- It is a resort island and although language barriers were a slight issue at our resort, I would highly recommend Berjaya's junior water chalets. A house on stilts! Over glittering waters! Why not??
- Dinner at a restaurant over water while being serenaded, and viewing a completely unadulterated sunset...why not?

- Buffet breakfast, swim-up bar in the swanky pool, water sports, private beaches.
- The resort was so large we needed a shuttle to get around! Free and almost instantly outside your chalet when you lift the phone of the receiver...
- We had a spa treatment as part of our special accomodation package: Mr PDiddy highly recommends the relaxing massage, while Tam would highly recommend the manicure/pedicure and the cocoa/coffee bean body scrub! Smells delicious and feels heavenly!

- A 2h bumpy speedboat ride (it felt very James Bond) from Langkawi to Koh Lipeh (Thailand) is a must try if you would like to snorkel and soak up some serious sun.


KOH LIPEH


- Can you smell the sun, sand and sea already?

- The Swedish tourists were all over it!

3 comments:

Leanne said...

Amazing post! And great pictures!

Rock'n Roll Ballerina said...

Faboulus picktures! Love it! :)

Flit About said...

My oh my!!! You outdid yourself with this post!I not only want to go to Malaysia now, I want to stay there forever. I can see that just a few days in KL will not be enough, these beautiful beaches are mandatory. You must have been in heaven there!! I soooo wanna go now. It hurts.

Thanks so much for sharing, Mannequin!