When you think of Southeast Asia you usually think of Thailand, Vietnam, and The Philippines. These are by far the most popular hot spots for backpackers. However, just a hop, jump, and skip away is Malaysia! I’d like to enlighten y’all on my trip to this beautiful country because it deserves a little credit. I mean, a lot! As well as my detour to Singapore for a two day pit stop with my boyfriend.
Malaysia is located south of Thailand on the Malay Peninsula. Literally so close that you can jet ski to one of the Thai islands nearby. Although they share the same peninsula, Malaysia and Thailand look and feel very different. And on the most southern tip of this peninsula lies Singapore. An even more different and special country!
We started our trip at 3 o’clock in the morning. Some of us sleepy from a short nap, and some of us a little drunk from the night before. Thankfully all seven of us made it on our flight, and just six hours later we were in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia!
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
First off, I’d like to apologize to the city of KL because I had the assumption that this place was going to be the Bangkok of Malaysia (kinda sucky) and I was so wrong! We arrived in the afternoon and hopped in a taxi van to our hostel, and it was apparent from the ride to the hostel that KL was going to surprise us in a good way. It was so much prettier and cleaner than we all expected!
We stayed at the Mingle Hostel, which was located in Chinatown. Yes, we left China to stay in a hostel in Chinatown, but it was so fun and a really popular area for young travelers. We stayed in KL for two days and two nights which gave us plenty of time to hang out and do touristy things. After we dropped our bags off out our cute and trendy hostel, we went out to explore chinatown and do some bargain shopping, and made our way back to the hostel to clean up before hitting the bar area for drinks and dinner. We spent the next day at a rooftop pool, hiking up the stairs at the Batu Caves, and having a photo op at the Petronas Twin Towers.
Kuala Lumpur is underrated and shouldn’t be missed! If you find yourself there because of a long layover, then you should get out and see it.
It was a pure coincidence that Christian and I landed in Singapore on Valentine’s Day, but we took advantage of it and had ourselves a fabulous time! We decided to be fancy and stay at The Westin, which was of course an amazing hotel. Our room, and even our bathtub, had an incredible view of the harbor, but the most incredible thing about this hotel was that they provided us with a cell phone. A freaking cell phone with data and taxi apps and stuff! Super fancy.
We continued the fanciness with a Valentine’s dinner at the Salt Grill & Sky Bar, which is located on the 55th floor of a building with a crazy panoramic view, delicious food, and lots and lots of wine. The next day was spent sleeping in and enjoying our hotel pool, walking around the area, and finishing the day observing the two conservatories, the flower dome and the cloud forest, at the Gardens by the Bay.
Something I found very interesting about Singapore is that they don’t allow gum chewing in public. In order to prevent the streets from getting filled with yucky sticky gum, they have a law that prevents you from chewing. Interesting right? The kids will never know what it’s like to pop a bubble of gum on their face.
Next, it was back to Malaysia, but this time Langawi! Langawi is an island off of the Northwest side of the country. Before researching Malaysia, I had no idea this island existed. It’s more conservative than Thailand and there are way way less backpackers. We were on this island for 10 days with friends from Beijing and a few visitors from Texas. We had plenty of time for us to do as much as we could afford. Though I was ballin’ on a budget, I found different ways to save money, and I splurged when I thought it’d be worth it. The good thing about staying on an island is that the beaches are a fun free thing to do, and Langkawi has multiple beautiful beaches to visit. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out on the beach because I desperately needed a tan (the Beijing winter is to blame)! So while me and all the girls laid out, the boys played frisbee and chugged beers (of course). For my friend Kara’s 25th birthday we did a dinner cruise around the island. The boys decided it was a good idea to dress up in all white for the cruise because they wanted to look cool and breezy. In the end, they ended up looking like the Backstreet Boys from the the Millennium album. It was quite the sight. On our last full day on the island, we rented jetskis and went island hopping. Our tour guide was a super chill island man and encouraged us to ride full speed ahead. It was exhilarating and freeing! 10 times cooler than jetskiing on the lake (and I love the lake). A few other highlight moments were motor biking around the island, riding a really steep cable car up to a beautiful sky bridge and view, rooftop dinners, and fire shows on the beach.
Two weeks flew by and before we knew it our vacation was over. My least favorite part about vacations is that they have to end… But another one is always right around the corner!!