Many backpackers/flashpackers for some reason leave Malaysia off their itineraries which in my opinion, is a mistake. It is possible to travel on a very low budget in Malaysia just like some of the other Southeast Asian countries on the backpacker trail. However, it is a good country to avoid the hordes of travelers on the well-beaten path countries of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
A short 2 hr. drive north on Peninsula Malaysia via a super comfortable bus from Malacca landed us in the bustling capital of Kuala Lumpur. (aka KL). Kuala Lumpur is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia. KL is filled with huge skyscrapers, the largest being the famous Petronas Towers. Petronas Towers, KL’s true claim to fame, were the tallest towers in the world in their day, and now clock in at, I believe number 5 or so. There are mega-malls all over KL and they are very popular with Malaysians, who don’t just go there to shop or eat. It’s a place to socialize and simply enjoy the air-conditioning as it’s steambath hot in this city. KL has a diverse range of restaurants, entertainment, bars, museums and markets catering to locals and visitors from around the world. It also has a great public transportation system to get you around the city efficiently to all points of interest.
We elected to stay in a boutique guesthouse in the popular Bukit Bintang area which is directly in the city centre but several blocks away from the concentrated massive high rise chain hotels. This is one of the few areas in the city centre that has not been torn down and replaced by the massive skyscrapers and still retains its laid back neighborhood ambiance from what I remember KL to look like 20 years ago. Unfortunately, soaring property values are causing old areas with character like this to be torn down and replaced with bland towers. The best part of our location is we were conveniently located one block from the biggest outdoor eating street on Jalon Alor which is a must visit when in KL. This street is a foodies paradise and steaming with action at dinner time.
Food is of a very high standard and you can eat really cheaply throughout KL which is exactly what we have done. One of the strangest things we noticed while eating was that many locals eat with their hands and with no silverware whatsoever! Just imagine going to a buffet and making a plate full of assorted food items. Now, take a combination of those food items, mix it around with your fingers and hands, then grab a chunk of it, roll it all into a ball like formation and then toss it in your mouth. Big Doug is down with eating like a caveman, but damn…..these people take caveman eating to another level. I have a friend who has perfected the art of caveman eating. In fact, his nickname is Caveman. These guys in KL could even school my Caveman friend.
We are flying back to Singapore for our 2 1/2 week housesit/dogsit and then back to Malaysia to cover a few more areas on Peninsula Malaysia that we missed. We are looking forward to the new year and have tentative plans to hit up a fascinating country few have visited but is sure to be on many people’s travel itineraries in the future……Myanmar (aka Burma). I feel it is a must to visit now as Myanmar recently opened up its borders to tourists and it’s the last Southeast Asian country without tons of tourists around. However, this is now quickly changing at a very fast pace and many backpackers are racing towards Myanmar in order to glimpse ‘The Asia of thirty years ago’. Tourism has doubled every year in the past 5 years, and more than one million visitors were expected in 2015. We must check it out now before the flood gates open and it too gets built up like all of its neighboring countries.
Cu Cha Restaurant (Jalon Alor Eating Street), Pinchos Tapas Bar, Dragon-I, Food Republic @ Pavillion Mall, Lot 10, Suria KLCC @ Petronas
LOOSE STOOLS INDEX – 9 (Everything is cool with BFD’s bowels but Barbie’s be slipping)
THRU THE BINOCS –
Hope you have been having a great holiday and wish you all a Happy New Year. My New Year’s resolution is to be more lazy in 2016. To indulge more heavily in the Art of Laziness. To master the art of being aimless and indolent. To relax even more, unwind more and just simply do less. I look forward to doing nothing in particular, continue to live in the moment and not think about the future. Sounds like a stoner but really just a more Zen-like existence. Do not underestimate how difficult this is to do.