Golden Week: Malaysia

Petronas Towers in KL

This year for Golden Week I went to Malaysia for 10 days. I wasn’t sure where to go and booked my flights quite late, but was glad to find a great country to go to for a low price. Perfect!

I went to Malaysia via Hong Kong, however I wasn’t there long enough to see much more than the buildings in Macau from the airport. I have to say though that Hong Kong looks pretty interesting and modern. Having many friends working/living there I should definitely take advantage and go visit them. Anyways I made it into Kuala Lumpur, jumped on a taxi and made it to my hostel in the middle of Downtown Kuala Lumpur.

The first night I just crashed but the next day I woke up bright and early and just began walking all over. I did a couple of walking tours by myself. I walked around Downtown, I visited a couple of mosques, got lost more than a couple of times, found my way again and continued on my way. I also went to the market and began to fill up my suitcase! I think I can say that I am not a big shopper. Most of the times that I have gone to the shopping mall in Niihama, I have walked empty handed. I’m a pretty picky shopper, but every time I go to Southeast Asia I can’t stop shopping. I love how colourful everything is, and I love the fabrics, designs, and choice of the clothing and accessories. So, needless to say on my way back to Japan my suitcase broke!

I was also very excited about this trip because I would be able to meet with a couple of friends from my time in Niseko, Hokkaido. I met with both Yui and Michelle. It was fantastic to see them both, even if it was a little odd to see them wearing flip flops and shorts instead of our eternal ski jackets and toque uniform that we donned for 4 months straight. Yui’s family actually lives in KL, so she was our tour guide of sorts. We had lunch together and then we headed to Michelle’s place of residence in KL, the Hilton Kuala Lumpur. I asked her how on earth could she be there, but she reminded me about a friend’s of hers who are good customers of the Hilton and do they offered her the stay. Even better? Michelle offered me to stay with her too, so this is how I spent 1 night at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur and if I may say so myself, it was incredible! We went swimming on the pool, had dinner at the executive lounge (it was actually something similar to ‘happy hour’ but there was so much food, we decided to make it dinner), and the best part was the super comfy bed. I have to say those hotels have some very comfy beds… wait no the best part was the free buffet style breakfast. They had everything: fruits, juices, toast, french toast, pancakes, syrups, baked goods, the works. I ate so much I thought I wouldn’t have any more food for the rest of the day.

A market in Downtown KL

Yet, we had to say a big Thank You to the family who let us stay there for the night, so we went to visit them at their condominium right besides the Twin Towers. Well, we were to meet them for lunch, but we couldn’t possibly eat anymore! Yet, for round two we had steak, mashed potatoes, friend potatoes, gravy, it was like a Christmas dinner, and I felt terrible because I just couldn’t possibly eat anymore. That day we also went to the club and went swimming and ended up spending the whole day in their company. They were incredibly generous with us but at the end of a very busy day, Michelle and I got back on the subway and headed towards our own hostels. So the rest of my adventure continued.

Sunset in Langkawi

After KL, I took a plane to the beautiful island of Langkawi. Langkawi means eagle in Malay language and there are hundreds of eagles living here. Langkawi also has beautiful beaches, awesome food and relax feeling. Every morning I would buy fresh fruit, water, and walk down to the beach with my book and iPod ready to enjoy the sun. I went swimming, I tanned and I went on 2 tours. The first one I went on a mangrove tour, with a bunch of cool people. We went to a couple of fish farms, planted our own mangroves, went into a bat cave and never saw an alligator, but had the best meal of the whole trip. Fried fish that was caught just a few minutes earlier, a lot of fruits and veggies and a ton of local cuisine. I had a lot of fun! The second tour was not really a tour. A guy from Korea wanted to go up the gondola on the other side of the island. So I hopped on the back of a motorcycle and went up with him. We made sure to go early but the line was so long by the time we got there, but the wait was totally worth it. We got the best view of the island from up there and it was exciting to walk on the suspended bridge. Maybe a little scary, since some of the gaps were a little big and I thought I was going to fall right through. The funny part was some of the children looking excited going up but then as soon as they stepped on the bridge would begin screaming from how scared they were. Well, I thought it was a little funny.

Well holidays always come to an end, and soon enough I was arriving back in Osaka. Unfortunately I arrived on the last day of the Golden Week holidays and the highway was packed, so it took me an extra 2 hours to get back to Niihama. Once I was home, though I was happy to be back and relaxed after a 10 days holidays. Malaysia was lovely, and I would certainly recommend it as a place to visit. The people are warm and accommodating,  the food is fantastic and the culture is fascinating. A mixture of hinduism and Islam together with a big Chinese presence it was definitely a great learning experience.

A mosque in KL

The infamous fish foot massage. Don't think I'll be doing that again...