After a week in Borneo, I spent just over a week in Malaysian mainland, arriving first into the capital Kuala Lumpur quite late at night. The following day we got up early to go exploring, and already even at that time although it was overcast, it was really muggy and hot! Our first stop was the Petronas Towers, KL’s famous landmark. When we reached the towers, they were actually huge and pretty impressive! As with many tourist attractions there was a lot of people trying to sell you things at the bottom so you had to stay aware as you took photos. We then ventured inside the mall underneath the Towers, which was really fancy and had such a good array of shops, both designer and normal. Amongst them we found a little M&S food hall which was quite unexpected in Malaysia!
That afternoon, we caught a bus to the Chinatown and the huge Old Central Market to see all the shops and market stalls there, where we wandered around for a while. Later after heading back to the hostel to freshen up, we went for dinner on one of the really cheap streets near our hostel. We found an amazing Indian (they are big on Indian food in Malaysia) and my friend and I shared some curries, and different flavoured roti. They were SO good! After dinner, we walked to a helipad which has a bar right on the top. It was actually a really cool bar- we bought some cocktails and watched the sun set. It was pretty big so fitted a lot of people up there, with just a small railing to stop people falling off haha, classic Asia. It also had a great view of the Petronas Towers from a similar height! After that we got a taxi back to a nearby hostel with a really fun rooftop bar called Reggae mansion. We got chatting to the hostel owner as you do, and he offered to drive us to a club in his car (one of those questionable decisions you make travelling). Turns out this guy owned the majority of the clubs in Kuala Lumpur, and knew which one gave free drinks and when! It was a good but hazy night!
I was meant to stay in KL an extra day but I felt like I’d seen everyone I wanted to see, and wanted to leave- especially as it was another cloudy/ muggy day! I shared a taxi to the bus terminal with two boys from my hostel, and we bought our tickets to Penang. We had to wait for such a long time because all the buses were running late. However when we finally boarded our bus, not only were our seats were quite spacious but it was quite nice to take a bus during daytime for a change because you see so much scenery! It took about five hours to get there, and by the time we got near the Penang bridge, it was dark and we had to swap over on to another bus to take us the last bit. I shared a taxi with the same boys to their hostel as I hadn’t booked one, but it turned out to be really nice. We put our stuff down and went out and found some ridiculously cheap street food. Penang is famous for having some of the best food in South East Asia so I was very excited to try as much as possible!
The following day, I got up early ready to explore. I had been given a useful map by the with all the famous Penang street art spots and good places to eat. The boys joined me and we set off to visit the street art- or rather I followed the map and the boys followed me. Penang kind of reminded me of Hoi An in Vietnam, but was just slightly less pretty. The street art was pretty cool but just very worn looking from tons of people touching it everyday and also at each one there was always a queue of tourists waiting to get a photo. We stumbled upon a big food court and I tried the Nasi Lemak, one of the dishes they recommend in Penang and it was so good! It was so so hot walking around, so we headed to the edge of the town and found a tiny little beach (Penang doesn’t technically have a beach) and swum in the sea for ages trying to cool down. On the way back to the hostel, we made a detour through Little India, a huge Indian themed area, and got some amazing garlic roti and spicy curry for literally £1 each and it tasted absolutely amazing. The following day, we were all leaving Penang so I said goodbye to the boys and had one more walk round the city and found a huge shopping mall to waste some time in before my bus to the Perhentians, my next destination.
The Perhentian Islands
taxi pickup for the Perhentians bus came around 7ish and took me to a bus terminal. When the bus finally came it was initially empty, so we all spread out, but then as the journey continued it made a million stops and picked tons of people up. To make matters worse, it then dropped a small group of us in the middle of nowhere at 4am in some dodgy bus station, telling us that was where we got off for the Perhentians. It was so creepy and dark and weird men kept coming up and telling us different things, like to get in their car and they will take us to the port. We felt very vulnerable! One of those horrible travelling moments that you just wish to be over. Finally a ticket booth opened and an actual member of staff took us to his office in his bus, which felt safer but also turned out to be a con. I got lucky and managed to find another boat owner leaving immediately so the group I was joined that boat.
The boat trip was about an hour and when we finally arrived, it was worth every minute of stress. The Perhentian Islands were just next level gorgeous. I stayed on Perhentian Kecil which is the big island (and the one with more accommodation/ bars) and it had just the most incredible scenery. I planned to spend a few days there just relaxing because I had absolutely no more money left, and knew I had a few days in expensive Singapore to pay for! So I just spent my time there on the beach working on my tan (it was almost too hot), swapping between the two beaches on each side of the island which were both easily accesible through a footpath. In the evenings, the dive clubs were showing films for free which was really nice- you just had to buy a drink and obviously meant I was spending less money than a night out!
One of the days, I did a snorkelling trip which was lovely because you could see even more of the islands and beaches- it was all so beautiful. On my last day there my mum had caught on to the fact I had no money and sent me some so I could do some diving there, because it was a cheap place to dive! It was also a good place to dive with around twenty five dive sites. So I signed up with Panorama Dive School and went out twice- they were both good dives and I saw a huge variety of fish, including some enormous hump head parrot fish. I really just didn’t want to leave these islands! Its definitely one place I would go back to in a shot!