Meandering through Malaysia

I just spent almost three weeks in Malaysia with a Singapore chaser, and it was a most grand adventure.  Our trip took us criss-crossing the nation – we visited beaches, highlands, port towns, and cities.  We ate mee goreng, nonya laksa, hummus, paneer masala and vegan sushi. We stayed some fantastic and cheap hostels and some expensive and aweful hotels.  We searched for a “decent” cup of coffee, and failed.

I was lucky enough to have a very organized and studious travel companion.  She did all the research, planned our route, picked our accommodations, and selected the restaurants.  It was so nice to be so uninvolved.

Before I go on, here are a few quick facts about Malaysia.  About 31 million people live in Malaysia.  Half are Malay, with large groups of Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indian, and some indigenous people.  To be considered Malay, you must be Muslim, therefore 60% of the population is Sunni Muslim, with 20% Buddhist, 10% Christian, and 6% Hindu.  The Malay language uses the Latin alphabet so words like central become “sentral”, and signs are easy for us anglophones to read. Malaysian English is widely used, so we only had the occasional communication problem.

Langkawi – An island in the Andaman Sea is mostly known for good but not great beaches, and being a duty-free zone.  Yay for booze and smokes. Read more here.

Penang Island – George Town is a lovely seaside town, made particular charming by it’s street art and Batu Ferringhi has lovely beaches with a relaxed atmosphere.

Perhentian Islands – A pair of islands in the South China Sea has rave reviews for it’s world class snorkeling, and also the worst accommodations and food of our entire trip.

Cameron Highlands – High up in the hills you’ll find verdant tea plantations and cool temperatures.  Stunning vistas also allowed for a break from the melting heat.

Malacca – A former Portuguese colony, this port town has European architecture and egg tarts.

Kuala Lumpur – Everything you want in a big city.  Shopping, a really tall building, food, and efficient public transportation.

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