Starting off with my new found posse in JB Malaysia had hope…then I got to KL…where they lost my hostel reservation and put me in a single room which was really a closet with a bed…a sheet-less bed that had blood stains on it and creeked…never mind the fact that I couldn’t fit my backpack on the floor beside the bed. Better yet the showers didn’t exactly work….so the guy told me to use the water from the ‘rinse your ass’ bucket to bathe myself…NOT. A. CHANCE. The best solution? Walk around, find cheep food, buy lots of it. Get into a food coma so you don’t know you’re passed out on the most disgusting bed ever.
That being said I did have the best pork bun ever. Unfortunately I didn’t even see very much of KL because it’s probably one of the least walkable cities I’ve visited (even google says so)! Anyhow then I was conned into losing a day of my life on the bus because they told me I’d be saving 15 ringgitt (like 5 bucks) to connect in Ipoh on my way to the highlands…turns out I saved 2 so like a dollar…and spent 4 hours in Ipoh, and was on the world’s slowest bus to the highlands.
Cameron highlands were nice…not so hot and humid, and thus swamped with Dengue carrying mosquitoes. Once I got the courage to go hiking I picked the most difficult route, hiked for an hour….realized if it rained I’d die and spent 2 hours climbing down. I also froze to death at night…I know that’s a whimpy thing to say for a Canadian but they don’t have heat or insulation..so if it’s 10 degrees outside that’s what it is inside! I did book another night purely because I had good wifi….and pay for a Starbucks coffee to steal copious amounts of toilet paper and paper towel..
My new hostel inquiry: Do you have wifi? Breakfast? And Toilet paper?
Headed off to Penang-food capital of SE Asia! Decided to ‘splurge’ on the hostel’s bus because I couldn’t have been bothered to go through the same shenanigans….might I also add that Lonely Planet’s portion of Malaysia in on a shoestring is ridiculously out of date.
Anyway, Penang…spent the first night at muntri house where they rationed everything…free coffee and tea all day meant actually one cup with breakfast…free breakfast, I got one tiny serving of noodles, then they brought out toast and watermelon, they said no seconds…..all you can eat in one serving, so the other guy had a bag and bagged noodles for later….but that didn’t matter, then they told me I took too long a shower….so we checked outta that joint. Might I add that the online posting said sausage, egg, toast, fruit, coffee/tea as breakfast…SO unimpressed. So I hobbled down the road and ‘splurged’ 10 dollars to stay at Reggae House on Love Lane and had a great time. The beds were like pods, you had a GREAT mattress and pillow, they were beds built into the wall..no noisy bunks, air con, free filtered water, light, 2 sockets, mirrors, a fold out desk…pure luxury. Additionally it’s partner bar Reggae mansion has FREE drinks for ladies from 6-10 nightly….defo a great time! And breakfast was actually good!
Penang was a solid one. I’m considering returning to work as a promoter for the hostel. I have never had such amazing Indian food!! I also decided that the India visa was way too complicated…which was convenient for not feeling guilty for eating it. They also had guides to Penang’s street food which was amazing…Curry Mee….and chicken and egg curry noodle soup remains my favourite…and is often only 1 dollar. There’s also Cendol, which has pandan noodles (a sweet pea) coconut milk, shaved ice, beans, and syrup…So refreshing! And then a bunch of stir fry noodle situations….but ahhh biryani rice in little india….amazing. I also found a great indian place off of Penang Rd, I think it was called Fast Lane or something….anyway its down an ally just off of the junction between Chiulia and Penang Rd close to #117? Oh! And laksa….a bit disappointing but the flagship Penang food…I also tried Rojak and hated it. It’s similar to a veggie salad I had in Indonesia but the salt content in the penutty sauce they put on fruit was about 20 times more. I also had orange wafer cookies dipped in chocolate…and SO many samosas. I also helped make a couple samosas…beyond amazing. Anyway….I am getting hungry and feeling fat at the same time as I remember allllllll I ate in Penang.
Which is why I chose to hike Penang hill….then got to Penang hill, looked at the steep incline of the 5km walk, and how sweat was beading off my arms from walking 100m from the bus and peaced out. If you chose to walk it you are committed as the train goes from a separate entrance—just saying.
Went for great Indian food last night for my last night, which was 8Ringitt (3 bucks)…’splurging’ but so good, chicken masala wrapped in a thala with other sorts of breads, sauces, and a deep fried banana dessert. Then my friend Max and I walked the esplanade—a MUST do at night. The colonial buildings are beautifully lit! We also followed the road towards batu ferrengi (Penang’s beach) and were able to cut in at the Eastern & Oriental hotel and walk their perfectly groomed promenade for an hour where we basically forgot we were in the chaos and questionable hygiene in Asia.
We got back to the hostel, met a German guy who’s intro was “Ya, my friends make fun of me for riding a single speed bike, wearing plaid, and rolling cigarettes because it’s so hipster…but I’m not a hipster—I did it first”….
Anywayyyy I’m typing from the second leg of my 10 hour journey into Thailand to Krabi town to go for a climb in Railay. The first bus was a time. 2 Americans, an English girl and myself swapped stories for a few hours and had a seamless transfer over the Thai border….this bus however has no aircon and very un-breathable vinyl seats. I reallllly need to do laundry…and start booking places to stay before I get there. Here’s fingers crossed to there being decent prices at the beach.
I’m actually so excited to get on the beach. I ‘ve completely lost my perfect aussie tan and traded it in for a tourist farmers tan…the good news, the 100 dollar cream I got sampled in Singapore has completely fixed my skin and although it is increasingly hot, humidity is becoming slightly more manageable.
Over all Malaysia was sweet…only because Penang ended it on such a sweet note…but otherwise I found the people (besides the gentleman’s club) to be quite rude, pushy, and on a mission to con. The indian men groping me everywhere in KL was also not optimal. OH I also got a foot reflexology massage in KL…worst decision ever, he had tools that were excruciating and left my shins bruised….definitely should have waited to save 10R in Penang and support one of their many programs where they train the blind to do massages.