He says, she says – Malaysia

7 October – 19 October

12 days

Places visited: Penang, Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur

Most favourite place:
Charlie: I think me and Lisa both agree that Langkawi is our favourite place we visited, the island is massively laid back and offered loads to do, a personal highlight being the waterfalls! Oh and the cheap booze really was a cherry on top.

Lisa: Langkawi was definitely my favourite but I’m a sucker for a beach! It was beautiful but not only for its beach, its full of nature and really feels like a little spot of paradise. I could have easily spent longer there.

Least favourite place:
Charlie: Kuala Lumpur, the city isn’t unpleasant in any way, it’s super clean and modern but I think this is why I least preferred it. Also finding food here was harder than you’d think. On a side note avoid the KFC!

Lisa: Kuala Lumpur was my least favourite. It’s really not my type of city. It’s quite expensive and built up for either business or shopping which we weren’t there to do either of. It’s nice to walk around and Batu caves was interesting but I wouldn’t rush back there.

Most favourite dish:
Charlie: For me it will be no surprise to some that it’s the fried rice. The village fried rice had anchovies mixed in which added some flavours! Also I managed to get my hands on a Guinness most days which counts, right?

Lisa: I liked the hawker food courts in Georgetown, Penang. I loved the variety and that you could order a little bit from a few different stalls. My favourite was the dumplings stall.

Best experience:
Charlie: The day spent visiting the waterfalls in Langkawi was my favourite, and the first waterfall of our trip!

Lisa: The day we hired a bike in Langkawi and went to one of the nicest waterfalls I’ve ever seen. It was gorgeous and it was so cool watching the locals climb up the rocks of the waterfall with shampoo to wash their hair!

Worst experience:
Charlie: We didn’t have and particularly bad days so this means anything I write isn’t too bad, but I’d say the Time Capsule Hotel. The hotel was fine and clean but the TV didn’t work which essentially means we were sat in a neon clad box scrolling our phones.

Lisa: We were lucky that we really didn’t have anything bad happen to us.

Something you will miss:
Charlie: At least for the next few months I’ll miss the Guinness but that doesn’t really count. I think I’ll miss the sunsets on Langkawi as well as the hawker markets for their ease and variety.

Lisa: I will miss the hawker food courts, they are really fun and there’s always something you fancy or something new to try.

Something you won’t miss:
Charlie: I won’t miss the hassle of finding our next meal but I’m sure that’s going to happen again over the coming months!

Lisa: The cost of the food. Other than when we were in Penang, I didn’t find that eating cheap was often that nice or easy to find.

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Kuala Lumpur

We arrived into Kuala Lumpur late at night and got the star shuttle bus from the airport as it was only 11 riggits each. Luckily we had decided to stay in Chinatown and the hotel was only a couple of minutes from the bus. We dumped our bags and headed out for a late dinner down Chinatown. We were immediately drawn in by the lanterns and stalls that lined the street.img_0739It didn’t take us long before we realised all the stalls were selling the same crap and that walking around constantly getting bumper into when you aren’t actually interested in buying anything was more infuriating that the walk was worth. Luckily we found a little restaurant and settled for a fried rice and noodles. It was average but for some reason we went there again the next night which was interesting cause their kitchen caught on fire.

We spent our days walking around exploring. It is a huge business hub and a shoppers paradise. Not being on business or able to shop left us a little lost. The only time we stepped foot in the posh shopping malls was for groceries and a pizza. Kuala Lumpur is quite expensive so sticking to our budget meant we had to be selective on how to fill our days. Petronas Towers were very impressive though and they had a water fountain show in the evenings which was really fun.img_0741img_0740After two nights in Chinatown we moved to a posher part of town near the Petronas Towers. Charlie had received an Airbnb discount code which took £50 off so we booked a studio apartment for our last two nights. This meant we could cook, do washing and have a couple of quiet nights before we flew India.

We took a day trip out to Batu Caves which was great. Unfortunately there was a lot of construction going on which we later found out was due to the government paying a lot of money to have it expanded due to the amount of locals and tourists that visit it. It’s the only free thing left to do in Kuala Lumpur. There were so many monkeys at the caves so Charlie had fun photographing them whilst I kept running away scared.

Overall we liked our stay in Kuala Lumpur but I don’t think I would rush back. I much preferred the vibe of both Georgetown and Langkawi and would rather head back to one of them.

Tax free beer and stunning waterfalls in Langkawi

I had read that Langkawi was home to some beautiful beaches before we arrived and we decided to stay near Chenang beach at a place called Rainbow Lodge. It was probably one of the worst rooms we’ve stayed in so far but the location was pretty perfect. img_0713Not only were we close to a gorgeous beach but across the road from our accommodation was some nice green land which had a mumma cow and its baby cows!img_0712Oh and we had a hammock so all was not as awful as the interior. img_0710The sunsets in Langkawi were the best we’ve had on our trip so far! Each night the sunset was different so we enjoyed going down to the beach every night and seeing what was in store for us! Beer is also super cheap as Langkawi is a duty free location. £0.50p for a tiger beer or a Guinness meant we were taking full advantage of afternoon/sunset beers. It’s an easy place to fall into full relaxation mode!

One of the days we hired a scooter and road around half of the island visiting waterfalls. One in particular (Temurun Waterfall) was breathtaking! It was around 200m tall and had a lagoon type pool at the bottom.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0610.While we were there taking in the view a group of young local boys started climbing really high up the waterfall and then got out soap and shampoo and started washing themselves. They then took turns diving into the bottom.img_0711Langkawi was a nice relaxing few days and there is loads of fun things to do there. Sadly we didn’t get to do some of them as the weather was a little temperamental. It was overcast a lot of the time (except our day out to the waterfalls) so we didn’t get to do a boat trip to the caves or the skywalk as it was hidden in the clouds. Definitely somewhere I would love to visit again though.

Exploring the streets of Georgetown, Penang

After a short and very empty flight from Krabi we flew into Penang, Malaysia.img_0438At the airport we got a a rapid penang bus for £2 to take us into Georgetown and close to our accommodation. We stayed at the Grand Inn on Penang road which was quite cheap and was our first room with bunk beds (bunk beds were significantly cheaper than a double).img_0446We headed out for an explore of the city and visited the Protestant cemetery which was set up in the 18th-century and is home to the graves of individuals from the East India Tea Company. Walking around it and reading the tomb stones it was clear that many buried here died young which on further investigation was due to a severe outbreak of malaria after some of the forests in Penang were cleared.img_0702Another great site we visited in Penang was the Chinese Clan Jetties. These homes built on stilts are home to families who don’t have to pay tax because they don’t technically live on land. Pretty cleaver huh?img_0706We did a tour of an old Chinese mansion called Pinang Peranakan Mansion where a very lovely, knowledgable and funny local took us around the house and told us about the family who lived there. It was a beautiful house and was quite interesting to hear how the household ran and what their traditions were.img_0707We also visited the Khoo Kongsi house, however, it was a self guided tour and not quite as impressive as the Pinang Peranakan Mansion we did the day before.

We really didn’t know too much about Penang and the huge Chinese and Indian influence on it. You can immediately notice it as you arrive and walking around there are so many old buildings, shops and restaurants to prove this.

On one of our last few days we jumped on the bus for £0.80 and headed to Kek Lok Si temple which is said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. It was very impressive! It’s a large site with lots of temples and religious statues about to explore almost like a maze! It also offers some pretty spectacular views of Georgetown. img_0569img_0573img_0550On the way back a local lady pulled over on the road and told us where to get our bus from (how did she know?), she then mumbled some stuff we couldn’t understand and kept repeating something about Russell square and that she wanted to make us origami. She was strange and slightly crazy but we liked her. Sadly the bus turned up before she could make us anything.

We ate most nights at the hawker food courts which were set up like a food court where you sat at a numbered table then went to the stalls you wanted food from, ordered and gave them your table number. When your food arrived you paid. We loved the crispy duck stall and the dumpling stall at the Red Garden food court. We ate there every night except for one night when we tried the Northam Beach Cafe which was nice too but Red Garden was a stand out.

Our last night was spent at the Time Capsule Hotel which is a hostel with capsule/coffin style beds. It was fun for the experience and lucky for us we pretty much had the whole floor to ourselves so we really didn’t feel like we were even at a hostel that much.img_0594Penang was a great addition to our trip, we really didn’t know a lot about it before we arrived but quickly fell in love with its street art and trendy vibe. It’s got a lot of influence from a range of countries and cultures which makes it quite unique in Asia and a fun place to explore.img_0704img_0705img_0703img_0458