Friday, 27 November 2015

Your Trip to Malaysia....




Malaysia is a beautiful tourist destination and a haven for shopaholics, foodaholics, photographers and adventurers. I have been living in this beautiful country since 2009. Naturally a lot of people consult me before they plan their trip. Every alternate month I am typing the same information to send to a friend or a friend’s friend. In this blog I will tell you what Malaysia has to offer so that you can take control of your own trip.

Disclaimer: These are my personal choices which might be different from others. 



The weather remains 28 C to 35 C through out the year. It can rain anytime but without halting any activities. Do pack your flipflops! 

Kuala Lumpur is love: I think it is a must to stay in Kuala Lumpur. It is good if you can find a hotel near KLCC, Bukit Bintang or KL Central Area.  It will keep you connected to all important places. You can take taxis and trains to travel in the city. Download  and use the ‘Grab’ app. 

View of KL Skyline with majestic Petronas Twin Towers 
 A trip to Malaysia will be incomplete without seeing the Petronas Towers - my personal favourite. The towers are actually two office buildings connected by a mall called ‘Suria’. Linked to the towers is Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (KLCC) but the whole area is commonly referred as KLCC. Specially helpful when hiring a cab or giving instructions.  Suria mall is connected via a pedestrian link bridge to another mall called Pavilion which is one of the most posh malls in KL and is located at the most happening area called Bukit Bintang. Where you get to see life late night as all the malls close at 10pm sharp.  In KLCC you can see Aquaria and if you have children above 10, they can enjoy the Petronas Science Center. You can also go to the Sky Bridge that connects the two towers at 170m above the ground or the observation deck at 86th floor. You need to buy tickets by queuing early morning before the counter opens at 8:30am. There are several ways to take photograph with the towers at the back (Which is a must!)  but my favourite is from the KLCC park which is just behind the towers near dancing fountains. 

Once you are done with Petronas Towers, there are more touristy activities to do in KL There is the KL tower, Zoo Negara, National Museum, Islamic Arts Museum, National Mosque, Bird Park and Crafts Center that you can visit. You must go to Petaling Street (China Town) just for the experience of it even if you don’t like shopping. It is a small crowded street with fake designer bags, watches, belts, shoes etc. You really need excellent haggling skills to get good rates but you can also get scolded if you waste time of the shop keepers. Easier is to go to Berjaya Times Square and buy the same stuff at almost same prices without getting scolded. Berjaya Times Square also has an indoor theme park which is an added benefit.

If you are into water parks, Sunway lagoon is the place to be. I think it is quite a reasonable place with plenty of things to do. Next to it is a mall called Sunway Pyramid inspired by Egyptian Art.

Boh Tea Plantation, Cameron Highland 
Apart from these activities in KL, there are little cities near by that you can plan trips to. If you want peace and serenity, go to Cameron Highland which is a lush green hill station with cool weather and breathtaking beautiful tea plantations. As the only way to go to Cameron is 5 hours by a bus or taxi, I'd suggest that you stay overnight. The hotels in Cameron are beautiful and it is so cool that there are no air conditioners. You can also plan a day trip to Melacca, 2 hours drive from KL, which is my personal favourite place. It is a glorified China Town but with better shopping options and arty stuff. Photographers and artistic people specially enjoy it. There is weekend night market at Jonker Walk. In this area you will enjoy seeing one of the oldest mosque, a Hindu temple, a Buddhist temple and a church all within an area of 2km functioning in full harmony and peace.  There is also a floating mosque in Melacca. Genting highland is a cooler hill station with a theme park and casino. But it is currently closed for renovation so do check its website before planning to go there. Genting is 2 hours drive from KL but the most exciting way to reach is to take the cable car.    At a distance of one hour from KL, you can visit an open beach called Port Dickson. For those like me who are not too crazy about beaches, a day trip to PD saves you from the tan and heat. Putrajaya which is the federal capital of Malaysia is also an hour drive from KL. You will get to see the Prime Minister’s office and other state buildings. Putrjaya is a planned city and one of Malaysia’s biggest project.


View of Pangkor Beach from Pangkor Beach Resort
Beaches : If you are a beach lover, you can go to Langkawi. Book a good beach resort and relax. You can do fun water sports and other activities.  But if you are like me who doesn’t like beaches but still wants to have photographs at beach, you should go to Penang. Penang is a small island, UNESCO heritage site and a beach. There are numerous fun things to do in George Town (Penang) like Upside down museum, 3D museum or the famous wall paintings. And plus you can pose at Batu Ferringhi's beach. You can both fly or drive to Penang. From Penang you can fly or take a ferry to Langkawi. Or fly to Langkawi directly.

However these two beaches are very commercial. If you don’t want to follow the crowd and are a true beach lover do explore Pangkor, Redang, Tioman, Kuantan and Sabah. These are cleaner and more beautiful with clear water and plenty of amazing resorts. 

Masjid Wilaya, Kuala Lumpur 
Travel Photography: If you are into travel photography, you will love Penang, Melacca and China Town. You can visit temples, mosques and churches. Best Buddist temples are Thean Hou Temple in KL, Chin Swee Cave Temple on the way to Genting Highland. Best Hindu temple is Sri Maha Mariamman temple in KL. There is also the famous Batu Caves in KL. It is a huge open temple with 272 very steep steps. On those steps you will have to save yourself from the monkeys who sometime ago used to only snatch water bottles and food from passersby but recently have been seen hissing at kids. Best Mosques are National Mosque, Masjid Wilaya in KL, Masjid Putra in Putrajaya, Masjid Selat Melaka; floating mosque in Melacca and The blue mosque of Shah Alam in KL. 

Shopaholics: If you are a shopaholic, you must go to Suria KLCC, Pavilion and Mid Valley Mega mall for all designer outlets etc. You can go to KL Central Market to buy traditional gifts for friends back home. You can also go to Berjaya Times Square for local clothes, bags and shoes or enjoy your day away at China Town. Mitsui outlet shopping mall near airport is also an interesting experience. If there is a lot of shopping that needs to be done, add Johor Bahru (5 hours drive from KL or 45 mins flight) in your itinerary where there is bigger and better outlet mall plus you can also see Legoland. There is nothing much to see in Johor unless you have Singapore’s visa then you can simply take a 10 mins bus ride to Singapore. Make sure you have multiple entry visa for Malaysia or your flight for next destination is from Singapore. 

A typical banana leaf at Kanna Curry House 
Food, Fooder, Foodest: If you are a foodie like me….. Oh boy! Malaysia has so much food to offer. Majority of the food is halal unless otherwise stated. Pork-free food is also Halal but do ask for your own satisfaction. Chinese food is not Indian/Pakistani Chinese food.  Don’t feel disappointed. My favourite is Thai food. I love Tom Yam soup and steam boat/ hot pot. Try Absolute Thai which you can easily find in malls. You must also try the local banana leaf which is a rice based meal served on a banana leaf or something similar but not on a plate. My recommendation is Kanna Curry House or Ravi's in KL. Madam Kwan is good authentic Malaysian restaurant where you must try chicken or beef Rendang or chicken curry. My favourite burger place is Myburgerlab which has these amazing charcoal burgers to die for. There are many desi (in this blog Pakistani mainly) options like BBQ Tonight, BBQ Nights (please note the difference) and Asif Biryani in KL. BBQ Nights also has a branch in Penang. If you are really only desi food eater and there is none in sight, you can just walk into any road side small stall/restaurant and order tandoori chicken with naan.

Chaiiii - The life's potion: For a good cup of tea which I need right now after writing all this information….  go to ‘Old Town White Coffee’, you will find it in most of the malls. If you order their White Milk tea, it is closest to our Pakistani style doodh patti. The other good option is Teh Tarik or Teh Hot at any Papparich restaurant.  Don’t be offended when the waiter asks you if you’d like your tea with susu. Trust me and just say yes! At any local restaurant you can ask for Teh Tarik (Sweet susu tea made with condensed susu) or Teh Se (Tea made with fresh or evaporated susu). I hope you have understood what susu means in Malay. 

I will be soon updating more information about these and other ordinary places, food and activities. Stay connected. 

Leave your feedback in the comments & enjoy your trip :) 

All photographs courtesy www.ahsanqureshi.com 


9 comments:

  1. Haha wow! Great minds really do think alike. My recommendation list is exactly the same except with a few additions like I-city and the Putrajaya Cruise Ride.

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  2. I havent been to these two places. I will update my blog once I do. :)

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  3. Very detailed. Such a great help for anyone planning to travel.

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  4. I traveled to Kuching late last year and spend a few days there. I must say I had a great time even though I was alone and did not explore much (was there for a conference). I particularly loved the local cuisines, I had a dish made up of pork and noodles, cant recall the name now but I loved it.... And the flowers too

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    1. I have to go to Kuching soon... and next time you come here.. you know who to contact :)

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    2. I will definitely contact you, however I think I will come to KL.

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  5. Love KL 😊

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