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Malaysia

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Melaka, a city with a mix of old heritage and modern living combined into one. In 2008 the historical center in Melaka earned its UNESCO World Heritage City title. IT’s since become a popular destination for the day and weekend trips due to its proximity to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. If you are looking to divulge yourself in the ultimate cultural experience and make the most of what Malaysia has to offer, then you’ll defiantly want to visit Melaka.

Transportation
Getting to Melaka is incredibly easy. You can take a 2-hour bus ride from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka Sentral, or a 4-hour bus from Singapore.

By far the best way to travel around the city is to walk. Most of the major tourist attractions are within walking distance from each other, and by walking, you will discover less known hidden gems. If you’re looking for something a bit more exciting, why not cycle around the city. Many hotels off rental bikes for their guests and there are even cycling tour groups.

For a different look at the city, take part I the River cruise journey. During your 45-minute sightseeing cruise, you will float past historical buildings, old and ruined warehouses and be able to view the stunning graffiti street art. If you would prefer to keep your feet on dry land but are looking for a unique way of traveling, try a trishaw. A trishaw is a small colorfully decorated vehicle with three wheels and a pedal.

Where to Stay
There are many different types of accommodation available in Melaka depending on your budget, from hostels, guesthouses to fancy hostels, you’ll find the perfect lodging for you. If you have a larger spending budget, then check out the Settlement Hotel.

Located on Jalan Ujong Pasir, The Settlement Hotel is a beautiful refurbished ex-government building. It is a stunning four-star boutique hotel that is incredibly unique; you will remember your stay in this hotel. If you need to make your money stretch, then consider staying in a hostel. There are many different hostels available all over the city with different types of rooms available and are often under $10.

Places for Foodies

If you are looking for a fun and cultural experience, visit Jonker Walk Night Market. While walking the bustling streets, you will be surrounded by mouth-watering street food, fortune tellers, souvenirs, craft, and clothing stalls. Anything you could think of, you’ll no doubtingly find at this market.

13 States of Coffee is the best coffee shop in Melaka with coffee themed after the 13 Melaka states. Trust me, after traveling through Southeast Asia, you’ll quickly realize how hard a good cup of coffee is hard to come by. They also have laid back artsy atmosphere for doing some computer work.

No matter what food you are craving, you’ll find it in Melaka. They offer a vast variety of cuisines such as Chinese, Malay, and Portuguese. If you’re looking to be adventurous and try something new Melaka is the perfect place to expand your taste buds.

Activities to Consider


Be sure to take advantage of Melaka’s most Instragrammable spot by visiting the Kiehl’s Wall Mural. The vibrant colors as your background make this your next perfect profile picture.

During your stay in Melaka, you should make some time to visit Stadthuys and Christ Church. This bright red, giant-sized building was built when the Dutch ruled over Melaka in 1641. This neighborhood is a trendy area for tourists due to the museums and churches in the area. The strictly red building is a sight that shouldn’t go unmissed.

Another site that shouldn’t go unmissed is Malacca Sultanate Palace. Right next to the A’Famosa Fort, the Malacca Sultanate Palace is a replica of how it would have looked during the early years of Malacca Sultanate in 1500. It’s now a museum and displays stories and legends of the Malay Kingdom. This museum is one of a kind and should be on your list of places to consider in Melaka.

Okay, first it was fish spas, and now it’s frog-licking spas! I thought I’ve seen (and felt) it all until I was in a tiny little historic town of Malacca, Malaysia.

My Croatian friend and I decided to get dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It’s alfresco dining and what I found the strangest is they have an aquarium perched on a table for those who felt like eating frogs. I can’t complain too much because I’ve eaten frog legs in France, Utah, and California. But you can’t help but see them hanging out helplessly in an aquarium before it takes you back to your 5th-grade science class where you were forced to dissect them or get a failing grade.

Oops, I’m derailing… the frogs. So we are about to eat before the Chinese lady saw us checking out the frog aquarium and asked if I’d like to visit their frog-licking spa. I’m thinking, “WTF??” But you can’t help but be curious! So I say, okay, sign me up! I pay her 16 ringgit for a 20-minute session of frog licking my feet.

She guides me to the back of her shop away from the kitchen, and there were four chairs with frog aquariums sitting on the ground. WTF?? Am I supposed to drop my feet in that nasty aquarium? My friend is laughing hysterically as I’m cry-laughing again. See my fish post.

So I sit down, and she washes my feet off first and then rubs it down with some sort of honey asks me to set my feet in an aquarium with about four frogs about the size of my two fists put together. This is SO WEIRD. But, wait, she’s not done! She puts the lid on the top leaving so only my legs were covered and then brings out a jar of flies! No fucking way. She can’t be serious. But before I knew it, she opened the jar of flies and let them all fly out into the frog aquarium! The flies started getting stuck on my honey feet, and then the frogs began going crazy and licking the hell out of my feet trying to catch the flies. OMFG!! Their tongues are like cats! Sandpaper and yet slithery like a snake. This is the most disgusting thing I have ever done. I keep trying to get up but my friend holds me down, and surely after 10 minutes I was out! DONE.

Afterward, she took my feet out and rubbed it down in some aromatherapy water. My feet actually felt really soft like the flies removed all the dead skin. AMAZING!

There is no moral to the story, but if you want to see it in action, you are the weirdest person ever. April Fool’s Day!! 

Kuala Lumpur is one of the top destinations in Asia. It is the home of the beautiful Petronas Towers and other tourist attractions such as the Menara KL tower, Jalan Petaling, Batu Caves, Sultan Abdul Samal building, the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, and many other attractions.
Here are a few things you ought to know before you go to the diverse city of Kuala Lumpur.

From the Airport
You can take the Kuala Lumpur shuttle from the airport for $3. You can also take the taxi which will cost you around $18.00 and would take about 50 minutes to get to the center of the city. If you want to travel in style, you can take the limo for about $94.
The currency used in Kuala Lumpur is called Malaysian Ringgit. You can do the currency exchange at the airport and also in other touristy spots around the city. You can buy Celcom (XPAX), Maxis (Hotlink), DiGi, and U Mobile SIM cards at the airport. These cards cost around $6.22 and come with free local texts and calls.

The KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) offers luggage storage services for the following rates:

Number of Days Price
1 to 6 days $4.48 per day
7 to 14 days $3.73 per day
15 to 24 days $3.23 per day

Getting Around Kuala Lumpur

To get around Kuala Lumpur, you can take the KL LRT (Light Rail Transit) or the KLIA express train service. You can buy an all-day LRT pass for only $1.74 or 7 RM. The traffic is really bad in Kuala Lumpur though so it’s best to avoid taxis and buses around 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and between 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. You can also rent a car and drive around the city. The taxi fare is 75 cents for the first two minutes and then the meter will charge you 5 cents every 45 seconds.

Kuala Lumpur Culture

Kuala Lumpur is the cultural center of Peninsular Malaysia. It is composed of three dominant races — Indians, Chinese, and Malays. Most Malaysians live in the outskirts. The national language of Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia which is a little similar to the Indonesian language. Malaysians love to weave fabrics and produce beautiful handicrafts.

Spots for Foodies and Adventure Seekers

If you’re a foodie, you should definitely visit the Golden Triangle or the Nasi Kandar Pelita which is located near the Petronas Towers. Nasi Kandar serves Indian Muslim foods such as curried cuttlefish, tangy beef rending, and pucuk paku (fern leaves).
If you’re the adventurous type, you should definitely do indoor rock climbing at Camp5 Climbing Gym. You could also try orbing ball at “First in Malaysia.” Other extreme activities include paintball or driving an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) at Extreme Park.

Malaysia is proud of its diversity. Not only is its culture and heritage a rich combination of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences, but its biodiversity is also something that lures visitors from all over the world. Beaches, forests, lakes, and mountain trails all abound in this beautiful nation.

It is no wonder that adventure travelers have a myriad of choices in Malaysia. They will never run out of exciting things to do. Here are the top three places that adventurers will surely love when travelling to this Asian destination:

GUNUNG MULU NATIONAL PARK

This magnificent park in Sarawak is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can go on jungle hikes, trek into caves, ride a raft in the river, and do home stays with native tribes.

It is home to the largest network of caves in the world. Deer Cave is the largest cave passage that has been discovered in the world thus far. It is home to free-tailed naked bats. Clearwater Cave is the longest underground river system in South East Asia. The marvelous Sarawak Chamber is the largest underground cave in the world.

Mulu is also home to stunning karst formations called ‘The Pinnacles,’ a formation of limestone rocks that jut out like razors. Hike on a 2.4 kilometer trail that’s 1,200 meters steep to enjoy wonderful views.

MOUNT KINABALU ON THE VIA FERRATA

Climbing GunungKinabalu (Mt. Kinabalu) is challenging enough with its elevation of 4,096 meters. The world’s highest Via Ferrata (iron road) is also located on this mountain in Sabah. The highest point on the route starts at 3,400 meters and takes the climber to a height of 3,800 meters. Traversing the Via Ferrata is not for those with a fear of heights. Climbers will be walking on vertical surfaces and crossing valleys on cable lines. This death-defying route has steel cables that can hold up to 3,000 kilograms of weight.

TAMAN NEGARA NATIONAL PARK

Located in Pahang, Malaysia, this park is home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Visitors are truly amazed as they trek or take a boat ride through the dense forest that contains amazing flora and fauna. Being about 130 million years old, the diverse and complex ecosystem never fails to amaze visitors.

These are only the top three adventure places in the diverse and beautiful Malaysia. There are many more places to discover, which makes this tropical country a great place to visit.

It was into my first 3 months of traveling and my hair was bugging! The last time I had a proper (I use that term loosely) cut and color was almost over 6 months prior during my trip to Argentina in the small town of Puerto Madryn. I never got around to cutting my hair before I left, I had split ends, and the color was looking pretty washed out and blah. I needed a new look.

It was the first time I wasn’t working in about 8 years and my previous job was pretty conservative with the dress code, so I thought it would be fun to get a little wild with my hair to express the creative freedom I was feeling. I found myself in one of Kuala Lumpur’s multi-level malls and I passed this one hair salon that looked pretty hip. The female hairstylist had an asymmetrical bob cut with inspiring highlights of blue. I knew right away she wouldn’t play it safe with my hair and that I could trust her. So  I make an appointment and she has me come back in an hour.

I really didn’t know what I wanted. At first, I was thinking highlights of red with fiery highlights of copper. But then I told her to just get creative with it. She brings out some hair swatches and then we decided to get crazy with pink! I never had pink hair. This is kind of exciting! What if I hate it? It’s pink so I know it won’t be long before it eventually washes out. After a couple of hours, my hair is cut shorter and my hair is red with one big pink highlight. I take one look in the mirror and take a deep breath. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I pay the woman, walk out of the mall, and am feeling a little self-conscious about what the locals might think. I’m not sure how Malaysians react to such radical hair, but if she can have blue then I can have pink. It’s late when I get back to my guesthouse and I sleep it off.

The next morning I do a little city exploring, but a torrential downpour of rain hits and I scurry inside the closest building I could find inside of a bank. There was a little cafe open and I decide to grab some tea and wait for the rain to stop. I started looking at my hair again and began to really like it. It was bold, risky, and fun – just like how I was feeling at the moment. I’m going to rock this do! Not long after, I take a selfie of me with my new look and post it to Facebook (drum rolls). I initally thought I might get a few “meh’s” from my conservative friends but I also knew I’d get some support from my liberals. Boom! Posted.

It was only a matter of minutes before I get my first comment from a friend I’ve known for almost 10 years telling me how ridiculous I looked. At first, I thought he was being facetious and I jokingly respond back about how much I like it. Then he continues to throw some rather harsh feedback telling me that pink is for kids and that I need to change it back. Ouch! Thanks for your very blunt remarks. So I send him a private message asking him what’s up and he ripped me a new one. Yikes! Really? Well, I’m feeling expressive and this is how I’m expressing my creative mood. If you don’t like it then keep your feelings to yourself or stop being friends with me. Not long after I found out we were defriended from Facebook. WOW.

I began feeling a little self-conscious after that thinking maybe I do look ridiculous, but I like it and I know it’s only about a month before it washes away. I started observing Malaysians in stores to see if I’d be treated differently and it was quite the opposite. I actually received a couple of compliments! Why couldn’t my friend be accepting of this temporary phase of mine if this very conservative country could be? Later I checked back on my Facebook account and received an overwhelming amount of support from friends and family telling me to “do me” and forget his harsh criticism. So I did and I didn’t lose any readers like he said I would because of it.

Unless you come from a Hindu culture or just a resident of Malaysia, the chances are you probably don’t know what Thaipusam is all about. I sure didn’t, but then my recently acquainted Malaysian friend asked for me to come up for it in Kuala Lumpur. So what is Thaipusam? It’s an annual festival held on the full moon of the 10th month of the Hindu calendar and celebrated by mostly the Tamil community where thousands (and I mean THOUSANDS) of people gather at the popular Batu Caves attraction to watch devotees demonstrate their vows in elaborate costumes and piercings.

I wasn’t initially a fan of the idea being sandwiched between smelly armpits and being herd like cattle, but I knew it was probably the only time I’d get to see something like this, and it would be a great photo opp to share with my peeps. I was also feeling a little sensitive to terrorist attacks with the recent Jakarta incident even though I knew the police officials had it all under control.

I was in Malacca at the time and took the early morning two-hour bus ride to KL make it on time but later found out that the big day wasn’t until the following morning on Sunday. So I meet up with my local friend anyway, and we spend the day doing what girls do: shop, wine, and dine.

We were partying a bit late the night before so we got a pretty late start on the day and made it to the festival at around 2:00 pm. The local transportation (MRT) line was packed (as predicted) that even men were sitting in the ladies’ only car – which made me feel a little perturbed as they all sit comfortably in our car while elder women were standing for 20 minutes before we get there. It was later more comforting to hear these weren’t “real Malaysians” and obviously they were a bit clueless, but you get where I’m going with this; the crowds!

As soon as we step off the railway, masses of people! I’m looking at the crowds packed like sardines (and probably smelling like them too) on the other side all waiting to leave the Batu Caves. This made me feel a bit uncomfortable. If there were any real state of emergency, those people weren’t going anywhere.

I let my feelings pass, and we make our way to the Batu Caves. There were dozens and dozens of vendors lined up, carnival rides, and again, TOO MANY PEOPLE. I’m sweating balls in this heat, and I just can’t wait to get to the other side so I can get my few pics and run!

I’ll admit it was a bit intriguing to see, but each of the devotees was usually swarmed by clicking cameras all trying to get the same picture I wanted. My friend wanted to get closer to the steps, and I’m whimpering inside but remain a trooper and fight my way through the crowds elbows and all. I couldn’t believe how many people they allowed walking the stairs to the caves. Again, sardines! If there were any sort of emergency that broke out, I could imagine a lot of helpless people. Why do I feel like I’m talking like an overprotective mom right now?

After we grab our few shots, we squeeze our way back out of the crowds and decide we had enough. The lines back to the MRT hadn’t changed, so we got a couple of henna tattoos that pretty much smeared by all the sweat and shoving through people. The AC was nice on the way back to the city, though?

I hoped to have some crazy inspiring story to share with you, but sometimes the crowds are just crowds. I didn’t feel a sense of awe nor did I feel emotionally taken. But if you are looking for a couple of cool photos, then this is definitely worth the trip!

 

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