So I’m sitting in the living room at our guesthouse in Kuala Lumpur, unable to sleep and excited about our flight this afternoon into Thailand. I figure this is as good a time as any to think about the last month+ and what my time in Malaysia has revealed.
1. Safe – The first thing I noticed about Malaysia, especially in comparison to my time in Indonesia, was that I felt safe everywhere. Whether it was underneath massive skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur or walking back to my hotel at 3 AM in Kuantan, I never felt like I was being watched. The friendliness of the locals throughout probably helped with this.
2. Western Influence – There are more western restaurants and companies here than there was in New Zealand, especially in KL. Although nothing is quite the same, it made for some good, too-filling meals. The presence of English is much more widespread here as well.
3. Chinese Culture – Malaysia is the first place I’ve really seen some earnest Chinese culture, and most of that I have Ang in Georgetown to thank. The Chinese Opera was wonderful, and seeing the start of the Hungry Ghost Festival was quite interesting. The mixture of Chinese and Indian culture has been much more prevalent than Malay culture in most places, actually, which is too bad.
4. Cameron Highlands – So far my favorite destination in my travels. The countryside there is breathtaking and the cooler weather was a welcome respite from the humidity and heat in the rest of the country. The people were very friendly and I had the best teriyaki chicken I’ve ever eaten. Relaxing doesn’t even begin to cover it.
5. I’m Just a Guy – It’s nice not being the ‘main attraction’ when I enter a market or a mall. In Indonesia, it was always, “Hey, Boss!” and, “Buy this for your wife!” Here the shop owners are less aggressive and even the most touristy areas have less hassle associated with them. There’s also been nobody that wants to practice their English or chat just because I’m an American. Although I have been surprised that most of the guestbooks I’ve seen have little to no recent guests from the USA.
I loved Malaysia. I met some amazing people and saw many fantastic things. I also ate a bit more new foods, which I’ll be updating soon. Thailand has been built up by people for as long as I can remember; I can’t wait to experience it for myself.