It's definitely old news that husband (Tristin) and I went on a two-week trip to Malaysia to celebrate Chinese New Year. However, I have too many photos from the trip that it would be terrible not to share. For those of you who are just tuning in, Malaysia isn't just a random place we decided to visit. I'm lucky to be able to fly there and be taken care of by my in-laws. This first post will cover most of my time in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia- where Tristin and family are generally from. Kuala Lumpur is a bustling city with tall buildings, construction everywhere, highway systems that don't make sense, speed traps, great food and lots of things to do.
Here are some fun facts that I learned on my second trip to Malaysia:
1. Malaysia has the BEST radio stations. You guys! This radio station, MIXfm played 90s music. I'm calling it the oldies station for Millennials. They played the 90s and early 2000s songs you know every word to, but forgot existed! My heart danced in the car when these songs came on. I could have done without their super cheesy bits and Malaysia's PSAs about crossing the streets safely, but whoever was choosing those 90s hits was on POINT. Hey Mixfm DJs, want to be friends? Let's hang. Thanks for making our road trips out of the city extra karaoke-worthy.
2. No matter how many pounds you gained, you'll always leave the country knowing you didn't eat enough. OMG. We basically ate every few hours, ordered most everything on the menus and still barely scratched the surface of this food mecca. Generally, a meal will cost around a few dollars and is packed with incredible flavors. So many flavors that rival anything found in the States. I've found that I fall hard for at least one food each time around. Last time is was kuih talam, this time is was roti canai (below). Someone send me some now. PUUULEASEEEEEEE. Other roti I had this trip included roti tissue (the picture with the cone thing) and roti boom with kaya (no photo because I was in an intense sugar coma). We also ate spicy soups for breakfast (with coffee), even when the weather was hot. Still working on that. More on food later. Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge the photos for your full viewing experience.
3. Elephant trunks are wet and slimy. When planning our trip, I happened upon a Pinterest post that said Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary was a thing and I decided I couldn't leave Malaysia without feeding an orphaned elephant. After packing the car full of meat snacks and pineapple tarts and tuning the radio to MIXfm, husband drove me two hours outside of KL proper to see and learn about Malaysia's endangered elephant population. There, we saw a short elephant show, fed elephants sugar cane, experienced elephant bath time, and watched a super informative video about Malaysia's elephant relocation efforts. As is the story far too often, Malaysia's elephant habitat is rapidly becoming farmland, forcing elephants to seek food that is a human's money-making crop. Elephants are relocated to Malaysia's last untouched rain forest. Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge the photos for your full viewing experience. Watch the video too!
4. There are a lot of Buddhist temples. Like a lot. So many that every Malaysia post will include at least 5-10 temple photos. My favorite things about the temples were all the colors, intricate architecture, opportunities to get luck and fortunes, and the Goddess of Mercy. The temples and monks do REALLY well for themselves and definitely aren't facing bankruptcy like the Catholic Church is here. Temple members buy the monks' clothing and food even though some of the monks drive baller BMWs after they're done chilling in the temple for the morning.
5. Birds are scary in all countries. Did you know Kuala Lumpur is home to the world's largest free-flight walk-in bird park? Well now you do. Even though I'm not super fond of being around birds, it seemed like a good idea. Like most tourist attractions around KL, entry fees are significantly more for non-Malaysian citizens. Like a lot more. They write the price in Malay so most visitors are oblivious how much more they're actually paying- except natives bringing their foreign friends/family members. Anyway, the KL Bird Park is pretty massive. We weren't able to do the whole thing because we were sooo over birds after 45 minutes. I think there might be monkeys there, but we didn't see them. Many birds, mostly peacocks, were everywhere. Watch the video. Wait til the end. Make sure you have your computer volume on.
6. Zip-lining is my jam. In another attempt to find things to do in Malaysia, I learned that zip-lining was a thing and decided I also had to do this before we left. Native Tristin disagreed that this was an actual thing that Malaysians do, but we booked a zip-lining session at SkyTrex. Set in a rain forest park, we got to complete an aerial obstacle course with more than six zip-lines. Talk about the worst time to forget the GoPro chest strap. In summary, the video would have been me asking, "Hey, did I strap this in right?" before I imagined possibly falling to my death, and Tristin wooing through the trees like the little woo boy that he is. It was amazing and I needed so many snacks to refuel after.
7. One blog post isn't enough for all of the things we did in Malaysia. Stay alert for the next post all about Penang, Malaysia.
Already considering a trip to KL, Malaysia? A few quick tips:
- Travel time to KL from Minnesota: At least 20 hours.
- Time difference: 11 hours.
- Currency exchange: Generally 4 to 1 in favor of the American dollar.
- Feel of the city: Lots of construction in the name of progress, but many vacant buildings.
- Women should carry tissue everywhere: You never know when you'll get to sit down to pee.
- If you're in KL: It's cheesy, but do the Hop-On Hop-Off
- When in doubt: You can always go to one of the many massive malls. Malls in KL DWARF Minnesota's Mall of America.
- It's hot though, right?: Might be hot outside, but even if you're used to the Minnesota winter, you'll need a heavy jacket to brave the Malaysian air conditioning game.
- If you're getting a massage in a sort of seedy mall: In general, just stick with a foot massage.
- If you're going to Petaling Street and you're white: Let the native Malaysians buy your items while you make yourself invisible.