Travel in Malaysia
We crossed into Malaysia from Singapore by bus. There are a number of direct buses that go to Melacca or even Kual Lumpor from there. We spent some time in Melacca before heading to the capital. We stayed in KL for one week and then headed to the rain forest to stay in the Taman Negara national park. After that we went into the mountains to stay in the Cameron Highlands. We continued making our way north to Georgetown before crossing the border into Thailand. We were surprised at how similar the culture and food in Malaysia was to that which we encountered in Indonesia. The country is predominantly Muslim, but has many different ethnicity’s and cultures mixed into it. Much of the land is covered by palm trees for palm oil and there isn’t much between major the major cities. However, there are vast swaths of national park and areas set aside to go trekking and get off the beaten path. I am happy to have learned so much about the country and the people who live there in the brief time that we visited.
Melacca should really be called MALL-acca because of the absurd amount of gigantic shopping malls that exist in this town. Outside of that there isn’t a whole lot going on in Melacca. The city has a weird vibe that it has been abandoned or something. There are no people walking around, there are hundreds of stores that weren’t open once in the week we were there. There is a mono-rail that runs along the river that is out of service and then there are a bunch of giant hotels that seem to be pretty much empty as well. It is a pleasant and friendly place to hangout though. There is a little India street with some good food and a quiet stroll along the river is a great way to pass the time.
KL is an interesting city for a number of reasons. After seeing the capital now I guess I think the whole country should be called MALL-asia because there are way more malls than there needs to be. There is no real heart of the city in KL, but there are plenty of fund spots to hangout. The big attraction is of course the Batu Caves which are just a short train ride out of town. We ended up spending some extra time in the capital because I booked our bus ticket onward for several days later than I intended. There are some nice market areas if you look for them and some pretty parks in the city as well. There is a canopy walk by the sky tower that has several nice trails around it where you quickly forget that you are in a city at all.
Taman Negara is a great place to go and experience the Malaysian rain forest. The park has nice hiking trails that take you deep into the jungle where you can see all sorts of plant and wild life. We came in by boat which was well worth the 3 hr ride to get to see the scenery change from palm plantation to rain forest. The small town of Kuala Tahan is just outside the park and has a couple of great places to stay and enough restaurants to keep you fed. The town is quiet and it is refreshing that all of the tourists are there to go out and hike and not just party.
We took a series of buses to get from Taman Negara to Cameron Highlands. Cameron Highlands are where you can see the large tea plantations. The town itself is small but there are cool hiking trails all around the outskirts. We walked to the main Boh tea plantation via hiking trails which did take a bit of time but was worth it for the views. The town itself has plenty of good restaurants and places to stay is a pivotal hub for transport through the rest of the country.
Georgetown was the last stop in Malaysia for us. The town is probably the most touristy area in Malaysia because so many people are crossing the boarder from Thailand for a visa run or just to get a stamp. The town has some interesting colonial architecture and is big enough to spend a couple of days wandering around. There is a China town area as well as a Little India part of town. There’s one street that has a Hindu temple, a Buddhist Temple, and a Cathedral all within a few blocks of each other. Most of the night life is around Love Avenue which is where we ended up staying.
More of Malaysia