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Malaysia: Penang and Kuala Lumpur

Penang, Malaysia

As we were leaving Borneo, the headline of local newspaper read ‘The proverbial has hit the beach’. My heart sank as I read the sewage pipes in Penang had burst, and now raw waste was flowing into the sea. The report mentioned a possibility of e-coli on the beach. I quickly looked at the map – yep, exactly where Shaun and me were staying! In fact, the plant is practically next to the hotel. Although there wasn’t a major smell thank goodness, the beach is closed unless you want to walk on it – at your own risk. Lucky I’m more of a swimming pool person.

View from our hotel room in Penang

View from our hotel room in Penang

Beach looked lovely but was covered in e-coli bacteria in Penang

The beach looked lovely but was covered in e-coli bacteria in Penang

We spent nine nights in Penang, just chilling and eating. The beach was off limits but it was so hot in the day, it was perfect just be next to the pool. We walked down the town in the evenings to find a happy hour and there was loads of hawker stalls selling different cuisines. The Indian population is quite prominent in Malaysia and the Indian food was amazing.

Eat satay in Malaysia

Eat satay in Malaysia

Delicious curry in Penang

….or eat curry

One day we took the bus into Georgetown too. It was a toasty 36C but still lovely to see the sights. There is a colonial quarter with beautiful crumbling old buildings, a vibrant Little India and a bustling Chinatown. We popped into the best preserved Chinese clanhouse in the town, Khoo Kongsi, saw loads of street art on the walls (it’s all made in cast iron and nailed onto whitewashed walls) as part of the Unesco heritage project and strolled through the brand new mall for a welcome air-con cool down.

Street art in Georgetown, Penang

Street art in Georgetown, Penang

Street art in Georgetown, Penang

Street art in Georgetown, Penang

Khoo Kongsi Chinese clan house in Penang

Khoo Kongsi Chinese clan house in Georgetown, Penang

Rather than fly back down on Monday, we took the train from Butterworth to KL for an amazing £7. As well as palm oil plantations, the scenery was surprisingly mountainous with lush rainforest-looking greenery along the way. It took 6 hours and was brilliantly punctual. For most of the journey we sat in the buffet car playing cards and drinking coffee, but by the time we arrived in KL it was uncomfortably hot and sweaty. We lugged everything on to the tube or the LRT as it’s called here and eventually made it to our hotel. It was a bit far out but completely do-able once we found our way on the train.

This week has been hardcore sightseeing. There is quite a lot to see in Kuala Lumpur and you can tell they are making an effort to welcome tourists. One area of the city is a mini park with lots of attractions in it – we went to the butterfly park, which was amazing, the Islamic Arts Museum and the National Textile Museum, which I also really enjoyed. We walked miles.

KL City Gallery

KL City Gallery

Downtown KL

Downtown KL

KL Butterfly Park

KL Butterfly Park

KL Islamic Arts Museum

KL Islamic Arts Museum

Yesterday we went up the Petronas Towers (my second visit this month) and unfortunately a volcano had erupted 2 hours prior to our arrival, leaving the whole city covered in a hazy cloud. It was a shame but you could still see quite a lot.

View from Petronas Towers in better weather

View from Petronas Towers in better weather when I went up with Mum and Dad

Petronas Towers, KL

Petronas Towers, KL

Later it rained heavily and cleared so there are no worries about flights for tomorrow. Shaun is heading back to London and I’m off to Lombok 🙂 I decided to cut out Singapore (too expensive) and Java (volcano eruptions galore), to head straight to an island/beach.

I enjoyed Malaysia but the food was really disappointing. I think I was spoilt in Cambodia, where every meal was amazing. Here it has been hit and miss.

Amazing satay on the roadside in Chinatown, KL at Fat Brother

Find the most amazing satay on the roadside in Chinatown, KL at Fat Brother

While the Indian food and the satay has been fantastic, everything else has been just ok. Being here has also made me realise how much I love pork – turkey bacon just doesn’t cut it!

1 Comment on Malaysia: Penang and Kuala Lumpur

  1. Great post, I loved KL and Penang, but I think the food seemed more authentic in Penang. Plus the street art in Georgetown was incredible. http://backpackerlee.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/perusing-penang/

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