Note – photo gallery at the bottom of this post.
It’s hard to believe that prior to dating K, I simply didn’t have that much exposure to proper Malaysian food. My parents had run a Malay-Chinese style takeaway shop for years, but the ‘Malay’ part of the name was really only in reference to the curry chicken, roti and gado-gado that was on the menu. Everything else was Chinese in style. How things have changed. My Malay food vocabulary has expanded dramatically over the past four years and I can read a menu as well as anyone. As long as you can tell your nasi from your mee, and your ayam from your kambing, you’re doing okay!
Anyway, while we were in Malaysia for a week’s stopover before heading onto Europe, we didn’t just stay in Kuala Lumpur! We spent two nights up in the Cameron Highlands, and also spent one day in Seremban, K’s hometown. The stay in the Cameron Highlands was a particularly good idea on my behalf – staying up in the cooler climate was a great break from the heat and humidity of the rest of Malaysia.
To get up to the Cameron Highlands, you can buy a bus ticket online from the Unititi Express, which I recommend over purchasing a ticket on the day. It’s not any cheaper online, but it does mean that you can walk right past the various dodgy individuals who loiter around the Pudu bus station in Kuala Lumpur, trying to scam/sell bus tickets to foreign tourists. The bus journey takes about four hours (with a toilet break), but it’s a very comfortable ride as the bus seats are more like first-class lounges than a traditional cramped bus seat.
The Cameron Highlands can be difficult to get around if you don’t have a car, so we joined a half-day tour when we got there which took us to places like the Butterfly Farm, the BOH Tea Plantation, the Mossy Forest, and to the top of Gunung Brinchang. While we were there, we also took the opportunity to explore the townships of Brinchang and Tanah Rata in the Highlands, which meant lots of eating (of course!), including a few meals as Restoran Mayflower (read review) and indulging ourselves in getting lots of massages too.
We also spent a day in Seremban as well, visiting K’s family there. It’s easy to get to Seremban from Kuala Lumpur, with a single train from KL Sentral that takes you straight to Seremban station in just under one hour. Our time in Seremban was mainly spent eating, as you’ll read about in this blog entry.
Other meals we enjoyed while we were in Kuala Lumpur included a meal at Peranakan Place in the new Nu Sentral mall, some cheap Indian rotis and tosais at ABC Bistro Cafe, a much fancier meal at Enak KL for our dating anniversary, and a long bitsy lunch at the Lot 10 food court (photos in the below slideshow).
Sadly, while we were in Malaysia, much of the country was blanketed in a deep haze caused by forest fires in Indonesia. You can read more about the 2015 Southeast Asian haze on Wikipedia. It didn’t affect our travels that much, but did mean that there wasn’t any opportunity to take more scenic cityscape photos as the whole city was blanketed in a haze. We also noticed that a large number of people were wearing face masks while they were out and about, to help block some of the more harmful air pollution.
It did mean that we spent a lot of time inside in shopping centres…though, to be honest, the humidity contributes to that as I end up wanting to spend more time indoors in air-conditioning! We walked around malls like Nu Sentral, Lot 10, Pavilion and Starhill Gallery and Fahrenheit 88 and did a bit of window shopping. Not actual shopping though, as we’re travelling light over the next eight months and can’t afford to buy and carry things around with us!
Overall our time in Malaysia was a blur of some outdoor activities in the cool climate of the Cameron Highlands, window shopping in Kuala Lumpur, and a lot of eating everywhere! That also pretty much sums up what most of our trips to Malaysia are like – shopping and eating. We’ll be back of course, probably next time with a baby in tow to introduce to the rest of K’s family.