On my recent Educational trip* to Malaysia, I wasn't sure what to expect.
The first thing I noticed about Kuala Lumpur though was how clean everything was, and the massive amount of greenery mixed in amongst high rise structures and older buildings. And like most women, I love to shop, so the second thing I noticed was that I was going to have a ball in KL as this is a city made for shopping. It has all the designer brands you could ever wish for... but with prices that don't make you gasp in horror. The night markets were a must see too and filled with 'genuine fakes' that varied from stall to stall, and for the most part the quality of the gear was quite amazing.
If you’re not into shopping, there's still plenty to see and do. Architecture lovers will love this city that's filled with the new and the old; the real Asia and the new Western architecture. The views of the Petronas Twin Towers are very impressive and must be seen... particularly at night when the tops of the towers are brightly illuminated.
My recommendations for Kuala Lumpur:
- Head to the Roof-top bar in the Traders Hotel (33rd floor) for breath-taking views of the Twin Towers.
- An experience that must NOT be missed is a Fish Spa. Basically, you sit on the side of a pool and put your feet into the water that's filled with small fish. The fish rush to your feet (dinner!) and nibble at the dead skin and rough spots. The sensation is a strange tickle - weird but very relaxing - and your feet and lower legs are left feeling fantastic and smooth. It's very amusing and a great way to experience something different.
We then flew to Penang for two nights, and if I thought KL was good for shopping, it's only because I hadn't been to Penang yet... this is definitely a shopper's paradise! The night markets are streaks ahead of those in Kuala Lumpur with bargaining being a must - do not be afraid to haggle over prices or to ask for discounts. There's also a saying that says, 'If you went to Penang and didn't try the food, then it's as good as not having been there at all'! Sooo true because the food was amazing - a mixture of Chinese, Nyonya, Malay, Indian and Thai ethnic cuisine - and so cheap!
My recommendation for Penang:
- Long Bay Food Court close to Holiday Inn
Our adventure wasn't over yet with a three hour boat trip from Penang to the tropical island of Langkawi, off the northwest coast of Malaysia. The island is covered with dense rain forests and mangroves, and surrounded by beautiful beaches and clear waters. Once again, the food was fantastic but this time there was a lot less shopping and a whole lot more relaxing on the beach and lazing around the pool.
My recommendation for Langkawi:
- Take the cable car ride up the mountain to enjoy the magnificent views of Langkawi and the surrounding islands.
Overall, Malaysia was a great experience and I look forward to heading back for more... with an empty suitcase to cope with all my purchases! :)
*Educationals or Educational trips are travel experiences that travel agents try to join usually once or twice a year to upskill their travel knowledge about new destinations or countries. This means that they can confidently give their first hand advise to their clients about a broad range of destinations and experiences, or tap into the knowledge sharing between agents if they haven't been there themselves.