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Travel Tips for Malaysia

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 15, 2017

2017

You have to bring:

  • Prescription medication.

Everything else can be bought in Malaysia. (I know I say this a lot, but it’s true. All you really NEED to bring is your meds.)

Things you can buy here or bring with you:

  1. Luggage:
    • You can use a suitcase or a backpack. A Backpack gives you a little more mobility, but it’s not a must-have here.
  2. Clothes:
    • Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia in general have a lot of tourists. There are many, many shops here with western sizes.
    • There are many malls in KL with prices that rage from cheap to normally priced.
    • There are also many upscale malls too.
  3. Towel:
    • Bring your towel if you are staying in a hostel.
    • Some hotels allow their towels to be used at the beach.
  4. Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash:
    • All hotels provided guests with shampoo and body wash.
      • When I didn’t like the shampoo I was given, I bought my own.
    • You are never given conditioner.
    • You should bring your own toiletries if you are staying at a hostel.
      • You can buy shampoo, conditioner, and body wash at any convenience store.
      • You can find many popular brands like Dove, Pantene, Finesse, and Lux.
  5. Deodorant/ Antiperspirant:
    • You can find this here, but the brand selection is limited.
      • It’s mostly Dove, Nivea, and other brands I’ve never heard of.
  6. Sunscreen:
    • It’s mostly Banana Boat and Nivea.
    • Many (not he Banana Boat brand) come with “skin whitening” (whatever that means).
    • You can buy shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, and suncreen at a convenience store, but they will be cheaper at grocery stores. Grocery stores will have more variety, too.
  7. Over the counter medicine:
    • There are lots of pharmacies where you can buy cold medicine and pain killers like aspirin.
    • It’s best if you know the generic or chemical name of the drugs you need.
      • Instead of asking for Bufferine, ask for ibuprofen.
    • I would still bring some medications for basic illnesses like diarrhea, fever, and constipation.
      • Don’t run out of these.
      • It’s always tough to look for medication when you’re already sick.
      • It’s easy to find what you want if you have a label of the drug you are looking for.
  8. Rentals & Rides: (Mostly at Langkawi)
    • You can rent:
      • surf boards.
      • Boogie boards
      • Scooters
    • You can do:
      • Banana Boats
      • Parasailing
      • other various water activities
  9. Other things you should bring:
    • Hat
    • Sunglasses
    • Flip-flips
    • Smartphone
      • You will need this to use Uber.

General Tips:

Food:

  • Try not to over eat too much.
  • The food is very delicious and not expensive at all.
  • It’s easy to over do it.

Taxis:

Money:

  • Get cash from ATMs.
    • HSBC has no ATM fees.
  • Exchange money at banks.

Scams:

  • It’s mostly taxis you have to watch out for.

Swimming:

  • NEVER swim at any beach alone.

Malaysia

How to get there:

You can enter by plane, train, bus, boat, and even on foot (from Thailand only).

Most people can get there visas when they arrive for no charge or paperwork. The length of stay differs by the visitor’s nationality. Please check the IDM website.

Phone:

  • Emergency Numbers:
    • Police and Ambulance 999
    •  Fire 994

Website:

Downloads:

  • Travel Guides
  • Uber
    • If you don’t have an account already, get one before you go to Malaysia.

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

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Posted in Malaysia | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Sunway Lagoon

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 10, 2017

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

We’re laughing because our plane tickets were so cheap. That kid is jealous because he flew to KL on a non-discount airline.

On our trip, Mark and I fly with Air Asia. The tickets are ridiculously inexpensive especially because we have no check-in baggage, we don’t buy the meals on the plane, and we choose the cheapest days to fly.  Even after finding the cheapest ticket on the cheapest day, Mark runs that flight through google to look for discount codes or sites selling the very same tickets for slightly less. We also do the online self-check in which saves us some extra money because… reasons?

I have a sudden urge to go to Malaysia.

We saw the above ad on a flight from Hong Kong to Hanoi. Up to that point, I had only the vaguest notions about visiting Malaysia. But, this display got me to go to Kuala Lumpur.

Once in Vietnam, we did some research on Sunway Lagoon. We found that the cheapest day to go was on the silly named “Quack-tastic Tuesday” when the tickets are more than half off when purchased online.

Why is it called quack-tastic? I have no idea. Their fast pass, was called the Quack-Xpress. But there are no ducks or duck-like mascots. The whole thing is a bit weird.

There is about 1 of these Quack-tastic Tuesdays (I hate this name) each month. To get the discount you have to buy your tickets online. Once we picked the date, we saw that the fast pass for the QT was also heavily reduced. So we got that too. Buying our tickets online meant that we didn’t have to stand in the super long line at the entrance.

The ticket that is usually 170 ringgets ($40), we got for RM60. The fast past which is normally RM70, we got for RM40. We paid RM100 ($23) each for our tickets and fast pass. Which means that the people standing in line, most of whom paid full price at RM170, paid more than we did. And, we skipped them in line all day long.

Don’t try to sneak in food, they check your bags quite thoroughly.

The lines were long, but we fast-passed our way through all the rides we wanted. The fast pass has no limit; you can use it all day on almost all the rides. Even on some of the ride where there was no fast pass line, people just let us go by. The whole day I thought, “This must be what it’s like to be rich and privileged.”

As a fast passer, I get the first pick of seats before the non-fast-passers are let in.

Most of the time the fast pass holders didn’t even stand in the same area as the other people. Not only did we not have to stand in the line, at times we didn’t even see the line. Around noon I remarked about how the park was not crowded at all. I wondered if it was worth it to get the fast pass. Then I had to use the bathroom, a part of the park where my fast pass had no power. The park was in fact, very, very crowded.

Thinking about signing up for courses at Sunway University. Does the fast pass work there too?

My favorite part of the whole park was the huge pool. I could have stayed there all day. But Mark wanted to be entertained and ride all the rides. Mostly, I think, he wanted to invoke his fast pass powers. So I let him drag me out of the pool to go do things, like cross the scary, creaky bridge of foreboding. I drew the line at the Vuvuzela.


Malaysia

How to get there:

You can enter by plane, train, bus, boat, and even on foot (from Thailand only).

Most people can get there visas when they arrive for no charge or paperwork. The length of stay differs by the visitor’s nationality. Please check the IDM website.

Phone:

  • Emergency Numbers:
    • Police and Ambulance 999
    •  Fire 994

Website:

Downloads:

  • Travel Guides
  • Uber
    • If you don’t have an account already, get one before you go to Malaysia.

Videos:

Books:

Notes:


Sunway Lagoon

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 3.071727, 101.605237

Address:

  • 3, Jalan PJS 11/11, Bandar Sunway, 47500 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Phone:

  • +60 3-5639 0000

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 18:00

Notes:

  • Go on the Quack-tastic Tuesday for the cheapest ticket price.
  • Get there early.
  • It’s best if you don’t use a locker, but that might not be very realistic since you have to wear a swimsuit in the pool and you can’t wear a wet swimsuit on the roller coasters.
    • There are 2 types of lockers.
      • Big lockers RM43 – Can only be opened twice; once to put stuff in and then to take them out.
      • Small lockers RM22 – Can be opened as many times as you like. It’s yours all day.
    • Most of the locker rooms are very crowded. It might even seem that some people go to the park just to hang out at the lockers.
    • Old men, who just don’t care anymore, will change in the locker rooms, which have no curtains and are not separated by gender.
      • You will see at least one naked old man every time you enter the locker area.
    • The lockers at the Nickelodeon section were the least crowded.
      • They they get into the park, everyone just heads to the lockers nearest to the entrances.
      • The Nick area is not near any of the entrances.
    • Wear your swimsuit under your clothes when you enter the park.
      • Ride the dry rides first.
      • Take off your clothes at the pool (since you have your swimsuit on already).
    • Change back into your dry clothes at least an hour before the 18:00 deadline or just go home in damp clothes.
      • You actually have until way past 19:oo to leave, but it’s very stressful as everyone is freaking out by that time.
      • All the bathrooms are at a stand-still with everyone and their moms taking showers, doing their hair and make-up, and getting all dolled up. (I’m not joking. All the ladies in the bathroom I saw looked like they had hot dates later that evening.)
  • Bring flip-flops or sandals to walk around in the water park.
    • The ground gets very hot during the day.
  • If you wear a skimpy bikini, you will stick out.
    • Most women wear tankinis and/ or boy shorts.
    • Some even wear rashgaurds and yoga pants.
    • The only people wearing teeny tiny swimsuits are old men. (The same old men from the locker rooms.)
  • If you have rented any floating tubes, be sure to return them before 18:00 to get your deposit back.
    • The returned money will be in cash, even if you paid the deposit with the cashless eLoad thing.
    • Keep an eye on any tube you have rented.
      • It has a unique number. Remember it.
      • Kids take them either because they think it’s for anyone, they think it’s theirs, or they’re just thieves.
      • You do not get your deposit back if you do not return your tube.
    • You don’t need a tube for any of the rides.
      • The rides provide their own tubes.
      • You only use the rented tube for the lazy river and the pool.
      • It’s more of a nuisance, really.
  • Make sure to get the money remaining on your cashless eLoad thing before 19:00.
    • This means you have to leave the park by 19:00.
    • You don’t have to use the eLoad, but it’s better than carrying around a wet wallet.
      • All the shops and restaurants take cash or eLoad.
  • You can’t bring your own food into the park, but don’t worry.
    • The food in the park is not crazy expensive, just mildly overpriced at worst.
    • The food is not too bad with many options from Subway, Burger King, and some none fast food places too.
    • Eat early or late after the rush is over.
    • You can bring in water. Bring as much water as you can, because the drinks are the most overpriced things.
  • Pay attention to the times and places of events and shows, such as Slime Time.
    • They are very punctual and they last for 15 minutes or less.

Map:

Posted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Langkawi: Hotel D’Lima

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 5, 2017

Monday, May 29th – Jun 5th, 2017

When Mark picks accommodations there is a process he goes through. If he knows exactly where he wants to stay, he will first check google maps. There he can see all the hotels in an area along with the price of accommodations and some websites like agoda or bookings where you can make reservations.

If he doesn’t know where he wants to stay or he doesn’t care, he will go straight to agoda. Agoda usually has the lowest prices or the best deals, but not always. Overall agoda is a good starting point. After that there is a quick check at hostelworld, airbnb, and whatever website google recommends for that area.

He looks for things like nice views, central location, breakfast, and free laundry service. Though, for a good price some of these can be left out. Photos of the accommodations are nice, but not much weight is put on good pictures. If the photos are bad, that means the hotel will definitely be bad. If mold and dirt show up in photos it means that the hotel manager has no idea what he or she is doing. But good photos do not mean the opposite of what a bad photo means.

Many hotels will have great pics, but when you get to the hotel you realize that the photos were taken 20 years ago when the hotel was new and in its prime. Since then cracks have appeared and the hotel doesn’t look anything like it used to. The grand pool is now just a big storage area.

That’s why you must read all the reviews you can find. Check the reviews on all the websites and google maps too. Be highly wary of places that have 3 or fewer reviews, especially when they are all too glowing with nothing but positive ratings. Also, look out for copied and pasted reviews. A guest might use the same review for 2 websites, but it’s very unlikely that anyone would paste it on more than that. Who has that kind of time? Hotel owners, that’s who.

Sometimes a hotel will have no reviews yet, because its new. If that’s the case, it might be okay. If the hotel is new, how bad can it be? But, another reason for having no reviews could be a change in name and ownership. If that’s the reason for no reviews, then it’s probably a crappy hotel. Good hotels will never change names.

The plan for Langkawi was for us to get a hotel near the beach, but not so near that it broke our budget. Then we would spend a week swimming and doing very little else. It was going to be a very relaxing week.

The first sign that things were going wrong was when our Uber driver couldn’t find the hotel. He was from another part of the island, so we didn’t worry too much about it at the time. We asked to be dropped off near where google said the hotel was and asked around.

No one had ever heard of the hotel. “Where is D’Lima Inn?” we asked. We weren’t sure how to pronounce the name, but if it was pronounced the way we thought it might be pronounced… “This could be a problem.”

Mark walked into hotel after hotel to asked receptionists for directions. He asked taxi drivers, security guards, shop keepers, and other tourists. No one had ever heard of the “Dilemma Inn”.  Watching Mark try to find this place, I stood on the sidewalk and pulled at my hair. A huge part of me thought we had given a fake hotel our money for one weeks accommodations and now we would have no place to sleep.

Mark seemed a bit more hopeful. “It might be new. That’s why no one knows where it is,” he told me. “It didn’t have very many reviews and the ones it did have weren’t from too long ago.”

“Did the hotel look new in its photos?” I asked.

“Yes, but all hotels look new in the photos,” he responded.

We had an address for the place, but it could not possibly be right. We had a pin on google, but when we went there it was just a field of grass. We had a map from the hotel’s Facebook page. That could not be it either; it was a building that was torn down. I looked online and found a few phone numbers for the hotel.

We took the numbers to a tourist information booth. We didn’t have a sim card on our phone so, we couldn’t make calls ourselves. But the lady at the booth was kind enough to call for us. She called the first number, but no one picked up. Then she tried the second number; it was disconnected. So she kept calling the first number until, after 5 calls, someone picked up the phone.

She asked the guy on the phone to send someone over to pick us up and show us the way to the hotel. It was over 2 hours after getting out of the Uber driver’s car, that we got to the hotel. I was so mad and irritated. The hotel was not pinned properly on google maps. On all the maps the hotel provided online, not one of them had the correct location. And, the address the hotel gave was of a place that could not possibly exist. Once on the island and on the correct road, the hotel had no signs posted until you got almost to the hotel itself on some shady back road. Then the idiot receptionist wouldn’t answer the damn phone.

“Don’t mind us. We’re just building this hotel.”

At the hotel, I could see that there was a possibility that the place was new. Hell they were still building the thing. There was construction going on right by the pool. And the work on the third floor had yet to commence. We were handed a key and walked over to a room next to the pool.

“No,” we said. There was one window in the ground-floor room and it was in plain view of the construction crew. It was also very noisy from the work being done and the screaming kids in the water. “This will not do. Show us another room.”

We were given another room. It had brown globby fluids leaking from the ceiling in the bathroom. “No,” we said. “Show us another room.”

We were given another room. It had mold covering the bathroom from floor to ceiling. “No,” we said. “Show us another room.”

We were given another room. It had random holes in the wall and wires sticking out in odd places. We could tell that it had recently been remodeled because it had new furniture and the room smelt slightly of paint. There was no mold in the bathroom, though there were wires sticking out there too. “I guess this will do…” we sighed.

One night a cat got in our room. We had to chase it, catch it, and throw it out.

The room we got in the end was not too terrible. It was big and newly refurbished. But it wasn’t good either. There was no wifi or any kind of internet. The paint job was not done well. They clearly ran out of whatever paint they were using and finished the job with another paint that was a few shades off. Some of the electrical appliances were oddly mounted or installed, like the TV placed in a corner or the water heater plugged into the wall in the shower where water ran over the socket.

The staff didn’t know the first thing about running a hotel. They never cleaned the room. We begged them to several times, but were always given excuses why it wasn’t done. Once they claimed to have done house keeping, but the only noticeable change was that the floors were swept. They didn’t even take out the trash, give us new towels, or replace the shampoo, soap, or toilet paper.

Are they ever going to start on that 3rd floor?

To prevent myself from losing my mind, I had to get passively aggressive. Since they didn’t change my towels, I started just taking towels. Of course when there was someone at the reception, I asked, but 80% of the time no one was there. They left the laundry area open with all the clean towels folded on a table. I would take a clean one for me and one for Mark and leave our dirty towels on a pile on the other side of the table. I did this twice a day, in the morning for showers and the afternoon for beach towels. The dirty towel pile in their own laundry room went untouched the whole time I was there. They probably wondered who this towel fairy was that kept delivering damp towels.

That bottle of water and that chair was there when we checked in and it sat there for the whole week. It might still be there now.

The trash annoyed me. Since they never cleaned the room, it never got emptied. Eventually it started to attract ants. There were always ants crawling around this hotel, but with the trash full, even more were stamping around our room. I took the trash can and put it in the hall one morning. By evening there were 4 more trash cans placed in the hall by 4 other guests. The next day, all the trash had been emptied and the bags replaced. I, and most other guests, kept our trash in the hall after that.

“One day, there will be a 3rd floor…”

The hotel itself wasn’t bad. I don’t think it was a new hotel. It might have been in the process of being remodeled. I can appreciate that. But the staff had no idea how to run a hotel. There was a cleaning staff that never cleaned and a receptionist who almost never answered the phone and was out of the office most of the time. The only people who were consistently on the job were the construction workers by the pool and I have no idea what they were building.

I spent one afternoon by the pool looking at them work. I couldn’t tell what they were building. It might have been a BBQ pit or a shed… maybe a garden?

The staff themselves had no interpersonal skills. The few times they were there for me to request (beg for) house keeping and toiletries they would just sit there staring at me. They would have vacant looks in their eyes like they were stunned by what they saw. I would repeat my request several times because they couldn’t hear me on account of their focused gawking.

One of them had a 12-year-old daughter who seemed quite normal. She would go in the office or laundry room and come back with soap, shampoo, and towels. “Here,” she would say and smile at me.” “Thanks kid!” I would tell her and she would giggle.

The adults would then stare at her thinking that she was so brave to interact with a creature who had been replacing their clean towels with damp ones.

Getting my 5-a-day

Other than the hotel, Mark and I had a good time on Langkawi when it wasn’t raining. Actually even when it was raining, we had a pretty good time.


Malaysia

How to get there:

You can enter by plane, train, bus, boat, and even on foot (from Thailand only).

Most people can get their visas when they arrive for no charge or paperwork. The length of stay differs by the visitor’s nationality. Please check the IDM website.

Phone:

  • Emergency Numbers:
    • Police and Ambulance 999
    •  Fire 994

Website:

Downloads:

  • Travel Guides
  • Uber
    • If you don’t have an account already, get one before you go to Malaysia.

Videos:

Books:

Notes:


Langkawi

How to get there:

  • From Penang:
    • Ferry: RM 60/ 2hours
    • Plane: 16-30USD (RM64-120)/ 35 minutes
    • Bus: RM18 / feels like all afternoon
  • There are plenty of taxis around town.
    • They charge a flat rate that’s a bit high.
    • Your alternative is Uber.

Websites:

Downloads:

Notes:

  • This island can probably be fully enjoyed after renting a scooter.

Map:

Posted in Langkawi, Malaysia | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

George Town: Food Heaven

Posted by Heliocentrism on July 30, 2017

Monday, May 22nd–29th, 2017

Clearly, if you ate more you wouldn’t have his problem.

It wasn’t too long into my visit to Malaysia before it became my new favorite country. I kept asking Mark how he would feel if we lived in KL for a year. I didn’t have too much time to think about what kind of job I could possibly do, before it was time to leave Kuala Lumpur for the northern island of Penang.

I stepped off the boat at the dock in Penang and started to forget all about Kuala Lumpur. I walked down the street and took photos with the street art on the side of buildings. After my first banana leave nasi kandar, Kuala Lumpur was a distant memory. George Town on Penang is where it was at. “It” being all the delicious dishes of Malaysia.

Choosing Dim Sum at Heritage Food Paradise.

We loved the hawker stalls where you can get all sorts of Chinese foods with a Malaysian  flare. We would walk in and take a table. Then we would order food from the different stalls as well as drinks. They would bring us our food and we would pay for our dishes at the table.

We also love the nasi kandar. Mark especially, would order all sorts of combinations of curries. He couldn’t remember the name “nasi kandar” so, he would say, “I want to go to a ‘this and that’ restaurant.” Because, when he ordered his food he would point to things and say, “I’ll take this and that and some of this…”

I preferred the nasi kandar to the hawker stalls, but we ate more at the hawker stalls. The hawker stalls are owned by the people working there. They were very professional and congenial. If they treat their costumers well, they get repeat business and therefor they make more money.

The staff at the nasi kandar, though, were just employees. They get paid whether or not the diners returned. They never put much effort into making patrons feel welcomed. They weren’t out right rude, just passively so, like teenagers. The wait staff would roll their eyes if you took too long to order. They would ignore diners if they didn’t feel like helping them. They were curt to people who they thought didn’t order enough food. Once, at a nasi kandar place 3 grown men argued among themselves as to who had to serve my table.

There are a thousand and one nasi kandar restaurants in George Town, so there was no need to return to any place that had bad service. Mark and I also wanted to eat in as many restaurants as we could. But there a few places we kept going back to. One was the Heritage Food Paradise hawker stalls and the other was Top One Cafe, the only non-rude nasi kandar place.


Malaysia

How to get there:

You can enter by plane, train, bus, boat, and even on foot (from Thailand only).

Most people can get their visas when they arrive for no charge or paperwork. The length of stay differs by the visitor’s nationality. Please check the IDM website.

Phone:

  • Emergency Numbers:
    • Police and Ambulance 999
    •  Fire 994

Website:

Downloads:

  • Travel Guides
  • Uber
    • If you don’t have an account already, get one before you go to Malaysia.

Videos:

Books:

Notes:


Penang

How to get there:

  • You can get there by train, plane, bus, boat, and I even saw someone take a taxi on the ferry.
    • KTMB (bullet train) from KL to Butterworth:
      • 40RM oneway
      • 4 hours
    • The ferry from Butterworth:
      • costs 1.20RM there, but it’s free to return.
      • Runs from 5:30AM – 1:30AM every 15 minutes

Websites:

Notes:

  • In George Town there is a free CAT shuttle bus.
  • There is a tour bus called The Penang Hop-On Hop-Off Bus.
    • You can use it to explore the non-George Town area.
    • There are 2 routes:
      • The City Route – Buses come about every 20 minutes from 9:00 – 20:00.
      • The Beach Route – Buses come about every 1 to 2 hours.
        • You really need to look at the schedule when you get off the bus and take note of when the bus returns.
        • You could get stranded on the wrong side of the island, if you are not paying attention to the bus times.
  • The coconut tart is amazing.
  • Enjoy all the delicious food.

Hawker’s Centers

How to get there:

  • Heritage Food Paradise 5.414707, 100.339311
  • Medan Selera Seri Weld 5.417759, 100.342788

Websites:

Cost:

  • Everything is more than reasonably priced

Hours:

  • Some are opened all day.
  • Some are opened only for breakfast, only for lunch, only for dinner, or only for 2 of the 3 daily meals.

Videos:

Notes:

  • Service at all the Hawker’s centers were great.

Nasi Kandar Resturants 
(Top One Cafe)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 5.415817, 100.340469

Address:

  • 67, Lebuh Pantai, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Phone:

  • +60 19-464 7439

Websites:

Cost:

Hours:

  • 7:00 – 21:30

Videos:

Notes:

  • Top One Cafe – The food is fantastic with excellent service every time!
  • With some other Nasi Kandar places, the food is great, but sometimes the wait staff can be passively rude, rolling their eyes when you take to long to order foods you’ve never heard of before.
    • Sometimes, they straight up ignore you.
  • Other places include:
    • Restaurant Kassim Mustafa 5.415830, 100.339308
    • Restoran Kapitan 5.416247, 100.338613

Other Non-Food Attractions:

  • Ferringhi Beach
    • It’s a nice beach.
    • Oddly no one but Mark and I were swimming the day we went, making us feel like everyone knew something we didn’t.
    • There isn’t much else to do on the beach side of the island.
  • Fort Cornwallis
    • Overpriced with not much to offer.
    • We just looked at it without going in.
  • Jetties
    • It’s free.
    • It can be a little awkward at times since these are people’s homes.
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Miami Beach
    • If you are using the Hop-on Hop-off bus, this is not worth it, since the buses are 1 to 2 hours apart.
    • It’s rocky and there isn’t even one person selling fruit drinks for miles!
  • Penang Hill
    • If you go, take the train.
    • This would be great if you have kids.
    • It’s okay at best for adults.
    • The food up the hill is not at all over priced.
  • Purrfect Cat Cafe
    • The money they make helps to take care of all the cats.
    • Mark didn’t like it, because we spent most of our time there watching the staff playing with all the cats.
      • Mark wanted to play with some cats, but the staff member wouldn’t let up.
  • Street Art
    • They are everywhere.
    • Try to find them all!
  • The Sun Yat Sen Museum
    • It’s really more of a museum about the museum itself.
  • Trick Art Museums
    • There are figuratively millions of trick art museums on Penang.
    • Choose the one, or two, you want before heading to any.
    • They are Penang themed, movie themed, upside down art, ghost themed, 3D themed, and so on.

Map:

Posted in George Town, Malaysia, Penang | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

KL: Shoppers’ Delight

Posted by Heliocentrism on July 25, 2017

Thursday, May 18th – 21st, 2017

Not only do I love KL, but I also love my rapper-designed quick-dry active shorts.

When I packed my bag at the start of this trip, I thought I had packed light. The long trail of discarded clothes, gadgets, and what-naughts from Hanoi to Cambodia left in my wake proved otherwise. I thought I was clever packing 2 pairs of reversible shorts that made it look like I had 4 shorts. But, they took forever to dry. And really, who cares that you might have 4 pairs of shorts when all you ever wear are damp shorts?

I was lucky to find not 1, but 2 pairs of quick-dry shorts that were so light and thin they literally could be folded up and placed in the pocket of one of the old shorts without much of a bulge. They were in the little town of Mui Ne, Vietnam and where designed by a rapper I had never heard of. The brand is called RBX and it’s marketed as “athletic apparel at an affordable price”. Along with affordability, I like that these shorts are active wear without the “active wear” look.

Travel clothes are expensive. They are light, dry quickly, and some don’t even need to be washed often. But travel clothes are also very expensive. It’s roughly $60 to $90  for a t-shirt. I’m talking US dollars here, not Laotian kip or anything for one measly shirt.

A more economical option is to buy sports clothes. These clothes are light and dry quickly. You probably have to wash them as often as you do your regular clothes, though. The problem with sports clothes is that they look like sports clothes. They are flashy and cause all eyes to be directed at you when you are in range. You will look like you got lost on the way to the gym and somehow ended up on a plane to Malaysia when you wear them.

So what I do, is go into stores like Sport’s Authority and search through rack after rack hoping to find the least athletic looking shirts, pants, and jackets. It’s a very hard task. Many times I come so close to finding something decent, only to have to choose between a boring black and a neon green shirt with orange trim.

But, the shorts inspired me. If I could find two pairs of plain, ordinary looking shorts that happen to be light and quick-drying, then there must be hope for some shirts too. I searched online for recommendations. One travel blogger talked about Uniqlo’s Airism collection. These were cool (as in temperature) clothes for the summer.

Uniqlo, if you don’t know, is like Japan’s Gap or Old Navy. The clothes are affordable and not too flashy. This is rare; Japan is mostly 80% flash where clothes are concerned. The problem with Uniqlo in Japan, is that they mostly have smaller sizes. They do sell clothes that fit me, but they usually sell out before I get to the store.

But Kuala Lumpur is a more international city. The Uniqlo there would have more bigger sizes in stock. And best of all, the prices at Uniqlo are about the same world-wide. If a shirt costs 20USD in L.A. it will cost about 2000JYN in Tokyo, 15GBP in London, and 85RM in Kuala Lumpur.

Mark and I went shopping in KL. I bought a few shirts that cost about 18USD each. But, Mark went full-on Uniqlo. He took this opportunity to dump all of his clothes. He bought 3 shirts and 2 pairs of shorts. They were all athletic quick-dry clothes that didn’t look sporty.

He didn’t buy it all at once though. He got one shirt, liked it, then came back for more. Then he bought a pair of shorts, liked them, and bought another. In the course of 3 days he had a whole new backpacking wardrobe. “If only I could get a new quick-dry wife, my life would be complete,” he joked.


Malaysia

How to get there:

You can enter by plane, train, bus, boat, and even on foot (from Thailand only).

Most people can get their visas when they arrive for no charge or paperwork. The length of stay differs by the visitor’s nationality. Please check the IDM website.

Phone:

  • Emergency Numbers:
    • Police and Ambulance 999
    •  Fire 994

Website:

Downloads:

  • Travel Guides
  • Uber
    • If you don’t have an account already, get one before you go to Malaysia.

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful when taking taxis.
  • HSBC ATMs do not charge ATM fees.
    • Use ATMs responsibly. Use the ones indoors where you are least likely to get robbed.
  • Kuala Lumpur had a free bus service. Check the route out before getting a cab or bus ticket.

Central Market 

How to get there:

Address:

  • Jalan Hang Kasturi, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia

Phone:

  • +60 1-300-22-8688

Websites:

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 21:30

Notes:

  • The food stalls around the market seem to be a better choice than the restaurants at the food court.

KL Tower

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 3.152813, 101.703655

Address:

  • Jalan P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Phone:

  • +60 3-2020 5444

Websites:

Cost:

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 22:00

Notes:

  • There is a free shuttle near the base of the hill the tower sits on.
  • This tower has short lines, but is a little overpriced.
  • The Petronas Towers are more expensive and there is a loooooong line for the tickets.

Petronas Towers

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 3.157916, 101.711620

Address:

  • Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Phone:

  • +60 3-2331 8080

Websites:

Cost:

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 21:00

Notes:

  • They are named after a Malaysian oil and gas company and nothing Potter related.
  • Tickets can only be bought on the day starting at 8:30am until they run out.
    • People start lining up at 7:00am or earlier.
  • There is a mall near the tower. If you cannot go up, you can at least go in.

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 3°08’30.7″N 101°41’23.4″E

Address:

  • Jalan Lembah Perdana, Tasik Perdana, Wilayah Persekutuan, Perdana Botanical Gardens, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Phone:

  • +60 3-2092 7070

Websites:

e-mail:

Cost:

  • 14RM

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 18:00

Batu Caves

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 3.237939, 101.684015

Address:

  • Batu Caves, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

Phone:

  • +60 1-300-88-5050

Websites:

Cost:

  • Some areas are free others cost 5-15RM.

Hours:

  • 7:00 – 20:00

Notes:

  • If you’re taking the train from  KL Sentral, be careful not to get on the train heading to Butterworth.
  • Monkeys will rob you.
    • Don’t bring food to the caves.
    • Keep your pockets empty.
    • Keep your things zipped up in your bag.
    • Don’t let the monkeys get too close.
    • Monkeys will take food, glasses, cameras, phones, anything!
  • The caves are:
    • Temple Cave – Stays open the latest
    • Dark Cave – closes the earliest and is sometimes closed for reasons.
    • Cave Villa – lots of lights
    • Ramayana Cave – tells part of a Hindu epic
  • Dress modestly. No shorts, tank tops, or low cut shirts.
  • There are lots of nice vegan and vegetarian restaurants right outside the caves.

Map:

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