Last month, I had a trip to Malaysia and Thailand. I stayed for six days in each of the countries. The selection of these countries was due to both of them granting visa-free entry to Indian tourists for some time window. This post covers the Malaysia part and Thailand part will be covered in the next post. If you want to travel to any of these countries in the visa-free time period, I have written all the questions asked during immigration and at airports during this trip here which might be of help.

I mostly stayed in Kuala Lumpur and went to places around it. Although before the trip, I planned to visit Ipoh and Cameron Highlands too, but could not cover it during the trip. I found planning a trip to Malaysia a little difficult. The country is divided into two main islands - Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo. Then there are more islands - Langkawi, Penang island, Perhentian and Redang Islands. Reaching those islands seemed a little difficult to plan and I wish to visit more places in my next Malaysia trip.

My first day hostel was booked in Chinatown part of Kuala Lumpur, near Pasar Seni LRT station. As soon as I checked-in and entered my room, I met another Indian named Fletcher, and after that we accompanied each other in the trip. That day, we went to Muzium Negara and Little India. I realized that if you know the right places to buy what you want, Malaysia could be quite cheap. Malaysian currency is Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). 1 MYR is equal to 18 INR. For 2 MYR, you can get a good masala tea in Little India and it costs like 4-5 MYR for a masala dosa. The vegetarian food has good availability in Kuala Lumpur, thanks to the Tamil community. I also tried Mee Goreng, which was vegetarian, and I found it fine in terms of taste. When I checked about Mee Goreng on Wikipedia, I found out that it is unique to Indian immigrants in Malaysia (and neighboring countries) but you don’t get it in India!

Mee Goreng, a dish made of noodles in Malaysia.

For the next day, Fletcher had planned a trip to Genting Highlands and pre booked everything. I also planned to join him but when we went to KL Sentral to take the bus, his bus tickets were sold out. I could take a bus at a different time, but decided to visit some other place for the day and cover Genting Highlands later. At the ticket counter, I met a family from Delhi and they wanted to go to Genting Highlands but due to not getting bus tickets for that day, they decided to buy a ticket for the next day and instead planned for Batu Caves that day. I joined them and went to Batu Caves.

After returning from Batu Caves, we went our separate ways. I went back and took rest at my hostel and later went to Petronas Towers at night. Petronas Towers is the icon of Kuala Lumpur. Having a photo there was a must. I was at Petronas Towers at around 9 PM. Around that time, Fletcher came back from Genting Highlands and we planned to meet at KL Sentral to head for dinner.

Me at Petronas Towers.

We went back to the same place as the day before where I had Mee Goreng. This time we had dosa and a masala tea. Their masala tea from the last day was tasty and that’s why I was looking for them in the first place. We also met a Malaysian family having Indian ancestry dining there and had a nice conversation. Then we went to a place to eat roti canai in Pasar Seni market. Roti canai is a popular non-vegetarian dish in Malaysia but I took the vegetarian version.

Photo with Malaysians.

The next day, we went to Berjaya Time Square has a shopping place which sells pretty cheap items for daily use and souveniers too. However, I bought souveniers from Petaling Street, which is in Chinatown. At night, we explored Bukit Bintang, which is the heart of Kuala Lumpur and is famous for its nightlife.

After that, Fletcher went to Bangkok and I was in Malaysia for two more days. Next day, I went to Genting Highlands and took the cable car, which had awesome views. I came back to Kuala Lumpur by the night. The remaining day I just roamed around in Bukit Bintang. Then I took a flight for Bangkok on 7th Feb, which I will cover in the next post.

In Malaysia, I met so many people from different countries - apart from people from Indian subcontinent, I met Syrians, Indonesians (Malaysia seems to be a popular destination for Indonesian tourists) and Burmese people. Meeting people from other cultures is an integral part of travel for me.

My expenses for Food + Accommodation + Travel added to 10,000 INR for a week in Malaysia, while flight costs were: 13,000 INR (Delhi to Kuala Lumpur) + 10,000 INR (Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok) + 12,000 INR (Bangkok to Delhi).

For OpenStreetMap users, good news is Kuala Lumpur is fairly well-mapped on OpenStreetMap.

Tips

  • I bought local SIM from a shop at KL Sentral station complex which had “news” in their name (I forgot the exact name and there are two shops having “news” in their name) and it was the cheapest option I could find. The SIM was 10 MYR for 5 GB data for a week. If you want to make calls too, then you need to spend extra 5 MYR.

  • 7-Eleven and KK Mart convenience stores are everywhere in the city and they are open all the time (24 hours a day). If you are a vegetarian, you can at least get some bread and cheese from there to eat.

  • A lot of people know English (and many - Indians, Pakistanis, Nepalis - know Hindi) in Kuala Lumpur, so I had no language problems most of the time.

  • For shopping on budget, you can go to Petaling Street, Berjaya Time Square or Bukit Bintang. In particular, there is a shop named I Love KL Gifts in Bukit Bintang which had very good prices. just near the metro/monorail stattion. Check out location of the shop on OpenStreetMap.