Malaysia. You will be bound to me forever. That’s why this trip felt like boarding a time machine. In 2006 I was living in Kuala Lumpur for more than half a year and working for a German magazine named “KL-Post”. It was a very special and intense time of my life. I travelled almost every weekend, met people that became friends, and some of them friends for life. And so it happened that I had the honor to be a guest at the wedding of two wonderful souls, who had their YES moment on an island in Thailand. There was no doubt that I will take the chance to go back to Malaysia to see what changed and visit some spots I loved in the past.
Kuala Lumpur – the cradle of my soul
Calling Kuala Lumpur my home, is an important part of me. I was in KL for the first time in 2004, when I finished school and travelled from Bangkok to Singapore. Back then I already remember there was a voice inside of me, whispering: We really like each other, please come back! And so I did – again and again. Strolling around the city center of this vibrant metropole calms my heart. At night, go and see the sparkling Petronas Twin Towers – you will understand what I mean. I love to see this melting pot of cultures and cuisines. Malays, Chinese, Indians and nowadays many Western tourists characterize the face of this southeast Asian mega-city. What to do if you only have one day in KL? Grab some “Roti Chanai” for breakfast, get lost in the streets of Chinatown, have some Indian food in Little India and go for shopping in the district of Bukit Bintang. What was and luckily still is the best place for dinner: the street Jalan Alor – don’t miss it. You can have every variation of prawns and crabs, a super tender stingray and a chilled Tiger beer. If you are brave enough, you’ll try a piece of durian for dessert.
Cameron Highlands – please, cool down
The tea plantations of Cameron Highlands are a popular getaway for the city residents. So make sure you don’t go there on weekends or public holidays. Of course they know what is good: a chilled temperature, clean air and a lush, green landscape. You can have fantastic food – especially Indian or yummy Steamboat (an Asian version of Fondue). The area is perfect for hiking, drinking tea or picking strawberries. About the other side of the coin you can read in this article on “Why the success of the Cameron Highlands might be its downfall”.
Taman Negara – the journey is my destination
The tropical rainforest Taman Negara is beautiful, but what is amazing is the journey there. We’ve taken a four-hour boat journey from Kuala Tembeling jetty to the heart of the world’s oldest rainforest. The relaxing 60-kilometer river ride in a wooden boat is the perfect introduction to the jungle. Our base was very simple, but you don’t need much, when you are surrounded by 130 million years old trees. During the day, you can do hikes, boat trips, explore the flora and fauna or do a canopy walk, where your head is literally in the tree tops. At night, the colorful lights reflect on the surface of the river. These are the floating restaurants that serve great Malay food. They are peacefully swinging with the breeze.
Perhentians – bliss in a double pack
As if one wasn’t beautiful enough? Malaysia needed two of them. Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil – two neighboring islands in the Pacific Ocean. We visited both paradises on the east coast of Malaysia, but preferred the smaller one, because of its less crowded atmosphere. The water on both is crystal-clear, the marine life colorful and the beaches shine in white. Scuba diving in Malaysia is among the best in the world; and the Perhentians offer some underwater highlights even for snorkeling. It’s easy to be lucky and swim with turtles.
Wherever you go, becomes a part of you. Somehow. And this country even more. I’m so thankful that I was able to go back to Malaysia – especially to keep my memories alive. I’m sure I have to refresh them from time to time.
© Michaela Blum