Looking for a glorious locale comprising of island life, adventures, city excitements, mix of oriental cultures and heritage for an inspiring holiday? Explore Malaysia ! A land of intriguing extremes, where towering skyscrapers flank primitive longhouses, a pluralist culture based on a vibrant fusion of Malay, Chinese and Indian natives. Malaysia also offers tropical rainforests, great beaches and scuba diving spots, making it a cool Island getaway!
Just 10 days in hand & thrilled hearts we disembarked at Kuala Lumpur International airport, 50 km away form KL city. An express train took us from airport to KL Central in 28 min to be welcomed by our lovely friend drove us to his home. First day in KL, we walked along a Heritage Site trail which led us to some fascinating old historic buildings. What impressed me most was though KL is a modern Asian city of gleaming skyscrapers; it has retained much of the local color that has been wiped out in other Asian boom-cities like Singapore .
We saw many colonial buildings, the classic Moorish-style old Railway station, Masjid Jamek mosque, the vibrant Chinatown, bustling Little India and the magnificent Petronas Twin Towers . At 1,483 ft high, once the tallest towers in the world, these are now second only to the newly built Taipei 101 building. Distinctively linked through a sky bridge from where we got an excellent birds-eye view of the Kuala Lumpur city.
We enjoyed the evening promenades at the 50 acres KLCC Park located adjacent to the towers and indulged in shopping at Suria KLCC’s arcade inside the towers. Another striking structure within KL’s skyline is the 421m KL Tower, popular as Menara Kuala Lumpur. Ranking fourth amongst the world’s tallest telecommunications towers, it is designed to endure wind pressures up to 90mph. This tower appears to be taller than the Petronas Towers , as it is on a hill. We got a brilliant night view of KL from its observation deck. To top it all we had burgers from the highest McDonald’s in the World housed in the Minara!
I noticed KL is not quite a pedestrian friendly city due to heavy traffic and fewer pedestrian crossings. Walking at Chinatown was ok but long distances are tough as we were asked to watch out for pickpockets everywhere. But the upside is taxicabs are not expensive in KL, so are the best way to get around. We used the monorail extensively which spans around the city centre to find our way around.
For a respite from the heat of KL we drove 50km away to 2000m high Genting Highlands for a day’s trip. As we took a ride on the Skyway gondola, crisp vitalizing mountain air complemented by awe-inspiring scenery spread out before our eyes. Lush green tropical rainforest shrouded in a veil of mist made it hard to believe that we were just minutes away from the sweltering equatorial heat of KL.
Most go to Genting to gamble as it is the only legal gambling place in Malaysia . We went to the amusement park offering endless choices of rides of which the most thrilling one was the whoosh down roller-coaster perched at the edge of the mountain! Really electrifying! There were boating and horse rides as well but we spent time trekking in the forest area.
At lunch time we found a large variety of fast foods, local as well as western cuisine though the prices were much higher than KL we feasted to our hearts’ content. We spent the afternoon in Malaysia ’s highest shopping mall, The First World Plaza, in First World Hotel, that is divided into six themed zones from Malaysia to Switzerland and with an indoor theme park. Thoroughly refreshed we were back home in KL by night.
Next day we headed to explore Melaka. Driving through the narrow streets of old Melaka we savored its historical and cultural attractions tucked into the nooks & crannies. We hailed a trishaw, (like our cycle rickshaw but lot more colorful) for a fun ride along tiny streets winding through a colorful mishmash of architectural styles. We strode along Melaka River to see the maritime Museum, constructed after ‘Flor De La Mar’, the Portuguese ship that sand off the coast of Melaka on its way to Portugal .
Most of the remnants of Melaka’s glorious past lie in the Town square. From here we caught a glimpse of the Portuguese fort of A’Famosa .The spot where most pictures were taken by us was the striking Dutch Square , full of red buildings displaying unique Dutch masonry and architectural skills. One of them is the Stadthuys, a typical Dutch building with a clock tower; once a home to the Dutch Governors, now houses the Historic and Ethnography Museum displaying traditional bridal costumes and relics.
Within the square stands Queen Victoria ’s fountain and Melaka Clock Tower. Its historical influences have bequeathed Melaka with a delightful mixture of people and cultures contributing to the charm of this city To catch up with some shopping, we strolled into Infocraft Melaka, the handicraft centre selling batik, canes & bamboo products and ceramics. The memorable part was the trip to Jonker Street where we found authentic artifacts and relics, few dating as far back as 300 years, among many interesting collectibles, each with its own history and mystery.
As grand finale to our holiday we checked in to the luxurious Legend Water Chalet, in the beach town of Port Dickson . Our exquisite cottage, built on stilts in the sea with transparent glass floors displayed the seawater and the fishes. Amazing ! Popularly known as PD, Port Dickson is synonymous with sun & fun on the beach.
We lunched near the famous Blue Lagoon, an excellent spot for sports like water-skiing,
canoeing, snorkeling and wind surfing. At dusk it was fun to just grab a coconut,
relax and enjoy the pounding of the waves on the white sandy beaches, making plans
for our next holiday in Penang and Langkawi.
So as we say in Malay “JUMPA LAGI”