Malaysia. Where you go on a Visa Run from the South of Thailand. Fortunately /Unfortunately, (depending on how you look at it…) I’ve never had to do one of these. However, all my teachers friends have and they raved about Malaysia, its beauty, its food and the famous Penang Street Art. OMG this place sounds amazing, I have to go!
In between teaching and my new job at the hostel, I had two weeks of well-deserved travel time. So many options! But my friend’s comments stuck with me so for my trip, I decided to travel down to Malaysia on my way to Bali. 3 days in Penang and 1 day in Kuala Lumpar.
8 hours on a minibus from Krabi and 1 Malaysian storm later, we arrived just outside Love Lane at 9pm. Apparently, malaysian people don’t eat when they drive buses so I was STARVING. We headed straight for Little India which I have heard is full of to-die-for street food. We walked through. Nothing. Still walking. Still nothing. We eventually came across a stall selling food and settled there. They couldn’t speak much English so I didn’t know what was coming my way. I guessed Chicken Curry. Whey! I was right. My taste buds had their arms stretched out ready to take in all the flavors, spices and all the deliciousness… only to be greeted with dry chicken and cold rice. It was okay. Not spicy at all and definitely not full of flavor. Disappointed but optimistic for tomorrow, we headed to our hostel. We stayed at Stardust Hostel on the main road which was awesome.
The whole next day was spent exploring the quirky street art that attracts thousands of backpackers from around the world each year. They even have their own ‘street art’ map that you can get from most hostels so you don’t miss the famous ones and help you stumble across some hidden ones. We also came across a street market full of quirks and street stalls selling ‘Dragon’s Beard Candy Floss’, strange exotic animals, magic pens, purses and spray to protect you from robbery and men offering you a massage with machetes! “Have I been swallowed by a Harry Potter book and ended up on Diagon Alley?!”
Penang Street Art – blowing up Instagram!
There was two reasons for my visit to Penang and that was to hike through the National Park and visit the Cameron Highlands. However, the highlands are 5 hours away and I just didn’t have the time to offer… Attempted the National Park but it rained so hard on my second day in Penang, they closed the suspension bridge that connects to the park. Arrgh! Okay, time to move on… but not before we partied with a bunch of gangster Indians offering us free whisky and rapping lessons on the mic on Love Lane. Brrrap!
“Wheeeeey! Welcome on board the party bus! Woop Woop!!” A bottle of cheap vodka and coke was thrust in my face as I politely declined the guy’s offering and climbed aboard the ‘party bus’. My hangover was ready to kick ass. As it turned out, the group of boys ended up being really cool people and we chatted, laughed, (they drank) as we made our way to Kuala Lumpar. We arrived. City fear kicked in as I didn’t have a clue where I was dropped off and where I needed to go. Luckily, my new friends were staying close by so I just followed them and trusted their sense of direction as mine goes into hiding as soon as I step foot on city gravel. My hostel was a little further up from them and as I ventured off to find Step Inn Guesthouse.
As soon as I was alone in this city, I felt increasingly uncomfortable. The population of that particular area was Indian and I was getting stared at more than I’ve ever experienced in Thailand. And this was a tourist populated city! Thankfully, it didn’t take long for me to get to the hostel. I got changed and headed towards ‘Reggae Mansion’ where the guys were staying (they mentioned Rooftop Bar – I’m there). My night consisted of eating amazing Indian food with 7 lads (they made more friends) and partying at their hostel.
My flight to Bali wasn’t until late afternoon the next day so I got up early and went to give Kuala Lumpar a chance to redeem itself as I explored the city. Unfortunately, I continued to feel uncomfortable as I was jeered at, stared at and shouted at as I walked the streets alone. This angered me. I was a female solo traveller being made to feel vulnerable walking around a city full of backpackers! I was ready to go full Muay Thai on some KL balls! Instead, I just headed back to the safety of my hostel and stayed there until it was ready to hit to the airport.
KL, you freaked me out. Get me on that plane to BALI!!