It was quite hard to say goodbye to India and prepare for a more westernised country but at the same time I did long for a sense of normality when it came to living and travelling. I imagined my time in Malaysia to be very calm and relaxed with spots of yoga on the tropical beaches every now and again but I didn’t expect to meet so many great people and ultimately have one of the best birthdays I could ask for. Arriving in Kuala Lumpur was pretty straight forward and my flight from Delhi to Colombo to K.L had been unusually smooth sailing overall which was a first for me. Having booked to stay in the highly recommended Reggae Mansion in K.L, I had my directions of where to go in the city. Within an hour or so I had taken the KLIA express to the central station and then took the metro to the stop near my hostel. On arrival the excited staff welcomed me and asked about the flags on my bag, something people always ask me about. We chatted for a bit until I got my key, paid and headed to my dorm absolutely exhausted. After settling in to my cosy alcove bed in my 8 bed dorm, I cuddled into the fresh linen, hugged the fluffy pillow and before I knew It I was out for the count. I slept continuously until the following morning when I awoke feeling refreshed and excited to explore the city. I went down to the restaurant and sat down for one of the best if not the absolute best free breakfast a hostel had provided me. There was unlimited scrambled eggs, malay noodles, fruit, tea/coffee/juice, toast etc. I was in heaven. I stocked up, getting myself energised for the day ahead. I planned to explore K.L but had no idea where to start. I had put my name down for a city tour but with no one else signing up, the tour didn’t go ahead.
I decided to head out and get a start on the cities sights and where better to start than at the Petronas twin towers. With a map in hand and a huge canon around my neck, I set off down the road looking super touristy in the direction of the towers. It was at one set of traffic lights that a group of Chinese tourists came up to me and asked if they could follow me to the towers, other than that the conversation went downhill as they had no more words of English. I warned them that I wasn’t entirely sure of the way but they could follow me if they wanted, but it turned out that after Id taking the wrong road, they had already stopped behind me to ask someone for directions. Taking their actions on board, I stopped and asked a lovely Scottish couple for directions, who I chatted with for a few minutes as we walked in the direction together. They told me to visit the Batu Caves and said it was well worth it, which seemed like a plan to me. I said my goodbyes and after a few more minutes walk, I had arrived right beneath the towering towers. I walked away from them to get the best pictures of them as I could, and judging my every other tourists placement, I knew where to go. After a lot of picture taking, I headed into the mall and looked in some expensive shops before heading up to the skybridge to buy a ticket. It was here that I met Callan, an Aussie traveller also in the queue to see the skybridge. When our time came to get a ticket, we were told it was booked out until 6pm and even at that, the cost was crazy. We both walked away from the desk and continued chatting about our travels.
After a while, I mentioned the Batu caves and because Callan had a good few hours in K.L before his flight home, he asked if it was ok to join me. We got directions and headed off on two trains to Batu Caves. We got on great and it was so nice to have company while sightseeing in K.L. When we got to Batu Caves, we couldn’t believe how cool it was. There was temples, Hindu statues, monkeys everywhere and amazingly steep cliffs in front of us. It was almost like being in India again but the monkeys weren’t as cute and fluffy here. We headed towards the caves which was free to enter and had around 200 steps that led up inside. We walked up, occasionally stopping to get a monkey photo and feeling slightly out of breath towards the top, we made it inside. It was very familiar and we both agreed that it reminded us of the caves near Halong Bay in Vietnam. We spent some time there before going to a small café and having some food. I was super excited when I saw Indian food and masala chai on the menu and so I ordered my favourite Uttapam and a chai of course, while Callan ordered the Thali. After our meal we chatted and I looked around admiring all the things that reminded me of India. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that it dawned on us that thus was in fact and Indian restaurant. Here I was thinking well Malaysia has very similar food to India, I could get used to this, but in reality we were probably just in little India. We couldn’t stop laughing at our naivety! After our food we headed back on the train to K.L central where I would change to my metro line and Callan would go back to the airport. It turned out that he had a few more hours to kill so I suggested we go sightseeing around the Masjid Jamek area where I was staying and so that’s exactly what we did. We walked around the area for a while longer and saw many sights including an 80yr old Banyan tree, the National Gallery and an awesome sculpture fountain! When we came to the end of the street and had seen everything, It was time for us to walk back to the train station where Callan would head off to the airport. It was a great day spent with great company and as we wished each other well, we went our separate ways, a common occurrence when meeting people travelling. Im sure we would cross paths again one day!
It was earlier that day, when in the common area of Reggae Mansion that I booked a super cheap flight from K.L to the island of Langkawi for the fine price of €18.50. I had been wondering what my Malaysian plans would include and after hearing abput Langkawi from lovely Susie in Rishikesh, I decided to look up flights and truth be known, the flights were cheap. I finally had a plan! It was back in my room where I met my next group of travel friends, from all parts of the world, who invited me to the rooftop for some drinks. Keeping my healthy living lifestyle going, I decided not to drink alcohol and so opted for some soft drinks instead. We chatted on the rooftop with the beautiful backdrop of the K.L tower and the Petrona’s tower shining some light on us as was the glare from the full moon. Coming from India its always hard to describe India to the next batch of people you meet but nevertheless I tried and I succeeded when I met a guy from Ireland, Navan to be precise, who had been to India before. We had a very long in-depth conversation about India and what experiences we had, spiritual and non spiritual, cultural and non cultural. It was a truly enlightening chat and It was something I longed for, having left India even if it was only a day prior. We all chatted until well after midnight and so I decided to head to bed and try and get some sleep before my flight.
The next morning, I got up super early in the hopes of having a huge breakfast again, digesting it and having one more before my flight. My flight was at 11.25am and so I decided to take Callans plan and head to the airport via metro and aero bus. As I said goodbye to the staff and headed off towards the station I couldn’t help but think about how I enjoyed my short time in K.L. I bought my ticket and headed K.L Central where I would then take the bus from downstairs. I had left myself some time to get to the airport and I had no doubts about anything going wrong, that was until, an hour later when I got off the bus, I realised I was at the wrong airport. After asking a staff member for the check in info, he told me I needed to go to KLIA and apparently I was in the low cost airlines airport, He told me to take a taxi for 40RM which was not going to happen, so I opted for the airliner bus. Frustrated and having been told that it would arrive in twenty minutes I couldn’t help but worry that I may not make my flight. I didn’t know how long the bus would take and I didn’t know If they would let me check in, if I arrived so late. Nevertheless I powered through, thought positively and with this mind set in process, the bus came , eventually left and somehow arrived at KLIA on time for me to check in, get to my gate and take a minute to breath. Boy was this a relief. During this situation, I couldn’t help but think that my Langkawi dream of tropical beaches, mocktails and sun may be blown away but at this moment it came right back on track. It was a great feeling. On board Malindo Air, the cheapest airline ever I imagined, we got great service, plenty of movies and even a banana cake snack. The sweet life! Here I was off to live the Island lifestyle!
Bring on Langkawi!