Returning to Malaysia after 20 years

Stepping through those automatic doors into the arrivals of the airport was a pretty surreal experience. I couldn’t shake the nostalgic feeling of knowing that the last time I had crossed through those doors I was a kid surrounded by his family, this time though, I was fully grown and crossing alone. It was pretty overwhelming and I remember standing there, not paying attention to the time- it might’ve been 20 seconds or 20 minutes- just taking it all in. It was here 20 years ago that I discovered the wonder of traveling and made the promise to myself that I would travel the world and return to Malaysia. I have to say it was a pretty overwhelming moment for me.

One of the first things you’ll realise upon arriving in Malaysia is the way the country is a melting pot of different cultures. My first stop was the international travel hub, Kuala Lumpur. The country itself is not only home to Malay’s but also to Indians, Chinese, Thai, Nepalese, Burmese and many others. You can get the LRT train to Pasar Seni to visit the amazing Chinatown, walk for 5 minutes to discover a huge mosque, simple but grand in design, turn the corner and there’ll be a Hindu temple with its colourful Ghanesh statues and then cross the road and find a Buddhist temple with its ornate patterns and beautiful artwork . This is only an example of what the city has to offer and the best way to enjoy the different cultures is by tasting the amazing food.

I was luckily enough to have family living in Kuala Lumpur, who was generous enough to let me stay there, but if you’re looking for the most popular hostel it would be the famous Reggae Mansion, located one stop from Chinatown.

After a couple of days exploring the city (the Petronas Towers are a must at night time), I set off to the beautiful Cameron Highlands by coach. I was warned that the temperatures are lower in the Highlands but that definitely didn’t prepare me for the huge temperature drop once the sun goes down. Long trousers and a jumper are essential when visiting. Don’t let this turn you off though as the scenery is absolutely fantastic and a perfect place for hillwalking and trekking. On one of the days we visited the famous Tea Plantations and even managed to get a tour of the factory.

After spending 3 days there I set off for the island of Penang for some warmer temperatures and to spend some time in Georgetown, which is world renowned for its culture and in 2008 it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its fantastic street art. There’s plenty to do here, whether it’s flamenco dancing on the beach, visiting the upside down museum, taking a tram up Penang Hill, exploring the different Street art or enjoying the local nightlife. This was my favourite place in Malaysia so far and I’ll definitely be returning soon.

It was great revisiting Malaysia as it refreshed that promise I made to myself all those years ago, it’s as beautiful now as it was 20 years ago and it’s a country you could keep coming back to and still keep discovering hidden gems.

Next post will be written about my time spent in the amazing islands of Indonesia. If you like these posts please don’t forget to recommend and follow.

Peace & Love

Leon