Kuala Lumpur


A 5 hour took us to into Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur, otherwise known as KL. KL is a bustling Asian City packed with markets, restaurants, skyscrapers and hawker food stalls. The population is made up of mainly Chinese and Indian people and the areas in the city focus around the different cultures within it. Most of our time was spent within the popular areas of ChinaTown, Little India and The Golden Triangle.

China Town
China Town was the closest area to our hostel The Reggae Mansion, probably the most up market hostel we have ever stayed in and a stark contrast to our 1st nights accommodation at The Tropical Guesthouse. The Reggae Mansion has a rooftop bar, restaurant, cinema room, free wifi, air con everything you would want in a good hotel- backpacking has definitely advanced since our 1st time in 2004. China towns main focus is the market selling knock-off goods and a wide choice of street food.

Nighttime view of the Manara & Patronas Towers from the roof top of The Reggae Mansion.

China Town/Bukit Bintang hawker food stalls.

You haven’t been to Asia if you haven’t shopped at an Asian market – everything from knock off Ray Ban sunglasses to Chinese medicine.

Little India
Little India is smaller and not so touristy… This area is filled with shops selling jewellery, silks and saris and home to one of the best restaurants we’ve eaten at Saravanaa Bhavan, an Indian restaurant that specialises in vegetarian food. Our dish was the banana leaf curry made up of rice, 2 veg currys, kootu, pachavi, sambar, rasam, kuzhambu, butter milk, appalam, butter chilli and pickle.

Banana Leaf Curry Set, Saravanaa Bhaven, Kuala Lumpur.

The Menara Tower, Kuala Lumpur
To get views of the city we decided to go to the roof pod of of KL’s tallest tower Menara KL (421m), this gave us some great views of the city and Petronas towers (the twin towers).

View from the Menara KL Tower.

Penang – The Pearl Of The Orient


Our journey to Penang was a relatively easy one, just 3 hours by ferry. Penang also known as ‘The pearl of the orient’ is famed for it’s delicious and culturally diverse Asian cuisine – a key reason for us choosing to visit. Our 1st stop on the island was the beach side town Batu Ferringhi where we were fortunate to do a home stay a very friendly Malaysia-Indian family at Annie’s Home Stay. As soon as we arrived at Annie’s beautiful house we were made to feel welcome by her, her husband Raj and lovely children. It was a home away from home where we could truly relax and wind down. We only spent two days in this area of Penang but once pointed in the direction of the Long Beach Hawker Food Centre where we were happy enough to spend our time experimenting with the local food…

After two enjoyable days stuffing our faces with asian cuisine we said goodbye to Annie and made our way to George Town a much more happening area of the island. Following a recommendation made by a German couple who had cycled all the way to Malaysia from Germany! We made the decision to stay in the coolest hostel yet ‘Pedal Inn’. This brand new and stylish guesthouse located just a short walk from the main areas of town is mainly aimed at cyclist on tour but even without George’s main love his bike we were made to feel very welcome. The staff here couldn’t do enough for us – they gave George a bike magazine and me a street food guide as well as filling us in on the local street art – we were both in our element. We headed out straight away with the aim to try as many different dishes as possible… We were very adventurous in eating with the locals and often without menus just the word of the cook and not once did we have an off stomach. Below are just some of the many dishes we sampled.

Left to Right: Cendol, Chilli Prawns, Nasi Kandar, Porridge, Golden Dumpling, Koey Teow, Ice Kacang, Chilli Crab, Whan Than Mee.

Food We Sampled & Descriptions
Chilli crab, Chilli prawn, Laksa (noodles in fish broth), Chicken jalfrezi, Bendi masala (a green vegetable also known as ladyfingers in masala sauce), Spring roll, Red snapper red fish curry, Fried koey teow (flat noodle with egg and prawn), Chicken and beef satay, Cendol (green chewy noodles, palm sugar, syrup, shaved ice, red beans and coconut milk), Golden dumpling (sticky rice, soy sauce and pork steamed in a banana leaf), Wan than Mee (Sui kow) – dumplings noodles gravy, Poh peah (pancakes with veg chilli), Porridge with meat veg salty egg, Roti Canai (buttery, fluffy roti served with lentil curry), Nasi Kandar (Indian Muslim – rice served with a host of curries and various meats/veg), Ice kacang desert (Finely shaved ice topped with sweet red beans, creamed sweet corn, dried nutmeg, jelly’s and ice cream).

The Pedal Inn, George Town (photo of us and owner Steven), Annie’s Homestay Batu Ferringhi (Photo of us and Annie).

Between many meals we also found the time to visit many of the sites in the world heritage centre of George Town. We went up Penang hill 800m on the worlds steepest train, we visited the Kek Lok Si Temple and spent much of our time exploring little India and China Town two very fashionable areas of town consisting of Chinese tea shops, market stalls, food vendors selling Chinese and Indian food, cool shops, a museum, a couple of small art galleries and walls displaying street art by a Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic and Baba Chuah a local Caricature artist. To summarise Penang is a culturally diverse, creative and cosmopolitan city, the people are lovely and the food is the best, we are sad to be leaving but will hopefully be a few pounds lighter for doing so.

Going up Penang Hill (800m) on the train, View from the top of Penang Hill a misty but very hot day, Kek Lok Si Temple, Wish Tags.

Street Art in George Town by Ernest Zacharevic

A very cool artist studio – Junk in George Town

Some random photos of street life in Penang

Langkawi Malaysia


As we crossed the border from Thailand into Langkawi we were welcomed with big smiles. Unlike the now tourist dominated Thailand this was a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere where we instantly felt at ease.

Langkawi is more westernised than most of Asia but doesn’t feel near as touristy, the population is small and poverty doesn’t seem to be an issue here. It’s very green and is surrounded by beautiful beaches, the island is volcanic in places and has one of the worlds only salt water hot springs. The people in Malaysia are some of the friendliest and most genuine we have met, from the moment we stepped foot in our cab to our guest-house ‘Tropical Resort’ they couldn’t do enough for us.

There are many different cultures and religions in Malaysia that live and work together, the most common is Muslim, however, there is still many Hindus, Buddhist, Sikhs, Christians and various other religious groups. The diverse population in Malaysia makes the food here a real treat. A mish-mash of southern Indian tandoori dishes, Thai food, Chinese and Japanese food all with a spicy kick sent us to food heaven!

We spent a lot of time exploring the island on mopeds regularly stopping for fresh juice drinks and culinary delights, although there wasn’t much to do here there was a very nice vibe about the place that we liked. On Our last night we went out with an English couple we had met on the boat over ‘Frank and Laura’, who helped us take advantage of the islands duty free alcohol. Whilst sharing a bottle of rum outside their hostel we shared some travel stories, fussed the local cats and even managed to watch a ladyboy show organised as a surprise birthday present for a neighbour.

Beautiful Malaysian sunset

Me and George on the beach, George very pleased with his new hat.

Views from the road in peaceful Langkawi

Red snapper red fish curry – amazing seafood for very cheap prices!