Malaysia was never part of the travel plan but when backpacking plans tend to change quickly! I flew into Kuala Lumpur from Singapore and instantly fell in love with this bright city made up of modern youth and a much older world. I booked into the Rainforest Inn B&B, a cheap hostel right next to the very fancy area of Bukit Bintang. To kick off our time in Kuala Lumpur we took a trip to the largest free aviary in Asia and consequently are now both totally freaked out by birds. I ate my weight in the American Diner Johnny Rockets, wandered huge malls, marvelled at the sparkling silver Petronas Towers, visited the Batu Caves and watched a ton of movies at the cinema for next to nothing. Alcohol had been so expensive in Singapore so we milked the cocktail hours spending evenings in a locals only nightclub.
Once I had enough of the city I caught a bus to Tanah in the Cameron Highlands, a place known for its production in tea and stunning scenery. The Cameron Highlands are based up in the clouds so I spent my day scootering, whizzing past butterfly farms and stunning strawberry farms ending the afternoon with a fine cup of tea in the famous Boh Tea Plantation. I spent evenings warming up in the Travellers Pub and eating hot curries, inhaling the smell of naan breads being cooked in the open air.
Once I had enough of the chilly highlands I decided to head up north in search of a paradise island so I could snorkel. I chose the Perhentian Islands, a crystal clear water marine park and were not disappointed. I lived in a bamboo hut at Bayu Dive Lodge based on a secluded beach and spent my time drinking pina coladas, chasing marine fish and walking the short length of the white beach over and over again. I have two magical memories of this place, one being an evening I took a speed boat to Coral Bay to watch to sun go down, catching the boat back with only the moon to guide me and the other, swimming with a giant sea turtle. I’ll never forget his intelligent face.
Malaysia has been just as I remembered, kind and gentle, full of people with huge hearts and smiles as wide as the moon.