Malaysia, we hardly knew you.

We left Singapore and crossed over into Malaysia by double decker bus. We booked the 707 bus online from the recommendation of a nice restaurant,  owner in Singapore. There are many companies and most seem to be at the same standard, big cushy chairs and air con. We picked out seats in advance and got the front seat on the second level. 

The ride to the city of Malacca was only 4 hours including immigration and customs. The bus stopped at the border and everyone had to disembark, passports in hand and meet the driver on the other side after about 20 mins in line at immigration. We drove another minute down the road to customs where we had to get back off the bus but this time with all our belongings in tow. Simple for us backpackers, but would be a real pain for anyone with a lot of luggage. 
We arrived in the Malaysian town of Malacca and checked into the Jonker Boutique Hotel for one night. Jonker street is the popular market/tourist street in this small port city. 

We showered and headed down Jonker Street to dinner. We picked Calanthe Art Cafe, a casual, open air place to dine and it was satisfying. 

Malaysian Laksa
Butter Chicken Curry

Unfortunately, everyone in Malacca has Tuesday off so shops and (most) restaurants are closed. With quiet streets in this small town, we went back to our nice hotel for a good night sleep. 

The next morning we dropped our bags down at the front desk and checked out. We walked back down Jonker to a breakfast joint that I knew served Kaya toast, which I made my mission to eat again. The Malay version is less heavy and involved than the Singaporean one but still delicious.

 Nate had found a blogger who layed out “Malacca in 24 hours” so we sorta followed that. We didn’t want to walk like the blogger had suggested, so instead we rented bikes for $2 each to be our transportation in the beating heat. 
The town could get boring quick but had a quirky personality, interesting history, good restaurants and street stalls for shopping which makes it easy to walk around for a day. 

Nate especially enjoyed the Malacca History Museum in the Stadthoys. 

At the end of our touring, we first tried the chicken rice balls at Hoo Kee, which were excellent, before stopping back at Calenthe Art Cafe for a cold drink and a rest. 

After that, we dropped our bikes back off and headed to get reflexology foot massages.

Neither of us had done this before so we thought it would be fun.  I’m not so sure about the meaning behind each spot on the foot but an hour later, we were walking on air!
We picked up our bags at the hotel and called a taxi to take us to the bus station. The bus station has about 10 different bus companies going to Kuala Lumpur every 30 mins to an hour. You can buy tickets at the counter when you arrive for $5 a piece. We did so and sat down to wait for our bus when I realized I couldn’t find my phone. Horror took over my expression as I realized I must have left it in the cab. 

Nate sprung into action almost instantly! He asked a man to use his phone to call our hotel. The hotel contacted the taxi driver and the driver said he would bring the phone back to us but it would take at least 20 minutes. We missed our bus but he arrived just a little later than promised and we gave him another $10 fare for his time. We purchased another set of bus tickets to KL and with cellphone in hand, were finally on our way. 

We arrived into Kuala Lumpur after two hours on the bus and took the subway into the popular Bukit Bintang district, where we would stay. KL has a different major bus station based on what direction you are coming from. We were coming in from the South so our bus dropped us off at TBS which is about 30 minutes by subway into the heart of KL. 

The subway system was not that easy to navigate (they have 4 different train systems that operate independently.) Once we asked around and found the right platform, it was fine. 

It was close to 8:30 pm when we checked into our Air BnB so we opted to walk to a restaurant not far from our place. The owner was very welcoming and interested in helping us pick the right menu items, so we had a good experience.

The next morning we headed to a nearby breakfast place that was recommended by our host called VCR. 

Hold up…On our walk, we couldn’t help noticing  that KL is full of cats, so we affectionatly refer to KL as Kitty Land now and can’t help but blurt that out every time we see a cat.

Back to breakfast at VCR. The food was well prepared and the coffee was good, so we started the day out on the right foot.

 We walked all the way through the city, passing by landmarks and popular streets. We had the goal to go to the KL tower to see a good view of the city and the Petronas towers but when we arrived it was such a “to do” and felt like a tourist trap so we cut our losses and left before paying the steep ticket price. We then walked to the famous Petronas Towers to get an up close look and see the inside of the fancy mall at the base.

To be honest, at this point we just weren’t loving KL. It didn’t seem to have much personality and soul. We decided this would be the perfect city to indulge in a little treat, so we went to a movie! We saw The Nice Guys and it was a great way to spend a few hours in air con with some much needed westernized entertainment.   When the innocent nude scene was blurred out we were reminded that we were in a Muslim country.

There is an evening street food market in Bukit Bintang area that is popular with locals, so we hit that up for dinner. We knew a specific stall had great chicken wings, so we started there and it did not disappoint. 

We got 12 wings (ordered six) and two drinks for $3. After that, we tried some dim sum, Japanese spicy pork jerky and coconut ice cream. We were in a hunt for Roti Canoi but could not find it. 

Our last stop in KL was at the Traders Hotel, we read they would have the best view of the Patronas Towers. We had a drink there and though the view was great, the atmosphere had a strange vibe that reminded us both of an 18 and under night club, except filled with adults.

Malacca was such a cool little town, but KL left us unimpressed. We woke up at 4 am the next morning to catch an early flight to Cambodia! Siem Reap, here we come!

Check out our video of Singapore and Malayasia here.

3 thoughts on “Malaysia, we hardly knew you.

  1. Glad you enjoyed your trip to Malaysia! Sorry you didn’t find KL as enjoyable, but it’s a fascinating city if you know where to look – beyond the glitzy shopping malls and tourist traps. There’s Little India, loads of old temples among the modern buildings, and a small but vibrant art community. It’s a place you have to dig a little deeper to get to its heart and soul. Maybe I’m just biased because I’m a local, but yeah.. If you’re ever back in KL, give it a second chance. 🙂



    1. Luna, thanks for the encouragement! It was partly because we were also exchanged from Singapore and partly from lack of research. I’m convinced we didn’t give it all we had but in this long trip, not every location gets our best unfortunately. Will definitely give it another try, I need more Kaya toast in my life!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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