For my hard earned, fall break I went to exotic Malaysia. I desperately needed some time away from teaching adorable, but needy, first graders in Xiamen. Malaysia is a country I didn't really know anything about before moving to Asia over a year ago. For that reason alone it seemed exotic, and in turn very appealing.
My travel habits have changed a bit over the last couple years. Before, I tended to only hit the capital city in a 'drive-by' sight seeing manner, reasoning that the capital city would showcased the best 'taste' of the nation's treasures. Now I have begun to regularly make it to 3 different locations within a country. In the case of Malaysia, I am very happy I did. I believe Malaysia has a lot to offer, more than even my 3 diverse locations could reveal.
Kinda. Kuala Lumpur.I am 100% sure I did not see all this urban locale offered but I only kinda liked the shopping and Islamic heavy culture I experienced. I did enjoy some famously yummy KL food and the view of the iconic towers, but I didn't fall in love with this big city.
Cameron Highland's Tea FieldsI was really looking forward to this venue which boasted expansive green fields. Need I say more? I typically prefer natural and useful beauty over glitzy buildings and glam shopping, but I went so far as to stay in a traditional bamboo hut that served local tribal cuisine.
I also booked a day tour of the area. I unexpectedly got to see the world's largest flower (Pictured below). These flowers only live a few days so village scouts tell the tour guides where to find them. As you can imagine they do not always conveniently grow next to the man-made trails, so we slipped (and slided) our way uphill (though sometimes back down) to find this fella. It had rained the day before, leaving the landscape a muddy mess, but it made it very adventurous.
I met a lot of really great people on the tour and at the 'native bamboo stay'. I didn't meet any Americans and I only saw 1 Chinese person during my time in this region though. The location may have been a bit remote for many American guests and I was told, "The Chinese like more luxury and places with shopping."
Langkawi. I'm Lovin' it.I tried riding an electric scooter last year in Myanmar and though I was intimidated at first, it was quite thrilling. On this trip I wanted to do something new, too. I decided to ride a jet ski. In the ocean. I. Was. Terrified. Really scared. I made one of our guides ride with me while I eked along, and then had him take over as we fell way behind the others. But I kept at it and by the end I was flying right along with the other riders. There was only 2 guides and 2 'guests' on the tour this day anyhow. I will be scared again if I ride in the ocean in the future, but I did like it. I don't think a boat trip could have revealed as much island ocean beauty as the jet ski tour did.
I also took a boat tour of a mangrove and went to a beautiful bridge that presented some breathtaking views. I met up with some colleagues and friends who had booked the same place on the same dates, too. This was my favorite of the three places I visited and I hope to see more of Langkawi another time. (All pictured below.)
Yes, Malaysia has much more to bestow than Kuala Lumpur and I don't think even 3 locations were enough to showcase its riches. Malaysia really is marvelous.