Asia has been a source of fascination for a long time now, especially for those travelers who like me reside in the western side of the world. And what better way to get a taste of Asia than explore Malaysia. The country holds true to its tagline, “Truly Asia”. It is a country of cultural diversity and serene landscapes, worth a visit for those who enjoy natural beauty plus modern urban holidaying.
Being an avid domestic traveler within the states, I had my share of Delta miles in my account. Redeeming them on my latest holiday made sense but little did I know selling them would be even better. I was able to sell delta skymiles for a competitive price which helped me generate some extra funds for the trip. I naturally diverted those funds to my airline ticket purchase so it was basically as if I redeemed them on the flight. Once I had the ticket booked, all I had to do was get my manager to approve my leave. Yes, you hear that right. Booked a ticket first, arranged for a work leave later. I was hoping for a 10 day holiday, but got seven days instead. Granted I had fewer days than originally planned, but everything worked out in my favor. All is well that ends well.
KL, the capital of Malaysia is truly a diverse city with a mix of people from different backgrounds, cultures, languages and religions. It is like any other metropolitan, hustling and bustling with life, excitement and fun. In KL, I stayed in Sheraton. They had a really nice deal going on so I was able to bag a two night stay in around 300$. The hotel was really nice and I would definitely recommend it.
On my first day, I visited the famous Batu Caves. The 272 stair climb to the cave temple was definitely exhausting but it was fun in its own way with many monkey encounters and short breaks. After a quick rest in the hotel room the same day, I explored Bukit Bintang. Bukit Bintang turned out to be the perfect place for just walking around and shopping. I loved the happening surroundings, people relaxing and singing on roadsides, it was like one big party. The second day I explored the KL butterfly garden. It was so serene and the butterflies so beautiful that I spent hours inside without even realizing it. With just a few hours to spare, I made my way straight to the airport for my flight to Kota Kinabalu.
I opted for Airbnb in KK. Thankfully it was a really a good accommodation, and a very cheap one too. The capital of Sabah itself has no worthy attractions other than the usual malls and fun restaurants. The city’s real charm lies in its beaches and rainforests. Taking a cruise boat, I explored the island of Manuka and Gaya. Here you get to witness the most stunning clear waters and breathtaking surroundings. Now I know why Malaysian beaches are considered one of the most beautiful in all of Asia. The whole day just passed in a blur.
The second day in KK was spent exploring Kinabalu National Park. The magnificent Kinabalu peak, the raw natural beauty and 8 km hike around the rainforest was an unforgettable experience. The birds and sounds of insects made me feel so close to nature.
My third and last city was equally charming as the previous two. A 3 hour bus/train ride away from KL, Ipoh was less modern, more cultural and conservative. A two hour drive from the city takes you to Cameron Highlands and you take in the beauty of the rainforests. The tea plantations, the vast strawberry farms and the pleasant weather make the highlands a spectacular place to visit. Other than being to near to Cameron, the city Ipoh itself is home to many caves and natural wonders. On my last day, I visited Kellie’s Castle and Kek Lok Tong Cave temple. The cave temple definitely takes more marks because of the wonders it holds in store. The inside of the temple is truly a sight to behold. Way more fascinating than the Batu caves, I must admit.
With a dozen magnets and countless memories, I bid Malaysia farewell happy and content. The country gets my 100% approval for an exciting and fun holiday!