- Langkawi – no love at first sight
- George Town – very different than expected
- Kuala Lumpur – not only the city of Petronas Twin Towers
Langkawi – No love at first sight
The crossing to Langkawi from Ko Lanta (Thailand) with the speedboat and the ferry went smoothly, although a bit long. When we changed to Ko Lipe, our eyes almost fell out of our heads…such turquoise-blue sea and such powder white sand we had not seen on the whole trip. Due to the tides, it is rather unusual for Thailand (except on small islands) to find crystal clear water. Only from time to time you are lucky to see a paradisiacal sea with the right weather conditions and water level. This does not mean that it is not beautiful, but mostly murky. Unfortunately our ferry left after 1 hour, so we could only admire this idyllic sea from the beach bar. We would have preferred to stay here, but our Thailand visa was expiring and we had to leave the country. Well, our trip will certainly bring us more beaches like this and that thought comforted us when we boarded the ferry to Langkawi.
The first impression at the harbour is pompous. Quite different than in Thailand, the harbour presents itself here like an airport with duty-free shops at an inside temperature, like in a refrigerator. Also outside the architecture shows that Malaysia is the most developed country in Southeast Asia. Another conspicuous difference to Thailand is the mastery of the English language of the Malay people. We were so happy to finally talk to a local, ask questions and receive recommendations. Apparently the education here is a lot in advance.
Full of anticipation to discover the island, we drove almost the whole coast by scooter on the first day. But our enthusiasm became less and less from beach to beach. Although the beaches were beautiful, well-kept, spacious, fine and almost white, we were not overcome by a wow effect. (Already too spoiled????:-))
The beach in the northeast, near the mangrove forests, corresponded most to our parameters (Jenni should think about becoming a beauty tester :-)). The only flaw is that you have to watch out for the strong current when swimming. The limestones protruding from the sea give the beach a magical backdrop.
The white, long beaches in the southwest (Cenang and Pantai Tengah) are the most popular of tourists. Accordingly, many water sports are offered here. From jet skiing, over parasailing to banana boats everything is there. The beach looks like an amusement park, full of jet skis, which are praised by their owners, like the massages in Krabi (see article about Thailand – Krabi). These beaches are not bad, but if you’re looking for more natural corners, you’re in the wrong place.
In general, Langkawi seems to be a big amusement park. Families can certainly stay busy for 2 weeks. The map of the island is littered with parks like crocodile farm, wildlife park, butterfly park, underwater world park, etc. In any case a paradise for children.
The only tourist attraction that attracted us was the cable car that leads up to the second highest mountain of Langkawi. We even climbed one of the highest mountains on foot. More to that, later on…. Back to the cable car (a Swiss construction by the way!). The ascent takes about 15 minutes with a stop at a viewing platform. The panorama from here is really breathtaking. A few Selfies and photos with dozens of other people fighting for the best spot and on we go to the highest level, where the famous Skybridge. One gets really soft knees up here, especially when standing on the glass bottom on the bridge.
The most beautiful experience and also our greatest pride is the ascent of the 850 high mountain called Gunung Mat Chinchang. Including the descent we needed 4 hours. The second hour uphill has to be mentioned! The way went vertically steeply up. Luckily it was equipped with a rope to pull yourself up. The sweat ran down our bodies like water and every time we looked up a laugh came over us because we didn’t see the end. Finally when we reached the summit, we were rewarded with a breathtaking view. With our tuna toasts we enjoyed the view and celebrated our success. Back down again, we refreshed ourselves in the natural pool with crystal clear water. A paradise. One could have bathed naked, because only a few people walk this hiking path.
The Seven Wells waterfall is also worth a visit. It is so named because seven natural pools on different levels were formed by streams of water flowing down Mat Cincang Mountain. This is the most picturesque and undoubtedly the best waterfall on the island. Here you can swim wonderfully in the natural pools with views. Up to the uppermost pools, one first has to sweat a little, as there are a total of 638 steps that lead up to the top.
Accommodation: Camp Valley. Cheap well-maintained rooms. Friendly owner who gives good information about the island. Highlight: outdoor gym.
Restaurant: Fish Farm. Your fish is caught fresh from the tanks. Very chic ambience. Expensive for backpackers, otherwise good prices for holiday makers.
George Town – very different than expected
No matter who you ask and where you read, everyone regards George Town as a must see in Malaysia. According to the descriptions and pictures on the internet, the city on the island of Penang has a very personal charm. Colorful houses in British colonial style, worth seeing and interactive streetarts and a culinary paradise, they say.
We just couldn’t see the charm. The colorful houses were faded, bored rickshaw cycle drivers hung around at the street corners, the restaurants were, except for a few exceptions, not special and the colonial flair, one feels also only with difficulty. The only English feature we could notice was the rain :-P. The Chinese influence, on the other hand, took the upper hand here. The famous street art paintings loosen up the grey city for our taste at least a little bit.
Expectations too high again? Maybe you shouldn’t read too much about a place before visiting it. Without expectations one cannot be disappointed. In the case of George Town, we found the deviation of other bloggers’ ratings from ours so extreme that we either thought we weren’t in the George Town that everyone recommended or we didn’t discover the right corner. After we asked the locals to confirm that we were in the right place, we were confused and looked stupidly at each other.
Most likely you won’t find any other descriptions like ours. Here we write our personal perception, which of course is purely subjective! Maybe you experienced George Town quite differently. We are looking forward to your comments.
Food: Red Garden Paradise – Food Court. Clean, tasty and cheap.
Kuala Lumpur – Not only the city of Petronas Twin Towers
Our arrival in Kuala Lumpur started a little bit difficult. The accommodation we found on booking.com which we didn’t book in advance because of previous bad experiences was disastrous. The apartment didn’t match the pictures and was so filthy that we didn’t even want to touch the door handle. So we went with our heavy backpacks on the search for a place to stay. A little hungry we just thought about whether we should eat something at the street. The hunger had vanished however fast, as we saw a rat exactly in front of the food stand. Yuck! At the same stand a taxi driver called after us. We thought it was just in time, because the other accommodation option was 1.5 km away and our backs were already at the limit. But when he wanted 7 CHF (for 8km we had paid 4 CHF before) for the short distance, we let him down laughing and went on foot. Fortunately we had found a suitable hotel after just a few meters.
The landmark of KL are the Petronas Twin Towers. The highest and coolest skyscraper of this city is extremely photogenic. You can see it from almost everywhere in the city and use it as a reference point. Because this construction is so cool, there are a lot of tourists in front the towers, which offers the best shooting spot. Here you have to be careful not to strike a blow with your elbow when taking pictures. :-).
A very good possibility to get an overall picture of the city is the Hop-on/ Hop-off Bus. We got off at the botanical garden, which we highly recommend. Here you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and observe animals and plants. Artificial waterfalls and bridges give the garden a relaxing atmosphere.
Overall impression of Malaysia
We only spent two weeks in Malaysia. Actually the country offers more to visit. However, it is not suitable for our needs and type of travel. Prices tend to be higher than in other Southeast Asian countries. In addition, the east coast was out of the question, as it is monsoon season.
The encounters with the locals were always very pleasant. The Malays are open people, probably also because of the many different cultures that live together peacefully. Accordingly, a culinary diversity has developed.
We will surely return to Malaysia for a holiday. And now let’s go to Indonesia!