Travel to Malaysia: From Kuala Lumpur to Tioman is written by Jesper Munk Hansen.
Ready for tour in Malaysia
Malaysia offers everything from culture, city breaks, island life, rainforest and palm beaches. However, it was initially education that brought me to the country. But honestly, it was hard to keep the interest in school books solely now that I was on the other side of the Earth.
I went with a classmate, and we actually ended up writing a thesis together about a Danish company's opportunities in the Malaysian market. Random? Not quite. We were registered at a school in Kuala Lumpur, where the plan was to go to school for a few months and then return to Denmark and complete the education.
But how often do you travel to Malaysia? Now that we were there anyway, we were of course going on a tour of Malaysia, experiencing the country, and seeing what it had to offer - besides Kuala Lumpur.
The perfect base for a tour of Malaysia
After a few days of getting used to the country and the time difference and the new apartment - we lived on the 36th floor in the middle of Kuala Lumpur - we wanted to see what the country and the city could offer.
After some talks with locals, other tourists and exchange students as well as some research, it turned out that you can get to many places with Kuala Lumpur as a starting point. Cameron Highlands - Tanah Tinggi Cameron in the local language - was only a 3 hour bus ride away, and the small bounty island of Tioman could be reached with a flight of just 45 minutes.
At Tioman, we experienced the smallest airport we had ever seen. It was an "exciting" landing in the smallest plane we had flown in. The landing area was a single runway, and the airport area itself was the size of a Danish holiday home and had no forms of passport control or the like. This may be due to the fact that it was a domestic flight when we flew from one of Kuala Lumpur's smaller airports.
But back to that later.
Kuala Lumpur - almost inevitable on trips to Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is a small town measured in Asian terms. The population is only 1,5 million, so it is a very small Asian city and capital if you compare with cities like Bangkok, Shanghai, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh and Jakarta.
The size of the city made it relatively easy to get around without getting lost.
The weather on arrival in January was reasonable in relation to the cold Denmark we left. However, you could expect rain from time to time, and as you know it from your travels to Asia, it is not just a short shower. It is constantly raining in large amounts for several hours when it rains. It was kind of very cozy unless you were out on the town. But if you were at home while it started to rain, it was very nice to live right up on the 36th floor and look out over the city while the rain made its entrance.
Kuala Lumpur was going thin and new experiences came into the retina every time the opportunity was there.
The Blue Mosque - a highlight of travel to Malaysia
Just outside the city is the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque, or “Blue Mosque,” which holds the record for Asia's largest temple dome, and is the world's second tallest mosque.
In general, mosques are very visible in Malaysia, where the main religion is Islam. Of course, we also had to visit several mosques when we were there. Something we quickly learned, and which we hereby pass on: Remember to take your shoes off outside, and do not talk too loud inside the mosque. One must remember that we are guests of the country and in particular guests of another religion which one must respect.
Another reason to show respect in this particular time was because at home in Denmark there were some drawings of a prophet who provoked Muslims all over the world. Should one say that one is Danish when one is in a Muslim country at this very moment?
However, this was only speculation for us, because we felt absolutely nothing about it. The media back home in Denmark made it dangerous to be a Dane in a Muslim country, but it was not. Malaysia is the most diverse country I have ever been to.
Batu Caves - rock caves close to town
Another thing that can be easily reached in a short time when traveling to Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur is the rock caves of Batu Caves, which are a short taxi ride from the city. Here you are greeted by a large gold statue, Murugan, which weighs about 350 tons and is 42 meters high. 300 liters of gold have been used to paint the statue.
Batu Caves are caves and here you can just start going up the many stairs before reaching the entrance. The caves are said to be 400 million years old. Or at least the stones in the caves are about that age, but the actual construction around Batu Caves was completed in 1891. If you look the opposite way, away from the caves and the statue, you have a really great view over Kuala Lumpur with Petronas Twin Towers and the TV tower as the centerpiece.
Cameron Highlands - an important stop on a tour of Malaysia
As previously mentioned, it was also possible to get a trip to Cameron Highlands, which was a 3 hour bus ride away. Of course, we should do the same on our tour of Malaysia. However, we were a little surprised by what Malaysia defines as a bus. Well enough, there were seats in the bus, but there were no seats as we know them. We sat directly on iron chairs and the 3 hour bus ride suddenly felt infinitely long.
But we made it and arrived at Cameron Highlands, where we were the first to see children running around and playing and playing football. It was a minor culture shock, but also very interesting to see children far away from the big city right up in the mountains. We were given a guided tour by a local guide who showed us around and we got to see fields and local residents living on mountain slopes in small wooden huts.
We had decided that we were going to be there for 2 days so we had to find a hotel. We found a hotel that stood in stark contrast to the primitive life we had otherwise seen. The hotel had large rooms, breakfast and restaurant. All the while people right outside the door ran without shoes and played.
It was very interesting to see that side of Malaysia now that we had been in and around Kuala Lumpur for a while.
Tioman Island - Definitely recommended when traveling to Malaysia
While we were there, as previously mentioned, we also reached just a walk past Tioman. It's a pretty little Robinson Island out in the middle of nowhere. The island is located in the waters between the mainland and Borneo. There were almost no cars on the island and a very relaxed atmosphere.
Once again we were staying in a good hotel for the 2-3 days we were on the island. But as on most islands, there were many animals. Also small insects that you want to avoid - especially at night. In the hotel room, a lot of small mosquitoes flew around at night, and one thing is that they can sting, but they also made a lot of noise. It was therefore not uncommon for one to be awakened by a swarm of mosquitoes.
Back in Kuala Lumpur, we also experienced the Chinese New Year before we went home to Denmark.
There was talk that we could reach Singapore and see Formula 1, but it might be another time. Now we were going home to Denmark and complete the education after several months of school and tourist stay on our trip to Malaysia. Mostly the latter.
Good trip to Malaysia.
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