Malaysia – Through rose-coloured glasses

Well, who would have thought but I’m finally in my honeymoon after an interesting wedding and enjoying my trip here in Penang, Malaysia.  Just got a wakeup call from the hotel (not sure we asked for one) so that was an awkward moment, luckily I was already awake, and wifey is still sleeping although I hear her in this massive hotel room moving around possibly about to wake up.

Shangri La Rasa

This hotel is AMAZING! It’s not so much a room as a full on suite unit…yep she’s awake…. anyway this being the first leg of our honeymoon…has been a good omen so far.  It’s been great with an upgraded hotel room and incredible hotel service.  We have done so much in past few days, including the butterfly garden in Penang, which was a major highlight. I still can’t get over how beautiful each butterfly was and seeing other animals there like the pig nosed turtle and the frogs that looked like dry leaves.

Sites of Penang

We also passed by a traditional clothes factory, and the spice garden where we bought spices for cooking and I had another go at getting herbal medicine for diabetes for my brother (a la Sri Lanka).  What can I say so far it’s been fun and sharing it with someone has exceeded my expectations, we were SO exhausted after the wedding, and after a long time of not travelling, doing masters and dealing with financial issues (which will still be there when I get back) …this is a much deserved break.

I am looking forward to more travels with my her, she’s been a great travel buddy.  It is very interesting how life takes different directions, I couldn’t have planned where I have ended up.  I must admit that I do miss routine, even what I’m used to in travelling without a partner, but for now soaking up as much as I can of this amazing country.  Taking in all the beautiful nature it offers and the fresh clean air I breath in every morning.  Let me tell you, the air is so fresh after the on-off rain storms here, which are in and of themselves quite amazing to see as well.

Today we see Penang Hill, the Fruit Farm, one of the biggest Buddhist temples in south East Asia, and if time permits the botanical gardens. We hope to do a cooking class here in the hotel – but it’s looking less likely by the day because of all the things to see here.  By the way the food probably the best I ever had and quite affordable.  It is truly a foodie’s paradise here in Penang, and looking forward to the rest of the trip, especially tomorrow when we set off to Langkawi through a ferry.  I also hope to see the night market in Penang on our last day before we leave this great place.

Penang Hill and Fruit Farm (including the infamous Durian)

Just a couple of quick “highlights” though (more like low lights), walking around Georgetown yesterday we saw a crazy old man who started losing it and calling me “a liar and a cheat” for not telling him where I was from (he asked me when we were walking down the street) …so that was fun! and seeing some of our “unmentionables” so prominently displayed near our bed after we forgot to put the do not disturb light and had our rooms accidentally cleaned up.  Sidebar: the morning call was a mistake and I just got an apology for it.  (Thursday, Shangri-La Rasa hotel, Penang)**

So in a bit I will finish up the room service we ordered (more amazing Malay food) but what a day it’s been since the last log.  We jam packed a lot in one measly day, and it was an equally jam packed second day in Penang with a temple, a chocolate boutique, a coffee place and a pewter company as well as the fruit farm and Penang hill; all in one day.  We were exhausted but we started early the next day (missing the night market near the hotel because of rain, but instead had great Malay food again at the Spice Café in the Shangri La Hotel).

After a brief sleep and saying a symbolic goodbye to Penang, we took the early ferry to Langkawi. A great start to the day, but my mood was a bit off (holding a grudge with something said yesterday and ready to blow up any moment – you know couple stuff), it finally happened in the ferry with Ice Age playing in the background, oh well.

After a long silent treatment (from both of us), we arrived early to Langkawi and to the hotel before the room was ready.  We ate a nice lunch and started to reconcile again, instead of waiting some more we went to see the famous Langkawi hills in these REALLY HIGH cable cars. She got over her fear of heights…sort of….and there were plenty of amazing views to distract her.  We went back to our hotel and sure enough our chalet was right on the water, small but AMAAAAAZING, right on top of the ocean. Listening to the great ocean waves while I type this with the cartoon network on, waiting for great room service, that’s the life really.

Langkawi was picture perfect, stereotypically exotic
Up at the top of Langkawi Hills

After a brief calm it started again, but this time I think the fight was good and we both said many things that needed to be said, no longer holding back and we can finally enjoy the rest of the holiday…. let me just say that making up truly is the best part in MANY ways!

So now we are content and for tomorrow we have yet to decide what to do.  Hoping to take it easy and actually go to the beach for once.  Get a tan dammit!  Life is good, problems resolved and I’ve never been happier and more certain (queue the awwws).  Can’t complain about this trip even though it’s been different.  I’ve been forced to be more relaxed and book actual nice hotels instead of hostels.  More nature and chilling than trying to do as much culture and history, which can be overwhelming and tiring (although I have been adding a flavour of that wherever I can).

But the Malaysian clichés are true.  The people are truly friendly and kind, the food is awesome, and the setting is very relaxing.  I have enjoyed this part of Asia so far, the eastern most I’ve been to, but there is still more to go.  Thank God the rumours aren’t true and they really do have bread here (I.ve been told it’s scarce) and they serve it generously wherever we go.  As a side note, we have been fairly in touch with our kleptomaniac side of our personalities. We literally have been stealing the hotels dry…. I was surprised with the comfy flip flops from Shangri La.  As for my wife, well let’s just say there is no soap, shower puff, sewing kit or tooth brush that she hasn’t taken.  Our bag is full of stolen hotel goods…souvenirs for a lifetime! (Berjaya Chalet, 7:51 p.m., Langkawi)**

After spending the night at Sunway Lagoon in an amazing private “Villa” with a private small pool and an amazing room, we had dinner at a great Indian restaurant with saffron tea…. yum.  Now we are in Genting in the highlands, and after a long trip going up the highlands in the cool cloudy rainy weather, seeing the hotel and room was well worth the trip.

Privacy at Sunway Lagoon
Up to the Genting Highlands

So far this has been the best room we’ve been in on this trip and it’s so relaxing.  After a quick stroll around the amusement park area and buying gifts for the little ones, her nephews and my niece, we came for a quick chill break.  I am aiming to do the sky venture sky diving experience tomorrow and take some more cable cars; while tonight we booked to see a magic/dancing/entertainment show…appropriately called “Dazzle” (without a speck of intended cheesiness) – should be cool, something different at least.

So far this has been an amazing trip, and she has been a sport dealing with my obsession with taking pictures and doing off-beat things like sky venture (and parachuting earlier in Penang).  In each place of Malaysia, we go there is such a different atmosphere, a different feel and as if we are in an altogether different country.  But both of us have no doubt that this country incredible and definitely worth recommending to others.

I am also surprised how developed it is, and much more liberal than I originally thought.  It’s been interesting talking to the local Malays, Indians and Chinese here and knowing their stories, which they are all too willing to tell.   Looking forward towards more authentic shopping and food experiences in KL and seeing our last stage in the trip.  A bit apprehensive about life after, when the honeymoon is over (literally).  So far savouring the freedom. (Maxims Hotel, Genting, 7:35p.m.)**

So we’re getting ready to head out onto our last stage of the trip to Kuala Lumpur, we had a tiring night last night playing arcades, going on the cable cars, I did the skyventure thing with the indoor skydiving…. awesome! Another notch in the belt of great things we did here, and ended the night watching Slumdog Millionaire (for the 2nd time).  We finally tried the local Pizza Hut and had the local edition of “Masala Pizza” … so good.  But I think we are ready to do “basic” things, like just shopping and chilling in Kuala Lumpur.

So on our last day in Malaysia, in KL, we are getting ready to head back.  We both feel mixed emotions because we loved Malaysia; but time to start a new life in our new apartment and for the first time living together – should be interesting.  After a long couple of days here in KL, seeing the Petronas towers, the KL tower, bird park, aqua park, and shopping at Chinatown.  Buying cushion covers and runners and lamps from Suyong Wang mall the first day which was great, and buying imitation purses and wallet as well.  It was a great shopping trip and we’ve bonded over great food here.  We fought, we laughed, we ate – a lot, we walked and site saw, we swam, we relaxed and slept a lot.  It was everything we had hoped it to be.  Along with the Malaysian, Chinese and Indian food before KL, and then Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean food as well as Pizza Hut, KFC, and McDonald’s in Genting, it was all very excellent.

Way more to see in KL than we thought!

Loved every second, Malaysia was the perfect setting to start married life.  I will never forget the things I’ve done here like the parachuting and skyventure, or the things I saw from hotels to animals, or the food I tasted and even the bad smells in Chinatown.  Truly one of the best holidays I’ve been in and looking forward to starting a new life with more travels to come – this time with a partner.  (JW Marriot Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, 11:10a.m.)***

Any other great honeymoon spots – not the usual islands or Europe?

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