We had 3 nights in Kuala Lumpur, arriving after a 3hr flight from Denpasar, Bali. Our flight landed at about 01:00am and we arrived at our hotel in the centre of KL at about 02:30am so it was straight to bed! KL is a huge city and we only saw a very small part of it but we really enjoyed it for a short city break. We decided to stay at the Shangri-La hotel having sampled one already in Singapore. The location was perfect right in the centre of the city and within walking distance to most of the main sites and tourist attractions. One thing we really liked about KL was that the main downtown area was fairly compact with most of the shopping, eating and nightlife in one area, known as the golden triangle.
We visited the Petronas Twin Towers which are the iconic symbol of KL and at one time the highest buildings in the world. They are still the highest twin towers in the world. They are pretty impressive looking buildings close-up. You can pay to go up to the bridge that connects the two towers or to an observation deck close to the top of one of the towers but we didn't bother going up as it was pretty busy being the weekend. We did go up the KL Tower which is basically just an observation tower of about the same height as the twin towers. It was a bit hazy the day we went up but the views of the city were still amazing. We ate one night at Jalon Alor Street or Food Street as it is known as it is just full of street cafes and hawker stalls selling all sorts of Malaysian and Asian food. The place is absolutely buzzing at night. The food was amazing but we both had slightly dodgy stomachs the next day!!
We visited a couple of the new shopping malls in the centre which were absolutely huge! I decided to get my hair cut one day in one of the malls while Vanessa was looking round the shops and they must have seen me coming as a £20 haircut turned into a£100 professional grooming session after they had sold me every type of hair and scalp cleaning product and procedure! Vanessa came back after about an hour and they were still washing my hair! I couldn't really understand what they were saying while they were selling me all all these different types of treatments and products. Two hours later I probably had the cleanest scalp in Asia....ha ha!
After a few days in KL we decided to head North to Penang Island on the North West coast of Malaysia. We had planned to get the the train there but the hotel concierge convinced us that the bus was the way to travel and was also much quicker than the train. The bus took about 4 hours from KL and was brilliant. It was a big luxury bus with really comfy reclining seats, we even got a hot meal with tea and coffee and had our own entertainment systems with music and movies and it only cost about £12 each! We arrived in the south of Penang close to the airport just after 8pm and got a taxi to our hotel on the north coast which took about another 40 minutes. We had planned on staying in Georgetown which is the capital city of Penang but we decided to stay in Batu Ferringhi which is a small beach resort about 20 minutes North of Georgetown. We made it a hat-trick of Shangri-La hotels and stayed at another in Ferringhi which was right on the beach. The town itself is pretty quiet and there's not really much to do but its OK for a couple of days on the beach. We were a bit surprised with the number of elderly (probably retired) Brits in the hotel and in the resort in general as we never realised it was such a popular holiday destination but maybe it has something to do with the British history of the island.
Ferringhi beach itself is quite nice but the water quality is not great and there's also loads of jellyfish in the water so it's not really suitable for swimming in. They have all the usual water sports like jet skis and para-sailing and stuff. The hotel has a regular shuttle bus service into Georgetown so we took a trip in there for a look around. It's a really nice city with loads of 19th century British colonial style buildings and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. There is a lot of new high rise apartment buildings and shopping malls going up though which is a bit of a shame.
Anyway, it's time to get to bed as we are are up at 4:00am tomorrow to get a 7:00am flight back to KL and then on to Vietnam for the next three weeks. We've got an organised tour of Vietnam booked with our own tour guide so it will be a nice change not to have to worry about booking hotels and transport and stuff as everything is arranged for us, but it looks like a pretty hectic schedule taking us from Hanoi in the North, down to Ho Chi Minh City and on to Phu Quoc Island off the South coast, can't wait!