Food Food Food Food Food
Malaysia was wonderful- the food, the people, the blend of culture, the architecture, the art. Unfortunately, we had no idea how much the country had to offer, and only spent 6 days there.
Malaysia had some of the best food we had in all of SE Asia – both street food and sit down, specifically in Penang. We ended up only staying in Penang (an island on the west coast of Malaysia, connected by a bridge) and Kuala Lumpur (KL). I would highly recommend going to both of these spots – as the Petronas Towers are a must see, and Penang is one of the most unique cities I have stepped foot in.
Chances are, you will be heading to other awesome destinations within Malaysia, so below are just a few great tips & things to do in Penang & KL. Other great cities to look into include: Malacca, Cameron Highlands, Perhentian Islands & Langkawi (No taxes on Chocolate & wine on this island!). Heading to the Eastern part of Malaysia, make sure to check out Sabah/Borneo – there are supposedly some wonderful reefs for snorkeling, and of course, the Orangutans! If you are traveling to see the Orangutans, go all out and actually spend 2-4 days in the rainforest. There are also some really neat caves in the Eastern section.
- Check out all of the Street Art — It’s like a scavenger hunt around Georgetown (the maps have most of their locations). It will take up half a day, but it’s a blast- and allows you to see parts of Georgetown that you may not see – this is how we found some of our favorite bakeries!
- Visit the local Toh Soon Coffee for your morning cup of Kopi O (coffee) and breakfast. You will have to be aggressive (even more so than when waiting for a stool at Founding Farmers in D.C. on a weekend morning). People will instantly grab stools from other tables, so sit down as soon as you see one (even if random people are still sitting there) and DON’T get up 🙂
- Visit one of the local morning markets for fresh fruit …. and the most comfortable Yoga Sports Bras for $3.
- Check out Julan Chulia (Chulia Street) at night for some amazing street food.
- Teksen is a very popular Chinese restaurant, and Kapitan is a popular Indian restaurant specializing in Chicken Tandoori – I would probably say you could find other Indian restaurants just as good/better. There is an amazing lunch spot with some of the best duck I’ve ever had — Yat San Duck Rice — & they are only open for lunch!!
- Stop in a Chinese Tea store…and learn how to properly steep tea (Penang has a lot of Chinese influence)
- Visit the Peranakan Mansion to learn more about Malaysian History
- Check out some of the beautiful mosques
- Accommodation: We stayed at Malabar and loved it – the owners are wonderful, mapping out the best places to eat, where to get the bus to KL, etc. and they supply free drinking water to promote less waste (which my eco-friendly self loved). I highly recommend staying in Georgetown!
- Visit the Patronas Twin Towers — get there before sunset so you can view the towers in day light (Or pay to go up in the towers), and then head over to Sky Cafe (Or just sit by the pond, right next to the mall) and watch the towers during sunset. I loved seeing the towers during the different shades of light.
- Check out Jalan Alor at dinner time. This famous food street is packed with people, food stalls, and many aromas.
- Head over to Bukit Bintang for the nightlife
- Listen to the beautiful Muslim prayers over the loudspeakers
- Eat Durian! This smelly and terrible tasting fruit may not sound appealing, but it is a Must-try when in Malaysia.
- Visit the famous Petaling Street to buy basically any knock-off you could ask for. I’m not into knock-offs and I still had a blast at this market!
- Food Tour Malaysia Offers amazing food tours — We did the “Off the Eaten Path” tour and were able to see some of the local markets and restaurants outside of the city, and taste a bunch of native foods that we may not have come into contact with/known to order. I also loved that our guide was super interactive & was attentive to our needs (getting us seconds, etc.). One huge plus to the tour, is that the guide often starts by getting a few of an item and sharing them among the group. It makes it a lot easier to taste a variety of foods when you only have to eat 1-2 bites of something!
- Head to an Indian restaurant that can make Roti Tissue
- Eat Roti Canai for breakfast – every.single.day.
- There are a lot of parks, museums & mosques to visit as well. Google Top things to do in KL for more activities
- Walk around/explore/hop on a local bus and see where it takes you!
- Accommodation: The Sarong Guest House was wonderful – they own multiple facilities; we were lucky (they had overbooked our room) and we were placed in a modern high rise with a wonderful couple from Europe. We loved having our “own” apartment, and the staff were wonderful – bringing us fresh Roti Canai and fruit every morning for breakfast.
Malaysia has SO much going on, and so much to offer! My biggest tip is to go in with a lot of excitement for a cultural blend of people, food and a country that has been shaped by this blend – And, spend more than 6 days there 🙂
Happy Travels my Friends! (Backpackers, See below)
Backpackers — If heading into Malaysia from the Thai Islands, there are tons of busses that head all over Malaysia daily. Plan on buying a bus ticket the day or so before leaving Thailand. If leaving from Singapore, there are busses that head to Malecca, KL, & Johor Bahru.
I personally took the bus from Krabi, Thailand south to Georgetown, Penang;
took the bus from Penang to KL,
and then took the bus from KL to Singapore.