Most people start in the capital of Kuala Lumpur. It’s one of the most convenient places to fly in and out of when visiting South East Asia. From here you can catch a bus to almost anywhere in the country, you can even easily head north to Thailand or south to Singapore. I stayed in Kuala Lumpur on several occasions because it was always easier to catch a bus back here before heading off in a different direction.
While in Kuala Lumpur you can’t miss a visit to the Petronas Towers, especially lit up at night, and take a stroll through Chinatown to see the impressive Sri Mahamariamman Temple. I would also recommend taking the LRT to Batu Caves, where you can admire a 140-foot gold statue of Lord Murugan (the Hindu god of war) before climbing the 272 steps into a series of limestone caves full of Hindu shrines and touristy souvenirs. The Bird Park is also a good way to kill some time.
My first hostel choice was Birdnest, it had a great vibe, good location and a lot of kittens to play with. The kittens may or may not still be a thing… I also stayed in Wheelers Guest House, it’s a weird place with basic rooms but in a good location. There are so many options for food, from expensive restaurants to cheap street food. There’s also a great range of bars, we spent most of our time in a random reggae bar.
After a rainy bus ride from KL to the town of Tanah Rata in the highlands we arrived at a hostel called Twin Pines and checked into to our weird attic rooms with a mattress on the floor, no good for anyone over 4 feet tall but we managed.
There’s not a whole lot to do here without booking a tour, as things are scattered quite far apart over the highlands, so that’s what we did. Our first stop was to the tea estates where we toured a factory and drank tea overlooking the rolling hills and terraces. We also visited a flower garden with an amazing view, a butterfly and bee farm, a strawberry farm, a market, and a temple. It was actually quite fun, and well worth the money at just 25RM (£4) per person.
We also spent two nights in Penang at the Civilians Inn. The main attraction here is Love Lane, a street where rich businessmen used to keep their mistresses. We also used our time here to acquire our Thai visas and plan our trip to the island of Langkawi via local transport, no more getting ripped off for tourist boats and buses!