Hear about travel to Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia as the Amateur Traveler talks to Sharezal Abdul Wahid the Director of Concierge at the Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur about his country.
Why should you go to Malaysia? Sharezal says, “I would say for first-timers to Asia, Malaysia will be the best place to experience the region. As you get to experience a multitude of cultures, culinary languages, and traditions. It goes in line with the tourism tagline, Malaysia, truly, Asia”
Sharezal starts us in Kuala Lumpur where we can find both the old and new parts of the city. The skyline of the city is defined by the tallest twin towers in the world, the Petronas Towers, but Sharezal leads us into the older parts of the city also. Try the street food at the night market in China Town or on the food street Jalan Alor. Visit the Jamek Mosque on the River of Life where the city started. Take a hike in the green park area of Taman Tugu. KL is not an old city for Asia. Its origins date back to 1857. It started with a “tin rush”.
We head out of town to the Batu Caves which are a colorful Hindu Shrine and one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. Climb the colorful rainbow steps where believers say that each step takes away a sin.
Then we head further down the coast to the city of Malacca. Malaysia lies on the Straights of Malaka. This was a major trade route for hundreds and years and even today 25% of all the world’s shipping passes by in these narrow straights. Malacca is where modern Malaysia began. It was a trading port and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. While Malacca itself has no sultan, Sharezal says that most of the 9 monarchies of Malaysia trace back to the Malacca Sultanate. Before independence, this area was ruled by the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Dutch again, and the British.
Malacca City is a great place to see the Baba-Nonya / Peranakan culture. This is the culture of the Chinese shopkeepers and traders who intermarried and adopted the local culture. Visit Millionaire Row to see the shop houses and mansions of wealthy families.
Finally, we head inland from Kuala Kumpur to the lush green tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands. Visit the Mossy Forest and take a break from the bustling city vibe of KL.
If you have more time than a week, check out some of our other shows on the region like Penang, Langkawi, or the Island of Sumatra, but this itinerary should provide a great introduction to Malaysia, which Sharezal and the Malaysian Tourism Board say will provide a great introduction to Asia.
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Hotel Majestic Kuala Lumpur
Sultan Abdul Samad Building – AFAR
Jalan Alor – Food Street
The River of Life
National Museum (Malaysia)
11 E-Hailing Apps In Malaysia
Thean Hou Temple
Straights of Malaka
Baba-Nonya / Peranakans
Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
Majestic Hotel Malaka
Monarchies of Malaysia
KL Forest Eco Park
Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) – Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)
Mossy Forest (Brinchang)
Perdana Botanical Garden
How timely was your edition on Turkey this week after the devastation of the earthquake that hit the south of the country just a day after you broadcast your show.
I really enjoyed your guest Kimberley whose stories brought back memories of our trip to the eastern part of the country almost 10 years ago. The Sumela Monastery is indeed an extraordinary ancient place; the tea plantations at Rize are just vast, and beautiful to look at. The one thing we didn’t do, but would on a future visit, is go to a football (soccer) game. There was a big match on while we were in Trabzon, and the atmosphere in the streets was electrifying, as the local rivalry with the big Istanbul teams gets the whole city excited.
Can I also give a shout-out to long-distance bus travel in Turkey. We found the Greyhound-style coaches to be top quality, with tea served on board and stops at highway services surprising us with culinary delights, like homemade soups and lentil bakes. It takes a little longer than flying, but helped us to connect with how the locals travel.
Finally, I wish I’d known about the Turkish rice pudding your guest mentioned. That sounds like a must for our next trip to Turkey.
Keep up the great work on your podcast.
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