Where has the time gone?! I can’t believe that around this time 10 years ago I was going on my first ever solo holiday. Long before the days of selfies..and the popularity of social media, so eons ago, basically. As I
don’t didn’t do things by half, I opted for South East Asia; Singapore and Malaysia- most of the thought process, the planning and the time leading up to me arriving in Asia are now a blur of course, but I had the most adventurous, fun time and came out the other end better for it. The trip left quite an impression on me and….the great thing about photos is that I can re-live the memories over and over again! So this post is throwing it all the way back to my first Asian travel adventure.
10-Day Itinerary: London….>Dubai—>Singapore—> Langkawi->Kuala Lumpur->Penang—>Singapore—>London.
At the time, a lot of the sights on Sentosa island in Singapore were still being built, but I enjoyed a cable car ride there nonetheless, where I saw the sprawling S E A aquarium and enjoyed the dolphin show that was on. Away from that, I visited the zoo, set within the rainforest, it was absolutely beautiful, it felt a lot less restrictive than other zoos as the animals were allowed to roam freely. The botanical gardens were equally stunning, expansive with countless trees and plants, which left wonderful smells filling the air. I remember staying at the Marriott hotel on Orchard road, which was central and provided great access to most of the sights and shopping. I did the river cruise at night, which was a novelty for me and saw amazing sights such as the Merlion and other monuments. Clarke Quay had some of the most enticing seafood restaurants I’ve ever seen; I indulged in delicious black pepper crabs and hung out with the “cool” crowd along the quay. I seem to remember there being a car show with lots of Mini coopers on display at the time. Singapore was small enough to see all the highlights in 3 days, it was exceptionally clean, almost to the point of being clinical, but everything worked efficiently, service was great and the locals were nice and welcoming.
Malaysia was a lot more vibrant, a little rougher around the edges, with plenty of sights to explore. I visited Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur and Penang, in that order, which in retrospect should have been in the reverse order, saving Langkawi for some r&r at the end. My most abiding memories of Malaysia is food!!!!! food was delicious, cheap and abundant. I wanted the authentic local experience and there were numerous food places called ‘hawker centres’ to choose from, with stalls selling various cooked foods most notably in Penang and Kuala Lumpur (KL). – The centres had communal tables where you could eat with other diners and watch the world go by. The beaches in Langkawi were unspoilt. I stayed at the Westin hotel, which had its own private beach and a spa like no other, where yours truly got preened and pampered, it would have been a crime not to!☺️. Kuala Lumpur like most capital cities was manic with maddening traffic, I remember being stuck on the sightseeing bus in traffic for almost 2 hours! but it was thrilling to see the city nonetheless. Drinks at the rooftop of the Traders hotel in KL had great views of the lit-up Petronas Towers at night, which provided the obligatory photo op. I visited the central mosque and the independence square, both in central KL and both very impressive. Penang rounded off the trip nicely, I saw lots of cultural sites and interesting architecture in Georgetown, there were relics of the colonial time- old churches, forts etc but interestingly, also plenty of temples at every turn, a notable one being the Khoo Kongsi, which was simply stunning, it had an intricately detailed facade that would leave you in awe. I visited a crocodile farm, where there was lots of showboating by the attendants, had a relaxing afternoon by the Temurun waterfalls and even took a rickshaw ride! Penang turned out to be a giant melting pot of cultures and religions; mosques, churches and temples existed side by side on most streets. The holiday was days after a big birthday and it served as a ‘coming-of -age’ trip of sorts, not once did I get bored or feel unsafe during my travel from one city to the next in Malaysia and I had a truly remarkable time. Here are some more images that evoke very fond memories for me.
I would love to go back to see what has changed in the last decade, I imagine there would be loads of new and exciting places to explore in both countries… who knows, I may just go back in the very near future after ticking off some more countries on my list;)