So far my travels in Asia have been pretty chaotic, I went from south to north, north to south and sometimes in a circle. That was mostly due to me not really having planned anything and changing those plans many times thanks to those incredibly cheap Asian flights. But now I'm finally back in the right direction, heading south to Malaysia to eventually reach Australia (after a short stop in Singapore).
I flew from Phonm Penh via Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, the super-modern capital of Malaysia. The city is mostly known for the Petronas Towers but there is also a bustling China Town and Little India and many more modern skyscrapers. In contrary to the other southeast Asian countries I have visited so far Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country. So instead of Buddhas you will see Halal eateries everywhere. But the people are all extremely friendly and there is also a big Chinese and Hindu population. It's a really interesting mix.
During my first days in the city the traditional Hindu festival of Diwali was celebrated. There where lights and colors and fireworks everywhere. It was such a fun to photograph. Everyone was wearing their special holiday clothes and was happy to show them of for a photo. The colors are just amazing. It was great but still visiting India during Diwali is now high up on my never ending bucketlist.
The Chinese population is mostly represented by chaotic markets in Chinatown. Just like the whole city they are a lot more organized and cleaner than in the rest of Asia but still quite Asian. But still I'm really going to miss those crazy places where you can literally buy anything you could ever need. Well except cats...
When you are in Kuala Lumpur you should try to get on top of the Observation-Deck of the Petronas Towers around sunset. It's expensive and you have only a limited time up there but it's so worth it. Once the sun has set and the lights turn on it looks like you are somewhere in Gotham.
After some days in the City I moved on to the Cameron Highlands about 3 hours north of Kuala Lumpur. This region is famous for it's mountains covered by tea plantations. Those really are a sight to behold. The tea is always planted in small symmetrical groups which from the distance look like little dots all over the mountain. I can tell you I once again took way to many photos of a stationary landscape.
Another cool thing to do up there is to get in contact with the local population. That means monkeys on the one hand but also humans. The monkeys are all over the country and are often really cheeky and as I'm later to find out sometimes quite aggressive.
The humans I'm talking about are the Orang Asli. This is actually the native population of this part of Malaysia. Of course they lead a normal modern (for rural Asia standards) life nowadays but it's still interesting to visit one of the villages. Here you can learn how to shoot the traditional blowgun.
To have some relaxation after the now two months of almost constant traveling the third and last stop in Malaysia was on Penang. This is an Island off the east-coast of Malaysia connected to the mainland by two very long bridges. The biggest city is Georgetown which I visited for a day but the rest of the time I stayed in a smaller town at the beach.
Penang is of course very touristic so the "small town" was basically just one street with some restaurants, a night market and many hotels. Well this kind of forces you to relax at the pool since there is nothing else to do. You couldn't even go to the beach since the water was full of toxic jellyfish.
To combat boredom you have to go to Georgetown. Here you have shopping malls but also a nice colonial style old town with many crazy Chinese stores. But actually I didn't even spent that much time in the city since I soon went up to Penang Hill. A hill reached by train from which you can see all of the town at when the weather is good all over the island...at least that's what they say. The weather wasn't good enough to prove it while I was there.
Up here I was once again watching a traditional Hindu ritual and by watching I mean took many pictures. And also learnt that you should never use slow cards when shooting action. I missed so many shots because my crazy big camera wouldn't fire due to a filled internal memory.
Another thing I learnt was never to get to close to monkeys with kids if you don't have any food. They get really aggressive and don't care that you are big or shouting...you basically just have to run away. But the pictures are great.
That concludes my time in Malaysia and by the time this is online I'm already in Singapore (Penang actually has an international airport to take you there). Malaysia is a great country and definitely worth a visit just because it is so different than the rest of southeast Asia. Actually it is a great place to relax if the chaos further north is getting to much. Well let's see what Singapore has to over before I eventually leave Asia to go to Australia.