Malaysia was never really a place at the top of my destination list for some reason, which might be why it turned out to be such a pleasant surprise once we decided to venture deeper into the country last year.
We firstly flew into the hub of Kuala Lumpur – somewhere I had passed through multiple times to catch a connecting flight but never actually explored. The first thing I noticed was how modern it felt. The train system was so modern and easy to navigate and I could see high rise buildings in the skyline.
Now, Kuala Lumpur didn’t do much for me personally, but I think that’s due to the fact that I don’t really like cities in general. Eron isn’t much of a city person either, but he still enjoyed the city much more than I did.
One of the main attractions is, of course, the Petronas Towers (does this make anyone else think of Harry Potter?) They are pretty epic to be fair – you can walk right through them for free and see all the fancy shops inside. There’s also a light show on the fountains beneath them which is snazzy.
The best view we found of the city though was at the Heli Lounge Bar. Situated quite literally on a helicopter pad and opposite the Petronas Towers. It was pretty epic to be up there at night. Obviously, the sides are fenced off at a certain point, but there are no walls, so you’re literally on a platform in the sky! Personally, this was my favourite experience in KL.
I was keen to escape the city soon as, so we headed for the JUNGLE. We took roughly a 3-hour bus to Kuala Tembeling where we then got onto a riverboat for another (roughly) 3 hours to reach Taman Negera National Park. This was THE coolest way to enter the National Park. It felt so adventurous zipping down the long windy brown river with big beautiful jungle and wildlife on either side spotting monkeys and beautiful birds along the way. Definitely one of the best ways I’ve gotten from A to B on my travels.
When we arrived we were in awe. Everything kinda’ revolved around the river; with floating restaurants everywhere and little boats being the only way to get from the village side to the jungle side. I felt like when Jane first gets to the jungle and finds Tarzan LOL.
We hadn’t pre booked any accommodation (as per usual) and to be honest, in a place so remote as this, you can’t. There was one major hotel there that you could find online, but otherwise the normal traveller digs were off the grid. We walked around for a while and found something we were happy to pay for and settled in. By the way, if you’re a wifi addict, this place might drive you crazy. Technically they did have wifi, but I never actually experienced it.
The main things to do in Taman Negara National Park are jungle trekking and river cruises. We did both, and both were epic! We saw so many cool animals and trees! One trek we went on it rained so hard we had to make leaf clothes to protect our camera gear 😂
SO much lush green goodness, heavy rain and steamy mist hanging around with the sounds of nature in the background. It was such a magical place. Oh, and humungo spiders (although at this point, Australia had warmed us up!).
After adventuring in the jungle for a little while, we headed for the ISLANDS. The Perhentian Islands to be precise. There is a bus that leaves from Taman Negara to Kuala Besut where you can then get a boat to the Perhentians. This place was real paradise.
There are two islands. Perhentian Besar (big island) and Perhentian Kecil (small island). Besar is more of the family, vacation type island whereas Kecil definitely had a younger vibe about it. We stayed on Kecil and found a place to stay when we arrived called Rock Garden chalets which are located up on the hill at the end of Long Beach. It was pretty basic but had the most beautiful view from our balcony that I think I’ve ever had.
Kecil island is made up of two areas on either side of the island. Long Beach and Coral Bay. Long Beach is a bit more lively and budget-friendly but the two sides of the island are only a 10-15 minute walk from each other so you can’t lose.
Here’s a photo of our view (this was before we cared about taking professional pics and just took snaps for memories sake 🙈)
We spent a couple of weeks here being pure beach bums. The water was so blue and clear and WARM it was out of this world. Eron went diving and we went out on a snorkelling trip where we saw the most beautiful marine life. We swam with ginormous and majestic turtles, however, it was kinda tainted by so many other tourists in the water flapping around and trying to touch and grab on the poor creature. (I hate that.)
I don’t think I wore shoes for 2 weeks straight. Absolute bliss. The restaurants are right on the sand with lots of yummy choices. One night we headed over to the Coral Bay side to watch the sunset and we then watched an outdoor movie under the stars at one of the fancy resorts over there.
Just writing all of this out and remembering what a magical time we had is making me want to go back and explore more of the country!!
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Suppperrrrrrr old tree! 🌳 💚
(we stayed in one of these huts!! P A R A D I S E )
(sunset at coral bay)