Isn't it interesting how in recent times, we have all these word alternatives to a vacation? There's the Baecation, DayCation, StayCation and WorkCation!
Anyway, someone is away for work again - and if you're a regular you know that a couple of posts have been inspired by his work trips. First was this post on making the most of being single. Next time, I shared tips on succeeding in long distance relationships. This third time, it's nothing deep. I'm just wishing I tagged along on the trip! Plus we haven't had a travel post in a while (the last one being Tayo's amazing guest post on her Ghana trip) - so I'm sharing our very first Workcation with you. It's been over a year though - hopefully some more will come our way.
Remember when I shared our Barbados experience and mentioned we actually ended up going on another trip before that? It was this one - to Malaysia!
So Tee had to go for work, and he was going to be away on our wedding anniversary date. It was our first anniversary, so - I was definitely tagging along if I could! Thankfully my leave days at work were approved and we got planning!
Travel Tip: If you can tag in on a parent's, spouse or friend's work trip, do it - and make it a Workcation! Especially if accommodation will be prepaid.
Visas, Flight & Accommodation
With our green passport, you need a visa for almost every country and Malaysia is no exception. But they make the process so easy and it's literally a same day service for £10 - with the usual supporting documents. Bless them! - nothing like our Dubai visa hassles! As there's a high speed train from the capital city, Kuala Lumpur to Singapore we really wanted to use the opportunity to tick Singapore off the travel list. We decided on this move just a few days before and it seemed do-able because information online suggested that obtaining a Singapore visa was also a same day service. Apparently they had changed the rules that week and hadn't updated the information online. So a two week period was now required for certain countries. Bleh!
Travel Tip: For visas and permits, give as much time as possible and call the embassy or consulate for verified information if neccessary.
We flew from Heathrow, London ensuring that we got to the airport in good time to grab some food, a cocktail and throw in a few selfies!
It was our longest direct flight ever for both of us. 13 hours straight. Although as a matter of policy, the husband should have flown business class because it was a work trip, me coming (and ehm, being unable to upgrade to business) meant he downgraded to economy. I jokingly told him he could sit in upper class while I happily remained in economy - we'd still get to the same destination.
As he also had to work quite a bit on the trip, I spent a lot of time totally relaxing in the hotel - it was way too hot in the day to go out! Time difference also meant I was pretty jet lagged for the first few days. As it was our anniversary, we asked for and received a treat from the hotel! Always ask.
In general, here's some interesting thoughts / overview:
Kuala Lumpur - a mix of Lagos and London!
KL looked a bit like London, as it was quite cosmopolitan, had a railway system similar to the London underground and also had a good number of malls, with a lot of high end designer shops. I'll admit I window-shopped a lot, and that's probably where I got attracted to designer handbags! If London had better weather, I feel it may be a bit more like KL - in trems of how vibrant and 'happy' the city was.
So, from the weather to the vegetation to the food, it was akin to Lagos. We totally felt like if Lagos was a bit more developed it'll look like KL. We passed a few areas and if we'd simply been dropped there, we could have thought we were somewhere in Ikoyi, Lagos. I wish I had more photos or videos to share. There was also lots of street food that totally looked like Lagos bukas*.
Fun fact: There are loads of palm trees in Malaysia and I think it's their largest export produce. It appears that the Malaysians actually took some palm fruit seeds from Ife in Nigeria in the 1970s and then cultivated these there. Amazing.
The Twin Towers:
If you go to KL, you have to take a photo with the Petronas Towers. And that's basically all we did as it was like a 5 minute walk from our hotel. They are twin towers and were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 - 2004. They still remain the tallest twin towers though!
Cheap Food & Night Life
The food was amazingly cheap, and not just the street food. Not sure if it was because the £ was strong at that point, but we couldn't just get over how affordable it was. I remember buying pizzas and chicken wings for both of us and it was just about £7!. Totally loved their oxtail pepper soup which was very similar to the Nigerian one. In addition, one of Malay staple foods is rice and we had this quite a lot. To use the precise wording, we had 'Nazi Goring Kampung' which is their local fried rice. That said, we did eat in a lot of places. From street food to fast food (all the regular UK and US franchises are pretty available) to proper restaurants.
Night life definitely popped in KL. Before our trip I had a chat with my colleague who lived in KL and she gave us all the inside info. We loved it and we did try a good number of the bars. We also stumbled on a live band in the city centre - and they were so good! Loved it.
Penang & Reflexology
At the weekend, we decided to take a break from the bustling city life - and find a beach! So we took a coach to Penang - which was highly recommended. You could totally see the difference. While KL was bustling and everyone seemed to have a designer handbag on their shoulder, Penang was calm and very cultural. Apparently, it's also referred to as the food paradise of Malaysia!
Fun Fact: Jimmy Choo (the iconic shoe maker was born in Penang). You never know when that will be your winning question on the "Who wants to be a millionaire" game
The one thing that was obvious in Penang was a line of shops inviting you for a reflexology sessions.
At the end, we gave in. Reflexology is apparently some kind of foot massage where they can tell by touching specific points and nerves on your foot, what's wrong with other parts of your body. So at some point she tapped my foot and said "I had too much gas in my system" and also said my eyes weren't perfect - and asked if I used glasses? She said the husband's eye sight was perfect - which it is. It was a different experience but not quite sure I'll be doing it again.
Have you been to Malaysia or the Far East? What's the longest journey you've ever taken and where's the farthest place from home you'll love to go!?
pS: I do realise this was a lot of photos. And this was me restraining myself. Blame it on the Nostalgia! Maybe videos will be a better option. Will you watch?
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*buka - Nigerian lingua for road side restaurant