It was two days after I had finished up my trip driving a motorcycle throughout most of Vietnam. I decided I was going to make Da Nang home base for a little bit and find a teaching job here. If you follow my Instagram you will notice that a lot of my stories have been tagged with Da Nang, Vietnam as the location. So, there is that explanation. Before I could spend time here, I had to leave the country and renew my visa.
I pulled up www.skyscanner.com to find a flight. This is my favorite website to find cheap flights as they have a great feature for weirdos like me in which I can select “Everywhere” as my destination city. With only two days to leave left on my visa the cheapest options were Bangkok, Thailand and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for $100 roundtrip.
I’ve been to Bangkok so I figured why not Kuala Lumpur (KL) for a new country to add to my list (15 countries in total). To be honest, I knew nothing about KL or Malaysia before booking the flight. Other than an old co-worker of mine spent some time growing up there when his dad was transferred for work.
I get off the plane and one of the greatest things about having an American passport is it gets you into most countries without much issue. Unless we have some or have had some trouble with a country in the past. So I walk up to customs with a big smile, get my 90 day visa stamp, grab a $10 SIM card for my phone, and I’m on my way to explore a new country.
My first thought after walking out of customs was “woah, I’m in a developed country again!” Okay, maybe not a fully developed country, but this city definitely was ahead of where I had been the last 3 months. Hanoi and Saigon are two of the world’s largest cities, but they still have a lot of catching up to do. KL is more up to date with other big cities around the world. It felt good to be able to jump on a high-speed train and head towards my hostel.
By complete luck I selected the Paper Plane Hostel. They had a receptionist working the desk when I arrived knew exactly how to help me figure out what to do since I came here with now plans. Basically it came down to finding good food, good coffee and just relaxing for a couple of days since I spent the last 55 days traveling through Vietnam on a motorcycle.
As much as I love myself some Vietnamese food it felt good to be somewhere that had variety. Right around the corner from the Paper Plane Hostel was a hipster-haven coffee shop known as VCR. They were like a coffee shop right out of California and served an avocado toast that was delicious enough for me to order two days in a row.
A 5-minute walk down the street from VCR was the Alor Street Food Night Market. I know this probably wasn’t the best food in KL, but it was a fun spot with an array of different food options. The people watching and the different foods on display kept me busy for a few hours. I snapped some photos on my photo and sent them to my dad because this was the type of place he would love to eat all of the different foods.
After a 15-minute walk from the Alor Street Food Market I visited and took photos of arguably the most famous buildings in all of SE Asia, The Petronas Towers. They were pretty magnificent to see at night when they lit up the sky.
For my last night, I used some of my saved up Hilton Honors Points to stay in their high-rise and relax by the pool during the day. I made sure to get some good Indian food on my last night before I had to catch an early morning train back to the airport.
The people I met in Kuala Lumpur were all extremely friendly, I felt safe wherever I walked, the food was incredible, and the city was electrifying. The city has a very similar vibe to Bangkok, but without as much of the party scene and a little better food if you lean towards an Indian cuisine like I do.