I'll admit this is the longest break I've taken from blogging, but leave it to a long-awaited trip to get me re-energized and re-inspired. My parents and I recently traveled to Southeast Asia for a week of adventuring through Malaysia and Singapore concluded by a family wedding.
Truthfully I had no idea what to expect from this trip, but I left with a reminder of my love for Asia. The history and culture that define these regions are vibrantly unique and refreshingly different from our familiar surroundings. As of now I'm just waiting for the day I get to return. Read on and stay tuned for highlights from our travels abroad.
Kuala Lumpur: The Café Scene
While we indulged in our fair share of street food, Malaysia also offers some of the most unique café experiences along with its deeply rooted coffee culture. In the nation's capital, two of my favorite spots were hidden within the historical Chinatown area. For our first meal in Malaysia, we dined at Merchant's Lane, where a modern take on local cuisine is served inside a rustically charming space. Shortly after a walk down Chinatown's Jalan Petaling we stopped at Coffee Amo for a coffee break and more importantly, the 3D latte art.
Kuala Lumpur: The Petronas Towers
Of the little time we had in Kuala Lumpur, we were adamant on visiting the famous Petronas Twin Towers. Standing as one of the world's tallest skyscrapers, this building offers a stunning view of the city below it. Despite being a typical tourist attraction, it is absolutely worth the stop when in KL.
My parents and I can easily agree that Penang was our favorite stop in Malaysia. Despite the intense levels of heat and humidity, this colorful UNESCO World Heritage Site is an amazing shadow of European and Malaysian history. It felt as if we were transported to a former era as we walked down the city's colonial streets.
The best thing about Penang itself (aside from the food) is its offering of just about anything for everyone. Not far from Georgetown's historical streets are pockets of urban life and an entire stretch of beautiful beaches. It is no easy feat to reach the island of Penang, but the I can assure that the trip is well worth it.
Georgetown, Penang: The Streets
As I mentioned above, a walk through Georgetown is a walk through history. Perhaps the most iconic aspect of these city streets is the art that lines its walls. Since being listed as a World Heritage Site, the city has become a canvas for creative street art with one of the most notable being the children on a bike (below).
Penang also offers the best food in Malaysia, as supported by a local we met who named it "food heaven". We first stopped by one of the more popular Chinese heritage restaurants, Tek Sen, for a delicious introduction to the city. However the best way to dine in Georgetown is through its various street food stalls. By dinnertime we ventured out to a small outdoor market that offered endless options of local food -- and each dish was less that $5 USD!
Georgetown, Penang: Eastern & Oriental Hotel
We were unexpectedly awed by our hotel in Georgetown, located right against the shore of Penang as a century-old representation of the island's history. There is nothing like waking up to the sun spilling through your balcony's windows against the Straits of Malacca. It was pure bliss.