Vegetarian Culture

Malaysia: Gateway to Asia

Malaysia was our gateway to Asia. With its fantastic swirl of cultures, its warm, tropical climate and incredibly fast paced vibe, Kerry and I were ready to abandon the sleepy haze New Zealand envoked and enjoy our new equatorial home. Even if it was only for a week!

I thought it might be helpful to document some the things (both rewarding and challenging!) that we experienced while in Malaysia. In total we spent a week in this glorious part of the world. Our adventure began in KL, we then headed north to Ipoh, then on to Butterworth and Penang. In this post I’ll talk about KL and our onward journey up to Ipoh. Even though we were here for a mere 7 days, I could probably ramble on and on for a least 7 days, so I’ll attempt to keep it somewhat brief and only cover the important stuff. Hope it helps!

Hotel Info

Check in time is generally 2pm, which is pretty standard everywhere we’ve been. Check out time, and this is where the ‘happy’ rears her pretty face again, is usually noon! That means no real rush to vacate the room, a leisurely shower, breakfast and plenty of time to re-pack.

We found that in KL most cheap hotel rooms came fully equipped with air-conditioning, fridges, wifi and tea and coffee making facilities. The bathrooms generally have open showers (no shower curtains or draining pan) don’t be surprised by this, it’s pretty standard and once you come to terms with the fact the whole bathroom is going to get soaked, its actually quite a liberating experience. Again, it’s bidet central, so limited amounts of loo roll and a hose to clean your most valuable ass-et πŸ˜‰

Where to eat

Vegetarian fare is easily found across the city; we only stayed in KL for 3 nights and found numerous cheap and delicious places to eat.

My absolute favourite place to grab a quick, tasty bite in the city was in the Indian district. Located just a short walk from the Bank Negara train station there is an abundance of veggie friendly eateries, both restaurants and hawker style stalls. All serve rice and noodles and a huge selection of curries, dahls, fried vada, idli, dosas, samosas, uttapam, and a huge selection of sambar and riata.  Aaand it’s all insanely cheap.

No visit to KL would be complete without a trip to the Petronas Towers. And this was no exception. Our main intention was to get our vaccinations, (which was easy and cheaper than NZ or Australia. The doctors office is on the top floor, head to the right when you get off the escalators and it’s right at the end of the deck. We got 3 injections, JE, Tetanus and typhoid. For all 3 tabs and the appointment its self we were charged Β£90 and rook no longer than 30, start to end) but while we were there we decided to check out the shops and, of course, the food court.

We found a vegan food booth called Simple Life, which sold a variety of dishes including this fabulous Laksa. Everthing on the menu is  vegetarian and mostly vegan. The dishes that contain egg are clearly labeled and all the dishes are msg free, colouring free and preservative free #awesome

There is also a huge hypermarket, located here, which we found was essential for stocking up on fruit, veg and snacks. There is a salad bar that provides self serve chopped fruit and veg and is charged by weight. A really yummy bakery section and lots of fresh sandwiches. There are also hawker style booths towards the back of the store that serve noodles, rice, stir fries, curries, sushi and western food. This place gets very busy at lunch time but it’s certainly worth a wonder around, even if it’s just to look at the wonderful array of SE Asian veggies on display!

Where to drink

Booze in KL is a lot more expensive than in the rest of Asia, so be prepared to pay a little extra or try to hunt down some good deals. Head over to Bintang Buckit for good virtually all day ‘happy hours’ where you can grab some bargains or just head to the local convenience store and pick up a spirit and a mixer for no more than about 8 ringgit.
Here’s a list of bars that we found did some good deals and a blog post I found interesting ☺

Some info on KL happy hours

https://www.travelfish.org/eatandmeet_profile/malaysia/peninsular_malaysia/kuala_lumpur/kuala_lumpur/2193

The Green Man English pub
All day happy hour and 2 for 1cocktails for 33rm
http://www.greenman.com.my/#!price-list/cex6

The Social Bar – Happy Hour 12-9
http://www.thesocial.com.my/

Loco Mexican Bar
3 infused tequila shots for Β£8 http://www.locokl.com/drinks/

Malones Irish bar and restaurant http://www.malones.my/

Healey Macs Irish Bar
Open 24 hours

The Ceylon Bar
Indian bar with comedy and live music
All day happy hour http://ceylonbar.com

What to see in KL

*The Petronas Towers

*Petaling Street

*Central Market
Check out this awesome guide to KL. It’s provided by hotels.com and I find it a must visit site when heading to a new destisation.
Leaving KL

There are many ways of leaving KL, depending on your destination and budget, we planned on heading north so decided to get a train from Sentral Station.

Sentral Station is so much more than just a train station; it also houses a huge shopping mall, with, you’ve guessed it, a very generous food court! From what we saw there is just one all vegetarian restaurant within the court and has a range of both Malay and western style food including lots of curries and mock meat. I opted for the veggie fish dish which came with a peice soya fish, chips, salad, rice and stir fried vegetables in gravy. It was a very odd combination but delicious. I think it cost me 13 ringgit.

Also, a quick tip, the food booths don’t serve drinks. All beverages must be purchased from the ‘drink booth’ at the beginning of the food court. They serve soft drinks, milk shakes, fruit juices, tea and coffee amongst other things.
Our destination was Ipoh, and in my opinion the whole process is a little frustrating. You purchase your tickets from the ticket office which is located to the left of the main enterance, or to the right if you arrive via the escalators, that’s the easy part. The trains don’t board until about 5 minutes before departure time. Everybody waits in a huge crowd in a designated part of the station (not on the platform) and when you are given the signal, said crowd, rushes foward like there’s no tomorrow and ambushes the train. There’s no civility or order, just chaos. Luckily all seats are assigned so you won’t have to sit on your own or a million miles away from your party. Once aboard, the trains are spacious, bright, air conditioned and have a TV in the corner. We watched the Golden Compass with English subtitles and happily chilled out all the way to Ipoh.

Well, I’ve surpassed the 1000 word mark, so, tune in next time for a blow by blow review of Ipoh and Penang. Both are absolutely wonderful places and I’ll try my hardest to help you all have a great, cruelty free time there. Check out my Instagram for more travel pics and stories  βœŒβ€

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