When I woke up and checked the time, it was almost 11:30. Woah. I hadn’t slept in this late in several months.
Amanda was already up, so we went to get lunch in Chinatown on a street called Petaling known for its many food & clothing stalls.
We found one of the buffet-style restaurants where you just pick whatever you want from an assortment of trays of food.
We saw a popular tofu stall down the street from where we had lunch, so we decided to check it out. We went with the tau foo fah, which is what the place is best known for. It was basically like a tofu pudding. It tasted very healthy– it came with brown sugar syrup and soy milk, but it wasn’t too sweet.
After lunch, we went to find a travel agency to figure out how to get to our next place. We wanted to go to either Penang or the Perhentian Islands.
We found one near the Central Market. The agent told us getting to the islands would cost about $50 by flight, or we could take a bus for about $25. He made it sound really hard to get there, and we had plans to go to the Thai islands next week anyway, so we reconsidered our itinerary.
We asked if there was anywhere between KL and Penang worth visiting that wasn’t Cameron Highlands (its really touristy there), preferably somewhere with trekking or nature. He recommended Taman Negara. It sounded really good— it’s a big national park with a jungle and river, ideal for trekking— so we were sold.
He tried to sell us a tour package, but we opted to “come back later” so we could go back to the hostel and research a bit more.
Back at the hostel, we found a bus station that would take us to a town near the park. We’d then have to take another bus or boat to the actual park. The boat only leaves 3 times a day, the last one being 2pm, so we’d have to time it pretty accurately in order to catch it.
We researched a bit more and found a couple agencies in Chinatown that would take us all the way to the park so we wouldn’t have to figure it all out ourselves.
We decided to check out the tour companies. It would cost a bit more than doing it ourselves, but it would be way less of a hassle.
The first place, located inside Mandarin Hotel Pacific, told us we’d drive 3 hours to one town, get off the bus, wait one hour, then go on another bus for an hour, then get off and take the ferry to the park. We’d get there around 5:30 and it would be 95 ringgit.
The second place, Han Travel, was similar, but we’d only take one bus and then get on the ferry. It was also 95 ringgit.
We went with the second place because the lady helping us was really funny and gave off better vibes, plus we would only have to take one bus.
We told her that we wanted to go to Penang after Taman Negara.
“Are you guys vegan?” She asked us.
“Umm… yes… how could you tell??!!” We were shocked.
She didn’t even ask if we were vegetarian. She went straight to vegan.
“I could just tell. Anyway, Penang is great for vegan food.”
Oh, ok, psychic freak lady. She has a better vegan radar than me.
After we settled the bus situation, we walked over to the famous Petronas Twin Towers.
There were so many food markets and clothing markets along the way, it was such a fun walk! The food all looked so good, I wanted to try it all.
We bought mangosteen and some coconut pandan treats. I wanted to try more but we had just eaten lunch and also I don’t have an unlimited budget…
By the time we got to Petronas, we were both super sweaty. KL is ridiculously humid.
We were so happy to walk into the mall and be blasted with cool air from the AC.
I saw that the mall had an athletic store. I wanted to check if they sold any Saucony shoes— mine were really worn out. I’d been wearing the same pair since I started marathon training last summer, so the shoes probably had about a thousand miles at this point. There were holes forming, plus the bottoms had absolutely no traction left whatsoever.
I was happy to find my model— Saucony Kinvara— at the store. They cost about $100, about the same as they would cost in the States. I decided to buy them since I would need them regardless.
We walked back to the hostel in the crazy humidity. I think this is the most humid city I’ve been in thus far.
We chilled for about an hour before heading out again for dinner. We were meeting up with Amanda’s friend, Chia, at a night market.
Chia told us that “locals don’t hang out “ at the night market we chose. Oops. We thought we were at a completely authentic Malaysian place.
She instead took us to Lot 10, a big mall a couple blocks away, where there was more local food in their basement food court.
We couldn’t find any vegetarian/vegan options (everything had either egg, meat, or fish), so we left to go to Pavilion, a mall nearby that was more international.
We went to the basement and found a vegetarian restaurant called Simple Life. The food looked really good and was reasonably priced, so we sat down.
We got crispy pumpkin as an appetizer to share. I’d never had fried pumpkin— I really loved it! It wasn’t too oily and the pumpkin was really nice and sweet.
My matcha latte (with organic soy milk) came in a huge mug and was really delicious. And it was only $2! Most matcha lattes are at least $3, even in SE Asia.
My laksa was also very good, although it was huge. The noodles were endless. I barely managed to finish it.
We walked around the mall a bit after dinner. The ground floor had really immaculate decorations and lights that spanned from the bottom to the very top floor of the mall.
Chia told us,
“This is nothing. Christmas is sponsored by Swarovski.”
The mall apparently gets decked out in crystals and diamonds for Christmas. Damn.
We said by to Chia and walked home, completely exhausted from a full day of exploration.
I tried to sleep, but it being a party hostel, this proved a bit difficult. I tossed and turned for a while. I’m not sure exactly when I dozed off, but it must have been a few hours later.