In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to on my mission to visit every single country in the world. In this article, we will be covering country #19: Malaysia. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.
VIDEO – Country #19: Malaysia
- How to Cross from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu Malaysia by Ferry
- My Complete Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia Spending Breakdown
- My Experience Traveling to the Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo Malaysia
- Rude Monkey Gives Me the Middle Finger in Kuala Lumpur’s Batu Caves
Taking the ferry from Brunei to Labuan
After my trip to Brunei, Karen and myself took a ferry from Serasa, Brunei to go to the island city in Malaysia called Labuan. From there we would have roughly a 5-hour wait before taking the ferry to Kota Kinabalu which is our final destination.
The ferry ride itself was pretty comfortable. By the time we got to Labuan, we quickly went and found a local eatery because Karen and myself were starving to death. Turns out Labuan has amazing food and it’s a very relaxing place. I regret not staying here longer.
After grabbing a bite, Karen and myself went for a hunt to find a place to take a passport and visa size photo. One of the big surprises in Labuan was the number of Hong Kong tourists that flock in this area. Karen was able to use her Cantonese and ask for directions to help us find a place to take our photo.
We also took the time to get a sim card here that we would be using while travelling in Malaysia.
Taking the ferry from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu
After we were done our errands in Labuan, we were definitely regretting not staying here longer. I mean, there was no way we would have known how much we liked this place.
Regardless, we got our tickets and off we went to take the ferry to Kota Kinabalu.
Relaxing in Kota Kinabalu
We were dead tired by the time we arrived at Kota Kinabalu and still had to hike 30 minutes to reach our hostel. By the time we arrived and got settled in, we decided to relax the next day just to catch our breath. Lucky for us, we stayed in a nice hostel that was relaxing. We also made some new friends while staying in this place. One of the friends we made is this girl named Manon who is an 18-year Dutch backpacker going on her first solo trip.
We took her to grab a bite with us in Kota Kinabalu because she was pretty uneasy travelling solo by herself for the first time. We would reunite with her again later on the day of our flight to Kuala Lumpur and later on when I visited The Netherlands.
Going from Kota Kinabalu to the Orangutan Sanctuary
The next day, we took the long bus ride from Kota Kinabalu to the Orangutan Sanctuary in Sepilok. We regret taking the bus because turns out that the Air Asia flight to Sepilok costs roughly the same as the bus ride. We could have saved time by just flying there.
It was also a confusing experience because the company we were looking for doesn’t take people to the Orangutan Sanctuary anymore. We ended up with another random company and lucky for us, everything turned out okay.
Checking out the Orangutan Sanctuary
The Orangutan Sanctuary is amazing. I’m really happy they have a place to rehabilitate Orangutans. This place is also one of Karen’s biggest bucket list travel destination and I was more than happy to find a way to make this trip a reality.
There was some annoying self-entitled French tourist that was also in this place. They started yelling at Karen and myself with a condescending tone when we were snapping pictures of the Orangutans. They were mad that we got in the way of their viewing experience. I’m glad not all French people were like this but these women were acting like a total bitch. They really annoyed Karen and me.
Regardless, we just ignored them and made the best out of seeing these awesome creatures.
One big regret we had was not knowing that the Orangutan Sanctuary is also right beside the Sun Bear sanctuary! Otherwise, we would have stayed another night to check them out. Again, we had no clue they were right beside each other!
The accommodation we stayed at was pretty comfortable and they even had some really tasty Malaysian food!
Going from the Orangutan Sanctuary to Kota Kinabalu
Going back to Kota Kinabalu was weird. The bus stop we were waiting at wasn’t really a bus stop. It’s just the side of the road with hopes that a bus would come and pick us up.
I was getting pretty anxious waiting at the bus stop when we saw many buses pass us by without stopping. Thankfully, this was a legitimate bus pickup spot and we managed to get back to Kota Kinabalu.
Upon our return, we learned our friend Manon spent her time just hanging out in the hostel watching Netflix. We happily dragged her out to eat Malaysian food because she was pretty apprehensive to go out by herself to try the local cuisine even though she wanted to. After another day in Kota Kinabalu, we departed to head to Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
Being a human being again in Kuala Lumpur
After spending two months backpacking and staying in a lot of beat-up hostels, Karen and myself were dead tired. We decided we would stay in Kuala Lumpur for one week to relax and be a human again. We also got really lucky when I redeemed my Best Western points. When we arrived, the hotel upgraded us to the Presidential Suite which is ridiculous! The hotel was so big, we had a massive washroom, office, living room, kitchen, and bedroom. One of my favourite things to do now when I travel is get beaten up going on adventures then staying in a nice hotel where you really soak in the comfort and amenities after getting your ass kicked.
For the following five days, we redeemed five nights with Starwood Hotel (now part of Marriott) to stay at their Aloft Hotel brand.
Again, this was an awesome experience because the hotel is connected to KL Sentral. We did normal human things like spend time in a big mall, eating mall food, and watching movies. We saw Dr. Strange in the mall and felt annoyed that they had better amenities in the movie theatres in Kuala Lumpur than our home town in Vancouver, Canada.
My favourite food while I was in Kuala Lumpur was this chicken and rice that I ate every single day because it was so good.
Going to the Batu Caves was the final adventure of our trip to Malaysia. There, we saw many mischievous monkeys that were stealing tourist’s bags. One of the monkeys was being a jerk and gave me the middle finger while climbing down the steps at Batu Caves.
Batu Caves itself was amazing and very humid! I was sweating like crazy exploring this cool looking cave.
They were renovating the outside of the Batu Caves when we went so it didn’t look as good as it does now. I’ll have to go back one day and see it after the renovating is complete.
I put Malaysia as my third most favourite country tied with Thailand. There is no doubt in my mind that I will return here one day.
Places that I want to visit the next time I return includes:
- Mulu National Park
- Langkawi Sky Bridge
- Petronas Tower
- Boh Tea Plantation
Thinking about going back to Malaysia makes me feel really excited. I can’t wait to go back to this awesome country!