For our first three nights in Malaysia, we wanted a simple beach retreat. Unfortunately, we traveled for around 20 hours just to reach Pulau Pangkor (but it was well worth it!). We left our apartment at 7pm on Tuesday, took the airport bus to Incheon, an overnight flight with Air Asia, a taxi from LCCT to the Kuala Lumpur bus station, a bus to Lumut, the ferry to Pangkor, and then a taxi to Nipah Guesthouse, where we arrived at 2pm on Wednesday (with the one hour time difference).

on the ferry

When we arrived in Malaysia, we were pleasantly surprised by how cheap everything was. The round-trip bus ticket for an 8-10 hour ride was about $16 a person. Our “breakfast” of chicken and rice at the bus station was less than $2 each. We ate at the most expensive restaurants in Pangkor for around $5-$7 a meal. Street food could be had for a lot less… a bag of eight banana fritters was only 30 cents. Alcohol is “expensive” in Malaysia since it’s a Muslim country, but a can of Tiger was still only $2-$3. Once we got to our hotel in Kuala Lumpur today the prices spiked significantly, but we still had plenty of cash left to enjoy ourselves with.

chicken and rice

banana fritters

It was strange to see all the Muslim women here dressed in head scarves. They even swam in the ocean fully clothed! It reconfirmed my unwillingness to move to Saudi Arabia with Daniel. 🙂

We had lots of big plans for our time on the island (snorkeling, kayaking, jungle trekking, etc.) but we ended up doing a whole lot of nothing. It was glorious. We hung out at the guesthouse a lot. The owners were super friendly and had two adorable cats, Foxy and Kiwi. We lounged in the hammocks, drank, and played cards.

We lay on the beach every day and swam in the Strait of Malacca.

We walked to the unusual temple at the end of the beach and took pictures.

At low tide on Friday morning, we were able to walk across the ocean on a sandbar to Coral Island. (It was a bit scary because there were sea cucumbers everywhere and they expelled sticky cuvierian tubules, which got stuck on our shoes and in Daniel’s leg hair.)

We also saw a lot of hornbills and a few monkeys.

The food was delicious. It seemed like a blend of Indian and Thai, two of my favorites. Here is a sampling of the meals I had:

chicken curry

chicken satay salad

black pepper beef

And let’s not forget all the glorious fruit, fresh juice, and smoothies…

It was nice to spend a vacation with friends. We met up with Daniel on the ferry to Pangkor and he stayed with us the first night. (I refer to him as “German Daniel” to avoid confusion; we first met him a few weeks ago on the snow festival trip and found out we were all going to be in Malaysia at the same time.) He had met a fellow German, Toby, on the bus to Lumut and he ended up hanging out with us for most of our time on the island. And my friends Karen and Rachel joined us in Pangkor on Thursday.

german daniel

toby and daniel

rachel, me, and karen

Today (Saturday) we headed to Kuala Lumpur for our final night. We stayed at the five-star Prince Hotel. What a heavenly end to a fantastic vacation. KL is such a modern city and makes Seoul seem very dated in comparison.

We swam in the pool…

I had a soothing coconut body scrub with carrot conditioner at the spa…

ginger tea before the scrub

We enjoyed a buffet dinner at the hotel restaurant, Eccucino…

my dessert plate 🙂

We went shopping at an enormous mall…

And we walked to the Petronas Twin Towers…

Malaysia is my favorite country in Asia so far (sorry Korea, Japan, and Taiwan) but I might have a skewed perception since this is the first real vacation I’ve had on this continent. There is a world of difference between backpacking/traveling and taking a vacation and this one was much needed. I am sad to return to the cold of Korea tomorrow! Already planning my summer vacation to Thailand… 🙂

-Jen Pace



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5 responses to “Malaysia!

  1. cindy

    GREAT PICS! It looks like you guys really did have a good time. Daniel, you look much better. You look like yu got some rest. I have been a little worried about how tired you look. are yu working to hard, or is Jen too demanding? as Jason says about me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL yeah right

    Love Mom

  2. Mary Baumgartner

    Hi Jen, You should write a book. Your writings of your adventures in Asia are so interesting. I really loved those pix of the nice places in Malaysia. I don’t blame you for preferring it to all the others; especially going back to the cold weather, thanks. Keep on sending all those great writings and pix.
    Love, Grandma

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