Week 3: Melaka and Kuala Lumpur

January 30-February 5

 

Where we went

 

 

Day 1: 

Feeling refreshed after our night in the treehouse, we got on our bikes and headed north to Melaka. Our first stop was a place just up the street for some breakfast - Roti Canai. Fresh grilled thin bread (similar to naan) with curry and dal to dip it in. While we were waiting for our food a young family arrived at the restaurant to find that all of the tables were taken. They asked if they could sit with us and we began chatting. Fast forward to 30 minutes later, they had given us a ton of recommendations for places to stop along our way up the coast, and then insisted on buying our breakfast! 

The wonderful family we met who insisted on buying us breakfast.

The wonderful family we met who insisted on buying us breakfast.

When we arrived in Melaka, we met up with Howard, a warm showers host who offered us a room in his hostel in the center of Melaka.  

 

Selfies with Howard, our host in Melaka.

Selfies with Howard, our host in Melaka.

After arriving, we inhaled some food and spent the rest of the day relaxing, worn out from the days ride.

Days 2 and 3: 

Melaka was packed with tourists celebrating Chinese New Year, and the whole town was in full celebration mode with red lanterns everywhere and fireworks every night. We had the best Indian food of our lives, and Howard arranged a bike tour of the city for our second night, which was a great way to see some of the further off sites in the city and meet some of the other guests at the hostel.

 

The floating mosque in Melaka

The floating mosque in Melaka

Blue is my favorite color.

Blue is my favorite color.

Group photo during our bike tour of Melaka.

Group photo during our bike tour of Melaka.

Marcy and I exploring Melaka at night on our bikes

Marcy and I exploring Melaka at night on our bikes

Day 4: 

With heavy hearts we left Melaka, saying goodbye to Howard and heading up the highway towards Kuala Lumpur. We couldn’t make it all the way to KL in one day, so we stayed the night about halfway along in a town called Semberang. The highways started to get really hectic and weren’t safe for biking, so we decided to find a train into KL the next day rather than risk any more riding on them.

Day 5: 

We woke up late and headed towards the train. We’ve had a variety of experiences putting our bikes on trains in SE Asia, but this was by far the easiest. No unpacking necessary and no expensive extra tickets - we paid 50 cents per bike and simply rolled them on. The trains themselves were new, clean, and air conditioned.

 

Once in KL, we headed to our hostel - a place called ‘The Mingle Hostel’, which we ended up being an interesting place to stay, for entirely unexpected reasons. Relatively new and really well taken care of, it’s also in a great part of town for some really delicious street foods and overall we loved it.

 

That night, we had dinner with our friend Rory who we had met while recovering from our motorbike injuries on a tiny island in Sumatra. He lives in KL, and showed us around to some of the best food vendors on our street. After a few more beers than we’d had in a while, we said goodbye and headed back to our hostel to pass out - or so we thought!

 

Beers with Rory.

Beers with Rory.

 

Kuala Lumpur was still fully alive with Chinese New Year celebrations, and that meant fireworks - and lots of them. Every few minutes another round of firecrackers was set off just outside our hostel on the street.

 

Around 4am, Marcy was woken up by the sound of not just fire crackers, but breaking glass and screams as well. She went downstairs to investigate (as I slept) and quickly came back to wake me up, telling me that there was a fire across the street.

 

When I came downstairs the building across the street - where we had just a few hours before sat eating dinner - was fully engulfed in flames and the fire was starting to spread to nearby buildings. Our street wasn’t very big and the distance between the burning building and our hostel (and specifically our rooms!) was about 15 feet. It was apparent that a particularly idiotic group of revelers had set off fireworks in the wrong place, lighting several historic buildings and their contents on fire. Fortunately, the buildings were all businesses, and nobody was inside when the fires started.

 

Firecrackers being set off on our street earlier in the evening.

After a lengthy 35 minute wait, the fire department showed up, and spent the rest of the night and early morning fighting the fire.

Firefighters start to arrive.

One of the businesses set on fire was a laundromat, and the family which owned it could be seen on the street with all of the clothes they managed to save, folding them and trying to figure what to do next.

One of the businesses set on fire was a laundromat, and the family which owned it could be seen on the street with all of the clothes they managed to save, folding them and trying to figure what to do next.

The view the next morning.

The view the next morning.

The building on the left had it’s insides completely destroyed by the fire. The corner building directly across the street is our hostel.

The building on the left had it’s insides completely destroyed by the fire. The corner building directly across the street is our hostel.

Day 6: 

After a sleepless night, we took it easy on Saturday - going out only to meet some of our favorite people who were visiting Kuala Lumpur from Singapore for a few days. Brent and Jo are family friends who have shown us incredible hospitality and kindness over the last few months - letting us stay with them at their house in Singapore and giving us a tour of the city, delivering packages from home to us in Malaysia, cooking us seriously delicious meals, and overall just being wonderful people to hang out with. They had a busy schedule for their visit to Kuala Lumpur, but we managed to sneak in a few beers with them (and a selfie) on the rooftop of their hotel.

Day 7: 

On our last full day in Kuala Lumpur, we took the train north to see the Batu Caves. What a beautiful place - giant statues of Hindu gods, people dressed in a dizzying array of colors - all against a backdrop of limestone cliffs and caves that are said to be over 400 million years old. We spent a few hours walking around before the afternoon rain started and we headed back to our hostel to pack for our departure from Kuala Lumpur the following morning. Later on in the week, the festival of Thaipusam will draw an estimated 1.5 million people to the shrines.

The main attraction - a giant statue of Lord Murugan, the indigenous god of war

The main attraction - a giant statue of Lord Murugan, the indigenous god of war

A family dressed in yellow descends the stairs.

A family dressed in yellow descends the stairs.

This man has his entire back pierced with hooks to hold pots of milk as he makes his way up the 272 steps to the Batu Cave temple

This man has his entire back pierced with hooks to hold pots of milk as he makes his way up the 272 steps to the Batu Cave temple

A drum circle forms around the man with the pierced back

A drum circle forms around the man with the pierced back

 

What we ate

Tandoori chicken stand and the clay pots they cook them in.

Tandoori chicken stand and the clay pots they cook them in.

By far the best tandoori chicken and the best garlic butter naan that we’ve ever had. Nothing even comes close.

By far the best tandoori chicken and the best garlic butter naan that we’ve ever had. Nothing even comes close.

We went to this stall almost every night - dried beef noodles. Delicious and filling, for only $2

We went to this stall almost every night - dried beef noodles. Delicious and filling, for only $2

he beef noodle bowls from the stall above

he beef noodle bowls from the stall above

Sadly, these frogs were on the menu as well. :(

Sadly, these frogs were on the menu as well. :(

Bacon, duck, and pork belly at a street stall. Some of the best meat we’ve had in SE Asia.

Bacon, duck, and pork belly at a street stall. Some of the best meat we’ve had in SE Asia.

MarcyMoji Update

The MarcyMoji love pack is finally out! Sorry for the delay everyone, we had a couple of issues with Apple’s approval process that kept us from releasing it on time. We’re already hard at work on the next pack - follow @marcymoji on Instagram for the latest from Marcy’s paintbrush.

What’s next

We’re continuing our ride up the west coast of Malaysia. First stop is Ipoh, where we’re expecting EVEN MORE delicious food, and a side trip to the Cameron Highlands. From there, it’s over to Panang, and then on up to Thailand!