Wednesday 3 August 2016

Chaotic guide to Malaysia/Singapore for Kevin

My friend Kevin asked me to let him know what is good to do in Malaysia and Singapore. So I've assembled this chaotic sketch of things just for him and his friends.

Of course, everything is all relative and it depends on what you like to do.

Tori Q chicken balls
However, I think it is fair to say that EATING is one of the most important aspects of any visitor's trip to Malaysia/Singapore, and in my view, perhaps the trip should be planned around EATING rather than sightseeing LOL

Here is a list of ideas/tips as recommended by my relatives, family and myself. Particular thanks go to my dad, Chloe, my yiyi Kit Yee, my cousin Ker Leet and my Ah Ghor Bee Ha.

Of course this list is not exhaustive and is probably a starting point for your research.

General tips
  • Not meaning to be alarmist, but please just be mindful that there is a death penalty for drug trafficking in Singapore and Malaysia. You can never be too careful with your luggage, and if there is something you can do to make yourself assured that no one can put things into your bag, then do it even if it is a bit of a hassle. (Eg. Locks on your bag, plastic wrap the whole bag..)
  • If your trip is short I don't think you will have time to go to East Malaysia (which is renowned for its natural beauty - but is notorious for piracy/kidnapping in the coastal areas)
  • Smart Traveller has issued a warning re: safety/terrorism in Malaysia
  • Beware of thieves/mugs/snatch-purses
  • Beware of food poisoning, don't be too adventurous

Food in Singapore
  • If you like coffee, my dad says to try one at a Kopi Tiam in Singapore.
  • Duck noodles on Phillip Street with chilli sauce. Can't remember the exact details but I remember when I was working there in 2011 it was famous.
  • Hainan Chicken rice at Tian Tian (Maxwell food centre, near Chinatown - but the queue is long because it is the current craze as it got some kind of Michelin rating); Boon Tong Kee (there are many outlets including @ River Valley) --- if you can't go to those places never mind as there are plenty of hawker's stalls, see which ones have long lines!!;
  • The chicken balls and unagi at Tori Q (fast food chain - many outlets) are one of my personal favourites.
  • Check out the massive hawker stalls - most famous and biggest one is perhaps Lau Pa Sat (doesn't mean it is the best)
  • Teh Tarik
  • Milo/coffee/horlicks with condensed milk
  • Ice Kachang
  • Jumbo Seafood's Chilli Crab at Clarke Quay --> book here as it is packed 

Places in Singapore

  • Clarke Quay at night time is a nice place that I would like to revisit
  • Pic#1: Gardens by the Bay (see the controlled greenhouses/cooled conservatories)
  • Pic#2: Marina Bay Sands (go to the top and look at the view - some book a room) which is also next to the ArtScience Museum. By the way, apparently the Singapore Flyer is NOT worth it - you are better off paying for admission to the top of Marina Bay Sands.
  • Nearby MBS is the Helix bridge from memory, that was pretty cool.
  • Night Safari
  • Universal Studios Singapore which is on or near Sentosa Island [not really a priority I guess]
  • Sentosa Island (but expensive now I heard)
  • Little India
  • Chinatown
  • River Safari
  • Singapore Botanic Gardens - I really liked this place but it was REALLY hot.

Stuff in KL if only staying for 1-2 days (no time to go to outskirts)
  • Shopping @ Pavillion - 
  • Lots of shopping:
My aunty also suggests: Lot10, KLCC, MidValley, Sungei Wang, Bukit Bintang, StarHill; in PJ -1U, Paradigm, the Curve, Ikano Power Centre, Atria, K Avenue
  • Twin Towers/Petronas Towers
  • Batu Caves
  • There are tours like one day trips to Sekinchan to visit rice paddy fields, rice processing factories and seafood meals or "Durian, tofu and peanut lolly (Fah Sung Tong)" trips but you may not have time for that as it goes to the outskirts of town
  • Petaling Street (beware of mugs/thieves)

Stuff in Penang if only staying for 1-2 days
  • Gurney Drive - lots and lots of food
  • Kek Lo Shi temple
  • Khoo Kongsi
  • Snake Temple
  • Sleeping Buddha Temple
  • Gold Museum
  • Nyonya Baba Museum
  • Penang Hill
  • Dad says take a car trip along Penang bridge - one of the longest in the world "good experience".

Lonely Planet Kids The Travel Book notes on Malaysia:
- See Rafflesia flowers - quite remote
- Sarawak Chamber in Borneo (East Malaysia's) Gunung Mulu National Park.
- Petronas twin towers
- Orangutans in Borneo

Lonely Planet Kids The Travel Book notes on Singapore:
- Rainbow Temple (Sri Mariamman Temple)
- Gardens by the Bay
- Marina Bay

Lonely Planet The Travel Book notes on Malaysia:
- See KL from the walkway at Petronas towers.
- See tea plantations sprawling across Cameron highlands.
- See dawn view from the summit of Mt Kinabalu, Southeast Asia's highest mountain.
- Penang's dragon-tiled temples in Georgetown.
- Munch on Nasi Lemak in a traditional Melaka coffeeshop.

Lonely Planet The Travel Book notes on Singapore:
- Light a joss stick at Thian Hock Keng temple.
- Soak up the sounds and smells of the subcontinent in Little India.
- Chinatown.
-  Hawker stalls.
- Sip a Singapore sling at Raffles, the famous hotel where the cocktail was invented.
- Asian Civilisations Museum
- Singapore Zoological Gardens and Night Safari
- Sentosa Island
- Sri Mariamman Temple
- Market mayhem, temples and crowds on Waterloo street

Hope this helps you and your friends Kevin!!!

But kindly bear in mind that I know nothing, so make your own experiences perhaps!!

Andre Lim

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