A first class bus to a first class hotel kind of sways your first impression a bit! We took a really nice bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with only 18 seats on a double decker bus we were able to relax in comfort for our 5 hour trip. The bus even had massage chairs and meal service! The bus dropped us at their office in Kuala Lumpur where we were on our own to try to hail a taxi in the sweltering heat. We finally got a cab to stop and were taken to the Renaissance Hotel right down the street from the PETRONAS towers. It was a really nice luxury hotel that we would be staying at for 3 nights for FREE! Marriott points in Kuala Lumpur paid off big. For the same amount of points as one night at a budget Marriott in Alaska we were able to stay for 3 nights in Malaysia. So far, so good! We walked around a bit before it got dark checking out the area right around the hotel and even stumbling across a couple of street fairs. Once it got dark the area seemed a bit shady and not too safe. Kuala Lumpur is a big city, not really my thing, but not enough to give me a bad first impression of Malaysia as a whole. A little torn in my first impression, we will see how it goes.
If a place wants a good first impression from me, just plate up some good local food at a fair price and put it in front of me. We hit Kuala Lumpur on the right day. Every Saturday at the visitor’s center there is a cultural dance and music along with local foods and crafts being sold. This just happened to be across the street from our hotel so we headed over just before the dance to sample some food. I got a plate of Nasi Lemak which is a chicken dish cooked in coconut milk and served with an anchovy hot chile sauce over rice cooked in coconut milk. It was amazing, but what made the experience even better was that it came out of this sweet local ladies crockpot, made with love and cost a whopping 5 Ringgits, that’s $1.52 USD. It was so good I went back and told her how much I enjoyed it. I don’t know who was more excited, me about the food, or her about my reaction to her cooking. Also, earlier in the day I tried some curry puffs, which are potatoes and carrots in a curry sauce baked inside a puff pastry dough and a spicy popiah (spring roll) also made by locals selling them at a charity event just down from the visitor’s center. To the women who made all of these delectable treats that made my stomach smile, I thank you! I know what my first impression of the food is but I’m not sure what my first impression of Malaysia is, I was too busy stuffing my face.