Monday, February 4, 2013

Images from Malaysia

This is the final in my three part post on my trip to Malaysia (part1, part2). This one doesn’t have any motorcycle content unlike the first two. It is largely just pictures I like or images that give a sense of the differences between Malaysia and the United States.

One of the first differences I was aware of, thanks to wikitravel, before I left not that it pertains to me, but it sets the tone of the country as conservative.

Sign in Kuala Lumpur Airport

The sign above reads: [emphasis added] “Malaysia enforces very strict laws against drug trafficking for which upon conviction, may result in capital punishment.” Wow!


A tollbooth along the one freeway in the country. It runs North-South. This one was between Kuala Lumpur and the airport. It looks very similar to ones in the US. The main difference is the booth is on the other side since they drive on the left.

Downtown Kuala Lumpur

My first glimpse of downtown Kuala Lumpur. The Petronas Twin Towers dominate the skyline. They are the tallest twin towers in the world at 452 meters.

Average street scene in Malaysia

Above is an average street scene in Kuala Lumpur.

In contrast to one further north:

Average street scene in Malaysia

Near the highlands in central Malaysia. I love the look of the mountains in the distance. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit the. We were only able to play tourists one day. The rest of the trip was spent enjoying the company of family.

Highlands in Central Malaysia

We played tourists one day and visited the Petronas towers. We got there early to line up and buy our tickets to visit the skybridge and the top. While we waited to go up, we explored the downtown area. If you watched Entrapment you might remember these towers as they were featured prominently in the movie.

Patronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur

Looking down from Patronas Towers

Above: A view of the park below from the skyway. The skyway is a double-decker with the employees using the top and the tourists in the bottom.

Patronas Tower and KL Tower from Patronas Tower

Above: a view from the top of one tower looking at the other. The KL Tower is in the background.

Market in Kuala Lumpur

While we waited to go up to the top of the Petronas towers, we explored the markets in the surrounding area. There were a lot of tourists in the downtown area.

Sayangi Market Kuala Lumpur

I enjoy a good cup of tea, and Malaysia has some great tea. My favorite is Tae-O which is black tea with a bit of sugar. The common to-go container is shown below: a plastic bag. The tea was awesome. I wish I had some right now. Yum!

Tae O in a Bag

The downtown area also had a lot of murals that I enjoyed looking at while we waited for the light rail trains to take us where we needed to go. The colors were very vibrant and the designs distinctly different from common version of the same in the US.

Murals in Kuala Lumpur

Another common sight were mosques. Islam is the most common religion in Malaysia followed by Buddhism. This was my first experience in a Muslim country and I enjoyed the different voices of the muezzins during the call to prayer five  times a day. Some really were enthusiastic and it almost sounded like singing.

Mosques are Common

Another very common sight in Malaysia are the lizards. They are only an inch or three long. They squeeze through small spaces and climb on the walls and get into food/water. Saying “lizard” and pointing will make the locals excitedly look around. I had a hard time getting a photo of one. They are quite skittery.

Lizards are common

I saw some strange things in Malaysia as well such as the box near the checkout at a grocery store. “Essence of Chicken” umm?! It isn’t chicken broth either, it is some health product taken as a daily pill. eww.

Essence of Chicken?!

Lots of tasks were completed with manual labor. These guys are building a new train station. I love the guy on the right with his hardhat over his rice hat.

Workers building train station

An average fruit market full of tasty fruits, some of which I had never seen before  and always crowded.

Average Fruit Market in Malaysia

One day at lunch we witnessed a march for a fair election. Fortunately, it was peaceful, and the police didn’t have to fight like they did the one before. You can see some of the people wearing masks. 30,000 people marching by while we were eating lunch was an experience.

Peaceful Demonstration

Down the street, the police assembled in large numbers. I love the tourists casually walking across the closed street.

Large Police Presence

And finally, no trip to Malaysia or other Asian country could be complete without mentioning the squat toilets. They are the most common toilet around. Toilet paper was not common. Had it been, it would have likely been a soggy mess; the bathrooms were usually quite wet thanks to the hose.

Common toilet in Malaysia

It takes a little practice, but they are very usable. These squat toilets flush which is an upgrade to the ones I was first exposed to when I visited China years ago. Just make sure to use lots of soap when washing your hands! :)

The trip was great. I mean, what’s not to like? I spent a lot of time with my awesome in-laws in a hot tropical climate with 12 hour days. A major upgrade to the frozen, dark, and snowy Minnesota winter. I’m looking forward to our next trip even though I have no idea when it will be. I am hopeful it will be under more happy circumstances.

Check out the full flickr album below along with the first two posts in this series. I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Full Malaysian Flickr Album: 44 photos. 

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  1. Thanks for sharing all the pictures Chris. It is always interesting to see the differences between countries.

    It is pretty neat they serve the to-go tea in the bag. It would cut down on the volume of waste when you think of how much room it takes up compared to a plastic cup.

    Oh, and I have to admit. I am more than a little afraid of that squat toilet.

    1. Glad you enjoyed them. The tea in a bag was an interesting experience. It is apparently common in other parts of the world as well. bags are cheaper than cups. I did wonder about the amount of BPA and other carcinogen in the bags though vs paper cup.

      i was scared of the toilet as well, but then i had to use it multiple times in one day after drinking a questionable beverage I shouldn't have. After using it a bunch, it's not scary at all.

  2. Great post Chris. I really enjoy seeing pictures like these from different countries and cultures. Yours are especially good as they show the ordinary things and not just the pictures that most tourists will take (including me). I like the pic of the tourists walking across the road!

    1. Thanks Gary. I like taking pictures of the ordinary things that make up the culture instead of just the common ones that you can find anywhere else in books/internet.

      i like that pic as well. they seemed totally oblivious.

  3. Thank you for the posts and the photos. The towers look impressive, did you go on the walkway between the two towers as well as get up to the top?

    So, you didn't bring back any "Essence of Chicken"? There's a story in there somewhere...

    1. yup, we did the walkway and the top. the view was better at the top than the walkway as you might imagine.

      ugh, no. no "essence of chicken" was purchased. I don't understand how it was a nutritional supplement, but thats what it was. i thought it was chicken broth tablets at first, but sadly no.

  4. What a completely different world, it looks so beautiful and clean (so does the toilet to my surprise). I wonder what the vegan version to essence of chicken might be...

    1. It was a different world for sure, but NOT clean at all. polluted with trash in all the gutters. some buildings didn't have a dumpster, so they just made a pile of trash on the sidewalk. i was too busy holding my nose, so i guess i forgot to take pics of that.

      essence of beans maybe? lol

  5. Dear Chris:

    Great pictures and interesting commentary. The Petronas Towers have held my fascination for years. I have always appreciated the detail with which you report on the cool background stuff. I can tell you one thing though: no corporate travel department would ever let a travel business person get close to a street demonstration. You are well advised to give them the broad pass. Cool blog episode.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

    1. Dear Jack:

      Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and posts. The towers were impressive; I'm glad we had the opportunity to visit them.

      Yea, the street demonstration made me nervous. My shirt color was waaay to close to theirs. We ate quickly and made our way back to the train station.