Andy's Awesome Adventure through Malaysia Part 1

I vacationed to Malaysia in 2014 for eight days with four buddies of mine. We went to a bunch of amazing places and interacted with a lot of the locals and even some Indonesian migrant workers. We visited natural and cultural sites, learned the history and culture, learned a little bit of the language, and ate a lot of their food. It would be an injustice if I told my whole 8-day trip to Malaysia in one post. This is the first installment of Andy (and friends) Awesome Adventures through Malaysia.

A few years back, my friends and I hopped on a plane headed for Malaysia. We had a two-week break after finals and decided that the best way to forget the stresses of learning and to keep ourselves and as unprepared as possible for the following semester was to travel to another country.

Our trip started from Makassar — by Asbi Fidodido
Our trip started from Makassar — by Asbi Fidodido

Initially, we wanted to go to Singapore because who wouldn’t? It’s one of the most popular tourism destinations on the planet. The problem was that we didn’t have a lot of cash on hand, and the exchange rate from the rupiah to Singapore dollar was way too much (if I recall correctly, it was somewhere around Rp 10,000 per SG$1).

Then we were thinking of going to Thailand – the most visited country in Asia. The Thai baht was only around Rp 400 so it was definitely a viable option. However, for some reason, my friends decided against in and chose Malaysia instead. Their excuse for wanting to go to Malaysia was because “their language is similar to Indonesian.” Way to leave your comfort zone, fellas…

Inside of KLIA — by chrisisapilot
Inside of KLIA — by chrisisapilot

Anyways, we took an Air Asia flight from Makassar to Kuala Lumpur and arrived at around 10 PM. It was too late to go exploring so we took a bus to a nearby hotel where he took another bus to a far away hotel. Ridiculous, yes, but we weren’t going to spend a sizable chunk of our money on a sweet hotel room that’s in view of KLIA.

We arrived at the hotel but didn’t have any Malaysian ringgit on us. We had enough to pay for the bus trip from the hotel near the airport to this one and to have dinner at whatever road-side nasi lemak stand that was open at 11:30 PM. The hotel wouldn’t give us a key to our room unless we gave them a 50% deposit. The money changer located near the hotel was closed so we had to find another option.

I offered to give a Rp 2 million deposit on the room (roughly US$200, about 3 times the cost of the hotel room per night) and the guy looked at me like I was crazy. He called his buddy in the back and spoke rapid Melayu with each other (for the record, my friends didn’t understand a word they said; so much for the “similar to our language” crap…) and told us that they’d take Rp 1 million instead.

A cool million rupiahs... About US$100. — by NxlaYsmn
A cool million rupiahs... About US$100. — by NxlaYsmn

I suppose he was a nice and understanding guy for taking only half of my offer to hold as collateral, but he snickered the whole time he processed our room key. I distinctly heard him chuckle to himself while saying, “One million. Wow.” Note: RM 1 million = US$250,000. I could see how it could be funny to him, but we weren't going to take his mocking of my beloved Indonesian currency! I went up to him, rolled up my sleeves and socked the receptionist in his smirking face.

Just kidding. We thanked him, took the room key, dropped our stuff off, and then went around the hotel in search of some grub. We found a nasi lemak vendor and bought five portions to bring back to our room. After we devoured the food - plastic spoons and all - we hit the hay. We had to regain our strength for our adventure which would hopefully begin the next day.