Reflections on a year in & around Malaysia

Well, the time has come for my last post. This Saturday, I am moving away from Kuala Lumpur and back to the grand ol’ USA. After one year living and working here in KL (and lots of travel in between – I flew 18 times out of KLIA!), I wanted to reflect a bit. This post is just a quick random collection of thoughts, really.

But first, picture time! Work friends from this year at TIM: πŸ™‚

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Lombok & Bali

My final international trip while being based in Kuala Lumpur was to Lombok and Bali, Indonesia. It might also be my favorite trip so far – which makes sense, really, since the longer you travel, the better you get at it! Plus, I had good company, and Indonesia is stunning. Maybe another minor reason I liked it is because their language is extremely similar to Malaysia – so I could read a decent amount of signage.

My friend and I began the trip by flying from Kuala Lumpur to Lombok. For this trip I didn’t plan more than a couple days ahead at a time – I didn’t even have a return flight home. Another reason why it was so great πŸ™‚

We wanted to climb Mt Rinjani, an active volcano, while visiting Lombok. Near the end of the flight we saw a giant peak of a volcano from the window and apprehensively asked ourselves…shit, is that Rinjani?! πŸ˜› Later we confirmed that it was. So cool that just a few days later we were there at the top!

We made a Dutch friend from the plane (who also ended up climbing Rinjani with us) and shared a cab to our lodging in Kuta.

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Kota Kinabalu

I returned to Kota Kinabalu (KK)! Last time, I went just to climb Mount Kinabalu – but this time, my friend Denice & I went to explore and chill out πŸ™‚ It’s a convenient halfway point between KL and the Philippines, and we ended up really liking this city and everything surrounding πŸ˜€

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Winter in Australia: Tasmania & Blue Mountains

 

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I had the most amazing winter trip to Australia πŸ™‚ I decided to split my time traveling in Australia into two trips – a ‘city’ trip that I already did in May (Melbourne & Sydney), and a ‘hiking’ trip that I just did to Tasmania and the Blue Mountains. Here in Malaysia, there was almost a whole week off work at the end of June due to the end of Ramadan, plus I wanted a cold weather vacation since it’s so hot here – so it was perfect πŸ™‚ Β And winter in Australia is not nearly as back home near Chicago! It was great walking weather.

I flew to Sydney, did a 5 day tour of Tasmania, spent some time in Tassie’s capital city, then rounded it off with some solo hiking in the Blue Mountains (just west of Sydney). I did a lot and loved every minute.

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Why I love living in KL

To me, KL (Kuala Lumpur) seems like a perfect city for expats. Granted, it is theΒ only city I’ve been an expat in, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. But I wanted to talk about why I love living in KL and to include some of my pictures of this city that I haven’t posted (since my blog has been mainly about travel lately). And to be fair, I will include some annoyances I’ve had living here, too. πŸ™‚

Read on for pros and cons of KL life!

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Balian Beach

I’ll admit, I am annoyingly anti-mainstream sometimes – always have been. But when it comes to traveling, I know I’m not the only one. Massive crowds of tourists and touts are a huge turn off from visiting some places (I’m lookin at you, Thailand). For this reason I was hesitant to go to Bali. It’s a super popular/famous destination, and I kept hearing the stereotype that it’s just a place that Australians go to get drunk. While this may be true, upon landing on Bali, I truly felt that ‘magic’ that people describe it as. I only drove through the heavily touristed areas, like Kuta, and stayed at a much less populated beach, Balian Beach, which I’m sure contributed to my positive feelings. πŸ™‚

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Taipei

Taipei was on my bucket list to visit while living in KL, as my company has a plant there, and I had heard so many good things about it! They all turned out to be true. πŸ™‚ I ate a lot of amazing food and walked a ton. I’ll go through what we packed into each of our busy days. But before going through all of the sights…Take a look at what we ate! Taipei = amazing (and very cheap) food city ❀

 

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