Despite Malaysia’s proximity to Singapore, my trips to Malaysia can be easily counted on one hand plus an additional thumb at most. Despite the enticement of the exchange rate, the high crime rate was a major deterrence.
While M and I have been to Penang together, it has never really occur to us to travel to Malaysia. This time we were slated to be in Cyberjaya for work and after some discussion, we decided to take it further and do a little road trip. The journey from Singapore to Cyberjaya was expected to take about 4 hours plus.
For this trip, we decided to rent a car instead of driving M’s family Tucson because we heard so many stories about Singapore car being robbed. We rented a Toyota Vios from Absolute Wheels/ Rent n Go for $330 a week and an additional $50 per day for KL and $20 in JB. While I was not expecting much of the car’s condition, during handover, we noticed that the Vios given to us was at least close to 10 years old (or at least it felt like it). The seats were all cracked and the exterior looks rather beaten up but hey, on the bright side, no one will rob us now.
While checking the car, the rental in-charge told us to help pump air into the tyres when we are at the petrol kiosk but after some inspection, M realised that there was another problem with another tyre. So we were asked us to take it to the workshop instead. With all the mismanagement with time and workshop trip etc, instead of leaving Singapore at the intended 1pm, we only manage to make it out around 5pm.
Before the trip, M confidently believed that we will go all the way to KL without any stops. But unfortunately, or fortunately actually, he was extremely tired and we got to “explore” the rest stops.
Rest stops are always hits and misses. Sometimes you get good ones with clean toilets (that’s all I am asking) and sometimes you get hell. There was a bathroom M went to and he said that there were at least 27 lizards climbing on a single side of the wall.
At another rest stop, we came across an instant meal vending machine. The machine was churning out icy cold instant meal and there was a microwave oven provided beside. We waited in the rain for our meal to be re-heated before finishing it in the car. The Nasi Ayam (chicken rice) was generously packed (sarcasm) with 2 pieces of chicken while M’s nasi goreng ayam rendang fared a lot better.
We reached Cyberjaya (where our client’s place was) close to 12am and settled our dinner with some instant meal bought at Family Mart. The next day we had dinner at Dpulze Mall where we also stayed at.
Auntie Anne’s: Auntie Anne’s pretzel is a must-have oversea treat for me mainly because spending SGD$4 on a pretzel in Singapore is too overpriced for me. Highly recommend the sour cream and onion powder flavour – the only legal white powder you should be high on.
Nando’s: I have never met anyone who never had Nando’s. Till I met M. Anyhow, his verdict was that the chicken was pretty good.
KL – To Do :
Petaling Street: The Chinatown of KL, it is not hard to find yourself stuck in a crowd here no matter what time and day you are here. Despite it being Chinatown, most of the pedallers seem to be of South Indian descent and are looking to sell you one of their cheap knock-offs. Dubious as it might sound, I still think that Chinatown is a great place to absorb in the sights and scenes of KL especially if you have limited hours in the city.
Thean Hou Temple: The temple is one of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia and being up on the hill, it overlooks the city and gives such strong contrast between the temple’s tranquillity and the bustling city. I particularly like how they are able to merge traditional architecture with modernity. The calm and lack of human traffic allows visitors to fully submerge themselves in the serenity.
KL – To Eat :
Seng Kee: I found Seng Kee while browsing through Google Map and got really tempted by the claypot dish. While ordering, the (seemingly) lady boss insisted on speaking to me in Cantonese and when I responded in Mandarin, she just gave a blank look until I replied in Cantonese. Just something to note if you are coming.
We got the claypot pearl noodle (large – rm22) and har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken). The large size surprisingly was actually just enough for 2 and although it was the restaurant’s signature dish, the taste was nothing much to rave about.
Loong Kee: On our way to Petaling Street, we chance by Loong Kee. Unlike the typical bak kwa, they have a streaky rendition that is more similar to bacon. We bought 100gm (RM14) to try.
I thought that even though it was crispy, it was rather greasy while M actually fancy the flavour quite a bit. The flavours were similar to bacon but less of the bacon grease and more of a grilled flavour.
Chinatown Food Centre: We came across the food centre and saw the huge variety of food in the space. Unfortunately, we only pass by after we had our lunch, otherwise, we will definitely give it a try.
Parking: We read a lot of unfortunate story around Petaling Street parking and decided to park at Ancasa Hotel & Spa- Kuala Lumpur. The indoor carpark seems a lot less dodgy and it was not too expensive (capped at RM10).
After a 2 hour plus drive, we arrived at our stay for the next 2 nights – Hotel Arissa. The room was big and the bed was a pleasant change from our previous queen size to king size. The room was fairly clean but a lizard appeared on the first day (which set me into anxiety for the next 2 days) and because our room had an adjoining door to the room beside, we could hear their conversation very clearly and also felt the slight tremor when the guests tried multiple time to open the door to our room.
The hotel breakfast was adequate and filling. The staffs were fast to replenish whatever that was running low. Most of the staffs were pleasant and when we requested to join in the minivan to Jonker, they were happy to accommodate and provide information as well.
Malacca – To Do :
Jonker Street: While the night market only opens over the weekend, the Jonker area is still a great place to roam in the day. Apart from endless eating, we visited the Mamee Jonker House where we got to make our own cup noodle, explore the homegrown designers such as The Orang Utan House and stock up on souvenirs at the iconic red lantern building – San Shu Gong 三叔公.
Malacca River Cruise: It was a comfortable experience that was not too expensive (RM30) and the journey was about 40mins. Definitely a good experience to try out in Malacca.
Malacca – To Eat :
Ban Lee Siang Satay Celup: When you visit Ban Lee Siang, you will see 2 of them. Nope, no doubles but actually just 2 brothers that fought and set up their own business next to one another. We went to the “first one/right side” because M accidentally made eye contact with the staffs standing in front. But luckily for us, a lot of reviews actually found the taste pretty similar. The concept is pretty simple – food on skewers hotpot.
The variety of food is huge and all the sticks are priced at RM1.20. The gravy is not spicy at all, evidently from all the kids slurping and although it is not super delicious, I thought it was definitely a fun experience. Highly recommend the oyster mushroom
Jonker Street Night Market: The amount of food you can eat on Jonker Street is endless. From the thirst-quenchers – hype-worthy brown sugar bubble tea to the traditional lime sour plum drink to the refreshing coconut drink (watch out for the show) at the end of the street. To the many light bites like grilled quail eggs, popiah and french fries to the heavyweight – sushi, char kway teow, oyster omelette and more.
We tried the coconut drink, dragon beard candy, popiah (which I quite like), Hainan mua chee (i suspect what makes it Hainan is the generous amount of sesame), penang char kway teow (M feels that its tasted just like normal char kway teow), brown sugar milk tea, and mango smoothie (after drinking this, my existing diarrhoea got worse for the next 3 days. Great detox!)
Jonker 88: The restaurant seems to be constantly packed and works on a self-service system. Better to come in groups so as to divide tasks (someone to order, someone to take the food and someone to stay at the table). Patrons can get unruly and staffs offer little help. The food although slightly pricey, was delicious.
Hoe Kee Chicken Ball: Another “hot” restaurant on Jonker Street. The chicken rice restaurant never lacks a steady stream of queue. The chicken is tender and the rice ball though not steaming hot was an interesting difference to our usual chicken rice.
Daily Fix: Hidden behind a souvenir shop, The Daily Fix Cafe is a charming establishment that sells modern eats in a traditional setting. The cafe’s rustic charm not only makes it a great place to while time but also a time machine.
Klebang Coconut Shake: Located slightly further away from the tourists’ attraction, the Klebang Coconut Shake is the place to go to escape the heat. The iconic coconut shake topped with vanilla ice cream is an excellent treat coupled with the in-house nasi lemak, chicken wing, and a lot more other food choices. The experience at this place is like no others.
Sun May Hiong Satay House: During the trip, M rekindled his love for satay and we found ourselves concluding our trip at Sun May Hiong Satay House. Between us, we share 20 sticks (10 sticks each – Chicken and Pork). I found the satay rather lacklustre and lack the punch nor spices that satay usually have. The satay sauce was not spicy and there was a sweetness tang to it, presumably from the pineapple. Although I would say the balance in the pork satay with the fats in between were one of the better farer in this meal.
We were hesitating to stay one more night in JB but then decided to come back to Singapore instead. Before leaving Malaysia, I had to satisfy my lok lok craving.
KK Lok Lok: The famous KK lok lok opens at 10pm and operate for a mere 4 hours before they are typically sold out. We reached the area slightly earlier and spend our time camping in the car, waiting for it to open. The variety of skewers seems to near a hundred. After getting the skewers, the typical waiting time is 20 to 30mins. M got about 11 sticks while I got 7. The bill came up to about RM95.
Overall, the road trip was extremely tiring more so for M who had to hem the wheels by himself. But I felt that it was a good and fun experience and I think it gave us an opportunity to bond because we were cooped up in the tiny car with just the 2 of us. Thankfully, we made it to and back.
Till then again,