Below is the full transcript of the video with links to more information, including maps to find many of the locations in the video. Enjoy my 10-day tour of West Malaysia and Singapore!
Welcome to my next adventure! We’re going to start on the island of Penang and do a full circle around West Malaysia and Singapore in 10 days. Let’s go!
This was my first time driving a car on the left side of the road! I was a lot less nervous when I found out the pedals are the same!
First stop, the Tree Top Walk at Sungai Sedim [location on Google Maps]. Beautiful nature, high above the trees. Wait, how high up are we? I might be an American, but I understand the metric system. That’s 26 meters above the ground.
All right, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Let’s get back on the road.
This cow’s looking at me like “Nothing to see here. Just keep moving. It’s just a dog herding cattle by himself on the road.”
When the scenery is this spectacular, traffic jams just don’t seem quite as bad.
I checked into my hostel, had dinner with a local, watched some live music, and had drinks at an Irish bar.
Day 2! Goodbye, cute puppy at the hostel! Hello giant lizard and hello Tempurung Cave! [location on Google Maps] This was definitely a big highlight of my journey.
As mesmerizing as my first cave experience was, it wasn’t long before I was ready to take it to the next level. Let’s open the gate and go down deeper into the cave. No more light. No more stairs. No more railings to hang onto. There is, however, plenty of cold water to walk through.
Guess what else we found down there? A baby cobra! We tried to put it on that water bottle and carry it back out of the cave. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful. Good luck down here, baby cobra!
Let’s keep going into the darkness and into the cold water. And out the other end of the cave!
We had some snacks, rested, had great conversation, took some goofy photos. And then right back in.
We continued into my favorite part of the cave. After all of the guys slid down the rock on our butts, like true gentlemen, we safely caught the girls as they slid down after us. Then we went through that little hole in the ground right there, into a totally different part of the cave.
If you’ve never done a cave tour before, I’d highly recommend one. They are a lot of fun!
Eventually, we made it out to this big opening and, sadly, my first cave adventure had ended.
I said goodbye to some new friends and went to the bathroom without standing on the toilet. Aren’t you proud of me, mom?
And I got back on the road towards the next destination on my trip: the world-famous Cameron Highlands! [exact road to enter the tea fields]
The scenery here is stunning. Seemingly never-ending, rolling hills of tea-producing plants. Amazingly, this tea plantation produces the equivalent of 5.5 million cups of tea per day! Now, that is some impressive productivity!
From the touristy countryside to the booming mega-city of Kuala Lumpur.
A Hop On Hop Off bus is definitely a great choice when you’re visiting any big city.
It was the first big city I’d ever visited with a near-majority Muslim population. I decided this was a great time to visit a mosque for the first time. Let’s check it out! [location on Google Maps]
If you’re going to visit a mosque, there are certainly some rules to follow before being allowed in. Leave your shoes at the door. If you’re not properly dressed, you’ll have to borrow a thawb from the mosque. Free of charge at this mosque, but others might charge. Other than that, just be a good person, respect their mosque and you’ll be fine.
I did find three things I absolutely did not expect to find in a mosque.
- First, free Wifi.
- A white, French woman who asked me if I wanted to convert to Islam.
- And lastly, a small shop selling books, clothing, iphone cases, and more. I did not expect any of that.
If you look on the left, you’ll see two, massive skyscrapers, the Petronas Twin Towers [location on Google Maps]. From 1998-2004, they were the tallest buildings in the world.
All right, too much time in the big city. Let’s go run through the jungle and drink some beer with 140 complete strangers [parking lot location; start/finish of that night’s Hash on Google Maps] .
Meet the Hash House Harriers. They’re a drinking club with a running problem. They’re foul-mouthed, politically incorrect, and have almost 2,000 chapters all over the world.
This chapter, however, is the most important of them all – the one that every Hasher wants to Hash with. This is the Mother Hash – the original Hash, formed in 1938 and still going strong today.
After a run, Hashers are asked to circle up. Different people get called to the middle, or in this case, up to the front. Once you’re up there, you get called out, made fun of, or congratulated for something you did. The penalty – which is, obviously, a reward – is a beer that you must drink as quickly as possible. This is called a “down down”.
After my second down down, they gave me some awesome merchandise, including this one-of-a-kind, high-quality Mother Hash shirt.
I had a great time and left as a very happy and proud Hasher!
The next morning I got some words of encouragement from a restroom and got back on the road.
Next stop: the UNESCO World Heritage site of Melaka [location on Google Maps; an explanation of the spelling].
It really reminded me of another Malaysian UNESCO site, George Town, which is located on Penang Island. That’s where I started my 10-day tour.
Another observation I made was that the drivers within a couple hours of KL were definitely the craziest in all of Malaysia. Like this guy. He’s doing a superman – his stomach is on the seat and his feet are facing backwards. This is the same guy. Look at how close his feet are to the ground!
I continued avoiding crazy drivers and safely made it to my next accommodation.
That night, in Jahor Bahru [location on Google Maps], I hung out with a housemate, and we checked out the skyline of my next destination – Singapore!
As I walked across the entire country of Singapore in a day, I couldn’t help but notice the military was everywhere!
I also saw a bunch of these bikes [oBike official website]. Check this out. You can unlock the bike with your phone, ride it, and park it at a designated spot! Technology for the win! This country is so innovative.
Singapore also has my favorite road, Hampshire Road, as in New Hampshire, home of the Free State Project! As we all know, freedom brings a Fountain of Wealth.
Next to that is the largest and busiest hotel and casino in Singapore, the Marina Bay Sands, and the Art Science Museum. Is this your favorite picture so far? Or maybe this one is [location on Google Maps].
Sadly, I had to say goodbye to Singapore and keep it moving.
This was a day for pristine beaches [location on Google Maps], sharp contrasts in housing, and persistence paying off!
I finally managed the take a picture of a monkey! They just hang out by the side of the road in this part of Malaysia.
I was also excited to sleep in a converted mansion that night [location on Google Maps]. Pretty swanky, huh? But I’m definitely not rich enough to own a mansion. I can only pretend for so long.
Gotta keep it moving.
An upside down McDonalds logo!? What does that remind you of? The Burger World logo from Beavis and Butthead, obviously!
All right, on a serious note, of all the places I visited on this journey, Lake Kenyir was absolutely the top place I’d like to revisit [if you want to go on a boat tour at Lake Kenyir, park your car here]. I really wanted to spend some more time here.
I’d highly recommend chartering a house boat like this. One of the drivers told me his boat has four rooms. His tourists often rent out the whole boat and they drive around this huge lake for a week or more!
Tourists from around the world are drawn to this lake particularly because of its amazing waterfalls!
All I have to say is “wow, wow, wow!” This place is breathtaking!
If you want to visit any of the places I’ve mentioned in this video, or if you want more information, I’ve created a special page on my website vinceperfetto.com/malaysiasingapore.
After the incredible waterfall, we went to a museum on Butterfly Island.
Seeing all these butterflies flying around, some of you are already ahead of me. With an average lifespan of about a month, eventually, you’re going to get piles of dead, delicate butterflies. I can hear some of you now: “awwwww”. I’m sorry, I had to do it. All of these are dead. OK, I’m sorry. It’s sad, but hey listen, cheer up everybody, there are more butterflies on the way soon!
They have a lot more than just butterflies here, though. They have an American Bullfrog, blue tongued skink, forest green eyed gecko, a giant scorpion! Here we go! Look at these bugs!
Lucky for me, I didn’t see any of these bugs outside of the museum.
I had to say goodbye to my awesome Butterfly Island tour guides, my boat tour guide, and to Lake Kenyir. Our time together was too short!
More monkeys! There are a lot of monkeys around here.
As I continued my journey, I started noticing Arabic was on top of Malay on the street signs, instead of Malay on top of English. That’s because this area has the highest population density of Muslims in the entire country of Malaysia.
I wondered, what was life like for them?
Well, let’s check out my room first. OK, that makes sense. I’ve heard of that before. What about the bookshelf. Stephen King’s IT, and the Hunger Games trilogy. I did not expect that.
Well, I wonder what the beach would look like here [location on Google Maps]. Mickey Mouse? Mr. McGoo? Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick? Angry Birds? Hmm… all right, very interesting.
Around the main stadium in the city, is a big market run entirely by women!
A much bigger market, selling everything from fresh vegetables to American flag bags. Again, I definitely did not expect that. Let’s see what’s over here.
Just past the Islamic Information Center is a Hello Kitty themed cafe? Hunger plus curiosity equals I’m going in! They had great food and a fun staff, too!
Lastly, I found a classic example of “don’t believe everything you hear on the internet”. I was, in fact, able to find a bar in Kota Bharu. It wasn’t a speakeasy and it wasn’t hidden, but it also wasn’t listed on Google Maps [I have it marked on Google Maps here].
As we go down the home stretch, I have to mention one more very interesting thing about Malaysia.
These are not state flags. These are flags of political parties. The green flags are for the PAN Malaysian Islamic Party. And the blue flags belong to the Barisan National Party. They’ve dominated political power in Malaysia for most of the past 40 years. The scale is supposed to represent the balance of power.
One final stop at yet another beautiful location, Banding Lake [location on Google Maps]. Whatever you do, don’t let them catch you smoking here! Woa!
Thanks so much for watching.
Just a reminder, I’ve compiled a lot of links, maps, and more on a special page dedicated to this video: vinceperfetto.com/malaysiasingapore.
Another page I’d like you to check out is vinceperfetto.com/support.
I’d like to end this video by showing you one last beautiful image and mentioning a little known fact about Malaysia.
Did you know that two of the longest bridges in the world are in Malaysia? They both connect Penang to the mainland. The second bridge has a length over water of nearly 17 km [location on Google Maps]. And the first one has a length over water of 8.4km [location on Google Maps].
And that’s the bridge I drove over as the sun set on the final day of my tour of West Malaysia.
A perfect, peaceful, brilliant ending to my great journey.