I must be going now, Thailand. It was fun…
Except for the 1/3 of my time in your country that I was sick, including one very bad night where I, quite literally, thought I was going to die – at it’s worst, my body weight went under 130 pounds. I’m 5’10″…
The incredibly relentless harassment from hundreds of taxi drivers, even if they saw that I’d just walked past 30 other parked taxis…
The prostitutes, bar girls, and masseuses that wouldn’t stop grabbing my arm, pulling me with all their strength in a fierce tug-of-war, and yelling at me to become their customer…
The all-too-real paranoia of thinking “am I hitting on a ladyboy right now or a real girl?!”…
Ya know what, Thailand? This is my “sorry, not sorry” moment. I definitely saw some amazing things, had a blast, and met a lot of great people. To be clear, I’m happy that I visited the island of Phuket, Thailand. However – and this is the first time I’ve said this about any place I’ve been on my journey – I’m glad that I’m leaving.
I need to detox from the craziness of Patong, Thailand. Let’s go somewhere that’s a lot more laid back, conservative, cleaner, [a lot!] more people who are fluent in English, that will actually take a credit card, but is still just as cheap as Thailand. And let’s throw in one more wild card. Let’s make it the first Muslim-majority country on my journey.
Say “hello” to the Malaysian leg of my journey!
Some prices in Malaysia so far
- 30 minute cab ride: 15 Ringgits ($3.49)
- cell phone plan from Maxis:
- 5.3 GB of 4G data from the best carrier in the country
- 100 minutes/texts for local calls/texts. I can also make calls for $.01/minute using my softphone app, Acrobits. Texts are free using Whatsapp, Signal, Wire, Telegram, or WeChat. Meeting new people is great, but they all like using different texting apps!
- 30 GB of free data/month (1 GB of free data/day for 1 hour; you get to choose which hour)
- 59 Ringgits ($13.74)
- An absolutely, gigantic plate of Indian food from a buffet: 11.80 Ringgits ($2.74)
- A delicious, 14 ounce coffee. Your choice of cappuccino, americano, black, mocha, latte, whatever. Made like a cold Slurpee/ICEE: 9 Ringgits ($2.10).
- Sandwich with two grilled chicken breasts, ham, and an egg, with fries: 19.90 Ringgits ($4.64).
Ya, that’s what I’m talking about!
Malaysian first impressions
I’ve been here for less than two days. Some first impressions/stories:
- I saw a woman in a full burka driving a car. I’ve never seen that before.
- Since English is the official, recognized second language of Malaysia, almost everybody I’ve met has been very fluent in English.
- I don’t mean to say that the Thai I met were rude. Most of them were very nice. But it definitely seems like Malaysians are a step above their neighbors to the north. They seem nicer and more welcoming.
- Bad news: My debit card doesn’t work here. I had to order a new one with a chip in it.
- In Phuket, Thailand, dozens of taxi drivers would yell at you, every single day: “taxi!”, “tuk tuk!”, or “where you go?! HEY! WHERE YOU GO?!” My first experience with a taxi driver at the airport in Malaysia? With a welcoming smile, the taxi driver politely and calmly said, “Hi, do you need a cab?”. I grinned ear-to-ear and replied, “No thank you, not yet.”
- There’s something interesting about that giant plate of food from the Indian buffet that I mentioned above. After I picked out what I wanted from the buffet, the server came over, looked at my plate, and gave me the price. I’ve never been to a buffet like that before.
- I’m excited to check out the nightlife of Georgetown tonight!
I think I’m going to like Malaysia!