23. August 2014 | Von Pia Becker 

Selemat Datang | Welcome to Malaysia

Two weeks ago most of us arrived in Kuala Lumpur – some a bit earlier, some a bit later. This year we are 20 students from Germany, coming from all the campuses in Germany.

Selemat Datang | Welcome to Malaysia

Our University here in Malaysia is called Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and offers courses in six different faculties: Design Innovation; Multimedia Creativity; Communication, Media & Broadcasting; Information Technology & Computing; Business Management & Globalization and Architecture & Built Environment. We take part in the Communication, Media & Broadcasting faculty but also have courses from other faculties like the Multimedia Creativity faculty. The university is quiet international and open minded, so that you’ll meet people from all over the world. In our first weeks we already made friends with students from China, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Syria and Uganda.

Kuala Lumpur (we often use the short form KL) as the capital of Malaysia is a very futuristic and vibrant city where there is lots to see and to do. Whether you want to go shopping, partying or sightseeing, there are lots of opportunities for everyone.

Some of us also went to Kuala Lumpur to stay there for a night, which is about 30 minutes away from Cyberjaya. By cab it is also really cheap to get there, it costs about 10 euro. After the first shock that we stay in an industrial park for about 5 months, it was a feeling of relief that Kuala Lumpur is a huge metropolis with malls, cafés and a vibrant living on the streets.

We explored the city for 8 hours that day and discovered lots of interesting places. Of course we visited all the sightseeing places like the Petronas Towers and the Batu Caves ( a Hindu temple inside a huge cave with a golden Statue in front of it), but we also went through dirty little back roads where we could feel the heart of the city. Especially all the little food courts where you can find Malaysian, Indian and Chinese delicacies have been exciting. In the middle of cooking stations and people, who slaughter chicken we were sitting on plastic chairs and enjoyed food we didn´t really know about what it is. Even the German health department would definitely get a heart attack the food was so luscious and especially cheap. For just 2 euro you can have dinner including a drink.

We also went through Chinatown with all the little shops which sell fake branded goods, to get some cheap souvenirs or electronic devices. We really struggled to get a good price, because bargaining is not easy being a European tourist, which we definitely look like.

Another fascinating thing we recognized is the mix between the new luxurious business world around the KL City Centre with all the huge skyscrapers, the European brands which are located in pompous shopping malls and the traditional life in the back-roads. We discovered lots of little temples, mosques and little bazaars between all the big city turbulences.

But also the “modern” Kuala Lumpur is very fascinating. First, there are the Petronas Twin Towers which are the town´s landmark. They protrude from the other skyscrapers and especially in the evening they look incredible. We had the chance to have dinner at a skybar in the 33th floor of the Traders Hotel, which is opposite to the Twin Towers.  Despite the location it was not too expensive, so we just enjoyed the incredible view!

Our hostel was located in Bukit Bintang, the bar district of KL with lots    of restaurants, bars and hostels, therefore we met lots of European  backpackers and tourists. As it is very hot during the whole day, the city awakes in the late evening. People amble around the district, have a shisha or dinner. The nightlife seems to be really relaxed and I guess that KL offers a lot of opportunities for clubbing, even we haven´t been to a club so far.

Malaysia is a multi-ethical country where you meet people from China, India and other asian countries as well. Therefore you get lots of different asian food and see mosques near hindu temples.

The first, let me say, cultural shock came right after our arrival, when we saw that the uni has put us in another accommodation as we should have been. Even though the accommodation is quiet new, the building was not completely finished when we arrived. Yet there is still construction work going on. Like our uni our accommodation is in Cyberjaya, a very new and some kind of industrial city 40 km away from Kuala Lumpur. Right near to our building there is not much to do, but due to the cheap taxis (called teksis here) it’s quiet easy to go to KL, nearby shopping malls and food courts. Eating out is quiet cheap as well, often cheaper as if you buy your food in a supermarket, so most of the time we enjoy the variety of asian and arabic food in the restaurants around.

The first days we spend with paying our accommodation, trying to register and figure out when the courses will start. At first this was really exhausting, because we could’t register according to the missing payment of our German uni. After some stressful days of running around in uni, trying to figure out what to do and finding the right person, that could help us with our problems, we were all ready for vacation. So all of us Germans flew out to discover Kuala Lumpur or to do some islands hopping. Some of us went to Penang Island, some to Perhentian Island and a big group of Germans went to Tioman Island, a small island on the south east coast of Malaysia, right in the south chinese sea. We took the overnight bus from Kuala Lumpur to Mersing, were we arrived at 4:30 in the morning just to figure out the the ferry wouldn’t leave at 7 in the morning, as we thought, but at 9:30. Brilliant, it was still 5 hours to wait, in the middle of the night, while it was raining. Somehow we spent the night half time sleeping, half time waiting on some benches in the waiting area for the ferry. After the 2 hour ferry ride we knew that all the time waiting and our almost 14 hours trip would pay off. The first thing we saw was clear blue water, white beaches and palms.

On the island we stayed in a small chalet right near the beach and most of the time we enjoyed the sun at the beach. We also went snorkeling on coral island, went kayaking, did a walk in the jungle and to a waterfall. The following photos are trying to show you how beautiful this island is.

After the disappointing start at Cyberjaya, everyone came back from their trips with the new optimism that we will have a great time here. We recognized that Malaysia offers a lot of interesting places to go. We just have to leave Cyberjaya as often as possible to go to different cities or islands, where we surely gain nice experiences. Due to the cheap flight tickets, we also have the chance to travel through whole Asia, not only around Malaysia. Because of the short distances we could explore Bali, Singapore, Bangkok or Indonesia.

Since courses in Uni haven’t started yet, there is not that much to say about it. Uni will start on Monday (in 2 days) and we already got our timetable. The few times we have been there to register or make any payment, the uni seemed really creative and organized. At uni people are very helpful and open as nearly all people here in Malaysia are. Despite the teksi drivers we only have met really nice and friendly people, which like to show us around or invited us to their parties.

In the next blog post, we will write something about our courses and daily uni routine and of course about our new travel experiences.

PS: Watch our video https://vimeo.com/103784773 for some cool impressions of Tioman!

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