Last year Sam and I started our Southeast Asia adventure with a one way ticket to Malaysia. It was the dead of winter in South Korea, and after a year working as an English teacher, I was ready for a drastic change of scenery. Malaysia offered exactly that as the two of us spent an entire month meandering around the mainland with stops in Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown and the Cameron Highlands.
You’d think a month would have been enough, but one year later, we are back again! This time with Sam’s parents and a family friend.
I really enjoyed my first visit to the country and coming back to Malaysia has also served as a nice reminder of just how kind and welcoming Malaysians are.
On our first morning back in Kuala Lumpur, our group of 5 stumbled out of the hotel still a little groggy from the previous night’s flight, but ready for an early start in the city. Our first order of business was to find breakfast, and that’s how we ended up at a little Indian restaurant that was serving up roti and masala tea. Even though it was only 7 in the morning, the place was already abuzz with locals grabbing a quick bite before heading out to work.
We struggled to find a free table big enough to fit us all, but that’s when a woman kindly waved us over and invited us to join a small empty table to the one she was sitting at. She was eating alone and had a few chairs to spare.
We happily joined her, chit chatted about how Sam’s parents were visiting the country for the first time, and then we each went back to our own breakfasts – I mean, it’s hard to talk when you have something as delicious as roti pisang (a flat bread stuffed with banana slices) and a hot cup of spiced milk tea right in front of you!
The woman finished her breakfast before us and went up to pay for her food. When she came back to the table to say goodbye, she also surprised us by paying for our 5 breakfasts!
“Welcome to Malaysia and enjoy your time here!” she smiled at us, and with that went off to work for the day.
It was such a kind gesture, and in a way it reaffirmed that we had made the right decision coming back to travel around Malaysia for a second time.
This warm welcome carried over to the rest of the day in the city – I guess we’re easy to spot as tourists because we heard a lot of “Welcome to Malaysia, boss!” and “Enjoy Malaysia!” from locals wherever we went.
As much as I enjoy the thrill of a new country, sometimes it’s just as nice to venture somewhere familiar.