A Warm Welcome Back to Malaysia: Kindness Of Strangers in Kuala Lumpur

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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.

Join the Conversation


  1. How lovely of that woman! Bet that set the tone for a great trip. I too like rediscovering familiar places – you see and learn something different every time but can once again enjoy all the things you love about it, like a steaming cup of masala chai!

  2. says: Heather

    Stories like this warm my soul – and make me want to be kinder to tourists in my own town. I really wish we’d made it to Malaysia when we were in that part of the world!

  3. What a lovely story! That is such a kind gesture, and one that is now touching all your readers, too! A good reminder that you never know the chain effect one small act of kindness might have. We’ve never been to Malaysia, but your story certainly makes me want to visit right now!

  4. says: Simon Lee

    Welcome to my homeland Audrey, i hope you really enjoy. A bit of recommendation on foods:

    Melaka – dont miss the Satay and Cendol.

    KL – dont miss banana leaf rice in brickfields (near to KL sentral station).

    Georgetown – Laksa and Rojak are both a must try, you will find plenty of street stalls selling these foods in Gurney Drive and Ayer Itam.

    Cameron Highlands – you may try steambot as Malaysian like to eat steambot in cooling temperature. I am sure you will visit strawberry farm, you may try some as this is the only place in Malaysia for strawberry planning, as far as i know as local.

    Simon Lee

  5. says: Rachel of Hippie in Heelsr

    That was so nice of her buying breakfast. I’m in Singapore now staying with a Malaysian Singaporean friend and she’s also as nice as can be!

  6. says: The Guy

    Ah Malaysia. I’ve been to KL and Langkwai and loved them.

    I know what you mean about being on familiar ground. Still lots of new things to explore yet a sense of belonging when some surroundings seem familiar.

  7. says: Jen

    We can’t keep away from Malaysia (especially KL) either. We’re on our 4th visit here and have been based in Chinatown since November now! It is such a diverse city with great food and, as you said, friendly people.

    If you’re in Chinatown really early one day check out Pasar Karat (the ‘junk’ market) It happens every morning (starts before dawn) and has such a selection of items on offer. You’ll find it just off Jalan Sultan.


  8. says: Katie

    Lovely! I’ve never been to Malaysia, but this reaffirms what I truly believe: that the world is full of lovely people, and travelling is the best way to meet as many of them as possible!

  9. Malaysia was our first stop of our two year Asia stint as well. Unfortunately I have only seen the Cameron Highlands and KL. Would love to see Melaka and the coast as well though. I am sure I will return one day too!

    1. says: Audrey

      I hope you guys get to Melaka! That’s been the highlight for me so far. It’s such a magical little city full of Old World charm.

  10. says: ChinaMatt

    That’s quite a surprise welcome. I loved Malaysia and would like to go back to explore a bit more (and visit my friend there).

  11. says: Aaron

    I think Melaka was my favourite due to the food!, I can’t stop going on about Nancy’s kitchen and Jonker street market was fun too. There were really nice helpful people everywhere!


    1. says: Audrey

      Aghhh, I tried going to Nancy’s Kitchen twice and both times it was closed! It’s too bad I missed out on their cooking because I’ve heard several people rave about it. I did get my fair share of street food though, so I guess that makes up for it. πŸ˜‰

  12. Aw love that. I’m back in Thailand and have also been pleasantly reminded of the kindness of their culture. I was in KL a couple of weeks ago and had the most amazing Masala Dosai at a little hole in the wall just outside of China Town that cost $1. Amazing. I look forward to seeing where else you guys go in Malaysia πŸ™‚

  13. says: Vid

    Very well said, Audrey. It’s always good to re-visit a familiar place.

    Even we experienced the hospitality and warmness of Malaysian people recently – they are so friendly and, as we encountered, very funny too ;). To top it all, the food they prepare is the best, don’t you agree?


  14. says: Beth

    I absolutely loved Malaysia when I went a few weeks ago, and can’t wait to get back!

    That’s so great that the lady treated you guys, Malaysians are really warm and welcoming people πŸ™‚

  15. says: apol | WanderfulTogether.com

    aww that’s touching. πŸ™‚

    “As much as I enjoy the thrill of a new country, sometimes it’s just as nice to venture somewhere familiar.”

    I was just thinking of this yesterday!! Exactly how I feel too! πŸ™‚

  16. True: Malaysians are kind and welcoming.
    Kuala Lumpur is one of my favourite places on Earth. And I loved those colourful buildings at Medan Pasar!
    Just now I’m preparing to put together my Malaysian escape trip pages…
    KL has a special atmosphere, I’ll do my best to visit it again!

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