(First and foremost, apologies for taking a break from writing about the most amazing trip ever. That being done, enjoy the post!)
To go from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Luang Prabang, Laos was either going to cost us $250 one-way each or a day and a half. Laos doesn’t have well-developed railways and only one airline: The Laos Airline, which enjoys monopoly over the Laos skies and jacks up the prices. Already sulking over the fact that we didn’t have enough time to take in all of Southeast Asia we really couldn’t afford to loose 30 hours on a bumpy bus ride. Even worst, recent graduates with the last of our savings spent in this trip, $250 ONE WAY was just crazy.
There were tons of options: stay longer in Siem Reap (and visit more wats? No Thank You!), go to Chiang Mai a day early (but that was costing us more or less the same), hang out in Bangkok (or not)…
OK I lied, there weren’t tons of options. Since tour planning is my calling in life (along with being a detective, a photographer, a film director etc.) I found $80 tickets to Kuala Lumpur and 80$ tickets from there to Chiang Mai a day later that would put us right back on our original itinerary. God bless Air Asia!
We boarded a plane out of the gorgeous Siem Reap airport and were dropped off at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur – probably the most non-glamorous airport I have ever been to. But, it redeemed itself. It presented us with a McDonalds! We love trying foods of different cultures (in my case, fruits and rice because everything else in Asia was meat) but sometimes you just need a reminder of the junk food life back home and what better way to do it than treating yourself to some McDonalds.
Since we were on a vacation from our backpacking vacation, we decided to spoil ourselves a bit by staying in the newly renovated Mi Casa hotel. If that wasn’t bad enough, we tacked on two hearty meals on the 28th floor restaurant of the G-Tower (which, by the way, has the best view of the Petronas Towers at night and the greatest service in the whole world). We also checked off some KL must-sees off our list.
The Petronas Towers are amazing, grand and gorgeous. My only issue with them – I can’t fit them in a single frame using my 18-200 (note to self: invest in a wide lens). On the inside is the Suria KLCC shopping centre, which blew my mind away and made me feel very very poor. The boulevards around the towers are decked with exciting restaurants, usually showing re-runs of soccer games. And a special mention to the excellent subway system!
The next morning we woke up very early to trek back to LCCT and head over to Chiang Mai. Waiting in the open-air porched lobby of the hotel, I could hear morning prayers from a distant loudspeaker, probably from the closest mosque. The background music quickly changed when we got into our taxi, which was blasting good old top 40s.
This wasn’t a part of the plan, but I am so glad we went to Malaysia and took a vacation from our vacation.