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5 Days in Malaysia - A Travel Diary

Last November 22-26, I went to Malaysia.

It was my second trip abroad after Seoul, South Korea in May 2018. Malaysia wasn’t actually planned trip. My eldest sister joined the Penang Bridge International Marathon for her first full marathon (41 km) and asked if I could tag along for support. I said yes.

We stayed majority of our days in Penang, a state in northwest Malaysia and it was A-MAZ-ING. And today I’m ready to share to you the experience I had.


Day 1 AM| Hello, Kuala Lumpur!

Unlike my first time abroad, I wasn’t that nervous in flying to Malaysia. I’m with my eldest sister who is a frequent flyer and have been around the world already. I knew I could depend on her throughout the trip. True enough, we had a smooth flight from Manila to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

We arrived at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia around  11:00 am after four hours of travel time. Our next flight was from Kuala Lumpur to Penang where my sister rented an Airbnb. While waiting for our flight which was 3:25 pm, we roamed around the airport, visited shops and took some photos. Then we had a sumptuous meal at Grandmama’s. My sister introduced me to Char Kway Teow, a stir-fried flat rice noodles topped with prawns, egg, fish cake and bean sprouts cooked in high heat wok. It was one of the dishes you should not miss when in Malaysia.

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Day 1 PM| Arrival in Penang

Penang is an hour away from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by plane. By land, it will take five hours to drive. Most Malaysia travel guides I read online are set in Kuala Lumpur so I had no idea what to expect in Penang.

Upon our arrival we were greeted by the owner of the Airbnb where we will be staying. He was nice enough to drive us to our place. Unlike me, it was my sister’s second time in Penang. She was there four years ago and according to her a lot has changed since then. Our landlord agreed saying a lot of new buildings and facilities were already built in Penang.

FUN FACT. The first shock of the trip is definitely Malaysia’s driving side. They drive on the left hand side of the road which is opposite here in the Philippines.

The condo where we will stay for the first four days of trip was minutes away from the Penang International Airport. It was such a spacious condo with a view of the Penang Bridge. I couldn’t ask for a better place to stay.

We spent the next hours settling in our things before going to our first destination - Queensbay Mall.

Where we will be staying

Queensbay Mall

Queensbay Mall is one of the finest shopping malls in Penang Island which is located in the heart of Bayan Lepas. The mall is a  five-story complex which houses fashion & electronics stores, restaurants & a cinema.

First on our to do list was to exchange money from Philippine Peso to Ringgit. Cost of living in Malaysia is not that high compared to that of South Korea (1 PHP = 0.0802 MYR) which is good because I brought limited money with me.

Then we went to the Queens Hall, their version of a food court, for our first dinner in Malaysia. Queens Hall features all the local Penang street food alongside international cuisine like Mediterranean, Thai, Indian, Chinese, Singapore and more.

I find it hard to choose which food to buy since almost everything looks yummy. Thankfully, I’m with my sister so we can choose two different dish instead. I ended up with Tom Yum Soup which is a hot and sour Thai soup and my sister got a plate filled with rice, chicken strips, pita bread, hummus and spices. We also had Milo Dinosaur which I didn’t know was a thing in Malaysia. It was a cup of a cup of iced Milo with undissolved Milo powder added on top of it. 

After eating my sister did some shopping and by some I mean - a lot. Haha. Then we head back to the condo and prepare for our first full day in Penang. 

Inside Queens Hall

Day 2 | George Town

George Town is the capital of the state of Penang. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 for the preservation of the many historical buildings in the area. It is a home for art, food and architecture. It reminds me so much of Intramuros, it feels as if the time stopped and you were back in the old years.

There are three common ways you can tour around George Town without a car. You can either walk, pay 15 MYR an hour for a trishaw (which is like our kalesa where you will seat in a carriage and the driver cycles for you acting like your tour guide) or rent a bicycle/motorcycle.

Walking wasn’t much of a fun since the sun it was too hot during our visit. Trishaw would have been good but expensive. And so we decided to rent a bicycle instead. The price was 10 MYR for the whole day of exploration already. I think this was the most reasonable way you can cover George Town’s top attraction in day.

FUN FACT. I don’t know how to ride a bike. I rode a three-wheeled bicycle throughout George Town even in the highway. I was so embarrassed but thankful I pulled through it.

One of the most famous tourist attraction in George Town are the street arts particularly the world class murals found in the walls of almost every street  all over George Town. I was part of the Penang 2012 Art Festival and ended up becoming a hit for tourists. “Children on a Bicycle” and “Brother & Sister on a Swing” were where most people flock for photos.

I can’t forget too the The Waterfront which was reminiscent to our own Baywalk. The Waterfront is also where the colonial buildings can be found like the Town Hall and City Hall. We also visited Penang Wonderfood Museum which houses replicas of Malaysian dishes, art & historical information. The food displays there looks so real and we definitely had a good time inside the museum.

Lastly, we rode Rapid Ferry which is a shuttle ferry service within the State of Penang, Malaysia, connecting the city of George Town on Penang Island and Butterworth on the mainland. My sister wanted me to experience the sunset while the ferry was sailing and I’m telling you it was the most beautiful sunset ever.

By 6 pm we completed Day 2 and went back to where we were staying.

View from the ferry

Day 3 | Shopping at Sephora and Rest Day

Day 3 was a chill/rest day for us since my sister will be completing the marathon the next day. Our only “gala” was Queensbay where we shopped. Yes, I said “we”. I bought a Reebok Cardio Motion which was on 50% off since it was Black Friday during our visit, Ryder Carroll’s book The Bullet Journal Method on on 20% discount and lastly my own Becca in Champagne Pop highlighter - beauty wishlist unlocked!

We also bought a lot of food since we will be spending the rest of Day 3 in the condo so my sister can take a rest and prepare for the event. She joined the 41 KM  which starts at 1:30 AM which means I have to wake up early too. While she rested I blogged a little and then fell asleep. 

Day 4 | Penang Bridge International Marathon, Penang Hill and Gurney Drive

The Penang Bridge International Marathon or Penang Bridge Marathon is an annual marathon event held in Penang Bridge, Penang, Malaysia. It was held first in 1984 where participants run over the longest bridge in Malaysia, Penang Bridge. The event incorporates a full marathon, a half-marathon and a quarter-marathon.

We woke up at 12 midnight to do some final preparations before heading out at Queensbay Mall which was the starting point. We walked in the wee hours along with other participants which was an intense feeling. I was not the one running but I could feel the pressure inside.

Since we were pretty early I was able to get good shots of the behind the scene of the event. I also took some photos of my sister’s pre marathon stretching. I am really proud of my sister for starting and sticking to this running journey. I’ve witnessed the pain she felt after her 21 km Run Rio Eventlast September and knowing that this will be double the distance worried me so much.

But, I know she trained hard for the event and that she will be able to finish the marathon strongly.

When the participants gathered at the starting point for the gun shot I didn’t know to feel. I was excited and nervous at the same time. Finishing 41 km takes average of 4 hours so I waited first at the tent made for the supporters of the participants.

Everything was fine until it wasn’t. At around 3am, heavy rains and lightning occur. It was too heavy that there was literally no visibility at the place where I was waiting. I didn’t know what to do since in an hour I knew my sister will finish her run. I couldn’t just wait for her in the tent and do nothing.

When the rain subsided a little, I went to the tent area where the medals were being given. I told the staff that I have to wait for my sister since she had no cellphone or any communication device with her. Thankfully they agreed to let me wait in the said tent. After a few minutes I finally saw my sister. She was definitely too sore and too exhausted from the run. I greeted her and congratulated her for finishing the race strong.

I wish I had a chance to take a photo or video of her in the finish line but due to the storm I wasn't able to do so. We were all not prepared and not expecting the rain to happen. It was so bad that the 10 km run was cancelled for safety.

After the event we were like basang sisiw who braved the rain just to get home. I was telling my sister to keep walking though I know she was in so much pain. But there’s no way I could carry her to the condo. Haha.

I am really proud of my sister.  Part of my 30 before 30 list is running my first 5km event and it is highly influenced by her. I am hoping to join her one day in training.

We got back to the condo at around 6 am and slept. 

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Penang Hill

I actually thought that the day will be spent resting just like yesterday. But much to my surprise, we went to Penang Hill in the afternoon. Penang Hill is a hill resort comprising a group of peaks on Penang Island, Malaysia.

The most convenient way to get up to Penang Hill is by cliff railway. It is like MRT but it moves in a slope providing you with added fun and adventure. Once  at the top you can go to the main viewing deck where the whole city can be viewed below. And just like N Seoul Tower there is also a lovelock area. Lastly, we had an afternoon tea at David Brown’s Restaurant and Tea Terraces which I did enjoy.

After our trip to Penang Hill we went back to George Town to buy pasalubong.


Gurney Drive

I told my sister that I wanted to try more food of Malaysia so she brought me to Gurney Drive. Gurney Drive is a popular seafront promenade within George Town, Penang, Malaysia. The road is also famous for the street cuisine at the seafront hawker centre.

Food sold at the hawker centre include char kuey teow, Hokkien mee, jiu hoo eng chye (spinach with cuttlefish), koay teow th'ng, lok lok, mee goreng, Jawa mee, mee rebus, pasembur, rojak, satay, soya beancurd (douhua) and many more.

At around 8pm we were ready to go to the condo and pack our bags for our bus ride to Kuala Lumpur. Can’t believe it was the last day already in Penang.

Our orders at Gurney Drive

Day 5 | Batu Cave, Central Market, Petronas Tower and KLCC Mall

We took an all nighter bus service which is from 12 midnight to 5 am the next morning. It was the most comfortable bus ride I had ever experience. It was like an airplane ride with a convertible chair.

Once we were in Kuala Lumpur already, landmark KL Sentral Station we had breakfast at Mcdonalds. I had a taste of Teh Tarik, a hot milk tea beverage which is like the coffee served here. We had to wait for an hour before we can go to Batu Cave. We also left our luggage at the storage found in the station.

Batu Cave

If you are visiting Kuala Lumpur then a day trip to Batu Caves is a must. First it’s free entrance and second, you will definitely be amazed by what you are about to see. Batu Cave is a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia. It attracts plenty of tourists and we were lucky to be there during the opening hours. Inside you will be greeted by the gigantic Lord Murugan Statue then there is the colorful steep steps to enter the cave itself.

We didn’t know that there was a dress code and since my sister was wearing shorts she was not allowed to go inside. Good thing though since I know she was still sore from the marathon and would have much difficulty climbing the steep staircase. There were also monkeys freely moving around the staircase so try to be extra careful.  Inside Batu Cave are marvelous limestones and beautiful main prayer area.

Inside Batu Cave. Yes, you'll find a shorter steep stairs inside.

Central Market

After Batu Cave we walked our way to the Central Market. Central Market is a famous market in Kuala Lumpur. It is arranged in a stall concept, representing the traditional market that has existed in Kuala Lumpur since the 1800s. There is also a food court and a streetfood row outside much like Gurney Drive.

Petronas Tower

Petronas Tower is a famous landmark when in Kuala Lumpur. It is a twin skyscraper and once the tallest in the world before Taipei 101 surpassed the title. You will know that Petronas is a landmark because a lot of people were doing random poses just to get the best angle where Petronas can be viewed. After we had a couple of shots at the tower we went inside Suria KLCC which is a 140,000 square meter shopping mall at the feet of the Petronas Towers. It features mostly foreign luxury goods and high-street labels. We also ate at the food hall before arranging my flight back home.

My sister stayed for one more day in Malaysia since she had a flight to Singapore the day after. As for me, it was back to work the following day. My sister accompanied me to KL Sentral Station to retrieve our luggage. I took a train trip from KL Sentral to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Then it was time for me to leave Malaysia.


I can’t thank enough my sister for tagging me along in this trip. I had a blast and I felt like I did so much activities while in Malaysia. I super enjoyed Penang especially the food. Georgetown and Gurney Drive are a must to visit. I also love Penang Hill and  Batu Cave. This trip completed my birthday celebration.

What do you think of my travel to Malaysia?

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