[Where I’m At; a monthly update of what I’ve been up to, site news, and where I’m going next.]
Where I’ve Been
Greetings from Saigon! After starting the month in Mui Ne, last month was split between Saigon and a Singapore/Malaysia trip.
My Singapore/Malaysia trip revolved around meeting my dad in Kuala Lumpur. Rather than flying directly to KL, I went to Singapore first. I have some friends who have recently moved to Singapore, so it was a good excuse to visit. I visited some new sights, including the Singapore Botanical Gardens – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another reason to visit Singapore is to eat. When I come to Singapore I usually eat what I can’t get in Saigon; cheap Indian food, and chicken and rice. There are some Singapore-style chicken and rice places in Saigon, but they are not the same, like Vietnamese food is not the same outside of Vietnam.
My first meal back in Singapore was chicken and rice, which I was dreaming of on the flight there. I also got to try the Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle – the street food stall with a Michelin star.
This place has become so popular they have opened a restaurant to cater for the crowds. The restaurant resembles a fast food chain, where you queue and get a number. I’m not an expert in chicken and rice so I couldn’t tell you if it was the best, or even Michelin-worthy. I can say it was great, and I am happy for their success. They are also opening a store in Taiwan.
Singapore is famous for being expensive, but the food prices at hawker centres are reasonably priced. In my wanders I found the ice cream sandwich guy who has been selling ice cream for years for $1 SGD. The ice cream is a slab that is served in an actual piece of bread, making it a literal sandwich. Or you can get it with the wafer as shown here.
I met my dad in KL, who was stopping over on the way back to Australia from London. I’ve met him in London a few times now but I couldn’t make the dates happen for this year, so KL was a good alternative. I’ve now met my dad in six countries outside of Australia (UK, Portugal, France, Switzerland, China (Hong Kong), Malaysia).
KL is one of those places where I have lost count how many times I’ve been. I first visited in 2006, and have since visited a few times a year, most of the time on the way to somewhere else. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say I’ve been over 20 times. At some point early on I stopped doing the touristy things, so this trip was a good excuse to see the things I haven’t done in KL.
The obvious tourist attraction is the Petronas Twin Towers. I still think it is one of the most beautiful skyscrapers in the world. Being twin towers it has the benefit of giving you the mirror opposite of the same building you are in, as well as the view from 370 metres above ground.
Another interesting thing to do in KL is the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, which is the largest free-flight walk-in aviary in the world. This is walking distance from the old city KL train station, and it’s a large swathe of green space in the middle of the city.
Rather than flying straight back to Saigon from KL, I got the train to Butterworth and spent a week in Penang. Georgetown is one of my regular haunts, and there is now a direct AirAsia flight from Penang to Saigon, so that was a good enough reason to go back.
Georgetown is so delightful. I don’t think I would ever tire of looking at all the old windows, doors, and tiles.
I have a list of favourite places to eat here, so I plan my trip to make sure I can eat at as many places as I can. It gets blazing hot here in the middle of the day, so I find a routine of wandering around in the morning and late afternoon, and work during the day.
ICYMI – Last months posts
In March I returned to Melbourne and felt the reverse culture shock feels – A bemused Melburnian returns to Melbourne after two years absence
On a recent trip to Hong Kong I popped over the frontier to visit some friends in Shenzhen. I didn’t enjoy it my first time around, so I was happy to give Shenzhen a second chance.
I have been visiting KL for over a decade now, and over the last year there have been some noticeable changes. Here are my observations on the regeneration of Kuala Lumpur Old City.
And not a new post, but an update on the best cafes in Georgetown, Penang.