Magnificent Malaysia

is a relatively small country, located right below China, and rests in the centre of the East Asian ring. I had the pleasure of going there on a college trip, and it was truly the most memorable experience of my life.

Our trip was supposed to be for five days, with a transit in Bangkok, and the total cost mounted to PK Rs. 60,000, which included air fare, food, living expenses, and transport, with $20 extra for the visa. For somebody who had never been to either side of the Pacific Ocean, my expectations were extremely high. We all had preconceived notions of how it would turn out, what we would see and do, etc. but in the end, it all boiled down to the day of our departure.

We took off from Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore, and after a five hour flight full of excited giggles and the occasional shrieks, and of course, contemptuous glares from our fellow passengers, the seventy of us landed at Bangkok Airport, where we had a 13 hour transit, and were constantly told that it boasted of the largest terminal in the world; this we got to experience first hand. After a quick dinner in Burger King, we set off on our mission to explore this so called largest terminal, but stopped short of this mission when my friend and I ran into a massage parlour, which are actually located in every corner, and ordered two foot massages, costing $16 each. If we weren’t brimming with excitement, we would have fallen asleep, because that foot massage was the best thing I have ever experienced.

Our navigation skills were put to test when we got wind of a nightclub situated somewhere on the premises. Coming from a country where nightclubs are virtually non-existent and banned, and being crazed teenagers, my friend and I set out on a mission to find it. This was when the expanse of the terminal came into view. Equipped with the all the designer shops, spas, and restaurants; this terminal is like mini city. A few trolley rides, losing our way twice, and dozens of pictures later, we finally found the club, only to realise that the passengers who had checked into that specified gate could go there, so we decided to make and do with another foot massage, which I believe was better than any nightclub.

Thirteen hours later, we boarded our flight to Kuala Lumpur, and virtually slept through the three hour flight. Stepping out of KL Airport, we realised what an impressive realm we had entered. With an airport located about an hour away, Kuala Lumpur is a cultural hub. We made our way to our hotel, the Corus, a three-star hotel, ideally located right opposite the Petronas Towers. After a general city tour, although we were very tired, we made our way to Suria KLCC, an upbeat shopping mall, located across the street from our hotel and right next to the Twin Towers. As all the shops generally close at 10 o’clock, we only had two hours to shop.

The next day, after an early breakfast, we went on a detailed tour of the Petronas Towers, after which we boarded our coasters to go to the Genting Highlands. These are situated about a three hour drive away from KL, and can only be accessed via cable cars, which are considered the longest in the world. We had lunch there, and being someone who likes her chicken, and lentils, and the right amount of spices, tasting squid for the first time did not go down too well with me. Surprisingly, lentils with rice, or rather our very own “daal chawal” were also available.

Genting hosts both and indoor and outdoor amusement park. Unfortunately for us, the outdoor amusement park was closed for the day due to thick fog which had descended down on the area. We had to make and do with the indoor park instead, which possessed only a few rides, and some arcade machines. The shops here were marvelous, with cheap prices. It was, however, slightly cold here as compared to KL, which was humid, although this was January. We spent one night here and even had the displeasure of being stalked by a local who called himself the “Shah Rukh Khan of Malaysia”.

What would a trip to Malaysia be without a journey to one of its splendid beaches! We had the pleasure of visiting Port Dickson, a beautiful beach located a four our drive away from Genting Highlands. That same day, we also visited Putrajaya, which is the constitutional hub of Malaysia. Seeing Putrajaya made us realise that Malaysia was no where short of a well developed European nation.

Our last day was spent in the Mid-Valley Mall in Kuala Lumpur, a humongous mall, which housed atleast a few hundred shops. Batu Caves was also an exciting place to visit. A Hindu temple is built deep inside the caves, and is very large. A highly impressive statue of a God stands outside.

The day we left for Lahore was a sad one, as KL surpassed the bar that had been set for it. Special mention is needed for the cleanliness of the city, and of course the friendly people. One visit to Malaysia is a must for everyone, as you will truly leave your heart there.

Khadija Ranjha

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