Malaysia
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Swarup and I started our long trip with the first stop at Kuala Lumpur (KL), capital of Malaysia. We stayed for two days at Hotel Dorsett Regency situated in the "Golden Triangle". KL is famous for it's many malls and most of them are situated in the Golden Triangle area. We explored part of the city and it's restaurants but mostly, it's varied malls!

Malaysia is warm/hot and humid almost through the year and we had the same weather with a few showers that helped cool the atmosphere.  The city is clean and language is not a major problem. The taxis have meters but the drivers don't use them and one has to fix the price before the ride. KL has many high-rises of which Petronas Towers is an imposing, magnificent structure. An upmarket mall and the street nearby is lined with lovely restaurants. A wide variety of food is available but vegetarians may get a limited choice. A beautifully developed area named Putrajaya is coming up just outside the city and it houses government buildings and residences. A visit to the Chinese market in the night is an experience! The vendors set up stalls with all types of products, mostly imitation ones. Several stalls had Rolex, Omega, Cartier etc. replica watches in all models priced between 3 to 50 US$ !! Hot chestnuts, cold beer and aromas of different dishes fill the air.

 
Chandani, daughter of our friends Bharat and Kamlini was getting married to Parag (from USA) in KL. So here was another golden triangle taking place: girl from India, boy from USA getting married in KL! After two exhausting days, we joined the wedding parties at the Chariots of the Golden Horses hotel situated between the city and the airport. It is a vast hotel with sprawling grounds, a mini golf course and a canal which takes you to a shopping mall a short distance away. The next three days were filled with traditional functions and a lot of revelry.
 
On Monday morning nine of us took a 50 minute flight to Langkawi, a sea resort comprising of 89 islands. Many of them are tiny and uninhibited and some have private hotels. The mainland has good hotels and being a free port, many shops! The liquor is most probably the cheapest in the world: a one liter bottle of Johnny Walker  Green Label was available at US$26.50 and the same was priced over US$ 40 at KL airport duty free shops!
 
Langkawi is lush green with thick cover of trees and foliage and the sea has different shades of blue. Beside the regular water sports a major attraction is the cable car ride to a hill named Matahari Face (710 mts height) from where one gets a birds eye view of the various islands. On the way one can see the Seven Wells (Telaga Tujuh) waterfall. At the base is a quaint oriental village with restaurants and souvenir shops. A boat ride in the mangroves is also an experience, going through calm waters and different vegetation. At one place they throw meat pieces that are picked up by diving kites. At another place was a fish farm with different types of fish including Sting Ray and Eels!

We stayed at the Taj Rebak, thanks to our friend Feroze who had got us an unbelievable deal.  Indian Hotels (of the Taj Hotels) took it over recently and part of it is still under renovation. The hotel is situated on its own private island and is away from the hustle & bustle of the mainland. We actually used to get up to the sounds of the birds chirping away in the morning! They also have a marina where about 40-50 yachts berth throughout the year. People from all over the world were staying there, some for years and many with families and birds & dogs!
 
In addition to the atmosphere, the stay was made a memorable one by the warm hospitality and personal attention of Samir Khanna the GM and his very efficient staff.  They catered to our all whims with ever a smiling face and made special dishes for a few who were missing home food. Starting with Champagne breakfast with a huge spread, lunch and followed by a late dinner, we stuffed ourselves silly! It was not all quiet all the time though, the nights were filled with lovely music from Fuad and husky voice of Sheila who belted out Bollywood hits for us!
 
After three days of this tranquility Swarup and I took a morning flight to KL and then proceed to Bali, our next destination.
 
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