Extra day - Penang or Kuala Lumpur?
hi everyone - you chowhounds have been great in helping me plan my honeymoon so far, and i'm hoping you can give your opinion. i have an extra day in malaysia and am debating where to spend it - penang, kuala lumpur, or somewhere else? we are very excited about the food in penang but aren't sure if there's much else to do there that would justify spending an extra day there instead of KL.
our plan is below, with one more day yet to be budgeted... so far it's 2 days in penang and 2 days in KL. where should we spend our extra day? FYI we're heading to the maldives afterwards so no need to budget in beach time.
thanks for everyone's help!!
12/21/2012 Morning flight to Penang (Georgetown)
12/23/2012 Leave in the morning to hike Cameron Highlands
12/24/2012 Cameron Highlands – Drive to KL in PM
12/25/2012 Kuala Lumpur, 5pm flight to Kota Kinabalu
12/26/2012 Borneo Day 1
12/27/2012 Borneo Day 2
12/28/2012 Borneo Day 3 - Fly back to KL
12/29/2012 Kuala Lumpur
We stayed at the Anantara Veli resort, which I'm convinced is the most perfect honeymoon choice ever! Its location and setup in the Maldives was just perfect. We enjoyed the restaurants there and at their sister resort Dhigu, which is right next to Veli and accessible by 30 sec boat that goes back and forth constantly between the two islands. We thought the Thai restaurant (Baan Hara?) was particularly great and went twice in our short stay. We went over New year's so attended their buffet finer, which was wonderful. Overall the food is leagues above almost all resorts I've been to, but you're also paying a lot for the food here... probably due to both quality and difficulty getting ingredients to such a remote island. Congratulations and good luck! I hope you do go to the Maldives for your honeymoon!
Most visitors go to Penang for their holidays: eating, shopping, sightseeing - lots of large, spectacular temples there: Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple (largest pagoda & temple complex in South-East Asia), Wat Chayamangkalaram (huge sleeping Buddha statue in the Thai Buddhist Temple), Wat Dhammikharama (Burmese temple with huge standing Buddha), the historic inner city witrh its colorful street life, the idyllic fishing villages on the other side of the island, etc.
Foreign visitors go to KL for business mainly. There are Arab tourists these days, but they shop for branded stuff and food-wise, KL is more Muslim-Malay hence more availability of "halal" Muslim food. Penang is more Chinese, and the street foods are usually not "halal"/"kosher". K's main attractions include its Chinatown - a treasure-trove of fake branded goods (LOL!), Batu Caves Hindu cave temple (spectacular), Jalan Alor (street food, very busy at night) and the best collection of mid-end to expensive fine-dining restaurants in Malaysia (although it lags far behind Singapore or Bangkok in this region).
When you mentioned Borneo in your itinerary, are you going to Kuching in Sarawak, or Sabah (North Borneo)? If you're in Kuching, don't miss the weekend Satok market. Great food there include the Sarawak laksa, kolok mee and ethnic Dayak food using wild jungle ferns & vegetables.
klyeoh - this is incredibly helpful! sounds like penang is probably the better candidate for the extra day. we haven't figured out exactly where in borneo we're going yet but were thinking sabah. unfortunately the days we have set for borneo actually fall during the week! so we will miss out on the weekend market, which sounds like a great experience.
Are you climbing Mt Kinabalu? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Kinabalu (...and hence the three days there)
ps. I'm sure you can find CH threads on Kota Kinabalu from a simple search on this site. Here're two links approaching this from a slightly different angle... :-)