Friday, March 8, 2024

Malaysia Tour 2024

 Malaysian Tour diary


10.04.24 Kolkata (00 45 hrs - IST- Indigo) - KLIA 2 or Kuala Lumpur Terminal 2 (0715 hrs - MST)  (Rs 17,995 with return fare per person) > KL Sentral - every 20 minutes (time taken 33/40 mins) - 

10.4.24  Kuala Lumpur Sentral (09 30 hrs - MST) > Penang (1430 hrs MST) -                Penang Day tour  Night Halt at Penang 

11.4.24 Penang (George Town) walking tour and Penang Hill - Night Halt at Penang

12.4.24 Penang (George Town) walking tour >Batu Firringi Beach>George Town > Penang Ferry  >Penang Butterworth >Malacca : Night Bus

13.4.24 Malacca day tour -  Night Halt at Malacca

14.4.24 Malacca >KLL: Morning Bus

KLL day tour by hop on hop off Bus > Kuala Lumpur Airport Terminal 2 (2000 hrs) 

14.4-15.4.24  Kuala Lumpur Airport Terminal (2235 hrs)> CCU (0010 hrs) 


•Transport: Local buses, Subway, Monorail, KMT or Komuter Train, Grab (like Uber, but cheaper, since cost of Petrol in My is half of India)  and ferry.

•Currency: 1 Ringgit  = 17.6 INR

•Sunrise and Sunset: 7:30 am and 7:30pm, respectively

(Srijita Chakraborty (of Tour Planner) has been of great help in planning this tour and writing this blog)


We reached KLIA 2 at 715 hrs. It is visa free for Indian Tourists till December 2024. That is the main reason why we went there. I have been to KL only in 2011. For my wife, it is the first time. Since we filled up the form - Malaysia arrival card link:, it was super easy. We have done a Travel Insurance also (though not necessary). It took  around 1.10 hour to complete the whole procedure. 

KLIA2 (previous called LCCT) > Kuala Lumpur Sentral (09 30 hrs - MST) > Penang (1430 hrs MST)               

Penang Day tour : Night Halt at Penang 

I did not take a local Sim card (Digicel is preferred, according to a blogger) and headed to KL Sentral from the airport. You can get buses or KLIA Express trains or Grab (like Uber) to reach KL Sentral. (You can get a bus from airport {i.e. KLIA 2} to Malacca also. But there was no connecting bus within 5 hours. Malacca is around 2 hours from KL)

KLIA Ekspres or KLIA (airport) Express train is quite expensive (55 Ringgit per person or Rs 976 approx) compared to a bus ticket. It takes around 33 minutes (for direct train) to reach KL Sentral from the airport (57 Km). First it stops at KLIA1. The frequency is every 10 minutes. I took Express train (which is basically a metro - with 2 compartments and a toilet) due to paucity of time (KLIA Ekspres train station is at the ground floor of KLIA2 complex). In KLIA2 complex itself, we exchanged 100 Dollar for Ringgit. The exchange rate is not good. I have to catch a bus at 9.30 am at KL Sentral to go to Penang. Later , I got to know , if you are 2 people, then Grab is cheaper ! I used my Forex Card (or International credit card can also be used) to buy the Express Train Ticket at the airport. We reached KL Sentral at 9.05 am approx.

The bus station is in the same Complex as KL Sentral ( But your have to tell them the name of the bus company at the Bus Station). Very convenient.  We reached just in time. KL Sentral is after a major bus station called TBS. 

The bus always stops at Ipoh before reaching Penang. I am told Ipoh is worth visiting and from there one can also go to famous National Park - Taman Negara National Park.

The bus fare (Aerobus is the name of the Company) is only 40 MYR ie 702 INR per person.  The bus is very very comfortable and roads are world class. My good friend , Abdul (Malaysian) told me to use either or (yes our very own Red Bus !!) to buy ticket. The bus is very good and road is as good as Europe.

We reached Penang Sentral Bus Station at Butterworth. at 1430 hrs (5 hrs) Penang consists of Pulau (Island) Penang and part of Mainland. Butterworth is on the mainland. The ferry ticket counter (ground floor) is at the Butterworth bus station itself.

You will get a ferry (every 10 minutes) from the terminal to reach Georgetown. Due to Id ul Zoha there is a huge rush at the ferry terminal. We had to wait for 1 hour .You can buy the ticket only using a card. They don't accept cash. I used my Forex card. It is very cheap. Only 6 Ringgit for 3 people (including a Bangladeshi) i.e 36 INR per head. It is a 15-18 minutes ride. Finally we took the ferry at 3.30 pm.

From Georgetown (which is old part of Pualu Penang city), you can get domestic buses to reach the place you want. There are free service buses, as well (only within George Town). We met a Bangladeshi guy, who booked a Grab (5 Ringgit or Rs 90) for us, to take us to our hotel - Red Inn Court. Actually it is within walking distance from the ferry terminal - around 10 minutes walk.  I paid 229.62 MYR i.e. 4032 INR for 2 days for 2 person ie 1016 INR per person with breakfast. It has a very nice old world charm. It is very near Kapitan Keling Mosque.

The Ferry terminal is near the main tourist area. We reached hotel at around 3.30 pm. It is located right in the heart of Tourist area of George Town . We were given from coffee (free) and since it is a special day they gave us (free) sticky rice with beef + peanut butter sauce.

Penang (or Pinang) sightseeing -  We got a free map from the hotel and started a walking tour. We saw the important places near the hotel which is at the heart of George Town. At Georgetown, we saw the colonial buildings. Armenian street is quite famous.  Penang is also famous for wall art. Penang reminded me of Galle in Sri Lanka, but on a much larger scale. It is to Penang, what Chitpore+ Esplanade is to Kolkata.

In the dinner we had a nice dinner at a hawkers corner / open air Food court opposite Chew Ferry. Chew Ferry is one of the oldest Pier in Penang, where Chinese from Fujian province first came and settled. The food is very good. We paid 22 MYR for 2 person.

Understand Malaysia

Malaysia is separated by the South China Sea into 2 regions: Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's East Malaysia. However Malaysian Borneo is a different world. In 1963 Northern Borneo States of Sabah and Sarawak along with Singapore joined Malaya to create Malaysia. On 9 August 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia to become an independent and sovereign state. 

Area of Malaysia is 330,000 Sq Km which is 4 times the size of West Bengal

Population of Malaysia is 3.32 Crores (33 Million) i.e 1/3rd of West Bengal. 85% stay in Peninsular Malaysia and 15% stay in Malaysian Borneo.

Per Capita Income is 13,000 USD (nominal basis) ie 5 times that of India. However on purchasing power basis it is 4 times that of India. At 39,000 USD per capita on PPP basis, it is very clear that their currency is under valued and 1 MYR can buy things almost similar to 25 INR (only 25% more expensive, at a much superior value for money and much better hygiene standard)

Here minimum wage is 1500 MYR for 8 hour work in a month. Construction workers get little more around 80 MYR per hour and after 8 hours it is 15 MYR per hour. I have heard this from a Bangladeshi. They earn roughly 2300 MYR per month with bonus i.e. approx Rs 40,000/-. To send money home, they pay 10 MYR (flat rate) per transfer upto 2,000 MYR. They save around 1000 MYR per month. They pay to agent around  3-4 Lakh Bangladeshi Taka to come to Malaysia. Passport is kept with the Employer or agent.

Religion : 63.5% Sunni Islam , 18.7% Buddhism , 9.1% Christianity, 6.1% Hinduism 

Ethnic groups : 57.3% Malay, 12.4% indigenous groups of Sabah, Sarawak and Orang Asli (“Original People”)

22.9% Chinese , 6.6% Indian

The term “Peranakan” generally refers to a person of mixed Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage. Many Singapore Peranakans trace their origins to 15th-century Malacca, where their ancestors were thought to be Chinese traders who married local women. Peranakan men are known as Baba, while the women are known as Nonya. From the second half of the 19th century to the mid-20th century, Peranakans were also known as the Straits Chinese, as they were born in the Straits Settlements. While the Peranakans have retained the cultural practices (dress, customs, language) of Malays, but they took the religion of the Chinese. You are likely to hear this term number of times.

Peranakan in Indonesian and Malay means the uterus or womb, or someone from a mixed marriage between a local and a foreigner. Not all Peranakans are of Chinese ancestry. Non-Chinese Peranakans in the early 20th century include the Arab Peranakans and Java Peranakans.


Finance : While Malay control the Govt, Chinese control the economy. Many Bangladeshi has complained to me that Malays are nice people, but lazy; the whole economy is controlled by Chinese, like Marwaris in Kolkata. We saw many obese people in Malaysia. Apparently they get pension from Govt. But I did not independently verify. Once there was a movement for reservation of Govt post for Bumiputra (Bhoomi Putra !) - so that they can only get Govt jobs. We saw many Tamils working in service industry.

Language : English, Malaysian (and Bengali !). It is easier to travel, since being a former British colony, it speaks good English, compared to Thailand. There are around 8-12 lakh Bangladeshis (officially) in Malaysia. They are all over the place - KL, Penang, Malacca. I have mostly spoken in Bengali !! Sometimes these people come by Ship (instead of 15 people required in a ship, they bring 25 people). There was an agreement between Malaysian Govt and Sheikh Hasina to send people from Bangladesh as construction and other work in Malaysia some time around 2015.

History : It is more or less similar to Sri Lanka and India. First came Arab, then Portuguese then Dutch and finally British. Malacca is very near to Sumatra.

Between the 7th and 13th centuries many of the region’s maritime trading states came under the loose control of Srivijaya, the great Indianized empire based in Sumatra. Srivijaya’s power was based on its control of international sea trade. The kingdom originated in Palembang on the island of Sumatra and soon extended its influence and controlled the Strait of Malacca. 

Srivijaya continued to grow; by the year 1000 it controlled most of Java, but it soon lost it to Chola, an Indian maritime and commercial kingdom that found Srivijaya to be an obstacle on the sea route between South and East Asia

The kingdom disintegrated after 1025 CE following several major raids launched by the Chola Empire upon their ports.

From the 13th through the 17th century, Sunni Islam, carried chiefly by Arab and Indian merchants, spread widely through peninsular and insular Southeast Asia. The arrival of Islam coincided with the rise of the great port of Malacca (now Melaka).  Malacca also served as the regional centre for the propagation of Islam

Indonesian spices, Malayan gold, and Chinese silks and tea all passed through Malacca on their way to South Asia, the Middle East, and, ultimately, Europe.

The fame of Malacca as the crossroads of Asian commerce had reached Europe by the beginning of the 16th century. The Portuguese, who for a century had been seeking a sea route to eastern Asia, finally arrived at Malacca in 1509. In 1511 a Portuguese fleet led by Afonso de Albuquerque captured Malacca.

Meanwhile, the Dutch, having established the Dutch East India Company in 1602, arose as the dominant European power in Southeast Asia. In 1641 (after 130 yrs of Portuguese rule) the Dutch seized Malacca.

In 1786 the British East India Company acquired the island of Penang (Pulau Pinang), off Malaya’s northwest coast, from the sultan of Kedah. 

British representative Sir Stamford Raffles occupied the island of Singapore off the southern tip of the peninsula in 1819 and acquired trading rights in 1824; a strategic location at the southern end of the Strait of Malacca . By then the predominant industrial capitalist power in Europe, Britain next obtained Malacca from the Dutch in 1824 and thereafter governed the three major ports of the Strait of Malacca—Penang, Malacca, and Singapore—which collectively were called the Straits Settlements. The British Colonial Office took direct control in 1867 (till 1958).

(Britannica and wikipedia)



We started our walking tour (after breakfast at the hotel) to see the places which we could not see the other day. The good thing is all of them (in George Town) are within walking distance.

The list include (some of which we saw yesterday) :

1. Kuan Yin Teng Temple

2. Kapitan Keling Mosque 

3. Sri Mari Amman Temple

4. Khoo Kong Si (very important Chinese clan from Fujian province. There are 16 houses here - considered as architectural marvel of that time. From Fujian some went to Philippines, some to Burma, some to Thailand etc. They are very good investors. They were largest investor of St Chartered Bank. They were known for their philanthropy. They are known as Rockefeller of S E Asia or Medici family of SE Asia). Entry fee is  around 25 MYR

5. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (Blue Mansion - Richest SE Asian. The colour of blue house - came from Indigo in India. This Indigo is source of Blue houses in Singapore, Malacca. Part of it is converted into Hotel. There is a guided tour - which we missed. They have one of the largest wine producing areas in China - 10 biggest in the world. Entry fee is  around 25 MYR)

6. Fort Cornwallis

7. Penang Museum

8. Armenian Street

9. Penang Peranakan Museum (There is a guided tour - there is one at 1 pm. Entry fee is  around 25 MYR)

We had lunch near Esplanade Food Centre - just beside the sea - very nice location and price is very good indeed. The food is also very good. I had  Assam Laksa (signature dish). Mohua had Wok fried Laksa. Mine is better.

Then we went pass Beach Street. Located at the heart of Penang's European commercial area on Beach Street, Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co was 'the' colonial emporium or department store. It was established in Calcutta in 1882 by two eponymous Scotsmen (now called Metropolitan Building). Soon it became a household name throughout the East with branches in Bombay, Madras, Lahore, Simla,Colombo, Burma, Straits Settlements and in Shanghai. In Malaya, branches were opened in Singapore, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Seremban, Malacca

Penang's first branch was opened in 1903. By 1904, trade was so successful that these premises (built in 1903) were occupied by founding manager Sydney Parrett. Its clientele in 1907 were said to be "principally the European residents and the better-class Chinese and Malays".

Then we then left for Penang Hill. We took a bus to go to Penang Hill. The main bus station Kompleks Komtar (It is in Buffer zone of George Town. We were staying at Core Zone) is the main bus station - which is within George Town. Bangladeshis were of great help to take the direct AC bus (no. 204 – around 3 MYR per head). It was already 5 pm. All the buses are air conditioned and comfortable. There are 2 ways to go up the Penang hill: funicular train or  hike. We chose the funicular train like most people. It is quite steep. Entry fee is 30 MYR. There is a very nice view from the top. We saw the view after dark and before dark. There is a mosque and temple at the Penang Hill. Actually there is a Biosphere Reserve also at the top. There is a hotel and Penang hill village also. It was closed by the time we reached there. So it seemed to me, that it is a whole day affair, if you want to see everything. We got the return bus quite late, but we got down very near to the Main Jetty (which is also very near to Tan Ferry) . 

We had our dinner at the same hawkers corner / food corner opposite Tan Ferry The food is very good. We paid around 22 MYR for 2 person. Instead of Clay Plot Pork , today we had Pork Sizzler. In the hawkers corner some music was going on in the stage.


Today we checked out of our hotel in the morning after breakfast. We first went to the Tourism office (10.4 and 11.4 were holiday), to see if we can do any day tour. We were told they do not organize any tour. But we were told to go to Penang Heritage Trust which organizes walking tour, which has been recommended by Lonely Planet also.  We went there and chatted for some time with them. I asked them, is it because of Mahathir Mohammed Malaysia,  is so developed. They said emphatic no. 

Then then went to Chew Jetty and bought souvenirs there. You get the cheapest souvenirs here. We had a small boat ride at Chew Jetty for 20 MYR per person for 20 minutes.  It is a heritage site. We had Cendol (their Kulfi ). 

After lunch at the Chew Jetty, we  left for Batu Firringi Beach (only beach in Penang). All the buses are air conditioned and comfortable. It took around 1 hour to reach the beach and paid 2.7 MYR per head for the bus fare.  This side of Penang is quite posh and had some good time in the beach. In fact it is quite big, contrary to what I thought. Pulau Penang (Penang Island) is 40% of the size of Singapore.

We had dinner in another place - where there is a night market ; it is behind Kapitan Keling Mosque. Jalan means Avenue and Lebu means street. I had famous food, wan Lee Mee from another place nearby - at another night market.

We spent around 30 MYR for 2 person for the dinner.

Finally we went to the Ferry terminal walking, from our hotel and took the 2230 hrs ferry to reach Butterworth (Penang Sentral) to catch the bus at 1145 hrs to go to Malacca. We met a Malaysian twin sister at the terminal. They had come to Penang to celebrate birthday with their mother. They work in Mainland.

There is no direct Ferry to go to Langkawi. So we dropped it. I have heard it is very touristy also. In fact Lonely Planet is not very  ecstatic of Langkawi. For lack of time, I could not go to Ipoh also, which falls on the way to KL or Malacca.

 [# Ipoh  Terminal name : Ipoh Amanjaya.... You will get domestic buses from the terminal to enter the main Ipoh city (Terminal Kidd) # Duration from Penang to Ipoh: 2.36 hrs # Ipoh sightseeing : @ Perak cave temple @ Sam poh tong, mirror lake and other cave temples @ Kelly's castle and Quin Xing cultural village # In the evening, visit the famous concubine lane, see the mural arts (all can be done by Grab/  Local buses ) 

Route in that case would be: Penang Sentral>Ipoh Amanjaya>local bus >Terminal kidd > local bus > Ipoh Amanjaya > Malacca ]

Penang ( 2345 hrs) > Malacca Sentral (0710 hrs) 

Duration from Penang to Malacca: 7 hrs

The bus fare is only 54 MYR ie 981 INR per person.


You can get domestic bus from the bus station to reach the city. Walk to the local bus section and look for signboard of bus 17 (destination Ujong Pasir). Bus fare is around 3 MYR per person.

If you are visiting Melaka's historic town square and Christ Church you should alight at the stop "bangunam merah" (red complex). Inform the driver about your destination. 

The bus also passes by Chinatown and Jonker street. For our hotel we got down at Dataran Pahlawan Mega Mall.  

Since we checked in early, we paid extra 20 MYR. We paid 76 MYR (in total) for our Air-conditioned Hotel at a good location.

We had our lunch at a street side Buffet restaurant in the basement. Mohua paid 4 MYR for rice and Egg Curry (2 Eggs) and I had Bakso (famous noodle soup).Then we went to see the main tourist area of Dutch Square. We paid around 10 MYR for 2 person.

Things to see : 

Malacca is very strategically located and it has similar history like Penang.

# Red Dutch square, Stadthuys (Town Hall), Christ Church, St Paul's Church, St Paul's Hill, Porta de Santiago,  Jonker street, some museums, China Town. The red colour of dutch square makes it very unique. We did not go to any museum.

# We opted for Menara Taming Sari ride (@ 30 MYR per person). It is a type of Ferris Wheel. We had wonderful panoramic view of the city. Some of the houses, near the sea, look like the iconic buildings of Amsterdam. After that we went to see the houses similar to the one in Amsterdam.

There we met a second generation Malayali. His name is Hari. Since he married a Malay muslim woman, he became Md Sharif Hari Abdullah, to follow the local law. Even today he goes to temple ! He has been to India number of times. We chatted for close to 30 minutes. We got to know many things from him. I am in touch with him even today. He stays in KL. He came here to attend a marriage ceremony of his relative. He told me about some Bengalis of KL. One of his friend is Joy Nandy.He is staying in KL for many years.

Then we went to get some forex, since we ran out of money. After lot of effort, we found one. Then we went for a boat cruise (45 minutes). After that we went to see the China Town after crossing the bridge beside Stadhuys. 

We had our dinner at the lively Jonker Night market. Jonker Street is in China Town itself. We tried lot of things and spent around 40 MYR for 2 person.


Melacca>KLL TBS : Morning Bus  at 6.45 am

Duration from Penang to Malacca: 7 hrs

The bus fare is 17 MYR ie 307 INR per head.

We had to catch our bus at 6.45 am. We booked a Grab with the help of our hotel receptionist. We paid around 11 MYR (normal day time it is around 8.5 MYR) for the 6 Km ride.

After reaching Bandar Tasik Selatan, KL or TBS KL (major bus station in KL), we kept our luggage at TBS. There is no good connectivity from TBS, unlike KL Sentral. There is a monorail in TBS. So KL Sentral should be preferred. Luggage Storage/Left luggage facility service is available at Departure Hall of Level 3 of TBS, KL - MYR 20 (for both the suitcases) for first 12 hours. The password is a number and also colour coded ! Dr. Locker is the only luggage storage service left in KL Sentral. We had our brunch at TBS, run (not owned) by Bangladeshis . We had Nasi Lemak. Nasi means rice (for 30 MYR for 2 person). Then we  went to see Batu Caves by KTM - Komuter train (local train - but looks like our Bande Bharat, if not better !!) from TBS. 

MRT in Kuala Lumpur covers a longer distance and has more extensive network coverage compared to the LRT, which has a more limited coverage area. The MRT in Kuala Lumpur is fully integrated with other rail systems, such as the KTM Komuter and the Monorail, unlike LRT - less integrated and requires separate tickets for different lines. MRT in Kuala Lumpur generally has larger trains and higher capacity compared to the LRT. First, LRT was started in Malaysia, followed by MRT and Monorail.

1st  Half

KTM Komuter train is the only option to go to Batu caves (@5.6 MYR per person). Komuter train is available once every hour. We were lucky to get the train without much waiting. It takes almost 1 hour to reach Batu Caves. In Batu caves you can see a huge statue of Murugan Statue. We stayed exactly 1 hour and took the train at 1.05 to go to KL Sentral. We got down at KL Sentral to avail hop on hop off bus for the city tour.

2nd Half

Visited Petronas Tower, KL towers (Half day)...half day tour by hop on hop off bus (60 MYR each) . There are two parts - gree part and red part. It is valid for 24 hours (can be seen in 2 days). We got down at Petronas tower and Sultan's Palace. It is full of sky scrappers. Sea face Galle in Colombo is no match.

We were dropped at a centrally located station (intersection of Red tour and green tour). From there we took 2 Monorails (had the monorail to change at Hang Tua, as suggested by Bangladeshis , to go to TBS. In fact we had to book it in the touch screen. Since I did not know the full name of TBS - Bandar Tasik Selatan, it was not clear to me which station is our destination in the touch screen. They helped me to book it !) to reach TBS to collect our luggage using password. On the advice of a Bangladeshi we took Grab to reach KLIA 2 and paid around 85 MYR (which is less than 55x2=110 MYR to be paid in Airport Express Train). He booked the taxi with his Grab app and waited till the Taxi comes to pick us up ! It took around 50 minutes - which is slightly more than the Airport Express train. There is bus also. But it will take around 1 hour 30 minutes.

Since we saved some money (110-85 = 25) and was hungry we ate at airport - Burger King  for 14 MYR per person (around 246 INR) each, to eat Mushroom Burger + French Fries + 350 ml Pepsi ! The same in Indian airport would have been at least Rs 600. When will we become tourist friendly ? Even in Airasia plane you can buy Soupy noodles /Ch Fried Rice for 17 MYR.

KL Sentral>KLIA2> Flight to KL> night flight to Kolkata (reached at 1230 hrs)

We paid Rs 522 to Yatri Sathi Taxi to reach our home near Deshapriya Park by 1.05 hrs.


🔖 One can download Moveit app to know the local commute routes and fares. Also download Grab app to travel by cab

🔖 There are many 7/11 and  Family mart convenience stores in case you need food at odd hours.

🔖For every long route bus ride, you need to get a boarding pass from the respective terminals. The QR code is scanned before boarding.

🔖Malaysia is visa free till 31st Dec 2024. You just need an arrival certificate, very easy to get online.

From TBS one can go to Cameron highlands and get down at Tanah Rata. It takes 5 hours. If you have been to Tea gardens around Mirik or to Nuwara Eliya or Ella in Sri Lanka, you can easily skip it. 



Chronological order