To head to the International airport for a University subject was not something I was expecting to experience. Thanks to UOW and the Australian Government, myself and 20 other peers got to fly over to Malaysia and Singapore for a beautiful 10-day experience. We kicked it if off flying with Air Asia direct to Kuala Lumpur. The majority of the group flew with Singapore Airlines, however a handful of us decided to save some of our scholarship and rough it. I had asked friends about the experience with the airline and was preparing myself for eight hours with no entertainment, no food and intense air-conditioning. I arrived armed with my snacks, books and a comfy jumper. I am a really great sleeper so I was not worried about the budget flight at all. I’m pretty short so do not find snuggling up on an economy seats to be that bad, however I can’t speak for everyone. It was a dragged out trip without a movie or two, however I got there in one piece, my luggage arrived and I even got given a meal. I really can’t complain too much considering the flight was around $280.
We walked out of the airport to a slap in the face from the heat, welcome to the equator! We jumped in a cab and arrived at the most outrages looking hotel you can imagine. It was way to extravagant for a bunch of University students who were only there to sleep, but we just had to soak up the experience. We were in Malaysia for four days to learn about the business environment, including opportunities and challenges the region is facing.
We had the weekend to explore and so myself, Ben, Cam and Lizzie hit the town in style in our air-conditioned minivan. We wont be doing that again as taxi cab vouchers are super expensive from the hotel. You can just walk outside of the hotel and around the corner to find metered cabs which are a bargain. We wandered the Little India precinct and afterwards had lunch in a Hawker’s market. I had a spicy Char Kway Teow and fresh juice costing a total of $3. We then caught the train out to the Batu Caves, which also only cost a few dollars. The stairs, the smells, the monkeys, it was all happening at the caves, I’m really glad I went, this was one of my highlights of KL.
My next highlight… THE FOOD! Oh man I could not get enough of all the amazing dishes available. I could eat a different dish for the rest of my life at a Hawker’s market, there are just so many things to try. Each stall does 10-20 dishes really well and so you are overwhelmed with choice walking into one of these places. I pretty much was taking on a three course meal twice a day just because it was so affordable and tasted amazing. This was on top of the huge hotel buffet breakfast!
A second highlight would have to be an evening out in KL. I have to mention the heli-pad bar. We took an elevator to the top of a building that looked absolutely dead, no signage, there were no people, it kind of looked like it was being renovated downstairs. All very confusing. However, much to our delight when we arrived at the top, we were welcomed by bar staff who took our orders, made our cocktails and then we went up a stairwell to the heli-pad that was converted into a chilled out bar space. Tables and chairs were spread out, with a rope barricade around the rim of the roof. It was all very relaxed. I don’t know if alcohol and an open roof without a reinforced barricade would fly in Australia, but it was really cool. The experience was awesome, we got to watch the sunset and it was great for some group shots with the famous Petronas Towers as a backdrop.
I was not really sure what to expect in regards to the academic side of things and it was a little relaxed, however that worked well as it allowed for a lot of extra time for activities. Overall we did learn a lot about business etiquette and how business runs in the ASEAN region which was very insightful. Similarly, we also received really great advice on applying for international jobs and how to stand out.
I tainted my last day with a hangover, that was a bit of a buzz kill. I have truly learnt from the experience and it just isn’t worth it. I really mean that, much better to keep hydrated with water or fresh juice I have decided, especially whilst travelling. As for KL itself, pretty great for food and shopping. If I get the chance to head back to Malaysia, I would really like to explore the national parks in the north and the islands off the coast of Malaysia.
I hope to have the Singapore post up shortly. I just have a lot of pictures to go through!! Thanks for reading!