The Malaysia trip, part 5

The Malaysia trip, part 5
JISHOU, HUNAN, CHINA — Let’s see if I can wrap up my travelogue before classes start in a few days. As you probably have guessed, Singapore was my next destination after Penang. My friends who have been there praised this city as a good place to visit, and since I was in the neighborhood (so to speak), I decided to spend a few days there. It was not nearly enough. Singapore is like Hong Kong, or New York City, or any other big metropolis. There’s so much to see and do, that even locals have not seen or done it all. My plan was to spend Chinese New Year there, as I knew Singapore would have a massive fireworks display on Feb. 7. There were at least two, one in Chinatown and one on the waterfront, and in the end, I saw neither one. I had not counted on one major factor: the crowds. Navigating the crush of people in Chinatown just got to me, and round about 10 pm, I decided to bail out and head back to my airbnb place in Little India. So, I can’t offer any photos of massive fireworks displays. Which is not to say ...

The Malaysia trip, part 1

The Malaysia trip, part 1
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — With a five-week holiday break coming up, I decided in November not to dilly-dally like I did last year, and make a plan for an extended trip to someplace warm. I settled on Malaysia for the most emotional of reasons — a friend posted photos of Malaysian palm trees and blue seas on WeChat. I haven’t quite made it to the blue seas yet — that comes next week — but there have been plenty of palm trees, and so far, mostly sunshine so far. It’s going well. Last year, I postponed buying air tickets to Indonesia until prices were too high, so this time I booked early. From Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur was only $182 roundtrip on AirAsia, including trip insurance and a $20 checked baggage fee. That was well within my budget, but I had to juggle departure and arrival times to avoid the price hikes around Chinese New Year (Feb. 7 and 8 this year). Air fares fell off dramatically for a long stay of four weeks. I bit the bullet, and booked the tickets. This will be the longest vacation trip I’ve ever taken, and one of the first adjustments I’ve ...
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