Globetrotting adventures are good and all, but sometimes all you want is a short drive, a quiet hotel room, and a peaceful night away with your special someone that won’t break the bank.
These are our picks for the most convenient getaways and where to stay, what to eat, and what to do.
1. KUALA LUMPUR
For the many KL-residents who are probably reading this, home sweet home has lots to offer. All you need is to see it through new eyes.
Where to Stay: Bagasta Boutique Guesthouse, RM180 – RM375 per night
Experience traditional kampung-style hospitality right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Each of the guesthouse’s 30 rooms features a delightful mix of old Malay antiques and crisp contemporary furniture to show off its spectacular blend of old tradition and modernity. As though to remind you that you’re still KL, the Petronas Twin Towers loom regally in the backdrop through the windows.
For many travellers, this will be a wonderful introduction to the serene charm of kampung living and traditional Malay life.
Bagasta Boutique Guesthouse
A: 56, Jalan Raja Alang, Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur.
Where to Eat: Line Clear Nasi Kandar
Since you’re in Kampung Baru, take this opportunity to visit the KL branch of the legendary Line Clear Nasi Kandar from Penang. Grab a plate of rice, pile it high with your choice of meats, vegetables, and curries and dig in. Or visit the original Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee just a short distance away. Your choices are endless here in town.
What to Do:
- Be a tourist in your own city! Leave your car in the hotel carpark and take a 5 minute walk to the Kampung Baru LRT station. From there, ride the city’s web of public transport to see KL in a way you never have before.
- Spend an afternoon exploring the shops in Petaling Street and Central Market before making your way to the glitzy Golden Triangle. If it’s a Saturday or Sunday, sample Nobu’s Sky High Afternoon Tea from 2.30 – 4.30 pm, and then make your way to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra to watch our incredibly talented national symphony at work.
- End the night with a drink at the Trader’s Hotel Sky Bar and take in the KL city skyline – a view that somehow never fails to take one’s breath away.
Ipoh was voted Lonely Planet’s 6th best place to visit in Asia for good reason: old world charm, a strong history, amazing food, and charming eccentricities combine to make Ipoh an unforgettable and uniquely Malaysian experience.
Where to Stay: Ipoh Bali Hotel, RM210 – RM480 per night
The bustling Ipoh city centre, where you’ll probably be spending most of your time, can feel a little cramped and overwhelming so you’ll love coming back to this little place with its secluded tranquility. At the end of a busy day taking in the sights, relax in the hot tub or pay a visit to the hotel spa before falling asleep to the soothing sounds of the hotel’s many water features.
All rooms come with breakfast, and the attentive staff will even bring it to you in bed the next morning if you request it.
Ipoh Bali Hotel
A: 12A, Lorong Cheah Cheang Lim, Off Jalan Tambun, 30350 Ipoh.
T: +6 05 242 0222
Where to Eat: Nam Heong Coffee Shop
You can’t go wrong with the food in Ipoh. From their out-of-this-world beansprouts to their inexplicably delicious chicken rice and silky smooth sar hor fun, Ipoh’s food is truly the stuff of legend.
If we had to pick, make your way to the Nam Heong coffee shop in Old Town. It’s famous for its now-legendary white coffee. But the star of the shop, in my opinion, is the Yong Tau Foo stall. Each delicate piece of stuffed tofu is a perfectly-flavoured work of art. A bowl of 10 pieces will only set you back less than RM10.
What to Do:
- Stroll through Old Town. Pick up biscuits from the city’s numerous renowned bakers to take home as souvenirs. Grab a takeaway box of salted chicken as well while you’re there, and your parents will probably love you for it.
- Visit the revitalised Kong Heng block, which is now bustling with Instagram-worthy cafes and shops. Fans of Yasmin Ahmad will also enjoy spending some time in the Yasmin at Kong Heng Museum nestled in an old shoplot.
- Marvel at the Kek Long Tong temple with its altars and statues embedded into the walls of a cave, then climb the stone steps to the top for an unparalleled view of the city below.