Selamat Datang! Malaysia

Selamat Datang is a Bahasa Malaysia phrase that roughly translates to “Welcome”. Though I’ve lived in the US for decades, I was born and raised in Malaysia. I’ve not been back in years, opting instead to see the rest of the world. but someday soon, I will be going back and I’m very excited about that. Here are some wonderful images, thanks to AFAR’s intrepid travelers, of the special country I call home.

The Durian is fondly known as the king of fruits in Southeast Asia. It’s a fruit that the locals love, but that many outsiders find to be an acquired taste. In fact, Andrew Zimmern, the presenter of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, (the guy who eats the world’s craziest and weirdest things) can’t stand durians. The name durian comes from the Malay word “duri,” which means “thorns.” Cutting open a durian is an art. You have to cut along certain lines created by the thorns, which are barely visible. If you get it wrong, it would be tough to open. Once cut, you use your palms to push apart the insides to reveal the yellow flesh. The smell of the durian is strong enough to make you salivate or faint, depending on which side of the fence you are on regarding it’s taste. If you’re ever in Malaysia, you must give it a try. Who knows? You could end up liking something that Andrew Zimmern himself can’t stomach!
Tucked away inside Taman Negara National Park, in the far reaches of Malaysia, you will find the world’s longest canopy walk. Originally built for researchers, the suspended paths are now open to the public. The walk stretches for 500 meters and consists of 10 different bridge sections. While suspended 100 feet above the jungle floor, guides ensure that only about 4 or 5 people are on a section at a time, and that everyone is spaced about 5 meters apart. They instruct you to hold on with both hands at all times, and only take photos at designated points. I listened to none of this, but still made it out alive.
Jalan Buluh Kubu, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Bandar Kota Bharu, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
I’m generally more of a details guy, but now and again there’s a place for a high-level, 30,000 foot view of a place (and cheesy sociology jargon). Kota Bharu’s massive central market is not for the feint of heart - or the vegetarian. The central section, depicted here, is generally where you’ll find standard fruits and veggies. If you wander deeper into the bowels of the complex, you’ll find a rather intense wet market (men chopping beef flanks like a lumberjack would fell an oak, pig intestines hung like festive garlands, and unscrupulous vendors hawking sea turtle eggs). We visited with a few travel friends, and I think I was the only one from the group who could handle the sensory assault. I found parts of this market particularly disturbing (just a whole lot of things going on I’m not used to seeing anyplace else), but as a travel experience - whoa, yeah. I’ll never forget this one. I must have shot more than 400 photos in the couple of hours I dragged our party through this complex. I’ll focus on the details in a future post.
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AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks