Solo Trip to the Straits


Before leaving Asia, I spent a week traveling to Southeast Asia. On this weeklong trip, I chose three places to visit: Singapore, Penang, and Kuala Lumpur.

The experience was the first time I traveled alone. I once did a three-day trip to Guilin on my own while studying abroad in China, but I stayed at a hotel and was on a tour for most of my time – not quite my impression of traveling solo as a young 20-something. Some thoughts on my weeklong trip:

The People

I was a little hesitant in going abroad for a whole week, mainly because I was afraid that I’d likely go a week without talking to anybody other than cab drivers, at tourist sites, or receptionists. Wrong! I found it pretty easy to meet fellow backpackers – all it took was a simple conversation to break the ice. Not to mention all the helpful folks I met while navigating around town.

The Traveling

Intra-regional travel in this part of the world is cheap. Really cheap. Initially I had planned on busing it from one city to the next, but thanks to Air Asia, I was able to snag one way fares for as low as USD$20. Crazy. I really don’t understand how Air Asia, and the other Low Cost Carriers in the region can turn a profit. If only these airlines could operate in Hawaii.

The Weather

I knew that it was going to be hot, but wasn’t expecting that it was going to be humid – oh so humid!  As a tourist, walking about from one place to another was pretty draining. On many of the days I came back to the hostel feeling like I’d been covered with a film of grime and sweat. Kinda gross, but it comes with the experience, I suppose. Reminded me in some ways of Hawaii, except without the trade winds.

The Food

So much good food! And cheap! Both Singapore and Malaysia are cultural melting pots. I forgot a lot of what dishes were called, but it all tasted so delicious. Extra glad that I didn’t get sick from eating all the street food!

After a whirlwind week of traveling, my only regret is not staying longer. Oh well, there’s always a next time.