WorldAtlas.com says that the most-visited countries in Asia are China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, sequentially. The reason that I am telling this is because, last May, my Personal Development Fund (PDF) just allowed to leave my footsteps on the three of them, for the very first time, within one journey. Same as the other first-time-experiences that anybody has ever had, what I experienced is memorable, thanks to Maverick.
At first, my plan was only to visit Bangkok. After sharing it with a friend, it ended with she suggested a new plan, in which, including Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to the itinerary without making a significant adjustment on the budget. The offer was so tempted and obviously cannot be resisted.
So, this is how the plan for the visits worked for me.
The main destination was still Bangkok. Only during my way to and from that most populous city of Thailand, I made a long flight transit in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Almost full-day for each transit.
First, Singapore. My arrival was almost midnight and had less than 23 hours of transit to spend in that city-state. I rushed and took a Grab to check in my hotel in Geylang district then continued to explore the culinary around the area. The Grab driver told me that Geylang was a heaven for night street food exploration and he was right. I found so many options of Chinese and Indian foods teasing along the road. I picked the Indian one to try their mutton menu and for the record, that was one of the best meats that I’ve ever eaten, probably after rendang. Once the belly refilled, I walked straight to the hotel and saved the energy for the upcoming day.
The day after, I checked out earlier just to stroll around the city aimlessly, while trying and awed by its well-known neat-public transportation which turned out to become my most highlighted experience during the trip in SG.
The trip was almost totally aimless as I took the destination randomly based on Google’s suggestion, such as finding the well-served chocolate in The Dark Gallery at Millenia Walk until digging for street foods in Haig Road Market Center.
But of course, as a ‘virgin’ to the city, I still made a quick stop and saw from the distance those common points-to-visit in Singapore such as Merlion Park, Marina Bay, etc.
Second, Bangkok. I took an airport taxi to the hotel as I did not have many options for the midnight arrival. I could take the Grab again, but why not try the taxi, no? Then I took the taxi. Normally, over my arrival, I would try to make conversation with the driver of my ride. The goal is usually to figure out more about a new place I visit. But the thing was, this driver answered me with a total silence for every question I threw to him, as if he was an angry girlfriend. The only conversation we made was only when he asked the name of the hotel we were heading. I expected it to happen, as many friends and blog posts warned me about this not-speaking-English phenomenon.
During the three-day visit, I took almost all of Bangkok’s existing public transportations to go anywhere, from the MRT, BTS, taxi, Grab, to the old buses. My activities in there included fulfilling my phone gallery with the photos from The Grand Palace, food-hunting in Wang Lang market, enjoying my first Subway’s fast foods in River City before taking two hours of cruising dinner over the Chao Phraya river on the Chao Phraya Princess Cruise, strolling around the Lumphini Park, another food-hunt in Chatuchak Market (of course!), and many other things I could not remember.
The last, Kuala Lumpur, and again midnight arrival. Unfortunately, my time in this city was very limited as I had to check out at 10am the day after and went straight to the airport. Thus, that night was all I had to try and do something in this capital city of Malaysia. And that time, what I had in mind was only the mighty Twin Towers. Then after checked in and dropped my stuffs in my hotel at Chinatown district, I went straight to the building with a Grab.
It was a fortunate that I had a good political talk with the good young Grab driver, as he was not only so willing to wait for me taking several photos of the skyscrapers, but also gave me a complimentary ride driving across the city.
So those are my first-abroad-trip stories. Those trips remind me about things I should and would never forget, that how little I know about the world. There are still so many human characters I haven’t met yet, a bunch of places I haven’t seen yet, list of knowledge I haven’t had yet, and so many things I haven’t touched yet. Therefore, hopefully, these kinds of things can always help me to stand up straight to what I’ve believed all these times, that I should never feel myself better than others and never close myself for the new realities.
Maverick is so serious about encouraging its Mavchicks and Mavbros to embrace and open the eyes to the new experiences for our personal development. It allowed me to leave my footsteps, not just in one, but in three different countries, which makes me so grateful for being part of the family.