Off to Thailand tomorrow morning! A morning mini bus to Hat Yai, then perhaps onto Trang (apparently there’s some cool caves there).
It will be interesting to leave Malaysia, considering its technically our first stop and all that we currently know.
I’ve been a bit confused by the country. It’s predominantly a Muslim country, governed by its Muslim rules. At times I’ve felt a bit odd wearing a sleeveless singlet, while Muslim women around me wear hijabs and sometimes, even full burkas.
On the other hand, you have some major cities and islands in Malaysia, where people wear next to nothing. H&M, Topshop and Zara stores advertising skimpy skirts and tops, catering to either Western tourists (thinking they’re getting a bargain) or a growing local market.
Interestingly, a friend of ours who lives in KL, but studied Uni in Melbourne with us expressed great concern for the safety of the women in this country. She also told us that politics is mixed with religion, and that Muslim males and Muslim females can still be busted, and fined(!) if they are looking a little too friendly with each other.
This is all so foreign to me. So different, and I’m still getting my head around it all. We even heard there’s some supermarkets with different counters for males and females! Though we never saw this in our travels.
I don’t think I will miss the 5am prayers being broadcast everyday from the mosques, but I will miss the prayers in general as they were quite comforting and pleasant to listen to.
I’ve also quite enjoyed being in the country during the election time. The various parties’ flags flying in the wind will be something I’ll miss. We’ve seen them wrapped around some coconuts in a tree, we’ve seen motorcades beeping and tooting as they drive past waving their flags, and we’ve seen a few rally’s; blasting Gangam Style on the PA system in an attempt to draw a crowd.
All in all, I’m glad Malaysia was our first stop as its slowly easing me into the backpacking life. It also helps that we started with the more expensive country, and from here on out, there’ll be cheap beer!