For Christmas break, I decided to get out of the cold and see a bit more of South-East Asia. My destination: Malaysia. I had heard praises from colleagues about the beauty and cultural diversity of this tropical nation, located south of Thailand and also bordered by Singapore. After a direct flight 6 1/2 hours from Seoul, I happily packed away my winter jacket and shed several other layers of clothing.
The multicultural nature of Malaysia was already apparent at the airport. Saris, salwars, blouse-skirt kebayas and baju kurungs, hijabs, and even a few abayas shared the fashion with Western-style clothing. Skin color and facial structure immediately expanded, including the Malay-Indonesian appearance along with those who looked more Chinese and South Indian. Although the KLIA airport was rather new-looking, it had a slightly chaotic feel vs. the urban chic of Korea's Inchon airport.
After exchanging some enough money to get me through the next day, I purchased a bus ticket and then enjoyed tasty early dinner of South Indian dosas and fresh juice. In just over two hours, the air-conditioned coach bus conveniently transported me southward to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Malacca (also spelled Melaka). Although the vegetation had some similarity to South India and driving was on the left side of the road, this area was hillier and the roads lacked the ubiquitous honking.