First, we flew from Da Nang to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as Air Asia was having an awesome sale on tickets and it's a direct flight.
We really loved Kuala Lumpur. It was a refreshing and much needed balance of amazing Asian cultures and added development compared to Vietnam. I realized one thing I had been missing so much was diversity - in the states you had some (although not much in Utah County), but you at least have access to diverse ingredients and foods - even if they're not all that authentic. Anyhew, it was awesome to have such an amazing blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and western influence all in one. The language was really fun to hear, and the people were friendly and everyone seemed to speak a little bit of English at least, which made getting around town easier.
I admit, coming from an area where I'd never met a Muslim before - not to mention the loads of bad press in the US - I was a bit nervous to see so many Muslims. However, I was very much delightedly surprised to find out how friendly and kind they are. The extremists in some places really make a bad name for the rest, we had a wonderful time visiting Mosques and interacting with amazingly friendly and kind people of many different faiths in Malaysia.
The food was amazing, to say the least. We had satay, a kind of kabob thing, wonderfully amazing cheese-filled nan bread that was so good it could kill you, noodles, McDonalds (that was a first for me since I can remember, it's been years), and so much yummy stuff I can't even name it all. We also introduced our (horrified) friends to the Utah County weirdness of dipping fries into ice cream/shakes at McD's, that was rather entertaining, and yummy.
Satay our first night in town. You pick what you want and pay according to the color of the bottom of the stick, we had some greens, some chicken, mushrooms, and our friends let us try their eggplant.Our hotel was in the middle of China Town, inside the market, which was nuts! You had to go through this mass of little booths and stores to get to it, but it was a lot of fun. The room was ok, not the greatest ever (plus the elevator was broken so we had to walk up 3 flights one night), but it was a good price and the staff were really friendly so we liked it.
The price conversion in Malaysia is about 3 Ringgit for $1US, and it worked out really well for us, I didn't feel too stressed about money and we were able to have an enjoyable time. I was also thrilled to find supplements there - it was amazing! I got some all-natural bug spray that was cheaper than you could get in the US, and I bought some probiotics - I can't find them in Vietnam and I think they're the main thing keeping me from getting sick (I'm the only one so far who hasn't been sick here). It was so fun to look at the isles of supplements - they even had Solaray brand which comes from Utah! The convenience stores and the western-style roads and general lifestyle (everyone has a car, etc), really made me feel at home, but homesick as well.
Our second day in Kuala Lumpur Michael and I woke up insanely early to go on a jungle hike through OpenSky Unlimited. It was SO much fun! It wasn't too pricey (well, I guess kinda pricey considering the prices of everything else), but it was well worth it. Our tourguide Amos picked us up at 6:30AM, and we drove out to just outside the big city, and within a few minutes we were in the jungle. It was so much fun, but man were the bugs BIG. The biggest mosquitoes I've ever seen (although their bites don't swell nearly as much as Vietnamese mosquitoes), not to mention loads of ants of all sizes. We hiked, climbed, and puffed our way to the top of a Quartz "mountain" ridge - we had to wear gloves to protect our hands - and the view from up top was amazing. For better pictures go to this - link - it's on the company's Facebook page. (We were silly and didn't find our camera charger until after the hike, and our camera died the day before, so sad!). After the hike Amos took us for lunch at another amazing Indian place, it's kind of like Indian fast-food, with naan breads and various other breads, daals, noodles, etc. And after a short rest and a shower at the hotel we went and walked our feet off around the city.
Here's some photos - they're out of order according to time but I will just explain them as we go!