001. On the 21st of October 2015 we jetted off from the Gold Coast bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with our backpacks on and excitement levels high preparing for the adventure of a lifetime. We couldn't really believe it was all finally happening, after a year of dreaming and saving. We had no idea what to expect or what Asia would have in store for us, but we couldn't have been more ready. (Quick tip #1 never fly Brisbane to Asia from the Brisbane airport, Air Asia leaves from the Gold Coast and it is WAY cheaper).
002. Our initial reactions to Kuala Lumpur were a little disappointed and overwhelmed. The traffic was insane, as was the smog, or "haze" as it is widely referred to over there. Lucky we had a nice little hotel room to escape to for the few days we were there. Our neighbourhood was dirty and smelly, but we found an oasis 10 minutes walk from our hotel in the form of a street with 3 pure vegetarian indian restaurants on it. The cheap-as-chips indian food and the air conditioned tourist shopping hub Central Market nearby became our best friends.
003. We also ventured out one day to see the iconic KL Petronas Twin Towers (which were just two huge towers). The huge mall underneath them was great for escaping the heat (plus shopping if you have money to spend), and we enjoyed a traditional Malaysian meal of vegan Nasi Lemak at Simple Life in the food court. 10/10 recommend getting that if you are in Malaysia at any point- it's all these tiny little components on a plate that taste so damn good all together! Later we stopped by the Dharma Realm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery for a vegan buffet lunch. If you are on a tight budget or are a veg head, GO TO THIS! It is a huge cafeteria style, pile-up-your-plate, kinda thing all for about $2. Plus it's in walking distance from the towers once you're sick of the whole tourist scene. It is packed at lunch time, with lots of nearby office workers coming in for a cheap feed- think Govindas but bigger and better.
004. After around 5 days in KL essentially just eating and wondering the streets, we set off for Thailand. Not our original plan, but the haze was really getting to us- the two Aussies used to crystal clean air and blue skies. We had heard lots of good things about Chiang Mai, and couldn't wait to try out all the Thai food and cultural goodness the north had to offer! Stay tuned for Part 2 (I promise there will be lots more photos... clearly didn't think KL was too photogenic!).