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Writing about Good Food, Great Friends and a Malaysian Road Trip

Malaysian Road Trip: KLKuala SelangorPangkorIpohKL

Life has not been very good lately, but I have learned that it is better to snatch opportunities to live, rather than just survive from day to day.

Of course, my idea of living tends to be intimately connected with good food and travel, so last weekend I did a bit of both. A sort of compromise: lots of good food (and I mean LOTS), and a day trip on the road.

Driving in Malaysia

A road trip in Malaysia (Click for the slideshow of trip pictures and scroll on the pics for titles)

My hubby and I set off with two very good friends (who are themselves a couple) from Kuala Lumpur early Saturday morning and headed out towards Lumut, which is a nice 3.5 hour drive. From there we planned to take the ferry to Pulau Pangkor, the island nearest to the mainland.

Our friends hadn’t had breakfast, and I am always hungry, especially when it comes to good food…so we decided to make a pit-stop by the river at Kuala Selangor. Some spicy veggies and delicious steamed fish later(the fish was fresh-caught, and though a fish steamed in spicy soup does not sound so good at first, you have to try some to believe how good it can be), we took our time lazing around in the breeze, watching mud-flippers flop to the water’s edge, and generally contemplating life on a full stomach. 1.5 hours later, we got back on the road, our tummies happily digesting all that spread. Very healthy all of it was too, I might add.

The view of quaint Malaysian kampung(village) houses and palm groves kept us entertained, as did the bagful of Japanese snacks we’d brought along. It began to pour, just like it always pours in Malaysia, and if you have read “Rain” by Somerset Maugham you will know the sort of downpour I mean.

We made it to Lumut by almost 4.30 in the afternoon, and mercifully it was a rain-free 40 minute ferry ride to Pangkor. I love boat rides of any sort, and this was a treat with green and blue as far as the eyes could see. We also passed the Naval base, and saw some menacing-looking warships. We stopped at a crowded fishing village, which was a riot of color with boats and houses clinging to each other on the water’s edge.

On reaching Pangkor, we took one of the ridiculously baby pink van taxis that grace its roads and went to the nearest public beach, where we hung around, munching, chatting, and generally taking in the view. My friends tell me some of the resorts at Pangkor are worth staying at, maybe we will check them out next time.

By 6pm we were back on the ferry, and as we headed back to our car it began to rain again. My friends being true Malaysians, and my hubby and I being Malaysians at heart, we decided the rain shall not deter us. We needed to eat some more delicious local stuff.

Off we went towards Ipoh, as our friend is an Ipoh boy, and the route through Ipoh is easier than the one we had taken earlier. Ipoh, for the uninitiated, is where the Malaysian march towards prosperity began with tin mines. It is now a sleepy town peppered with delightful mansions and a countrywide reputation for excellent Chinese hawker food. We met our friend’s parents, charming world travelers in their seventies, and their adorable labrador, scared of strangers, but otherwise cuddlesome in the extreme.

We were quite tired by then, and all of our backs had started protesting to some degree or the other. But the Gourmet food court beckoned, and we did not put up any resistance whatsoever. We stuffed ourselves on rolls, noodles, grilled and fried fish of every description, and headed back to Kuala Lumpur, a sleepy bunch driving in the rain.

We arrived a sleepier bunch, and by the time I got into bed, all my limbs were aching one way or the other. But my heart was singing and my tummy felt happy and satisfied. What more can you possibly want out of life than a long drive with great friends, awesome food, and the possibility of doing it all over again?

For those of you who haven’t yet been lulled to sleep by all this talk of eating, driving around and being sleepy, go on, leave me a comment.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • katiesmith says:

    Rain and thunderstorms.

    When I was a child a neighbour would bang on our door at the first sign of thunder or lightning. My mother would then sit with her on the sofa, holding her hand and making soothing sounds to calm the terrified woman. I think I may have modelled her behaviour as I too grew to hate storms.
    Within three months of living in Malaysia I was cured. I fell head over heels in love with lightning, I just couldn’t help it. I saw wonderful beautiful displays and felt completely energised by them. Your writing just brought back that memory and feeling:))

    A couple of years ago, on a holiday in Langkawi it rained for the whole week. It was only us Brits who were out on the sunbeds, huddled under towels and huge umbrellas singing:))

  • damyantig says:

    Finalmente hai trovato una moda di parlare su mio blog! Sono contentissima!!

    Swarup mi ha detto che il tuo Inglese ha migliorato molto, e adesso e’ veramente belissimo!!

    Un bacio, cara, e spero di vederti qui spesso:)

  • elybessy says:

    Thank you Dee for this quaint description of your trip.While I was sipping a mug of tea, I read about your beautiful day with your friends across Malaisya and I dreamt about a future travel to this country.

  • indigobunting says:

    Damyantig: You are definitely on!

  • damyantig says:

    Indigo, If ever you come to this part of the world, just drop me a word, and we can take you out on gourmet trips:)

  • damyantig says:


    Thanks for dropping by, and yes, it is always a good time to treat yourself to good food. And if you are in Malaysia, it is not very expensive either!

  • damyantig says:

    Thanks for linking me Mar, and yes, when it comes to eating, I am definitely very Malaysian:)

  • indigobunting says:

    Oh, what a treat this was. I so wish I could be there, taking in the sights (and yes, eating all that incredible food!).

  • DarcKnyt says:

    It sounds like a great time was had by all. I’m still waiting for the days when I can treat myself to good food again. It’s been a long time.


    Nice to hear your heart glad again.

  • mar says:

    Yes, Malaysia and Malaysians is all about food…LOL!
    Linked you… 😉

  • damyantig says:

    Glad to have taken you along the trip, and yeah, I still want those pictures!

    In wordpress, trackback involves just pinging, which means you can simply link to this post from a post you are making.

    I hope I am right, and if I am not, I hope someone else would drop by to correct me:)

  • rick mobbs says:

    wow. you make me want to be there. I haven’t forgotten you asked about photos form Bisbee, Arizona. Lost my camera (temporarily, I hope) so will borrow from one of my fellow travelers and post.

    Hey, maybe you can help me understand how trackbacking works. What would I do differently here if I wanted to trackback?

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