On my last visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia I had the pleasure of staying at the beautiful Hotel Majestic. My grandfather was the manager at the Station Hotel in the 50’s, another historic hotel just across the street, where my mother spent most of her childhood! She had many stories of sneaking off to Hotel Majestic, hiding in the hotel corridors as a kid, making new friends with travelers from around the world. She loved getting a taste of the world outside Malaysia by being in touch with so many international guests. The Majestic opened back in 1932 as one of the most luxurious 5 star hotels in all of Malaysia and to this day, still stays true to both it’s rating and charming old self. It also has a lot of British influence, complete with a gorgeous orchid room serving afternoon high-tea and. It’s amazing staying at a hotel that is so iconic and so in touch with my mother’s childhood. It was like taking a step in the past, with a touch of Old Hollywood glamour. Noodle soup and curry for breakfast ain’t so bad either. Thank you Hotel Majestic for the lovely stay!
*take a quick cab to Breakfast Thieves for a really special brunch! *
*coconut water at my cousin’s house in Cheras *
// Free People pink dress, Dannijo necklace (similar one I love here) + Free People red dress, Dannijo earrings //
The last time I climbed up the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia I was just a kid. I’d climb the steep steps and hold out a banana, so the monkeys get just close enough before I burst into a squeal, dropping all of my things, and running away! I was pretty daring and rebellious as a kid, always causing a little trouble! But all in good fun. The Batu Caves have a whopping 272 steps. You know, no big deal. But it’s worth the climb, trust me. Whenever I’m back in Malaysia visiting family, I’m always asking them to take me here. The temple and caves are stunning. It’s unreal. I was wrapped up in this beautiful green and red sarong before hiking up the steps. I fell in love with it’s soft fabric, stripes, and bold dragon print. It was the Deepavali Indian festival and the place was packed. People were barefoot, carrying up heavy buckets of rocks to bring to the temple, a part of the tradition, and wearing bold beautiful glittering sarongs and dresses. What I love about the Indian culture is how colorful it is. Everything from the traditional outfits, to the food and spices. The steps a faded red and yellow, highlighted with the green from the trees growing high on the side of the mountains. There were monkeys running this way and that! The locals tell you to told to hold onto you bags…they’ll really come that close! But once I made it to the top, I took a really deep breath and soaked in all of it’s beauty. The caves are stunning. Tall with only pockets of light keeping the place lit along with rows of tiny candles. It started to pour the moment we made it to the top. It was refreshing to stick your hand out in the caves to feel the fresh water pouring through. Kids dancing in the puddles in their bright outfits. You do sort of feel like your on top of the world. We didn’t really mind getting stuck up there as we waited for the rain to stop. It was comforting knowing a big plate of curry banana leaf was just a moment away.
// REVOLVE Tularosa top and Lovers + Friends bra, Siwy denim skirt, Miu Miu handbag, Bally shoes //
My grandmother is from Hainan…it’s the smallest province in China, at the southernmost tip. It only made sense to make a trip to the beautiful Hainan temple here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. What I love about my culture is how spiritual it is. How colorful it is. How unique it is. I fell in love with the bright reds, pinks, and blues of the Hainan temple. The rain started to pour as we ran into the temple and slipped off our shoes. My little cousins giggling, lighting candles, and making wishes. It was a beautiful, relaxing day of our trip. Quiet and peaceful amidst all the madness. Of course all I wanted to do was dance in the rain. There’s something so lovely about the heat and the tropical rain storms. It makes everything grow. A lot of Kuala Lumpur is green and lush. The heat always makes me feel super sleepy…making you go about your day in a bit of a slower pace. Though I felt so far from home, I still felt very connected…with myself, with my family, with everything. That’s the amazing thing traveling does…it opens your eyes and suddenly the world is really small. No matter your culture, where you’re from, what you do…we’re all so similar. And we all have a love for one very simple thing that brings us all together: FOOD. The spices in Kuala Lumpur make my mouth water. Every day was an overload on my taste buds. I want to try everything! My go-to? Hainanese chicken rice. Delicious. We had the best Hainense food in Melaka, but that requires a whole new post…it’s that good. But life is simple in Malaysia and that’s what I adore about it. A perfect afternoon is spent with a plate of spicy noodles and a Tiger Beer. Extra chili oil, please.
// Cleobella dress, Miu Miu handbag, Bally sandals, Miu Miu sunglasses //
// Haute Hippie dress, Sophia Webster sandals, Daniel Wellington watch //
I just spent 2 weeks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and though it has been 7 years since I’ve been back, it felt like no time had passed. My mother is Chinese…born in Singapore and raised in Kuala Lumpur. I feel so lucky to have these exotic roots! To have grown up with such a unique culture. The culture in Malaysia is extremely diverse, but also very Western. You get the absolute best of both worlds in Malaysia compared to any other country in Southeast Asia. It is truly a magical place. But to me, the most important thing is getting to go back and see my family. My mother has so many brothers and sisters…I have so many cousins…and many of my cousins have already had children! It’s insane how fast our family has grown and expanded, but it’s so beautiful. They’ve moved into homes in all different parts of Kuala Lumpur, and though I haven’t seen them in a while, we still feel very connected. They said I hadn’t changed a bit. I’m still the spunky little dweeb they remember 7 years ago. I don’t think they have changed at all either. It’s like we just had dinner a day ago. We covered so much on this trip but also re-visited a lot of the same spots I fell in love with years ago. The outdoor markets. The perfect breakfast: nasi lemak, roti canai, and tehtarik. The afternoon hike up to the Batu Caves. The late night ice kacang craving for dessert. But this was a very special trip. I wasn’t in any hurry to run to the next meeting. I didn’t have any so-called fashion obligations that I normally have when I’m traveling. I didn’t have to check my emails every five seconds like I normally do. This trip was to purely spend time with family. It was such a freeing trip, and so eye-opening. Visiting Malaysia as an adult, and connecting with my family members now, rather than when I was a child is really amazing. I noticed things about my culture that I may not have noticed when I was younger. But there is so much that is the same. Kuala Lumpur appeals to all the senses. The scents. The food. The heat. All of that came back to me in waves. I grew up eating curry, noodles, and delicious Indian food. I love the smell of spices sizzling on a hot wok. Kuala Lumpur is like heaven to me when it comes to food. And forget the 5 star restaurants, everything you can get on the street are amazing. The flavors of Malaysia are rich, colorful, and delicious. Pulling over on the side of the road in your car to pick up a few curry puffs is the best part of the day! But the heat. I really, really love the heat. It hits you right when you step outside the airport. It makes you feel a bit more zen…a bit sleepy. You tend to want to move at a little slower pace. But it’s totally fine. I wasn’t in any hurry. I was just savoring every bit of this amazing country, spending time with my grandma, and totally reconnecting with my roots. There is no way to do a better vacation.
// Alpha Omega top, Jill Stuart suede skirt, Bally sandals, Miu Miu handbag, Dannijo earrings //
// Free People dress //
// Tanya Taylor dress, Sophia Webster sandals, Donni Charm scarf, Ray-Ban sunglasses //