My First Solo Traveling Experience: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I have always wanted to do a solo traveling.

Friends who are close to me, they know that I am that kind of person who enjoys alone time. I like going to the movies alone, I like going to a café alone, I like raiding the mall alone, ah you name it. I like doing any kind of activities alone.

Some people would say it is sad, but seriously why though?! Why do you have to be with someone else if just yourself is more than adequate? I always think myself as my own best friend. And as much as I love all my friends and their company, I love my own company too.

But traveling solo is another thing though, especially if you go abroad.
Here are few things that make me hesitant to go solo traveling (maybe some of this are on your list too!):

  • No one can help you take your photo! Unless you ask a favor from stranger. But God knows what kind of photo could result from a stranger… it can be blurry, slanted, blablabla. And if you vacationing abroad (which, let’s just be honest, afford us quite a money) we do hope for at least a good photo, don’t we? A nice one, not one that being taken from a selfie-stick. I may consider using a tripod though, but for me tripod is quite too big to carry around…
  • You can’t split bills with your friends. Name it the hotel room, the ride, or the meal.
  • If you got lost, then you are lost alone.

Around the end of January 2017, my friend Chicha told me she was going to stay in KL couple of months for job training. She told me to come and go on trip with her, although she could only join me on weekends. The new year 2017 vibe was still fresh then, and I couldn’t think of a better time to tick off my 2017 resolution that is solo-traveling. It was the perfect timing. Just like that, I booked a flight. It was a 5 day trip, not completely solo (Chicha will be with me for 2 days), but the other 3 days I was all by myself.

Why did I think KL was perfect for my 1st time solo-traveling?

  1. It was KL, Malaysia, it is not too far away from Indonesia. Many Indonesians live here too, so I am pretty confident being alone here.
  2. They speak Melayu which is not so different from Bahasa (though later I found myself used English more than Melayu there).
  3. Our currency (Rupiah) wasn’t so bad if converted to Ringgit (at least that time I went). I found out that meal, accommodation, and transportation fee in Malaysia is affordable. Or maybe it was because I just came back from Japan 3 months ago so everything seemed cheaper in KL, I don’t know hahaha.
  4. I browsed about Malaysian transportation system, and it was all well-maintained. Mass transportation system is crucial for a solo-traveler since I would avoid using taxi, or online-taxi (Grab, Uber, etc) cause it costs more. And really, what’s the point of traveling if you get on taxi all the time and do not meet with other traveler or locals on your way? Train is my favorite choice of transportation, hands down. It is cheap, fun, and time-efficient.

How was my verdict about my first solo traveling experience in Kuala Lumpur? It was so much fun!!! I do see myself doing solo trip again some time later. I do think the key to enjoy solo-traveling is: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, and RESEARCH. If you are traveling solo, you are definitely need to browse the net before you go, don’t be lazy!

For example, I thought solo trip would be expensive (especially accommodation-wise), so I browsed like crazy, and voila! I found a budget friendly hotel in KL, with private room! I was afraid to sleep in a shared hostel for my first time solo trip, so the hotel I found was perfect cause it was a private room, in the middle of Chinatown (means I can easily find yummy food everywhere, that’s another plus!), and walking distance to the train and bus station. What could I ask for more?

Common area of Lantern Hotel in Chinatown. Look at that pretty mural!
The interior.
Read about this yummy Air Mata Kucing drink in a blog, and guess what?! It is exactly in front of the hotel. How lucky am I? Only costs 2 Ringgit.
View from my 3rd hotel dining area, Melange Boutique Hotel.

From my research I also found and fell in love with GoKL bus though. It is FREE of charge, and they go around KL. You just need to print or screen capture the buses route (there are a few routes, don’t get confused), and there you go, you can roam around KL with literally zero Ringgit come out of your pocket. There was one day of my trip where I just roam around KL with this bus, and I only use my money for meal.

GoKL bus. Pretty in pink!
Inside the GoKL bus.
The train station. Vintage but very clean.
The train route directory. Dear PT. KAI, we need this kind of directory in our train, not just stickers!

I do encourage you guys to go on a solo-trip. You may like it or not, you can decide later on, but I think it is something that anyone should try at least once in a lifetime.

My tips on solo-traveling:

Research! Either it’s about the accommodation, transportation, or the itinerary. You can be flexible about the time though because you are traveling solo. I didn’t make any itinerary for this KL trip. But since I’m a planner kind of person, I still make plans so I don’t waste my time wandering too much. I make plans every night for the next day trip.
Dress comfortably. You will be walking all day, so forget those heels, or uncomfortable mini skirts. I know mini bags are cute and trendy right now, but please, bring a bag that could contain your basic stuffs (mine are passport, wallet, camera, cables, powerbank, water bottle, tissues, etc). My personal pick is a crossbody slingbag since it’s safer, and it’s easy to grab anything from it. Better with zipper though, cause again, you can’t be too careful.
Forget about being shy to ask someone to take your photo. Chances are you won’t meet them again tomorrow anyway, haha! It is still hard for me to practice this tips myself, still working on it…
Get a local number for internet connection. Don’t depend too much on free wifi, you can’t be cheap about being lost in someone else’s country! First thing I did when I arrived in KL was getting a local SIM Card for my phone.

Batu Caves. It is a little out of KL but very easy to reach using train.
Selfie cause too afraid to ask stranger for a photo.
Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Walking distance from the Lantern Hotel.
Murals everywhere.

Dataran Merdeka.
The milo ones are the best. The Kit Kats are too sweet for my liking.
Went to Malacca too. But that’s for another post!

Thank you for being so nice to me for my first solo trip, dear Malaysia!

2 thoughts on “My First Solo Traveling Experience: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  1. Hey, ur writing is very interesting. Im planning for a solo getaway too, but finding difficulties with the hotel. Same here, too afraid for staying in hostel or sharing room, could you recommend some hotel that you had visited the last time you went there? It will be very usefull for me, thankyu;)

    1. Hi, Nae. Thank you for reading! Well, I stayed in 3 hotels on my last year trip to KL. One is Lantern Hotel (Chinatown), Melange Hotel (Bukit Bintang), and The Face Suites.

      1. Lantern Hotel is perfect for backpackers, they have single room for only less than 100 RM. It was also strategically located as it is near the bus station and the train station.
      2. Melange Hotel is slightly more expensive than Lantern Hotel (around 100 RM if I’m not mistaken), but it has better facility. They have TV, mini fridge, etc in their room. Located in Bukit Bintang, walking distance to Pavilion Mall.
      3. The Face Suites. It is quite pricey though, around 350 RM. I stayed there one night just because I’m interested in their infinity pool with Petronas Tower as the background lol.

      Actually, I’m planning to go to KL again next month. I just did another research for the hotel few days ago and found this really cheap hotel in KL (have both bunkbed and private room) named Bunk & Bilik. You may want to try that out 🙂

      Hope this helps and happy planning your solo getaway!

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