Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands (Pulau Perhentian in Bahasa Malaysia) lie approximately 10 nautical miles (19 km) offshore the coast of northeastern Malaysia in the state of Terengganu, approximately 40 miles (64 km) south of the Thai border. The two main islands are Perhentian Besar (“Big Perhentian”) and Perhentian Kecil (“Small Perhentian”). Popular for it’s beaches, snorkeling and driving. Like a real postcard.

Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru is the state capital of the state of Johor and the second largest metropolitan area in Malaysia. Most tourists don't stop here and just pass through the city on their way to or out of Singapore. JB is a major local transportation hub however. Since it is just across the causeway from Singapore, some travellers use it as a hub to visit Singapore from here (lower accommodation prices) or to board the train, bus or airplane.

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Keropok Lekor

The easiest way to describe Keropok Lekor is to call it fish sausage. It is the specialty from Terengganu, a state at the east coast and omnipresent in the streets and villages and very much a part of the live of the people there. Here are some pictures from one of the most popular Keropok Lekor stalls or shall I say factory, in Kuala Terengganu.

The mixture is being hand-rolled into a sausage form. Ingredients of the mixture: Fish (Ikan Parang or Ikan Kembong), Sago Flour, Salt, Water, Ice Cubes, Pandan Leaves. There are some basic machines at the back of the house to do the mixing processing.

The sausages are thrown into boiling water for a few minutes until they are cooked and ready to be sold. This stall is so popular that the sausages are sold freshly right from the pot with people waiting patiently in a long queue.

At home, the huge and long sausages are cut into smaller pieces and thrown into the pan to be deep-fried until they turn crispy gold. Another option to take Keropok Lekor is to just steam it. This gives it a fishier flavor but tastes as good as the crispy ones according to some people. A completely different kind of Keropok is Keropok Keping and it comes in different flavours : fish, squid and prawn. Here, the Keropok is shaped into even bigger tubes and cut into thin slices to let it dry in the sun. (They are sold in packets and consumers will have to fry them and they are taken as crackers. During frying, it is entertaining to see the pieces of Keropok expand to bigger pieces when they hit the hot oil.)

Keropok Lekor ready to be served with their chili sauce, or with own home-made chili sauce if one prefers or shrimp-based sauce is also common. You get the best of it if you take it right after frying when it is still hot, crispy on the outside and tender at the inside. Definitely a must-try if you want to experience the Malay culture from the east coast in Terengganu and its diversity in food is one of the ultimate elements of the culture.
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Being a majority muslim country, alcohol is rather expensive compared to other Asian countries because of the so-called sin taxes. But alcohol is served in most convenience stores and Chinese restaurants. It’s also cheap in Langkawi because it is the status of a duty-free zone.


Thaipusam Festival

The Hindu Thaipusam Festival festival is a public holiday in Malaysia and takes place every year end of January / beginning of February.