When I told people about my solo trip to Kuala Lumpur, I heard many times: “You need to be careful, it’s not safe there!” Even locals in Malaysia told me to be careful, especially when they heard that I’m alone as a woman going to a city I’ve never been before. I took the worries of friends and people that just met me serious, but I didn’t let them make me fearful and insecure about my plans. Instead of that I asked them for tips on which things to be careful. In an earlier post I wrote about my first solo trip that I didn’t enjoy that much and it even took a while to figure out why. It’s not that I’m not made for solo travel – it’s just to get in the right mindset and to not let other people make one insecure about that. The time I spent in Asia, changed me. A lot.
I have to confess that this time I didn’t tell my family about my travel plans – for a reason. I didn’t want them to be over-worried (for no reason) because I was going by myself. With this post I want to share my experiences with the people in Kuala Lumpur because people are people. Sometimes the first impression of someone is right and but your gut is always right.
The guy in the hotel
Before arrival I booked a very hotel room in KL for one night, because I headed the next day to Malacca, later to Singapore and came back to KL to spend a few days in the end.
At the check in, the guy at the reception irritated me a lot with his questions. It ranged from “Why do you book a double room for yourself” to “Why do you only stay one night?”
So I gave him a short explanation about my travel plans, inside I was pissed. Not sure whether he was thinking that I want to sneak in another person into the room but after answering too many questions I knew that this was my first and last night in this hotel. The vibe was just not right.
The woman in the MRT
I had always the MRT map with me to navigate through public transport in KL. I never had any struggels with undergrounds except for KL, until today I don’t understand the logical concept of interchanges in the underground system. Seriously, how do I find the right train when I changed from one train to another?
At point I was looking to find the next train to get to my destination, looking desperate around me and at the map. Fortunately a nice woman approached me and asked if she could help. Perfect timing! It appeared that we need to change to the same train and we had a nice conversation. She wasn’t used to speak English a lot but she genuine wanted to help me despite a little language barrier – honestly I was so happy about it.
At the restaurant
It was very early when I found that place – so early that usually no sane person would be wandering around in the city (maybe I explain another time what the hell I was doing that early in KL). Shops were still closed and I just wanted to sit down, have a rest from carrying my backpack and have some breakfast. The Indian Place I found had its menu outside and shortly after I was looking at the menu, a young guy from the restaurant approached me. In the beginning I hesitated a bit because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay at this restaurant or look for others. To be honest, at this point I was also not sure what to think about this young guy from the first impression. Turned out, my first impression of him was not right. He was actually a nice guy and I was just very tired. I ordered some Roti and The Tarik and observed the crazy traffic jam in the morning. After I finished my second order of (it was a big breakfast) another employee came to me and asked me if I liked the food, it turned out that he was the chef and we both had a short chat.
The Police officer in the shop
I’m aware that professionalism of police officers always depend on the individual, sometimes knowing more about a country can help to estimate whether police officers are people rather to be avoided or not.
On the day I left KL enroute to Malacca, I went in a small shop at the bus terminal, similar to a 7eleven to get some snacks and water. I was the only customer until a young police officer (in uniform) with a few friends. The moment I noticed them my gut feeling told me to keep distance. It wasn’t possible to avoid that group at the checkout, unfortunately.
“Are you traveling alone?”
– “I’m visiting a friend”
“Oh, your boyfriend? Hahaha”
I didn’t say anything because it was not necessary – I just looked at him (insert resting bitch face here). I was just glad that he didn’t had the need to pursue the conversation further. I didn’t have any intention in encourage him to ask questions about me and I didn’t feel the need to tell him that I was not visiting a “boyfriend”. It was better to let him have his laughter and my peace. It is also not his problem whether I was traveling alone or not.
Traveling helped me to trust my gut even more, because gut feeling is always right. It doesn’t matter if the person wears a fancy uniform or old outworn clothes. Looks has nothing at all to do with the personality of a person. Some people can hide for a while who they really are but nobody is able to maintain this façade forever.
I truly hope this post doesn’t seem that I’m ranting against people, the intention is to explain that people are people. There will be always people with good intentions and people with bad intentions no matter which country or city you are. Maybe this post can help some people that are not having any experience traveling solo to get a feeling what kind of situations can happen.