Hi Friends, Family and World Travelers,

I am now back in LA writing about the last leg of my trip – Malaysia!  I’m not sure about others, but Malaysia was never a place that immediately came to my mind when I thought about places I want to travel.  I suppose my natural inclination are places like Greece, France, Aruba, Africa, Jamaica, etc. , but sometimes it’s the unexpected and spontaneous that surprise you in life and help broaden your horizons and general knowledge about the world.

My boyfriend Max happens to be born in Malaysia.  He is half Swiss (mother) and half Malaysian/Chinese (father), and we had planned the Malaysian leg of the trip to attend his cousin, Shuwen’s wedding.  We departed form Bali to Malaysia and once we landed we went to Max’s friends bar, Bakita.  I had the pleasure of meeting some of his great local friends there.  We then all headed to a club called Velvet Underground | Zook Club.  I would recommend it for anyone that happens to be in KL.  We all had such a blast.  The music was great and the company fantastic.  There was a table next to us, with what we assumed were tourists, that literally had ordered at least 40 bottles of champagne.  35 of which remained at the table after they left.  Who knows why they ordered so much, probably just for show, but it was a pretty ridiculous site to say the least.

The next day we woke up and checked in at The Ritz Carlton before we took a tour of Kuala Lumpur and went to Petaling Street where Chinatown is located.   It is famous for pirated clothes and accessories along with bootleg DVDs and CDs, amongst other things.  This is a popular place both for tourists and locals.  Don’t be afraid to bargain here, or walk away if they don’t give you the price you want!  You can be sure they will come chasing after you to make the sell!

We then drove by the Petronas Twin Towers.  The design of these towers are based on simple Islamic geometric forms of two interlocking squares, creating a shape of eight-pointed stars.  These forms have important principles within Islam – “unity within unity, harmony, stability and rationality”.

There is also a bridge that links the towers called Skybridge.  This is the world’s highest double-decked bridge.  It also provides a spectacular view of Kuala Lumpur, and also functions as an escape route in case of emergencies.  Our time was so limited that we did not get a chance to go on the bridge, but I most definitely will next time!

Later that night we had to go to a family get together, the night before Shuwen (Max’s cousin’s wedding).  This is where I met some of Max’s family from his father’s side for the first time.  The Loong’s sure can party and drink!  :))  They definitely know the definition of fun.

(Max, his mom and I)

The next day we woke up early to go to Shuwen’s tea ceremony. The tea ceremony is the most sacred ritual of Chinese nuptials. It serves as the bride’s symbolic introduction to the groom’s family.

Traditionally, the groom’s family members sit in chairs, while the newlyweds kneel before them and serve the tea. It is served in a special order, starting with the groom’s parents, then proceeding from the oldest family members to the youngest. In return, the newlyweds receive lucky red envelopes stuffed with money.

There are different variations of the traditional tea ceremony, but in Shuwen’s case, they most definitely provided a hilarious modern spin!  The groom and his best men approached the house that Shuwen was in, while she was hidden away in a room upstairs.  The groom must find his way into the house and up to Shuwen, BUT there is one catch…the bridesmaids are in the way!  The men must do a number of ridiculous, difficult and embarrassing activities in order to move forward towards the inside of the house and up the stairs.  Along the way, they must give money to the bridesmaids in order to get closer to the bride!  Here are just some sample images below of what the poor men had to endure:

We then ate some great food before checking in to The Club Saujana Resort Kuala Lumpur, which is where the wedding was going to be held later that evening.

During this break I went to a local salon to get my hair done for the wedding.  I don’t know about others, but for me – I am really particular about who does my hair and make-up, and being in a foreign country with no contacts or familiarity with who to go to, I had to depend on the concierge to direct me.  They did a fairly good job and referred me to Nick Lieu at A Saloon.  I was satisfied, considering I was going in blind.  The most interesting thing to me about the whole process was that when they washed my hair, they literally did the shampooing as you sat in the chair without wetting your hair in the basin.  They then took you over to the basin to rinse out the shampoo.  It was very different!

I then rushed back to the hotel to change and get ready for a fun filled evening!  We walked downstairs to a cocktail reception in the lobby, followed by being seated at the tables.  Max was asked to host his cousin’s wedding, which he obviously did a fantastic job of!  We had an amazing buffet of food that I kept going back to for seconds and thirds.  (Side note:  One thing I’ve noticed at weddings, although plated food at a wedding is seen in a higher regard than a buffet, every single time there has been a buffet the food always is better than weddings that have had designated plated food.  Not sure why it’s turned out that way.)

The night continued with dancing and me catching the bouquet!  First time ever, so I was pretty excited!  The look on my boyfriend’s face was priceless (in a cute way).  The venue closed at midnight and so we took the party to the hotel club/bar where we all partied until 4AM!  (Video included below of the club.  Poor quality and dark b/c no lights but will do.)

The next morning we woke up to head to the airport back to Singapore where we were spending one more day prior to departing for LA.  Lately, I’ve been craving a lot of donuts.  I’m not sure why – but I’m on a donut diet at the moment.  :))  To my excitement, I saw a donut shop at the airport…and couldn’t resist myself!

Once we landed we had dinner at my favorite place in Singapore again – the Suki-Ya place mentioned in my first Journal entry on Singapore and came back to Max’s condo to knock out!  The next morning I wanted to get some last minute shopping in.  We went to the local mall where I was introduced to two stores that I will continue to shop at.  They were divine.  The first was a swimsuit store.  I have yet to see unique, beautiful and stunning swimwear like this one yet.  Aguaclara by Liliana Villalobos.  Made in Peru.  I’m in <3 !!

The second store and brand I fell in love with is Kandee Shoes.  Eye-candy for your feet!  They had a quote on the wall, which I loved, “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”  …and that is just what Max did!  Thank you my prince charming!

From there we went to lunch at the michelin star awarded Din Tai Fung, which is ranked as one of the world’s Top 10 Best Restaurants by The New York Times.  They are especially known for their dumplings.  I happened to really enjoy their wontons.

From here we went home to rest for a bit before Max took me to one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Singapore – Gardens by the Bay!!!!  Apparently the dome right next to it called the Cloud Forest is even more stunning, but it was closed that night.  I can’t imagine, because in and of itself, Gardens by the Bay was exquisite.  We went in the evening, so it was a bit darker (even though they recommend you come in the day), I actually preferred the night walk, you get to see all the neon lights and the surrounding city lights.  There was something quite mystical and magical about the experience.  As you walk through each garden, you discover the stories of the contribution from different ethnic groups towards Singapore’s formation. The flowers, sounds, visuals were all so beautiful (the pictures do not do it enough justice – the colorful one below is an aerial view of part of it from the top floor).

They had an event space there called the Flower Field Hall that I couldn’t help but think would make for such a fantastic wedding location!  It’s unique, different, stand-out and breath-taking.  I can picture guests saying, “only she would do something like this”.  I’ve never been a conventional person of the sorts to want a cookie cutter wedding at a standard hotel or venue.  I am more the type to want to hold a special day like that at an exclusive estate, in the tropical jungle somewhere (perhaps destination), even considered Disneyland at one point (because I love it so much and it’s magical)…just something different.  Gardens by the Bay is definitely that.  I’m thinking too far ahead of myself, but if there are any ladies out there getting married soon and want a Singapore destination wedding – THIS – IS – IT!  Hands down!  They even have a restaurant there called Pollen.  We didn’t get a chance to eat there but promised ourselves we would go back there for dinner sometime.

At this stage, we were both starving and so we went to go eat some Singapore street food.  This is something I had been wanting to do since I first got to Asia.  Asia is known for their vibrant street food culture that pulses through the city.  The street food comes from a diverse cultural makeup, including flavors from China, India, Malaysia and Indonesia.  These street vendors are open-air food markets with vendors cooking local specialties at cheap prices.

We went to one called Sin Hoi Sai Eating House.  We ordered a chicken and beef dish.  Both were phenomenal, but I truly can’t express how the chicken dish was TO DIE FOR!!!!!  I’m salivating as I write this – that’s how good it was.  Yes, I said salivating.  Just the thought of it make me hungry.  I can’t wait to go back to Singapore so I can have this dish!  Wish there was something similar in the states!

After dinner we headed back home, packed and said night night.  For the next day we headed to the airport to say a farewell to lovely Asia.  Bye bye Asia!!!  See you soon.  xoxo

Simply Sepi