Flying within Southeast Asia is easy and cheap. On Sunday, I flew from Kuching to Penang for $20, which is kind of like flying from Fresno to Mendocino. Penang is a Malaysian province northwest of Kuala Lumpur that has been called the “Pearl of the Orient.”
My cab driver laughed when he told me Kuala Lumpur means “muddy estuary,” probably because Malaysia’s capital is nothing like its name. Bright and clean and rich, central Kuala Lumpur is full of flashy skyscrapers, 21st century transportation systems and giant up-market malls. First World roads, sidewalks and landscaping. No tuk-tuks or motor-scooters. After a couple of weeks in Cambodia, KL is quite a shock!