Our flight touched down in Kuala Lumpur airport at about 1am after a serious rocky flight from Bali where the airhostesses almost bashed their heads off the ceiling during some turbulence. Top notch piloting it must be said. Once safely on the ground we were pretty fast through immigration and customs before realising we had missed the last bus to the city so we grabbed an extortionate taxi for the 1 hour ride to the city. Serious trek. We arrived to the hostel around 3am and went straight to the leaba to catch some shut eye. The beds in the hostel were quite different from anything we had experienced before and were like little pods with its very own mirror, double bed, light, plug and curtain.
We were up at around 10am the following day for some breakfast which was fried rice and watermelon. I mean…the fried rice was delish, just not at 10am in the morning. With a slightly queasy belly Kev headed to the doc to get a check-up while Chris and I went for a little walking tour of the city. We stopped off at Merdeka Square, where Malaysia announced its independence in 1957, and then visited the local museum which gave a detailed history of the country.
We checked out early the next morning, had some noodles for breakfast and walked to the bus station before hopping on a bus to Penang, an island in the north west of Malaysia.
We arrived in Penang just before sunset on the outskirts of the city and grabbed a local bus for 45 minutes to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Georgetown. We were dropped off in Little India and after a while walking around managed to find our way to our hostel where we checked in. The place was fairly small but cosy. As it was getting late we headed to Little India and got some quality curry for dinner which burned our mouths off. Afterwards we returned to the hostel to get some shut eye, but it wasn’t too successful thanks to our Japanese roommate who snored nonstop from 12am until 9am the following morning. Lovely fella.
In the afternoon, Chris and I got the local bus to the nearest beach which was about 45 minutes away by bus. I swear that Eddie Irvine himself was driving the bus as we took some corners at 100km, with old ladies hanging on for dear life. A quick jog and dip in the sea later, we decided to head back to the hostel. En route Chris made a really nice new friend on the bus. The lad had one eye and just pointed at things,made their shape with his hands and asked Chris if he agreed. At one stage he began berating a young lady at a bus stop while we both looked on mortified. We all headed out for some noodles for dinner (not the mad fella) which burned the bloody mouth off the three of us. An early night was on the cards as there was not a whole nightlife in the town itself.
We grabbed some breakfast early the next morning and made a horrible walk to the bus station in excruciating heat before hopping on the bus to the Cameron Highlands which was due to be a 5 hour journey.
The bus rolled into the Cameron Highlands town of Tanah Rata at about 7pm and we wandered over to our hostel which was pretty nice and very cheap. The town itself is about 1500m above sea level so the jumpers were out within seconds. Once checked in, we did the best thing there is to do in Malaysia and went eating again. Yet again we visited an Indian restaurant and popped into the local shop for some sneaky Cadburys chocolate before returning to the hostel to have a few games of FIFA Fitness…you know the beaches of Thailand are coming soon!
We were up and ready to go by 8am the following day as we planned to trek through the infamous tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands. After some scrambled egg on toast and orange juice that tasted like Fairy liquid, we hopped in a taxi and made our way to the nearest town of Bichrang, where the Trek began. The hostel said it would take about 6 hours. They had obviously never heard of The Wirld’s Speed Tourism. We trekked uphill through the jungle for about 2 hours which was pretty tough, but not too bad as we are as hard as nails. Once at the top we climbed the lookout post with decent views of the countryside, but we couldn’t see much of the tea plantations. As we had forgotten to purchase a map, we followed the trail for another 5 km or so and made it to a break where we found some beautiful plantations. We sneaked in to the fields and managed to walk for an hour all the way to the tea factory with some spectacular views along the way.
We were up early the next day to check out and hopped on the early bus to Kuala Lumpur to give ourselves enough time before our flight in 2 days’ time. We checked into the hostel and booked a bus for the following day to Malacca 2 hours south of Kuala Lumpur. The hostel itself was in a red light district so was fairly seedy as we arrived in the lashing rain. And by the looks of things, the locals would have to be in desperate need if they were to avail of the services.
After a very comfortable bus journey early the next morning we arrived in Malacca and began looking around the old colonial town. The town itself is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and is extremely beautiful, with evident Portuguese and English influence. We strolled down Jonkers Street before picking up some lunch at the local food market. All full up, we climbed the local tower which gave excellent views of the city and visited the nearest market where we picked up a couple of things before hoping on the bus back to Kuala Lumpur. Once back in KL, Kev got a final check up at the doc who gave him the green light for drinking and we grabbed a bite to eat at the local Indian before hitting the hay fairly wrecked after a long day out.
We were up early the next day to check out of the hostel and try get our bags all packed for the flight to Thailand. As there has not been a laundry for a while, I feel particularly sorry for the sniffer dogs at KL airport. Once all ready, we had about 5 hours to kills and decided to visit the infamous Blue Mosque about an hour outside the city. We made a schoolboy error and forgot to write the name of the mosque down, so when we arrived at the town by train people told us various mosques to visit. In the end we hopped on the wrong bus but ended up at an equally as impressive mosque in the centre of Putrajaya, donned our robes and got a tour of the beautiful mosque. While inside we were introduced to a local who had studied in the Dublin Business School and only had good words about the capital as well as the mosque on the South Circular Road. After a chat with his family we headed out and did some Irish dancing before grabbing the bus back to the station and getting our bags at the hostel. Bags in hand we boarded the train and headed to the airport for the next leg of our trip: a nice little holiday in Thailand!
A big thank you for the warm welcome to all the people of Malaysia. It was quite fitting that we did not have a drink of alcohol during the whole time we were in the only Islamic country on the Wirld tour. We got the chance to learn a lot about the diverse cultures in the country and also gained a greater understanding of Islam in general (that’s deep). Cheers for the awesome curry too!
See ya in Thailand!