Published: June 9th 2008February 22nd 2008
BOH - Best of Highlands
At Cameron Highlands the tea plantations form breathtaking landscapes
Walk from Singapore to Malaysia wasn't near as hard as we imagined. The subway takes you almost all the way to the border and the remaining part is like walking in a nice park. The immigration was also easy, stamp out, cross the causeway and stamp in. No surprises and no visas! Ahhh... South East Asia "I'm Loving it!".
We new that South East Asia was a backpacker paradise. But now we are finally understood why. It's so easy to travel here. You don't have to think about anything, there is a travel agency every corner ready to deal with backpackers. The buses are good, plenty and goes every tourist rote you can think of. You just tell where you want to go and they organize all you connections, even local buses you had to take! If you tell your hotel name they even drop you off at the door. Many countries/places in our trip we depended our lives on the guide book, nobody spoke any comprehensive language and there were no signs or information anywhere. But South East Asia is different. A guide book is useless. Everywhere you have information in where to go, how to go, what to
Petronas Towers by night
The landmark of Kuala Lumpur. Once the highest building in the world.
do and how to do it. Hostels are a true traveling information databases and tourist information offices or travel agencies specialized in backpackers are more frequent than Mc Donald's in the US. (Talking about Mc Donald's, in Malaysia they offer a red beans flavored McSundae that brings you good fortune for the new year!?!?)
Malaysia felt a lot like home (for who doesn't know where we live, we are from Brazil... hehehe)
. The level of apparent development is very similar, the vegetation has the same tropical plants, the air humidity and temperature is so similar (sometimes looking out of the window during the bus trips, we could swear that we were somewhere near our parents place)
. Even people friendliness felt similar (not the look of course...hehehe)
. It's good to feel home.
We didn't stay long in Malaysia, only 12 days. From the border we went to Malacca, a small town on the south with an amazing history. All the famous world travelers and discoverers (Vasco da Gama, etc) passed by Malacca. Like in East India was a main port of the spice trade. Although it has a long history, there isn't that much to see, so after 2
Remainings from trading route
Malacca was one of the most important port in the SE Asian spice route.
nights we left to Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur was amazing. Petronas towers really deserve their title as an international wonder. We did the free trip to the connecting bridge between the two towers. The view is stunning. Well as you may imagine, we are traveling for quite a long time now and sometimes we get too lazy to plan what to visit or what to do. The solution for that is to follow the other travelers around. Thanks for our two British tour guides (Ellie and Katherine) we had a great time in KL!
From KL, in our “everything organized” bus, we went to the cold Cameron Highlands. The village looks exactly like a Swiss village and our hostel had a bonfire every night with life music. The highlands are the main area of tea plantation of Malaysia, but not only by their tea, they are also famous for their strawberries. We wanted to stuff ourselves with strawberries, but as any other touristy place on the planet, the prices were too inflated :(.
After a few days enjoying life and the chilled climate, was time to discover the famous pacific paradise islands. From the highlands we left
At the entrance of Petrona Towers, testing my new camera.
to Pulau Perhentian. This time, to keep our backpackers pride, we tried a “not organized” trip. Took us a night and a day traveling to get there, instead of 8 hours. But we saved a fortune of US$5 each :) and a night accommodation :). It's nice to get out of the "I don't need to think, all organized trips" and this is possible even in South East Asia!
The Perhentian Island is gorgeous, crystal clear water, snow white sandy beaches shaded by palm trees. But the season was just starting, meaning that almost every business was still closed, the sea was wavy (they told us it's like a mirror two week latter)
and the climate was rainy. Well we shortened our week stay in the island for just a few days and headed to the border: we were looking forward to Thailand. Summary
Length of Stay: 12 Days
Visited: Johor, Mekala, Kuala Lumpur, Tanah Rata (Cameron Highlands), Pulau Perhentian.
Pros: No visa, Cheap, many people speaks English and easy to travel.
Cons: Not as amazing as imagined.
Transport: Fast and comfortable, many options special for tourists.
Budget p/day: US$18,19
Budget breaker: Boat to/from Pulau Perhentian
There are more photos below