Published: February 3rd 2009January 29th 2009
From Singapore, we got a train over the border and into Malaysia, then up to the Capital Kuala Lumpur. When we booked our hostel at Singapore, we booked one more night than we wanted so that we could leave early and not arrive in Malaysia at night. That didn't really work. We got the 2PM train and the journey was around 7hours, so we didn't get into Kuala Lumpur until gone 9pm. Luckily we had booked a hostel in advance, so we did have somewhere to go. After getting lost...twice, we finally found the hostel, which embarrassingly was basically across the road from the station. (just across the road and round the next corner)
The next day we went to sort out our bus ticket to Cameron highlands. See how organised we are! We managed to negotiate our way to a ticket dest without a tout and buy a ticket without being ripped off! Woo to us! After that, we went to the Tourist centre to see a traditional dance show. It was really good, all the way to the end until they made it really cheesy. Then we went to see the Petronas twin towers. They were really tall.
At the hostel in Cameron Highlands
Dunno what else to say about them. We had dinner at the tourist centre, it wa' really nice. I had a beef green chilli curry thing, which was really spicey and nice. Annie had a tomato chicken dish. There is a night market outside our hostel so we went for a wander round that and bought some friut. See, we're being healthy.
On our last day in Kuala Lumpur, we went to the Batu Caves and its 272 steps. Not sure if they are meant to represent something or if they just felt the need to tell people how many steps they had to climb to get to the top. True to form, our timing is atrocious. We arrived in Singapore when everything was shut for CNY and we're here a week before the festivities of Thaipusam. Oh well.
Note to self, if the random man sat next to you on the bus starts talking to you, ignore him. It's a lot less awkward and he probably wont give you his phone number. The caves themselves are very touristy, with lots of little stalls selling tacky ornaments. (Why can't these places sell nicer stuff? They'd sell more.) Anyway, the
place itself was quite nice, the top giving a pretty impressive view of the city. And there were monkeys all over the place. There was one baby who was trying to escape from mum, and she was holding onto him by his tail. When she got hold of him and carried him up the hill a bit and away from the tourists, she made the mistake of putting him down. He just ran back down to us again. It was cute. We stayed at the top for a while for lunch before making our way back down the stairs, and to the bus stop. 272 isn't that many steps in the grand scheme of things. Not that there should be more. The bus back was very squished. As many people as physically possible are pushed on, and getting off is a task in itself. We were near the door though so it wasn't too bad.
We were leaving for the Cameron highlands the next day so, with our bus ticket booked, we got up early and arrived at the bus stop with plenty of time to spare. We were told at the counter to wait outside and we were
told outside to wait up the road, so we did. When the bus came we queued up and when we reached the front of the queue we were told that what we had was a receipt not a ticket and he wouldn't let us on! he told us where to go and when we got there, there was no one at the counter and he left us behind! The bugger! Annoyed, we went back to the counter we bought the tickets from in the first place, and she told us to go the the place the bus driver had pointed out, (she didn't tell us the first time round) refusing to listen to us. No matter how many times we said that there was no one there and that the bus was gone she just pointed outside again. Eventually she got one of the touts to take us and show us, so we went on a wild goose chase looking in the shop we'd already been in, then looking for a bus we knew had already gone. Accepting this he told us to go back to the counter. We think he may have called her because she didn't argue with
us this time. She did, however try to get us to pay for a new ticket, but when we just ignored her she changed the time on the ticket and gave it to us without asking again. There was a 2hr wait for the next bus and when it came, there was one tiny luggage rack, which we weren't quick enough to get into and the rack above the seats was too small. So we were scrunched up with our rucksacks at our feet for 4hrs. Our hostel at Cameron highlands is fab.
As we only had one day at Cameron Highlands, we booked ourselves on a half day tour of the sights. We were up early and may i just say how good it is to be somewhere cold! Well...English spring sort of climate. Anyway, first stop was a Buddhist temple. Then we moved on to a rose garden, with green roses - ugliest roses ever, but the rest were pretty and smelled nice. there was a bit of a hill which had a great view from the top. then we went to a strawberry farm. Oh my god i miss strawberries. but here the climate is just
right for them to grow continuously all year round. I had a strawberry milkshake, made with a full punnet of strawberries. The nicest milkshake Ive ever had in my life. We went to the tea plantations next. Mmmm, tea. They belong to a Scottish family. 4200 000 acres of tea. That's quite a lot really, isn't it? After a quick tour of the factory, we went to the cafe to have some refreshments over looking the plantation. Then we went to a bee hive place, which, well honestly it wasn't that exciting and we didn't stay long before going to a Butterfly and insect enclosure. I held a scorpion, they have scratchy feet... the butterflies were big and really pretty. Once we finished here it was back into the van for the journey home. We booked our bus transfer to Taman Negara and just chilled for the rest of the day. The food at this hostel is really good btw, cheap and tasty.
Then we were off again, this time to Taman Negara. We arrived at 6:30pm after traveling for 8hrs, and booked into a hostel. Then we went to get our permits and book some tours. We wanted
to do night safari, but we were the only ones so it got canceled. We managed to get some serious planning done instead, so we should be ok for stuff to do up to China. After that...we need a new guide book. So, for our one and only day in Taman Negara we crammed in some sights. We went caving with a guide and got up close and personal with some bats and we were even lucky enough to spot a snake in there. It was so good. We got to go on a boat ride up the river to get there - I say boat, it was like a gondola with a speed boat engine strapped to the back. Then we went on our own little adventure, walking through the jungle (I had the song from the Lion King in my head the whole time, you know the one it goes... 'a wimbe-way, a wimbe-way'.etc etc...In the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion sleeps toniiiight!) to the worlds longest rope bridge, canopy walk thing. That was scary. I will never again complain about how long its taking to get to the other side of those rickety bridges in films.
If your thinking, 'ohh, that doesn't look safe.' You are most definitely right, it doesn't. It was basically netting, held up with rope, with ladders and a plank of wood along the bottom to walk on. And it seemed to go on for ages! We spent a good half and hour getting from one end to the other, 450meters - Ok so we weren't going too fast, but neither would you in our position, which, incidentally was about 50meters in the air. We also went on the night safari we missed the night before. We didn't see that many actual animals but it was fun. There were ten of us piled on to a 4x4 (- kinda like Rays old Nissan) and Annie and I got to sit on the roof with the guide. I think we had the best spot. Everyone else was crammed into the back. We saw a snake, some mice, a domestic cat that looked guilty when we found it, and a wild cat of some sort, some pigs and some buffalo. Then we got a bus to Kota Bahru, where we're staying for one night before going up to Chumphon in Thailand.
There are more photos below