Published: April 28th 2011April 16th 2011
Kuala Lumpur - Cameron Highlands - Penang, Georgetown 22nd March to 27th March 2011
A 6 hour bus ride from Kuala Lumpur and an easy passport control eventually got us dropped off in what we later found out was Times Square in KL. After shaking off some taxi guys we got bit of space and tried to figure out where we were on the map. Clearly looking lost a Chinese man approached us with some drunken advice on where to go. He left us momentarily while he went and nicked a map for us from a coffee shop, unhappy with the one we had, along with some random magazines for no apparent reason. But sure enough he had us on the right Monorail moments later only a few stops from Chinatown where we were staying at Transit Point B & B. This was our first encounter with Budhist customs in the home, leaving our shoes at the door, hoping they'd still be there the next morning (also hoping verrucas weren't common amongst the population).
Like Singapore we spent our first day walking around Chinatown, Little India, The Golden Triangle and the Petronas Twin Towers. After the sightseeing we took
a break in Berjaya Time Square where we started out in KL the previous day for some much needed AC in the shopping centre. We got back to Chinatown for some lunch on the street stalls, sitting and eating with the locals some very tasty dishes. A mass of markets around the streets in Chinatown by evening time made for some leisurely wandering around and we ended up grabbing some cheap dinner as like lunch time by the streets. We continued our strolling afterwards and it was just then we noticed 3 pet shops in very close proximity to the food areas (God no) with lots of little birds, kittens and puppies. Luckily we'd stuck to veggie dishes.
The next day we checked out and looked into buses to Cameron Highlands. With the main bus terminal shut down for renovations for years now we got a shuttle to the temporary terminal. We waited 2 hours for the 3 and a half hour scenic bus trip to Tana Rata. We walked to Twin Pines hostel and got an attic room, a cupboard basically, with a mattress on the floor, way cheaper than anywhere we'd stayed yet. As I write this
i'm wondering how the hell we're running so low on funds staying in places like this. We had an indian for dinner and planned our next day. That evening we heard of yet another disaster not too far away from us, this time on Burma/Thailand border with some after shocks in Thailand, our next destination. We got up early the next morning and took off walking along a pathway to a waterfall and on to the nearby town of Brichang where we stopped off at the Big Red Strawberry Farm, over endulging in 'pick your own' strawberries. We continued our walking after this to Kea Farm markets and further to Sungei Tea Plantation, acres upon acres of tea plants and beautiful green lands but a hell of a walk, over 10km. We had a nice cup of tea (not a patch on Lyons) and were left with the thought of walking back the whole way, most people hiring a taxi or bus for the day. Whether it was our slouched walking style or otherwise that encouraged the next act of kindness im not sure but we were very grateful as an Iranian family in a pick-up jeep pulled up beside
us and offered us a lift. We gladly hopped in the back and sat back and enjoyed the scenery. As the weather was still rubbish we opted to head west as opposed to east coast which had been our plan and booked a bus for Penang. The next morning was a 7am pick up in a mini van with the driver taking the racing line down through the mountains and continuing his outrageous overtaking manouevers on the highway in monsson rain. We checked into Banana Guest House and looked into sampling 'hawker food', the same stuff we've been eating since arriving in Singapore at the markets but supposedly the best in south east asia. It didn't disappoint, despite rats joining us on the footpaths on occasion to see if they fancied any of the remains. We walked around Little India and Chinatown people watching and seeing lots of temples. We had a few drinks in Bezel Nut Cafe in the evening along with more hawker food, some Wan Teen Mee (chicken, soy, noodles, delicious) and tasty corn on the cob.
We awoke the next day to news of terrible weather hitting the south of Thailand, our next stop so
did some rearranging, booking a flight to Bangkok, in the hope of maybe seeing south Thailand at the end of the trip. We had a walk to the weekend Penang markets where money was being rasied for Japan earthquake victims and then to the marina and shopping centre for some relief from the sweltering heat. We flew out the following day hoping the north of Thailand would be free of any flooding or earthquakes.
There are more photos below