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Published: December 21st 2008
Beach at Tuluk Nipah
We spent many days here
Wednesday 10th December
We arrived in the port city of Lumut at 4:05am. Fortunately a good cafe was nearby so with NIcky we spent a few hours over a few coffees waiting for the day’s first ferry. Like elsewhere in Malaysia, however many times you ask for coffee or tea without sugar it always arrives incredibly sweet. The cafe was by no means empty at this early hour (some youngsters watching live football, Chelsea v Roma, others with their laptops playing games and watching videos, a couple of policemen, a few couples and then strangely a large family with several small children arrived a 5:15am and proceeded to have a full meal. At about 5:50am the wail from the mosque started, strangely mixing with the football commentary. Numerous staff prepared dough balls, chopped vegetables and swept and mopped. The ferry left promptly at 7am as the sky brightened. It was very busy with lots of local school kids in organized groups. On disembarking we shared a pink taxivan with Nicky to the other side of the island to a beach called Teluk Nipah. Our first impressions were very good. The island is small and just dense high peaked jungle in the
Must remember to hold my stomach in next time
centre and lovely sandy beaches around its edge. We left Jen with the rucksacks on the beach and I began the search for accommodation in the company of Nicky but we were too early and in this laid-back place and few hostels had anyone about. At one stage the we found a girl on reception but with language problems things got confused and we had to explain that Nicky and I were not a gay couple looking for a double room. Nicky is quite a straight talking guy and we somehow managed to get a good deal. Jen and I have ended up with a simple but decent air-con en-suite room in a quiet location backing onto the jungle about 200m from the beach for only 40 Ringit (about £7.70) a night.
After unpacking we needed a nap and then much refreshed headed for the beach. It is simply lovely - the sand is fine, the seawater warm, calm and clear and the locals friendly and unpushy. Looking inland the jungle was lush in the bright sun. Hornbills are numerous here and there are occasional monkeys in the trees. We were slightly worried that the latter might steal our clothes
One of the local hostel owners feeds fruit to the hornbills in the evening. They gather is big numbers I counted at least 25.
from the washing line.
Thursday 11th December
Simply lazed on the beach all day cooling off in the sea occasionally. Snack of the day was an unknown fruit with large stone in centre, which is deep-fried in batter. Intellectual entertainment again provided by Nikolai who was in Afghanistan as part of his national service with the Russian army. Back at our room as the sun goes down, the sounds from the jungle become more varied and intriguing.
Friday 12th December - We needed to stock up on cash at an ATM and the owner offered to give us a lift into the main town. On reaching town he offered us a coffee at a cafe where we shared a table with him as he did some wheeler-dealing with some business associates (it was very entertaining and of course we didn't understand a word, but there was animated conversation and money was changing hands). We got a lift back to our place on a bus that he'd organised for a church group from Ipoh. Their happiness and excitement about their weekend break to Pulau Pangkor was infectious. On arrival one of their number invited us to their barbecue on
She wouldn't let me zoom in any closer
the next evening.
Saturday 13th December
We walked in stupefying heat to next village passing the local 'airport' - a runway and a single building. The beach here was not as good as our usual one. There is an interesting looking fishing village on stilts going out into the sea in the distance. Back at our beach it was an afternoon of leisure. Nickolai saw a large monitor lizard at the rubbish tip we pass on the edge of the village. He stepped forward to chase it off but it advanced towards him as was not intimidated. Another person we met encountered a wild boar on venturing on a path into the jungle. We were too late back for the church party barbecue, which they had very early. They seem to be spending much of their break closeted in the common room singing hymns and listening to fire and brimstone sermons judging by what we could overhear.
Sunday 14th December
Nicholai left early morning heading for the Cameron Highlands via Ipoh. It was strange not having his interesting conversation on the beach. The tide was low so I tried to walk out to the offshore island but sharp
We decided not to stay here.
Actually it's a fisherman's shack on the beach in the next village.
stones underfoot prevented me. I did see a colourful ray. In the evening we had some excellent barbecued fish in a crowded restaurant frequented solely by local Malaysians. A family that shared our table was a little uneasy in our presence and shifted as soon as another table became available. We were then joined by a far more friendly all male group of locals from a neighboring state who were far more friendly. One had a daughter at Nottingham University.
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