Week 46 - Melaka & Kuala Lumpur

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June 12th 2011
Published: June 13th 2011
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Leaving the metropolis of Singapore behind us we travelled north across the border into Malaysia, where the high rise buildings changed into lush green tropical rain forests and jungle. The journey took four hours on our Super VIP luxury bus before we arrived in the city of Melaka. This particular city is steeped in history, as it has been ruled by the Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English over the years. This led to it being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site back in July 2008. Our bus dropped us off in the middle of nowhere, so we consulted the map and grabbed a taxi to find the hotel we’d booked to stay in. Unfortunately the taxi driver hadn’t consulted his map and got completely lost in the end we were the ones telling him where to go! Eventually we arrived and checked into the “Rooftop Guest House”, which had only opened two weeks prior to our arrival. The owner was incredibly helpful, pointing out every point of interest and all her favourite restaurants in the area whilst we sipped on our welcome lychee drink. After dumping the oversized and overweight backpacks into the room, we set about exploring the nearby

Famous Nonya pineapple tarts
Chinatown to grab a bit of lunch. It was like stepping back in time as we meandered through the backstreets with their rustic antique shops housing hundred year old ornaments. We found a quirky cafe called the “Geographer” where we stopped for a bite to eat washed down with a beer. After food we made our way along the river which cuts Melaka in two before calling it a day.

The next day we went exploring in the old historic part of town, starting off at the town square where all the buildings are painted a bold dark red colour. We walked around to the Town Hall and viewed the Stadthuys Christ Church before making our way past the numerous museums that are scattered around the place until we reached the A’Famosa Fort. We took a few photos’ here then started the long climb up the steps to the Ruins of St. Pauls church on top of the hill. The heat now was getting pretty intense, so we decided to pop into a nearby shopping mall to appreciate the air conditioning for a while! With all the walking around in flip flops our feet where looking a bit dirty,

Fort A Famosa
so instead of washing them ourselves we opted to pop into our second fish foot spa of the trip and let the fish do it for us! Feet refreshed we headed along the river to visit a large replica of a boat before it was time for lunch. Melaka is famous for a couple of specialities, so for lunch we had its Laska, a regional dish with its distinguished coconut milk and lemon grass infusion which was followed up by a sweeter dish of Nonya pineapple tarts. The day ended with even more food at a Pakistani restaurant recommend to us by the owner of our Guest House called “Pak Putra”, where they did the most amazing array of Naan Breads and Pakistani Cuisine.

Sadly our time in Melaka was up, so the following morning we hopped on another bus to make our way up to the Malaysian Capital, Kuala Lumpur. Upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur’s main bus terminal, we jumped into a taxi to take us to Times Square which doesn’t resemble its name sake in New York. In fact Times Square in Kuala Lumpur is actually a massive shopping mall, which has an indoor theme park on

Petronas Towers under the storm
the top floor. We were staying just round the corner from the large shopping complex, so we dropped our bags of at the hotel before having the usual wander around the surrounding area to get our bearings. Not long after we’d started to walk around the heavens opened, so we dashed into the Times Square shopping mall to have some lunch and after eating a lot of southeast asian food over the last few weeks we opted to have our fix of western food at Papa John’s Pizzeria. The rain continued for the rest of the afternoon, slowly dying out in the evening just in time for dinner which we had at a Wings Bar on the road next to our hotel. Whilst having our food and drinks Cerri had noticed a few odd things happening at the restaurant next door to ours. A group of Japanese Business men ordering their company for the evening as so to speak as they were in the form of prostitutes, this turned out to be most entertaining as me and Cerri would place bets on which of the call girls they would keep and which they would send away as car load after

Batu Caves
car load of girls arrived, it was very bizarre and seedy to watch. By the time we had left all but one man was without an escort for the rest of the evening, we thought he was being rather picky!

The sun was shining the following morning so we got up early and headed out of the city centre to book our bus tickets for our next destination, we had heard that the current bus station was under reconstruction so they had in replacement what could only be described as a marquee with benches and booths. Upon finding the quirky bus station we stumbled across the National Sports Complex which was the stadium that was built and use for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, it was pretty impressive and after a nose around and bus tickets booked we headed on to the Batu Caves on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. This is one of the most famous temple caves in the world because it contains a Hindu shrine that can only be reached by a flight of 272 steps, which over a million pilgrims climb every year. Next to the steps stood a 43 metre high Mutra Statue which guarded

Watch out Frankie Dettori!
the entrance after a few pictures and a couple of stretches we prepared ourselves for the stairs. After climbing up the steps which seemed to take an eternity, we entered the darkness of the cave to view the temple itself. Inside the cave there were several statues, the famous temple and an army of monkeys that had decided to call this place home. After exploring all around the old temple we headed to the modern side of Malaysia and visited the also world famous Petronas Towers. Kuala Lumpur’s twin towers were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 until they were surpassed by Taipei 101 building. Unfortunately all the tickets to go up the Petronas Towers for that day had been sold so we went from one tall building to another as we made our way to the KL tower. Here we went up to the observation deck which was some 276 metres above the ground to see the spectacular views of the city down below; it was great to learn about KL and its history through the audio guides they gave us as well. Part of our ticket at the KL tower entitled us to a

KL Tower amongst the storm
free pony ride, a miniature zoo and a go on the F1 simulators, I declined riding a pony as I didn’t think the little four legged creature would be able to take my weight and quickly walked around the zoo as there were some huge, scary and hairy tarantulas on display! After we had a race in the F1 simulators, we spotted the posters showing that the Malaysian Grand Prix was going to be held in Kuala Lumpur in a few days time and with the tickets starting at £10 for a three day pass we thought we’d purchase some.

The next day we continued to explore the city, jumping on the monorail that runs all around the city centre our first stop was Chinatown. We strolled around the market that sold all sorts of souvenirs and fake design goods before viewing the Sri Mahamariamman Temple which was followed by lunch at the Reggae Bar with a happy hour beer. After lunch we made our way to the second market of the day, Central Market which had much of the same stuff as the first market. We then went onto Little India, which believe it or not had its

Petronas Towers at Night
own market as well! So we strolled around for a bit before visiting the Masjid Jamek mosque where we had to put on some traditional and appropriate attire, Cerri ended up looking like Mother Teresa! We decided to hang around the city centre until it got dark, so we could see the Petronas Towers all lit up at night. After the light of day faded the Towers lights started to come on, which illuminated the building so that it almost resembled some sort of space craft. It just so happened that as the F1 was on in Kuala Lumpur, there was a free outdoor concert being held underneath the Towers themselves so we joined the queue and went on in. We watched some random asian acts who were probably quite famous over there but obviously we’d never heard of them before the band Hoobastank came on. Cerri even managed to blag herself into the VIP area to get some good photo’s!

The Next day was the Malaysian Grand Prix its self. The Formula One track was about an hour outside Kuala Lumpur, so we jumped on the bus to make our way down the motorway towards the petrol fumes

Couples Combo at the Grand Prix
and smell of burnt rubber that surrounds the Sepang International Circuit. Arriving at the track with the rest of the thousands of F1 enthusiasts, we made our way to the main entrance. Once inside we had a stroll around the various stalls from the different cars being represented at this prestigious sporting event including Ferrari where I had my photo taken with a couple of scantily clad Thai models, happy days! Deciding we were never going to buy anything from any of the stalls, we made our way over to the gate to get to the grass bank that we would call home for the next few hours. Arriving at the gate, we were told our tickets won’t scan! We both thought we’d be been scammed and bought fake tickets, so I made my way to the customer services desk where luckily they told me the muppets at the gate had been trying to scan the wrong barcode! Eventually we made it in and set up camp for the day on the grass bank, the noise was incredibly loud as the vehicles soared around the track warming up their tyres for the big race. We did come prepared and done

Grand Prix Action
a bit of research so Cerri was like Mary Poppins and had a number of articles in the bag to help us out on the day, out came the blanket, slapped on the sun cream, popped in the ear plugs to reduce the possibility of getting a headache and set the camera to high speed burst to try and capture the action as they drove past us at over a hundred miles an hour. The race was an exciting one with last season’s runner up in the competition Sebastain Vettel taking first place on the podium, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were way behind the pace finishing sixth and eighth respectively. Since me and Cerri had never been to a Grand Prix before we had a lot of fun; especially trying to do impressions of the cars as they sped by also spending most of the day trying to decipher what each of us were saying as we couldn’t hear a thing! The excitement of the Grand Prix over we made our way back to bus and headed back into Kuala Lumpur for our final night in the Malaysian Capital.

The following morning we were up nice and early

Schumacher racing past
ready to catch another coach, this time venturing inland, high up into cooler climates to an area known as the Cameron Highlands...

Additional photos below
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Cool little place to live!

Melaka River at night

Ben getting ready for the Grand Prix

Nice Welcome to KL!

National Sports Complex

Halfway Break!

Temple Statue

Cerri on the run up!

Fun night lights

Decorated rickshaw

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