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No Worries 'Mas o Menos' 2 years on the road, travelling South East Asia, China, South & Central America and who knows where after that... Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dojo77/collections/

West Coast Malaysia

MALAYSIA | Saturday, 21 February 2009 | Views [2625] | Comments [2]

Cameron Highlands

We headed to the Cameron Highlands for a change of scenery, as the name suggests they reside about 1500m above sea level where the climate is far cooler. However, there are some disadvantages to escaping the heat and humidity, one is that to get up to those heights involves many twisting windy roads, and although the transportation thus far has been excellent the bus tyres could not cope with the rigorous strains of scaling these heights and not far from our intended destination of Tanah Rata the bus blew a tyre. Thankfully there was mechanics garage in the next town and we all hopped of the bus for a quick change of tyre, that was impressive to watch.

Another issue that arises from being so far above sea level is that nothing ever dries properly and remains damp (no where has heating) When looking for accommodation we noticed the smell of mould that we had experienced previously in Mt. Bromo, and thought nothing of it as eventually you get used to it and the smell subsides. So we checked in to a hostel and settled down for the evening. This time however with no natural ventilation the smell didn't disappate, in fact it seemed to get worse. On top of this the bed mattress was the most uncomfortable mattress either of us has ever slept on, every spring seemed to be broken and dug into the body, making sleep almost impossible to the point where we considered sleeping on the hard, cold floor. If that wasn’t enough our room was next to the shared toilets and showers and the sounds emanating from that direction aren't those that one really wants to hear!

Our second attempt at accommodation was much better. There were some pets there to keep us entertained, including the world's stupidest dog that waited until you were in the guesthouse before barking to notify the owners of your presence, although thinking about it, being a guard dog for a guesthouse must be a little confusing. Also, the world's loudest cat, every morning you could be woken  by the cat as if it were a cockerel signaling daybreak, when we saw the cat however it was a small ginger tabby kitten, it was amazing that the noise could come from something so small.

We booked ourselves on a tour to see some of the local attractions, our tour guide as you would expect was very knowledgeable about the flora, fauna and area we saw. He was also a closet photographer. He would direct us to which shots we should take and demand that he take pictures of us in the shots he had suggested. Many of which can be seen in the photos.

Our first stop was at peak of Gunung Brinchang, giving us a vista of the whole area from 2035m. From these dizzying heights you could tell why the Cameron Highlands are famed for tea, so naturally part of the tour was a visit to a Tea Plantation. 

After being told the process of the production of tea from plantation to tea cup we were given a sample of some of the local brew, it was very nice but the only purchase we came away with was some sachets of blackcurrant Ice Tea.

As part of the tour we got to visit a native tribe, a tribesman  took us ‘into the wild’ and showed us how he hunted and climbed trees etc, he even let us have a go with his blow darts,


However, it all felt a little contrived and again he had all the set poses for the pictures he thought we should take. That said it was a pleasant experience, at least until we got to their accommodation. The house itself was nicely crafted from bamboo from the local jungles, however they decided they wanted to put on a dancing show for us. This in itself should not be a problem, however they wanted someone to help make the music for them to dance too. They decided to pick the most uncoordinated, rhythmically challenged person on the tour to help them! I managed to keep rhythm pretty well after initially thinking it was an impromptu session, settling into a nice rhythm i was glad that at least i wasn’t having to show off my dancing prowess!


This was all about to change, before i knew it i was on the dance floor strutting my stuff  (read, reenacting the Genesis i can’t dance video ), i hadn’t even realised that a another tour party had arrived and everyone was watching.


The next day we set off on our own jungle trek, having had a taster on our tour and having not been put off by the leeches, we decided that we would try and navigate our way around some of the local trails. What started off as 1-2 hour trek, turned into a 6 hour jungle adventure due to the amount of fun we were having, including Jo landing shin deep in quick mud! Many of the paths were closed and we made up our own route as we went along finally reaching our chosen destination at the top of Gunung Berenbum for a spot of packed lunch before making the trip back towards home.


We worked out a route back to a guesthouse that was famed for its quintessentially English tea and scones. Jo had been looking forward to them since we arrived and after our adventure we were looking forward to a treat, however when we arrived we were shocked to find that a little, tea, flour, butter and jam cost 4 times the amount of a average main meal. We decided to head back into town where we found a cheaper alternative.

Penang

Upon trying to book a bus out of the Cameron Highlands we found that all the bus companies were booked up and only hostel provided minibuses still had seats available, but they would be at the almost work like time of 7am! ;-) The mini bus would also not go to our exact destination either, but we would be dropped off and have to catch a ferry the rest of the way. The journey went without a hitch, the minibus was comfortable enough for the 4 hour trip and we managed to negotiate the ferry crossing to Penang with ease.


The walk from the ferry to our accommodation took 20 minutes and gave us a taste of what we were in for, heat, heat, mixed in with a serious amount of humidity! We chose a room with A/C to dry off and also found that it came with free wifi, so we were able to set up webcam sessions to wish our respective parents happy birthday.

Like in Melaka many different countries have settled and remained in Penang and their influence is visible in the cities architecture, we spent some time walking around the streets taking it all in, where did i mention it was hot! Penang is also a little thread bare on footpaths, but much like Indonesia everything seems to run smoothly without them. While taking in the local sights we came across some locals playing draughts/checkers on the streets where the normally wooden pieces are replaced with different beer bottle tops. Although i’m sure they weren’t all drank in one sitting, but there’s a challenge!

The assortment of cultures has had a real impact on the cuisine in Penang which has made it the culinary capital of Malaysia, which would make you think we spent our time sampling the local delights, but in fact our diet consisted of peanut butter sarnies for breakfast and cheese sarnies for lunch and pretty much curry for dinner every night! Also in Penang we were able to apply for 60 day visas for Thailand and once the visas were successfully obtained we headed for some ‘downtime’ in............

Langkawi

There’s not much to really say about Langkawi. Blue skies, golden beaches, unbroken sunshine, 35 degrees everyday, duty free alcohol! Living right on the beach is so demanding!

However, after 5 days on Langkawi we’ve decided on a change of scenery.  Not because we’ve become tired of it, but we’re off to Ko Lipe in Thailand for more of the same, although a little more secluded if that’s possible!

Ryan & Jo 

Malaysia Highlights

Place -  Cameron Highlands (Jo) , Melaka (Ryan)

Attraction - Petronas Towers (Jo) Thaipusam (Ryan)

Food - Capitol Satay (Jo) , BabaNonya Laksa Melaka (Ryan)

Beer - Tiger (Both)

LowLights

First Hostel Room, Cameron Highlands (Both)

Finding Petronas Towers were closed on Mondays (Jo)

For those of you thinking of possibly traveling to the region:  Averages in USD

Accommodation - $10-15

Main meal  - 80c - $1.50

620ml Beer - $3 (Langkawi - $1.50)

330ml Soft Drink - 40c

Bottle of water - 50c

Photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dojo77/collections/72157613742320550/

Tags: cameron highlands, langkawi, penang

 

Comments

1

Guys you had me giggling. I'd loved to have seen the dance, Ryan! In Thailand it'll be hard to find a secluded island. It has become very touristy over the last few years but they are still very beautiful. I've heard that Ko Thao is still pretty relaxed and if you go to the Northwestern part of Ko Phagnan it's a lot quieter than down in the South where all the partying is happening. There are some islands close to the border of Cambodia if you're heading this way. They're not aimed at the partying backpackers and there is budget accommodation but also nicer stuff. We spend 5 days on Ko Maak off Ko Chang for a little treat at the end of our trip. We were pretty exhausted and just wanted to relax. But Ko Chang is really busy, a bit like Ko Samui...

Have a great time in Thailand. We miss you guys and yes we're incredibly jealous but very happy for you :-)

  Andrea Feb 22, 2009 9:54 AM

2

Loving the blogs, keep them coming, they make me want to jump on a plane!

  Lisa Feb 22, 2009 12:03 PM

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