March 22 2016

MIXED MALAYSIA

Malaysia was at first more just a destination because of practical reason - I needed to leave Thailand before the 14th of February and I was meeting with a friend in Myanmar one week later. So in order both to have the same amount of time left to travel in Myanmar I wanted to spend one week in between somewhere and Malaysia was convenient for this. Close to Thailand, without a visa and a country I haven't been to, so surely worth a visit.

 

I didn't know what to expect as I didn't research it much. I started the travel in Langkawi, I took a ferry from Satun, a small Thai town just next to the border. There I met Li-Anne and on the ferry we picked one more guy and waiting for the taxi three more people. We lost two so at the end there were four of us sharing a room and hanging out. It was quite fun, very easy going and relaxed. At first I was a bit disappointed with the island as it was overcrowded and over touristic for my taste. But then I rented a motorbike for two days and loved exploring the island. On the North I found a beach that was amazing, not a lot of people and very nice surrounding. When I saw it I decided to come back the next day for sure, with a hammock. The first night we spent at the beach, drinking a beer and talking, enjoying the fire shows. We called ourselves "The pick-ups" like we were a music group:). We went to the night market where we tried different things and then just relaxed on the beach. I left the group as I wanted to explore the island and the next day I slept in a place that was interesting - in one part of the guesthouse there was a place with birds and accommodation like tents, but with normal beds and more space. I liked it but had problems there because of mosquitoes or even some other animals maybe that bit me a lot.

 

I spent the days going around the island with the wind in my hair, getting some fruit and a coconut, enjoying different beaches. I found a nice place that represented the local arts and  I drove to the top of the hill for the nice view, so I skipped the sky bridge, which would be probably nice, but I can't do it all :). I swam in the refreshing 7 wells waterfall that has a natural toboggan. I didn't do much swimming in the sea as the first day I saw a jellyfish but it was nice just enjoying in my hammock at the lovely beach.


I did a tour of the fruit farm where I saw different trees and got to taste delicious fruit and also the rest of the food there was great.

 
 
In Malaysia I had only 10 days and has no specific plans so I was just deciding one day where to spend the next. So after two days I left the island to go to Penang with a ferry. They said there are no tickets for the morning ferry, but I was really lucky - I got a not expensive taxi that was already going to the pier so didn't demand the price for the whole taxi, but gave me a reasonable price. At the pier the tickets were still available so I just hopped on a ferry and arrived at a new destination.
 
In Penang I just followed a couple with backpacks and walked about 20 minutes to the part of town, close to China town, where there are cheap accommodations. I didn't feel the best - I guess I drove a lot with a wet hair on a motorcycle and my throat hurt a bit and also I felt dizzy. Later I realised there was so much humidity in the air that it was hard to breath. The temperature was just a little over 30 degrees Celsius but the real feel was almost 40 degrees - not just by my opinion but also by the opinion of the information on internet :).
 
I walked around Penang and loved the Little India with the great food, live music and people wearing colourful clothes. I got amazing dates for a nice price and ate good Indian food. The night was not the sweetest, I got a lot of bites and as I was already feeling bad it was quite exhausting. In the morning it was better, I got some nice fruit and walked around the city with Li-Anne who came there one day before, and we were exploring the amazing street art. It was fun walking around the streets and searching for some paintings on the wall, some combined with a real object (like a bicycle). So after this I liked Penang, but couldn't say that I loved it, probably a lot because of the unbearable humidity. I tried to change the guesthouse to one other that I liked the previous day, but they were full, so I just decided to leave for Cameron Highlands and it was a great choice!
 

The bus was more expensive because of the Chinese New Year so I just hopped on a ferry to Butterworth that took only 20 minutes and was really cheap and later grabbed a bus to Cameron Highland. At the bus station they were quite aggressive with offering me tickets, usually I check more information before buying the tickets as in Thailand a lot of times they intentionally give you the wrong information. But no, they were telling the truth, just one bus was going to Cameron Highlands, so I took it.

 

It was a perfect place for me. A lot of nature, fresh air and cooler atmosphere. I spent four days there and did a lot of relaxing and chilling, I got a nice room with toilet at K.R.S. Pines, they were really friendly and the garden was nice. I found a great Indian restaurant there and ate almost every meal there - delicious and cheap food :)! I loved the tea plantations, there are more of them, I did my Tai Chi practice there and it was amazing. I went on two hikes, one up a mountain, over 2000 metres high. I wanted to do some other hike but on the morning market I met a father and a son from Polland and just joined them in the hike, it was fun! We walked through the jungle and picked up quite a lot of mud. On the way down we went to another tea plantation, oh yeah, I love the tea, it was very delicious. Another day I walked through the jungle to another village and visited agriculture and butterfly  farm. I wanted also to visit the lavender farm but was too tired. I already came there with a little cold and after not wearing enough for the first hike I felt worse. So it was perfect timing to spend my last Malaysian days at the sea.

 
 

Pangkor island is where I decided to go. It is not so far, but I had to wait a lot for the bus from Ipoh to the pier, and then I just missed the ferry so I arrived at about 4 PM there. I was very lucky to find a nice and cheap place to sleep - because it was weekend the prices can be double, but my friendly landlady gave me a discount. The beach I was staying at, Teluh Nipah, wasn't the best as there were a lot of boats there. But the Coral beach, just a five minute walk away, was really nice and quite empty. I just tied my hammock there, enjoyed relaxing, swimming and of course doing my Tai Chi right on the beach. And I loved the hornbills just flying everywhere. Soon my cold was gone. I walked around a little, but not much, as the Coral Beach was perfect for relaxation, just what I needed!

 
 
After two days at the sea it was time to leave Malaysia. I really liked it's diversity and was very satisfied with my experience. People from different nationalities and religions living together  and as it appers they have good relations. Here there are a lot of Muslims and Indians, so cultures that I should be afraid of if I read too much news. Well actually I felt really safe there and also had no problems or concerns while I was hitchiking a little through Cameron highlands, which I needed to do to move from one village to another as there is no public bus there. When I travel I try to dress appropriatelly, so no short pants or much opened t-shirts. Yet my clothes were still revealing more then the locals, but I didn't get any unpleasant eyelooks neither from the men neither from the women. What I did get was a lot of friendly smiles and the travel was very easy as a lot of people here speak English. And the nature is beautiful! 
 
I got to spend one afternoon in Kuala Lumpur and really liked it! It has a lot of greenery and isn't too busy. I walked around a little, visited a big mosque and a park, then I realised I was walking in a cyrcle, so I took the subway to the Petronas towers and I must admit I was amazed by the buildings, so grand and beautiful, especially when at night the lights turn on and they are nicely illuminated. I walked around a little more and at 11 PM went to the airport, where I spent my night before heading towards my Burmese adventure :)!