Kuala Lumpur – sweet and sour megalopolis

We spent about a week in Malaysia Cameron Highlands – cooling and even freezing. Heading to Taman Negara national park we decided to go via Kuala Lumpur, with overnight stop. Seems that this way will be cheaper, the direct minivan from Tanah Rata to Taman Negara cost 85 ringit per person.

Ordinary bus from Cameron Highlands to KL cost Rm 22,5 per pax. Unfortunately Pudu Raya bus station is on renovation now, and all buses arriving to the Central bus stand (near central stadium), city bus from there to China town cost 2 ringit.

One of my friend recommended us Le Village Guest House as a budget guest house in Kuala Lumpur, now we are appreciated for this recommendation. This place is fricky, but nice and clean, with great facilities, like Wi-fi Internet, kitchen (free coffee and tea all day), laundry service and wonderful relaxing atmosphere.

Having kitchen facility and planning some simple spaghetti for a dinner, we went to a local supermarket to check the prices for food and other necessaries. I can say, that prices for food are very close to Thailands one, something a bit expensive (like Thai imported goods) and something is a bit cheaper (like western goods).

Kuala Lumpur can be called with no doubts as a city of contrasts, kind of cocktail of different nations, religions, times. Here is Chinese eatery and opposite the road is Hindu temple, and 15 meter away someone singing “Allah Akbar”. Here is Muslim woman, covered from head to the feet with black cloth waiting the train on the underground station, and next to her sitting young lady with red hair, piercing and tattoo, dressed in short skirt and sexy top. It is very difficult to find pork or beef in supermarkets or fast food restaurants, but very easy to find a whore of any nationality, size and sex.

Combined with modern infrastructure, skyscrapers, tropical hear and rains and you will get Kuala Lumpur – sweet and sour capital of Malaysia.

Evergreen jungles, tea plantation and strawberry madness – Cameron Highlands

From Georgetown to Tanah Rata (Cameron Highlands) we took a tourist minivan for 38 ringit. Probably we could save some money, if we would took a local transport (from Butterworth to Ipoh and from Ipoh to Tanah Rata), but unfortunately we overslept this opportunity (as far as we know the last bus from Ipoh depart at 11:30). We were «lucky» this week was a school holiday and Caneron Highlands are preferable destination for locals.

Cameron Highlands attract visitors cool temperature, tea plantations, jungle walks and strawberry farms. It seem that locals are really crazy about strawberry – fresh berries, ice creams, jams and all kinds of souvenirs — they buying it all in a huge amounts. Local vendors seems to be very happy.

Arrived in Tanah Rata we barely got the last room, all hotels and even cheap guest houses was full with locals and tourists. We got room in the attic in Twin Pines GH for a 20 ringit. Be honest what we got is hardly can be called a room — a mattress on the floor with four walls and small window.

After hot seaside on islands, the cool weather of Cameron Higlands is very pleasant, you want to put warm socks, shawl and sleep till the midday in the warm sleeping bag.

There are plenty numbers of jungle walks around Tanah Rata, from easy half hour trek a-la «forest walking» to the really hard jungle treks with dirt climbing. The real trekkers can stay in a camp site (half hour walk from Tanah Rata by the Path N4). The camp site is really good, with toilet/shower and even electric sockets, but during holidays it occupied by local families with music and BBQ.

Today and tomorrow we will check around for tea plantations and after that will go to Taman Negara national park

George Town – unique place, where you can come back any tme

We left our paradise island Ko Phangan early morning and were planning to reach Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. The plan was impossible and good for us, we realized it in Hat Yai, near Malaysian border.

Maybe we will go to Penang, for a couple of days? – the idea to have a dinner in indian restaurant and meet friendly chinese guy in 75 Lodge was very pleasant.
We arrived in George Town in the evening, after 9 pm, in summary we spent more then 14 hours for the road from Ko Phangan to Penang island. Our favorite guest house 75 Lodge had a room for us (22 ringit with shared bathroom) and 15 minutes after check-in we were enjoying tasty dinner – tanduri chicken, garlic naan, sweet lassi and masala tea — yes, we love indian cuisine.

George Town have not change for 1, 5 year (last time we visited Penang in 2008). But we had noticed that the number of people and development around the island had increased. In 2008 Georgetown got from UNESCO status of World Heritage site, so I think that is the reason for the future changes.

The couple of days past very quickly, besides standard tourist routes: from indian restaurant to the chinese one, from China town to Little India, we visited Penang`s beaches. So,what can I say — yes, there is the sea and yes, there are few beaches, but I do not liked it all — the atmosphere there is strange for me, and this place is definitely not for backpackers. It is about 1 hour ride from George Town to the beaches (the area called Batu Ferringhi), public bus N101, the ticket cost 2,7 ringit per person.

Two days kayak trip in Ko Phangan

Living in perfect paradise is great, peaceful and easy. But after two month without any extreme experience we get bored a bit. To full feel our willing of exciting and new experience we took a two days trip along seaside of Ko Phangan island.

The idea to make a kayak trip, was born about three month ago in Bangkok and originally was an idea to do a trip around Ko Phangan. After closer look on geography of the island, we decided to do a short two day kayak trip from Mae Haad beach (the better known as Ko Ma) to remote beaches, like Bottle beach (Haad Khuat) and Thong Nai Pan beaches.

Every local we talked about our plans was surprised the whole idea, one of the rental agencies even refuse the kayak rental. Whatever, finally we got a kayak for rent from some resort on Ko Ma for generous 500 baht ber day. It was simply beach kayak for three with two paddles.

After few rainy and cloudy days the 1 of June was a nice day with calm sea and clear sky. The first trip from Mae Haad (ko Ma) to Bottle beach (5,5 km) we have done for not more then a 1,5 hour. The rest of the day we spend on the beach and in the sea, doing nothing, it was a bit bored too, actually 🙂 On the Bottle beach we have got a nice beach bungalow for 200 baht for an overnight.

On the next day we paddle for about 2 hours and covered the distance for about 7,5 km with nice tailwind. Arrive to Thong Nai Pan Yai beach we took a rest and started thinking about way back. From the beginning we had two ways, by boat or by kayak.

At first we took a second option, but got a disappointed. Since we left the bay and start paddle to the sea, we can not move even for a bit. The head wind became even stronger and waves higher. The only one way we can move was the way back to the beach.

There are a lot of boat taxi on the beach, but the price for 1,5 hour ride back to Ko Ma was too expensive – boatmen asked for 1500 baht and did not bargain at all.

We was not ready to pay such a big money for such a short ride and continue searching for a boat. Smiling boatman from tourist boat (those who making day trip along Ko Phangan for tourist) agreed to give us a lift to Сhaloklum beach, from where it is a short trip to Ko Ma, for reasonable 600 baht. The price was included fruits and drinks on the boat and snorkeling on Malibu beach.

The last 1,5 km from the point where boatman left us, we paddle for less then an hour and finally arrived to Ko Ma, where locals who let us the kayak met us on the beach. They already known about our adventure – Ko Phangan it is small village and new are spreading very fast.

Short summary of the trip – it was fun, but I would not recommend anybody else do the same 🙂