Melaka and Kuala Lumpah
09.01.2012 - 11.01.2012 29 °C
Second part of our Malaysia Experience - Keep reading cause the next entry will be the full details of our Jungle nightmare, trapped in Taman Negara !!
Day 2 Malaysia - Melaka
Chris felt quite rough today, dehydration me thinks as the room didn't have air con and it gets pretty toasty at night plus he never drinks enough water. So anyway I got up early and tentatively headed out for my first run in Asia towards Bukit China - the largest Chinese graveyard outside of China (12,500 graves) on top of a hill overlooking the city. It was a lovely quiet, secluded part of town - well, it was until I descended the steps back into the chaos of the traffic. A distinct lack of pavements and an abundance of crazy car and moped drivers is going to make this part of the world quite 'challenging' to run I think! Anyway I didn't die but I did wave hello to lots of friendly locals (not sure they get many white women in lycra around here!??).
Got back to hostel, poked at Chris who still was not responding with words, so I headed out to check out China Town by day. I stopped at a little restaurant for their 'world famous' chicken rice balls which turns out to be chicken, and balls of rice. But it was tasty and only cost little over £1. I tried on a few fantastic silk Chinese dresses in some of the little boutiques and was horrified to find that I am a size XL over here - godamnit! Mind you, shouldn't be surprised as my shoulders (and bum if I'm being honest) do span the width of two Asian girls. I headed to the hostel with a box of pineapple tarts (a local speciality) and some freshly squeezed apple juice to see if Chris had made it back to planet Earth. He had, just, so I coaxed him out of bed and we went out for a walk.
It was getting dark by now and we decided to pay for a half hour ride on one of the amazingly colourful trishaws we had seen being ridden through town by the locals with loud music blaring out from the speakers. The guys decorate them with bright plastic flowers, hearts, tastles and flashing fairy lights, anything really to make them stand out - which they do, from a mile away! We spent a hiliarious half hour being ridden around town, singing to Bon Jovi's - Halfway There.
After, we decided that for dinner we would eat off the stalls in China Town and settled for a delicious fried radish dish which there were two options - 'no egg' or 'have egg'.
I tried some Dim Sum with chilli sauce, we then had a go at the crisps on sticks which looked far more interesting then it tasted. For desert we finished of with deep fried ice cream while watching some hideous karaoke on the stage in the middle of China Town. Not the healthiest of dinners but very tasty!!
Day 3 Malaysia - Melaka
The alarm we had set for the early run before sunrise didn't go off (or we slept through it) so there was only enough time to grab a fishy omelette from a local corner eatery before packing our rucksacks once more and heading out into the HOT mid morning sun. Not entirely sure where the bus would pick us up from we waited at a likely spot outside the main town clock. We found another young English lad called Callum waiting for it as well so assumed it was a safe bet to continue waiting here. The bus (number 7) took nearly an hour to get to the main station after doing a lap of the entire city and we missed our bus booked to take us to Kuala Lumpuh (KL). There were many bus companies totting for business and luckily our original booking appeared to have never gone through, so we picked a queue that had lots of locals queuing to book another bus to KL. (The reason we always pick the busy looking eateries or anything with a queue is not because we are English and love queuing, but more due to the fact that it must be busy for a reason and we assume the locals know something we don't!)
I spent the time (2hours +) on the route to to KL chatting to Callum who seemed like a nice guy. He owns a theatre company and grew up in Kenya so although he was young was very mature and fun to talk to. The time flew past and we arrived at the main bus station in KL. It looked like a recently built very modern station so we followed signs to the LRT (Light Rail Train) to get a ticket to our Hostel.
Buying the ticket was relatively painless although it's worth noting that there are in fact 3 companies with different trains all going around KL. So you have to pick the one with the most services and cheapest to where you want to get to. They issued us with a blue token that looked like a casino chip and gestured towards the electronic gates. Watching the locals for a bit we sussed out you rub the chip on a circle to open the gate and so of we went. The train was noticeably much older than those in Singapore, but I guess as we go further away from western culture they will only get older and less clean. I like to call them authentic!
We managed to find our bed for the night in Matahari Lodge and it was actually quite a nice room (which is something we were not expecting!). It was fairly large and very clean looking, we even had the only room on the entire floor with a window!
A quick shower and change then we met Callum for a trip into China town. It seems like wherever we go in Malaysia so far we end up in China town! It's not that we always want to go there but it just seems the most fun and busiest place to go and is always recommended as a highlight in Lonely planet guides. It was not as big and noisy as the one in Singapore but was still an assault on all of your senses with the mish mash of colours, smells and sounds. After a brief look around we settled on a busy looking food hall where there were selections of Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisine, not to mention cheap beer offers!
Thai food seemed the most interesting here so between the 3 of us we ordered Ginger Chicken, Chilli Chicken, Special fried rice and a fishy curry (and several large beers of course!). It was nice to finally be in a country where we could eat anything we fancied without worrying about the cost. The total cost of our meal was around £2 each and the beer was about the same - I think we are going to like SE Asia!
The food was absolutely delicious and the beer was a nice treat so feeling stuffed and a little tipsy we wondered back out into the busy markets for a spot of shopping. Callum and I had a good laugh at some of the misspelt and/or wrongly translated T-shirts
while Jayne tried on more XXXXL clothes. Callum nearly got bullied into buying an angry birds belt to match his Tshirt but managed to resist the temptation and the aggressive persuasiveness of the stall owner.
Worn out from being pulled this way and that by crazy shop keepers (who always seem to shout at me in Spanish?) we headed back to the food court for more noodles/beer and a spot of people watching.
Too many beers later we wobbled our way home to our nice double room and caught a good nights sleep.
Day 4 - Malaysia - KL
We had arranged to be up and meet Callum outside our hostel at 7am to make our way over to the Petronas towers to try and get a free pass up onto the famous sky bridge. According to our guides book, there are 1600 free tickets a day up for grabs if you get there early enough, however in reality there are around 500 tickets each day at £10 each. We paid it, and booked ourselves on the 6.15pm tour.
In the meantime, we jumped on a local bus and headed out of town to the Batu Caves which have been turned into a huge Hindu shrine. There is an imposing golden statue of Murunga at the bottom of 272 steep steps that take you to the cave entrance.
All this came complete with naughty monkeys who steal bottled drinks and food off any unsuspecting visitors!
The shrine itself was quite tourist tacky and had seen better days, but the caves themselves were visually very impressive in both scale and colour.
It was really busy and bizarrely very humid too here so we didn't stick around for long heading back to the steps to photograph the monkey mischief.
After heading back into town, we stopped off at the hostel for a siesta before meeting up with Callum to get to the Petronas towers in time for our tour. We were happy to find out that we had 15mins to spend on the Sky Bridge which gave us spectacular views of the city.
But the best thing was was yet to come as we also had 15 mins on the 88th floor viewing room, which was totally unexpected and definitely the highlight. From here you could see the whole of KL and even see the giant gold statue we had visited earlier which is approx 13 km away, it was almost like viewing the city from a plane!
They also had some great augmented reality screens, allowing you to spin a 3D version of the towers around in your hand using your ticket pointed at a special TV screen which was fun.
After making our way back to street level, we took the opportunity to photograph the towers in dusk and by night (well Callum did as our camera ran out of battery).
For dinner, we decided to walk to Little India and settled for the least dodgiest looking food stall with the most amount of Indian locals sitting on the plastic tables outside. It was a good choice, the stall owner gestured us over to taste the curries out of the huge vats as they were being freshly made. We decided to try a plate of each of the 3 curries on offer as well as garlic and cheese nan breads and rice. The food was great and we ploughed into it using only our fingers. It wasn't until we had finished we saw most of the locals asking for forks and spoons, oh well! Finishing up we were very happy with our choice of eatery and I could almost forgive the sewage smell from the open drains (which we have kind of got used to by now) and the stray cats licking my feet enthusiastically.