Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Monday, July 30, 2007


Leaving Phi Phi we had decided to go to the Cameron Highlands in the centre of Malaysia for a few days before flying out of Kuala Lumpur on Monday. What we thought would be a nice scenic journey (1 ferry ride & 1 coach ride) turned into the journey from hell!!

Our friends Hol & Bex had been to the Cameron Highlands a couple of months ago and raved about it so with only 1 week in Malaysia it seemed like a great spot. Unfortunately our journey didn't go quite to plan.

Instead of 1 ferry and 1 coach trip we ended up getting a ferry then two minibus's, then crossing the border to Malaysia, then another minibus then a coach which dropped us at the bus station in Kuala Lumpur at 2am. Too late to get a hotel and a 7 hour wait for our next coach to the Cameron Highlands..... A not-so-fun night sitting in a dirty city bus station surrounded by lots of weird/criminal looking folk followed by 4 hours on another coach eventually found us at the Cameron Highlands - 35 hours after we left Phi Phi and thoroughly exhausted. Our usual attitude of 'what an adventure' didn't quite work this time as the rain was pelting down in the highlands.

The reason for going there was to hike for a couple of days but with the rain so bad the tracks were all waterlogged so there was no hiking for us and after a cold, wet evening we decided to head back to KL the next day. We booked a bus for lunchtime which should have seen us reach Kuala Lumpur at 5pm. We got a learner driver who insisted on never going over 50 kmph and we were further delayed when a tyre blew out. We eventually arrived in KL at 9 o'clock, again in the lashings of rain. Unfortunately the taxis wouldn't take us to our hotel as they said the traffic was too bad! So we had to walk 3km's in the rain with our backpacks on.

Not such a good start to Malayisa!

To be fair, Kuala Lumpur is a great city. It's full of tall buildings and the biggest shopping centres we've ever seen. We stayed for 5 nights right in the centre of the shopping/entertainment area and spent an absoloute fortune in the shopping centres, but we thought 'what are the last few days of a trip for if not to blow the budget!'

We did a few of the touristy things, like going to the famous Petronas Towers, the KL Tower and going to the markets in Chinatown and Little India, but nearly everything in this city seems to revolve around shopping centres - the biggest one we were in had 14 floors - paradise for Elaine although I don't know if we'll fit everything into our backpacks!

Malaysia is quite interesting with a big ethnic mix here. The population is a mixture of Chinese, Indian, ethnic Malay and Middle Eastern. It's a Muslim country and its evidence is everywhere. Nearly every woman we see in KL is either wearing a habib or a head scarf and guys take out their prayer mats and face mecca at the drop of a hat. It's amazing to see such a different culture but it's so easy not to even see the women when they're wearing the full on black outfit. Elaine calls them ninja's cause one minute there's nobody in front of you and next you see this black ninja moving toward you! It's really like they're invisible especially when they wear glasses. Honestly I don't know how it works but they've caused us to jump out of our skin a few times now!

Malaysia is probably our least favourite country in S.E. Asia, the people here don't seem to be as happy as any of the other countries, although there were major celebrations last night when Iraq won the Asian cup. Then again at this stage we're really just looking forward to getting home and seeing our families and friends - its been so long, but just a few days to go now!


  • I'm from Malaysia, its quite disappointed when you said Malaysia is your least favourite country in SE Asia. Because we had several, not several but TOO MANY beautiful places to visit. Like our proud Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, our beautiful Sipadan Island and many more. Further, i've read so many comments that we have the the best foods, not only our local traditional foods, but from other country.

    I guess u should read and find the best place in Malaysia.

    (",) hope you will come and visit Malaysia again in the future.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:25 AM  

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