Category Archives: Malaysia

Travel tips and adventures in Malaysia

Two Days in Langkawi

What can be done in two days in Langkawi?

1. Jet ski to the islands
2. Drive/scoot around the main island

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Langkawi islands

DAY ONE:

We splashed out on this tour. It was between €50-55 for a four to five hour jet ski ride to four of Langkawi’s ninety-nine islands. But let it be said, it was worth it.

Us three girls headed off on our two-seater jet skis with our two English friends with me on the back of the Malay guy’s one. He bombed it over waves as I clutched onto his tiny waist and flew up and down as we skirted the sea.

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Our friends Ben and Craig at the lake

Stop one was a fresh water lake in middle of a sea island. According to a local guy the story on how it got there is too long to explain. Jumping into fresh water with no sand and opening your eyes with no stinging is a dream. Getting back onto the dock is a little less dreamy and involves lots of laughter from onlookers (me) as others fling legs and arms in all directions reminiscent of, well, walruses.

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One of Langkawi's ninety-nine islands

We dropped by Eagle island but saw no eagles so went to two other islands with beaches to snorkel and lie in the shallow waters while chatting and thinking of nothingness.

Word of warning:
Don’t brush off the small, black, prickly plants if you don’t want to come out with black sore spots on your foot that need to be pounded with a flipflop by the instructor and doused in lemon juice (Orna’s ouchie-booboo).

One of the highlights was being able to drive right onto the beaches from the jet skis. The thrill of flying across the water was amazing too. My skills weren’t so great over choppy waters so I preferred bumping around the place on the back.

Second word of warning:
When plans change and you need to ride back to shore with your English friend Ben, and he decides to take a sharp turn which makes you fly from the vehicle and the propeller tries to take your bikini bottoms from you, use your reflexes and grab onto them for dear life. I’ve no idea what may have ensued should they have been taken by the water.

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Sunset at Pantai Cenang beach

Dinner and drinks on the beach while watching the sun set is a great ending to an adventurous day.

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Temurun waterfall

DAY TWO:

We rented a car for €17.50 between three, including insurance.

We visited the cable car (but the wait was 1 hour so we declined) and browsed the ‘Oriental village’ in the blistering heat. We also swam at Temurun waterfall (where we randomly bumped into our two English friends) and Seven Wells waterfall. Unlucky for Aisling, she tumbled off a slippy rock down into the bushes. The massage from the previous cascading waterfall a distant memory.

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Ornaments at Seven Wells waterfall

Another evening of beachside drinks and Langkawi is complete.

Penang’s Best, Worst and Okay Bits

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Penang Best Bits

Best bits about Penang:

Roaming the streets to browse through cute artsy shops and see the street art (favourite day).

Trying actual street food from the hawker stalls. Aisling did some good haggling to get them. Red Garden was also a great spot. A square of all types of Asian food stalls with corny live entertainment.

Stopping outside a cafe on our way out to have a dance to some locals having a jam. Having a singsong with them on two different nights.

Meeting my good friends, Stephen and Nicole, from home.

Making friends at Reggae Hostel.

Free shuttle bus around Georgetown.

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Penang's Worst Bits

Worst bits about Penang:

The money maker Penang Hill. 30 ringgit (7.50 euro…We can get dinner for 11 ringgit and even for 4.50 RM one evening) for a train up a steep hill and having absolutely nothing worth talking about at the top. The view was good from one spot but the viewing spot was marred by construction work.

A mouse in our dorm going through the forbidden food bag.

Nearly killing myself when getting down from my 8ft high bunk bed. My poor right arm saved me and nearly came out of its socket.

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Okay Bits from Penang

Okay bits about Penang:

The Kek Lok Si Temple. It was a little unkept and commercialised for my liking but still interesting to see.

Monkey beach. Enjoyed lazing on the beach, drinking coconut water, and swimming in the luke warm water but we didn’t get to see the monkeys.

Cameron Highlands

The lower temperature of the Cameron Highlands was a reprieve to our bad first impression of Malaysia. The rain showers didn’t bother us either. Our first dorm experience was good, albeit the one shower/toilet between ten, and making friends and asking others about their travels and tips is easier than you could ever imagine. It happens so naturally.

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Road to Cameron Highlands looks like this

Picture a meandering river that goes on for miles upon miles and you’ve got yourself the bus journey up to Tanah Rata, the main town. It is more built up than I imagined but a half day tour in a 4×4 brought us into more treacherous meandering roads and the wilderness. I will admit, I believed I was close to losing my life at one point as we squeezed by mountain edges while letting others pass by and getting a wheel stuck in a three foot deep gully at the start of the journey didn’t help either.

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'That' 4x4

We got to see rolling hills of tea plants, walk through the rainforest with tips on all the natural remedies of the surrounding plants and did a self-navigated trek through the rainforest with a trio of English guys we met at the hostel.

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Tea leaf hills in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

A good location all round to visit with a bit of wilderness, excitement, our first night market, and exploring with new friends.

The Beginning

First impressions of Malaysia:
– Built up and not backwards like you might think
– Better long-distance buses than Ireland
– Food galore with street stalls safe to eat from
– Friendly people with good English

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Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

A week or so has gone by already since we first arrived in Kuala Lumpur airport and spent the day in bed to recooperate. We started with a quick trip up to Chinatown through tiny walkways of stalls and a mediocre dinner. Our biggest mistake on our first proper day with jetlag still lingering, was to walk from the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur into the inner city in sweltering heat and no toilet paper. The Pavilion shopping centre was our air con heaven.

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Air conditioned and roofed walkway through Kuala Lumpur

We realised that arriving at the Petronas Towers at 5pm is useless if you want to cross the bridge to see a view of the city. Queuing from 8.30am is essential in gaining one of 960 tickets sold each day. A dinner of Steamboat (raw fish that you cook yourself in choices of sweet potato porridge or chicken soup) was okay. In general my impression of Kuala Lumpur wasn’t great. According to fellow travellers the Batu Caves and Sky Bar are highlights in a city which doesn’t have much going for it.

Next stop: Cameron Highlands

We made it!

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Relieved, delirious and exhausted after no sleep on a flight to Asia.

We made it. We made it. We made it. The first thought that went through my head when we touched down in Kuala Lumpar airport in Malaysia this morning? At some point I’ll have to do that journey again.

The main flight was grand-12.5 hours, movies, TV and games to beat the band, a few nice meals and random snacks. And I have to give it to the air hostess in Asian rig-out…she kept us hydrated as she walked backwards along the aisles with a tray of water,  juices, and the odd drop of wine. And might I add, we travelled with Malaysian airlines (cue gasps of horror).

And why was I so happy to have made it?

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