A Travellerspoint blog

Malaysia

Pulau Tioman

24/09/10...27/09/10

sunny 31 °C
View RTW Part 2 (Aus/New Z/Cook Islands ... home time) on RosiePony's travel map.

The journey here consisted of an 11.30pm night bus from KL that arrived in Mersing (coastal town where u get the ferry from) at 4.30am. I hazily bought an open return ticket (70RM £14) then the coach dropped us off at the ferry terminal. Waited til 7am for ferry then arrived to a rainy ABC resort on Tioman island. I am staying in a bungalow for 40RM (£8) a night which has a fan and is really close to the beach. Just to compare that to the mainland where a dorm room was 10RM a night! Its expensive, but it's nice and has a balcony. Its relaxed here and is hot, once the rain stopped. I am next door to B&Js diving so have arranged diving with them. In actual fact the next 2 days are international clean up day, so for a reduced rate, I get to do fun dives and clean up at the same time, so am looking forward to it! Hopefully get to meet some people too, since it is a bit quiet here at the moment, ESP since staying in private room.
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Am actually quite homesick, but know this is down to a new environment and leaving some good friends back in KL. I think this is the hardest
bit about traveling. You make connections, which are amazing if you bump into those ppl again but otherwise just ends up being nice memories, but at the time you feel like you're breaking a link you've made with someone. It's sad so I try to not dwell in this, otherwise I'll be back home to the UK in a flash, and that's a cop out! I just need to weather this storm, and once I meet new ppl this feeling will lessen. So my plans are to stay here (ABC) for 4 days- dive sat, snorkel sun, hike to Salang Mon, then see if Salang is worth staying there, in which case I will take a river taxi to Salang and hope my open return is still valid from there...
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Currently I am having apprehensions about Borneo, and I think it's down to this homesickness and the fact that I love mainland peninsular, BUT I think I just have to bite the bullet and go, I know it's gonna be beautiful scenery and activities, then I meet up with a mate from home, here on out known as Whiteley, around mid Oct. Which by the time I will be in Borneo I think is less than 3 weeks. So am thinking about things in small stages...! One day at a time! Speaking of which I'm off to find some Internet or a bar or something for entertainment, it's 8.30 and I have an early start tomo...

Laters x x

Well, Tioman has improved. I'm sat in Johan restaurant trying to ignore the flys that land on me every few seconds. I've just had an amazin lunch, a claypot filled with lovely spicy noodles...As u know, fri I was feeling a bit down, but sat was dive day. I joined a cleanup group, part of project aware, to try and remove as many star fish (crown of thornes) from the reef as possible. I did three dives all varying in depth and I spotted a turtle!! My first ever one :D I was so happy. I saw loadsa different fish too some of which I can't remember or name... But they were cool. I can't wait to go again- I knew this would happen, I'd get the bug again and spend all my money on diving! After an included lunch on board, we finished the day with a BBQ on nearby Salang beach. It is a beautiful place but more in a small bay compared to ABC where I'm staying which is a longer stretch of coastline. It is pretty there and busier but I kinda like ABC now... There are reefs off ABC beach so I am going to go snorkeling today! Then diving again tomo...!
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Yesterday I went on a hike across the island to Juara, which I did with 2 other ppl, an American guy called Daniel and a Dutch girl called Linda, both 28 but by no means like me :( I met them diving and do get on with them but conversation seems forced, I think they are quite content being alone whereas I am a people person and thrive in company. Anyway the hike was more like concrete steps (am I ever going to get away from steps???!!! I blame China!) with jungle either side. I found it hard due to the fast pace set by Linda, her motto- the faster we get there the better, compared to my motto- enjoy your surroundings whilst getting there...I hadn't slept well the night before, prob knowing I had to get up early! So was feeling v tired.
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It took us 2.5 hrs to get from Tekek (next town down, 20/30 min walk) to Juara. On the way we found a small waterfall so went for a swim to cool down in the water. There were some small fishes in there too! So glad to have done it, probably something I wouldn't normally do...it was lovely to be surrounded by nature with sunlight glinting through the trees to the water and listening to the fall of water behind you as you swam in the cold water. Then warming up on the rocks whilst orange butterfly flutter around you- one landed on my foot to warm up in the sun.
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I survived the trek over to the other side, despite arriving covered in sweat (I was dripping) with red faces...approahing the main road we arrived to an Open house in Juara where the whole town had turned out to eat together in celebration of the Turtle sanctury that is there- I wanted to visit the but the 15 min walk was actually 45 mins once I'd checked with the locals... So after an amazing free community lunch of coconut rice, beef curry, sticky rice, spicy beef, soup, orange, Ribena, water an watermelon plus other deserts, I went swimming in the sea.
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Daniel, Linda and I shared a taxi back to the top of the hill on the way home, where the jungle walk back restarted and this time it took 5mins to get back to Tekek!! We were powering it home so we didn't get caught by the dark. I was so tired after dinner (chicken burger and chips! You may scoff at home but seriously made me feel good) that I went straight to sleep, after a few chores. So now I need to find somewhere to do my laundry and hire some snorkels for the afternoon...tata for now (about 1.30pm)

Now it's early eve (5.44pm) and I've been snorkeling. Surprise surprise there is still some sea left, despite my attempt at swallowing it! I tell you, diving is so much easier. But I have to say I SAW A TURTLE!!!!!! I was looking out for sharks (reef sharks are present here but prob not so likely along the shore front) and saw parrot fish, damsel fish, pink anemone fish (finding nemo style) as well as sgt mjr fish etc with a few cleaner wrasse when I was trying to find my entry point to the sea (the shore is covered with stones and old reef at the section I'm staying on) - and I wasn't far off- when I spotted a turtle! Just hovering about 1.5 meters in front of me!! I had my underwater camera with me and was like 'OMG!!!' snap snap snap snap snap etc... I swam with it for a few mins watching it surface (this is when I got a mouthful of water and choked) then saw it swim down and get nibbled at by small fishes. It had algae growing on it which surprised me, but I guess is normal in the sea?! It had the most beautiful big black eyes and it watched me for a while before swimming away. I didn't want to loose my bearings so headed home happy! So that's a turtle a day since diving! Hopefully more tomo...

Posted by RosiePony 04:24 Archived in Malaysia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

"KL"

(Kuala Lumpor, Malaysia) 20-23/09/10...

sunny 30 °C

Arrived at kl bus st and got shuttle bus to china town for 2RM (50p). Found my hostel (and had to swallow down my inner feelings of disgust
at the filthy mattresses and pillows as well as the rickety beds, which ironically are sprayed with lubricant to stop them squeaking despite them still shaking like leafs each time someone breaths near them). Before I've even sat on my bed a guy in my mixed dorm is introducing himself (Neil, 22 from Midlands) and chattering on about this and that (he was obviously bored and hadn't spoken to ppl in a while) whilst I tried to collect my thoughts together from my spinning head (spinning in part to him talking, the bus ride, and my hangover from the previous night). Anyway, Neil turned out to be a gem. We met another of our fellow dorm sharer, a girl called Mariam (Spanish) who like me had just arrived.
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So we both decided to have a guided tour from Neil since he was leaving the next day and had nothing else to do! We went to the Central Market (saw a bag I liked but didn't buy it- I'm getting better at this), saw the old railway station (currently under renovation), went past a mosque, onto Merdeka square (housing the tallest flag pole in the world according to Mariams lonely planet guide), beautiful dutch buildings remnant from their earlier occupation here. Oh yes, and we visited china town and little India.
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Then we ate, did a supply run at the supermarket where I ran into Jarad who (small world cliche) I'd made whilst at the Cameron Highlands! We arranged to meet up later in the week so he could give me a KL tour, since he lives here currently studying language and culture.
That eve we had some drinks then off to bed ready for our early rise to go to the sky bridge of the petronus towers, something I was really
looking forward too. The next morning (6am) our alarms went off, Neil left to catch his flight, and so Miriam and I got out stuff together and set off for the towers. We arrived there at 7.20 am and joined the queue waiting to get free tickets for a morning viewing. Tickets were issued to us at around 9 and we got a 9.30 viewing... Which consisted of watching a movie (no food or drinks allowed!) about how amazing petronus were etc snore, snore...
Zzzz...eh?! Oh right. The viewing. Well. Not as fab as I'd have hoped but it was good. Just not so high so couldn't really see skylines too well. But I did get some pics so maybe u can decide if you like the view?!
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After that, I went into the Petronus art gallery, then walked around the park grounds for a bit but to be honest it was a baking day and I was tired from getting up early. So I went back to the hostel to relax, but instead ended up walking round china town looking for lunch with JT, a 33 yr old Korean guy who has cycled (oh yes, really) for 1.5 yrs (so far) from Korea through china down to malaysia, stopping when he wants (I should point out that he is in my dorm and sleeps opposite me, so not a random meeting)...after noodle soup he left to get on with his chores and I went to the bus stop to go to the Batu Caves.
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Whilst on the bus, I met (the only other tourist) an American guy, Justin, 23 and we started chatting. He is living in Japan teaching English and loving it. Since we were both going got the caves we spent the afternoon just getting there walking round and exchanging travel stories (as u do). He was leaving that night so we went to the bus station together where I got my onward travel ticket to Mersing for thurs eve. It's a night bus that leaves at 11.30 and arrives around 4.30 am in Mersing before you catch the first ferry 6am ish to Tioman Island. One night accommodation saved!

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Wednesday was my guided tour from Jarad. He picked me up and drove me to Punjaba something, the political city of Malaysia where all the government buildings are etc. There is a beautiful mosque, with a pink dome roof, a sliver 'air' mosque that glints in the sun and a massive suspension bridge that spans the wide river. We drive over it twice and the views were beautiful. It is a very pretty city, taking care of it's layout and design, but it was a v hot day so we didn't spend too long there (we had time for ice cream though!).
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Jarad drove us back to KL and took me to Times Square, a massive shopping mall (they're all massive in Malaysia) which we walked round before having a Krispy Kreme doughnut (oh yes!) and Early Grey tea ...Heaven! Whilst this is random, the views from the car park were great! Also something culturally different from the UK, not only do they number and letter each floor, they give them an animal too! We were in floor 7 B, dolphin!! It's quite a good way of remembering your floor level :D
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We took a walk from there to Bukit Bintang and, according to Jarad walked to the 'street of yellow tables' (Chinese restaurants abound) of which we found none! Then he realized they're only yellow in the eve due to the table cloths. So we arranged to go for dinner there to capture this elusive yellow table! Miriam joined us and we had a fantastic meal, peppered chicken, rice and kind prawns in a light batter of egg and milk fried- amazing! After dinner we headed to the Sky bar- which has a swimming pool in it's center (no u can't swim in it after 7pm in case of drink-swim offenses, and no, rather surprisingly, I didn't fall in, despite my expectations too). It had an open air roof and windows that were electronically controlled. I got pics of both the Petronus towers at night and one of the KL tower (which itself offers a 360• view for 40RM £8)... then we ordered some wine (daily budget blasted out of the window and over the hill) before heading home at a reasonable 3am! Followed by a McDonalds mcflurry icecream :) ha ha
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The next day naturally consisted of a lay in, then Miriam and I headed to the lake gardens where we chatted, ate an ice cream and arranged to maybe meet up in our future travels...Then I sadly collected my bags and left my little mixed dorm of lovely friendly people to head over to the other side of the Malaysian peninsular to Tioman Island...

Posted by RosiePony 03:58 Archived in Malaysia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Melaka (World Heritage Site)

14/09/2010

sunny 30 °C

It seems to be that time where I update you with what ive been getting up to...I am sat on a step leading into St Pauls Hill church?! It is so hot and I have just eaten an ice cream of spectacular colours, but alas this didn't make it taste as wonderful as it looked :(

I arrived on Tuesday 14th sept with Milo and Fay. We were met off the bus by a guy who owns a hostel, which is of course where we ended up staying; Sunnys Guesthouse (this is no different to a hostel except perhaps catering towards couples more?) which is basic but for 10.80 ringitt (£2) I can't complain ESP because there is hot water and movies for free at ten O'Clock! The management, a very nice couple with a cute young son and a sweet grandad (I think) look after me :)
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Tuesday was spent exploring the city, going to the main square where you can rent a driver to cycle you around, like a rickshaw but they play music and decorate them elaboratley, very fun to watch!
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Then onto China Town for a cup of tea, made in a ritualistic manner. then curry for dinner.
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Food wise malaysia is quite spicy. Malaysia has a lot of dishes that it's famous for I think the main one being, certainly in Melaka, chicken rice (Nazi Ayam). When I ate in China town thefood was similar to China, but being a Muslim nation predominantley, they put squid in alot of dishes without you ordering it, instead of pork. I ate on the outskirts of little India and had a medley of food on a banana leaf- so so so tasty, my fave meal yet!
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Culturally Malaysia has three influences; Indian, Chinese and Malay. All three are classed as Malaysia but dependant upon origin the segregation occurs. Malaysian government are trying to bring everyone together - it was Malaysia day yesterday but nothing much happened - but I'm not so sure how well it's working. I noticed this seperation in Singapore too...

Wednesday was spent exploring more, visiting the maritime museum which is actually a ship!
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Then climbing the hill to St Pauls Hill church:
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Thursday
It is so tempting to stay here longer but since I had a lazy day yesterday, catching up on sleep, lunch then Internet (blog, research etc) then I think today would be similar and I don't want to waste my time here...I woke up this morning to the sound of rain. I found it hard getting to sleep last night since the fan was so noisy and my mind was active. Even listening to my iPod didn't really help. In the end I got a few winks and felt reasonably ok this morning, if somewhat sleepy. Got my waterproof coat so I should survive the trip to the bus stop down the road and from there it's all buses so hopefully my bags won't get drowned.

Friday I am off to the cameron highlands, a village called tamah rata. It's the place to go to see tea plantations, strawberry fields and do lots of walking. Climate a bit colder I think so if it keeps raining like it is here I may well think I'm in the UK! Anyway, time to gather my things and head for the bus stop (it's still raining)...

Posted by RosiePony 06:37 Archived in Malaysia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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