A Travellerspoint blog

Malaysia

The muddy estuary, Irish bars and jungle gardens

sunny 38 °C

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur in our rather non-descript maroon Proton saloon at the inconvenient time of 5.30pm on Friday afternoon. We love driving in new cities during rush hour - especially big, modern cities with 6 lane carriage ways and imposing metal sky scrappers! Needless to say, my map reading skills were awful and Charlie did a tremendous job at navigating our way into the Indian quarter of KL where we wanted to stay.

Our guesthouse was situated just outside both the Indian and Chinese quarters and, as ever, was typically basic and slightly grubby. We often find ourselves in the bizarre situation of rating levels of grubbiness between potential guesthouses to stay in - can we stomach the dirty linen more in Fat Harry's than the fact that the bathroom in Summer View has no toilet seat? These dilemmas continued in KL and after one night in our first guesthouse the cardboard walls that separated our room from the communal film room started to wear rather thin on both of us. So, with typical efficiency, Charlie scouted out the nearest contenders and we moved over the road to a guesthouse whose name I cannot recall at all.

After a rather tiresome first day in KL Charlie and I decided to really make the most of our city break - akin to that of a European city break. We explored the majority of the business district, KL Tower and Petronas towers in pretty much one day. The Petronas towers are really very impressive, the twin metal towers are connected at the 42nd floor by the largest two-storey bridge in the world and standing at the foot of them I felt slightly overwhelmed if I am honest! We even got a chance to visit the mall for our dinner and then went to the cinema to see 'Man on a Ledge'. In short - we had our very own evening in a Malaysian Lakeside!

Onto the most important day of the weekend - Liverpool v Cardiff. Now as you all know, Charlie had been badgering me for a few weeks to go with her to the pub to watch the League cup final. So, like all good fiancée’s, I agreed. I know, I really am that giving! We decided to scout out an Irish pub in the city centre as we both felt it would have a pretty good vibe for the game. So, in our completely stupid ignorance, we arrived at 1.30pm (the game was not due on until midnight our time) hoping to check the pub out and then come home for some lunch. Little did we know that we would meet the drinking whirlwind partnership of Charlie and Lesley - a rather charming ex-pat couple from Hartlepool. 6 hours later and about 6/7 beers later (my) Charlie and I rolled out of the pub rather a little worse for wear with sore heads and two new drinking buddies...

...Fast forward a few hours; a couple more beers, some over priced food, one football match with extra time and penalties and we rolled home to bed with sore heads and emerging hangovers. Oh, and Charlie was also over the moon that Liverpool won!

The final leg of our Malaysian journey took us to Melaka, a heritage town on the South West coast of the country. By this time we were really craving some time to relax as the previous few days traveling had really taken it out of both of us. Charlie had read about a guesthouse in the centre of town named Emily's with outdoor showers and outdoor hut-like accommodation. We both liked the sound of this, particularly in the heart of the town. We were not disappointed either! Emily's turned out to be a real gem of a find, built completely out of recycled and salvaged materials by the owner Malik, it was a real peaceful hideaway for us both to recharge the batteries, which was well needed!

Oh, by the way Kuala Lumpur actually means muddy estuary!

Ross and Charlie
xxxx

Posted by charlieandross 20:33 Archived in Malaysia Comments (2)

On the slow train to Butterworth

sunny 38 °C

Hello Readers!

Last week we abandoned our beloved Yute at Hat Yai in Southern Thailand. After an uneventful evening at our dingy hotel in the City (the centre was no place to go out at night – populated by more brazen rats than there were people), we were up the next day at 05:30, to catch our border-crossing train to Butterworth, Malaysia.

We were both excited about entering a new country as we always are and though I had visited Malaysia before, I was looking forward to Ross and I seeing the country with fresh eyes and seeing more of the country as backpackers. The day started well – Ross did his usual greatness at packing a bag of munchies and drinks, the train arrived on time and our cabin companions (French Canadian, Malaysian, Thai and Brits) all seemed very nice and in good spirits. We were scheduled for a 5-hour journey, arriving in Butterworth at 1pm, plenty of time to seek a great place to stay for our budget after a ferry to Palau Penang.

To echo Ross’s last blog describing the freedom and loveliness of having our own car, his sentiments came true. After 10 hours on the train, two long stops (one of which was parked up next to the Eastern and Oriental Express – just to add insult to injury), broken air con on our train and a broken train ahead of us, not to mention the domestic disharmony among the French Canadian couple sat next to us (they were tired); we were hungry, shattered and dehydrated. Butterworth was the pits – a port town to ferry people to Penang. Too weary to go on to Penang, we spent about an hour looking at overpriced horrid guesthouses with our luggage, only to spend money on a taxi to get us to the port and on the ferry. We should learn our lessons – bad decisions are often made when one is tired.

We headed for Georgetown, a fairly picturesque Colonial City with a seedy, grimey backpacker district where travellers get very little for their money; and a new town rich with British influenced buildings and architecture. After a stiff drink and a good sleep in the backpacker district, we went for a lovely walk to explore the City, which can easily be done if half a day. We treated ourselves to High Tea darlings, at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel – great fun, tongue in cheek & delicious.

We loved our road trip through Thailand so much, that we decided to do the same through Malaysia and the next day we were on our way to Kuala Lumpur with a planned overnight stop at Ipoh. My gosh, what a place – dire, average, creepy, ugly, and seedy. It was another horrid travelling day, scoping grim guesthouses (some of which were brothels) before we settled on somewhere nice and new and slightly out of our price range – sometimes, there really isn’t much choice. Oh, and we had a McDonalds Chocolate Milkshake for dinner – the only place that looked decent (!) that also had WiFi.

Onwards and upwards to Kuala Lumpur – we were determined to make this City- break a good one which Ross will update you on the next blog.

What we’re trying to say is that though we are have a fantastic time, and each experience, good or bad is stimulating; it’s not always fun. Sleeping and eating – our two preoccupations have been dire of late, and in between the highlights of the places we have visited, is has been hard work and budget draining to get to them!

Posted by charlieandross 06:24 Archived in Malaysia Comments (4)

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