Travel Notes 6

Travel Notes 6

By now I am well beyond Malaysia, actually somewhere in Bali, moving
onto Australia.

The trip has been a great experience so far. Dealing with different
cultures, trying to avoid being conned into paying over-inflated
tourist prices, seeing new landscapes and so on. Sometimes I feel like
Alice in wonderland, thinking that maybe we manage to convince things
aren't so crazy by hiding ourselves in a small part that we can

I have managed to upload some more photos for your viewing pleasure:

** Kuala Lumpur

My first stop on arriving in Malaysia was Kuala Lumpur. Here I stayed
in a Guest House, near the main bus station. This was mainly because
it was well located and the tout made a good sell, when I arrived in
town. I had met a Norwegian on the bus in and for the next few days we
would discover Kuala Lumpur together. We went to see the KLCC shopping
mall, at the base of the Petronas Towers and also a few other shopping
centers, including the huge Times Square shopping center. Since it had
been a while since we had been to the cinema, we decided to check out
the cinema there. Other things we saw included the bird park (open air
zoo) and the deer park.

** Taman Nagara

I booked a mini-bus through the Malaysian Tourism Centre to get to
Taman Nagara. On arriving I booked a 3 day 2 nights visit of the park,
with accomadation included. I should note that it wasn't necessary to
take the package, but for reasons of time it proved to be the simplist
solution. The package included a night trek, a walk along the
suspended walk way rapid shooting and a visit to a local village. The
last two options never happened and instead we just ended up going for
a long swim in the river. Through a bit of luck, I did meet some
Malays who had some large inner tubes and went down one section of
rapids. The next day I was on my back to Kuala Lumpur.

** Palau Tioman

After returning to Kuala Lumpur, I spent a bit of time going to some
of the shops and then took the overnight bus to get to the island of
Tioman, on the east coast of Malaysia.

My main reason for going to Palau Tioman was diving. The water around
the island when I arrived was crystal blue and you could see the
corals at the base of the peer, as we got off the boat. I found myself
a hotel to stay in, though because I had once again miscalculated the
budget that I would need, I made sure that I stayed in the resort next
door, that did accept credit cards - it was also a bit cheaper.

I signed up for a PADI Advance open water dive and as part of it did a
wreck dive, a 'deep' dive (30m) and a night dive. All were great
experiences. From reading the guide books, Malaysia is meant to be
cheaper than Thailand for diving and the other advantage is that it is
not yet too touristy.

** Kuala Lumpur

Before heading south, I wanted to go up the sky bridge between the two
towers of the "Petronas Towers". For this reason I stayed overnight
and made my way to the towers, getting there at about 08:00. The rest
of the day there was spent at the indoor amusement park at Times
Square, complete with rollercoaster. From there I made my way down to

** Melacca ( or what ever your favourite spelling is )

Melacca is the old capital of Malaysia and has evidence of the
Portugese colonisation there. I spent a little over a day in Melacca,
visiting a couple of museums, getting some photos developed, looking
at the Portugese ruins and then walking around the chinese section of

** Singapore

I arrived in Singapore by bus. From the bus station I walked to the
Inn Crowd hostel, in the heat. I should note that no matter how hot
and humid it is, carrying a back pack increases the sensation by an
order of magnitude. The hostel was a little more than what I planned
to spend, but given free internet, free breakfast, great atmosphere,
great location and helpful staff, I was not going to bother trying
anywhere else. This place is really popular and I am hardly surprised.

Singapore was spent walking down Orchard Road, being amazed by how
many shopping centers are crammed into the area; taking a very
touristy bus ride round town, going to the Night Safari, which is
basically a very large cageless zoo, designed to let you see the
nocturnal animals in activity; and simply walking around discovering
the town.

Singapore is a modern city where English is the main language. The
transport system is good, and if you really need to buy something then
you are probably going to find it here. Sim Lim Square is the place to
go for cheap electronics, though coming from Canada, things did not
seem so cheap. Maybe it is best left to people in Europe and Japan?
The iPod proved to be a popular buy. Oh and food is plentiful,
affordable and there is a wide choice to choose from.

** Next time

After Singapore my next stop was Java in Indonesia, but I will share
that part of the trip next time.

written 6 April 2005