A Travellerspoint blog

Kuala Lumpur - Tropical Metropolis Part Duex

overcast 34 °C
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We decided to returned to KL to see some more of the city and around. First on the agenda were the Batu Caves, a place of worship (and much more meaning but we can't seem to remember at the moment). Every year there is a pilgrimage where one million people visit, which will be happening in the next couple of weeks. Getting to the caves was interesting since we received about three different sets of directions, causing us to take trains in wrong directions. It's funny, people would rather give you the wrong information than none at all. Just say you don't know!

Once we did get to the caves, the first thing we did was eat because we were going to collapse of hunger, and then we were asked by the crew of the History Channel if we would like to watch a Malaysian man jab his finger through a coconut while they filmed it. Well who wouldn't? The man's finger was bent from years of coconut jabbing. George thinks he got into this career by losing a bet.

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normally you would need a machete to open one up

We climbed 272 stairs to get to the caves and finally got there to see some religious shrines and tons of monkeys. For us, the monkeys were the best part! On the way back to our hotel, we went through yet another market, which our hotel was right in the middle of, and George was hungry again so we went to KFC. While waiting for his order we saw a massive rat duck behind the counter, but that didn't stop George from eating his popcorn chicken (or popcorn rat in my opinion).

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have they ever heard of an escalator

Our last day in Kuala was spent at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, a large forest where we did a nature walk. It was nice to be out in nature, but the sweltering heat made our uphill climb a little more difficult. Back in the city we went back to the Chinese market to buy some more knock-offs and George's search for a wallet proved unsuccessful. Out of thousands of wallets, he couldn't find one that suited him. How did he get so picky? I guess I should be flattered!

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nobody told Janet it was going to be uphill

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don't go chasing waterfalls...na na na na na something something

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janet's home away from home - the place where knock-off purses are born

After going to the food street to appease George's hunger again, we sat at an outdoor coffee shop and watched the city go by. We really enjoyed our time here and were definitely glad we decided to see Malaysia. Next stop - Bali - where our real honeymoon officially begins!

Posted by jgjourney 07:41 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Melaka - It's not what it sounds like

storm 33 °C
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Melaka had a good feel to it from the get go. Right when we got there we headed out to the centre of the old town, which contained historic buildings with shops and restaurants. To escape the scortching heat for a while we ate at a vegetarian restaurant (I think George is turning into a vegetarian! Just joking, he had chicken) which was really good. We also tried their signature pineapple pastries (amazing) and durian puff pastry (gross) and mango shaved ice drink (yum). Basically, 80% of the day was spent eating.

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despite the look on Janet's face the signature Nyonya pineapple tart is really quite tasty!

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this look, however, is an accurate depiction of how it tasted - Durian is on the "Do Not Eat" list

While walking back to our hotel, a massive thunderstorm hit and we barely made it to an indoor market to take cover. We circled through it a few times (and George contemplated buying a Melaka T-shirt to wear at family functions) and realized that the storm was just not letting up so we took a cab back to our hotel. Of course, a few minutes after we got inside, the rain let up drastically.

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not too many pictures of us together now that we split from our travelling companions

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painting the town red- with an ominous cloud in the background

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the cloud dumping all of it's contents onto us and the city

That night we had some more Indian, and by the way, the average meal price per plate in Malaysia has been $1.50-$2.00. It's amazing food and we're eating excessive amounts of it! Our hotel was across the street from two huge shopping malls so it was the perfect drizzly night to spend in the mall.

The next day we went back to the historic town and visited mosques, chinese temples and Buddhist temples, and bought some more pineapple pastries. And a pair of shoes for Janet...hehe.

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how romantic - although the rickshaw needs a little updating

We were contemplating heading to the rainforest but it's monsoon season over here and apparently, it washes out many trekking paths in the forest and brings out tons of leeches, so call us unadventurous but having our blood sucked by slimy creatures was not a risk we were willing to take. Instead, we headed back to Kuala Lumpur (where we are right now) to do some day trips around the city before heading to Bali. KL is a great place to stick around for a couple more days!

Posted by jgjourney 08:09 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Kuala Lumpur - Tropical Metropolis Part #1

overcast 33 °C
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Our next stop in Malaysia was the capital, Kuala Lumpur. After a couple buses and a LONG cab ride in heavy traffic to go a couple kilometres, we got to our guest house and were ready to explore the city. Again, not having any real expectations, we were really impressed by Kuala Lumpur. It is definitely very built up, probably more than any city we've been to (maybe equal to Bangkok).

The first thing we did was explore China Town in the heart of the city. Little did we know we'd hit the motherload of knock-offs! We did some shopping (ok,it was mostly Janet) and our backpacks feel like a ton of bricks now. Later that night we went looking for a place to do our laundry and stumbled upon an amazing street lined with local open-aired restaurants. Apparently it was the most famous food street in the city. A little further, we found a huge high-end mall and a trendy area of coffee shops, stores, and restaurants.

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land of cheap knock-offs, especially purses!!!

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food street - can you see why all we do here is eat?

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drumming for peace at the mall - I think I feel it working!

It seemed like everywhere we walked there was something unique and interesting to see. The next day started off a bit rocky with getting a bit frustrated and lost but we eventually found our way to some sites and a mosque, where we were covered up before entering for religious purposes. We did some souvenier shopping at the Central Market and went to eat some Indian food, which is SO good here. This is practice for the next trip - India (We're sure our families are excited to read that)!

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our mosque ensembles - very sheek

That night we went to see the famous Petronas Towers, something George has watched on the Discovery Channel repeatedly and was very excited about seeing. They definitely were amazing, like something out of a futuristic movie. We also went to see the Menara Tower, which looked like a mini version of the CN Tower and much less spectacular than the Petronas Towers. Don't laugh but our next stop was Pizza Hut. We've been craving Pizza Hut for the entire trip and finally got a chance to have some! Although we were a bit dissappointed at the size of the pizza - George could have polished off three of what we had. And apparently, "it wasn't greasy enough" in George's opinion. We might be going to a Pizza Hut as soon as our plane touches down in Toronto.

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one day I'm gonna build one of these...

The next morning we set off the see the small historical town of Melaka (yes, all our Greek family out there, that's the actual name of the city)!

Posted by jgjourney 07:24 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

George's home town in Malaysia - George Town

overcast 34 °C
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Our first stop in Malaysia was George Town on the island of Penang. The city is a world heritage site with many older colonial buildings. Our first night was pretty laid back – we went to a really cool food market with vendors from different areas in Malaysia and Asia. After that we went to the mall, which was a blast from the past and reminded us of 70’s design.

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great food at bargain basement prices!

The night was spent with me coughing up a lung because of a combination of a cold and my usual breathing problems escalated by the air, so we didn’t get much sleep. The next day we walked around the city and saw some interesting colonial buildings, the waterfront, and a temple. It was unbelievably hot (we’d guess about mid-high 30’s) and we couldn’t take it anymore so we had to go back to our room and hide from the sun. There seems to be a formula that has developed: lots of walking + extreme heat = cranky Janet + George. To combat the crankiness, we had some Indian food (which did not help my throat/breathing problem). Malaysia has some amazing food and Indian is a large portion of it. We’ve learned that “not too spicy” means “you will burn your trachea off”.

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George was about to jump in to cool himself off

What we found interesting was the fact that so many religions co-exist in this city, and in Malaysia in general. We saw churches, mosques, and temples all within steps from each other. Malaysia is predominantly Muslim and you can hear the prayer sermons from the loud speaker all across the city. It definitely feels like a different world when that happens and is very interesting.

After realizing that my breathing problem wasn’t going away, we decided to play it safe and see a doctor to get some medication. Me being a “Caucasian lady”, I got in and out of there pretty quickly. (Don’t worry Mom and Dad, everything is fine now.)

We went to dinner at the same food market and listened to some live performances on stage. It was incredibly packed with people and had a great atmosphere. We walked around to a trendy area with cafes and restaurants and called it a night. All in all, not too much to do in the city but it had a pretty good feel to it. Our first impression of Malaysia started off on a good foot!

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a night out on the town

(Due to an agonizingly slow internet connection these are all the pics we can load at the moment)

Posted by jgjourney 08:09 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Friends and a sleepless night in Koh Phi Phi

rain 33 °C
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Our first impression of Ko Phi Phi was amazing. It felt very exotic with a true island feel. We couldn’t linger for too long because our first mission once we all got off the boat was to find a place to stay. We had checked online for accommodations but didn’t see much available, however many times these places are not online so we didn’t think we’d have much trouble finding something when we got to the island. WE WERE WRONG.

It quickly became apparent that places were fully booked up so while Mary and Carolina watched our bags, George and I, along with tons of other backpackers, went running all over the island trying to find rooms. After a fight over the last room with three guys (not literally) and a false internet booking, four hours later we realized we might be spending the night on the beach, probably along with many others who had no luck. As we headed off to lock up our luggage, we were told by a Thai lady that she had a room available. We were sceptical, but desperate. Let’s just say it ended up being a less than ideal room but it was right on a main street so we just went with it. We thought we’d stay out really late and get up really early and we would only be in there for a short time. However, after Mary and Carolina took naps, they came to the conclusion that it would be better to pull an all-nighter than spend any time in that room so we were in for a long night.

Luckily, this small island never sleeps! We ate dinner and watched some actual Muay Thai fights (although it was the WWE version of Muay Thai) and hung out at a cafe. After all that, we still had many hours to kill so we parked ourselves on some chairs and watched the night unfold before us. It was quite entertaining to watch these young kids party the night away. We felt like chaperones while they drunkenly asked us for help trying to find their hotels, the way to the beach, or some food. Is it wrong that we played with them a little and gave them false information? Mary's line was the best, "keep going straight and turn left when the ground slopes down". It was actually kind of fun and I’m surprised we all stayed up (some of us with a few power naps).

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town during the day - quite different than at night

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muay thai kept us awake

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our home for the night - lovely isn't it?

Daybreak came and we watched the sunrise on the beach, at first on the wrong side of the island. We managed to find slightly better accommodations for the second night and headed for the day on the beach. We had gorgeous scenery but not-so-gorgeous weather, but that was ok with us since we really needed some naps!

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one good thing about staying up all night is the sunrise

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Mary came in handy for picture-taking!

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us girls in front of our home the night before - coffee shop/bookstore by day

Our time together on Ko Phi Phi came to an end and we said our goodbyes to Mary and Carolina. It was great to spend time with friends from home and we can't wait to see them back in Toronto and relive our experiences!

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for those of you who were wondering what we would eat on our travels - here it is! We'll definitely miss the pad thai

Posted by jgjourney 06:44 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

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