Tag Archives: Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Tahan back to Kuala Lumpur, to Melaka, Malaysia

8/5 – Back to KL by bus today. Thank goodness we don’t have to go back by slow boat! Had lunch in the little town of Jerantut while waiting for the next bus.   

  Magazine rack in Jerantut.  Is this the Malaysian equivalent of Cosmo?

We were unable to book the nice hotel with the pool that we stayed in before our trek, but booked a very nice older hotel in Chinatown, the Mandarin Pacific, and the bus dropped us right at the door!  

When we were in KL a week ago, we ordered new glasses – both of ours were scratched, broken and superglued after fourteen months on the road.  We each got progressive bifocals, and a second pair of sunglasses for about a third of what we would pay back home.  Today we went to pick up our new glasses – what do you think? 

We’re singing, “I can see clearly now…”

8/8 – Time to bid farewell to KL.   

  They’ve got one of the nicest bus stations we’ve seen – sparkly clean and modern, and everyone queues politely.

When we were on our way to Georgetown several weeks ago, I sat next to a young man on Bus 101 who suggested that we stop in Melaka (Malay spelling = Melaka, English spelling = Malacca) on our way to Singapore. We’d never heard of Melaka, but it looked to be about halfway between KL and Singapore on the map, and the young man said there was lots to do there. So, as we have been doing throughout this trip, we modified our itinerary to spend four days in Melaka.  Jim had a hard time finding a hotel room, but we didn’t stop to wonder why. Turns out that August 9th is the 50th anniversary celebration of Singapore’s independence from Malaysia, and this was a four day weekend where Singapore folks come to holiday in Melaka. We picked the busiest weekend of the summer to visit!  Here is Dutch Square, at the center of town:


How do you get around Melaka? Lots of tricycle cabs decorated with Frozen characters, blaring out Let It Go as they roll down the street! 

Or maybe a horse-drawn buggy? 

There are lots of photo opportunities for tourists. Here’s a Malaysian Blue Man:


This guy said he was Captain Malaysia: 



Jim is bullish on America.

The main area is Jonker Street, where there are lots of things to buy, and lots of things to eat.  Below is the Malaysian equivalent of a Trader Joe’s, with folks lined up to purchase authentic Chinese (we think) delicacies. 

There’s a Hard Rock here.
   Texas isn’t the only place with this slogan: 


More from Melaka tomorrow.

Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Tahan, Taman Negara, Malaysia

7/30 – walked over to the Mandarin Hotel to have breakfast and catch our 8:30 bus to start our jungle adventure.  We are on our way to Taman Negara (translates as Country Garden), which is the Malasian National Park containing the oldest old growth rain forest in the world. 

Shades of British colonialism – the Full English breakfast was offered, with mushrooms, baked beans and tomatoes accompanying the eggs and toast.  Haven’t had that in a while!  Our bus left at 9:30, and was full of Italian and Dutch tourists. Off we go!

  We rode until noon, and were delivered to Jerantut, Pahang, where we queued up to pay for our entrance to Taman Negara  of 1 ringgit (25 cents) and our camera permit (5 ringgit) that will allow us to take pictures in the park. The man was very clear in communicating that this permit must be carried with us at all times and produced upon demand. Failure to have the camera permit results in a 5000 ringgit fine.

After a quick lunch, we hopped on another bus for the short ride to the jetty, where we were packed onto two long boats for the three hour ride up the Tembeling River to Kuala Tahan.   

   The brown water was opaque, but there were enough exposed trees and branches to show that the river was shallow. 

  We rode past a big clan of fat water buffalo snoozing in the sun, all piled up on one another.  


  We also saw some monkeys in the trees, and a big monitor lizard lumbering along the shore, but they were too far away to snap.

Halfway through the trip, the lead boat got stuck on a sandbar, and we watched with amusement as everybody jumped out and helped push the boat through the calf-deep water.  


As we should have expected, we got stuck a short time later, and all the guys couldn’t wait to jump out and help!  

A half hour before landing, the sky opened up for a typical tropical afternoon drenching. Unfortunately, our packs were all lashed to the front of the boat, and no one had thought, on a sunny afternoon, to put their pack covers on. We arrived at 5:30pm with wet packs, sore bottoms from sitting on the hard deck, and full bladders – no facilities on board the small boat of course, and we were all drinking water in the hot sun.  

We disembarked and walked over to the hut marked Nusa, where we expected to find a small boat that would take us to our camp, Nusa Holiday Village. All was dark and still – no one and no boat. We went to the floating restaurant next door, and were told to climb the hill and inquire about Nusa.  

 The travel agent at the top of the hill rolled his eyes and at first refused to help, but then thought better of it, and called Nusa on the phone. He apologized for his moment of pique, but said Nusa does this (leaving folks stranded) all the time. 45 minutes later, the Nusa truck rolled up to pick up the four of us who were waiting. We were wet and hot and hungry. Our adventure was not off to a good start.

Nusa Holiday Village was billed as a resort, and we had prepaid at a much higher rate than our normal budget allows, as it got high ratings online and was supposed to be ‘da bomb’. It’s the busy season for tourists here, and every budget place we had tried was booked solid. We talked ourselves into the high priced ‘resort’ as Jim was really eager to hike in this jungle. Imagine our surprise as we trudged up the steep hill, over the swinging bridge to find a dinky, musty cabin with no windows and no amenities whatsoever. Well! How about the restaurant, which also got rave reviews? We ordered chicken curry for supper, and got curry with chicken bones and skin. Ugh.  We’re captives here, with no other restaurant choices.  It’s going to be a long week! 


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

7/29 – Today we had another chance to see the different cultures that make up Malaysia. We started by visiting a colorful Hindu temple.

Right across the street was a Chinese temple.

The Central Market had many Muslim shops.

In the evening, we were swimming in the rooftop pool, when it began to rain. We took shelter under an overhang, then watched with amazement as the Police headquarters building across the way belched smoke and flame from an upper story.image
A Malaysian man watching with us said it was probably arson, and the news later confirmed that the floor that was set on fire was the floor where confiscated drugs are stored. There’s lots of corruption in the Malaysian government these days.

Pretty pix of the evening skyline.image



The Petronus Twin Towers are just to the right of the green tower.




Penang to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

7/27 – Time to leave the island of Penang, the same way we arrived.

We took an early morning ferry from Georgetown back to Butterworth Station on the Malay peninsula mainland.

There, we waited for our Very Nice bus, which would take us for the six hour ride to the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, or, as the locals call it, KL.image

The bus really lived up to its name, with BarcaLounger seats, and a driver who called out every hour to see if anyone needed a rest stop. Very Nice!

As we approached the tall buildings of this modern city, I turned on my phone to check the GPS. There are several bus terminals in KL, and we were not sure which one this bus would take us to. I was heartened to see that we were progressing nicely toward the bus terminal that was nearest to our hotel. Closer, closer…. Oh no! The bus kept rolling along, even though we could see our hotel out the window! Now we were getting farther away, and, wouldn’t you know, it was starting to rain. By the time the bus stopped, we were 10 miles away, with no idea how to get back to KL Sentral.

Two university students saw us hunched over my phone looking for a metro or bus to get us back across town, and they asked how they could help. Nice People of Malaysia! They walked us over to the metro station, helped us buy tickets from the machine, and showed us on the metro map how many stations and where to change trains. Although we thanked them profusely, I neglected to get a photo. They were beautiful people. In a half hour, we were back at KL Sentral, walking the two blocks to our hotel. We have a rooftop pool! image

7/28 – Last year when we were in Istanbul, we shared breakfast with two brothers on holiday from KL. The younger brother Rool, who had the better English, invited us to look him up when we got to KL. Today, we did just that!

Rool picked us up and drove us to an authentic Malay buffet for lunch. Here we are with Rool and his six year old daughter Alicia.image

So many delicious choices! We really love Malay food. I even had some fermented durian (the orange stuff on the right).image

After lunch, Rool took us on a tour of KL. Here are the famous Petronus Twin Towers, which were the tallest buildings in the world for several years (not anymore). There is a walkway that connects the towers at the 42nd floor, which telescopes to compensate for the swaying of the buildings in the wind.image

There were shiny malls and designer shops, and government buildings.imageimage


A wonderful day – thanks Rool, we had a great time! Another Nice Person of Malaysia!image