Every trip must come to an end, I am catching the 3pm domestic flight from Alor Setar to KL then the 11pm flight back to Australia on the 23rd Sept.
A lot of washing to be done today which was normally no problem except that it rained and thundered so by the end of the day the washing was still damp. It is apparent that he low humidity of Australia dries washing much quicker despite the current higher temperatures here. The local laundromat beckoned…
RM4 ($1.20) for 25 minutes drying seemed reasonable to me.
Finally a small dinner at a local Thai Restaurant Rung Reang. Prawns, Snakehead fish and Calamari.
I will miss the food. Actually I will miss food for a while; I have to lose some weight after this trip but what lovely food I have enjoyed over the last four weeks.
Drove a couple of hundred kilometres to spent a few days in the cool of the Cameron Highlands. The temperature at this altitude is lovely and cool (17’ to 21’C) after the 32’C heat of the plains.
This is my fourth visit to the Highlands so it was not an unknown quantity and as a touch of nostalgia stayed at the Heritage Hotel in Tanah Rata, the same hotel as on the first visit 12 years ago.
Because this is a tea growing area there are plenty of Indian restaurants with Tandori Chicken cooked in a kiln being a speciality. The area also grows strawberries and flowers as well as a variety of cool climate vegetables. It is interesting to see how these nurseries cling to the side of some very steep slopes with fascinating offerings such as “Self Plucking Strawberries”.
Cameron Lavender Gardens
The first visit was to the Cameron Lavender Gardens a large flower nursery and tourist attraction.
Boh Tea Factory
Another nostalgic visit; when we came 12 years ago there were visits to the actual factory where the tea was ground, dried, fermented and packaged but that doesn’t seem to be possible now. The tea rooms then were new and spacious, on this visit those same tea rooms were crowded though the tea and scones were still fine.
Plenty to do and see in the Cameron Highlands…
A diet is definitely on the cards when I get home.
Spent time in Hua Hin solely with the intention of relaxing; no rushing about on this trip.
The railway station is a tourist attraction in itself – there is even a royal waiting room though it doesn’t seem to have been used for a long time.
The hotel was supposedly 3.5 stars but personally I doubt that, there was nothing wrong with it and it’s main point was its convenient location but it wasn’t a patch on the Royal Pavilion where we stayed last time. You get what you pay for – this was much cheaper.
A lot of time was spent eating; good food especially seafood was everywhere. There was one notable restaurant which was always crowded. When we first came across it there was a queue waiting for a vacant table.
In the event we ate there several times and by coming early never had to queue. Most of their food was delicious.
They were popular (famous?) for their claypot, personally it, like the similar steamboat, left me cold – I just don’t like boiled meat; boiled fish is OK but boiled meat? Not for me! The rest of their food was fine.
Hua Hin has plenty of other restaurants.
There was food on the jetty, at the night market and just about every street in town.
A short walk from the hotel was all the usual sights and sounds of urban Thailand.
It is definitely the off season with only a few Europeans about; there are a few pommie accents but the majority seem to be German or Scandinavian. The mainstay of the tourism industry at this time of the year seems to be coach loads of China Chinese visiting for a few hours (that is my observation only it might not be the case).
After Langkawi it seemed a good idea to spend a few days in Thailand. Hua Hin is a Thai seaside town a few hours south of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand that used to be a favourite holiday spot for the late king of Thailand. I had been there a few years previously and seen all the sights so it seemed a perfect place to go and laze and enjoy the local food.
The Malaysian/Thai Border
The nearest road crossing into Thailand from Malaysia is at Changloon or Sadeo (depending on which side of the border you are on). In the Duty Free zone on the Malaysian side we hired a Thai driver to take us to Hat Yai Railway Station for 700baht ($30).
The whole customs post area is undergoing massive redevelopment and we accidentally bypassed the Malaysian Customs post so had to return on a motorcycle taxi to get our passports stamped properly before being allowed through the Thai immigration.
The overnight special express to Bangkok doesn’t leave until 6.45pm so there were a few hours to kill. First order of business was to put the cases in the left luggage office and find something to eat as lunchtime had been and gone. There is a Chinese restaurant a short distance from the station which makes a great Chicken Rice.
We already had our ticket to Hua Hin.
But, after eating, it was back to the station to buy some tickets for the return journey in a few days time. First the ticket from Hua Hin to Hat Yai, then the shuttle train ticket from Hat Yai to Padang Besar (the rail crossing point into Malaysia) for when we return in a few days time.
I have been to Hat Yai many times and the train timetable hasn’t changed at all in that time. Having said that, as a timetable it is perhaps more of a suggestion than an actual event but it seems to work. Just be warned – trains are never early.
The timetable may not have changed but the carriages on the First Class Sleepers certainly have. Previously they were a bit tired and very 1950ish but the new rolling stock is a similar design but quite modern with screens in each compartment offering a GPS view of your progress and some entertainment. The carriage has several toilets and a shower.
Dinner on the train wasn’t that bad – Well, not compared to airline food.
The train arrived in Hua Hin at 6.30am – ie stupid o’clock – but, on the bright side, it was the coolest part of the day and only a short walk to the hotel.
The last whole day in Langkawi and a visit to Langkawi Wildlife Park.
The 20th best zoo in Asia!
There was also an aviary full of friendly budgies (with a 50 ringgitt fine if you trod on one), come to think of it a quarter of the zoo was Australian roadkill!
Finally something I haven’t seen since I was a child – Hedgehogs.
Not the world’s greatest zoo but it was small so not too much walking and it was flat. I found myself enjoying it.
BTW they were repairing the fence to the croc enclosure and had pulled out a 4 metre section while they welded it so there was actually nothing between the saltwater crocs and the visitors. The crocs must be well fed.
Bought a Char Keoy Teow from a hawker’s stall in the afternoon to have for dinner that evening.
Not the best I have ever had but it wasn’t bad – only two prawns.
Bought the ferry ticket for tomorrow at the jetty. Managed to get a senior concession!
4th September 2018
After breakfast we packed ready to leave, outside it was pouring down. When we arrived at the ferry terminal we had barely left enough time to get on the ferry especially after nearly getting on the Penang ferry by mistake.
On the bright side if it is going to rain what better day than the day of departure?
Langkawi has 99 islands so it made sense to go on a boat trip to explore some of them as well as some of the mangrove waterways.
1st September 2018
There are monkeys living in the mangroves that live off soft shell crabs and have learnt to swim (though these probably make a living off the tourist boats).
Above the river circle eagles the smaller brown one (see Langkawi statue) and a larger sea eagle. They would swoop down for fish stirred up by the boat.
The trip included a visit to a bat cave. I thought the most interesting thing was some of the stalactites which curve toward the sunlight – this is apparently caused by algae.
On the way back to the floating restaurant for lunch we came across a boat crash. These boats travel at very high speed and passengers are told not to move about unless the boat is stopped; in this case someone moved from one side to the other and it flipped over.
Today was a visit to the Agrotechnology Park where they grow fruit.
We were driven round the park in a truck with stops for photo opportunities. In the middle of the journey there was a stop where visitors could sample the fruit grown at the park.
Overall a moderately interesting visit.
Next – a visit to the memorial for Mahsuri. Legend has it that she is the cause of Langkawi’s poverty stricken past because when she was killed on trumped up charges she cursed the island for seven generations.
The story of Mahsuri is told in tableau form.
Her grave is in the “village”
No wonder I stay so young I must have fallen in.
That evening we ate the fruit (Rambutan) we picked on the farm visit before going out for dinner and a walk around the night market – If we had known before eating that the night market was on we would have bought our food there.
Took the ferry from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi for a few days visit. I have visited before but that was many years ago.
The 31st August is Malaysia’s national day so the flags were out and the ferry was full.
The journey is only 1 hour which means it was too early to check in at the hotel so a visit to the Hot Springs fills in a bit of time.
The water is certainly warm but the place had a bit of a run down look to it however at 5RM ($1.50) entry you can’t complain too much.
On the way back to Kuah we called in at the Galeria Perdana which is a Dr Mahathir Museum. Dr Mahathir is much revered in his Kedah state.
The museum was full of gifts from his time as Prime Minister of Malaysia – There was so many precious objects but my el cheapo camera was not up to the task of photographing them. According to the brochure the collection is 9000 items but they only display about 2000 at a time so the display constantly changes.
Had lunch at a Malay seafood restaurant which was a buffet style place – something I hadn’t come across before. You took what you wanted and they came around and charged you afterwards. Lovely food.
Checked in at the hotel, then in the evening visited Eagle Square to see the massive statue and the sunset.
31st August 2018
The major visit today was to the SkyCab.
A cable car takes you up into the mountains. Being the Malaysia’s National Day it was going to be very busy so we arrived early to avoid the rush when the day trippers from the mainland arrived.
At the top the view was terrific. Below you was the Sky Bridge, allegedly the longest curved bridge in the world. To get there you could pay a few ringgit for a little railway or you could walk down for free (we chose the little railway).
Once back down from the cable car there were a number of lesser attractions included in the entrance fee – one was the 3D Museum. The 3D museum was basically a photo op with some spectacularly large pictures as a backdrop.
Back to the hotel to recover followed by an evening meal involving beer and coconuts. Good day out.
This trip doesn’t involve the camper – I wanted to get away from the Australian cold so am making a short visit to Malaysia. I haven’t been for three years and this is probably not the ideal time to go as it is the wet season.
My usual Canon camera is playing up too so am making do with a tiny Olympus TG 320 well past its use by date. The following photos illustrate how poor it is when trying to deal with anything other than an outdoor daylight shot.
Am visiting friends in a town called Jitra in northern Malaysia near Alor Setar and not far from the Thai border.
After the flight from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur and an eight hour wait for the domestic flight I was pretty exhausted by the time I arrived but, after a nanny nap, spent the evening visiting the local Tesco for essentials like a six pack of Tiger beer followed by a meal at a popular Chinese restaurant (the camera again showing its shortcomings).
Tomorrow will be a quiet day in preparation for a few days visiting the island of Langkawi.
Only a couple of hundred k’s to travel today to my daughter and son in law’s house in Canberra. My last chance to see them before they go to Europe for a six week holiday.
The scenery changed from the flat plains to rolling hills as I went south toward the Hume Highway. Didn’t stop in Boorowa because it was too early for coffee in the end I didn’t stop until I reached my destination.
Distance: 277 Km
Fuel: 51 L
Canberra is cold at night. There are a lot of nice things to be said about Canberra but its climate is not one of them.
Spent the morning with the kids then set off after lunch so they could continue their packing and travel preparations in peace.
Arrived home at about 5pm.
Statistics for Trip
Total Distance: 7905 Km
Total Fuel: 824 L
Length of Trip: 26 Days
Total Fuel Cost: $1205
Average Fuel Price: $1.46/L
Total Accommodation Cost: $723
Average Park Cost: $28.96
Good trip – saw just about everything I expected or wanted to see and I enjoyed every minute of the trip. Love travelling inland Australia; there is nowhere in the world like it. Apart from the miserable weather near Ravenshoe on the way up the weather for the whole trip was near perfect; warm sunny days and, even in NSW, dry (cool) nights.
On occasions found towing a bit of a nuisance because it meant that in some towns or places of interest it was not possible to park or turn round. Would still use the camper for longer trips but for shorter trips am definitely thinking of going back to my tent with the option of the odd motel stay.
I don’t think I need a powered site because the solar panel on the car roof, together with the aux battery, seems to run the fridge easily with some power to spare. During the whole trip the fridge was never plugged into the mains power at all yet the battery remained fully charged or nearly so. We shall see, when spring comes I might give it a go again, I always liked camping.
Left this morning just after 8.30am, easy pack up because there was no TV aerial to take down – according to my app the nearest transmitter was over 60 km away so I didn’t bother putting it up.
The sat nav took me to Dubbo on the main road but then decided that a country road was quicker than the main road to Cowra. Fine by me, usually less traffic but on the downside few rest areas. Looking at the map the difference must have been marginal. When you take into account that these back roads tend to wind more than main roads thus keeping to the speed limit is impossible so any time saving is probably an illusion but it was a nice drive.
I stopped at a small town called Yeovil (one pub, one store) and bought a coffee – which was very good.
Didn’t stop in Canowindra because I was there not that long ago (>>>Click Here<<<) but continued on to Cowra again a place I am familiar with.
Chose a caravan park about 3km out of the centre of town and after setting up went for a drive for fuel and a look at some of the attractions.
First visit was to the WWII POW camp where the infamous Cowra Breakout occurred when Japanese prisoners attacked the guards and tried to escape or die in the process.
Next stop the Peace Bell.
Finally a trip to the Bellevue Hill lookout in the centre of town.