Malaysian Holiday 2018 –The Last Day

22nd September 2018

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…

Jitra LaundromatJitra LaundromatJitra Laundromat

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.

Rung Reang RestaurantRung Reang RestaurantRung Reang RestaurantRung Reang Restaurant

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.

Cameron Highlands

18th to 21st September 2018

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.

Cameron Highlands Heritage Hotel

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.

Cameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender GardensCameron Highlands Lavender Gardens

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.

BOH Tea FactoryBOH Tea FactoryBOH Tea PlantationBOH Tea PlantationBOH Tea Plantation

Plenty to do and see in the Cameron Highlands…

Cameron HighlandsCameron HighlandsCameron HighlandsCameron Highlands

…and eat.

Cameron Highlands DinnerCameron Highlands DinnerDurian

A diet is definitely on the cards when I get home.

Crossing the Border into Thailand

7th September 2018

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.

Hat Yai

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.

Hat Yai Chinese RestaurantHat Yai Chicken Rice

We already had our ticket to Hua Hin.

SRT Train Ticket Hat Yai to Hua HinBut, 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.

SRT Train Ticket Hua Hin to Hat YaiSRT Train Ticket Hat Yai to Pedang Besar

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.

Hat Yai StationHat Yai StationHat Yai StationHat Yai StationHat Yai Station

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.

SRT 1st Class SleeperSRT 1st Class SleeperSRT 1st Class SleeperSRT 1st Class Sleeper

Dinner on the train wasn’t that bad – Well, not compared to airline food.

SRT 1st Class Sleeper 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.

Langkawi–Part 2

1st to 2nd September 2018

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

Langkawi Boat TripLangkawi Boat TripLangkawi Boat TripLangkawi Boat TripLangkawi Boat TripLangkawi Boat Trip

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).

Swimming MonkeysSwimming MonkeysSwimming MonkeysSwimming Monkeys

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.

Soaring EaglesLangkawi Boat TripLangkawi Boat TripLangkawi Boat Trip180901 077 Langkawi Boat TripLangkawi Boat Trip

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.

Bat CaveBat CaveBat Cave

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.

Boat CrashBoat Crash

Final destination – a beach?

Langkawi Boat TripLangkawi Boat Trip

[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m14!1m8!1m3!1d253756.51289176362!2d99.71548288886719!3d6.401022323620119!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x0%3A0xe45b745fe15653d5!2sKILIM+GEOFOREST+PARK!5e0!3m2!1sen!2smy!4v1536199119584″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”” style=”border: 0px currentcolor; border-image: none;”>

2nd September 2018

Today was a visit to the Agrotechnology Park where they grow fruit.

Mardi Agrotechnology CentreMardi Agrotechnology CentreMardi Agrotechnology CentreMardi Agrotechnology Centre

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.

Mardi Agrotechnology CentreMardi Agrotechnology Centre

Overall a moderately interesting visit.

Mardi Agrotechnology Centre

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.

Mahsuri MemorialMahsuri Memorial

The story of Mahsuri is told in tableau form.

Mahsuri Memorial

Her grave is in the “village”

Mahsuri MemorialMahsuri Memorial VillageMahsuri Memorial VillageMahsuri Memorial Village

No wonder I stay so young Winking smile I must have fallen in.

Mahsuri Memorial VillageMahsuri Memorial VillageMahsuri Memorial VillageMahsuri Memorial VillageMahsuri Memorial VillageMahsuri Memorial Village

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.

RambutanLangkawi Evening MealLangkawi Evening MealLangkawi Night MarketLangkawi Night Market

Langkawi–Part 1

30th and 31st August 2018

30th August 2018

Took the ferry from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi for a few days visit. I have visited before but that was many years ago.

Langkawi Ferry from Kuala PerlisLangkawi Ferry from Kuala Perlis

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.

Langkawi Hot SpringsLangkawi Hot SpringsView from Langkawi Hot Springs 

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.

Galeria PerdanaGaleria PerdanaGaleria PerdanaGaleria Perdana

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.

Kak Yan Nasi Campur Restaurant

Checked in at the hotel, then in the evening visited Eagle Square to see the massive statue and the sunset.

Eagle SquareEagle SquareEagle SquareSunset from Eagle Square

31st August 2018

The major visit today was to the SkyCab.

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.

SkycabSkycabSkycabSkycab

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).

Little Railway SkycabLittle Railway SkycabSky BridgeSky BridgeSky BridgeView From Sky BridgeSky BridgeView From Sky Bridge

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.

180831 157 Langkawi 3D Museum

Back to the hotel to recover followed by an evening meal involving beer and coconuts. Good day out.

Evening Meal

A Trip to Foreign Parts- August 2018

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.

180827 005 Trip to Malaysia180828 001 Trip to Alor Setar180828 005 Trip to Alor Setar180828 008 Trip to Alor Setar

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).

180828 009 Jitra Dinner180828 012 Jitra Dinner

Tomorrow will be a quiet day in preparation for a few days visiting the island of Langkawi.