Faces of
Malaysia
Melaka

Melaka (a.k.a. Malacca) is the capital of the Malaysian state of Malacca.
Traditionally, the spot where Melaka stands today was the center of Malaccan history. It was the capital of the Malaccan Sultanate and the center of the Malay world in the 15th and the 16th century before it fell to the Portuguese in 1511. Centuries of colonization by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British have shaped the architecture of the town.

Sandakan

Sandakan is a starting point for ecotourism destinations such as the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary,Turtle Islands Park, Kinabatangan River and Gomantong Caves.

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Kuala Lumpur - Taman Negara

More information on the combined bus and boat journey from Kuala Lumpur to Taman Negara National Park and back.

Next / Recent Occurances:

Year Date Animal Week Day
2015 Feb 19 Goat Thursday
2016 Feb 8 Monkey Monday
2017 Jan 28 Rooster Saturday
2018 Feb 16 Dog Friday
2019 Feb 5 Boar Tuesday

The date of Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calender and fluctuates. It always takes places between end of january end of february.

overview of public holidays in Malaysia

 

lanterns at night
shophouses decorated with lanterns

The Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays, as with any major holiday in Malaysia, means "balik kampung" (malay for "back to the village"). In case for the Malaysian Chinese population it means more like "back to the home town" as the Chinese mostly live in towns and cities. Which means that there will be large exodus of people in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang Valley as people head home. The New Year celebration means finally going back home and reunite with the whole family.

The first 2 days of CNY are public holidays but many take the whole week off and KL becomes almost a calm and laid-back place. Chinese make about 23% of the 30 million people living in Malaysia. Some say many Chinese traditions are more cultivated in Malaysia than in China itself as the Chinese didn't have to suffer from Mao's cultural revolution here.

Lucky Oranges
Cities are decorated with red lanterns and the omnipresent slogan "Gong Xi Fa Cai" - which roughly means "may you be prosporous". There are stalls everywhere selling gifts, especially oranges are to be very popular for this occasion. Mandarin oranges and tangerines are a symbol of prosperity and good luck and their prices sore in the days leading up to Chinese New Year. The fruits are displayed as decoration or given as gifts to friends, family and business partners.

mandarin oranges
Mandarin Oranges on sale in a supermarket
The fruits are symbols of prosperity and good luck and are popular presents during Chinese New Year

 

Tossing of Yee Sang
A unique tradition for the Chinese community in Malaysia and Singapore is the tossing of Yee Sang (or Yusheng 鱼生 or Spring Toss), a Teochew-style raw fish salad. The salad has unique sweet and sour flavour and consists of strips of raw fish (usually salmon), shredded pickled vegetables and other ingredients. All ingredients are positioned seperately on a big plate. The ritual is to gather around the plate, each person holding chopsticks, and to mix and toss the salad together while shouting "Loh Hei" (Cantonese for "toss up good fortune") and announcing auspicous wishes. The higher you toss the better (and the messier the table). Traditionally, the dish has seven symbolic ingredients and is served on the seventh day of Chinese New Year. But the ritual is common anytime during the festive season with family, friends or at work.

yee sang
tossing Yee Sang in the office
In Malaysia, festive occasions are celebrated together. No matter the cultural background, tossing the Yee Sang is fun for everyone and it tastes good.

tossing yee sang
tossing Yee Sang with the family
... tossing it way up for prosperous new year!

Reunion Dinner
When people make it back home it's all about eating (like any festive occasion in Malaysia). The main occasion during Chinese New Year is the reunion dinner where the whole family comes together to eat and spend the evening together.  The reunion dinner is held on the New Year's Eve of Chinese New Year (the evening before CNY) and  takes place around a table full of food. The majority will have the reunion dinner at home. A common dish for this  occasion is Steam Boat. A dish that can drag for hours. Various types of seafood (prawn, abalone etc.) and meat, eggs, vegetables, tofu and noodles are placed around hot bowl of soup. You take whatever you want to eat and put it in the soup. Once it is cooked enough, you take it out and eat. And so on and on... 
On new year's eve is it tradition to stay up unit midnight after the reunion dinner until your safe from the evil spirit (so they legend goes) and visit the temple to welcome the new year.

steam boat
Steam Boat
The table is set up for a steam boat reunion dinner wtih 2 soup hot pots, fresh greens, seafood, mushrooms and noodles. May the feast begin...

 

Chinese New Year Period
Chinese New Year is celebrated over a period of 15 days. Some days or more important than others and the first days are public holiday in Malaysia.

1st Day - Public Holiday - the beginning of the new year
The celebration already begins at midnight. After the reunion dinner and maybe a bottle of good whine or other liquor afterwards, people will go to temple to welcome the year and pray. There will also be fireworks and firecrackers (not for the last time in the upcoming 2 weeks) to chase away the evil spirits, the socalled nian (Chinese: 年) (the story of the nian monster). On the first day it is also considered bad luck to clean (dishes and laundry excluded) and especially using a broom. So the cleaning should be done in the week before CNY.
The first day is also the time to honor and visit the elder family member and the wish them "gong xi fa cai" (literally: wishing you enlarge your wealth - but here it is used to wish for a happy and prosperous new year). So you wake up, put on new clothes and knock on your family members door and wish them a happy new year. In return the older family member hands back a red envelope called ang pow to the younger ones or by married family members to the unmarried ones to protect from evil spirits in the new year. The color red in general is supposed to ward off evil spirits in Chinese culture.

ang pow
selection of ang pows
These red envelopes (filled with money) are given by the elders to the young ones and by the married to the unmarried ones within the family

2nd Day - Public Holiday - visiting friends and relatives
The second day is also a public holiday in Malaysia. Traditionally this was the day when the married daugthers visit their birth family.

3rd Day - staying at home / visiting the grave
Families who had an immediate family member passed away within the previous three years will not go house visiting to pay respect to the deceiced. Instead, on the third day of Chinese New Year, the family we visit the grave.
For everyone else third day is considered a unlucky day go house visiting and people will stay home.
The first Chinese shops will open for business again. In general most Chinese in Malaysia will take the whole week off however.

5th Day- breaking of taboos and more fireworks
While firecrackers can be heard on any day during the 15-day CNY period, on the fifth day firecrackers and fireworks will be aplenty to get attention from the god of fortune. On the fiftth day it is also not consider bad luck to sweep the floor anymore.

7th Day - Tossing of Yusheng
The seventh day is the traditional day for the Yusheng (Yee Sang) ritual, the tossing of salad and wishing for good things to come in the new year.

8th Day - even more fireworks at midnight
The eve of the birth of the Jade Emperor, especially celebrated by the Hokkien community. At midnight there will be massive fireworks again to celebrate the Hokkien New Year (see 9th day). 

9th Day - Hokkien New Year, birthday of Jade Emperor
With a large Hokkien community, Penang holds a especially large celebration of this day. Traditionally this was the actual first new year's day for the Hokkiens as the legend goes that they were once hiding for the first 8 days of Chinese New Year in a sugarcane plantation from bandits. Hence, sugarcane plants have an importance on this day and can be seen everywhere. As this day also conincides with the birthday of the Jade Emperor, people give offerings and pray to the Jade Emperor.
more about Hokkien New Year

15th Day - Chap Goh Meh, Lanternfestival, Valentine's Day
On the last day of the 2-week Chinese New Year celebration the fireworks and firecrackers are back in action again to end the festivities with a bang. "Chap Goh Meh" simple means "15th day" in the Hokkien dialect. The 15th day is also known as the Latern Festival. These days Chap Goh Meh has a carnival-like atmosphere with performance stages set up in the center of town. Chap Goh Meh traditionally was also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day as single women were allowed to venture out of their homes. In Malaysia and Singapore, there is als the tradition where the women throw mandarine oranges in the river for the men to scoop them now. People would write their phone numbers on the fruits.

Lion Dance
A highlight for locals and tourist alike are the Lion Dance acts. There are 2 people in each lion costume. Not an easy job, especially for the one at the back.The modern version of the Lion Dance requires extreme physical skills, especially when they jump from pole to pole. Interestingly, Malaysian teams won already more than 20 times at the Lion Dance World Championships beating teams from Hongkong and China.
Further Information about Lion Dance:
The Lion Dancers of Malaysia

 


Lion Dance


 

Travel and tourism should be planned and practiced as a means of individual and collective fulfilment. When practiced with an open mind, it is an irreplaceable factor of self education, mutual tolerance and for learning about the legitimate differences between peoples and cultures and their diversity.

Everyone has a role to play creating responsible travel and tourism. Governments, business and communities must do all they can, but as a guest you can support this in many ways to make a difference:

1. Open your mind to other cultures and traditions - it will transform your experience, you will earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local people. Be tolerant and
respect diversity - observe social and cultural traditions and practices.

2. Respect human rights. Exploitation in any form conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism. The sexual exploitation of children is a crime punishable in the destination or at the offender's home country.

3. Help preserve natural environments. Protect wildlife and habitats and do not purchase products made from endangered plants or animals.

4. Respect cultural resources. Activities should be conducted with respect for the artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage.

5. Your trip can contribute to economic and social development. Purchase local handicrafts and products to support the local economy using the principles of fair trade. Bargaining for goods should reflect an understanding of a fair wage.

6. Inform yourself about the destination's current health situation and access to emergency and consular services prior to departure and be assured that your health and personal security will not be compromised. Make sure that your specific requirements (diet, accessibility, medical care) can be fulfilled before you decide to travel this destination.

7. Learn as much as possible about your destination and take time to understand the customs, norms and traditions. Avoid behaviour that could offend the local population.

8. Familiarize yourself with the laws so that you do not commit any act considered criminal by the law of the country visited. Refrain from all trafficking in illicit drugs, arms,antiques, protected species and products or substances that are dangerous or prohibited by national regulations.


"The Responsible Tourist and Traveller" has been approved by the World Committee on Tourism Ethics in May 2005 and endorsed by UNWTO resolution A/RES/506(XVI) adopted at Dakar, Senegal, in December 2005, by which the General Assembly recommends the dissemination of this text to the travelling public worldwide.

Roti Canai / Roti Telur


Roti Telur with Dal-Sambal sos and Teh-Ais (Ice Tea with condensed milk)
Roti Cani is a type of indian bread. You can get it at most indian and malay stalls. It is quite a sight to watch the masters at work when they prepare the dough for bread. They will toss it in the air until it beccomes super-thin and then they will fold it four times a fry it. After that they will literally beat the bread so that it becomes fluffy and you can see the various layers.
Sometimes you get curry with it and sometimes you get Dal with it to dip in. Personally, I prefer Dal Samabal, where a spicy chili sos (Sambal) is added to the Dal. To make to breakfast more wholesame, try Roti Telur with has egg inside. Sometimes people will add some Chilli and Onion too, a good stall anyway. I once tried the Roti Canai with condensed milk (susu manis), not my favorite but not bad at all.

How to order a Roti Telur with Dal Sambal and Ice Lemon Tea:
"Roti Telur. Satu. Dal Sambal. Teh O Ais Limau. Satu."
"Satu" here means that you only want one.
--> the science of ordering drinks in Malaysia

Tosai


Tosai with Teh O Limau (Lemon Tea without condensed milk)
Tosai is a different type of indian bread. You will only find Tosai at indian stalls however. It is very thin and crispy. Here, the liquid dough is poured on the hot plate and then being spread by a cup. When it is done it appears quite enormous in size but usually a tosai appears bigger than it is since it is very thin and not as greasy as Roti Canai.

Tosai will be served on a metal plate with 3 small pockets each filled with a different sos. The standard sauces are Dal and Curry and the third sauce is usually different from place to place - different kinds of chutneys.


Tosai: looks huge but it's just a snack after all
Just like with Roti Telur you can also order Tosai with egg (Tosai Telur) or with sugar (Tosai Gula). If you want to eat Tosai for lunch or dinner, try Tosai Masala where it is fill with potatoes and other vegetables in a spice Masala sauce.
How to order a Tosai with a Teh Tarik (Teh with condensed milk):
"Tosai. Satu. Teh Tarik. Satu."
The "k" of "Tarik" is silent as any "k" at the end of a word in malay.
--> the science of ordering drinks in Malaysia

Nasi Lemak



Nasi Lemak seems to be the most popular breakfast amoung all races in Malaysia. It's also eaten anytime during the day and a popular fast food at rest stops for example. Nasi Lemak (fat rice) is coconut rice with egg, sambal, anchovies, nuts, cucumber and sometimes chicken or fish. As the word suggests it is quite heavy. To heavy for me in the morning anyway.

Nasi Lemak is usually cold as it is already prepared and wrapped in a banana leave and newspaper. In the morning you will notice the small "pyramides" on the tables of the stalls. Now you know what is inside.




Vocabularies
roti bread
telur egg
boss general word to call the "waiter"
satu one
dua two
tiga three
satu lagi one more
boss, kira we'd like to pay
terima kasih thank you
nandri thank you (tamil)
susu milk
manis sweet
Teh Tarik - Malaysia's national drink

Ordering drinks is easy once you understand the system. But don't worry, in the big cities you will get by at most places speaking english, but you want to try anyway, right? After a bit of practicing you can mingle with the locals and shout "Boss. Teh Tarik. Satu Lagi." (Boss, give me another Tea)
Teh Tarik - Tea with condensed milk, sweet
Teh O Panas - same tea without ice
Teh O Limau Panas - Lemon Tea
The Panas (=hot) is optional, sometimes you will get the drinks with ice anyway so you add "panas" just to make sure.
If you want a cold drink you just add "ais" to it:

Teh Ais - Ice Tea with condensed milk
Teh O Ais - Ice Tea
Teh O Ais Limau - Lemon Ice Tea

Important: every drink in Malaysia is by default very (very) sweet. I would recommend to order everything with the magic words "kurang manis" (=less sweet):

Teh Ais Kurang Manis, Teh Tarik Kurang Manis .... and so on. It will still be sweet but not as bad. If you don't want sugar at all. Add "tak nak gula" (pronounce: ta na gula = don't want sugar).

If you liked the drink and want another one: "satu lagi" (=one more) will holding up the glass / cup.

Other drinks you will get anywhere: Nescafe and Milo (cacao drink), most of the times also "kopi" (=coffee). The sames rules apply to these drinks. Example:

Nescafe Tarik - Nescafe with condensed milk
Milo Ais - cocoa drink with Ice

2 popular cold drinks which are available everywhere:

Limau Ais - Lemon Juice (water, ice, freshly squeezed limes)
Ice Kosong - Ice Water (cheapest way to recharge - 20sen)

By the way, "tarik" means pull. The mean is used because the Teh will be "pulled" between to cups to mix it and cool it down.

In case you want to drink "to go" (here known as "take-away): ask for "bungkus".

Don't forget your "Terima Kasih" or even "Nandri" (tamil, if it is a indian place) which means thank you and you can be sure to be smiled at.

by: Ida

Tea Estate
For someone who loves the nature, and just has 5 or 6 days or even less to spend in West Malaysia, I would highly recommend you to my favourite destination - Cameron Highland. It is like 5 hours from Kuala Lumpur. At Cameron Highland, you would find the tranquility of the mountain, escape the heat of the city. Spare yourself, at least, two days at Cameron Highland, join the must go half day tour to tea plantation farm. Here you would see the most lovely and spectacular view of little green lot of tea farm, spreading all over the valleys ranging from one valley to another.

Transportation - better to take the espress bus from Puduraya bus station in the early morning. After 5 hours of journey, you will arrive Cameron Highland at around 1 or 2 pm. Registered for a half day or whole day tour, or your hotel can do it for you for the same dollar amount. Then, relax yourself, hang around for the rest of the day. On day 2, begin with the tour and enjoy mother nature with experience local guide. They will tell you the history as well as funny things at Cameron Highland. If you are taking the half day tour, you would be able to catch the 1:30pm bus back to Kuala Lumpur and save some time!

Steam Boat
Accommodation - for the moderate price places to stay (around US35/nite) at Tanah Rata should be fine. Everything will be in walking distance. Food - the most popular to have at the highland is "steamboat", opened by the local Chinese who live there for over 20 years. You just spend less than US3 for a "all-u-can-eat" steamboat buffet at any Chinese restaurant. Enjoy the food and a beer on hand is the best thing you could ever have at Cameron Highland.

Last but not least - I lost my backpack during my coach transfer from Tanah Rata (Cameron Highland) back to Kuala Lumpur. I was not aware of this until I arrived KL which was 730pm in the evening already. I was panic and the only thing I had was the coach ticket which had the address of the bus company on it. The only thing I could do was to find the bus company under heavy rainfall, and asked for help near Puduraya bus station. Lucky me, the lady there was so friendly, asked me to calm down and told me that they already got a phone call from the transfer station, knowing I had left my luggage there. And the best thing was that they had arranged the next bus to bring the luggage back to me. During my wait for the next bus to come, which was 2 1/2 hours, though tired and hungry, the lady offered a chair for me which was the best comfort I could have. By 10pm, the bus finally arrived and the bus driver saw a me right away. It was good to have my luggage back, really. Many thanks to all the people who had given me a hand during my journey in Malaysia! Terima Kasih!
For detailed information about the Cameron Highland click here!
by: Tilo

Kampung (village) in southern Kelantan

We got up early at 4.30am in Kota Bharu and took a taxi to the Wakaf Bharu train station which was a 15 minute drive from Kota Bahru. I tried to buy a ticket the day before but the woman at the counter said that tickets are only available at the train station on the same day.

When we arrived at the train station the counter was still closed so we took a seat and waited. About 30min before the train arrived (yup, I guess we were too early) the counter opened up and we bought 3 tickets which was RM 32.40 all together. That just reminds me of the documentary I watched yesterday about the Orient Express from Singapore to Bangkok with ticket prices of 1600 Euro to 3000 Euro.


train station in Gua Musang
train station in Gua Musang


train station Kuala Lipis
train station in Kuala Lipis
 

at the train station

Anyway, we got in the train and sat down in a basic 3 rd class car with ceiling fans. After a while I decided to explore the rest of the train. As I fought my way through durian and other local fruits that were stored in between the cars, I found one car that was a bit better equipped and air-conditioned so we moved our things here. However, the a/c was set so low that we had to get extra-clothing out of the backpack to keep us warm. Meanwhile it was day-light already and we passed by paddy fields and villages and the environment turned more and more into jungle. At some of the bigger stations the train stopped for about 20min to wait for the on-coming train since there is only a single track between the stations. At times the jungle is so thick that it touches the train on both sides and it feels like the train is eating its way through the rain forest.
 

Kuala Lipis (Pahang)

The handful of backpackers left the train in Jerantut which is the gate to Taman Negara, the national park. We got out of the train in Kuala Lipis after about 8 ½ hours in the train. Kuala Lipis is a small town with a colonial past as the capital of Pahang. Now it is quite sleepy and there is not much too do. Taman Negara and Kenong Rimba State Park are close by and tours can be booked there. We just used it as a stop over as we wanted to get to Melaka the next day.

Our train left at 2pm the next day and we used the morning for a walk. It had been raining until the early morning so the temperature was still pleasant.
 

There were less people on the train then yesterday where a lot of locals used the train to commute between neighbour towns and villages. The further we got to Gemas (todays last stop) the emptier the train got. In the end there were merely 5 people in the train. This 2nd part of the train ride was not as scenic as the day before as the jungle slowly turned into oil palm fields.
 

When we arrived at 8.30pm it was already dark and started to rain. In Gemas the train line insects with the line between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. However; the next train wouldn't leave before the middle of the night but we wanted to get to Melaka anyway. The was no buses or taxis anywhere that could take us to Melaka so we sat down in the Chinese run cafe at the train station and sipped a few Teh Tariks. Mostly Indians sat at the tables and had tea and ate Nasi Lemak for dinner. As I ran out of ideas how to leave from here I ask the guy running the cafe if he knows how to get us to Melaka. He said he that there were no more taxis or buses at this time. Luckily, one of his friends, an Indian drug enforcement officer, would be willing to take take us to Tampin. From there we should be able to take a bus.
 

We waited another hour before the friendly Indian Man took us with his car (fancily decorated on the inside with Ganesh and other Hindu symbols) on the 30min trip. Along the way he explained with a loud strong voice about the drug situation in Malaysia (favourite phrase: "you have to be very be careful"). After the very interesting ride we arrived in Tampin. By now it was already quite late so we decided to be lazy and took the more expensive (RM 40) option of taking a taxi to Melaka. Shortly before midnight we arrived at the Eastern Heritage guesthouse in Melaka.


There you sit in a restaurant on Jalan Alor, where one restaurant and stall is next to the other busily serving costumers even at 2am and there come 10-year old boys selling tissues looking at you with puppy eyes or beggers crawling around on their bare hands but also young, dynamic man with piles of DVDs. We already know that you can get shirts from Nike, shoes by Adidas, purses by Bree, shoes by Prada and of course Rolex watches here to ridiculous prices.

Though DVDs are new to us and are booming here now big time. The price for one DVD is 10-13 Ringgit, 2.00 - 2.30 Euro! And we're talking about a good quality DVD9. Quite Unbelievable. However: For risks and side effects ask frequent buyers or the hostel owner of trust. You have to be careful not to get DVD5 or DVD3 which has only been equipped with a DVD9 sticker. And, well, there are rumors that these incredible prices - just like at the above mentioned products - are only caused by the fact that we are talking about fake products wink
But as the Malaysian says: Only Genuine Copies! The Lonely Planet summarizes:

"Sungei Wang Plaza is especially good for camera gear and cheap (but possibly pirated) software and hardware components."


Who owns DVD-burner knows that problems can occur while burning and copying. There can be incidents where people just desolve into little squares. The fact that the movie "The Incredibles", just started being shown in the cinemas (Nov. 2004), is already out on DVD only worries Hollywood. Well maybe the buyer also provided they get a copy that has only been taped inside a movie theatre. Sounds and contrasts can be pathetic in this case.
Software-CDs with whole collections of applications cost a whopping 5 Ringgit. MS Office for just 1 Euro is even more irritating for us. They just have everything at stock. I even got the "Social Statistics Program" of my dreams in version 12.0 as well as all kinds of GIS-applications.

As we went shopping, Tilo (our hostel host and KL-informer) asked the sales person, if they had a certain malaysian film, which has been in the movies recently and is supposed to be really good. The guy said they don't have any Malaysian films. Foreign movies, that's okay. If there's a raid and you get caught and you will be - he crossed his hands - but that can be settled with money. But if there are malaysian films on the shelf, you would - he crossed his hands again - that would be a problem.

If you wanna buy cameras or notebooks you should be a professional negotiator. Though there a price tags on all good in the Plazas (shopping malls) but they are if at all just the start of negotiations. Basically the goods are priced about 1/3 more than they will be sold over the counter later. You also have an advantage in the negotiation process if you did some research on the web before of the actual price of the good of your choice. If you walk out of the store with your newly acclaimed camera and the sales person waves at you happily with a wide grin on his face then you know: I paid to much, much to much. That's what happened to me as I bought a new mouse for my notebook which was obviously constructed in the same way as a Microsoft mouse which I always wanted to own. It was prices 42 Ringgit and I managed to haggle it down to sweet 35 Ringgit. Nonetheless, it was a good deal for me as I saw the mouse in store near Stuttgart (Germany) for 39 EUR (about 200 Ringgit). Still I always realize, I love steady prices with no negotiations.
MoveTivation.net Internetseite
by: Chris

In the last 2 days the streets of Kuala Lumpur were deserted. The mob of cars that usually jam up the streets of Kuala Lumpur from morning to evening has disappeared. The busy main street of the capital became a sleeping beauty. I asked myself: What happened?

The solution is: end of Ramadhan ("Aidil Fitri"). The first day of the month of Shawal, the following month of the fasting month Ramadhan is celebrated in Malaysia as "Hari Raya Puasa". The Malays spend this holiday with their families at the countryside. A whole exodus of the city population leaves after the mosque visit (but also the non-muslim citizens). In Malaysia they call it "balik kampung" (back to the village) - fever. Only this way it was possible to cross the pulsating main roads without any problems.

Kuala Lumpur without MIT (motorized individual traffic) was a pleasure! Even though a lot of money had been spend on public transportation during the past years, side walks and pedestrian bridges have been neglected.

KL's public transport system is changing from slow, chaotic and crowded to speedy, comfortable and uncomplicated" (Lonely Plate 2004). That makes me think of MICROBUS wink


Do you know the feeling of panic just because you want to reach the other side of the road? I stand at the edge of the road, the right leg jerks over and over again, now, NOW I dare to cross the road, but then another guy on motorbike closes in on me with rapid speed so that I have to jump back. At the next attempt it's a noisy bus that drives drops of sweat on my forehead. The fact that people drive on the left-hand side doesn't make it easier for me. Meanwhile, after a week, I don't risk my life anymore just because I think "great, no one is coming from the left, let's go" until a concert of honking cars let me know straight up that I'm about to make a huge mistake.

But even under consideration of the left-hand traffic, vehicles of various kinds approach from unexpected directions because these are the unofficial traffic rules:
a) don't exist
b) the ones that exist (according to rumours) are not followed
c) everything goes and
d) the strongest wins.

Meanwhile I got the habit of starting to run whenever the locals do hoping they know what they are doing.

Tea Ceremony

On a discovery trip through the city it's always worth it to take the first sound of thunder seriously and to look for a shelter. Because one thing is for sure: the next big tropical rain is coming up.
We were just in front of a chinese tea shop as it started to pour. Amazed we check out the amount of tea types that were piled up in nicely decorated cans on the shelves as a young Chinese woman approached us: "I show you how to make good tea". We sat down on a small table and were introduced to the ceremony of making tea.

At first she heated the small tea bowls in a miniature teapot with hot water. After that she put some balls of (rolled up tea leaves) green yasmin tea in the pot and poured hot water on it. She waited 15seconds and explained in english with a strong chinese accent that you never drink the "firlt lun" (first run) but throw away. The following second infusion we got to taste. Me, as a coffee junkie, thought the tea was rather bland. Next she prepared Jun Shan Yin Zhen tea, then the third type of tea with an unpronounceable name. Tea. I found the second type somewhat earthy but that was nothing compared to the third type which reminded me by smell and taste of moldy forest leaves. Baaaaaaaah! She waited patiently, until we finished our bowls before she served us the next infusion. There was no escaping and I started to worry anxiously that I had to drink yet another bowl of this horrible tea. To remain the friendly smile on face was getting harder and harder.

A classic, everybody knows that probably already who traveled abroad: You are in a situation which you wanna leave immediately but you can't think of a way how to do that in a polite and friendly manner. So: another bowl of tea... until I managed to finally say "thank you very much for this very interesting demonstration..." and she released us with the expectation that we were to buy something now. I managed to explain to her that we don't need tea while travelling but would love to return in 2 months. She took it with countenance and handed out info brochures about chinese tea which weput in our pockets and left the shop quickly. How nice, it had stopped raining.






by: Katja (39grad.de)

We are lucky. No one is around at the Chinese hotel that we picked. That's too bad because it looks nice and there are also a few temples on this street. Now we go look for the next address, a guesthouse in an old Chinese wooden house. Katja checks it out, it's only a small room without windows and available with 3 bunk beds. It's not what we're looking for. We feel this is not the right place. Therefore we go back through the evening traffic to Chinatown. On the way to the hotel we stop, there's reggae music coming from a small hall. At the front there are cane chairs and two mighty stone lions guarding the entrance. In the hall is a wall painted with Bob Marley covers. Further inside, in the courtyard, there are many plants and a small basin with goldfishes. Behind that we find a well also occupied by a fish. Just a fish so the water won't get too dirty. As long as the fish lives this water is good and alive.

Using a small stair case we go up to the rooms and to a dormitory. All rooms are taken but there's still room in the dorm. Everywhere in the building we can feel a good atmosphere, a good "Chi". The former opium house painted in white, the wooden beams in black and the roof is covered with old tiles. All along the courtyard, cut-off plastic bottles with plants hang from the ceiling and mobiles swinging in the wind made by Soon, a swiss-german speaking Chinese man. There are no glass windows, only vertical wooden shutters and blinds protect the windows to let the air circulate. 2 rooms have windows facing the street and 2 rooms face the courtyard. From the dorm you can see the street with small Chinese shops and a temple. There a few guests around. Margret is from Ireland, but lives in Australia, she's a teacher and on the way to China to study Anthropology. As a stopover she learns Chinese in Melaka. We reminded her of herself since she also used to travel with her kids. There are also Germans, Dutch and Americans here. We hang the mosquito nets over the beds and the next day we moved to a room with it's own mosquito net and rattan beds. Anika is amazed by the ceiling fans and the hammocks in the courtyard.

Chinatown

The Chinese quarter consists of small streets and even smaller facades which however host bigger and longer buildings. Here you can find workshops of craftspersons of all types, various shops and food stalls and the oldest temples of course. Not only Chinese but also Hindu temples and mosques. After a while here we have the feeling to be in a different Malaysia from the one we got to know.

Even though, different cultures can be felt, this quarter is a world of its own. The Chinese is very busy and hard-working. They are respected as craftspersons and businessmen. They rather think about their future and that's how to plan their activities. The children receive education. The businesses are honest to keep the regular costumers. Across the guesthouse lives a 74-old man who rather opens a shop then to retire. He found a niche and offers goods in small amounts that no one would offer. This way he can built a way of living for his handicapped son that he can take over when he can't do it anymore. The material element is important to the Chinese. Also gambling and betting are also popular here and also children are supported to join. This sharpens their skills in accounting and business. Soon told us that kids often gamble within the families with their parents and sometimes even with money. Maybe that's also rooted in their culture.

Soon organizes for us a visit to a temple. The guard opens the gates for us at 10pm after the temple closed and explains the statues of gods to us. Similar to animism religions there is a large variety of gods all having their own function. They are archtypes and they are similar to us with their strengths and weaknesses. There are gods of war, gods that are excessive and luxurious, gods that help with fertility and all a whole lot more that I can't grasp. We were impressed by the god of pleasure. As oblation people smear opium on his beard, bear, coffee and other things are donated. Buddha and a something that looks like a female buddha can also be found there. The Chinese decide for themselves when they want to visit a temple. There they pray, donate and wish. Some temples have drums to set people in trance.

There are also altars at home. When you look inside the open house the first thing you see is altar. Low at the ground is the altar for mother earth and the top part of the altar is for various gods and oblations. It's also the place for ancestors. A panel or picture and the daily oblations as food and drinks are said to keep the spirit of the ancestors alive. There are often TVs next to the altar. The spiritual and material world are close to each other. Spirits have the same value as the Living.

At every house's entrance there is a red box with incense jossticks and many more altars on the streets and corners. Sometimes there are little mirrors or wind chimes above the entrance that redirect the Chi energy according to Feng Shui.

Buddha's birthday

Bands march through the town. Buddha statues are on the wagon decorated with flowers and lights. It's almost a bit like carnival, just warmer. Every wagon looks different. All of them are colourful and glow with light. Tomorrow is the birthday and the celebration starts today.

On Buddha's Birthday, the altar in the temple is given various alms. Fruits, drinks and 2 big packages with birthday presents are placed on the sides. People kneel down in front of the altar and bow down during praying. More altars standing in water are set up. From a source they are showered with water in a meditative peacefulness. The smell of jossticks is every where. They are lit in dozens. The people are happy and they radiate peace. They light candles and sticks or burn paper money or paper with wishes. Some people also eat and drink, everybody roams freely. We get bananas and candy from the birthday table. Our kids are very interested in the happening. To them it's normal that Buddha celebrates his birthday with a big party. No wonder, they haven't witnessed a stiff and tight Christian ceremony.

Hindu Festival

The same day there is a Hindu procession. Some people prepare themselves for a trance. Hooks with lemons are attached through the skin of some peoples backs. The skin is stretched by the weight. Other hooks are equipped with pots or ropes are attached to them that are pulled by others. Long skewers, fumigated with bananas or maybe that helps the poking of the skin, are also poked through the cheeks. The pain is lowered with some white powder, others take lime juice before poking, yet others, some special cigars. The state of trance is not only caused by drugs. The pain and the adrenalin also adds up to it. Meanwhile some people are already deeply in trance. One man tries to pull himself free, another's eyes seem to pop out of his eye holes. He scrabbles his legs like a bull with hooves, another man reminds me of a wild boar.

Everything is accompanied by drums, trumpets and monotonous singing. Two oxes wait patiently to be tightened to a wagon. Finally the procession begins to move. Woman in yellow and orange Saris with pots of milk on their head escort them. Everybody is the wet, the clothes stick to their skin sometimes. The kids are fascinated.

On bike through Melaka

After a few days, a lot of people know us already, especially our kids stand out and draw attention every where. There are a lot of joke but differently than the Malays, who pinch our kids at the cheeks. Often people ask about our bikes and trailers. Words about us has spread among the trishaw riders. I had a few conversations with them and changed bicycle with one of them for a short while. Now we are hardly asked for sight-seeing tours like other tourists.

The best way to explore Melaka is on bike. On the contrary to the advices of travel guides we feel safe in the dense traffic. We stick out. The drivers drive carefully. Just like everybody we just need to look forward and pedal. Feeding into traffic is not a problem. You just have to be determined and react accordingly so the traffic knows how to react.

But the fun only really starts without the trailers and luggage. Freed with the weight I reach the acceleration and speed of motorbikes and sometimes I even overtake them. Cars don't have a chance here anyway. On bike I can pass the cars left or right and change lanes whenever I want. There are no problems because they are used to it. Other 2-wheel vehicles move the same way. Also riding against traffic in one-way streets is common and also not a problem. Sometimes though I feel that others don't expect me to ride with such a speed without the trailer. Even with trailer and luggage we ride 15km/h, a speed that is faster than most bicycles here. Without the weight the speed can be doubled.

Dengue Fever

We sat at a table and eat. We hear noise from the outside. A Landrover drives along the streets and pulls trailer which shoots smoke out of several canons. Margret jumps up and closes the doors quickly. "What is it?", I asked amazed. This is to fight against mosquitos with insecticides. We retreat to the kitchen and finish our dinner. Last week this is said to have happened already. We got to know that so far there are 2 people who got infected by Dengue here.

Now the streets are sprayed on a regular basis. After a while we hear the noise again. We run to the road and see how the drains along the buildings are sprayed. Quickly I get the camera and barely managed to snap some pictures before the road disappears in smoke. we quickly close windows and doors too. Unfortunately they don't really seal the room. Then we realize that the back side will be sprayed too and also close the door to the kitchen and our room. We face the fans towards doors and windows to avoid the smoke in so easily. Now we feel halfway safe until the smoke is above the building and sinks into the courtyard. It's like in a war movie. Now we feel closed in and there is no way to escape from the smoke. Our eyes get teary. The whole Chinese quarter is gassed. A giant cloud hangs over the quarter.

No one was informed, no one is warned. The poison enters the airy houses. People can't escape. The shops are effected so are the food and stalls. Some people stand in the smoke and inhale it. Mostly simply people live here with small shops or craftsmen. They live in tight and unhygienic circumstances. About these diseases the spreading of it they don't know much. This way mosquitos and other animals have perfect conditions to survive. At night, rats run along the houses and cockroaches are everywhere anyway. Instead of education and information people receive pest control from the state. Without warning the poison is spread. Lucky are those who have 2 legs and tight windows. A woman in wheelchair and kids playing outside had no chance disappeared in the smoke. Of course, it's good when the government takes care of this problem but also the individuals should be protected as well. At least you should have the chance to secure your food and leave the area. Soon said that this procedure repeats once a week since the 2 people got sick. It was like that since he was a child. Once a month the houses are sprayed. If there's a disease like in the case it takes desperate measures.

by: Tilo

More Information:
Chiling Waterfall
or Yen's personal page
www.freewebs.com/happyyen

To Book the tour call Happy Yen: 017-3697831
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Rates
RM230 (min.2px) includes meals and transporation

The tour to Chiling Waterfalls with certified nature guide Happy Yen starts around 8am in the morning. You will be back late in the afternoon. The tour includes lunch, tea and snacks at the waterfall and dinner. Yen is a very pleasant guy to spend the day with and he explains a lot about nature, religion and mental well-being. It's an enlightening and fun day far away from the hectic city life:

1) Buddhist Temple


2) Lunch in Kuala Kubu Bahru


3) Stop at Selangor Dam


4) Jungle Trek to Chiling Waterfall

It takes about 1.5h to get to the falls depending on the wheather. You need to cross the river 6 times, if the water level is high then Yen will use ropes for safety which will make the journey a bit longer. After a beautiful walk through the jungle you will be rewarded with the breathtaking waterfall where you get to cool yourself down in the water. If you go on a week day you might even be the only ones there!

5) Hot Springs

Yen will try to teach how to make your mind win over your body and dip you legs (if not your whole body) in the 42 degrees celcius hot water. I've failed miserably and only managed a few seconds wink

6) Dinner

Well deserved good food at the end of the tour

7) Return Ride

On the way back, Yen takes the scenic route on a smaller road through a lot of green before you are swallowed up again by the city near the Batu Caves

KLIA - (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) is the main terminal for all regular flights.
KLIA2 - new airport for budget airlines (Air Asia, Malindo, Tiger etc.), located next to KLIA, opened in May 2014 replacing LCCT
KL Sentral - Main Transportation Hub in Kuala Lumpur, Train Station
Pudu Sentral - Main Bus Terminal in KL city center
TBS - Main Bus Terminal for south-bound buses, (located south of city center)

 

FROM Kuala Lumpur KLIA1:

TAXI

travel time to downtown KL: ca. 1h
RM 75 during normal hours
RM 10 surcharge if taxi pickup between 12midnight - 6am
most hostels and hotel will help to book a taxi

BUS

travel time to downtown KL: ca. 1h

Bus from KL Sentral
Airport Coach
ticket price: RM10 (child: RM6), runs once every hour
5am - 12 midnight
contact no: 03-87873894 / 03-87768449


Bus from Pudu Sentral (Puduraya)
Star Shuttle
ticket price: RM10 (RM18 for a drop-off right at your hotel)
tickets available at counter 21
operating hours: 6.45am - 3.45am
Contact No: +6017-373 1288 / +6017-331-2988
Star Shuttle website

Bus from TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan)
Jetbus
ticket price: RM10 (travel time about 1h)
operating hours: 3am - 11pm
For Enquiries and Customer Service: +6(019) - 221 6763 (Mon - Fri : 9am - 5pm)
Hotline: +6(017) - 583 8255 (24 Hours)
Jetbus website

Buy Bus Ticket online:
Kuala Lumpur - KLIA
Johor Bahru - KLIA
Ipoh - KLIA
Sitiawan - KLIA
Teluk Intan - KLIA
 

Express Train

KLIA Express from KL Sentral
travel time: approx. 28 minutes
ticket price: RM55 (child RM25)
operating hours: 5am -1am
contact: +603 2267 8000 (Mon - Fri 08:30am -6pm)
KLIA Express website

tip: With a KLIA Express ticket you can check-in your luggage up until 2 hours before your flight from KLIA if you fly with one of these airlines:
Malaysia Airlines, Royal Brunei, Cathey Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways
more information

FROM Kuala Lumpur to KLIA2

Taxi

travel time to downtown KL: ca. 1h
RM 75 during normal hours
RM 10 surcharge if taxi pickup between 12midnight - 6am
most hostels and hotel will help to book a taxi

 

Bus

travel time to downtown KL: ca. 1h15min
currently available bus services: Skybus, Starshuttle, Aerobus, Airport Liner, Jetbus, Transnasional, Yoyo Bus, Starmart

Bus from KL Sentral
Skybus
ticket price: RM10
operating hours: 3.00am - 10pm
contact:
+6(016)-217 6950 – Weekdays (Mo - Fri  9am - 7pm)
+6(016)-217 8496 – Weekends & Public holidays (9am - 7pm)
Skybus website

Bus from Pudu Sentral ( Puduraya)
Star Shuttle
ticket price: RM10
operating hours: 3.45am - 11.15pm
Contact No: 03-40438811
Star Shuttle website

Bus from TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan)
Jetbus
ticket price: RM10 (travel time about 1h15min)
operating hours: 3am - 11pm
For Enquiries and Customer Service: +6(019) - 221 6763 (Mon - Fri : 9am - 5pm)
Hotline: +6(017) - 583 8255 (24 Hours)
Jetbus website

Buy Bus Ticket online:
Genting Highlands - KLIA2
Kuala Lumpur - KLIA2
Johor Bahru - KLIA2
Ipoh - KLIA2
Sitiawan - KLIA2
Teluk Intan - KLIA2

Express Train

KLIA Express from KL Sentral
travel time: approx. 33 minutes
ticket price: RM55 (child RM25)
operating hours: 5am -1am
contact: +603 2267 8000 (Mon - Fri 08:30am -6pm)
KLIA Express website


From Kuala Lumpur:



1) To Pekeliling Bus Station: ( about 10-15 minutes)

- Take monorail from Bukit Bintang Station to Titiwangsa station for RM 2.10
- Walk about 5 minutes to Pekeliling station.



2) Station Pekeliling: Bus KL to Jerantut ( About 3 Hours and 30 minutes)

S.E. Express (tel: 09 2663919)
ticket price: RM16.80
buses at 9am, 9.30am, 10.45am, 12pm, 3.50pm and 5.30pm

Perwira Ekspress (tel: 09 2663919)
ticket price: RM13
buses at 8.30am and 10.30am

Pekeliling Bus Terminal
Pekeliling Bus Terminal

3) Jerantut to Kuala Tembeling Jetty:( Kuala Tembeling is about 16 km from Jerantut)

- Taxi: 20 minutes ride and cost RM16 for one taxi
-  you could also take the local bus

4) Kuala Tembeling to Kuala Tahan

- 3-hour boat ride and the fare is RM25 per person one way
- Boats leave at 9.00am, 1.00pm and 2.00pm daily, on a first come first serve basis


Alternatively, in case you miss the boat (which is the most scenic way to get to Taman Negara), you could also take a bus from Jerantut to Taman Negara (Kuala Tahan). The bus leaves from the Jerantut bus station at 5.30am, 1.15pm and 5.30pm (price: RM6).



for a hassle-free transport to/from Taman Negara you can book the bus & boat ticket online here:
Kuala Lumpur - Taman Negara
Taman Negara - Kuala Lumpur

Taman Negara tour package:
click here for more information and booking of a Taman Negara Tour

KLIA1 - (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) is the main terminal for all regular flights.
KLIA2 - new airport for budget airlines (Air Asia, Malindo, Tiger etc.), located next to KLIA
KL Sentral - Main Transportation Hub in Kuala Lumpur, Train Station
Pudu Sentral - Main Bus Terminal in KL city center
TBS - Main Bus Terminal for south-bound buses, (located south of city center)

 

FROM KLIA1 to Kuala Lumpur:

TAXI

travel time to downtown KL: ca. 1h

Official Airport Taxi Service
The rates below are for a taxi voucher at the official taxi counter. The counter is located just past the baggage claim.
Budget taxi - RM 75
Premier - RM 100
Midnight to 6am surcharge:
Budget taxi = RM 16.00 surcharge
Premier = RM 19.00 surcharge

prices are rounded and can change

Metered Taxi
For those wanting to try the metered taxi, they are available at level 1 and 3 of the Main Terminal Building.
Budget taxi - RM3 for the first km / 3min, RM0.10 for every 115m / 21 sec
Premier - RM6 for the first km / 3min, RM0.20 for every 150m / 45 sec
Passengers have to purchase RM2 coupon prior to boarding these taxis
50% surcharge between midnight and 6am
more information here

 

BUS

travel time to downtown KL: ca. 1h

Bus to KL Sentral
Airport Coach
ticket price: RM10 (child: RM6), runs once every hour
5am - 12.30 midnight
contact no: 03-87873894 / 03-87768449

Bus to Pudu Sentral (Puduraya)
Star Shuttle
ticket price: RM10 (RM18 for a drop-off right at your hotel)
operating hours: 5.30am - 2.30am
Contact No: 03-40438811 / 016-9690686 / 017-3245688
Star Shuttle website

Bus to TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan)
Jetbus
ticket price: RM10 (travel time about 1h)
operating hours: 4.15am - 12.15am
For Enquiries and Customer Service: +6(019) - 221 6763 (Mon - Fri : 9am - 5pm)
Hotline: +6(017) - 583 8255 (24 Hours)
Jetbus website

Buy Bus Ticket online:
KLIA - Johor Baru
KLIA - Kuala Lumpur
KLIA - Ipoh
KLIA - Sitawan
KLIA - Teluk Intan

 

Express Train

KLIA Express to KL Sentral
travel time: approx. 28 minutes
ticket price: RM55 (child RM25)
operating hours: 5am - 1am
contact: +603 2267 8000 (Mon - Fri 08:30am -6pm)
KLIA Express website

FROM KLIA2 to Kuala Lumpur

Taxi

travel time to downtown KL: ca. 1h
Metered Taxi and Coupon-based Taxi services are available at the Taxi Terminal at Level 1. Ticket counters are located at both International and Domestic Arrival at Level 2.

 

Bus

travel time to downtown KL: ca. 1h15min
currently available bus services: Skybus, Starshuttle, Aerobus, Airport Liner, Jetbus, Transnasional, Yoyo Bus, Starmart

Bus to KL Sentral
Skybus
ticket price: RM10
operating hours: 5.00am - 2.45am
contact:
+6(016)-217 6950 – Weekdays (Mo - Fri  9am - 7pm)
+6(016)-217 8496 – Weekends & Public holidays (9am - 7pm)
Skybus website

Bus to Pudu Sentral ( Puduraya)
Star Shuttle
ticket price: RM10 (RM18 for a drop-off right at your hotel)
operating hours: 5.15am - 2.15am
Contact No: 03-40438811
Star Shuttle website

Bus to TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan)
Jetbus
ticket price: RM10 (travel time about 1h15min)
operating hours: 4.30am - 12.30am
For Enquiries and Customer Service: +6(019) - 221 6763 (Mon - Fri : 9am - 5pm)
Hotline: +6(017) - 583 8255 (24 Hours)
Jetbus website

Buy Bus Ticket online:
KLIA2 - Genting Highlands
KLIA2 - Johor Baru
KLIA2 - Kuala Lumpur
KLIA2 - Ipoh
KLIA2 - Sitawan
KLIA2 - Teluk Intan


Express Train

KLIA Express to KL Sentral
travel time: approx. 33 minutes
ticket price: RM55 (child RM25)
operating hours: 4.55am - 0.55am
contact: +603 2267 8000 (Mon - Fri 08:30am -6pm)
KLIA Express website


Hi John, what is your connection with Malaysia, how did you end up here in the first place?

Well, in the year2000 I was working in the States as a contract engineer when I was contacted by Lotus ad offered a position in Malaysia to the Gen2 design team.

After your contract ended and you went back you eventually came back to Malaysia in 2006. Did you miss Malaysia so much or what happened?

Before I left Lotus, I was tasked with coming up with a plan to globalise the company. Due to differences of opinion among the Management, the plan was shelved. I have always looked on this as unfinished business.I had a vision, and I want to see it materialise. My vision is to set up an institution based initially here, utilising Sepang F1 as the hub. It would leverage on partners both local and international, and would utilise both the physical and the virtual in spreading it's message, and selling it's services.

An institution? Like a university?

Exactly! I have put together a professional quality presentation, with graphic support from SAMA SAMA which I have uploaded for public viewing. The University would be Motorsport driven, however the skills learned would not be just Motorsport specific. For example you could run a media module using the amenities available, and use the same techniques learned in the general area.Interestingly, Silverstone in England have recently agreed to build a campus on their circuit.

So you think the Sepang F1 circuit is a suitable location for a campus like that?

Sepang is a state of the art circuit,with loads of free land capable of being developed. It has an airport next door, and great links by rail and road. It is situated in a country which aspires to be a regional education hub. So yes it has great potential.

On your quest to get support for this vision you are staying in the small hostel Red Palm in Bukit Bintang, what makes you choose such a place instead of the usual expat setup?

Staying at Red Palm offers me a good location operated by a knowledgeable and friendly staff. In many ways it beats the 'Usual" ex pat set up. I prefer informal and friendly, not to mention it is competitively priced!

Apparently you're not the usual hostel guests, what is the normal crowed that chooses places like Red Palm?

In the main it's young backpackers mainly from Europe and the States, it does have Asian and others too. Sometimes you get "Families" from the Philippines, mixed in with the odd business person like me who prefers this type of accommodation to a hotel.

What have you seen of the country yet, any favourite places?

Locally, I'm in Jalan Alor most days. I train at Alberts Gym, who will charge travellers a daily rate to use his gym. In addition Jalan Alor has more places to eat than any other street I know! I have travelled outside of KL for diving on the Islands. Perhentian is a favourite with backpackers. And Red Palm is often used as a base by the "Dive masters" when they are in town.

So you also have your daily meal at Jalan Alor or what is your daily food routine? You like the local food?

Food, my favourite subject! Conveniently, next to Red Palm there is a cheap 24 hour Indian Restaurant. So most days I have at least one meal there. You sit in the courtyard of Red Palm, and tell the guys next door what you want, and the pass it over the wall... Very civilised!

What happens if you get a craving for western food, or doesn't that happen anymore?

Well, I'm quite happy with the local food. However 200 metres away they do fish and chips at lunch time in the Corona Inn. 500 metres in the opposite direction you have a street with English, German, French and other restaurants. So food from home isn't an issue.

What local alternative can you recommend to a traveller who takes the usual bread & butter or cornflakes breakfast at the hostel?

Roti Telur from the "Indian" next door to Red Palm is good. It's egg cooked in flour, and normally comes with a curry sauce, wash it down with a teh Tarik (pulled tea) made with condensed milk... LOVELY!

Ooooh, now I'm getting hungry too. Before we wrapped this up and head over there, a few last questions. Compared to living in Europe and the States what do you appreciate most staying in Malaysia.

Service with a smile, without the expectation of a tip! The weather is also a huge bonus

Among other in Asia, or even the world, what makes Malaysia different, makes it unique? Why should people spend their holidays here?

From a western perspective, it is easy to get about and plan your holiday. English newspapers and tourist literature ensure you can do what you want with ease. Most tourist industry workers speak better English than I do (Not hard) so if your here to visit a rain forest, try out acupuncture, lay on a beach, it's all relatively easy to arrange.

So in your view, the fact that most people are fluent in english in Malaysia is the unique selling point for the country?

Unique, no, but it does make things much simpler. Malaysia has a diverse culture, and ecology which is in many ways is it's unique feature.

Having the vision to set up a motorsports university at the Sepang Circuit, I assume you will go and watch the F1 race this weekend. What is your expectation of the race?

This will be the 2nd year without Shumacher, a Malaysian favourite! I expect Kimi to be trying hard to fill his boots. Lewis Hamilton will be trying to make it two in a row.

Thanks John for taking the time to sit down with me, enjoy the race and good luck with the project.

If you wanna read up on John's vision, have a look here:

Bernama news clip on the Motorsport University and John Mansfield:



The Vision as a slide show presention

John's Blog


More on Dikir Barat (Wikipedia)

performances at the Malay Heritage Centre, Singapore:







 

 


Jars of different types of kuih are commonly found around the time of festivities like Hary Raya or Chinese New Year

 
 
kuih stall, Bazaar Ramadhan
stalls selling Kuih can be found at Pasar Malam (night market) or like in this case at Bazaar Ramadhan

 
layer cake, kuih ketayap
Layer Cake (pink, in the center), Kuih Ketayap (green pancake, right) and other Kuihs

presented by TravelPod, the World's Original Travel Blog ( A TripAdvisor Media Network member ) 
Here's a video clip to a parody of a Black Eye Peas song from a local radio station (I got it from my mamak). Funny clip that gives you a good feel what Mamak means to Malaysians. By the way "Macha" is how the locals call the staff in the restaurant (the other option being Boss").




Mamak stalls come in different sizes.

Here's small stall in residential area in Pandan Indah, Kuala Lumpur



The art of making Roti Canai:




Medium size restaurant: TG Nasi Kandar on Tengkat Tong Shin, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur (next door to Red Palm Hostel)




And the new big Mamak centres, often operated as chains. Photos taken at: Restoran Makbul Nasi Kandar, TTDI, Petaling Jaya




Nasi Kandar counter, this where you can get a full meal of rice, vegetable and many different curries:




Typical Mamak Menu:




And the Mamak classic: Teh Tarik ...




and Roti Canai:

Jackfruit Tree:




Jackfruits fresh from the market:



Before getting the cutting started, its best to stand by a bucket of oil and apply generous amount onto the knife and hands otherwise it'll be hard to get rid of the slimy stuff (white-ish liquid at the heart of the fruit) which can even be used as glue. Once the hands or knife got stained, apply oil even during the cutting process.
You need a sharp knife to cut the fruit:






messy business to get the pockets of flesh out:





Done! Now the pieces are ready to be eaten. It's also common to cover them in flour and fry them in oil.




Even the remaining seeds can be eaten after they are steamed (similar to chestnuts which are fried though):



Tickets:
1-day pass RM90 (Children RM45)
3-day pass RM250 (Children RM100)
http://www.rainforestmusic-borneo.com/2007/en/ticket.htm

television report on the festival

Some clips from last years events:






Promo Clip for a documentary about the festival:

http://www.magickriver.net/rainforestDVD.htm


Program 2008:

Friday:
SENIDA (Sarawak)
AKASHA (Malaysia)
CHOLO VALDERAMMA (Colombia)
NEW ROPE STRING BAND (United Kingdom)
FADOMORSE (Portugal)
ADEL SALAMEH (Palestine)
PINIKPIKAN (Philippines)

Saturday:
KANI???D (Sarawak, Malaysia)
TUKU KAME (Sarawak)
BELTAINE (Poland)
ADEL SALAMEH (Palestine)
YAKANDE (Gambia/Guinea)
HIROSHI MOTOFUJI (Japan)
SHELDON BLACKMAN (Trinidad & Tobago)

Saturday:
NEW ROPE STRING BAND (United Kingdom)
ORCHESTRA ANAK JATI BISAYA (Sarawak)
HIROSHI MOTOFUJI (Japan)
OIKYOTAAN (India)
ROSS DALY (Greece)
KASAI MASAI (Congo/UK)





With such announcement, Peninsula Malaysia now has 2 World Hertiage sites. Hopefully this title, it will bring even more efforts to preserve the historical architecture, restore and refurbish old houses and prevent them from being demolished and replaced with new buildings. The atmosphere in the streets with its 2-storey shophouses, walkways and colonial buildings is truly unique, especially during the night with the lighting effect, the peaceful atmosphere when the traffic has slowed down. Much effort has been done for the past few years to upgrade the area, proper side-walks has been constructed, the river (Melaka) has been cleaned, etc. However, some of the measures taken by locals are a little over-doing and unconsciously spoilt the original feel of what the quarters used to have. With the title as Unesco World Heritage site, every measures to renovate or build within the awarded area will be monitored closely. If the historical buildings are being threaten by the act of demolishing, the title will be removed by Unesco itself as the objective is to maintain its origins and Unesco will keep monitoring the devolopment of the Heritage Sites.

The core areas encompass the historical sites of George Town, including the Lebuh Acheh historical enclave and sites such as the Lebuh Acheh Malay Mosque, Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Kling Mosque, the Goddess of Mercy Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, Khoo Kongsi, St George's Church, Assumption Church, St Xavier's Institution, Convent Light Street, Little India, the museum and court building, the commercial area of Beach Street, Fort Cornwallis, Esplanade, City Hall, the clan jetties and the port areas.

In Malacca, the historical sites near the St Paul???s Hill, the 17th century Dutch Stadhuys buildings, Jonker Street with its Dutch-era buildings, Jalan Tukang Besi, Kampung Morten and Malacca River have been recognised as part of the world heritage sites.

Quote from the UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Centre:

Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca (Malaysia) have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible. With its government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications, Melaka demonstrates the early stages of this history originating in the 15th-century Malay sultanate and the Portuguese and Dutch periods beginning in the early 16th century. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town represents the British era from the end of the 18th century. The two towns constitute a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/450


Melaka

The Red Square with Clock Tower (built in 1886, not by the Dutch), Christ Church (built between 1741 and 1753 by the Dutch), Stadthuys (completed 1610 by the Dutch):


St.Pauls Church (built in 1521 by the Portuguese)


Chinese shophouses

part of Melaka River that has been cleaned up and renovated in 2007


>> more about Melaka



Georgetown

Old City Hall, Colonial District (built by the British in late 18th century)


Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (built in late 19th century), UNESCO Most Excellent Heritage Conservation Award in 2000


Chinatown


>> more about Georgetown
What is the most important rule of the road in Malaysia?
The most important rule is that you must arrive at your destination ahead of the car in front of you. This is the sacrosanct rule of driving in Malaysia. All other rules are subservient to this rule.

What side of the road should you drive on in Malaysia?
A: 99.7% of cars drive on the left hand side, 0.2% on the right hand side, and 0.1% drive in reverse (be on the look out for drivers reversing at high speed in the left hand lane of freeways, having just missed their exit). Therefore on the basis of 'majority rules', it is recommended that you drive on the left. However, be aware that only 90% of motorcyclists travel on the left hand side - the other 10% ride in the opposite direction or on the sidewalk. Fortunately, motorcyclists traveling in reverse are rarely seen.

What are the white lines on the roads?
A: These are known as lane markers and were used by the British in the colonial days to help them drive straight. Today their purpose is mainly decorative, although a double white line is used to indicate a place that is popular to overtake.

When can I use the emergency lane?
You can use the emergency lane for any emergency, e.g. you are late for work, you left the toaster plugged in at home, you are bursting to go to the toilet, you have a toothache or you have just dropped your Starbucks coffee in your lap. As it is an emergency, you may drive at twice the speed of the other cars on the road.

Do traffic lights have the same meaning as in other countries?
Not quite. Green is the same - that means "Go", but amber and red are different. Amber means "Go like hell" and red means "Stop if there is traffic coming in the other direction or if there is a policeman on the corner". Otherwise red means the same as green. Note that for buses, red lights do not take effect until five seconds after the light has changed.

What does the sign "Jalan Sehala" mean?
This means "One Way Street" and indicates a street where the traffic is required to travel in one direction. The arrow on the sign indicates the preferred direction of the traffic flow, but is not compulsory. If the traffic is not flowing in the direction in which you wish to travel, then reversing in that direction is the best option.

What does the sign "Berhenti" mean?
This means "Stop", and is used to indicate a junction where there is a possibility that you may have to stop if you cannot fool the cars on the road that you are entering into thinking that you are not going to stop.

What does the sign "Beri Laluan" mean?
This means "Give Way", and is used to indicate a junction where the cars on the road that you are entering will give way to you provided you avoid all eye contact with them and you can fool them into thinking that you have not seen them.

What does the sign "Dilarang Masuk" mean?
This means "No Entry". However, when used on exit ramps in multi-storey car parks, it has an alternative meaning which is: "Short cut to the next level up".

What does the sign "Pandu Cermat" mean?
This means "Drive Smartly", and is placed along highways to remind drivers that they should never leave more than one car length between them and the car in front, irrespective of what speed they are
driving. This is to ensure that other cars cannot cut in front of you and thus prevent you from achieving the primary objective of driving in Malaysia, and that is to arrive ahead of the car in front of you. If you can see the rear number plate of the car in front of you, then you are not driving close enough.

What is the speed limit in Malaysia?
The concept of a speed limit is unknown in Malaysia.

So what are the round signs on the highways with the numbers, 60, 80 and110?
This is the amount of the 'on-the-spot' fine (in ringgits - the local currency) that you have to pay to the police if you are stopped on that stretch of the highway. Note that for expatriates or locals driving Mercedes or BMWs, the on-the-spot fine is double the amount shown on the sign.

Where do you pay the 'on-the-spot' fine?
As the name suggests, you pay it 'on-the-spot' to the policeman who has stopped you. You will be asked to place your driving licence on the policeman's notebook that he will hand to you through the window of your car. You will note that there is a spot on the cover of the notebook. Neatly fold the amount of your fine into four, place the fine on the spot, and then cover it with your driving licence so that it cannot be seen. Pass it carefully to the policeman. Then, with a David Copperfield movement of his hands, he will make your money disappear. It is not necessary to applaud.

But isn't this a bribe?
Oh pleeease, go and wash your mouth out. What do you want? A traffic ticket? Yes, you can request one of those instead, but it will cost you twice the price, forms to fill out, cheques to write, envelopes to mail, and then three months later when you are advised that your fine was never received, more forms to fill out, a trip to the police station, a trip to the bank, a trip back to the police station, and maybe then you will wish you had paid 'on-the-spot'.

But what if I haven't broken any road rules?
It is not common practice in Malaysia to stop motorists for breaking road rules (because nobody is really sure what they are). The most common reasons for being stopped are: (a) the policeman is hungry and would like you to buy him lunch; (b) the policeman has run out of petrol and needs some money to get back to the station; (c) you look like a generous person who would like to make a donation to the police welfare fund; or (d) you are driving an expensive car which means you can afford to make a donation to the police welfare fund.

Does my car require a roadworthy certificate before I can drive it in Malaysia?
No, roadworthy certificates are not required in Malaysia. However there are certain other statutory requirements that must be fulfilled before your car can be driven in Malaysia. Firstly, you must ensure
that your windscreen is at least 50% obscured with English football club decals, golf club membership stickers or condo parking permits. Secondly, you must place a tissue box (preferably in a white lace cover) on the back shelf of your car under the rear window. Thirdly, you must hang as many CDs or plastic ornaments from your rear vision mirror as it will support. Finally, you must place a Garfield doll with suction caps on one of your windows. Your car will then be ready to drive on Malaysian roads.

What does a single yellow line along the edge of a road mean?
This means parking is permitted.

What does a double yellow line along the edge of a road mean?
This means double parking is permitted.

What does a yellow box with a diagonal grid of yellow lines painted on the road at a junction mean?
Contrary to the understanding of some local drivers, this does not mean that diagonal parking is permitted. It indicates a junction that is grid-locked at peak hours.

Can I use my mobile phone whilst driving in Malaysia?
No problem at all, but it should be noted that if you wish to use the rear-vision mirror to put on your lipstick (women only please) or trim your eyebrows at the same time as you are using a mobile phone
in the other hand, you should ensure that you keep an elbow free to steer the car. Alternatively, you may place a toddler on your lap and have the child steer the car whilst you are carrying out these other essential driving tasks.

Is it necessary to use indicator lights in Malaysia?
These blinking orange lights are commonly used by newly arrived expatriate drivers to indicate they are about to change lanes. This provides a useful signal to local drivers to close up any gaps to prevent the expatriate driver from changing lanes. Therefore it is recommended that expatriate drivers adopt the local practice of avoiding all use of indicator lights. However, it is sometimes useful to turn on your
left hand indicator if you want to merge right, because this confuses other drivers enabling you to take advantage of an unprotected gap in the traffic.

Why do some local drivers turn on their left handindicator and then turnright, or turn on their right hand indicator and then turn left?
This is one of the unsolved mysteries of driving in Malaysia.
Depending on which area you go, a Nasi Campur counter can have up to 100 different lauk (it means dishes in malay), covering everything you can think of from vegetables to the fish and types of meat. The price you pay in the end depends on the amount of different dishes you have on your plate and the type of dishes too (meat being more expensive than vegetables). Most people usually add some ulam (it means raw/ leafy veggies in Malay) to the plate to round up the meal and, most importantly, a must have side dish of Sambal Belacan. Sambal Belacan is a famous aromatic sauce made of a grind mixture of shrimp paste, salt, chilies and lime juice that spice up your meal, I mean REALLY spice it up. Do not afraid, however, Sambal Belacan varies from medium spicy to extremely spicy depending on the cook, so all you need to do is ask the kakak before trying or just try out a little amount. You can either add some to your dishes to have it with the rice to make it more flavorful or dip your ulam in it.

Malay restaurants/ stalls usually offer Nasi Campur for lunch (from around 10am until mid afternoon). The lauk are cooked with fresh ingredients that the cook bought from the wet markets early in the morning. Some places (like restaurants in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur) offer Nasi Campur at night as well but it's best to get it for lunch. In most cases, Malay restaurants switch to ala-carte at night which means the meal will be prepared by the cook once you order.

In general, Malay cuisine is very rich and flavorful, and can be spicy too. Coconut milk, chilies, oyster sauce, soy sauce and belacan are the main and must have ingredients.


Typical Malay restaurant with Nasi Campur counter. The tea pots filled with water provided on every the table is for you to wash your hands. Traditionally, Nasi Campur is eaten with your right hand, although forks and spoons are also available to other non-hand-users but the locals believe that the food is more flavorful if you eat with your hand.


Some places offer up to 100 different dishes


Huge variety of lauk at the counter, Restoran "Restoran Siti Fatimah" (Jalan Kampung Tok Senik,
Kawasan Mata Air,07000 Langkawi)



Restoran Restoran Siti Fatimah, Langkawi


The final dish after filling up the plate with the choice of your taste, in this case: Cat Fish (Malay: Ikan Keli / Ikan Sembilang) with various types of vegetables, either raw or cooked with gravy from other lauk. In the middle, you can see Sambal Belacan (on the right) and Cencaluk (another type of spicy sauce, also made from shrimps (udang geragau they call it), and cubes of red onions and chilies are added when the Cencaluk is ready to be served). Drinks: Fresh Lime Juice (Malay: Limau Ais)

One of the few good Nasi Campur restaurants in downtown KL is Puteri Restoran in Brickfields, take Monorail to last stop, KL Sentral, and walk to the left for about 300m:




The mixture is being hand-rolled into a sausage form. Ingredients of the mixture: Fish (Ikan Parang or Ikan Kembong), Sago Flour, Salt, Water, Ice Cubes, Pandan Leaves. There are some basic machines at the back of the house to do the mixing processing.


The sausages are thrown into boiling water for a few minutes until they are cooked and ready to be sold. This stall is so popular that the sausages are sold freshly right from the pot with people waiting patiently in a long queue.


At home, the huge and long sausages are cut into smaller pieces and thrown into the pan to be deep-fried until they turn crispy gold. Another option to take Keropok Lekor is to just steam it. This gives it a fishier flavor but tastes as good as the crispy ones according to some people. A completely different kind of Keropok is Keropok Keping and it comes in different flavours : fish, squid and prawn. Here, the Keropok is shaped into even bigger tubes and cut into thin slices to let it dry in the sun. (They are sold in packets and consumers will have to fry them and they are taken as crackers. During frying, it is entertaining to see the pieces of Keropok expand to bigger pieces when they hit the hot oil.)


Keropok Lekor ready to be served with their chili sauce, or with own home-made chili sauce if one prefers or shrimp-based sauce is also common. You get the best of it if you take it right after frying when it is still hot, crispy on the outside and tender at the inside. Definitely a must-try if you want to experience the Malay culture from the east coast in Terengganu and its diversity in food is one of the ultimate elements of the culture.

Keroja means Venus in Malay and should go along with the name of the area Bukit Bintang which means star hill. The official reasoning behind the move the rename the street was "to signify the cosmic change in the area" - whatever that means.



The new sign shows already some damage


The old Jalan Alor - sign


Bustling Jalan Alor at night

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is an entertaining article about the issue published in "The Star" Newspaper from October 22, 2008:


The allure of Jalan Alor
By LAM SENG FATT

Jalan Alor is one of the most famous roads in Kuala Lumpur for its food and ???saucy desserts??? and most people agree that changing its name is a grave error.

WHILE travelling in a taxi to Bukit Bintang yesterday, I asked the cabby: ???Do you know Jalan Alor now has a new name????

"Yes ah? What is it?" he asked.

"Jalan Kejora (Malay for Venus)," I said.

"What?"

That just about sums up almost everybody???s reaction to the name change - "What?"

Street names, especially popular ones, are something that remain in people???s minds. Just because some member of some committee had a supernova-like burst of inspiration to name roads around the Bukit Bintang (Malay for Star Hill) area after planets, perhaps to create a galactic theme for the area, does not mean that his brilliant idea will be accepted by the masses.

Today, it is not just a simple matter of replacing the road sign with the new name (which in Jalan Kejora's case has already been vandalised).

It also means getting the name changed in some 900,000 web pages in the Internet, countless blogs, numerous maps, GPS software and lots of tourist guidebooks and brochures.

This is because Jalan Alor has become a tourist attraction in a city that does not exactly have a surplus of such spots.

The allure of Jalan Alor is the food and other ... er ... delights not of the culinary kind.

Along the short road, there are more than a dozen restaurants and scores more hawker stalls selling food ranging from Penang char koay teow to frog porridge.

Some folks say the char siew (barbecued pork) there is the best in town while others say it is the grilled chicken wings.

Some restaurants open during the daytime, but it is at night that the road really comes alive as strings of fluorescent lights and bulbs light up the area and hundreds of locals and bus loads of tourists dine alfresco.

Thousands of satisfied tourists have uploaded their experiences in their blogs, including one who posted his comments on celeb chef Anthony Bourdain's website.

Jalan Alor is so famous for its food that there is even one Pan-Asian restaurant in New York on Hudson Street that offers Jalan Alor Chicken Wings in its menu.

Jalan Alor used to be a seedy place - back then, there used to be more hookers than hawkers.

There were lots of signboards advertising massage parlours and health centres (that did not have treadmills or exercise bicycles).

Over the years, like red-light areas such as Bugis Street in Singapore and Times Square in New York, the authorities have cleaned it up.

The hookers simply strolled over to the next street - Tengkat Tong Shin - to do their tricks.

Today, there are no signboards of massage parlours and health centres. The vice trade is more discreet but you may encounter runners who either hand you a call card or ask whether you want to have a good time.
 

For us, Malacca was the end of a 400-mile cab ride - which is what happens when you get to a railway station and discover that the next train is due in 2010. Fortunately Malaysian taxis are cheap enough to make this an amusing mistake, rather than a costly disaster. Anyhow, it was getting dark, so we checked in and headed out for a meal. Malacca is famous for its fiery Nonya cuisine and this didn't disappoint. Even our 18-month daughter, Polly, seemed to enjoy it.

The next day I got up with Polly and took her out for breakfast. We walked into town heading for one of the stylish-looking cafés. The trouble is, nothing in Malacca seems to open before 9:30. Now, if you're on holiday as an adult, that's fine. But when you're on holiday with a toddler who needs entertaining from dawn, it's not so good.

Still, it gave us a while to soak up the town's historic atmosphere. Malacca was founded at the start of the 15th century by a Sumatran prince and, because of its strategic location on the Malacca Straits, quickly became the most important port in south-east Asia. Chinese merchants settled, and the city's wealth attracted European interest of the sort that arrives heavily armed.

In the 16th century, it was conquered first by the Portuguese, then the Dutch, who controlled it for over 300 years before ceding it to the British in 1824. The British, however, were more interested in nearby Singapore, and Malacca soon became a sleepy backwater.

The city's decline meant that the beautiful mixture of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and Islamic architecture is largely as it was 100 years ago; earlier this year it was made a Unesco World Heritage Site. In a country where so much is new, Malacca is one of the few places where you feel as if you can get a handle on Malaysian history.

Eventually we found an all-too- authentic-looking Chinese restaurant that was open. So we sat down and ordered, using the international I'll-have-what-he's-having-gestures, in this case, a plate of noodles with pork and some kind of offal. My take on offal is that it's a little like alcohol - good stuff, but you really shouldn't before noon. My daughter had no such qualms and slurped up her noodles and organ bits to the vocal approval of our fellow diners.

Breakfast over, we met my wife back in the Old Town. Malacca is rather confusing in this respect. Its two great attractions are the Old Town and Chinatown (which is also old). The Old Town contains more headline attractions than Chinatown, but it has a whiff of Disney about it, and Chinatown is far more interesting. Nonetheless, we did a whistle-stop tour of the Old Town's attractions, which date from colonial rule. And, after the glitzy neophilia of most Malaysian cities, forts and ruined churches make for an agreeable change.

Then we returned to our hotel. Initially I'd been a little disappointed by our standard issue high-rise. But that was until 11am. Then I realised Malacca is hot. So hot, in fact that at one point I thought I was sunburnt. But no, it was just the heat of the sun on my neck. So, if there's one thing that's essential when it comes to Malaccan accommodation, it's having a pool to lie by between 11.30am and 2pm. As our hotel (the aptly named Equatorial, for Malacca is two degrees North) had a terrific pool, its aesthetic crimes were forgiven.

After our enforced sunbreak, we walked into busy Chinatown. The streets are almost entirely lined with traditional shophouses - a sort of tropical take on the London terrace – whose charming exteriors all have that faded, distressed look western interior designers try so hard to replicate. Many have been converted into stylish boutiques and cafés, while a fair number are much as they always have been. Their deep interiors and thick walls and beautiful tiled floors are exactly what you need in the city's torrid climate. Interspersed with these were temples, mosques and the odd museum. It is, quite simply, a great place to wander - and there's not much more you can ask of a neighbourhood.

The next day, after a boat trip up the river, we discovered that Chinatown also has a pretty good nightlife, something of a rarity in Muslim Malaysia. That evening we enjoyed the atmospheric night market and bars before heading to a local restaurant for a bowl of the fiery local laksa noodle soup. This was followed by a "typical" pudding: a bowl of shaved ice with green vanilla jelly, coconut milk, toffee sauce and kidney beans (sweetcorn was also available). It was surprisingly good, although perhaps more surprising than good.

En route back to the hotel, we marvelled at the illuminated tricycle rickshaws: Malaccans like to personalise their vehicles, and these bizarre pedal-powered contraptions are like the offspring of a mobile disco and a Mardi Gras float.

On our final morning, we stocked up on cheap jeans and malodorous durian doughnuts at the Melaka Mega Mall (for that's what it's called), and Polly and I ascended the agreeably cheesy revolving viewing tower. Then we headed into Chinatown for a little more shopping and lunch. Oh, and one more of those extraordinary desserts - this time with kidney beans and sweetcorn.

GETTING THERE

Malaysia Airlines (0870 607 9090; www.malaysiaairlines.com) flies direct to Kuala Lumpur. Malacca is 90 miles south; taxis from the airport cost about £55 . The Majestic (00606 289 8000; www.majesticmalacca.com; from £160) is the town’s most stylish hotel, but the Equatorial (282 8333; www.equatorial.com; from £80) is better located.

Article from the Telegraph newspaper:

The spectacular Thaipusam Festival draws more than one million devotees and visitors to the Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur but there are also large precessions in Georgetown/Penang and Singapore. Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community. Especially images of devotees piercing their cheeks, tongue, face or other suitable body parts with sharp objects make this event memorable.

Body Piercing Thaipusam

Thaipusam Malaysia


Devotees at the Thaipusum procession at Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur
photos: Matt & Konni

Thaipusam is a celebration of the birthday to the Hindu deity Subramaniam.
The highlight of this celebration is the kavadi procession. More than one million people are expected to throng Batu Caves (just north of Kuala Lumpur) for this celebration. There is also a big parade in Georgetown, Penang and Singapore (procession is a 4km walk from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road).

Batu Caves
 

Next / Recent Occurances:
2015: 03 Feb
2016: 24 Jan
2017: 09 Feb
The date of Thaipusam fluctuates and always takes places either end of january or beginning of february.


list of Public Holidays in Malaysia

 

Story about a german born kavadi-carrier wich gives a few interesting insights of Thaipusam at Batu Caves and Hindu culture:




Thaipusam in Malaysia, Batu Caves 2007:




more information
Wikipedia Thaipusam

The Poker Scam
The Poker Scam is infamous among the big cities in South-East Asia. Travellers will be approached by local-looking people at the major tourists spots in town. Usually they pick up a conversation mentioning some obvious things like "Oh, nice tattoo. Where did you get it?" or something along this line. The next question will be "Where are you from?". After that they will come up with a story that they have a family member going to your country soon for studying and invite you to their house. These people will appear very friendly and harmless but once you get to their house they will slowly but surely push you into participating in a poker game. You will eventually lose of course and you will be forced to withdraw money from the ATM. They might put something in your drink because quite a number of travellers lost thousands of dollars with this scam and it is still happening after years. If you are aware that this is how they are operating, just walk aware if they approach you.

Fake Monks
Chances are high that you will be approached by a monk at least once on a day walking around the city centre of Kuala Lumpur. These "monks" will approach you actively to ask for donations. However, they are not real monks. This is just their business of making money, putting on a monk robe, make tourists (and locals) believe they are for real and ask for money. They are said to make good money this way. The thing is, real buddhist monks are not allowed to beg for money, so don't be fooled!


Pick Pockets & Hand Bag Snatches
Pay attention to your valueables when you are in busy places such as in public transports during rush hour. Another common incident is when motorbike drives by and snatches hand bags. To be on the safe side, where your hand bags away from the road side.

Overpriced Taxis
Kuala Lumpur is said to have to worst Taxi situation among the South-East Asian capitals. It is not that easy to find a taxi that puts on the metre so mostly prices will be negotiated before you get in. As a rule of thumb you should pay something around RM10 to RM15 for trip within the city centre. The airport, KL Sentral train station and others have taxi counters where you can buy taxi coupons so use these to get a fair deal.

For up-to-date information please call Cameron Tourist Information & Service Centre: 05-491 1452/ 1755

Cameron Tourist Information & Service Centre, Jalan Besar, Tanah Rata


Buy bus tickets online
You can also buy bus tickets online (up to 2 hours before departure). Just click on the links below or use the search box.
 

Buses From Cameron Highlands
(Tanah Rata)
Buses To Cameron Highlands
(Tanah Rata)
Cameron Highlands - Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur - Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands - Ipoh Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur
Cameron Highlands - Penang Penang - Cameron Highlands
Cameron Highlands - Taman Negara Taman Negara - Cameron Highlands
Cameron Highlands - Singapore Singapore - Cameron Highlands
Cameron Highlands - Kuala Besut
(jetty to Perhentian Islands)
Kuala Besut - Cameron Highlands

 

 

Unititi Express

Cameron Highlands (Tanah Rata) - Kuala Lumpur
(departure and tickets from tourist bureau)
8.45am - Super VIP - RM35 (Puduraya) / RM38 (KL Central)
1.45pm - Super VIP - RM35 (Puduraya) / RM38 (KL Central)

Kuala Lumpur - Cameron Highlands (Tanah Rata)
(departure from Puduraya, ticket counter:55)
8.30 or 9.00am - Super VIP - RM35
1.00pm - Super VIP - RM35

Cameron Highlands (Tanah Rata) - Penang
8.00am - VIP - RM32

Main Bus Terminal on Jalan Besar, Tanah Rata


Kurnia Bistari Express

Cameron Highlands (Tanah Rata, Main Bus Terminal) - Kuala Lumpur (Puduraya)
8.00am - VIP - RM28
10.30am - Old normal bus - RM22.50
1.00pm - VIP - RM28.50
4.30pm - Old normal bus - RM22.50

Kuala Lumpur (Puduraya) - Cameron Highlands (Tanah Rata, Main Bus Terminal)
9.00am 10.30am 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 3.30pm

Cameron Highlands - Penang
8.00am - VIP - RM33
2.30pm - Old normal bus - RM30
4.30pm - Old normal bus - RM30

The 2.30pm & 4.30pm bus doesn't always run, so please check on availability.

Mini Bus to Taman Negara
Drop off: Kuala Tahan Village / opposite Park H.Q.
Departure: 10.15am (arrival 6pm)
Price: RM85

Mini Bus to Pulau Perhentian
Departure: 10.15am
Arrival at Kuala Besut pier at 4.30pm, then fast boat to the islands
Price: RM60 to the pier (boat ticket not included)

You can inquire about the mini bus tickets and availabilities at the tourist bureau or your guesthouse.

============================
Information as of July 2009

 

Book your bus ticket online now

BusOnlineTicket Thanks to our partner BusOnlineTicket.com it is now possible to buy bus tickets online up to 2 hours prior of departure including the selection of your seat! BusOnlineTicket.com sells tickets for more than 20 bus companies.

 

Buses between Singapore and Cameron Highlands
Konsortium Express seems to be the only bus operator that has a direct coach service between Singapore and Cameron Highlands. The ticket price is SGD60 (Singapore Dollars) and the travel time is 10 hour. Tickets can be booked online on their website.

Bus from Cameron Highlands to Singapore:
departure: 10am, Equatorial Hotel, Brinchang Hotel

Bus from Singapore to Cameron Highlands:
departure: 10.30pm (night bus), Golden Mile Tower
blog post about a journey with this night bus



Jungle Walks
Maps of the 13 different tracks around Tanah Rata and Brinchang are widely available. Before you go on a track on your own, let the people at your guest house know which track you will be walking. In case you get lost in the forrest, they can look for you.

The are plenty of tour operators in the Cameron Highlands so the choice is your. The following information is based on the tours provided by Cameron Secrets, who also run Fathers Guesthouse.

Daily Countryside Tour
- Sungai Palas Tea Plantation
- Rose Centre
- Butterfly Garden
- Vegetable Farms
- Market Square
- Sam Poh Buddhist Temple
- Strawberry Farm
- Honey Bea Farm

Mossy Forrest
- drive up to Gunung Brinchang, highest mountain in the highlands
- walk into the Mossy Forest
- Sungai Palas Tea Plantation

Orang Asli Village
- visit of an Orang Asli village

Full Day Discovery Tour
- Gunung Brinchang
- Mossy Forrest
- Sungai Palas Tea Estate
- Orang Asli Village

Rafflesia Tour
- full day tour
- drive to Rafflesia site (Raffllesia is on of the largest flowers in the world)
- jungle trekking
- waterfall
- Orang Asli Village
- Tea Plantation



Rafflesias can be over 100cm in diameter and weigh up to 10kg. It was named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the "father of Singapore"

Attention: Permit now necessary because of the dangers of the hike:
As a result 2 more people falling to death in 2013 / 2014 at Bukit Tabur, a permit is necessary to go on the trail since January 2014. If you get caught on the trail without a permit, it is considered trespassing and will be procecuted by law. The permit can be obtained at Selangor Forestry Department for RM5 / person. Click here for more information.

Jabatan Perhutanan Negeri Selangor
Bangunan Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah
40660 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan.
http://www.forestry.gov.my/selangor
No. Tel. : 03-5544 7000
No. Faks : 03-5511 9961

Pejabat Hutan Daerah Selangor Tengah
KM 11 (Batu 9), Jalan Cheras-Kajang,
43200 Kajang, Selangor Darul Ehsan.
No. Tel. : 03-9075 2885
No. Faks : 03-9075 6022

Article in The Star newspaper from Jan 13, 2014:
Beware the Tabur trail

 

Bukit Tabur Trekking tour

Find out more about a recommended morning tour with trained guides that gives you the choice of climbing the western ridge or the more challenging and beautiful eastern ridge including pick-up from your ho(s)tel / home.

Bukit Tabur is located about 20km from the city centre. There is no public transport to the starting point of the hike so you need a taxi or your own car to ge there.

How to get to Bukit Tabur:

- Exit MRR2 at Taman Melawati
- next round-about 9 o'clock
- next round-about 12 o'oclock
- at T-junction turn right and follow the road along the hill until you get to the Puncak Niaga facilities


View Bukit Tabur Hike in a larger map


Bukit Tabur, seen from Taman Melawati


The trail starts just after this small concrete Wall. In the background you can see the gate to the Puncak Niaga facility


after a few minutes you get breath-taking views of Taman Melawati and Downtown KL


The hike is challenging but enjoyable


Once you made it up to the Ridge you can see the spectacular Klang Gates reservoir and lush nature on one side and the concrete jungle on the other


This view makes up for a sweaty hike

The hike took us about 3 hours (we made it until the red flag which is just short of the highest point of Bukit Tabur). We went down the same way we came which is the safest way to go.
We went there during a week-day and we were the only ones there!
It is a very enjoyable hike as long as you remember to be careful and stay low when you climb some of the rocky parts of the hike. Bring enough water and food and protect yourself against the sun and mosquitos.

Bukit Tabur Trekking tour

Find out more about a recommended morning tour with trained guides that gives you the choice of climbing the western ridge or the more challenging and beautiful eastern ridge including pick-up from your ho(s)tel / home.

Do check out the websites below to get more information on the hike, safety instruction and how to get to Bukit Tabur!


http://www.nature-escapes-kuala-lumpur.com/Klang-Gates-Quartz-Ridge.html
A good overview of the hike. A must read before you go! We found this trip through this website.

Ill-fated hill
Article from The Star newspaper of the beauty and danger of trekking on Bukit Tabur

http://bukittabur.blogspot.com/
Safety instruction for hiking at Bukit Tabur

http://shiekblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/klang-gate-ridge.html
Blog entry on hiking Bukit Tabur

http://www.endemicguides.com/Tabur_hill_2.htm
More information about the worlds longest Crystal Quartz-Rich ridge and trekking there


 

 


View Bus Terminals in Kuala Lumpur in a larger map
 

Puduraya Bus Terminal (now Pudu Sentral)



for northbound buses
destinations: Cameron Highlands, Penang, Ipoh, Hadyai etc.


T : 03 2070 0145
Bus Terminal for northbound buses in Kuala Lumpur on Jalan Pudu. In august 2011 Puduraya was officially renamed to Pudu Sentral.
5min walk from Chinatown, 10min walk Bukit Bintang, next to Plaza Rakyat LRT station


... more information about Puduraya

Puduraya Bus Terminal (Hentian Puduraya)Puduraya Bus Terminal at Jalan Pudu near Chinatown


Puduraya Bus Terminal (Hentian Puduraya)
gates to the platforms, the newly renovated Puduraya Bus Terminal now has plenty of air-conditioned waiting areas
 

Book your bus ticket online now

BusOnlineTicket Thanks to our partner BusOnlineTicket.com it is now possible to buy bus tickets online up to 2 hours prior of departure including the selection of your seat! BusOnlineTicket.com sells tickets more than 20 bus companies.


Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)



for southbound buses
destinations: Melaka, Johor Bahru, Singapore etc.


T : +603 9057 5804 or +603 9057 5802
Website:www.tbsbts.com.my
newly opened (January 2011) Bus Terminal for southbound buses located about 20min south of the city centre with direct connections to LRT, ERL and KLIA transit
How to get to TBS:
LRT: take Ampang line towards Sri Petaling, get off at Bandar Tasik Selation
KTM: take Seremban line, get off at Bandar Tasik Selation
ERL: take KLIA transit, get off at Bandar Tasik Selation
from the train station there is a bridge that directly connects to the bus terminal


... more information about Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)


view from south



arrival bays



main hall, centralized ticketing and info system on various screens

 

 

Putra Bus Station (Hentian Putra)



for eastbound buses
destinations: Kota Bahru, Kuala Besut / Jerteh (Perhentian Islands), Kuala Terengganu, Cherating, Kuatan, Mersing (Tioman)


T : 03 4042 9530
Bus station serving buses going to the East Coast

the old Putra Bus Station is located a few minutes north of the city centre but easy to get to by either LRT to PWTC station (and then walk 5min) or with the Komuter train to the Putra station which is right next to the bus station (on the other side of the tracks).
 


Inside Putra bus station

 

Book your bus ticket online now

BusOnlineTicket Thanks to our partner BusOnlineTicket.com it is now possible to buy bus tickets online up to 2 hours prior of departure including the selection of your seat! BusOnlineTicket.com sells tickets more than 20 bus companies.


Pekeliling Bus Station


T : 03 4042 1256
Jalan Tun Razak
Pekeliling Bus Station is located north of the city centre near Lake Titiwangsa and next to Titiwangsa Monorail and LRT station. This bus station is of interest for travellers going independently to the national parks (Taman Negara)
Destinations: Jerantut (for Taman Negara), Kuala Lipis, Raub, Termerloh, Kuantan, Genting Highlands (every 30min)


 

Duta Bus Station (Hentian Duta)


T : 03 6201 4970
Persiaran Duta
Another bus station to the north of the city centre. You need a taxi to get there.


 

alternative bus companies leaving from other locations


Aeroline
Tel : 03 6258 8800
www.aeroline.com.my
Luxury coaches (single deck and double deck) to Penang and Singapore (RM80) with on board catering service
Buses leave from outside Chorus Hotel (Jalan Ampang, east of KLCC, near tourist accommodations) and 1Utama Shopping Centre (Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya)

Plusliner (NiCE coach)
Tel: 03 22721586
www.plusliner.com.my
another luxury bus company to Penang and Singapore with on board catering service
Their buses start from the old Railway Station on Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin

 

Konni and Matt in Malaysia
Konni & Matt in action


Having travelled Asia extensively in the last couple of years, you keep returning to Malaysia for trips through Peninsular and Borneo or as a transit destination (Kuala Lumpur is Air Asia's main hub).
You have also lived in Kuala Lumpur for several months. What do you appreciate about Malaysia, how does it differ from the surrounding countries?


OK, you want me to generalise: Malaysia is (i) a well-functioning country with (ii) a friendly population. The surrounding countries have only either one of these two constituents.


Were there any difficulties / frustrations you experienced in Malaysia as a traveller?

The size of the rats in Jalan Alor wink


Chinese temple in Penang
Chinese temple in Penang


How does travelling in Sabah and Sarawak (the Malaysian part of Borneo) differ from West Malaysia?

The local people from both Sarawak and Sabah even surpass the usual Malaysian friendliness and the beer in Sarawak is cheaper. Just embark for a river ride on the Rajang River, meet local Iban people and, together with them, knock down a few beers on the roof of an express boat…


What are your Top 5 destinations in Borneo?

Kota Kinabalu where we had the second-best seafood ever and which is a city where we could settle and retire.
view blog entry

Kelabit Highlands which is a great hiking destination.
view blog entry

Nanga Mayeng where you can meet hospitable Ibans in their longhouses without doing one of these operetta-like tours for backpacker.
view blog entry

Sibu where we met famous and entertaining Mr Tan at the pagoda.
view blog entry

Similajau which is an underrated spot for a relaxing beach holiday.
view blog entry


Niah Caves, Sarawak, Borneo
Niah Caves, Sarawak, Borneo


Nanga Mayeng, Sarawak, Borneo
Nanga Mayeng, Sarawak, Borneo


What are your Top 5 destination in West Malaysia?


Kuala Lumpur which is not as clean as Singapur but clean enough and which is not as sexy as Bangcock but sexy enough.
view blog entry

Johor Bahru which has a great history, excellent food and is an excellent and economical stepping stone for your budget-conscious Singapore trips.
view blog entry

Chukai which is almost backpacker-free and has the most delicous stuffed crabs.
view blog entry

Pulau Kapas which has great beaches and where we could spot egg-lying turtles.
view blog entry

Georgetown whose atmosphere reminds us of Cape Town (without the Tabel Mountain).
view blog entry


Chinese temple in Penang
clown fishes, off Pulau Tioman


Being a multi-racial country, Malaysia offers and wide range of cultures and, hence, food. What were your favourite dishes you tried in Malaysia?
We used to be “aquatarians” (vegetarians who do occasionally eat fish and seafood), but have recently stopped eating fish and seafood. Vegetarians have mainly three options in Malaysia: the Indian veg restaurants, the (often overcooked) veggies in the Malay restaurants or the Chinese vegetarian restaurants with their funny mock meat. If you can square it with your conscience, you can go the salad bar in a steakhouse. Generally, fresh food is quite overpriced in Malaysia. Malaysia is definitely no salad country, just have a look at the healthy paunches of many Malaysians!


market in Kota Bharu
market in Kota Bharu (east coast, West Malaysia)


After years and years of Backpacking through Asia, you certainly become a master of stretching your budget. What are you advices on travelling cheap in Malaysia?
Stay away from the organised tourism and the highly commercialised backpacking industry. Avoid guide books, tour guides, packet tours etc. Do as the locals do and pay the local prices. Eat street food; it is mostly better, cheaper and more fun than restaurant fare. Use the regular public transport and use web resources like forums or Wikitravel.



Tell us a little bit about your blog, and why should people follow it?
At the beginning, we just wanted to keep our grandsons in Toronto up to date with our travels. Only later, we learned that many other travellers and dreamers are also interested in our travel notes. Especially people, who plan to travel around the world after their retirement. These people like the concreteness and the many details in our blog http://konniandmatt.blogspot.com. There are so many different ways to live and to travel; we are just one out of many ...

Last but not least, what was your most memorable moment on your travels in Malaysia?
Thaipusam at the Batu Caves.

Thaipusam at Bat Caves, Kuala Lumpur



all photos courtesy of Konni & Matt
have a look at their blog for many many more...


http://konniandmatt.blogspot.com


Little India Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

Brickfields is experiencing a lot of changes currently. For once, there is probably the biggest construction area around KL Sentral with a new shopping mall (Nu Sentral), hotels and office towers in the making. On the other side is the old Brickfields area which is currently undergoing a redevelopment process. Fortunately, the money here is spent on beautification projects keeping the historical structures and cultures in place - making Little India more attraction for residents and tourists as well.
We went on a walk a few days before the Deepavali festival which makes the area even more colourful with decorations and street markets.



Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Little India Brickfields
Jalan Tun Sambathan (formerly Jalan Brickfields) runs through the heart of Brickfields. On the left you can see the old part of Brickfields and on the right is the modern KL Sentral area. On the picture you can see the construction of the Nu Sentral shopping mall. In the centre of image is the KL Sentral Monorail station, which is the last stop of the line. When you arrive with the Monorail at the KL Sentral station you can go left und around the construction site to reach KL Sentral main railway station which is a hub for transports to the Airport and short and long distance trains. On our walk we turned left after leaving the Monorail station and followed Jalan Tun Sambanthan into the heart of Little India.


Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Little India Brickfields
Looking back with the view of the Twin Towers in the background


residential area, Little India Brickfields
residential area with Buddhist Maha Vihara temple in the background


Deepavali market, Little India Brickfields
Before Deepavali, there is a street marking all along Jalan Tun Sambanthan


Deepavali market, Little India Brickfields
Stall selling Murrukuk (hanging a from top in the plastic bags) and other Southern Indian snacks


Little India Brickfields
the colourful arches were part of the recent redevelopment of Little India


Little India Brickfields
view of Little India from a pedestrian bridge, in the background you can see the high-rises of the KL Sentral development area


Fruits and Flower Leis, Little India Brickfields
little market selling fruits and Flower Leis


Grocery Shop, Little India Brickfields
the spice section of an Indian grocery shop


Jewelery Shop, Little India Brickfields
Indian jeweleries everywhere


Mamak restaurant, Little India Brickfields
one of the many Mamak restaurant (the term mamak refers to Tamil Muslims, who run most of the Indian restaurants in Malaysia)


Shop, Little India Brickfields
colourful lamps and other decoration in front of a shop





 

If you are on a tight budget or you want to travel on short notice without booking the ticket in advance, then you should take the bus from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS). TBS is a huge bus terminal 7 - 10 LRT stations (depending on where you get on) south of the city centre. Several bus companies run from here so you  have largest variety and lowest prices (RM35 - RM46).
However, if you are looking for luxurious bus options, then there are few bus companies who run their operations from various locations within the city centre (Times Square, Imbi, Old Railway Station, Pasar Rakyat) and also outside the city centre (Sunway Lagoon, 1Utama, Mont Kiara). Their prices vary from RM88 - RM95.
The only budget option within (or close to) the city centre is First Coach from Bangsar LRT station (RM45 - RM50). Transtar also has one budget bus (the rest of their buses are premium) from Imbi (SGD12).
 

 

DEPARTURE POINTS

 

main bus terminal for south-bound buses


Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)

departure/arrival point for: Transnasional,  Causeway Link Express,  Konsortium, City Express, Starmart Express,  Five Stars, Kuala Yakin, Grassland, Sri Maju, Eltabina,
prices: RM35 - RM46
 

in KL city centre


Berjaya Times Square (Bukit Bintang)
at Imbi Monorail station in front of Berjaya Times Square
departure/arrival point for: StarMart Express
price:  SGD30

Jalan Imbi
No. 135, Opposite Overseas Restaurant, next to beef noodle shop
departure/arrival for: Transtar Coach
prices: SGD12 - SGD50

Corus Hotel  (KLCC)
Jalan Ampang, just opposite KLCC Twin Towers
departure/arrival point for:  Aeroline
price: RM95


KTM Terminal (Old Railway Station)

departure/arrival for: Nice executive couch
price: RM88

Bangsar  (1 LRT stop south of KL Sentral)
departure/arrival point for:  First Coach
next to Bangsar LRT station
prices: RM45 - RM50  

in Klang Valley (outside of KL city centre)


Mont Kiara (5km northwest of the city centre)
1B Shoplex at Mont Kiara, Jalan Kiara, 50480, Kuala Lumpur
departure / arrival point for: Odysee
price: RM90


Bandar Utama (Petaling Jaya)

departure point for:  First Coach
Lot C.02B, Concourse Level KPMG Tower, 8 First Avenue (between TV3 Building and One World Hotel)

1Utama Shopping Centre
departure/arrival point for:  Aeroline, Transtar Coach
 Bus stop and ticket centre at the western end of the New Wing (facing the outside parking area towards The Curve)
prices: RM95, SGD28


Subang

Sunway Pyramid
departure/arrival point for:  Aeroline
Lower Ground Two, Sunway Pyramid, opposite the main entrance of Sunway Lagoon
price: RM95

Sunway Pyramid Hotel
departure/arrival point for:  Transtar
price: SGD28

Holiday Villa Hotel
departure/arrival  point for:  First Coach
Holiday Villa Hotels & Resorts, No. 9, Jalan SS12/1, 47500 Subang Jaya
prices: RM45 - RM50
 

map of  bus terminals and departure points in the Klang Valley (KL and surroundings) serving buses to Singapore:


View Buses from KL to Singapore in a larger map
 

 

Transport Connections (online booking)
Company / Departure Times (click departure point to book / check times and prices) Kuala Lumpur Singapore   Prices (online booking)
Billion Stars Express
from Kuala Lumpur:
3am
from Singapore:
12.30am, 1am, 5.30am, 7.30am, 7.45am, 8.30am, 8.45am, 9am, 9.15am, 9.30am, 9.45am
TBS Golden Mile Complex,
Lavendar MRT (Kitchener Complex)
Bus RM 55
S$ 55
Eltabina Jaya Sdn Bhd
from Kuala Lumpur:
12.20pm, 12.45pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, 10pm
from Singapore:
8.30am, 2.30pm, 2.30pm, 10pm
TBS,
Bukit Bintang
Textile Centre Bus S$ 30
Golden Coach Express
from Singapore:
8.30am, 9am, 11.59pm
Berjaya Time Square City Plaza (Geylang Road),
Concorde Shopping Centre
Bus S$ 25
Grassland Express
from Kuala Lumpur:
9am, 1.30pm, 6pm, 11pm
from Singapore:
7.3am, 8am, 9am, 9.45am, 10.45am, 12pm, 2.30pm, 5.30pm, 7pm, 9.15pm, 9.45pm, 11pm
TBS,
Berjaya Time Square
Golden Mile Complex, Bus S$ 25 - 34

BUS COMPANIES (with departure times)


Aeroline
Tel : 03 6258 8800
http://www.aeroline.com.my
Luxury coaches (single deck and double deck) to Penang and Singapore
with on board catering service
prices:
Klang Valley - Singapore RM95
Departure / Arrival: 1Utama Shopping Centre, Corus Hotel, Sunway Pyramid
Singapore - Klang Valley SGD50 (or RM117 if purchased at Malaysian Service Centre)
Departure / Arrival: Coach Bay at Level 1, Harbourfront Centre

First Coach
http://www.firstcoach.com.my
Kuala  Lumpur (Bangsar) - Singapore (RM45-50, 7.30am, 9.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 14.30pm, 16.30pm, 18.30pm, 20.30pm)
Depature:  next to Bangsar LRT station / Arrival: Novena Square, 238 Thomson Road
Bandar Utama - Singapore (RM45-50 / SGD22-24, 8am, 11am, 15pm, 19pm)
Depature: Bandar Utama, near 1Utama / Arrival: Novena Square, 238 Thomson Road
Subang Jaya - Singapore (RM45-50 / SGD22-24, 7.45am, 10.45pm, 14.45pm, 18.45pm)
Departure: Holiday Villa Hotel Subang / Arrival: The Plaza

Konsortium
Tel : 1300-88-842538
http://www.kbes.com.my
Kuala Lumpur - Singapore (RM35.10, 7.30am, 8.30am, 11am, 12.30pm, 1.15pm, 3.50pm, 5pm, 5.50pm, 7.30pm, 7.30pm, 9.20pm, 10.20pm, 11.55pm)
depature: Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) / arrival: Beach Road


Nice executive couch
Tel: 04-3316359 /3232116
http://www.nice-coaches.com.my
Kuala Lumpur - Singapore (RM88, 7:30am, 9:15am, 11am, 12:40pm, 3pm,  7:10pm,  12:30am, travel time 5h)
Departure from: Old Railway Station / Arrival: 33 Mackenzie Road
Singapore - Kuala Lumpur (RM103, 8:30am, 10:30am, 1pm, 3:45pm, 5:00pm, 7:15pm)
Departure from: 33 Mackenzie Road / Arrival: Terminal Bersepadu Selatan

Odysee
Tel: 1 300 888 121
http://www.odysseynow.com.my
business class coach service
Kuala Lumpur - Singapore (RM90, 8am, 11am, 3pm)
departure:  Shoplex at Mont Kiara, Jalan Kiara  / arrival: Balestier Plaza,  400 Balestier Road
Singapore - Kuala Lumpur (RM90, 8am, 5pm, 7pm)

Sri Maju
Tel: +016-5595882
http://www.srimaju.com/
Kuala Lumpur - Singapore (RM40, 9.30am, 11.00am, 12.00pm, 1.30pm, 3.00pm, 4.30pm, 6.30pm, 11.00pm)
departure: Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)  / arrival: Golden Mile Complex

Star Mart Express
tel: +65 6396 5681 / 82
http://www.starmartonline.com
Kuala Lumpur - Singapore (SGD30, 9:30am, 10am, 11:30am, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 7:30pm, 9pm, 11pm, 11:30pm)
Departure:  at Imbi Monorail station in front of Berjaya Times Square or Pasar Rakyat / Arrival: Golden Mile Complex, Beach Road
Singapore - Kuala Lumpur (SGD30 , 7:30am, 8am, 9am, 9:30am, 10:15am, 10:15am, 1:30pm, 4:30pm, 5pm, 7pm, 7.30pm, 10pm, 11.30pm)
Departure:  Golden Mile Complex, Beach Road / Arrival: Berjaya Times Square or Pasar Rakyat

Transnasional
Tel : 1 300 888 582
http://www.transnasional.com.my/
Kuala Lumpur - Singapore (RM46.10, 8.45am, 10.30am, 1.30pm, 5.30pm, 10.30pm, 11.59pm)
departure: Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)  / arrival: Lavender Street (except for 11.59pm bus: Woodlands)
Singapore - Kuala Lumpur (RM57.40, 8.30am, 10.00am, 12noon, 5 pm, 8pm, 22pm)
arrival: Terminal Bersepadu Selatan / departure: Lavender

Transtar Coach
Tel : +603 2141 1771 (Imbi office),  +603 7725 3771 (1Utama Office)
http://transtar.travel/

Kuala Lumpur - Singapore (SGD44-50 First Class and Solitaire, 8am, 10am, 11am, 2pm, 3.30pm, 4pm, 6pm)
Kuala Lumpur - Singapore (SGD12 Classic, 9.30am)
departure: Jalan Imbi (No. 135, Opposite Overseas Restaurant, next to beef noodle shop) / arrival: Golden Mile Complex, Beach Road
Bandar Utama / Sunway Pyramid - Singapore (SGD28 Z-Club, 3pm)
depature: 1Utama (new wing), Sunway Pyramid Hotel / arrival: Golden Mile Complex, Beach Road
You are not allowed to with Transtar if you do not have the relevant travel documents beforehand.

Book your bus ticket online now

BusOnlineTicket Thanks to our partner BusOnlineTicket.com it is now possible to buy bus tickets online up to 2 hours prior of departure including the selection of your seat! BusOnlineTicket.com sells tickets for more than 20 bus companies.

 

The main ferry terminal (inclusive of customs for processing Thai visa for trips to Koh Lipe) on Langkawi is in Kuah, the main town of the island.

 

Kuala Perlis

Kuala Perlis is the one of two main departure points (besides Kuala Kedah) to Langkawi. It is the the closest port to Langkawi. You will also arrive here if you take a want to travel to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur by bus (and ferry).

book ferry ticket online:
Kuala Perlis - Langkawi
Langkawi - Kuala Perlis

ferry price: RM18 (child RM13)
travel time: 75min
provider: Langkawi Ferry Service

depature times:
from Langkawi: 7.30am, 8.45am, 10am, 11.30am,. 1pm, 2.30pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm
contact: 604-966 1125 / 604-966 1126
from Kuala Perlis: from 7am to 7pm (running approx. every 60min)
contact: 604-985 1899 / 604-9852539 / 604-985 2690

Bus from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Perlis
Buses from KL to Kuala Perlis leave from Puduraya (Pudu Sentral) Bus Terminal and Duta Bus Terminal. There are several companies running buses to Kuala Perlis.
depature times (from Puduraya):  8am, 9am, 9.15am, 9.30am, 10am, 12.45pm,  4pm and night buses at 9.15pm, 10.30pm, 11pm, 11.15pm,  11.30pm
depature times (from Duta):  9.30am, 10.15am, 10.30am, 11.30am, 1pm, 1.30pm, 6.30pm, 9pm, 9.30pm, 10pm,  11pm, 11.15pm, 11.45pm, 11.59pm
travel time: 6h - 8h
providers: Plusliner, Maraliner, Transnasional, Konsortium, Cosmic Express, Etika Express

buy bus ticket online:
Kuala Lumpur - Kuala Perlis
Kuala Perlis - Kuala Lumpur


 

Kuala Kedah

Kuala Kedah is a port town near to Alor Setar, the capital of the state of Kedah.

book ferry ticket online:
Kuala Kedah - Langkawi
Langkawi - Kuala Kedah

ferry price: RM23 (child RM17)
travel time: 105min
provider: Langkawi Ferry Service
depature times: from 7am to 7pm
contact: 
Kuala Perlis : 604-985 1899 / 604-9852539 / 604-985 2690
Langkawi : 604-966 1125 / 604-966 1126

 

Penang

book ferry ticket online:
Penang - Langkawi
Langkawi - Penang

ferry price: RM60
travel time: 2h45min
departure times:
from Langkawi: 2.30pm (via Pulau Payar), 5.15pm
from Penang: 8.15am (via Pulau Payar), 8.30am

 

Koh Lipe (Thailand)

Koh Lipe is a beautiful small island in Thailand just outside the Tarutao National Park.

ferry price: RM120
travel time: 1h
departure times:
from Langkawi:  9.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 4.30pm (from Telaga Harbor: 9.30am, 2.3pm)
from Koh Lipe: 10.30am, 3.30pm, 4.30pm

 

Satun (Thailand)

Satun is a port town on the Andaman coast in southern Thailand and a gateway to other Islands in the the area and Hat Yai.

ferry price: RM30 / Bath 300 (child RM23)
travel time: 1h15min
provider: Langkawi Ferry Service, Southern Ferry Services, Satun Ferry
departure times:
from Langkawi: 9am - 5.15pm
from Satun: 9.45am - 5pm
contact:
Langkawi : 604-9661125/9661126
Satun : (6674) 725 294

 

Flight to Langkawi

Langkawi also as an airport located at the west of the island and has regular connections to Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
airlines: Air Asia, Firefly, Malaysian Airlines, Berjaya Air

start of journey in Kuala Lumpur (2 nights)

highlights: Petronas Twin Towers, Batu Caves, Chinatown, Bukit Bintang, shopping and eating

Lord Murugan statue, Batu Caves
Lord Murugan statue, Batu Caves

transport Kuala Lumpur - Cameron Highlands:
bus (approx. 4h, RM30)

 

Cameron Highlands (2 nights)

highlights: tea plantation, jungle walks, cooler climate

tea plantations, Cameron Highlands
tea plantations

transport Cameron Highlands - Georgetown (Penang):
bus (approx. 4h, RM30)

 

Georgetown, Penang (1 night)

highlights: UNESCO world heritage site, colonial buildings, eating

Old Town Hall, Georgetown
Old Town Hall, Georgetown

transport Penang - Langkawi:
boat (approx. 2h, RM60)

 

Langkawi (2 nights)

highlights: cable car, island exploring with rental bike or car, relaxing at the beach

Langkawi Cable Car
Langkawi Cable Car

transport Langkawi - Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA):
flight (ca. 1h, Malaysian Airlines)

transport KLIA - Melaka:
shuttle bus from KLIA to LCCT Terminal (RM2, every 30min)
from LCCT, bus to Melaka with Transnasional (ca.2h, RM22 - bus schedule: 9.30am, 11am, 5.30pm, 10pm)

 

Melaka (1 night)

highlights: UNESCO world heritage site, colonial buildings, Chinese shophouses, river tour

street decorated for Chinese New Year, Melaka
street decorated for Chinese New Year

transport Melaka - Johor Bahru:
bus (approx. 3h, RM20 )

 

Johor Bahru / Singpore (2 nights)

We stayed 2 nights in a hotel in Johor Bahru and did a day trip to Singapore (MRT day ticket: S$8). This saved some money and was more convinient because we had  early flight from Johor Bahru to Kota Kinabalu. The travel time between JB and Singapore is about 2 hours including the border crossing.

highlights: no particular highlights for tourist in Johor (other than cheaper prices than neighbouring Singapore), in Singapore: Little India, Chinatown, Orchard Road, Boat Quay, Marina Bay Sands, Mt. Faber and many more...

view from Johor Bahru to Singapore across the causeway
view from Johor Bahru to Singapore across the causeway

Singapore skyline
Singapore skyline

transport Johor Bahru - Kota Kinabalu (Sabah, Borneo):
flight (ca. 2h20min, Air Asia)

transport Kota Kinabalu - Mount Kinabalu National Park:
taxi to Inanam Bus Terminal
long distance bus Mount Kinabalu National Park (ca. 3h, RM15)

 

Mount Kinabalu National Park (1 night)

highlights: jungle walks, mountain trekking

Mount Kinabalu
view of Mount Kinabalu

transport Mount Kinabalu NP - Sepilok:
bus to Sandakan (ca. 4h, RM25, get off at the round-about in Sepilok)

 

Sepilok (2 nights)

highlights: Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, Rainforest Discovery

Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary
Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary

transport Sandakan - Semporna:
bus (approx. 5-6h, RM40, twice daily: 7.30am, 2pm)

 

Semporna (1 night), Mabul (3 nights)

transport Semporna - Mabul:
boat (approx. 1h, RM50)

highlights: snorkeling, diving around Mabul / Sipadan - Accommodation, trips and diving with Scuba Junkie
It is advisable not to fly within 24h after diving.

Mabul
beach view on Mabul Island

transport Mabul - Kuala Lumpur:
boat to Semporna (approx. 1h)
mini bus to Tawau airport (approx. 1h, can be arranged at the dive shops)
flight Tawau - Kuala Lumpur (approx. 2h40min)

 

end of journey: Kuala Lumpur (1 night)

view from KL Tower
view from KL Tower


Thanks to Hendrik and Christian for providing the information. All photos are courtesy of Hendrik.

all photos below are courtesy of Ernest Zacharevic:
Ernest Zacharevic facebook page
www.zachas.com

 

collage of Ernest Zacharevic's work
collage of Ernest Zacharevic's work

 

wall painting in Armenian Street
the popular wall painting in Armenian Street

 

wall painting at Chew Jetty, George Town, Malaysia
wall painting at Chew Jetty

 

Ernest Zacharevicat work
Ernest Zacharevicat work

 


finished wall painting at Muntre 47, George Town, Malaysia
finished wall painting at Muntre 47

 

Timelapse video of Ernest Zacharevic's wall painting at the junction of Armenian Street & Pitt Street, Penang, Malaysia 25 - 29 June, 2011:

Ernest Zacharevic at Armenian Street, Penang from ownlypenang on Vimeo.



location map of the wall paintings:

location map of penang street art

This very useful feature became available with the latest version of Google Maps. This will come in handy especially if you have to leave very early to catch a bus, train or flight or if you are still out late and want to know wheter the LRT or Monorail is still operating.

 

Train Lines

At moment it shows the times of the following train lines (the abbreviation in front is the one used in Google Maps):

  • KMUTER - KTM Komuter (local train serving the Klang Valley area)
  • ERL - EX - This is the KLIA Express train, the train that directly connects KL Sentral to KLIA without stopping
  • ERL-TR - KLIA Transist, same as KLIA Express but stops 3 times on the way to KLIA airport at Bandar Tasik Selatan, Putrajaya and Salak Tinggi
  • LRT - Light Rail Transit (Kelana Jaya and Ampang Line)
  • MR - Monorail
  • ETS - train line between Ipoh, KL and Seremban
  • KTM - long-distance train lines between Singapore, KL, Butterworth, Thailand and between KL and Kota Bahru (Tumpat)

> map of train routes in Klang Valley and around

 

Google Maps train times at KL Sentral
listing of train depture times  at KL Sentral

 


Buses

Some buses and their departure times have also been added to Google Maps.
Available local bus lines:

 

 

Google Maps bus times at KL Sentral
to get the depature times of buses, you have to select the bus icon, in this case the bus stop just outside of KL Sentral, and then click on "more info"

 

Google Maps bus times at KL Sentral
now the depature times and destinations of available bus are listed

 

 

long distance bus companies (from Pudu Sentral, TBS, Putra Bus Terminal, Terminal Duta):

  • EDRAN - Edaran Express
  • ERAMR - Era Mesra, Wawsan Sutera
  • KBES - Konsortium
  • MARA - Maraliner
  • ... and more

 

Google Maps mobile app

Google Maps Android mobile app

to check to train and bus times on your smart phone, click on a train or bus icon and and select the name of the station
On the next page you will get listing of departure times
(screenshot taken from the Android version of Google Maps)

 

 

Book your bus ticket online now

BusOnlineTicket Thanks to our partner BusOnlineTicket.com it is now possible to buy bus tickets online up to 2 hours prior of departure including the selection of your seat! BusOnlineTicket.com sells tickets more than 20 bus companies.

Bazaar Ramadhan Bukit Bintang

The market in Bukit Bintang is the easist market to get to for travellers as it right in the middle of Bukit Bintang, just adjecent of the Bukit Bintang Monorail station.
more information and photos

 


View Bazaar Ramadhan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur in a larger map


Ramadan market in Bukit Bintang
the busy market just next to the Monorail in Bukit Bintang
 

 

Bazaar Ramadhan in TTDI

This market is one of the favourites of KLites (the people living in KL). It is located in the neighbourhood of Taman Tun Dr. Ismail (TTDI), about 15km west of the city centre.
more photos and information

 


View Baazar Ramadhan TTDI, Kuala Lumpur in a larger map
 

Ramadan market in TTDI
the marking along the shophouses of Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
 

 

Bazaar Ramadhan Kampung Baru

This market is located in the scenic traditional Malay residential area of Kampung Baru, the oldest Malay area in KL that is contrasting with the modern skyline of KLCC (Petronas Twin Towers) nearby. You can get this this market from Kampung Baru LRT station (Kelana Jaya Line, 3min walk) or Medan Tuanku Monorail station (10-15min walk).
more photos and information



View Bazaar Ramadhan Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur in a larger map


Ramadan market in Kampung Baru
stalls of the Ramadan market in Kampung Baru with the backdrop of the Twin Towers

the month of Ramadan

Ramadan (also sometimes spelled as Ramadhan) is the month of fasting. That means Muslims are not allowed to eat, drink or have sex from the morning prayer (Fajr) at dawn until the evening prayer (Maghrib). In Malaysia that means from about 6am in the morning to 7.30pm in the evening. The early morning meal is called Sahur. The evening meal, Iftar, is known in Malaysia as "berbuka puasa" (literally: to open the fast).


Fasting in Malaysia is quite a challenge due to the hot and humid weather, therefore you should be considerate towards Muslims during the fasting month. The sacrifice during the month of Ramadan is supposed to remind people of those who are less fortunate and to learn to be humble again. But Ramadan also means a time to get to together with friends and family to break the fast together in the evening. Hence, Ramadan is als the time of the year when you can find the best Malay food at the Bazaar Ramadhan, the Ramadan food markets, that pop up everywhere in the country. These markets can be visited by anyone, not only Muslims. So all Non-Muslim travellers should experience a Bazaar Ramadhan if they happen to be in Malaysia during the fasting month.

Ramadan market in Kuala Lumpur
Bazaar Ramadhan in Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur
more abour Ramadan markets in Kuala Lumpur

 

Hari Raya
Hari Raya or Hari Raya Puasa or Hari Raya Aidil Fitri is the biggest holiday of the year in Malaysia (Chinese New Year comes in second). It is the holiday that celebrates the end of the fasting month. Hari Raya is internationally known as Eid al-Fitr. Hari Raya results in two public holiday during which people return to the home towns and villages - the famous Balik Kampung happens. Balik Kampung literally means back to the village. Thus, during the Hari Raya week half of the country is on the road to go back home to celebrate the holidays with their families. It also means that Kuala Lumpur, which usually chokes from traffic congestion, becomes quiet and peaceful for a few days. For Muslims Hari Raya means performing the Hari Raya Pusa prayers and visiting the graves of relatives. Hari Raya also means eating, eating, eating and visiting friends and relatives where even more food is served. Malaysia also has the tradition of holding Open Houses where the house is open for everyone to come in and say hello and eat something together.

 

How does Ramadan and Hari Raya effect me as traveller and backpacker?
Due to the multi-cultural society of Malaysia it is no problem to find food during the day. Most restaurant remain open and serve food and drinks as usual.

However, the Hari Raya celebrations cause half of the country to head back home (Balik Kampung) and hit the road. That means all forms of transport whether public (airplanes, buses, trains) or private (cars jamming the highways) will be very busy. So if you plan to travel during Hari Raya (usually in particular the weekend before and after Hari Raya, depending on what weekday Hari Raya falls on), book your tickets early!



When is Ramdadan and Hari Raya in Malaysia?
Since Ramadan and Hari Raya follows the Islamic calendar which is a lunar calendar, the dates will move by 11 or 12 days each year. The lunar calendar is shorter and begins when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted.

2012
July 20 - August 18 - Ramadan
August 19 & 20 - Hari Raya (Public Holiday)

2013
July 9 - August 7 - Ramadan
August 8 & 9  - Hari Raya (Public Holiday)

2014
June 28 - July 27 - Ramadan
July 29 & 30  - Hari Raya (Public Holiday)

On September 16, the country celebrates Malaysia Day - in memory of September 16 1963 when North Borneo (Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore joined Malaysia. Singapore left the federation 2 years later again.

Merdeka day and Malaysia day are both public holidays.

The formation of Malaysia and its independence followed centuries of foreign influence on former Malaya. It was under Portuguese influence in the 16th century, under Dutch influence in the 17th century and eventuelly become a British colony, interrupted by the Japanese occupation from 1941 to 1945. Read more about the complex and interesting history of Malaysia / Malaya on Wikipedia: History of Malaysia

End the end of every August, the country is decorated with an overdose of Malaysian flags to celebrate Merdeka Day. Here are some images from August 2012 in Kuala Lumpur:


Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Sultan Abdul Samad Building on Merdeka Square

 

Merdeka Square
Merdeka Square awaiting the festivities and the parade that happens here on the August 31


flag pole, Merdeka Square
the allegedly world's highest flag pole at Dataran Merdeka


flags at Chinatown
Malaysian flags at Petaling Street in Chinatown


flag at constuction site
giant Malaysian flag at the constuction of a highrise building


big flags on buildings
Who has the biggest flag?

The Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley is the 5th site to be honoured a spot on UNESCO's world heritage site list. The others are Kinabalu Park (listed in 2000), Gunung Mulu National Park (2000) and the historic cities of the Straits of Malacca - Melaka and George Town (2008).

 

UNESCO's brief description of the The Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley:

Situated in the lush Lenggong Valley, the property includes four archaeological sites in two clusters which span close to 2 million years, one of the longest records of early man in a single locality, and the oldest outside the African continent. It features open-air and cave sites with Palaeolithic tool workshops, evidence of early technology. The number of sites found in the relatively contained area suggests the presence of a fairly large, semi-sedentary population with cultural remains from the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Metal ages.
more information here

 

The Lenggong Valley is located in the state of Perek between Ipoh and Penang. Important archaeological sites in the valley include Kota Tampan, Bukit Jawa at Kampung Gelok and Kampung Temelong.  The Lenggong Archaeological Museum in Kota Tampan exhibits artefacts excavated from the area.

One of the things found in the valley is the complete skeleton of the Perak Man which is more than  11,000 years old.

 

Location of Lenggong Valley:


View Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley in a larger map

SIA Hop-on Bus

SIA Hop-on Bus

The SIA Hop-on Bus is a hop-on hop-off type of tourist bus in collaboration with Singapore Airlines.

Prices for a One-Day pass (City & Sentosa Island):
S$12 (child: S$6)
S$6 (S$3) for Singapore Airlines / SilkAir passengers
The tickets can be purchased from the drivers at the bus.

operating times:
9am - 9pm

bus stops:
1)

More information and the route map: www.siahopon.com

 

FunVee Open Top Bus

FunVee Open Top Bus provide as a hop-on hop-off bus in a open top double decker bus.
FunVee runs on three routes (route description):

Green Route (CA) - City Attractions Hopper
via Merlion Park / Chinatown / Botanic Gardens / Orchard Road and Hotels along Tanglin / Scotts / Orchard Road / Bras Basah / Raffles City

RED ROUTE (SE) - Sentosa Attractions FunVee
via Chinatown / Little India / Arab Street

ORANGE ROUTE (EA) - Ethnic Attractions
via Civic District / Chinatown / Little India / Kampong Glam / Arab Street

price:
S$23 per person
S$19.90 if you book online

operating hours:
9am - 7pm,
the first trip of all three routes starts at 9am from the Singapore Flyer

more information: www.citytours.sg

 

Duck & Hippo Tours

Singapore Duck Tours
the DUCKtour craft in action

Duck & Hippo offers a variety of seight-seeing option - from the hop-on hop-on bus, to the HiPPO river tour and the unique DUCK tour in a remodeled WWII amphibious Vietnamese war craft that travels on land and sea. Duck & Hippo have 2 package option:

Singapore Pass
duration: 2 Full Days (with 'Buy 1 Day, Get 2nd Day Free' promotion)
attractions: DUCK, Flyer & 12 ticketed tours
price: S$69

Singapore Seightseeing Pass
duration: 24 hours (Top Up $6 for another 24 hours access)
attractions: City Sightseeing City route, City Sightseeing Heritage route, The Original Tour, HiPPO River Cruise
price: S$33

more information: www.ducktours.com.sg

Results of the 13th General Election in Malaysia

results of 13th GE Malaysia

Indepedent observers have labeled the election as only "partly free, no fair". Despite the fact that many irregularities and mass media strongly favors the ruling ruling Barison Nasional coalition, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat manage to win the populate with 50.9%.  However, because of the uneven size of consituencies which give much more voting power to rural areas, Barisonal managed to get a comfortable majority of 133 seasts (out of 222) despite losing the popular vote with 47.4%. A record number of 84% of voters turned up at the polling stations.


Barisan Nasional, PAS flags
Barisan Nasional (blue colour) and PAS (green colour) flages along the road side in KL. The status quo in Malaysia seem to be that the party with the most flags out on the streets gathers the most votes.

 

BN (Barisan Nasional)
Barisan Nasional was formed in 1973 as the successor to the Alliance. Both coalitions have been the federal ruling force since the indepence of Malaysia. Barisan Nasional consists of the Malay UMNO, Chinese MCA and Indian MIC as well as several other parties in Sabah and Sarawak. The vast majority of Barisan Nasional's seats are held by its three largest religion and race-based political parties UMNO, MCA and MIC with UMNO being the clear leader of the coaltion.

PR (Pakatan Rakyat)
Pakatan Rakyat was formed in 2008 before the 12th general election creating an alliance between the 3 largest oppostion parties - DAP (Democratic Action Party), PKR (People's Justice Party) and PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party). The coalition made unexptected gain in the 12th coaltion denying Barisan Nasional a 2/3 majority in parlament and forming the state governments of Kelantan, Kedah, Penang and Selangor.

 

If you want to read more from the different sides of the story, you could start here:

The Star - largest english-language daily paper, owned MCA (member of Barisan Nasional) so be aware of propaganda
Malaysiakini - largest independent online newspaper
Malaysian Insider - indenpent online magazine
 

Pulau Redang is part of the Redang Marine Park hence there is a RM5 marine park fee imposed on every visitor coming to the island.

Remember that travelling to Pulau Redang that  is limited by the monsoon season which means that the island pretty much shuts down from November to February. Peak seaon is from June to August.
 

getting to Redang by plane

There is a small airstrip on the island which allows for small airplanes to land on the Redang. The airport is located on the south side of the island near the Kampung jetty.
The only airline flying into Redang Island is Berjaya Air from Kuala Lumpur's Subang Airport (55min flight time) and the Changi Airport in Singapore Kuala Lumpur's Subang Airport (80min flight time).

 

getting to Redang by boat

Pulau Redang is a rather up-market destination so usually travellers book 3day/2night or similar packages directly with the resorts which includes the boat transfer to and from the island.
There are 2 jetties as a starting point for the boat ride to Redang Island:
 

from Merang:

  • ca. 30km north of Kuala Terengganu
  • 40min boat ride to Pasir Panjang
  • RM40 one-way (RM80 return)

 

Resort Ferry departure from Merang departure from Redang
Kalong 10am 8.30am, 11.30am
Laguna 9.30am, 12pm 9am, 11.30am
Mutiara 9.30am 11am
Pelangi 9.30am 8-10am

 

 

from Kuala Terengganu:

  • departure from Shahbandar Jetty
  • operating from March to October
  • travel time approx. 1h 15min
  • price RM50 one-way (RM100 return, children half price)

 

Ferry departure from
Kuala Terengganu
departure
from Redang
Public Ferry 9am, 10.30am, 3pm 7am, 11am, 1pm
Coral Redang 9am 11am
Redang Holiday 9am 7am, 11am
Redang Reef 9am 11am
Redang Bay 9am 11am
Redang Lagoon 9am 11am

The journey from Shahbandar Jetty to Pulau Redang takes about 1.5h to 2h.


Shahbandar Jetty, Kuala Terengganu
view towards the Shahbandar Jetty (to the right of the floating restaurant) at Terengganu River from Bukit Puteri / Bazaar Warisan

 

poster
photo: John Udovic

The above poster (photo taken in Melaka) warns of bogus monks:

Don't Be Conned
Eliminate the bogus monk

1) No Selling items, including Buddha images, prayer beads & relics
2) Alms bowls are not for collecting money
3) Mahayana monks do not go for alms round
4) No alms round after 12pm for Theravada monks

Theravada monks will only receive alms and take food before noon.
A monk will only use his alms bowl to receive food and medicine.

Author:
Lynn Pan

Title: 
Sons of the Yellow Emperor: A History of the Chinese Diaspora

Published:
1990

 

Sons of the Yellow Emperor
Book Cover

back page

 

"So when the Chinese say that the native is happy to sit under a tree and wait for coconuts and durians to fall into his lap, they are stating a fact in a way: the native was the one with the land, the one with the self-sufficiency and economic security to live a life of tropical idyll in preference to the rough and tumble of the market place"
Page 243 - Lynn Pan about why the Chinese gained relatively quick but hard-earned economic success throught hard work) compared to the local population in Southeast Asia

 

The book is very interesting and well written talking about the hardship and also the impressive economic success of the oversea Chinese.
I picked some of the facts and desciptions in the book that talk about Malaya (what later become Malaysia) and added some extras information to give a short introduction about the Chinese in this part of the world:

 

Early Migration
Despite the uniform appearance of the Chinese overseas communities to the outsiders, they were insensely varied within, divided among languages groups and clans and home towns / provinces.
There are 5 main language groups are: Hokkien, Teochiu, Cantonese, Hakka and Hainanese.

The discovery of tin in the west coast of Malaya in the second half of the 19th century brought in a wave of Chinese immigration where they worked as coolies in the mines fired by dreams of striking it rich. The influx of Chinese was bound to be disruptive to the native Malay population. There was suddenly far more wealth around than there ever used to be, and the Malay chiefs who drew tributes and royalties from the Chinese soon came to blows over the richest fields. This was further complicated by enmities within the Chinese community, with the Hakkas ranged against the Cantonese, and the Hai San secret society against the  Ghee Hin fraternity.  Eventually the British (who were the colonial rulers at the time) had to intervene reached an agreement with the Malays 'supplied by the silent presence of the third, the Chinese miners and merchants', which would shift th ethnic and social balance of the peninsula. (page 147)

In the 18th and 19th century the term "kongsi" was used for  large social and political gourpings in the mining communities of Borneo. In the Straits Settlements (Penang, Melaka, Singapore) "kongsi" refered to clan or dialect association. The dialect communities were further subdived in clan associations based on a common surname with their own clan houses and temples. An example is the Khoo Kongsi in Georgeown, Penang, visited by most travellers visiting the town. The kongsi was built in the architectural style of the Fukkien province - the home province of the Hokkien settlers. The Khoo were one of five big clans (namely Khoo, Yeoh, Cheah, Tan, Lim) of Penang's Hookien community.
The clan assocations were a home from home  the uprooted immigrant, it acted as a welfare agency and organizer of rituals of ancester worship and so on.

The communities with their secret societies were strictly divided for the most part.
The British recognised the secret societies as a useful tool for social control. In the early days of British rule the Chinese largely governed themselves. The community leaders, called "Kapitan Cina" run the Chinese community affairs and answered to the British rulers.  Fights for economic territories were not uncommon in the late 19th century. In 1890 Chinese secret societies were eventually outlawed in the Straits Settlements by the British colonial government.

What marked the overseas Chinese, was their capacity for hard work and physical power of eindurance. Isaballa  Bird wrote in 1898 of her travels in Malaya: "I have written a great deal about the Chinese and very little about the Malays, the nominal possessors of the country, but the Chinese must be said to be everywhere, and the Malays nowhere."
With the network of Chinese connections, which joined markets through clan or family, the Chinese also dominated commerce all across South-East Asia. Historian Victor Purcell put it: "All the natives sold to Europeans they sold through Chinese, and all that the natives bought from Europeans they bought through Chinese."

The Chinese migrating to South-East Asia were almost entirely male. Hence, marriages with local women were not uncommon. People of mixed blood formed a community of their own, in the Philippines the half-indio (indigene) and half-Chinese Mestizos; in the Dutch East Indies the half-Javan and half-Hokkien Peranakan, in Malaya (especially Malacca) the half-Malay and half-Hokkien Babas - often refered to as the Straits Chinese.

20th century

 

In 1931 Chinese immigrants held the highest proportion  of the local population in Malaya with 40%, surpassing Indian (22%, the other big immigrant community) and even Malays (35%).

It is estimated that 190,000 Cantonese women  migrated to Malaya in the five years between 1933 and 1938. Among the reasons were the threat of war in Canton and the Japanese occupation. Many of them went on to work as "house amahs" for wealthy Chinese ladies or European mastern,  jobs previously hold, due to the few numbers of Chinese women before the late 1920s, by Hainanese men. (page 197)

Under the Japanese occupation (1941 - 1945), the Chinese were most harshly treated by the Japanese due to their contribution to the war effort in the Chinese homeland. (page 207)
But it was also the Chinese who most fiercely resisted Japanese rule. During the occupation, many single Chinese women were  quickly married off to Chinese men in their community. This marriages of convinience protected them from the Japanese underthe  shelter of marriage. The struggle against the Japanese army was largely a Chinese struggle, carried out by the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army, an almost entirely Chinese body with the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) in the center. The MCP found its most enthusiastic followers among the Hainanese, one of the lesser dialect groups earning their living as rubber tappers, domestic servants, cobblers etc.  (page 208)

After the end of the Japanese occupations and the return of the British, the Communist guerilla continue their fight, this time against the white colonial masters which become known as the Malayan Emergency from 1948 - 1960. The British eventually managed to fend off the uprising by cutting of the supply lines between the Chinese communities and the guerillas in the jungle. However, the  very last fewer fighters continued their struggle in the jungles of Malaysia until the late 1980s. One of the measures by British was the relocation of half a million mostly Chinese rural Malayans from squatter communities on the fringes of the forest into guarded camps called New Villages.   In 2009, it was estimated that 1.2 million people were still living in the 450 New Villages throughout Peninsular Malaysia (85% Chinese, 10% Malays, 5% Indians).
wikipedia.org/wiki/Malayan_Emergency

After Indepence of Malaysia
When Malaysia gained indepedence in 1957, the racial composition of the main groups was Malays making up just over half half of the population, Chinese the third, and the Indians a tenth. With the Malays holding political power and the Chinese owning most of the economy, it was a recipe for racial trouble. This tension was released in the riots of 13 May 1969, when opposition parties dominated by Chinese did better than expected in the election. In a victory parade fights broke out between Chinese and Malays with almost 200 people dead.
The polictians answer to this was the NEP (New Economy policy) which intended to close to income gap between between Bumiputras ("sons of soil" - Malays and indigenious groups of Borneo) by giving them privileged access to education, jobs, government subsidies and company shares. This policy hasn't changed much until today.

Until other nations of Southeast Asia were the Chinese blent in or rather were forced to blend to with local culture and language, the Chinese (as well the Indians)  in Malaysia upheld their language and culture by sending their kids to Chinese schools where a variaty of classes are taught in Mandarin. Mandarin serves as the common language among the Malaysian Chinese when at home they speak in their dialects (Hokkien,  Cantonese, Hakka, Hainanese, Teochiu).  The majority of classes nowadays are taught in Malay, the national language, and it is not uncommon that even non-Chinese send their kids to Chinese schools as they have a good reputation.

Rani Manicka is an Malaysian author with an Tamil family background. "The Rice Mother", infused with her own family history, is her first novel and won the Commonwealth Writer' Prize in 2003.
The family story spans across a time frame of 80 years and tells the mostly tragic stories of 4 generations. Each story told from the personal point of view of the family member as the grand-daughter Dimple records everyone's story with a tape recorder. Below find a selection of quotes from the book. The quotes don't tell the actual story of the book but cover different aspects of cultural life in Malaysia, so no spoilers ahead.

Selected snippets from the book:

Lakshmi's (coming from a small village in Ceylon) arrival in Malaya by boat in 1930:

To my incredulous eyes Penang Harbour looked like the most exciting place on earth. More people than I had ever seen in my life swarmed and scurried about like a colony of ants in the sand dunes. ... Here were olive-skinned Arab merchants in long flowing robes and head dresses of white and black. ... They had come to trade in spices, ivory and gold. ... Then there were the Chinesemen. Slit-eyed, flat-nosed and determined. Not a moment to spare in iddleness. Shirtless and sunburned to a deep bronze, ... they unloaded from barges and trawlers. ... Locals the colour of ripening coconuts hung about with a mildly subservant demeanour. There was something instinctively noble in their faces and yet the were not masters of their own land. ... First to embark were the Europeans. ... Tall, haughty and elaborate of dress as they strode forward with sunlight in their hair like gods. As if the world owed them an oyster.


the hustle and bustle of Penang:

Warehouses with curved Oriental roofs and bold Chinese letters at the entrances dozed in the burning sun. Rows of narrow shop-houses stood on either side of the street, congested with a marvellous arroy of wares. Fresh produce in baskets spilled out onto the pavement and on specially built wooden steps sat large bottles of dried goods. Tailors, shoemakers, bakers, goldsmiths and the grocery store were all in one long row of colour, noise and smell. Inside coffee shops stringy old men with leather faces and baggy shorts lounged, cigarettes dangling from their stained fingers.


about the Chinese feet binding custom:

"It is the custom in China to bind a girl's feet. The Chinese consider bound feet beautiful and desirable. Only the poor peasants who have a neeed for an extra pair of hands in the rice fields have daughters with unbound feet. As early as the age of two or three the best families bind the feet of their young girls so tighlty that the growing bones mangle into a painful arch. And throughout the rest of their lives they pay the price of indescribable pain for this hint of femininity. Ounce bound their feet can never be unbound again or they grow into deformed shapes..."


about Durians:

One day he brought home some strange fruit called durian. I had never before seen a fruit covered in such menacing-looking long thorns. A durian falling off a tree onto a man's head can kill him, he told me. ... I fell in love with the creamy taste of the golden flesh instantly. I even loved its astonishingly unique smell that I am told prompted an English novelist to describe it as eating a sweet raspberry blancmange in a lavatory.


about Malay confinement:

Inconceivable but she was the mother of four children. It was only much later, after the end of her fifth pregnancy, that I learned about the nightmare of a traditional Malay confinement. Fourty-two days of bitter herbs, a smoking, hot stove under the bed to dry out excess fluid and tighten vaginal muscles, a tenaciously bound stomach and merciless, daily massages from freakishly strong, wrinkled old women. But hardship has its rewards. Minah was living testament.


about Chinese Cemeteries:

"The cemetery is the best place to catch them [snakes]". Many snakes came to the cemetery for the fowl and small piglets that Chinese people left on the graves as offerings to appease their ancestors. Because it was an ill omen to eat food offered to the dead, not even the drunks or the very poor came to steal the rich bangquet available...
I have thought since then that a Malay or a Christian graveyard can be a peaceful place at night but a Chinese graeyeard is an altogether different matter. For from being a place of rest, it is a place where spirits still hungry with earthly desires wait for their relatives to come by an burn them paper houses complete with funrniture, servants and big cars with number plates parked outside. Sometimes they even burn paper images of a favourite wife or a bejewelled richly robed concubine holding stakes of fake spending money.

the arrival of the Japanes Army:

It was 13 Decemver 1941 ... when my uncle came running to our room in a blind panic, his hair tousled and his eyes wild. In a shocked voice he told that the Japanese had invaded Malaya. While we had feasted and celebrated they had landed in Penang. Apparrently  the big burly British soldiers we had imagined invincible had fled, leaving us to an uncertain fate. Spittle blasted out of my uncle's mouth as he decribed the crowds that gathered in a market place in Penang just like a flock of dumb animals. How they had stared up into the skies at the metallic birds and watched with innocent aw as the shining beasts exploded bombs on their upturned faces. All the while unsuspecting, believing the planes to be the mighty British come to save them. And their poor, crazed faces as they picked up severed, smashed limbs from the rubble around them.
War. What would that mean to my family? In my uncle's terrified, sweat-slicked face I saw all the horrible answers to my questions.
They will be here soon. We have to start hiding the rice, the precious things..."

about the terror of the Japanese occupation:

Lakshmnan and I saw our first decaptiatated head on our way to the market. The head was spiked on a stick by the roadside, attached to it a page torn from the scool excerise book with the message Traitor. It was funny while we thought it wasn't real. When we got closer we realised that it was indeed real. The flies were real. So was the persistent sweetish, stale odour aorund it. ... Instantly I feared for my father's life even through my brother assured me that they only beheaded Chinesemen whom they suspect to be communist.

praying to Kuan Yin, the goddes of mercy, at a Chinese temple:

I took my children to a Chinese Temple on Kuan Yin's birthday. There, among life-size paper horses, a huge statue of the Goddess of Mercy in her customary flowing robes, and shining bronze urns fulls of thick red Chinese joss sticks, we burned thin grey incense sticks, reams of coloured paper and little flags meant to symbolise wealth and prosperity. It seemed like yesterday that my children had stood in a curious, hushed line of shining black heads, their chubby hands clutching small flags scribbled with Chinese characters that spelled their names. One by one I waatched them selemnly burn their flag in a corrugated zinc container. Above them fat red lanterns swayed and nodded in the early morning breeze. Afterwards we reach releases a caged bird that a temple attentdant in white painted with small red dot on its tiny body so on one would dar to catch or eat it.

Salang

Northern-most beach at Kampung Salang. Tioman's most popular beach, especially for divers since its closest beach to many reef sites and wrecks around Tioman like Chebeh, Batu Malang and Fan Canyon and Coral Island (Pulau Tulai). There is a 3.5km jungle trail at the southern end of the beach leading  to picturesque Monkey Bay and Monkey Beach and eventually Panuba Bay and Ayer Batang (ABC Village) after a trek of about 2 hours.


Salang Beach
view from the jetty. On the hillside the right: Salang Sayang Resort and if you turn around looking seaside you the small island Pulau Soyka which protects the beach from larger waves.



Monkey Bay

Monkey Beach is a popular snorkel stop. There is no accommodation at the beach. Other than by boat, it can be reached through a jungle trek from the north from Salang (steep 1h trail) and from closeby Monkey Beach in the south.

 

Monkey Beach

Uninhabited Beach just south of Monkey Bay. Spot for diving classes in shallow water.

Panuba

Small and quiet beach north of Ayer Batang with only one resort: Panuba Inn. Good snorkeling, be aware of sandflies.


from the pier

Ayer Batang (aka ABC Bay)

Long Beach (1.5km long) at Ayer Batang village (also known as ABC village) located between Panuba Bay (to the north) and Tekek (to the south). High concentration of backpacker, budget but also a pricier accommodation. The beach has a rocky seashore.


view from the trail along Ayer Batang


view of ABC Beach from the boat (with Panuba on the left)

 

Tekek

Tekek is the main village / town of Pulau Tioman. All major infrastructure is located here such as banks, duty-free shops, airport, roads, the marina and the main jetty. Hence, Tekek has all the conviniences but lacks the rural character of the other villages and beaches of the island.


the beach south of the marina

 

Lalang Beach

Just south of Tekek, this beach is home to the massive Berjaya Beach, Golf and Spa Resort. There is free shuttle service available from Tekek to Lalang provided by the resort.


Lalang Beach with Berjaya Beach, Golf and Spa Resort

 

Paya

Beach at Kampung Paya, south of Lalang beach and north of Genting. Home of two big resorts: Paya Beach Resort and Tioman Paya Resort, popular with Singaporean visitors.

 

Genting

Beach at Kampung Genting, a larger village with a mosque. Genting has a variety of budget accommodation and is popular with local tourists. Located between Paya and Nipah.


view from the jetty


beach view

Japamala

This isolated beach is exclusive the to the luxury ecoutourism JapaMala Resort. Located between Genting and Nipah.

Japmala Beach
bird eye's view of JapaMala Resort
photo: der.dodger

 

 

Nipah

Isolated Bay to get away from it all in the south of Tioman 2.5km south of Genting and 6km north of Mukut. The ferry doesn't stop here so you need to take the water taxi from Genting.

Nipah Beach
photo: shahab2000tbt
 

 

Mukut

There are some beaches around the village of Kampung Mukut but there are only very few budget accommodation here. This is rather a starting point for nature lovers to discover the rainforest, the Twin Peaks mountain or the Asah Waterfall. There are a few luxury accommodation north of Mukut (Minang Cove, Bagus Place and Tunamaya). Kampung Mukut is located rather isolated at the southern tip of Tioman and can be reached by water taxi.

Kampung Mukut and Twin Peak
Kampung Mukut and the majestic horns of Gunung Nenek Semukut or Twin Peaks
photo: Azhar Majid

 

 

Asah

Small beach next to Mukut in the south of Tioman. There is no accommodation here but it has a boat jetty is a starting point trekking tours to the Asah Waterfalls

Asah
view Asah Beach and the Twin Peaks in the distance
photo: zonemes

 

 

D'Coconut Resort

This resort has two separate wings located on their own almost private beaches. It takes about 5 - 7min to walk between the two wings. The West Wing is slightly newer and pricier than the East Wing. The jetty and snorkel tour boats arrive and depart at the East Wings. Both wings have a restaurant and a pool.

 

D'Coconut Resort - East Wing

D'Coconut East Wing
the east wings with its own beach, the boats depart and arrive here


D'Coconut East Wing
the pool at the east wing

 

D'Coconut Resort - West Wing

seaview, dcoconut resort, west wing
sea view from deluxe rooms at the west wing, below are the Cabana huts, the most expensive option at D'Coconut



the infinity pool at the west wing
 

Sari Pacifica Resort & Spa Lang Tengah Island

Sari Pacifica Resort shares a beach with Summer Bay Resort and comprises of bungalows and a pool and a lush and peaceful resort layout. The jetty in front of the resort is a great spot to watch the small black-tip reef sharks. At the time of visit Sari Pacifa seemed to be popular with western travellers.

beach view, Sari Pacifica Resort
beach in front of Sari Pacifica


pool, Sari Pacifica Resort
the pool and some of the bungalows in the background

 

Summer Bay Lang Tengah Island Resort

Summer Bay is the last resort of the island (looking south to north). All rooms are in hotel-style buildings. The main building also a restaurant and bar and entertainment (karaoke, live music). This seems to make it popular with tourists from mainland China.

beach, Summer Bay Lang Tengah Island Resort
beach in front of Summer Bay Resort


pool, Summer Bay Lang Tengah Island Resort
the pool and the pool-facing rooms
 

Taman Tugu

http://tamantugu.com.my/en/
A rainforest park in the middle of the city

The 650-million-ringgit project was announced in 2016 and it supposed to be developed in the area around the National Monument, just opposite the Lake Gardens. The whole project is supposed to be completed by 2019 including pedestrian walkways connecting the park to KL Sentral via the National Museum.

beach at Summer Bay
beach in front of Summery Bay Resort (at the back) and Sari Pacifica Resort
photo taken from the rocks near the Blue Coral snorkel and dive spot, looking north

beach
beach between Blue Coral and the West Wing of D'Coconut Resort
there is an abandon resort here at the time of visit (2016) and the only non-resort restorant (Warung Dewati)

West Wing, DCoconut Resort
beach in front of West Wing, D'Coconut Resort
beautiful beach but with lots of dead corals

 

East Wing, DCoconut
beach in front of East Wing, D'Coconut Resort
small fine sand beach with a beach volleyball court, snorkel trips from D'Coconut Resort depart and arrive from here

 


Turtle Bay
Turtle Bay
Beach between the East Wing of D'Coconut Resort and the Batu Kucing look point, Turtle Bay is home to the Lang Tengah Turtle Watch Project, a camp at the beach safeguarding the nesting population of the turtles

This one-of-a-kind musical in the scenic and green setting of the Sarawak Cultural Village presents native musisicians from Borneo as well as world musician. Besides concerts in the evening it also features music workshops, lectures, jamming sessisons and more during the day. The Rainforest World Music Festival attracts over 20,000 visitors.

What?
Traditional music and World Fusion

Where?
The festival takes place in Sarawak Cultural Village, about 45min drive outside of Kuching, the capital of Sarawak (East Malaysia / Borneo).

When?
The festival takes places every year in July since 1997.
The next Rainforest Music Festival: Jul 14 - Jul 16, 2017

Ticket
Tickets cost around RM380 for a three-day pass nd RM150 for a one-day pass.

Links
official website
photos of the festival

 

map
the festival takes places within the tropical compound of the Sarawak Cultural Village

 


30min documentary about the festival by Limkokwing University (2015)


 

distance: 343km
total travel time: 7 - 9 hours (including stop in Kuala Tembeling)

With both destinations out of the way of inter-city travel in the middle of the Malaysian rainforest, there are no scheduled long-distance bus connection available. However, several travel companies offer mini bus services between Taman Negara and Cameron Highlands. Part of the journey between Kuala Tembeling and Taman Negara Headquarters in Kuala Tahan will be on the river via speed boat (but can also be changed to Minibus on request).

Click the links belows to book bus tickets online:
Taman Negara - Cameron Highlands
Cameron Highlands - Taman Negara

If you book a Taman Negara package tour (by default from and to Kuala Lumpur), you can change your arrival / departure destination to Cameron Highlands for an extra charge of RM35.
more information on a Taman Negara tour here

Cameron Highlands - Taman Negara

price: RM95 (for direct online booking without a package)
Tickets are also available at the Guesthouses in Tanah Rata
departure: 8am (Tanah Rata)
arrival: 5pm (Kuala Tahan)
from Cameron Highlands to Kuala Tembeling with mini bus, arrival in Kuala Tembeling around 12pm
from Kuala Tembeling to Taman Negara HQ in Kuala Tahan with longtail boat (2pm - 5pm)

 

Taman Negara - Cameron Highlands

price: RM95 (for direct online booking without a package)
Tickets are also available at the tourist information shops and guesthouses in Kuala Tahan
departure: 9am (by boat) or 10am by minibus  in Kuala Tahan
arrival: 4pm (Tanah Rata)
The mini bus will leave Kuala Tembeling at 12pm and arrive in Tanah Ratah around 4pm

Transport Connections (online booking)
Company / Departure Times (click departure point to book / check times and prices) Taman Negara Cameron Highlands   Prices (online booking)
Han Travel
from Taman Negara:
9.50am
from Cameron Highlands:
8am
Han Rainforest Resort Jalan Persiaran Camellia 4, Tanah Rata Mini Bus and Boat RM90
RM95

Book your bus ticket online now

BusOnlineTicket Thanks to our partner BusOnlineTicket.com it is now possible to buy bus tickets online up to 2 hours prior of departure including the selection of your seat! BusOnlineTicket.com sells tickets for more than 20 bus companies.

 

The Perhentian Islands are two small Islands (Pulau Perhentian Kecil and Pulau Perhentian Besar) off the of the state of Teregganu. The islands can be reached by boat from the jetty in Kuala Besut, which is about 45min south of city of Kota Bahru (the capital of the state of Kelantan). Taman Negara is a National Park in the middle of the rainforest of the state of Pahang. The fastest way to get from Taman Negara to Perhentian is by direct mini bus to Kuala Besut jetty. Another option would be by taking the "jungle train" from Jerantut (closest station to Taman Negara) to Wakaf Bahru (closest station to Kota Bahru) and from there the taxi to Kuala Besut.

distance: 415km (Route 8 via Kuala Lipis and Gua Musang) / 507km (via E8 highway towards Kuantan then up the eastcoast)
total travel time: 6 hours with minibus

Click the links belows to book bus tickets online:
Taman Negara - Jetty Kuala Besut
Jetty Kuala Besut - Taman Negara

Transport Connections (online booking)
Company / Departure Times (click departure point to book / check times and prices) Taman Negara Perhentian Islands   Prices (online booking)
Han Travel
from Taman Negara:
7.50am
Han Rainforest Resort (Taman Negara) Jetty Kuala Besut Bus RM50

If you book a Taman Negara package tour (by default from and to Kuala Lumpur), you can change your arrival / departure destination to Kuala Besut for an extra charge of RM35.
more information on a Taman Negara tour here

 

Train

Jerantut - Wakaf Bharu or Tanah Merah station
Jerantut (jetty for longtail boat ride to Taman Negara)
Wakaf Bahru is near Kotha Baru (for stopover in KB or 1h30min / 60km taxi ride to Kuala Besut - jetty to Perhentian Islands), price from RM17 - RM37 (depending on class / sleeper coach)
Tanah Merah (2 stops before Wakaf Bahru, 1h10min / 60km taxi ride to Kuala Besut - jetty to Perhentian Islands), price from RM16 - RM36 (depending on class / sleeper coach)

from Jerantut:
train times: 4:08 am (coming from KL / Gemas), Tanah Merah (11:49 am), Wakaf Bharu (12:32 pm)
book train ticket online:
Jerantut - Tanah Merah
Jerantut - Wakaf Bharu


from Wakaf Bharu / Tana Merah:
train times: Wakaf Bahru (19:46 pm), Tanah Merah (20:29 pm), Jerantut (3:50 am)
book train ticket online:
Wakaf Bharu - Jerantut
Tanah Merah - Jerantut
 

more train information on trains in Malaysia: www.seat61.com

 

Boats to Perhentian Islands

4 to 5 times daily 9am - 5pm depending on demand
price: RM35 (one-way)


 

Book your bus ticket online now

BusOnlineTicket Thanks to our partner BusOnlineTicket.com it is now possible to buy bus tickets online up to 2 hours prior of departure including the selection of your seat! BusOnlineTicket.com sells tickets for more than 20 bus companies.

 

distance: 321km
total travel time: 4 hours by bus

Click the links belows to book bus tickets online:
Kuala Lumpur - Johor Bahru
Johor Bahru - Kuala Lumpur

Transport Connections (online booking)
Company / Departure Times (click departure point to book / check times and prices) Kuala Lumpur Johor Bahru   Prices (online booking)
Causeway Link
from Kuala Lumpur: 8.30am - 1pm (every hour)
from Johor Bahru: 7am - 9pm (every hour)
TBS Larkin Bus Terminal Bus RM 34.10
City Holidays Express
from Kuala Lumpur: 7.30am - 9pm (every hour), 11pm
from Johor Bahru: 12am, 12.30am, 6.30am - 9.30am (every hour), 11pm
TBS Larkin Bus Terminal Bus RM 34.30
Five Stars
from Kuala Lumpur: 8.15am, 9am, 2pm (TBS), 8.45am (Times Square), 1.30pm (1 Utama)
TBS,
1 Utama Shopping Centre,
Times Square
Larkin Bus Terminal Bus RM 41.50 - 51.50
Inter Top Express KL
from Kuala Lumpur: 6pm
TBS Larkin Bus Terminal Bus RM 34

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BusOnlineTicket Thanks to our partner BusOnlineTicket.com it is now possible to buy bus tickets online up to 2 hours prior of departure including the selection of your seat! BusOnlineTicket.com sells tickets for more than 20 bus companies.

 

travel time:  2 hours by ferry

Click the links belows to book ferry tickets online:
Penang - Langkawi
Langkawi - Penang

Transport Connections (online booking)
Company / Departure Times (click departure point to book / check times and prices) Penang Langkawi   Prices (online booking)
Hoye Holidays (PG-LKW Ferry)
from Penang: 8.30am, 2pm
from Langkawi: 10.30am, 2.30pm
Penang Ferry Terminal Jetty Langkawi Boat RM 80
Super Fast Ferry
from Penang: 8.30am, 2pm
from Langkawi: 10.30am, 3pm
Penang Ferry Terminal Jetty Langkawi Boat RM 72

 

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BusOnlineTicket Thanks to our partner BusOnlineTicket.com it is now possible to buy bus tickets online up to 2 hours prior of departure including the selection of your seat! BusOnlineTicket.com sells tickets for more than 20 bus companies.

 

Ticket Price: RM35 (one way)
The accommodations on Tioman Island are categorized into 5 villages where the ferry will stop to drop off passengers.

Ferry to/from Mersing

  • most used gateway to Tioman because of nearby Mersing Bus Terminal
  • effected by tides, hence unregular schedule
  • be there at least one hour before departure
  • until 3pm or 4.30pm depending on tides
  • first ferry from Kg. Salang around 6.30am / 7.30am depending on weather,
  • picks up passenger in Air Batang, Kg. Tekek, Kg. Genting, Kg. Genting
  • more information: www.govisittioman.com/mersing-to-tioman-island-ferry-schedule

The ticketing and boarding process by Blue Water (who has the monopoly for going to and from the island) is infamously convoluted. The process includes 4 steps:

  • 1) Getting the actual paper ticket
  • 2) Register for the ferry using your passport / ID
  • 3) Receiving the boarding pass
  • 4) Purchase Marine Park Entrance and Conservation Fee

Mersing - Tioman Ferry Schedule
Mersing - Tioman Ferry Schedule
find current schedule and more details on the Scuba Guru's Website: www.tioman-scuba.com/next-months-ferry-schedule-for-mersing-to-tioman/

Ferry from / to  Tanjun Gemok

  • half an hour north of Mersing, Buses coming from Kuantan to Mersing pass by (tell bus driver to stop and let you out)
  • schedule more regular since not effected tides
  • ticketing process better organized than in Mersing
  • boat operator also Blue Water! (same as Mersing)
  • travel time: 1.5 hour - 2 hours (depending on drop-off village)
  • more information: www.govisittioman.com/travel-to-tioman-island-via-tanjung-gemok-jetty/

Tanjong Gemok Tioman Ferry
Tanjung Gemok - Tioman Ferry Schedule
find current schedule and more details on the Scuba Guru's Website: www.tioman-scuba.com/next-months-ferry-schedule-tanjung-gemok-to-tioman/

Book your bus ticket online now

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  • Mainland departure point is Kuala Besut
  • Boat ticket fare is RM35 (one-way) or RM70 (return ticket / round trip) per person
  • Transport is in small open-air speed boat (be prepared for a fun and bumpy ride)
  • Departure Times from Kuala Besut: 9am to 4.30am
  • Depaurt Times from Perhentian Islands: 8am, 12pm, 4pm
  • Travel Duration: 30 - 45 minutes depending on sea conditions (1h30min slow boat)

 

Book boat tickets online:

Kuala Besut - Perhentian Islands

Book your bus ticket online now

BusOnlineTicket Thanks to our partner BusOnlineTicket.com it is now possible to buy bus tickets online up to 2 hours prior of departure including the selection of your seat! BusOnlineTicket.com sells tickets for more than 20 bus companies.

 

The Perhentian Islands are two small Islands (Pulau Perhentian Kecil and Pulau Perhentian Besar) off the of the state of Teregganu. The islands can be reached by boat from the jetty in Kuala Besut, which is about 45min south of city of Kota Bahru (the capital of the state of Kelantan).

Click here for more information about the boat service from Kuala Besut.

From Kuala Lumpur you can either take buses directly to Kuala Besut or to Jerteh which is small town 15km away Kuala Besut.

distance: 540km
total travel time: about 8 hours

Transport Connections (online booking)
Company / Departure Times (click departure point to book / check times and prices) Kuala Lumpur Kuala Besut / Jerteh   Prices (online booking)
Perdana Express
from Kuala Lumpur: 9.45am, 10am, 2.30pm, 9.30pm, 10pm
from Kuala Besut:9.30am, 1.30pm, 8.30pm, 9pm
TBS Kuala Besut Bus RM 44
         
Perdana Express
from Kuala Lumpur: 9.45am, 10am, 2.30pm, 9.30pm, 10pm
from Jerteh: 9.30am, 2pm, 9.30pm, 10.15pm
TBS Jerteh Bus RM 44

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BusOnlineTicket Thanks to our partner BusOnlineTicket.com it is now possible to buy bus tickets online up to 2 hours prior of departure including the selection of your seat! BusOnlineTicket.com sells tickets for more than 20 bus companies.

 

distance: 260km
total travel time: about 7 hours (3h boat ride between Kuala Tembeling and Kuala Tahan)

  • the leg from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Tembeling is by mini bus
  • from Kuala Tembeling to the Taman Negara Negara headquarter in Kuala Tahan by longtail boat
  • lunch at Kuala Tembeling jetty
  • from Taman Negara is also possible to travel onward to Perhentian Islands or Cameron Highlands instead of going back to KL (click on the locations for more information)
Transport Connections (online booking)
Company / Departure Times (click departure point to book / check times and prices) Taman Negara Kuala Lumpur   Prices (online booking)
Han Travel
from Kuala Lumpur: 8.30am
from Kuala Tahan: 9.50am
  Kuala Tahan (Han Rain Forest Resort) Boat / Bus RM 79.50
         
NKS
from Kuala Lumpur: 8.30am
from Kuala Tahan: 9am
  Kuala Tahan (Wan Cafe) Boat / Bus RM 90