Saturday, July 16, 2011

Malaysian Peninsular June 2011

An old friend and wife came over to get a taste of Malaysia and apart from the dreadful haze this time of year (when will Indonesia stop massive air polluting burn offs) it was a fun trip.
Starting in KL, we did the obligatory Petaling Street,  Pasir Seni and KLCC we cleared off to the real Malaysia. Not before having my wallet stolen on LRT between Kampung Baru and KLCC and that after impressing on my guests the importance of keeping an eye on your wallet. These animals are sooo quick, but the Police were absolutely superb in attending my report and indeed showed me a photo of a guy who had been next to me that part of the trip when the theft took place. Full marks to Malaysian Police Force.
Up to see the last tin dredge at Chenderong, Perak. The giant has a bit of a leak and is listing, but we marvelled at the complexity of the monster. A must do visit and a very modest entry fee.


Ipoh I think gets lovelier each visit. No longer the world tin capital with the bustle and dust. Now a more sedate tranquil place, with excellent amenities and ever the spectacular limestone mountains…and great food.

Marina Island is a man made Island of over 300 acres opposite Pangkor Island south arm of the Dinding River in Perak. Its an ambitious project, but caters well for the monumental growth in Sri Manjung district. We stayed at the very new Best Western Hotel overlooking the marina and Pangkor. Now with more supermarkets and super stores than any regional area I know of, it combines the beauty of Lumut, Pangkor area with massive construction industry, shipbuilding and the like. The main town of Sitiawan remains a most civilised town..and did I mention food at both Sitiawan and nearby Kampung Koh (home of the very best “sos cili”.

Had to backtrack to Ipoh, but then continued onto the Royal town of Kuala Kangsar. Known for its beauty and top schools, it is the home of the Perak Royal family. The “Gallery Sultan Azlan Shah” (no photos please) is as good as it gets. Not to be missed.

Then Penang via Taiping and a once round the superb lake. Penang has become yet another “home” for us and we so enjoyed showing off this lovely place to our friends. The world heritage old town, Kek Lok See, fantastic food…I have covered Penang in another post and wont repeat myself here.
Been years since we drove the East-West highway and it is till a lovely trip. Lake Temenggor, Jeli, Machang and on down to Terengganu. Boy has this town (city?) grown. The mosques are staggering, but the age old art of boat building without plans still continues.

On to see friends at Cukai and that food thing again…but you have to know where to go for the best in this town. East coast never loses its laid back appeal.

Our friends put up at Swiss Garden Kuantan courtesy of another good friend. Unfortunately only 1 couple could stay, so we were directed by out Cukai connection, to an almost new “homestay” on the north side of Kuantan which was excellent. While in Kuantan we first checked out the old tin mining town of Sungai Lembing. Once the biggest of its kind in the world, the mostly hand dug tunnels are over 322km long and down to 700 meters. Sadly the tunnels are no longer safe, but the museum is excellent and the town itself is a perfect example of yesteryear. A converted house also make superb vegetarian “biskut Kuantan” crisp and crunchy and to die for.

Gua Cheras is in the same direction, but frankly is a disappointment and I will not add a photographic reminder. The Taoist Dragon Temple was next. Very contrived, but fun.

Temple of a 1000 Buddha’s was next. Not only a spectacular temple in a lovely setting, but the wonderful work done in the adjoining private hospital for the poor and needy, all funded by donation, is an eye opener.

Finally on our way back to KL, stopped at the Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary. The sanctuary is extremely well done, entry free but donations gratefully accepted. While Deerland close by is a waste of time and money, the sanctuary has managed the almost impossible task of combining wildlife conservation…elephants and their care , rehabilitation and where possible release, with an excellent tourist attraction. The staff are dedicated and it shows. This is only a day trip from KL and the “start” time of around 1pm is easy and be prepared to stay quite a few hours.

I guess you can see the highlight of the trip for me lah!

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