Trip Start Jun 08, 2012
Trip End Jun 08, 2013

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Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

After an hours flight from Koh Samui to Penang airport (in a tiny plane with about 12 other people) we arrived at our guesthouse to find it all locked up and a sign which said it was closed on Tuesdays, if we were checking in we'd have to phone the number on the sign... We don't have any phones! Luckily we only had to wait 5 minutes before the shop owner across the road run over with stools and said he'd called the guesthouse owners and they would be with us shortly (phewww!) The guesthouse was nice and cosy and the shared bathroom was actually fine. There was only 8 rooms so it was never that busy and it was always cleaned properly and stocked with toiletries each day.

Penang itself was very different to anything we were expecting and turned out to be quite an interesting place. The food was so cheap, really really cheap. Each night, including drinks Sam and I were spending no more than £4 on dinner (all in). There is something in Malaysia called 'steamboats' which is basically dim sum on sticks with colours on the sticks which indicate price, you pick what you want, heat them up in the stock/water and then at the end they just add up the sticks - its so tasty and a lot of fun! Walking around on our first night we noticed how many prostitutes (a lot of these are lady boys) were hanging around and I was quite surprised as Malaysia is a Muslim country and I didn't think they would allow it. They just stand around making funny noises at men as they walk past!

We went to Penang hill which is a viewing point situated about 823m above sea level. The view was amazing and although the weather was great we got some pretty good pictures. We also saw (really funny looking) wild monkeys swinging in the trees. We also headed to a tropical spice garden (which sounds lame) it was so interesting and ended up having a delicious lunch. We paid for a guide and it worked it so much better that way, otherwise you walk around not knowing what your looking at. When we first arrived our guide asked us to name all the spices in the basket that we recognised, of course chef Fisk named them all within about 5 seconds flat and our guide was shocked! He said there hadn't ever been another westerner know all of that. (I soon grassed him up and told him he was a chef!) whilst in Penang we decided to go to the cinema one evening to see total recall, it was really good. For a couple seat, giant bucket of popcorn and a drink it cost around £5 (all in), I think at home it 's about £8 each for just the tickets!

After 4 nights in Penang we took the train to Kuala Lumpur, the train was much better than the trains in Vietnam! It was only a short journey and before we knew it we had arrived. It was a Sunday and the city was like a ghost town (everyone had gone to their home towns for the weekends as it was Hari Rya, a Muslim celebration). Luckily a taxi drove passed and kindly put his metre on (which is a rarity in KL) we got to our hotel within about 5 minutes and it was lovely. The lobby was infested with Mosquitos, but other than that it was well worth the stay! KL is just another city, we probably spent too much time there but it is well worth a visit.

There are so many shopping centres in Kuala lumpur and they are all twice the size of Westfields. They're huge and they have every shop you could ever think of, even Marks & Sparks! The twin towers in KL are pretty amazing and in the evening they look spectacular. It cost us about £35 to go up the towers, first level is 33 to the bridge which connects the towers then up to level 86. We also went up to the sky bar in the traders hotel and it was very cool, swimming pool in the middle of the bar, amazing views and our first good (extremely expensive) glass of wine! In KL everything is more expensive which we expected because its a city but it seems everywhere in Malaysia the alcohol is so expensive. In Thailand and Vietnam they are selling beer for peanuts, here a large beer is around £6.

Just before we left for travelling I was temping at Axa and was there for about 6 months, leaving on the same day as me was a guy called Milan, who was transferring to another Axa branch located in Kula Lumpur. He gave me his email address and said if we happened to stop by in KL to contact him. I lost the bit of paper and when we arrived in KL and realised just how big the city was I knew meeting up wasn't going to happen. As we were walking around one night after dinner we decided to pop in to the super market and we bumped into Milan. I couldn't believe it! We needed up meeting the following evening for dinner and were also joined by Emmanuel, my former CEO. slightly random but it was a great evening out and really enjoyed catching up.

We are know in a place called Melacca, which is a historical town and although we only arrived yesterday there seems like there is quite a few things to see and do. On Thursday we are off to Singapore and we can't wait! We know that it is going to be really expensive but we have budgeted our money and we are only staying two nights. It's going to be 2 nights of luxury before we get to Australia and have to live like paupers haha!

Love From
Alex & Sam
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