Krabi and Malaysia- this may be a big one!

Trip Start Apr 18, 2005
Trip End Aug 06, 2005

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It's been a little while since I've written on here, so I'm sorry if this turns into a bit of an essay, I'll try to keep it short!

Krabi was cool- really quiet. We stayed at a beach called Ao Nang, it's off season there at the moment and I think it's been hit by the post tsunami tourist drout fairly badly.
Rich and I went out for a few drinks the first night we were there, I managed to find a place that did lovely white russians and overindulged a little bit. At about midnight I decided to buy an umbrella from the roof of the bar we were in (they weren't for sale I just liked them!) seemed like a great idea at the time- bit off a faff carrying it around in my already stuffed backpack now though!
The day after, with pretty rough hangovers, I'm ashamed to say we had a real 'Brits abroad' day. We stumbled, bleery eyed into the Irish bar next door and proceeded to divulge copius amounts of 'English Breakfast' tea, apple and blueberry pies and watch the Lions get stuffed by New Zealand. Just what our sore heads needed!
We got a long tail boat to Railley beach the next day- pretty, small beach not far from Ao Nang but fairly busy. It's turned into a bit of resort style family holiday place, which is fine, but I'd rather go back to Bottle Beach on Phan Ngan for real seclusion.
So after a few days chilling out around Ao Nang we hopped on a bus for 19 hours which took us down to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. We were lucky enough to swap onto a really posh bus at the Malaysian border, big squashy, reclining seats, so most people got a good nights sleep ( not me though unfortunately!).

We arrived in KL at about 4am, all very tired and smelly. Wandered around and had a look at a few rough guest houses before getting a taxi to a nicer one. We later found out that the guest house was literally just around the corner- completely ripped off by a taxi driver- again!! Little choice though in the early hours of a city you've never been to before. Although smelly and a little tired we all had grumbly tummies ( we met up with another English couple who we've been travelling with ever since) and so we camped outside McDonalds until 7am for an Egg Mcmuffin- very naughty but sometimes it has to be done.

Kuala Lumpur was so different from what I'd been expecting. A lot of people we've met and friends at home had said it was a dirty, smelly, unfriendly city and not really worth stopping in. It is a bit dirty and there the obligatory city rats, but we had a brilliant few days there. Chinatown was brilliant, so colourful and vibrant, amazing food stalls and fun markets. We went out for a few drinks one night and managed to get vegetable roti and dahl (sp)( roti's are gorgeous especially with coconut or peanuts mmm) at midnight to satisfy the munchies- so so good! We went back for the more the next night but unfortunately the lady had an early night.
We did a tour of Kuala Lumpur with "Roger" (he liked the film 'The Saint' with Roger More so adopted his name!). We saw loads of sights- the World Trade Towers, Sultan's Palace, a big waterfall, some caves with some angry monkies, the national Mosque and a big Chinese Temple.

After Kuala Lumpur we headed north to a place called the Cameron Highlands. Lots of tea plantations making for really unusual landscapes aswell as some beautiful rose gardens and strawberry farms. We stayed at a really homely place called the Cameroonian Inn where they served gorgeous tea and scones, soo good!

It was quite a bit cooler in the Highlands so we decided to go in hunt of some sun and made our way to the Perhintian Islands off the north east coast of Malaysia. We had an amazing 7 days there. We stayed on the small island called 'Kecil' on Long Beach. This was the busiest strip but still really basic. We stayed in a little bugalow not far from the beach at a resort called Matahari- they have the cutest kittens there- named 'Blackie' and 'splodge nose'. Splodge Nose spent every evening curled up on my lap- wish I could have taken him home!
Rich and I spent a day creating our own batik from scratch. We had a massive piece of canvass on which we had to draw our own designs, then outline in wax and then finally paint. It took all day and then they had to be boiled overnight to melt the wax. It was such a fun day and we're both pretty proud of our efforts!I had a guy called 'man' helping me with mine. Anytime I made a mistake or did something slightly wrong he would tut at me and say ' arrr nooorrr bad teachurr' and then proceed to laugh at me! Funny guy but, very nice.
I then decided to confront many of my fears ( scared of deep water and the trigger fish incident!) and signed up to a four day Open Water diving course.It was the most amazing experience- the underwater world is so different from anything I've seen before. We were really lucky and managed to see giant turtles, angel fish, bumphead parrot fish (massive ugly buggers) and loads of stunning coral. I even came face to face with a titan trigger fish! After it's back was turned I gave it the V sign- after my last encounter with one I felt an even balance had been restored!

We left the Perhintians, very sad day (on a boat designed for 12 carrying about 24 people!) and made our way down to where we are now- Melaka. Melaka is a relatively large town on the South Western coast. We're staying in a lovely hostel where the landlady, Marsha and her sister Bridget are absolutely lovely. We arrived at about 7am yesterday and Marsha made us all tea and toast! We tried some home made egg jam too- actually quite nice. She gave each of us friendship bracelets today too.
We spent yesterday doing a bit of shopping and visited a brilliant food hall not far from the hostel. I had an amazing spring roll and gorgeous fresh mango- less than 50p for both- crazy.
Today we visited some of the cultural sights, I hadn't realised Malaysia was a British Colony until 1957. We visited a 16th century church, (used by the british to store gunpowder), an art gallery (Charles Chum- really great paintings, contemporary stuff, quite riske over here, he has a website if anyone's interested), the Museum of Independence and the China town district. It's quite different here from other places we've visted in SE Asia as it seems people genuinely are happy to talk to you even if you don't buy annything. In Vietnam and, to a certain extent, Thailand you really felt like sh*t if you entered into conversation with someone with something to sell but then chose not to buy. Here people are just really, really friendly and smiley.

We're heading down to Singapore tomorrow where we'll be for a couple of days before heading home. I can't believe it's all coming to an end. It's been an amzing 4 (ish) months, we've been incredibly lucky with the amount we've been able to see and do, I just wish we had longer but I guess that was always going to be the case.

I'll post some pictures on here when I get back so you can see some of the places I've been waffling on about!
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