Here there and everywhere

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 29, 2009

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Flag of Malaysia  , Pahang,
Sunday, September 20, 2009

Eventually someone agreed to take us out of Langkawi by a chartered minibus to the Cameron Hills so we could relax and enjoy out time here. The moped rental went without any drama and we had a cool time whizzing around, I say whizzing maybe chugging would be a better description. Successfully negotiating numerous obstacles like cars, other mopeds, trucks, buses, chickens, cows, monkeys and big cocks! (Male chucks) It was pretty mad experience and we were petrified something may happen to the bike or us and getting ripped off by the rental company, so much so I couldn't sleep properly worrying it might get stolen so much to Sharon's dismay I snuck it in the apartment, well I got a good nights sleep anyway!

We went all over the island, took in some secluded beaches, waterfalls and the cable car up the mountain, all very picturesque. After being thoroughly relaxed it was time to move on and hit the road. I was glad we didn't have to catch the long ferry back to Penang, this time the route was much more direct and the ferry trip was nice and clam, no sick bags required! The mini bus driver made up for this serene crossing by making it his personal mission to get us to the Cameron Highlands in a world record time, he overtook on blind bends, drove in the hard shoulder in traffic and overtook anything anywhere that wasn't up to our impressive speed! All we could do was close our eyes and trust his local knowledge of the road. 

Arriving up the mountains in one piece our first reaction was that we had made a horrible mistake, the area was hardly inspiring and was quite industrialised due to the farms, tea plantations and general gardens all using the area on a commercial scale. We needn't have worried when we got to our guesthouse, which was a ex monastery, we couldn't have found a more peaceful spot. We had seen this guesthouse advertised on the net and with the holiday season in full flow had to prebook to be sure of a place.

Its not hard to see why its so popular, set amongst beautiful gardens on a hill overlooking the town its a tranquil reminder of colonial Britans influence on the area, looking out of our window with the cool mountain breeze it  almost felt like being back there. The place was so cosy, nice thick sheets on the beds for the cold nights, a really comfortable common area showing films and loads of local info and an amazing kitchen that did a superb variety of local and international food, the chef must have been trained in or by an european as this was good western food as apposed to the strange way some cafes can attempt our dishes.

Content and well fed we decided to slow down the traveling even more and spend three nights there, Ramadan being in full flow had pretty much scrapped our plans of seeing the east coast or taking the Jungle train down to Singapore. So we pre booked our bus ticked to KL in the hope we may at least get a final connection to Malaka. 

On our last full day we decided to do the full tour of the Highlands, the fun packed day would consist of Two Jungle/Forest trecks, local tribe visit, tea plantation visit, 4x4 off road trip, Malaysia's highest mountain this side of Borneo and the worlds largest flower! Not bad for 88RM (UK 15) we were out on the road for twelve hours, the trekking was harder than I expected but great fun, Sharon did really well considering she only had her trainers and there were numerous bridges and rivers to cross. On the way to the jungle we took an amazing off road 4x4 drive in old school land rover (there are hundreds in the Highlands) the off roads were flooded so it was a hair raising experience to say the least.

We did so much that day its hard to write it all down, we got to use blow pipe weapons with the modern day tribes, they took us to the strange cabbage like worlds largest flower, the guide was so knowledgeable and passionate about life in the rain forests and the commercial crops it really opened up your eyes to look beyond the thousands and thousands of acres of wild forests.

The land rover was our home for the day and again with the holiday the traffic got pretty bad across the trip, tired but satisfied we got back to the guesthouse ready to sleep of the days trecking and prepare for our next leg.

I will say what amazed me most on the tour and generally in Malaysia, even though we were obviously tourists on an organised trip we were never hassled to buy things we didn't want or expected to give just for being westerners. The people we have met have always been accommodating and extremely friendly, people will randomly walk towards you to say hello in the street. After you get over your preconception that they are not after anything you quickly realise they are just genuinely some of the nicest people you will ever meet. This good vibe is certainly contagious, we are probably the most content and happy we have ever been traveling and just in general, surly it can't be that hard to recreate elsewhere.
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