3.1: Kuala Lumpur and Pulau Pangkor

Day 112: Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur

Today is New Years Day, 2009 and I flew from Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur. I arrived at Chiang Mai airport by tuk-tuk with plenty of time and the Air Asia flight was fine. 

112.1. Air Asia flight from Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur.

When I arrived in KL I got a bus from the airport into the city centre. It only took about an hour to get into town which seemed remarkably quick considering the airport is about 70 km outside. For a city with so many huge skyscrapers and such, KL is quite compact so it was quite easy to get into town. It is also quite easy to get around on foot compared to Bangkok for example where crossing roads is a nightmare. It is incredibly humid here though and although it is not too hot it gets very sweaty walking from place to place. Malaysia is also rather more expensive than the other countries I’ve been to so far on this trip, particularly for the beer, since Malaysia is an Islamic country. In the evening I went to the KLCC (Kuala Lumpur city centre) to see the Petronas towers, until recently the tallest building in the world. They look fantastic lit up in the night. At the bottom of the complex is a huge and very glitzy mall with many designer label stores such as Versace and Louis Vuitton. Behind the towers in a park with ponds and synchronized fountains and it is nice to relax here under the illuminated towers.

112.2. The Petronas towers at night and the glitzy mall on the ground floor.

Day 113: Kuala Lumpur

This morning I was up at about 7:00 this morning to go to the Petronas towers to queue for tickets for the Skybridge between the towers. The tickets are free but there is a limited amount each day, hence the early start. When I arrived the queue was incredibly long but fortunately it moved quite quickly and I got my ticket within one hour. The ticket I got was for midday so I went back into town and got some breakfast before heading back. Before we went up to the Skybridge we were shown a 10 minute film promoting the Petronas Company. The Skybridge is only about a third of the way up the towers but even so the views from here were impressive. We had about 10 minutes or so to wander about on the bridge before we had to come back down.

113.1. View from the Skybridge connecting the Petronas towers.

113.2. View of the Petronas towers from the park and the nearby mosque.

Afterwards I went for a walk in the park behind the towers and visited a mosque there. In the afternoon I went for a walk around the Colonial district, Little India and Chinatown. It was very humid walking around town and I stopped several times for cold drinks. On the way back I stopped at Puduraya bus station to buy a bus ticket for tomorrow. There were hundreds of vendors there all offering tickets to different destinations so it was confusing at first but I eventually found what I wanted.

113.3. Downtown KL.

Day 114: Kuala Lumpur to Pulau Pangkor (Teluk Nipah)

It was raining heavily this morning so I got a taxi to the bus station. The bus I’d booked for Lumut was about an hour and a half late so I didn’t get out of KL until gone 10:00. During the wait I chatted with a Singaporean man called Rahim. The rain started to clear a bit before we reached Lumut and Rahim showed me the way to the ferry port. At the ferry terminal I met a Canadian couple called Isabella and Chris. We bought our ferry tickets for Pangkor Island and then went for lunch while we waited for the boat. Isabella said that she and Chris were working as contracted musicians in KL but they had some time off before going back to Canada. When we arrived at Pangkor town we got into a big pink taxi and went to Teluk Nipah, a beach on the west side of the island. Isabella and Chris went to one guesthouse but I went to another place that was a bit cheaper called the Ombak Inn and got a nice bungalow for 50 Ringgit a night (about £10).

114.1. Arriving at Pangkor town on a cloudy afternoon.

I met an English guy called Steve and a Belgian girl called Natalie outside the bungalow next to mine and joined them playing cards. The weather was quite gloomy so we spent most of the afternoon playing cards. Steve had been traveling around South East Asia and Natalie had a month’s vacation from work to travel which she is able to do a couple of times a year. We had dinner at the guesthouse and I had some BBQ with fish, chicken and two crabs, although the crabs were very difficult to eat. 

Day 115: Teluk Nipah (Pangkor Island)

After being up early on the last three mornings it was nice to have a bit of a lie in and I didn’t get up until about 9:30. I had some breakfast and then went to the internet café where I chatted with Ed on Gmail. He and Jaime had just arrived in Bangkok ahead of their flight back to Canada. Afterwards I met with Steve and Natalie and we went for lunch. In the afternoon we walked to Coral Bay and visited a bizarre Taoist temple that we nicknamed the Pangkor Disneyland. It had many colourful statues including a turtle, a mermaid, a giant mushroom and Donald Duck.

115.1. At Pangkor Disneyland.

We then walked back and had a beer and played some more cards. In the early evening we went to the next street (the opposite end of town) to another guesthouse where the owner feeds hornbills with diced melon. We were able to throw the melon up towards the telegraph poles and the hornbills would fly from the wires and catch the melon in midair. We went for dinner again in the guesthouse and afterwards we said goodbye to Steve as he is leaving tomorrow for KL.

115.2. Feeding hornbills and dinner at the guesthouse with Natalie and Steve.

Day 116 Teluk Nipah

Today Natalie and I hired bikes and cycled around the island. The bikes they had at the guesthouse weren’t very good so we went to a place next door to the supermarket. Soon after we set off we decided to stop for a bit at a beach after which a small puppy followed us. He was able to keep up even if we went quite fast and it took quite along time to get rid of him. The road then began to lead steeply uphill and we pushed our bikes. Coming downhill on the other side I took a corner too fast and ended up coming off of my bike. I was OK but got some cuts and grazes on my legs. By the time we reached Pangkor town I decided that I would head straight for Teluk Nipah to sort out my cuts as they were bleeding quite badly. Natalie continued on to the fort at the south of the island. I came back and washed out the cuts and treated them with the Iodine I had left over from Nepal. I then put on some antiseptic cream and some plasters. After I had sorted myself out I went for lunch and the sat outside my bungalow.

116.1. The little puppy that chased us on our bike ride on the forested roads of Pangkor.

Natalie soon came back and in the evening we went to watch the sun set on the beach. We had dinner at the guesthouse and I had BBQ again but this time I was able to replace the crabs with chicken. Afterwards we played cards again and I taught Natalie the five card game I played with Kanchha in Nepal.

116.2. Sunset on the beach at Coral Bay.

Day 117: Teluk Nipah

Today was a very lazy day. Natalie and I spent most of the day sitting on the beach. In the evening I went to the shop get a beer and didn’t realize until I got back to the beach that I’d bought Carlsberg Special Brew, I thought it was Tiger. That’ll teach me to look at what I’m doing!

117.1. A lazy day on the beach.

117.2. The cats at the guesthouse. We nicknamed them Tom and Jerry because the bigger one was always chasing the smaller one.