English | Dutch
Exploring Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), May-03-08 / Jun-04-08

The weather is beautiful and we are sitting in the centre of Kuala Lumpur on the terrace of Starsucks, the name that we gave to this coffee joint (Starbucks) because of their horrible quality of coffee that they serve. But ok, they offer free wireless internet which means that we are not so critical about the quality of the coffee. Today is the first day that we are on or own again. Yesterday evening, we have put the parents of Edwin on the plane to Europe again. We travelled last month together through Malaysia, and we had a great time. The leaving of Edwin’s parents had a negative influence on our night’s rest. For the first time in a couple of weeks, we did not sleep that well. We will stay a couple of days more in Kuala Lumpur to take a rest. After that we travel to Banda Aceh, in the very north of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

A boat trip through the jungle of Taman Negara NP
We had a great time last month with the parents of Edwin. We hired a car to travel through Malaysia on a comfortable way. The main advantage of a car is that the mobility is optimal. You can go wherever you want and when you want, do not lose a lot of time and do not have to carry your luggage from hotels to bus stations and vice versa. So, for us it was a real holiday last month. That was great! We spend our first two weeks on the Malaysian Peninsular. We saw some of the typical tourist destinations (like Taman Negara, Malacca, Penang and Langkawi), but travelled also through the less visited areas. The fun of travelling through the less visited areas is that people are still spontaneous friendly. We saw passionately waving people on motor cycles, giggling girls at petrol stations and very proud owners of small street side restaurants where we took a lunch. Even the sturdily youths hanging around their motor cycles, couldn’t suppress a smile when we marched past.

But the people are also very friendly in the more touristy areas. Of course, they are more used to tourists in these areas, but that did not affect their friendliness. During our stay of more than a month, we never had the feeling that people tried to charge us more because of the fact that we are foreigners. Also driving a car in Malaysia is very relaxed. Of course, they drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the street, which means that you have to be extra attentive, but the traffic is absolutely not stressful. The Malaysian drivers are gallant, and give you all the space you need when you for example need to change a couple of lanes to take an exit.

Eating in Malaysia is a real feast. You can eat wherever, whenever and what you want. Because of the broad range of ethnical groups, the choice is enormous. We had some worries if the parents of Edwin would approve to eat also in the more simple establishments. The smaller restaurants offer a great variety of local food, but often do not meet the hygienic standards of the average western people. Besides that, the food they offer sometimes knits one’s brow. In Georgetown for example, we accidentally eat a salad of mango with chicken feet. Fortunately for us, the nails of the chicken feet were already removed. Especially in the Chinese areas, you will find ingredients in the showcases that you never considered as an ingredient for food. But the parents of Edwin withstood this culture shock, and we eat deliciously last month, especially in the smaller restaurants.

A Rhinoceros Hornbill in the KL Birdpark

The second half of the month, we spent in Sarawak, on the Malaysian part of Borneo. This is the part of Malaysia where you can still admire the huge primeval forests. However, like in many other parts of Southeast Asia, huge areas are already chopped. If you travel by car though Sarawak, you will not have the feeling anymore that you are travelling through vast forests. You will see palm oil plantations everywhere, and it seems that Malaysia is plagued by an enormous tendency to build houses and shopping complexes everywhere. If you still want to see the vast primeval forests, it seems that you have to go deep into the forests, to the areas near the border with Indonesia. To get a little bit the feeling of the ‘old’ Borneo, we decided to visit a couple of national parks. These areas are protected and they give you the possibility to spot wildlife. The national parks offer all the facilities you need to spend there a couple of days. The lodges are fine and the food is simple but good. During our stay in the different national parks, we saw some beautiful wildlife. We saw for example the Proboscis Monkey, Macaques, Langur Monkeys, enormous monitor lizards, flying lemurs and snakes. We also saw some spectacular bird species like the Lesser Adjutant, Hornbills, many species of Kingfishers and some species of Storks. Unfortunately, we did not see the Orang Utang in the wild. But because we really wanted to see them, we decided to go to Semenggoh, a rehabilitation centre for Orang Utangs in Sarawak. Of course, these animals are not wild (they are semi-wild as they mention it), but it gives you a great opportunity to see these beautiful creatures from a close distance.

So, we really had a great time last month. We had the time to talk a lot with the parents of Edwin, so we know everything again about life in Europe. We also saw some beautiful parts of Malaysia and we will definitely come back to Malaysia in the future. One of our wishes is to do some trekkings in Malaysian Borneo, hopefully to see also the Orang Utangs in the wild. However, we will first go to Indonesia to spend some time on Sumatra and Java. It seems that it is also possible to see the Orang Utang in the wild on Sumatra. So, let’s go for that!


<Previous weblog>
Go back to home pageGo to Articles sectionGo to Columns sectionGo to Photos sectionGo to countries sectionGo to weblog sectionGo to about us