A Plane, train, boat, bus and car was how we made our way from Gili Trawangan in Indonesia to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. It was a trip that last just over 24 hours by the time we eventually got to our hostel in the Bukit Bintang area of KL.
We landed in KL just after 1am on Sunday night last. The airport is approx 75km outside of the city itself and we missed the last train from the airport so instead of forking out €50 for a private taxi we decided to wait and kip in the airport for a few hours and then get the bus into the city at 7am, which is what we did. But sleeping in the airport was a little more difficult than we planned. So we got bugger all sleep.
Our hostel(Paradiso) was situated in the middle of the tourist area known as Bukit Bintang. We had easy access to all attractions via a very efficient and easy to use monorail system. Kuala Lumpur is a very modern city much like Singapore with your typical skyscraper view point.
KL also has a very vibrant night life in certain parts of the city. Since Malaysia is mostly Muslim, alcohol cannot be purchased in alot of shops and never in any Muslim owned premises.
One of the main attractions associated with KL are the Pedronas tower, aka the twin towers. The towers, which are an engineering masterpiece were constructed in 1998 and trump above any other buliding in KL. On Tuesday we made our way to the towers to get our tickets that would allow us to head to the observation deck at the top for a 360 degree view of the city. Unfortunately, by the time we got there around lunch time ll the daily allocated tickets were sold out. Seemingly, you have to get there around 7am and queue up in order to be able to venture up to the top. We didn’t mind as we got the few photos of the building itself and getting to the top wasn’t a priority of ours.
The following day(Wednesday), we had a two day trip to the Taman Negara Jungle planned with meant our short stay in KL was only for two days, and to be honest none of us were too upset to be leaving the city, not that we disliked KL or anything.
So Wednesday morning at 8am we left our hostel and were shuttled in a bus for four hours to a connecting point where we were to travel by boat for another three hours into the thick of the jungle itself!
The journey on these traditional boats was really something else(see photos). The scenery was spectacular as we meandered our way along the timblering river, before we came to our little jungle town in the heart of Taman Negara.
The Taman Negara rainforest/jungle is situated roughly in the centre of Malaysia. Its a vast, humongous rainforest which is not only older than the Amazon rainforest, but also the oldest rainforest in the world. It consists of 432 sq miles. Its history spans 250 million years and is host to many forms of wildlife including tigers, elephants and King Cobras!
The area we were staying consisted on a small village which was separated by the Timblering river and which could only be crossed via the local water taxi boats!. The three of us had a dorm room all to ourselves which was part of the tour package.
After we arrived at our accommodation we grabbed a much needed cold shower as we were filthy after our eight hour journey, and then got a water taxi over to “MamaChop’s” floating restaurant for the all inclusive buffet dinner of rice and a small piece of grilled chicken! Still thougjh, was better than a slap in the eye!
The activity planned that night was a jungle trek so armed with flashlights and a guide we headed into the jungle on a trail, during which time we saw some really cool insects and jungle freaks like scorpions, monkeys and other creatures! (see photos)
The humidity in the rainforest as you can guess was something serious. I’ve been in humid tropical climates before but this just took the biscuit. The only way I could describe it is, if you were to take your dry hand and wave it in front of you, then by the time you had it down by your side again it would be soaked wet!
We hit the sack that night exhausted after the long day of travel combined with the humidity. The following day there was two activities planned.
The morning consisted of a canopy walk which is longest in the world through a section of the jungle. This part had me a little freaked out as I’m not good with naked heights. And we were told that anyone who starts the walk won’t be able to turn back until the end as everyone would be held up, so don’t do it if you think you’ll have any problems. I did have a problem and that was the amount of sweat dripping into my eyes for the whole duration of the canopy walk! I got over the feeling of been so hight up but the humidity and constant sweating on my behalf made sure my vision was slightly impaired to say the least. But I really enjoyed it at the end.
After the canopy walk we had a trek up to a viewing point in the jungle which was a steep incline walk for about a mile. The view was very disappointing to say the least and the only thing we got out of it was a dame good sweating!
When we reached the bottom again it was back to the floating restaurant for some more rice and chicken. The afternoon activity was a boat trip along the river with a water fight against the other boats which was a laugh, and then a stop at a local tribe for an hour to see how the tribe’s people lived.
The tribe consisted of about 8 families were were told and they are nomads, which basically means they move location frequently and never stay in the one spot for more than a year or so. And if someone dies in the tribe then they will move after the burial, in which they place the dead member in a tree hut as they reckon the earth is full of demons.
The chief of the tribe met us as we got off the boat and gave permission for us to take as many photos as we liked. He then went on to give us a few demonstrations of life in the tribe, which included showing us how to make a blow pipe(for hunting), and how to make fire!
Our guide explained to us that the tribe believe that smoke is very good and for that reason we were not to be alarmed if we saw the small children walking around smoking, as it was normal practice! Equally as alarming, we were told that if you see a child running towards you with a machete or knife, that we were not be be scared as it was just local custom! Thankfully no one ran at us with a knife but we did see a small 2/3 year old boy hammering a bit of wood with a butcher type knife!
We then were giving a blow pipe demo and shown how accurate is was. The local hit the target both times from a distance of about 30 feet.
I stepped up to see if my mouth could cash the checks it was writing, and tried to hit the target but alas there must have been something wrong with the blow pipe as the aim wasn’t working properly
The girls opted out of having a go themselves which was a pity as it was pretty cool.
On the way back to base we stopped by an area of the river when you could get out and swim and swing off a rope into the river which I did many, many times and loved it. I could have played there for the day I could!
We got back to our accommodation after another feed of rice and chicken and had a good wash up before watching a few episodes of “celebrity rehab with Dr.Drew”! Funny reality show by the way!
So that concluded our two day stay in the jungle. We have our next destination planned and its a nine hour journey from here to the East coast where we will catch a speed boat to the luscious Perhentian islands. We have no idea how long we’ll end up staying there but the next blog update will be from there providing theres a decent connection!
Now I’m off to mentally prepare for a nine hour minibus journey!