PART 1, General Information
PART 2, BLOG Pictures and Gallery
PART 3, VIDEO CLIP
PART 1, GENERAL INFORMATION
Capital city: Kuala Lumpur
Population: 32 million
Km travelled in Malaysia: 2380
Days in Malaysia :28
Languages: Malay (also called Malaysian Malay) English is widely spoken and the second language
Malaysia was formerly known as “Malaya”. Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country in Southeast Asia and one of the wealthiest and most developed countries in South East Asia (outranked in GNP by Singapore and Brunei). Malaysia consists of two geographical regions divided by the South China Sea: the peninsular Malaysia (or West Malaysia) on the Malay Peninsula bordered by Thailand in the north and Singapore in south, and Malaysian Borneo (or East Malaysia) located on the northern part of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and the Sultanate of Brunei. This area also has Malaysia highest mountain called Mount Kinabalu (4,095 m). Mt. Kinabalu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rugged mountains reach dramatically for the sky while their rainforest-clad slopes sweep down to floodplains teeming with forest life. Cool highland hideaways roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves. A bubbling, bustling melting-pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony.
A city full of memorable modern and historical landmarks. Its Heritage Quarter consists of Kuala Lumpur’s most important historical landmarks such as Jamek Mosque, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, St. Mary Cathedral and Panggung Bandaraya (City Theatre). A must do is Petaling street the centre of Kuala Lumpur’s original Chinatown. It maintains much of its traditional atmosphere, particularly at night when vendors fan out their merchandise along the street. Food is plentiful with many scrumptious varieties to choose from; some of the restaurants here have been in business for generations. Locals flock to Petaling Street primarily for bargain accessories and great Chinese food. Further down Petaling street you find the Chan See Shu Yuen Temple which dates back to 1906. The south Indian Sri Maha Mariamman Temple built in 1873 is situated at Jalan Tun H.S. Lee which is within walking distance from Chinatown. Around the Temple you find stalls selling garlands and strings of sweet-smelling jasmine, and the strong aroma of Chinese traditional herbs. The Central Market is a famous landmark for Malaysian culture and heritage. The building was built in 1888 and originally functioned as a wet market. It has since been classified as a Heritage Site. KL Tower sits at 421 meters and 94 meters above sea level, and is a prominent feature of the city’s skyline. Its architecture reflects the country’s Islamic heritage. Just north of Kuala Lumpur are the Batu Caves. Site of a Hindu temple and shrine, Batu Caves attracts thousands of worshippers (and tourists). A limestone outcrop located just north of Kuala Lumpur, Batu Caves has three main caves featuring temples and Hindu shrines.
Its main attraction is the large statue of the Hindu God at the entrance, besides a steep 272 climb up its steps to finally view the stunning skyline of the city centre.
PERLIS STATE PARK
The Park is situated on the longest continuous range of limestone hills in the country, called the Nakawan Range. The Nakawan Range has beautiful, heavily forested slopes and sheer cliff faces. Perlis State Park includes the various caves such as Gua Kelam and Gua Wang Burma which is located within the 500-year-old Setul limestone formation.
BELUM FOREST RESERVE
A vast area of virgin jungle known as the Belum Forest Reserve. The area is one of the largest untouched forest reserves in Peninsula Malaysia. The presence of large mammal species such as elephants, rhinoceroses, tapirs and tigers make Belum very special. This forest possesses an immense wealth of flora and fauna with much of the area still unexplored and undisturbed by humans.
An Island State of the North West coast of Malaysia, Penang’s beaches are okay but nothing special compared with those in some other Malaysian states, but this is more than compensated for by the island’s rich multicultural history dating back to the beginnings of British colonisation in the 18th century, and is full of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences. It’s a very touristy island. For us the only highlight was the Penang National Park. It is the smallest national park in the world, with a rich natural heritage comprising of more than 1,000 species of flora and over 250 species of wildlife. The Park is also known as the ‘Bay of Glowing Amber’ due to its scenic and spectacular view of the sunset. The sandy stretch of Pantai Kerachut and Pantai Kampi at the park are also favourite nesting places of the Green and Oliver Ridley turtles.
Anchored along the riverbank of the Kelantan River are nearly a dozen small boats operated by women entrepreneurs selling an assortment of traditional Kelantan food and snacks. Most of the food sold here is unique to Kelantan, and some, like the Kerabu Nipah, are only found in Pulau Suri. They are affordable yet delicious and offers a taste of rustic country-style cooking that the locals here are known for.
KUANTAN & CHERATING BEACH
Relax by the beach, catch amazing waves, or watch as the professionals do it. Visit Teluk Chempedak and the secluded beaches. Another must-visit beach is Black Stone Beach, known for black sand that glitters under the sun. The Cherating Turtle Sanctuary is another great spot and worth a visit. Watch as these endangered species lay eggs, feed and hatch. Cherating is a much more popular destination for vacationing Malaysians than foreign tourists. The beaches are nice but nothing like the beaches on the islands offshore.
Kuala Terengganu is situated on the Terengganu-river at the east side of the Peninsular Malaysia. From here plenty of choice to visit offshore islands like Redang-Lang Tengah, Tenggol or the man-made Lake Kenyir. Locals told us the largest manmade lake in South East Asia.
The southernmost city in Malaysia. It is one of the largest cities in the country with more than 2.7 million inhabitants. Due to its proximity to Singapore the city receives about 16 million tourists annually. Johor is connected by two bridges with neighbouring country Singapore. Many Singaporeans go to Johor Bahru to shop affordable at one of the many shopping malls. For Singaporeans Johor Bahru is actually a very cheap place to do shopping.
NORTH OF JOHOR BAHRU
Offshore from Mersin there is an island group where Tioman Island is part of. The island is especially known for its wonderful diving and snorkelling possibilities. The inland of Tioman is covered in thick jungle; the edges of the island are populated. Inland from Mersin is a beautiful National Park called Endau Rompin which contains some of the oldest rainforests in the world. The park is not easily accessible (by normal vehicles) which makes it especially popular to 4wd enthusiasts and overlanders. There are many wildlife species that live in the park; chances on spotting them are slim as they have ample space to roam around within the park boundaries. The national park is known for having the largest remaining population of the highly endangered Sumatran rhinoceros. Other animals that live in the national park are the white-handed gibbon, Malaysian tiger, Asian Elephant and Leopards. A visit to the Orang Asli Tribes is a must.
PULAU KUKUP JOHOR NATIONAL PARK
Pulau Kukup is one of the largest uninhabited mangroves in the world. It is also the only one situated in Johor waters. Many have tried to settle on this island, but without success. Some say this is because the island is inhabited by spirits. With an amazing natural ecosystem, a trip to the water village at the town of Kukup is a must.
Have lovely little villages and sprawling tea plantations. You can’t beat the weather up here. A few days out of the sweltering lowland heat will be a relief. Situated 1,500 metres above sea level, Cameron Highlands comprises of a series of small villages and great scenery.
It is the oldest city on the straits of Malacca. The town of Melaka presents a sleepy, unhurried atmosphere; its single-storied houses include many dating from the Dutch and Portuguese colonial periods. Its residents are mostly Chinese, many of whom have, through intermarriage, adopted the dress and speech of the Malays. This mixed ethnicity is known as Babe Chinese, together with Malay, Portuguese and Dutch mixtures. Lots of Dutch, Portuguese and English history makes this a very interesting town. Must see places are The Malacca Sultanate museum, Stadthuys, Little India, China Town, Portuguese settlement. Strong Chinese cultural influences, with Clan Houses and regional Chinese eateries are located around the areas where many Chinese traders have settling since the era of Sultanate of Malacca. The most recognisable part of the Chinatown is the Jonker Walk where many outdoor stage performances occur. The No 8 Heeren Street Heritage Centre is an old two-storey shop/ house which has been undergoing restoration. The Dutch Square is an area surrounded by Dutch buildings such as the Stadthuys and Christ Church.
The weather in Malaysia is hot and humid year round, interspersed with tropical rain showers. Temperatures at sea level range from 21°C to 32°C, whilst at higher elevations it is much cooler, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C. Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm. Visits can be enjoyed all year round in Malaysia, as the east and west coasts experience their wettest months at alternate times of the year.
All Year round between 22 degrees at night and 35 degrees during the day
The wettest months on the west coast are April to October
All Year round between 23 degrees at night and 35 degrees during the day
The wet season on the east coast is between November & February
All Year round between 15 degrees at night and 24 degrees during the day
Rain all year round however heavy falls between April and October
Part 2, BLOG Pictures and Gallery
Border formalities were super-efficient and all up we were out of Thailand and into Malaysia in 40 minutes.
No one was around to sign off all vehicle paperwork and we could not find anyone who could help us. While we were looking for the office, we realized we were standing in front of the Malaysian border. So, we decided to proceed and contact the Thai Embassy later. Driving into Northern Malaysia we drove through a landscape of rice paddies and were told this area produces over 50% of Malaysia`s rice. This area is rarely visited by tourists. But the region holds Malaysia`s number one tourist destinations Pukau Langkawi.
Powder white beaches and 5-star accommodation but those guests all fly direct to the island mostly from Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian highway is superb, and we headed straight for Penang. But Penang was the disappointment. It was 15 years since I was last here and I think if anything, it has gone downhill. We did not enjoy Penang and it is not the beach destination you are led to believe in the tourist brochures. We found ourselves a beachfront spot on a filthy vacant block of land amongst lots of rubbish. We love the hospitality of the local people and in their homes, all is so clean, but unfortunately, they do not seem to care for their environment.
With the shipping organized we are now on a time frame. The next day we visited the National Park and left Penang very disappointed, crossing the mountains through thick jungle to the quiet east coast. The scenery from here on is lovely dense jungle and hills. We stumbled upon a fantastic overnight spot with a gorgeous waterfall. You can easily fall asleep to the deafening noises of the jungle surrounded by absolute darkness.
A fantastic experience. As we descended onto the plains, we saw tobacco rice and rubber plantations as the main source of income for the poorest state in Malaysia. The east coast of Malaysia and Kelantan, is one of the most conservative Muslim parts of the country, and the people are very friendly. Just north of Penarik we found a perfect beach where we spent 2 days and never saw another person on the beach. We had the entire stretch of beach to ourselves, camping under palm trees and with no one around. From here it was beach hopping down the East Coast. On the way the only beach we did not enjoy was Kemasak, a beautiful beach but there were many people and parties on the beach till 3am in the morning!
So, one night was enough. (Mind you no alcohol). Only 30 minutes later we found another perfect beach in Cherating where we camped a few nights, fascinated by the local people swimming fully clothed. We are now getting more and more lazy and every day we are also sleeping in longer.
This week we arrived in the most southern state of Malaysia called Johor. This means in Arabic precious stones. After exploring the Northern and Central regions, we arrived in Johor and Malacca. Johor is home to an ancient rainforest rich in flora and fauna, with beautiful beaches around Desaru, Teluk Ramunia, Tanjung Balau, and near the fishing town of Mersing. As we drove further south we were only kilometres away from Singapore.
We have become so lazy that we hardly move, and we are finding it hard to do anything more than swim, lay on the beach and eat. But we had to move as we are running out of time. Our truck is booked in and we have a deadline to be back in Kuala Lumpur for the journey back to Europe. Our next destination was Malacca, a living museum, with a contrasting combination of ruins and intact buildings from bygone eras right in the heart of the city.
The famous ruins of A Famosa (Porta De Santiago), the Portuguese Square and the Portuguese Eurasians have their origin in 1511, when the Portuguese defeated the Malacca Sultanate. The red thick-walled Stadhuys, believed to be the oldest Dutch building in the East, and the salmon red Christ Church, stem from the Dutch period which began in 1641. The lifestyle of the early rich Chinese who arrived from the mid-15th century is well displayed in the Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum. And In the old mosques dotted around, can be seen Sumatran and Javanese influence.
From here, it was off to our last destination Kuala Lumpur. The capital of Malaysia was founded in 1857 at the confluence of the Gombak and Klang rivers as a settlement for tin miners. Since tin mining proved to be a profitable activity, the settlement developed over the years into a major city. Kuala Lumpur became capital of the Selangor state in 1880 eventually becoming the capital of Malaysia after independence. Kuala Lumpur has expanded substantially during the boom years of the 1990s, with many skyscrapers being added since we were last here. The next 3 days will allow us to do some much-needed cleaning and reorganizing after 11 months of travel.
PART 3, VIDEO CLIP
(Video Malaysia under Construction)
COMPILATION VIDEO Thailand to Europe including Malaysia