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1


Singapore and Malaysia
View by Pierre

Shortening the trip in Australia allowed me to include an additional destination to my trip. Facing the dilemma Malaysia versus Indonesia, I chose the land path to reach Thailand from Singapore.

I was ignoring that the Thai New Year would reduce the length of my stay and make it so intense.

Here is my travel book, recounted in short episodes that I hope will entertain you.

2


Singapore


How joyful I was to be back in the Asian atmosphere! I already enjoyed the Indian food - or rather suffered from its too spicy dishes - in Summer 2012. However I ran into the Little India market to order in the Pakistani restaurant a Tikaka Massala Chicken with a Garlic Naan for $6,5.

In front of me, an Indian man was eating grossly its Mouton Kheema. It handed me his plate, offering me to taste its meals. Politely, I accepted a bite.
But his gesture meant he wished to share our meals. The language barrier prevented me from opposing any resistance. He was stealing the meal I was expecting for so long, while I was crying and sniffing because of spices. The cooker - who realised the theft - gave me by pity or goodness three very spicy chicken legs for compensation. Finally I had a food full of flavors and rich in taste!
When paying, he granted me another discount: $6 finally. So about $4 of economy. Yep, prices in Asia can be negotiable and fortunately this evening, people did it for me.

3



Chinatown

But Asia, it's overall:
A barely English, an overcrowded population addicted to smartphones and selfies all day long, markets of "made in Asia" baubles with ridiculous prices. I'm back here, yahoo!

4



Multiculturalism

Singapore combines four main cultures living in harmony without melting: in addition to the Chinese and the Indian, there is a big influence of the neighbouring Malaysia and the British colonialism that has left its footprints in the heart of the city.

5


Singapore by night


I went to admire the Singapore's towers. At night, SuperTrees really looked like UFO. What an excess! A month later, Benoît arrived in Singapore too and attended the light shows. So impressive!
Disney show at the SuperTrees of Singapore:
https://youtu.be/RcDJWevxtME

6





We could believe to be on another planet, like in Avatar movie...
I finished the night running after a bus that refused my bill of $10 and gave me the lift for free: $1.5 saved. Finally I left quickly this city-state for Malaysia whose prices are said more affordable.

7


Malacca, historical city


It's also an important colonial city in Malaysia, which had been very influenced by the Arabic and Chinese merchants, then by the Portuguese settlers, dislodged by the Dutch, themselves moved away by the British who couldn't keep the control of the country after the Second World War, after the invasion of the region by the Japanese. Now the Chinese, the Indian, the workers from Bangladesh and the tourists are invading this city.
"Don't mess with Melacca"
What a program!

8



Remnants from the past

A boat thrones in the middle of the city, between ancient buildings inherited by the city. The museum inside the boat retraces the history of the city. I remember only one thing: the Dutch did not make a good impression. Guess which nationality was my travel buddy that day?

9



Let's go for a ride, baby!

Local tuk-tuks in the streets made me laughed out loud. No comments.

10



Malacca zoo

On my way to Kuala Lumpur, there was this zoo. I thought: why not visiting? Good decision! This zoo contains animal species of all kinds living in almost freedom: that day, a deer escaped and entered in the park of orangutans. Or visitors can be bitten by the giraffes...
A weird rhino baby
https://youtu.be/IvPtQ6Ng6CQ

11



Pierre in the show

The manager of the zoo invited me to come to his show at 3pm. It is funny to see the parrot making double digits additions or spelling 'TIGER'. But the manager called me to come towards him and put on my shoulders... this snake... I kept zen and go ready for the kiss to a snake in front of a crowd of surprised Malay people. How cool it was!

12


That Hitchhike


This zoo was perfectly located to get a hitch. I had a good feeling and bingo: just one minute after, a jeep made me some signs to enter in. Its Korean driver, Park, was going directly to Kuala Lumpur and offered to drive me to my hostel.
The conversation was intense. As a technical manager in a company of spare parts, making a business trip to Malacca, he appreciated my company during this long drive. It told me his story, his immigration in Malaysia with his family. I told him short episodes of my adventure. Park wondered if I want to share a drink of Korean alcohol, which I accepted. It invited me to enter to "his favorite restaurant" and ordered for me. The meal was rich and the boss presented us his best bottle. In addition to steal the check from my hands, Park offered me an ice cream and some cookies in the local food shop, despite all my attempts of refusal.
It was my best evening in Malaysia which ended to my hostel where Park held to verify if I was well installed, if the residents of the hostel were friendly... That kind of hitchhike really cheers you up. Sharing and generosity; thank you Park!

13



The Yellow House

I discovered this guesthouse by chance (the least expensive on Hostelbookers). This house was not a common guesthouse: made by 80% of recycled materials. Most of its residents spend their time at the swimming pool with children who have mental difficulties and work to maintain the house, against free accommodation and food.

The walls of the shower are repaired doors, the kitchen furniture, the old wooden boards, the toilets and sofas are reused as second hand furniture... The power of recycling is impressive!

14


Kuala Lumpur (KL), a big hub


The capital is really well served in terms of local transportation and after testing it, I have validated their effectiveness and the savings they generated. Results of a day trip in KL
- Walk from Yellow House to the bus station -15 min
- Bus to city center - 30 min
- metro to central station -10 min
- metro to the Batu caves - 30 min
- metro back to the Central Station - 30 min
- KLIA (quick and luxurious connection up to the airport) to Putrajaya - 30 min
- Walk to the mosque - 30 min
- Walk under the rain to leave Putrajaya - 30 min
- Hitchhike in a taxi (seriously possible!) to Sepang - 30 min
- metro to a station after KLS (error) - 20 min
- metro back to KLS - 5 min
- Airtrain up to Bukit Bitrang -15 min
- Airtrain back to a station near the center - 20 min
- walk to the center -10 min
- Bus return - 30 min
- Home return -10 min

Six different means of transport, six hours of transport and less than 10€ spent by crossing the metropolis end to end. What a crazy day!

15



Ramayana Caves

Go have a look at the photo gallery: these Ramayana caves, close to the famous Batu caves are terrific. They are decorated with Hindu statues in the tribute of the Hindu divinity Lord Rama. In front of the entry, a statue of the Lord Hanuman stands, it's Rama's servant with a head of monkey.
Inside the Ramayana Caves:
https://youtu.be/FBL5Y9stzjo

16



Batu Caves

These caves are located 100m above! To access it, you have to climb the 272 steps (I counted 16x17) but beware of the macaques, the masters of this place. Before the cave, we can observe that day a statue of the Lord Murugan 42.7m high and a bearded tourist 1.80m high.

17



Putrajaya mosque

Here I am dressed as a Muslim. With the beard, it could be confusing!

18



Spicy experience in Jalan Alor

When your friend Roy (from the Salar de Uyuni) sends you to taste the spicy frogs, expect to cry like a little girl and bite frog bones endlessly.
And when a Mongolian woman joins your table for telling her epic adventures in Paris, the moment is even more unforgettable.

19



Petronas Towers

To conclude such a crazy day, nothing is better than a photo shoot in front of the highest twin towers in the world (after a certain September 11th...) with an armada of Korean tourists.

20



Blue mosque of Shah Alam

The Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah's mosque is the second largest mosque of the South East Asia and owes its name to the color of its dome. It was the opportunity to reuse a toga - a blue one, this time - and to learn more about the Islamic religion.

21


Kuala Lipis


In Malaysia, there are two jungles that tourists can visit. I chose Kenong Rimba, less touristic according to the forums on internet. It was effectively the case, when arriving to my hostel: NOBODY.
What?
The "Apu hostel" looks like an old guesthouse not maintained full of posters on the walls where I read:
"This is a self-service hostel. Choose a room and pay before you leave." What a concept! After a short visit of a city without great interesting places, I returned to the hostel to discover that no excursions to the jungle would be organized during the off season.
Finally: a day lost on a very tight program.

22


Taman Negara


I took a risk: I decided to go stubbornly to see the Malaysian jungle in Taman Negara instead of Kenong Rimba. A plane awaits me 72 hours later on the Penang island and plenty of long trips to arrive there, so I mustn't lose time. I left in the morning to take a boat for Taman Negara at 9:30. I arrived there at 9: 23 and... no boat! Yep, off touristic season again. I have to leave for Jerantut. Only one solution: thumb a lift. The option got worthy after ten minutes walking away. Finally, I finished victorious in another bus to Kuala Tahan.
Result: it is 1pm, here I am accompanied by Abdullah, a Canadian traveler and my companion of the day, to hope that the canopy (suspension bridge over the jungle) would not be closed. However Friday is a public holiday in a Islamic State.
And after a long walk through a jungle (not so terrible comparing to Australia), we arrived in front of a "closed" Canopy. It is not mentioning the obstinacy and malice of French people: when the entry is closed, we can try the exit. I turned the handle of the door and... MAGIC! There we were, crazy boys running from tree to tree on the canopy up to more than 10m high!
On the closed canopy of Taman Negara, Malaysia:
https://youtu.be/6X8wi4GzDM8

23



Unfear truck driver

At our arrival at the port, a truck was fearlessly going back to transfer its load into a boat. Slightly a lot and splash... on the boat!
Taman Negara : the truck on boat
https://youtu.be/NHmOUiHzbbc

24


Cameron Highlands
Muslim dance

Just arrived at Cameron Highlands, I have been approached by adolescents girls, claiming a competition of the best group dancing for interpreting an improvised dance for me. Amazing!
https://youtu.be/LFHwItw8JY8

25



Strawberries, honey or roses...

Cameron Highlands is a region of hills where the climate is much softer than in the rest of the country. Some European fled here and began to grow strawberries, roses, tea and other products of temperate regions that are difficult to obtain locally.
The organised tour is designed for the local tourism and therefore includes a visit of a Buddhist temple, of a rose farm, then bees and strawberries farm. In my case, it was the opportunity to find some sweet culinary tastes.

26



Tea

The tea is the central point of the visit: the surrounding hills are mostly green of tea plantations. It is the occasion to learn a little more about tea culture here.
Tea plantations of Cameron Highlands:
https://youtu.be/UeN-eo_xr90

27


Penang without money


Eventually I arrived on the island of Penang with 4,25€. I had to leave less than 24h later and had no intention to withdraw money, although I was on a very touristic island.
I started first to comb the city... to find hostels at unaffordable prices. The idea to go to the ATM came to my mind, when suddenly a man tended his arm towards a sofa in front of a hotel and said to me,"You can use the hotel services: bathroom at the ground floor and a sofa to sleep". This is what I call my first experience CouchSurfing in Hostel.
The next morning: after dinner rice/ ketchup and a breakfast with some remains of cookies and orange juice, I went towards Georgetown walking and thumbing for a lift. And that time, some Chinese students led me to destination, offered me a breakfast (that I considered as a lunch).
An ice cream on the way, a bus ticket to the airport and 1,50€ for a well deserved dinner! I made it! I am still thankful to my benefactors of the day

28


Conclusion
Flag of Penang Island

The adventure in Malaysia was somehow a race against time that ended in apotheosis in Georgetown, a beautiful city port for which Benoît and I offer a photo report here:
www.recontact.me/42

Although many travellers couln't follow the rhythm, I did not feel tired with my foolproof motivation. I will remember a lot of things about Malaysian mainland. More than a tourist destination, it is a place of life, a melting pot where a synergy pushes all these cultures forward to the good of the country. The country is well developed - I would dare to say rich on the mainland - the population is active, happy and sociable. What made my experience that positive: it is not this or that tourist attraction, but it is the sum of small moments and meetings that count in life.

1


Singapore and Malaysia
View by Pierre

Shortening the trip in Australia allowed me to include an additional destination to my trip. Facing the dilemma Malaysia versus Indonesia, I chose the land path to reach Thailand from Singapore.

I was ignoring that the Thai New Year would reduce the length of my stay and make it so intense.

Here is my travel book, recounted in short episodes that I hope will entertain you.


Singapore


How joyful I was to be back in the Asian atmosphere! I already enjoyed the Indian food - or rather suffered from its too spicy dishes - in Summer 2012. However I ran into the Little India market to order in the Pakistani restaurant a Tikaka Massala Chicken with a Garlic Naan for $6,5.

In front of me, an Indian man was eating grossly its Mouton Kheema. It handed me his plate, offering me to taste its meals. Politely, I accepted a bite.
But his gesture meant he wished to share our meals. The language barrier prevented me from opposing any resistance. He was stealing the meal I was expecting for so long, while I was crying and sniffing because of spices. The cooker - who realised the theft - gave me by pity or goodness three very spicy chicken legs for compensation. Finally I had a food full of flavors and rich in taste!
When paying, he granted me another discount: $6 finally. So about $4 of economy. Yep, prices in Asia can be negotiable and fortunately this evening, people did it for me.



Chinatown

But Asia, it's overall:
A barely English, an overcrowded population addicted to smartphones and selfies all day long, markets of "made in Asia" baubles with ridiculous prices. I'm back here, yahoo!



Multiculturalism

Singapore combines four main cultures living in harmony without melting: in addition to the Chinese and the Indian, there is a big influence of the neighbouring Malaysia and the British colonialism that has left its footprints in the heart of the city.


Singapore by night


I went to admire the Singapore's towers. At night, SuperTrees really looked like UFO. What an excess! A month later, Benoît arrived in Singapore too and attended the light shows. So impressive!
Disney show at the SuperTrees of Singapore:
https://youtu.be/RcDJWevxtME





We could believe to be on another planet, like in Avatar movie...
I finished the night running after a bus that refused my bill of $10 and gave me the lift for free: $1.5 saved. Finally I left quickly this city-state for Malaysia whose prices are said more affordable.


Malacca, historical city


It's also an important colonial city in Malaysia, which had been very influenced by the Arabic and Chinese merchants, then by the Portuguese settlers, dislodged by the Dutch, themselves moved away by the British who couldn't keep the control of the country after the Second World War, after the invasion of the region by the Japanese. Now the Chinese, the Indian, the workers from Bangladesh and the tourists are invading this city.
"Don't mess with Melacca"
What a program!



Remnants from the past

A boat thrones in the middle of the city, between ancient buildings inherited by the city. The museum inside the boat retraces the history of the city. I remember only one thing: the Dutch did not make a good impression. Guess which nationality was my travel buddy that day?



Let's go for a ride, baby!

Local tuk-tuks in the streets made me laughed out loud. No comments.



Malacca zoo

On my way to Kuala Lumpur, there was this zoo. I thought: why not visiting? Good decision! This zoo contains animal species of all kinds living in almost freedom: that day, a deer escaped and entered in the park of orangutans. Or visitors can be bitten by the giraffes...
A weird rhino baby
https://youtu.be/IvPtQ6Ng6CQ



Pierre in the show

The manager of the zoo invited me to come to his show at 3pm. It is funny to see the parrot making double digits additions or spelling 'TIGER'. But the manager called me to come towards him and put on my shoulders... this snake... I kept zen and go ready for the kiss to a snake in front of a crowd of surprised Malay people. How cool it was!


That Hitchhike


This zoo was perfectly located to get a hitch. I had a good feeling and bingo: just one minute after, a jeep made me some signs to enter in. Its Korean driver, Park, was going directly to Kuala Lumpur and offered to drive me to my hostel.
The conversation was intense. As a technical manager in a company of spare parts, making a business trip to Malacca, he appreciated my company during this long drive. It told me his story, his immigration in Malaysia with his family. I told him short episodes of my adventure. Park wondered if I want to share a drink of Korean alcohol, which I accepted. It invited me to enter to "his favorite restaurant" and ordered for me. The meal was rich and the boss presented us his best bottle. In addition to steal the check from my hands, Park offered me an ice cream and some cookies in the local food shop, despite all my attempts of refusal.
It was my best evening in Malaysia which ended to my hostel where Park held to verify if I was well installed, if the residents of the hostel were friendly... That kind of hitchhike really cheers you up. Sharing and generosity; thank you Park!



The Yellow House

I discovered this guesthouse by chance (the least expensive on Hostelbookers). This house was not a common guesthouse: made by 80% of recycled materials. Most of its residents spend their time at the swimming pool with children who have mental difficulties and work to maintain the house, against free accommodation and food.

The walls of the shower are repaired doors, the kitchen furniture, the old wooden boards, the toilets and sofas are reused as second hand furniture... The power of recycling is impressive!


Kuala Lumpur (KL), a big hub


The capital is really well served in terms of local transportation and after testing it, I have validated their effectiveness and the savings they generated. Results of a day trip in KL
- Walk from Yellow House to the bus station -15 min
- Bus to city center - 30 min
- metro to central station -10 min
- metro to the Batu caves - 30 min
- metro back to the Central Station - 30 min
- KLIA (quick and luxurious connection up to the airport) to Putrajaya - 30 min
- Walk to the mosque - 30 min
- Walk under the rain to leave Putrajaya - 30 min
- Hitchhike in a taxi (seriously possible!) to Sepang - 30 min
- metro to a station after KLS (error) - 20 min
- metro back to KLS - 5 min
- Airtrain up to Bukit Bitrang -15 min
- Airtrain back to a station near the center - 20 min
- walk to the center -10 min
- Bus return - 30 min
- Home return -10 min

Six different means of transport, six hours of transport and less than 10€ spent by crossing the metropolis end to end. What a crazy day!



Ramayana Caves

Go have a look at the photo gallery: these Ramayana caves, close to the famous Batu caves are terrific. They are decorated with Hindu statues in the tribute of the Hindu divinity Lord Rama. In front of the entry, a statue of the Lord Hanuman stands, it's Rama's servant with a head of monkey.
Inside the Ramayana Caves:
https://youtu.be/FBL5Y9stzjo



Batu Caves

These caves are located 100m above! To access it, you have to climb the 272 steps (I counted 16x17) but beware of the macaques, the masters of this place. Before the cave, we can observe that day a statue of the Lord Murugan 42.7m high and a bearded tourist 1.80m high.



Putrajaya mosque

Here I am dressed as a Muslim. With the beard, it could be confusing!



Spicy experience in Jalan Alor

When your friend Roy (from the Salar de Uyuni) sends you to taste the spicy frogs, expect to cry like a little girl and bite frog bones endlessly.
And when a Mongolian woman joins your table for telling her epic adventures in Paris, the moment is even more unforgettable.



Petronas Towers

To conclude such a crazy day, nothing is better than a photo shoot in front of the highest twin towers in the world (after a certain September 11th...) with an armada of Korean tourists.



Blue mosque of Shah Alam

The Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah's mosque is the second largest mosque of the South East Asia and owes its name to the color of its dome. It was the opportunity to reuse a toga - a blue one, this time - and to learn more about the Islamic religion.


Kuala Lipis


In Malaysia, there are two jungles that tourists can visit. I chose Kenong Rimba, less touristic according to the forums on internet. It was effectively the case, when arriving to my hostel: NOBODY.
What?
The "Apu hostel" looks like an old guesthouse not maintained full of posters on the walls where I read:
"This is a self-service hostel. Choose a room and pay before you leave." What a concept! After a short visit of a city without great interesting places, I returned to the hostel to discover that no excursions to the jungle would be organized during the off season.
Finally: a day lost on a very tight program.


Taman Negara


I took a risk: I decided to go stubbornly to see the Malaysian jungle in Taman Negara instead of Kenong Rimba. A plane awaits me 72 hours later on the Penang island and plenty of long trips to arrive there, so I mustn't lose time. I left in the morning to take a boat for Taman Negara at 9:30. I arrived there at 9: 23 and... no boat! Yep, off touristic season again. I have to leave for Jerantut. Only one solution: thumb a lift. The option got worthy after ten minutes walking away. Finally, I finished victorious in another bus to Kuala Tahan.
Result: it is 1pm, here I am accompanied by Abdullah, a Canadian traveler and my companion of the day, to hope that the canopy (suspension bridge over the jungle) would not be closed. However Friday is a public holiday in a Islamic State.
And after a long walk through a jungle (not so terrible comparing to Australia), we arrived in front of a "closed" Canopy. It is not mentioning the obstinacy and malice of French people: when the entry is closed, we can try the exit. I turned the handle of the door and... MAGIC! There we were, crazy boys running from tree to tree on the canopy up to more than 10m high!
On the closed canopy of Taman Negara, Malaysia:
https://youtu.be/6X8wi4GzDM8



Unfear truck driver

At our arrival at the port, a truck was fearlessly going back to transfer its load into a boat. Slightly a lot and splash... on the boat!
Taman Negara : the truck on boat
https://youtu.be/NHmOUiHzbbc


Cameron Highlands
Muslim dance

Just arrived at Cameron Highlands, I have been approached by adolescents girls, claiming a competition of the best group dancing for interpreting an improvised dance for me. Amazing!
https://youtu.be/LFHwItw8JY8



Strawberries, honey or roses...

Cameron Highlands is a region of hills where the climate is much softer than in the rest of the country. Some European fled here and began to grow strawberries, roses, tea and other products of temperate regions that are difficult to obtain locally.
The organised tour is designed for the local tourism and therefore includes a visit of a Buddhist temple, of a rose farm, then bees and strawberries farm. In my case, it was the opportunity to find some sweet culinary tastes.



Tea

The tea is the central point of the visit: the surrounding hills are mostly green of tea plantations. It is the occasion to learn a little more about tea culture here.
Tea plantations of Cameron Highlands:
https://youtu.be/UeN-eo_xr90


Penang without money


Eventually I arrived on the island of Penang with 4,25€. I had to leave less than 24h later and had no intention to withdraw money, although I was on a very touristic island.
I started first to comb the city... to find hostels at unaffordable prices. The idea to go to the ATM came to my mind, when suddenly a man tended his arm towards a sofa in front of a hotel and said to me,"You can use the hotel services: bathroom at the ground floor and a sofa to sleep". This is what I call my first experience CouchSurfing in Hostel.
The next morning: after dinner rice/ ketchup and a breakfast with some remains of cookies and orange juice, I went towards Georgetown walking and thumbing for a lift. And that time, some Chinese students led me to destination, offered me a breakfast (that I considered as a lunch).
An ice cream on the way, a bus ticket to the airport and 1,50€ for a well deserved dinner! I made it! I am still thankful to my benefactors of the day


Conclusion
Flag of Penang Island

The adventure in Malaysia was somehow a race against time that ended in apotheosis in Georgetown, a beautiful city port for which Benoît and I offer a photo report here:
www.recontact.me/42

Although many travellers couln't follow the rhythm, I did not feel tired with my foolproof motivation. I will remember a lot of things about Malaysian mainland. More than a tourist destination, it is a place of life, a melting pot where a synergy pushes all these cultures forward to the good of the country. The country is well developed - I would dare to say rich on the mainland - the population is active, happy and sociable. What made my experience that positive: it is not this or that tourist attraction, but it is the sum of small moments and meetings that count in life.

.