Tag Archives: Malaysia

Tropical Tioman 

Malaysia’s Tioman was a lush island with untouched jungle and mountains as a backdrop. To make it even better, we arrived in the off-season, so although many restaurants were closed, the beaches were deserted. On the downside, the beach was narrow and rocky along the part we stayed and when we stepped into the water, we inevitably stood on sharp stones. Still, the island felt like a remote paradise.

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Melaka and its Portuguese past

Journeying one hundred and fifty kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur, we reached Melaka. Unlike KL, Melaka was grimy. I can still picture walking over a bridge that crossed the Melaka River where dilapidated houses drooped over the water’s edge. But the tourist hub was well maintained.

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Same place, a decade later

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Medan in Sumatra and spent three days roaming markets and exploring the city. KL had changed since my previous visit before my youngest daughter had been born. Modern buildings extended skywards. Footpaths were easy to navigate. And the city was vibrant. But remnants of the old still existed, like the Chinese temple with its overpowering infusion of giant incense coils.

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Kuantan and the South China Sea

Moving south to Kuala Lumpur, we only spent a day in this exciting city. I liked the mix of Chinese, Malay and South Indian culture in a modern Asian city, but we were headed east through row upon row of rubber trees to the coast. At a beach resort a few kilometres out of Kuantan we had our first swim in the South China Sea. 

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Five buses around Penang

Sometimes too much travel can make you blasé. From a letter I wrote to my sister about Penang, I feel like I must have climbed to that point because the Snake Temple didn’t impress me. There was “only six snakes” and they were “only a metre long.” How spoilt, I must have become as if I’d already seen too many temples.

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Penang Hill

As a child, I remember a neighbour’s oldest son, talking about Butterworth. He was a pilot who’d once been stationed there, so when we took a train up to Penang Hill, we could see Georgetown below and across the strait was Butterworth on mainland Malaysia. 

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pulau ubin island’s highest point

It was time to hit Pulau Ubin Island’s trails, so I headed towards Puaka Hill first. The paved road was lined with thick forests that had regenerated and hidden old rubber and coffee plantations. Amidst the lush vegetation, the surroundings had a murmuring melody of their own, but what was that far off sound?

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Sungei Buloh Wetland Mangrove Boardwalk

There was something artistic about the large leaved mangrove of the wetland reserve located on the north side of Singapore Island. The roots curved over like bent backs grasping the muddy swamp beneath. Continue reading Sungei Buloh Wetland Mangrove Boardwalk

Have you ever crossed a border without being stopped?

Flying back to Johor Bahru from Kuching, I was going to bus into Singapore but none came in sight. Since I only had a backpack, I walked along the road towards Singapore. In fact, I kept walking and walking, until I trekked across the bridge joining the two countries, but no officials stopped me to check my passport! Continue reading Have you ever crossed a border without being stopped?