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Malaysia (Linda)

 

(86km - 9days)

 

25/12/2017– 02/01/2018

 

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25 - 26 December – La Ngu, Thailand – Langkawi, Malaysia – 86 km

We had an early start and first stopped at the local 7-11 for breakfast before heading to Satun to get the ferry to Langkawi. Although the internet stated that the Satun – Langkawi ferry was at 14:30, one never knows if that is, in fact, true. Our early start gave us plenty of time to amble along slowly, and in Satun, we stopped for our last bowl of Thai noodle soup. The immigration system at the Satun pier is one of the most relaxed, and we had plenty of time to change money, buy our tickets, and relax before the short ferry ride to Langkawi.

 

After arriving at the ferry port in Langkawi, we went through immigration without a hassle with no form and no questions, just a stamp, allowing us a 3-month stay in Malaysia. We stopped for the obligatory photo at the massive eagle and then headed over the hills to Cenang Beach, or Backpackerville, as I call it.

 

The following day we relaxed. I went for a short jog, had my fill of roti canai, and did a bit of shopping and marvelled at all that is for sale in touristy Langkawi. Linda returned with a bottle of South African red wine, which we drank on the beach that evening, watching the sunset over the Strait of Malacca.

 

 

 

27 December, Langkawi – Penang – By ferry

After some discussion, we decided to take the ferry to the island of Penang instead of cycling the 120 kilometres there. We had plenty of time to cycle the 23 kilometres back to the ferry port, where we bought our tickets (70MR each plus 30MR each for the bicycles).

 

Once in Penang, we cycled around looking for a budget room, which is relatively difficult in popular Georgetown. Once we found a room, we offloaded our panniers and headed down the road, looking for hidden street art, something that Penang has become famous for. I organised for a new Thailand visa, ate street food, and later caught up with Linda at the Reggae Bar, after which we went for a beer in the back allies where people sat on small plastic chairs drinking cheap beer—always a good place to meet other travellers.

 

28 December – Penang

We spent the day exploring - Linda and I went off in different directions. Linda took the hop-on-hop-off bus, and I went looking for a train or bus to take us to Kuala Lumpur as we have decided to spent New Year’s Eve in KL. As far as I could establish, we could not bring the bicycles on the train, and the bus was a wait-and-see situation. I took the gamble, bought two tickets for 30 December and hoped that they would allow the bicycles on the bus.

 

29 December Penang

I went for a run and Linda set off to catch the hop-on-hop-off bus, as her ticket was still valid until 16h00. We also moved to another hotel as our room was booked out as from the 29th. I did my laundry and then went looking for a travel water heater, something I find convenient for making coffee in the room. My old one packed up, and I was desperate to find a new one. My search, however, was to no avail, and I would have to wait until I'm back in Thailand to buy a new one.

 

30 December Penang – Kuala Lumpur by bus

 

We cycled off to the bus station and waited in anticipation to hear if we could put the bicycles on the bus. The driver was kind enough to allow both bikes to go on, albeit after a 20MR fee each. It was a short ride to Kuala Lumpur, and once off the bus, we went in search of our hotel that we booked online. The hotel was not quite what we had expected, and the owner allowed us to cancel. We found a much better place right on Old Market Square. Then it was time to explore Kuala Lumpur by foot, and we walked around China Town and Merdeka Square.

 

 

 

 

31 December – Kuala Lumpur

I went for a short run and then Linda and I took a walk to the KL Tower and the famous Petronas Towers, one of my most favourite tall buildings. Walking back, both buildings were beautifully lit, as was the Masjid Jamek mosque. We popped in but had to don a bright red cloak before we were allowed to enter. Although Malaysia is a multi-cultural and multi-confessional country, the official religion is Islam, as it is said that 61.3% of the population practices Islam. There is, therefore, no shortage of beautiful mosques in the city. That said, there are equally impressive Hindu and Chinese or Taoist Temples.

 

It was New Year’s Eve, and we stopped for a beer at the Colosseum. Established in 1921, Colosseum Café & Grill room is one of the oldest in the country and a good example of the city’s colonial heritage. Then it was off to the more popular Reggae Bar for another drink.

 

1 January - Kuala Lumpur

Linda set off on the hop-on-hop-off bus, and I went looking for information on how to get her bicycle back to Pattaya. Everything was closed, and I could not find any info on sending a bike to Thailand. I did find a bicycle shop in the process, but they were also closed, and there was nothing to do but wait for the next day.

 

2 January - Kuala Lumpur

After a delicious Indian breakfast of idli and roti canai, I took a walk to the post office and the news was good. Yes, one can send a bicycle by post and all one needs to do is box it and they will come collect it and deliver it to my place in Thailand.

 

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