Malaysia, Malaysian Borneo and Bali: the journey

Selamat datang ke Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Honeeeeeey, were going to Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo! What do I need to take with me? A couple of shorts, long pants, but not too much because it is HOT out there! Heels? No of course not, you go to the freakin’ jungle! I need a backpack! You can borrow one… Ok, I borrowed one, but does it fit meeeee? I have the feeling that it’s so big I could live in it! I need vaccinations and malaria tablets? Have you read the brochure? I’m SO never gonna take these pills. Ok, I am overreacting, but my brains were on overload! It was the first time that I went abroad outside of Europe so I was a bit neurotic nervous.

Travel books of MalaysiaI have a very, very, very weak spot: I can never decide where to go because I want to go everywhere. So, when Thomas asked me last year if we could go on a road trip through Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo, the answer was very fast and easy: Yessss! When are we goinggggg?! May 8 until the May 30! OK!

The trip

Kuala Lumpur
Malacca change of plans
Cameron Highlands
Kota Bharu change of plans
Pulau Perhentian Besar

Malaysian Borneo
Kota Kinabalu change of plans
Sandakan change of plans
Sipadan change of plans

Seminyak & Ubud

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

The minute I stepped off the plane at Kuala Lumpur International Airport I got overheated. It was 95°F and the relative humidity was 90%. Where was the air I needed to breathe? After our train ride and the monorail to Raja Chulan, we finally arrived at our hotel (but not without almost being hit by several cars, a drivers licence isn’t really required in Malaysia I guess…). For the first two days we (thought we) had booked a relaxing five star hotel, at least that was what and the pictures had made us think. The lobby looked impressive, but the interior of our hotel room was straight from the 70’s! Mistake, but whatever, after eighteen hours of traveling we were in KUALA LUMPUR!

I love Kuala Lumpur

Muddy Confluence

Malaysia is situated in the middle of old sea trade routes and is a true cultural melting-pot with mainly Malaysian, Chinese and Indian inhabitants. The state religion is Islam, but people also practice Hinduism and different kinds of Chinese religions. On the west side of the Malay Peninsula you can find Kuala Lumpur. The city is discovered in 1857 as a trading post and transfer station for the tin industry. The name is derived from the location of the city at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers and means ‘muddy confluence’. In 1880 the British colonization began and started a true building explosion. In 1896 Kuala Lumpur became the capital city of Malaysia and declared its independence in 1957.

Jalan Alor

When in Kuala Lumpur you must go to the evening market in Jalan Alor to wine and dine! My lord, that place was food heaven! This street in the Bukit Bintang disctrict is full of food stalls on both sides of the road, rickety plastic chairs and shiny neon advertisements. My favorite stall was Wong Ah Wah where they served the tastiest Yow Mak ever! If you’re lucky, you will also see some of Asia’s most famous people walking by. In our case, Alan Tam (Who’s that? waitress almost screamed at the top of her voice: ALAN TAM HONG KONG SUPERSTAR!) stepped out from a big armored car to grab some food. Adress: Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, 50200 KL

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

Just outside the center of Kuala Lumpur you can find the KL Bird Park. The biggest ‘free-flight walk-in aviary’ in the world (aviary… which is quite contradictory to the idea of flying free, but ok…). It was very cool to see all different kinds of local and foreign bird species walk and fly around in such a big and open space. Especially the Malaysian national bird, the hornbill, is absolutely stunning to see in real life. The park is focused on research and breeding programs to ensure the survival and continuity of the various species. It’s been said to be a ‘free-flight’ park, so I wasn’t very amused to still see some birds in too small cages and the fact that they had bird shows and photography with birds on the program. Hopefully they change that in the near future. Address: 920 Jalan Cenderawasih, Taman Tasik Perdana 50480, KL

Batu Caves

The limestone Batu Caves are one of the worlds largest Hindu pilgrimage destinations outside of India and dedicated to Murugan, the lord of war. He is presented as a 43 meter gilded statue standing on the right side of the entrance to guard the 272 steps steep stairway that leads you to the main Temple cave. This so-called Cathedral Cave rises almost 100 meters above the ground and gets natural light through the holes in the ceiling. Countless sculptures of Muragan and other Hindu Gods like Shiva (one of the primary forms of God), Ganesh (God of knowledge and wisdom) and Durga (the embodiment of anger) stands alongside the walls. The cupola of the grotto is painted with various scenes from Hindu texts. It’s been said that the caves are over 400 million years old, but gained real world fame after the American naturalist William Hornaday discovered them in 1878. Location: 13 KM north of Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Batu Caves, MMR2, Selayang, Selangor.

After two days in KL our trip continued to the ultra peaceful Cameron Highlands, a tour to remember… More about that later!