Malaysian Mix

by Bngrtw May. 24, 2013 3433 views

Malaysia is a very diverse country, comprising the mainland (South of Thailand), together with the Northern part of the Island of Borneo. Today we show pics from many different places.

For our first pic, we've chosen the tea plantations at the Cameron Highlands. When you can't stand the heat anymore, you can just take a 2-hour drive from KL up the mountain, and you reach this area. There are not only tea plantations, but also lots of strawberries. Many people stay a few days and trek around the Taman Negara National Park (btw, “Taman Negara” means “National Park” :P), but we didn't… As we were staying with our Malay friends A&S, who prefer to drive (as good Malays do!).

Following that, we took a trip to the Perhentian Islands, in the North of Malaysia. Our second pic shows the colour of the sea in this tropical paradise. This place is a must if you ever go to Malaysia. Among other things, we got to swim with massive turtles and spend nights at the beach, drinking Monkey Juice (a kind of Malay whisky). This trip was part of an itinerary we had planned, following the disappointment of knowing we wouldn't be able to go to Sabah, in Borneo, because of an ongoing conflict situation that made this trip impossible [gmanetwork.com].

Our intention was to cross straight to Thailand on a bus, after spending a few days in Ko Kecil Perhentian, having accepted that Borneo (and the orang-utans) would have to wait for a future visit. However, whilst we were enjoying the mini-beach holiday, we met a couple from the Canary Islands, J&A, who recommended us to go to Sarawak, on the Western part of Borneo. They had been there only a week earlier, and there was no conflict and plenty of orangutans. They even recommended us a good guesthouse!

So, as a birthday present for B, we changed our itinerary completely, took a plane to Borneo, and prepared to meet our hairy cousins.

… We actually liked it so much over there, that we stayed for a full week! Borneo has a lot to offer, apart from the apes (which we will reserve for their own blog entry).

Pictures 3 and 4 show the traditional Borneo Longhouses [en.wikipedia.org], which are a way of building by which a whole village used to live communally. Although nowadays they are still in use, they also build normal modern houses next to the longhouse, and mostly the elderly still live in the actual longhouse.

The last picture is also a trophy. The Rafflesia flower [en.wikipedia.org] is a very unusual sight indeed. You never know when they will bloom, and when they do, it's only for one week or so. Therefore, when word spreads that one of them has bloomed, the travel agencies are quick to arrange tours and milk as much cash out of the event as possible.

This time, however, we were faster than them. Our room mate F, who could speak Bahasa, overheard by chance a tour guide having a conversation about where the flower had bloomed recently. So, together with her and another room mate, we decided to go and explore, to see if we could find it ourselves. The task wasn't easy because the public buses don't reach all the villages, so it took some hitch-hiking and walking to find the village. Then, a good 2 hours trek through the jungle, and at the end of it we found a small path. A local passerby told us the path would take us close to the flower… Finally, we found it!!! Such a good ending, it was like finding gold!!!

Now the problem was getting back to the city, but that is a different story…

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