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Malaysia – In Summary

May 9, 2012

Malaysia – In Summary

May 9, 2012

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by Kt

09.05.2012

We actually did very little of Malaysia in the end. Way less than planned. This is partly because it costs a bit more than expected and partly because I couldn’t quite decide on where to go. We had planned to go to western Malaysia, their part of the island of Borneo – for the obvious wildlife wonders and also for the diving. Sipidan is supposed to have the best diving in the world. We had learned about a dive platform where you can stay for a few nights, near there, from our new friends Michelle and Steve and so wanted to go. But the usual put the kibosh on that – money. To get over to the island and in particular to stay on the dive platform or the best dive places, was pretty pricey and we just couldn’t justify it at this point. It’s a bit gutting but it is definitely on our list of things to do one day. We may even return on this trip, once we are a bit more Asia travelling savvy and if we find a cheap flight/good deal. Otherwise it will be on the list of ‘one day’ things.

We didn’t really like KL at all. It wasn’t awful (well Mark thought it was), it was just a busy city which was very humid with heavy rain and it would need something very special to redeem itself from the bad points I guess.
Georgetown, in Penang, however was a slow burner for Mark but I liked it the minute we arrived. Bags of character, laid back, nice food.

Highlights/oddities

Mopeds/backwards coats
We noticed this in KL the most but also see it in Penang. People on mopeds wear their coats on back to front, not done up. I don’t know why. It is peculiar.

Politeness
It is a very polite place which is lovely. People are incredibly well mannered, although personal space is not always respected but that’s something that a couple of newbie traveller brits need to get to grips with I’m sure. There was just an air of gentle good manners and friendliness without being in your face.

Dry clothes in unusual places
Nothing to say about this really. We just came across people using interesting and unusual places to dry their clothes. Why not?
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Clan houses
The area we stayed in Penang had a lot of chinese clan houses and associations and things like that. I never fully understand what they all were but some of them were still going and some were being restored and if you peeked in there would be walls full of photos of people who’d ever been members. These rooms seemed just full of interesting things – old furniture and books – I’d loved to have gone in and had a good delve around. In retrospect, I’m annoyed at myself for chickening out asking. The one across the road, I think they were working on restoring/cataloging in some way – it was their passion to do that project so they probably would have welcomed someone showing interest.

Quirkiness
Georgetown had lots of oddities and quirkiness which I liked. Both in modern and old fashioned ways. You’d hear bizarre singing coming from upstairs rooms or from somewhere far off, doing goodness knows what.
This was a sign outside one of the guesthouse/cafes – no idea why but I liked it.

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Lowlights
It is bloody hot!!! Most of the time. The fan in our georgetown place didn’t really cool you down enough for a good nights sleep. It’s just hot and humid and uncomfortable. Might be where a mossie net might come in handy as we had to shut up the windows tightly, restricting air flow, but we did have very high ceilings so it wasn’t as stifling as it could have been. Going out in the day is tough. You have to stagger every 15 minutes of walking with stopping and having a drink I find. The humidity is very dehydrating. I eventually realised that a lot goes on at night so we adjusted our body clocks. In Bali, most things were shut by 10 and so we tended to be up fairly early and early to bed, but in Malaysia it’s too hot to do anything in the day so you may as well stay in bed late then stay up late. This is my natural state at home so it’s easy to slip into that kind of routine but it always feels like we were slacking.
It’s apparently this hot, pretty much all the time. Not sure I could last long with this kind of climate. Will be interesting to see what Thailand is like. I know it is big and has different areas with different climates and is very season dependant. I am hoping for somewhere cooler or at the very least a dry heat.
As well as being god damn hot and sweaty it also, of course, means I am mad professor, frizzy hair head. It is not a good look!

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