suggested itinerary for Malaysia
28th April, 2011
SUGGESTED ITINERY FOR MALAYSIA
When webegan to research our two month trip around Malaysia we really didnâ€™t know whatto expect, where to go, or what to see. Hopefully, the following will help youto plan a trip to this wonderful, modern, friendly country.
It is moreexpensive than say, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia â€“ in our experience anice meal for two with a beer each cost around Â£10 - Â£12 â€“ you can of courseeat for much less if you eat from street vendors or Chinese restaurants. A double room with air-con, fridge and wifihas cost us around Â£20 a night.
Taxis inMalaysia are expensive compared to the rest of Asia. I have spoken of coaches, this is for Englishpeople â€“ in Asia they are called â€˜big busesâ€™ as oppose to local buses.
The currencyis Malaysian Ringgit â€“ we divide by 5 to get an approximate amount. ie 25R = Â£5
Uponarriving at Kuala Lumpur airport our passports were stamped with a 90 daysvisa. We are from the UK, it may varycountry to country.
I have triedto make this report as simple as possible.
We flew fromBangkok to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. We stayed at the Sentral Pudu Hotel which isnext to Times Square and handy for sightseeing but the price variesconsiderably, there are a lot of hotels to choose from. The taxi cost from KL airport was Â£20 but you can also get a special trainfrom the airport to the centre of town.
The two trainsrun along two tracks from the airport and centre, one each way. The journeytakes 30 mins and is about Â£5 each. Follow the exit sign from the baggage reclaim area at the airport intothe lobby and turn Right. Follow thesigns for KLIA â€“ there will be only one train, so take it â€“ you cannot take thewrong train â€“ it just goes back and forth.
Thepenultimate stop (one before last) is to catch a coach to the South of Malaysiaâ€“ the last stop is for coaches to the North of Malaysia or town centre.
But, back toKL â€“ the Famous Petronius Twin Towers â€“ if you are in them you cant seethem! Go to Traders Hotel and have acocktail in The Sky Bar on the 33rd floor. If you arrive about 6pm you will see thesunset and the iconic towers slowly light up. Sit on the right hand side of the bar â€“ youcan book a table â€“ www.skybar.com.my email on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring on (603) 2332 9911
Lots to seeand do in KL â€“ the hop on hop off bus to see all the sights â€“ you may haveheard about KL tower â€“ (not to be confused with Petronius Twin Towers) â€“ thisis also an iconic building â€“ it is extremely tall like a flag pole with a â€˜pineappleâ€™shape on the top â€“ this â€˜pineappleâ€™ is arevolving restaurant. We didnâ€™t eatthere as the reviews were bad and it is quite expensive â€“ Â£20 pp, I think and we wouldnâ€™t get our moneys worthas we are quite small eaters!!
We had threefull days in KL and it was enough - wetook a taxi from our hotel to the coach station in town (as we were headingNorth). We took a coach to the middle ofMalaysia to the â€¦..
THE CAMERON HIGHLANDS
The journeytook four hours, buses in Asia tend to stop every two hours but we always takehand gel, drinks and food. You couldbuy a basic meal at the stop off â€“ I have had fried rice or noodles on occasionand it was delicious â€“ the trick is to eat hot food not warm food.
The coachdrops you off in the town of Tanah Rataand I would recommend you stay there as there are many restaurants to choosefrom and motor bike hire. We stayed inthe next village named Brinchang at a nice small hotel called the Kowloon Hotelbut the restaurant choice is limited to fly ridden Chinese or lukewarm,pre-cooked Indian. For motorbike hirewe had to take a taxi to Tanah Rata, only Â£2 but quite inconvenient. A couple of full days in the CameronHighlands was enough for us â€“ we hired motor bikes one day and visited teaplantations and other tourist stop offsâ€“ just one good fairly calm roadtwisting around the hills, fantastic views and safe if you ride carefully. Another day we hiked â€“ it was exhausting butI suppose the clue was in the wording â€˜views from the Cameron Highlands secondhighest mountainâ€™!
We enjoyedthe Cameron Highlands, lots of hotels to choose from â€“ from there we took acoach from Tanah Rata (where you aredropped off) and went back to the westcoast, north of KL to
Penang is aprovince that has a slither on the mainland and the rest of it on anisland. GeorgeTown is the capital ofPenang. I cant remember exactly howlong the coach trip from the Cameron Highland to Penang took but it was around4/5 hours. The coach drops you off onthe slither on the mainland so you have to take a ferry to the island. This is very easy â€“ walk towards a terminalbuilding which is for buses I think, follow everyone else â€“ turn the corner andyou will see the ferry terminal in front of you. This walk takes only 3 minutes â€“ the ferrytakes 10 minutes at the most and is cheap. We met a nice lady on the ferry who told us her brother was a manager ofa hotel, she rang him and he agreed to give us a good discount. The hotel, The Heritage 1926 â€“ is justoutside â€˜old townâ€™ â€“ just right for us â€“ we could sit by the pool or catch alocal bus into the old part. It workedout Â£20 for a double room, with breakfast, wifi and pool â€“ the old part isperfect for much cheaper accommodation â€“ perfect for backpackers. We stayed one week to rest but we arenot in a hurry, three full days would okif you are short of time. We visitedFort Cornwallis not brilliant inside, you can see all there is to see from theoutside. Weld Quay is over-rated â€“ notthe historical stilted village we expected , maybe we have been spoilt by otherparts of Asia. The Museums wereinteresting, we caught the local bus tothe national park and walked for 90 minutes along a path to â€˜monkey beachâ€™ â€“ate fried rice, took lots of photos of naughty monkeys then took the motor boatback. The boat ride back is cheaper ifbooked in advance â€“ look around for the stall when you get off the bus. We saw huge moniter lizzards on the beaches.
From Penangwe took a ferry north to theâ€¦.
ISLAND OF LANGKAWI
The ferrytrip took about 3 hours and cost just over Â£10 per person. We had beenrecommended to the â€˜Tropical Resortâ€™which we were very pleased with. It is not in the really busy part of theisland and the chalets are just one minutes walk to the beach which they backonto. www.tropicalresortlangkawi.com â€“
The manageris very professional and helpful, such a nice man, they had an offer on 4nights for the price of 3 so we stayed 8 nights. We hired motor bikes to explore theisland. I didnâ€™t see as much ofLangkawi as I would of liked as I had a chest infection but I did manage myfirst para-sail on the last day!
FromLangkawi we flew back to Kuala Lumpur for one night then flew out early thefollowing day toâ€¦..
SANDAKAN, BORNEO with two days inSukau Village
Borneo is onan island and is split into Malaysian Borneo and Indonesia Borneo. Brunei also occupies a little area. We went to Malaysian Borneo â€“ it is splitinto two parts, the north is called Sabah and the south, Sarawak. We went to the north to Sabah. We flew to the East side of Sabah to thetown of Sandakan . I think if we hadwanted to go the the west side, to KK (kota kinabalu) we could of flownstraight from Langkawi. Borneo is partof Malaysia so your 90 days visa covers it.
We chose Sandakan, Sabahto fly into because we had read that the village of Sukau was the best place tosee Orang-utan, Proboscis Monkeys (long nose and pot bellied) and pigmyelephants in the wild, and the journey to Sukau Village is best from Sandakan.
Mr Choi collected us fromSandakan airport â€“ he does the return trip from Sukau Village to Sandakan everyday â€“ to tie in with him we needed to arrive early. We landed about 9.30am and Mr Choi arrivedabout an hour later. His number is +60195 361 889 â€“ the journey with Mr Choi from Sandakan airport to the village of Sukau takesabout two hours. When you ring Mr Choito arrange a pick up ask him for accommodation also. We stayed at RB Resort
(a group of Nissan huts really!) â€“ it was nicethere, but twice the price of â€˜hutsâ€™ down the road. We only stayed two nights so it was not worthchanging. RB was Â£12 a night â€“ hut with fan, ( no wifi in the village) andbasic bathroom - Mr Choi can alsoarrange a boat trip for you â€“ we â€˜sailedâ€™ at 4pm and was out on the Kinabatangan River for two hours. We did see about eight Proboscis Monkeys â€“ asthere are only around 8,000 in the wild we felt privileged. Two ladies who took an early morning boattrip didnâ€™t see the proboscis monkeys but did see orang-utans and pigmyelephants. Two days at Sukau Village wasenough for us, we rang Mr Choi who collected us at 6.30am and took us back toSandakan. He recommended Mr Lam at theMayfair Hotel â€“ Mr Choi rang Mr Lam and we stayed at the Mayfair for 4 nights.
We liked Sandakan â€“ wecaught the local bus at the nearby bus station, a 5 min walk from the hotel â€“9am is the first bus of the day, number 14 to Sepilok Orang-utan rehabilitationcentre. We saw the first feed of the dayat 10am, finally saw some of the orange hairy beasts â€“ they are fed a boringdiet of bananas to encourage them to search for more exciting fruit. We took a taxi (Â£3) to the RainforestDiscovery Park where upon walking on the tree top canopy walk we encounteredour very own wild Orang-utan. He wasbored and pleased to see us â€“ we spent 20 minutes watching him just 10 feetaway before he leapt away into the trees. We walked back to Sepilok Rehabilitaton Centreâ€“ about an hours stroll to catch the bus back â€“ although he had knocked offearly and we had to take a taxi (Â£
There is a nice westernfood restaurant on the waterfront on the very right as you are facing thewater. A taxi picked us up at 7.15am totake us to the coach station â€“ we arrived in time to catch the 7.30am coach, totravel from the east coast to KK on the west coast.
KOTA KINABALU (KK)
The scenic bus journeyfrom east to west coast took a good six hours â€“ we stopped for a little breaken-route. We stayed at the â€˜api apicentreâ€™ â€“ we booked through agoda but stayed some extra days and negotiated agood discount. Lots to see in KK, thefloating mosque â€“ you have to dress in Muslim outfit to enter â€“ hire about 30peach and this included your own guide. Brilliant photo opportunity! Wecaught the local bus to the Museum, a local lad named Al showed us to the busstation, took the bus with us and even paid for our fare to make sure wearrived safely â€“ the Malaysians are the friendliest people on earth.
We walked to Jessleton Jetty (30mins from theapi api centre) and went on a days snorkelling trip, to three islands in the Tunku AbdulRahman Marine Park â€“ a good day out. We stayed four full days in KK â€“ it seemsthe only way off the island is to fly. We would of liked to take a ferry back to mainland Malaysia (called thepeninsular) but couldnâ€™t find one.
Melaka (also known asMalaka) is a UNESCO world heritage site. We flew from KK in Borneo back to Kuala Lumpur on an early flight,arrived at KL airport, took the â€˜special trainâ€™ as described earlier to theCoach Station for journeys south and then hopped on a coach for the 2 hour journeyfrom KL to Melaka.
We stayed in The SyazMeridien Hotel - Â£20 a night, double room, aircon, wifi â€“ newly built. I have noted the only backpacker place wespotted â€“ didnâ€™t go inside but looked nice on the outside â€“ Backpackers FreakHostel â€“ 014-236-2336 (that must be from Malaysia) or 06-286-6879.
What a great town Melakais â€“ we have been on a free walking city guide led by Charlotte from touristinformation â€“ seen the red fort/Aâ€™Famosa â€“ been on a river cruise (Â£3) each, sobeautiful, passes houses painted with murals. Been on the 110M high revolvingtower (Â£2 pp) â€“ the flower festooned rickshaws are fun, at night they are litup like christmas trees with music blaring out! Jonker street is famous for food, antiquesand little shops. We have extended ourstay here for another two days and negotiated a better rate. The best places to eat are around Jonkerstreet and the tourist info â€“ we went to the cinema one evening and saw thelatest Star Trek movie in 3D â€“ In Malaysia!!! Who knew, not me for sure â€“ Iimagined having to swing a blade through jungle to get around! This is why I am writing this for you â€“ tohopefully make things a little clearer. Tomorrow we move to the East coast of Malaysia to Mersing. I will keep you informed.
The bus from Melaka toMersing left at 8am â€“ there is two a day, the other being at midday. The cost about Â£5 pp â€“ the journey took fourhours.
The taxi from the coachterminal to our hotel cost Â£2 and took ten minutes.
Mersing â€“ not too keen,only one restaurant we would want to eat at, the others have menus in Malay butwe know what they would serve anyway and wouldnâ€™t want it. The beach is, technically a beach, thewater meets the dirty rubbish laden sand but you wouldnâ€™t want to relaxthere. Mersing is just a stop over foryour trip to the islands. Tioman issupposed to be beautiful â€“ we will walk to the jetty when it stops raining.
It appears there are noboat trips around the islands to snorkel from â€“ you have to get a ferry toTioman and stay there at least one night â€“ the ferry journey takes about twohours and cost around Â£7pp each way. The tides were against us to get a ferry over,snorkel then ferry back, plus seeing the bitten legs of tourists coming back,the beach is infested with sand flies we decided to give it a miss. Mersing is just for one night, to catch aferry to an island.
We have decided to go backto England 2 weeks early so will be taking the coach to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow â€“we have booked on line â€“ it appears there is only one company which is S&Stransport â€“ we arrived with them from Melaka.
If it were not the schoolholidays and we wanted to stay longer in Malaysia (we have been here 7 weeks)we would of moved more north up the East Coast to the province ofTerengganu. There are lots of islands tovisit there and the beach is supposed to be good.
I hope this has been ofuse to you â€“ there is so much more to Malaysia but hopefully this route willgive you a starting point to begin to plan your trip.
If you have any questionsplease donâ€™t hesitate to email â€“ we have also had five months in Thailand, onemonth in Laos, one month in Vietnam and two months in Cambodia so please askand we will do our best to help. Tinaand Colin
#1 Posted: 30/5/2013 - 13:09
4th June, 2013
Location New Zealand
Thanks for the nice detailed post.
I've done Sabah a couple of years back and did a 10 day intrepid tour and it was an amazing experience. This year planning on doing mainland Malaysia and will likely meet fellow travelers on the road instead of doing a tour.
You reckon going to Cameron Highlands was worth it?
#2 Posted: 6/6/2013 - 01:08
28th April, 2011
The Cameron Highlands were nice to visit for a couple of days - it was very cold and damp but lovely to hire a bike and explore.
#3 Posted: 6/6/2013 - 23:43
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