12 JUNE 2015:
The next country on the Samanda trip was Malaysia…
Hotel: Hilton at Petaling Jaya which is on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. The hotel itself was very nice although the area around the hotel was fairly run-down and a few places smelled funny. We spent most of our time in Kuala Lumpur being out and about so the area around the hotel didn’t really matter much, however in hindsight it would have made more sense to stay in Kuala Lumpur city centre for better access to the attractions, in order to save money on taxis and save time in traffic (which there was a lot of!).
We had booked ourselves in for a tour as we wanted to see as much as possible within the short period of time we had in Malaysia. We booked the following tour with The Kuala Lumpur Travel Tour Company: http://www.kualalumpurtraveltour.com
Tour Code : KLTT18
It was just the two of us on the tour that day. A chap called Steve who was the tour guide and driver picked us up from our hotel at 1pm and then the journey began! Steve was very helpful and informative. It cost 220RM (approx £40) per person for the tour which lasted around 8 hours including all the travel.
‘Batu Caves is a Hindu Temple located at the outskirt of KL City. These limestone caves are 400m years old. Batu Caves consists of three big caves. The world’s tallest Lord Muruga Statue with the height of 42.7m is located here. This destination attracts a huge crowd during Thaipusam, which is an annual festival for the Indians to pay homage to Lord Muruga.
The steps on the way to the caves were very steep, a little wet and there were lots of them! 272 steps was a bit of a workout but worth it as the caves were magnificent. The temple wasn’t quite as impressive as one would have hoped and there were quite a few tourist vendors that tarnished the overall feel of the caverns but it was interesting nonetheless.
SELAYANG HOT SPRINGS
Selayang Hot Spring or local name “Kolam Air Panas” is a very popular place among the locals. It’s believed that the mineral content of the hot spring i.e. Sulphur, helps in the healing process. Having cured visitors with illnesses like diabetes, gout, skin problems and many more.
Initially I thought this was some kind of superstitious healing place but apparently (I’m told) it is all scientific as the sulphur in the water is meant to heal the skin.
There were many men and women dangling their legs in the hot springs and some who were pouring the water all over themselves in large buckets.
I have no idea what the temperature was but I dipped my toes in the coolest one and it buuuurrrnnnneeed!
Steve took us on a slight detour as he wanted to show us a Palm Oil plantation. Apparently Malaysia is the second largest exporter of Palm Oil, second to Indonesia. Although Steve was adamant that the quality of Palm Oil exported from Malaysia is of a higher standard to Indonesia. We were shown how they cut down the trees and extract the oil from them to create the Palm Oil. A little bit of a cultural and economic lesson for us!
BUKIT MALAWATI HILL
Silver Leaf Monkeys at Bukit Malawati Hill (Local name Lutung – in Malay). It has grey-tipped, dark brown or black fur, giving it a uniform silvery appearance. Unlike some related species, there are no paler marking on the face or body, except for a patch of whitish hair on the groin of females. A crest of fur runs along the top of head, and the hair on the cheeks is long, often obscuring the ears. The hands and feet are hairless, with dark coloured skin and have opposable thumbs and toes.
Baby Silver Leaf Monkeys are born with Orange fur, and white hairless skin on the face, hands and feet. They have lived up to 31 years in captivity.
This was probably the highlight of the tour. I was a little apprehensive at first, especially considering a run in we had with a monkey in Singapore, but they don’t seem to bother you unless you have food or they think you have food!
There were people there selling treats (bananas, beans, and some sort of gourde) to visitors which could be fed to the monkeys so Amanda and I decided to be brave and do it.
They all gathered around us trying to get the next banana. They would climb up all over your body although they were not really aggressive. I did end up with a broken necklace, my hair being pulled and a questionable brown stain on my beige trousers at the end though…
We were then taken to the riverside to have a seafood dinner. The food and the views were very nice and gave us some time to rest before the remainder of the tour. The restaurant was very much off the beaten path and authentic. When we walked in they had loads of tanks full of fresh fish, so we knew we would be getting some good food.
‘Firefly is a type of insect from the Beetle Family. The Pteroptye tener species are the largest found in Kampung Kuantan. The fireflies here are unique because of its tail that produces light. The light flash by each insect is at an accurate interval of 3 seconds. Imagine watching thousands of fireflies flashing their light at an accurate rhythm. The fireflies are 6cm in length. The male fireflies flash out brighter lights than the female counterparts. This is because the male must attract the female fireflies during the mating season. The lifespan of fireflies is about 2-3 months.’
We had to take a boat at night to the riverbank to be able to see these Fireflies. We were grouped in with a few other people who I assume were all on tours similar to ours. The boat had to go down the river quite far before we got a good view of these little bugs. They lit up the trees with bright white lights, like Christmas in June.
All in all, a very good tour – well worth the price!