Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cameron Highlands & Penang

After the luxurious bus ride from KL we arrived in the smell of fresh air in the Cameron Highlands. We didn’t book a hostel yet, but a combination of the Lonely Planet and some sellers on the bus station brought us to Danial’s Lodge a perfect travellers hangout, we liked it very much. The main thing to do in the Cameron Highlands is trekking, so after a setting down and a fantastic Indian lunch we went to explore the highlands on our own. Unfortunately the weather is very unpredictable in the highlands and can change quickly, our hike was shortened to only 1 hour. For the next day we had planned an ‘adventure’ trip with some trekking, visiting tea plantations, and a butterfly farm. In a very old but very strong Land Rover and our relax and superb guide Nick we drove through the highlands and saw the famous tea plantations. Es, a fellow traveller, whom we met in the hostel, joined us. We had a great time and we now know how you should drink a real cup of tea, which apparently the Dutch people in particular do wrong. The slide show beneath shows our adventure in the Cameron Highlands.

For us one day in the highlands was enough, so after our adventure trip we took a 10-person van to Penang. Penang is an island in on the west coast of Malaysia and its main city Georgetown is a Unesco world heritage. According to several major travel organizations it is one of the islands you have to see before you die, so that is a ‘check’ on our list ;-). It’s known for the old colonial buildings, the food and the unique harmony between religions, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians have lived in harmony for centuries. We very much loved Penang for these 3 characteristics. For the delicious food you don’t go to restaurants here, but you have to go to the street stalls and food courts on the street, which means it is cheap as well, what do you want more :-). We tried to eat only small portion, so we could try out as much as we could ;-). This slideshow shows some food experiences.

After arrival we only walked around and eat before we went to bed. We had booked 2 different hostels, since the one we wanted was fully booked for the first night. Both hostels were superb and although we slept in dormitories we had good night rest. The next day with did a walking tour through the city, which included the Penang museum, several mosques and temples, little India and many old colonial buildings. The highlights we are included in the slideshow. In the late afternoon we hooked up with Jamie and Es who we knew from the Cameron Highlands and we enjoyed several dinners together while strolling down the streets :-). Since we left Bali we miss our scooters very much, we rented one for the next day, our last day in Penang. We first drove all the way to the other side of the island to the national park of Penang, which consists of a jungle and some beaches. We took a hike trip through the jungle, which was a very very hot and sweaty experience. The jungle was a bit disappointing and the beach we saw was also nothing really special, but we enjoyed the hike and the exercise. We continued to the Kek Lok Si temple, the biggest Buddhist temple in South-East Asia, which was absolutely amazing. We were lucky because our last evening was the first evening of a 3-day festival in Penang, which meant that there were a lot of festivities in the city. Together with Es and Jamie we went for some more dinners and festivities. We saw an astonishing lion dance, were 14-15 years old boys wearing a lion suit, danced on top of small poles. The movie below gives an impression of their astonishing performance.

Pictures from Penang

The last evening we went to bed early, we had to take the bus to Koh Phi Phi, Thailand the next morning at 5am, where we are now. But more on that later :-)

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