On departing Langkawi by ferry, one option was to catch the express bus south to Kuala Lumpur from Kuala Perlis near the Thai Border. However, it appears that the reverse seems to be a little difficult as no busses return to here – well that we could find. So the best option (from both a hotel and shopping point of view) was to catch the bus back to Pinang then ferry to Langkawi).
On our arrival in KL we decided to start with a 3 star hotel. In consultation with the traveler’s bible (Lonely Planet of course) the Swiss Hotel in China Town won the vote. Not a bad first choice which included a cheap tariff with meals and some internet time. Having lucked out as we missed out on the cockroaches, unlike our traveling companions, (rating seemed to be missing a star!) two nights here and it was time to move to the tourist and shopping area of “The Golden Triangle’. Our first choice, the Cardogan, was perhaps made in a little haste. Once again we had adjoining rooms, (not far to stagger after happy hour) but after one visit for breakfast down the road a little to The Federal, the next move was on! A great choice, especially considering they had a few more stars and their promotional rates were around $60AUS per night. Restaurants and shopping malls galore! Who could as for more!
As it turned out we now know that KL is the place to shop for computer bargains. We can thank Bill (Time Out) for this as he spent considerable time in Singapore and KL researching this for us. Only he does not call this shopping! A visit up the Twin Towers is a must after one escapes the lure of 5 floors of a more up market shopping precinct. As it turned out, our time in KL was extended due to the whole of the Malaysian population having a 5 day religious holiday. (All religions!) We did try to go to a national park in a hire car north east of KL, however after a 5 minute toilet break at the Genting Highlands, which was jammed packed with cars and people, it took us another 5 hours to go 60km. So a quick u-turn at the toll gate (which was the cause of the traffic jam!) had us back in KL at our hotel again in an hour. Lucky for us as the car alarm decided to play up and disabled the car in the underground car-park at the hotel. A lucky escape!
So what does one do with more time in KL? Shopping of course! DVD’s first on our list.
Peter and I braved the great mass of humanity at the local bus terminal to book our tickets to the Cameron Highlands. Having read that this is the place where all old busses go to die, the trip up the mountain was viewed with some trepidation. (As it turned out, we need only have feared the bus trip on the way down with our bus driver pretending he was a rally driver, passing other busses on hair pin bends and having the smell of burning break pads filling our nostrils.)
The Cameron Highlands was a welcomed respite from the heat that we have experienced on the coast. Cool, quiet surrounds in a sleepy little village. In no time we had secured ourselves a guide for the next day. His experience in the jungle had been acquired via the Malaysian Military in Borneo. A knowledgeable man who took us up the mountain (to wait for him and his friends to change a flat tyre), led us squelching through the jungle to see a pitcher plant, showed us the natural male and female equivalent of Viagra (on which the men chewed vigorously – the male Viagra of course!) and to wonder at the landscape of the tea plantations. Our vantage point was noticeably shared by some of the locals – used condoms on the ground were a bit of a give-a way (spotted by observant Cheryl of course!). A visit to meet some local tribal village people had us becoming acquainted with their village hunter and his not so friendly pet – a Civet Cat. A blow dart competition sprung up (minus the deadly poison from the Ipoh Tree). One had to make a purchase to add to the respective boat weaponry of a sling shot purchased by one and all in Darwin. We did try to encourage the village man to include some poison with our purchase, but luckily he was far more sensible than us. It seemed like a good idea at the time!
So down the mountain we came (breaks burning), passing other busses on blind hair pin corners, making great haste to our first stop. A rush to find the local Tandas (little girls and boys room) nearly saw us miss our bus transfer (no-one told us!). Unfortunately a different bus did not mean a different driver! Bugger. We later learn that the Cameroon Highlands is where all the old buses go to retire!
We had booked our hotel in Pinang in advance from the advice of Time Out who had spent considerable time in the lobby of this hotel whilst staying at the marina. Another fantastic deal in the centre of town – this one had 5 stars for the price of three! We all love a bargain! To our dismay (yeah right!) only morning ferries were running to Langkawi, so we had to spend another night in such luxury! (Another bugger!)
So back to Langkawi on the ferry with a well timed video if we chose to watch it in between reading of the newspaper. Sea dogs like us at least did not get seasick, unlike the many locals!! We are reminded not to take this ferry trip during the SW monsoon.