Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur:

K.L has it all. There’s the rich and poor, the future and the past, tradition and technology, jungle and concrete, all in the one city.
It’s also a melting pot of races. Malays, Chinese, Indians, Bangladeshis, Vietnamese, Thai, Europeans and the rest all call this city home. And the best thing about multi-racial cities is that the food is awesome. Any dish you want, you can get it. Indian for breakfast, Thai for lunch, Frog legs for dinner. Fan-fucken-tastic.

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The mainstream religions all live side by side too. Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists all live in perfect harmony. This makes it a great place to start your own religion. There’ll be no crusade against you or any of that other stuff that’s bloodied human history. Everyone just does there own thing. I’m thinking of starting my own cult there. Nige-ism. Enlightenment is found through curry and beer.
But most people don’t go to K.L to start their own religion. They go for the shopping. I got a wireless keyboard for $23. I was stoked. It can be stinking hot in the markets though. Beware of sweaty sacs and chaffing. Avoid this by doing a jump on jump off bus tour of the city. See all the sights from the two towers to Little India without breaking a sweat.

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Langkawi Island:

In the north west of Malaysia sits Langkawai island. It’s right on the border of Thailand so is a convenient stepping stone beween the two countries. There are many islands waiting to be explored by boat and some very nice beaches to be found if you hire a scooter. It’s quite a large island and there are a fair few resorts and lots of tourists.
The best thing in Langkawi for us though, was a humble beach bar. The genius dude who owned it just parks up his jeep every night, unfolds his trailer and hey presto, a fully stocked bar on the sand. There’s mats to lie on, little tables with candles and even a live band playing chilled, beachy music. As you drink your beer or cocktail, you’re lying under a galaxy of stars and the water is lapping only metres away. Look out for it if you go there.
All in all though, the east coast islands of Malaysia like the Perhenthians are way more tropical and untouched, so I’d go there if that’s more your thing.

The Perhentian Islands, Malaysia.

On the far north east coast of Malaysia sits paradise. Two islands – one big, one small. Graced with perfeclty white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, colourful coral, and teeming with marine life. A great place to take photos and post them on social media to make your friends jealous.

And the diving is some of the best in the world.

There’s no road, no cars, no pollution. The locals are mellow and so are the people that visit.

I loved this place and would marry it if I could.

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Things to DO on the Perhentian Islands:

  • Dive. I did a discovery dive at Angel Dive shop. They were super friendly, relaxed and professional. The thing I find funny about divers is they all smoke. The one thing you need to be able to do is breathe clearly, yet they all fill their lungs with toxins. Hilarious. You don’t have to be an athlete either. Half the divers I’ve dived with can hardly squeeze into their wet-suit. It’s fun to judge.
  • Do a snorkel trip. I’ve done boat-loads of snorkelling trips in my life -this was one of the best. You can see turtles, sharks, tropical fish, pufferfish, moray eels and only the odd plastic bag fish.
  • Surf. In monsoon season (Oct-Apr) you can surf on Long Beach. This is just a short stroll through the jungle from Coral Bay on the small island.
  • Hire  a kayak and paddle from Coral Bay ’round to Mira  beach – It’s an un-spoilt paradise. On your way there, stop at the lighthouse for some of the best snorkelling on the island. You can also jump off the lighthouse which is fun. The side closest to the pier is deep. The other side is all coral.
  • Eat BBQ’d seafood every night. Delicious and cheap at 20 MR (AUD $7) for fresh seafood of your choice, potatoes, rice, salad and fruit.

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Places to STAY on the Perhentian Islands:

We stayed at Maya Chalets at Coral Bay on the small island. Was only 50 MR for a beachfront hit.

If you really want to get away from at all, stay at Mira Beach. A water taxi can get you there from Coral Bay or get the speedboat to drop you there when you first arrive. There was a young Austrian working at Mira Chalets but his main job just seemed to be sticking sticks into the sand.

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GET TO the Perhentian Islands:

From Kuala Lumpur (or anywhere else) take a bus to Kuala Besuit. Then take a 1 hour speed boat to the Perhentians.

Avoid staying at Kuala Besuit if you can. People only stay there to get to the beautiful Perhentians and the locals know it.

Kuala Besuit is like the unattractive girl who’s best friend is ridiculously hot and gets all the attention. And she’s a bit bitter about it.

Cherating:

Cherating is a beach town on the east coast of Malaysia, about a 3-4 hour bus ride north from Kuala Lumpur.

It’s a sleepy surf/fishing village full of monkeys, cats and not that many humans.

In the monsoon season (Oct – April) a long left hander breaks from the river mouth. Was only small when we were there but the waves go on forever.  After a hard day’s surfing, there are a few nice seafood restaurants and cheap local eateries to fill up.

Things to DO in Cherating.

  • Surf or Learn to Surf. You can rent boards there.
  • Do the FireFly tour (25 MR, around $8) . You’ll be taken down the river at night on a  boat to see the fireflies. At the risk of sounding corny, this was actually a really magical experience. It’s like little fairies are flying towards you. Unfortunately I forgot I was wearing insect repellent so the poor little fellas got a bit dizzy when they got close to me. Even worse were some others on our tour who were swatting them away. Jerks.
  • Kayak down the river by day. Keep your eyes out for pythons and big lizards.
  • Watch baby turtles hatch.
  • There’s also snorkelling tours and fishing trips.

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Places to STAY in Cherating:

There are beach bungalows everywhere.

We stayed at Payung Chalets for around 50-60 MR a night (around AUD $17-20). Chilled garden environment, close to the beach, and best of all, the friendly and informative YaYa manages the place.

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GET TO Cherating:

Go to the main bus station in Kuala Lumpur, on the fringe of Chinatown. Go up to the top floor and ask for the counter that sells tickets to Cherating. Was about 30 MR ($10 AUD)  for the 4 hour trip.

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