Singapore & Malaysia


Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Between Twin Towers
Inside Twin Towers
Inside Twin Towers2

Flying into Singapore heralded our return once again to the hot humid weather. Dawn Valance, the head of Expidators in Perth had contacted the Singapore office so they were equally efficient with the result that we got the bikes out very quickly. Nonetheless we lingered on there for a few days extra. SARS has had a huge effect on the tourist industry here with the result that it's down some 70% as indeed it is throughout south east asia as all these countries are connected on the tourist trail. It is a great city if you are a shopper, however, especially for items such as cameras which both of us bought though we discovered subsequently that K.L. is cheaper again due to the even weaker local currency there. Having visited the sights and rested up for the week we then headed north from the island to Malaysia.

Twin Towers
Twin Towers2
Twin Towers3

We were surprised, on crossing the bridge that links the mainland, to find effectively no medical check and passed into Malaysia almost as into any country. Indeed the same happened crossing into Thailand and the reality is that the land border posts are too busy with the same people crossing to work daily that checks are ignored. At any rate we were just as happy, as in the heat we were both sweating profusely. Once inside Malaysia we turned off the Motorway and made our way along the coast. Malacca was our first port of call. This once great Portuguese outpost is where Francis Xavier lived and the coastline around it reminded us of the Kenyan coast south of Mombassa. As we headed up to Kuala Lumpar we passed the Sepang Grand Prix circuit and it is a thoroughly modern and impressive venue. Kuala Lumpar has changed greatly in the intervening decade since I was last here. The whole city is a field of skyscrapers now with each one vying with the next. The panoramic view from the Twin Towers was very good but the view from atop the centre tower was far more spectacular as it gave a 360 degree view of the whole city. A thing that struck me when I was there was how westernised the world has become. I was in the museum there one day and was wandering through the section where the various regional dress was being displayed. It struck me how absolutely beautiful these clothes were as well as expressing the uniqueness of the various places in the world and yet is disappearing too fast. To add to the impression the next room housed a display of stuffed animals very well set in a recreation of their natural environment and the vast majority of which are now probably effectively extinct. This place seemed to evoke the Far East of my childhood but which in truth is no longer there.

Kuala Lumpur
Shopping Center inside TT
Beach at Patong

Elephant Treking Centres
Snake Charmer.jpg
Snake Charmer2

We decided to head to Penang Island after we left K.L.George town which is the capital is run down and grotty at one level but fascinating in its buildings at the same time. Here life seemed closer to local culture than the endless Shopping Malls of the capital. While there we hire mopeds as they made far more sense for getting around the congested city as well as for heading along the coast. At a cost of only a few dollars a day they made huge sense rather than worrying about taking our own bikes with all their attendant luggage. The amount of small bikes sold in this part of the world has to be seen to be believed. It is phenomenal. Whole families of up to five people can be seen on them and there is something timeless about their cavalier attitude to safety as the women transport babies in their arms while sitting side saddle behind their man. The Eastern and Orient Hotel also stays in our memory of there as it retains a genuine old world charm and eating dinner there while looking out at the ocean across its palm fringed lawns would make you oblivious to the more run down aspect of the rest of it and evoked the ghosts of past guests like Noel Coward or Somerset Maugham.

Snake Charmer3
James Bond Island Phuket
James Bond Island2

As we headed north from Penang towards the Thai border we encountered our first taste of the monsoons which come in June and which are just about starting now in late May.The heavens opened for about an hour on us but the heat soon dries the road again.Crossing into Thailand was as easy an affair as coming into Malaysia and once inside we made out yet another island,this time Phukett.While there we stayed at Patong beach and again the exchange rate allowed us the luxury of a five star hotel.The beaches around this island are world famous and coastline with its countless islands is even more beautiful.We visited the national park here which has as one of its many islands the one used in the Jimmy Bond film Man With the Golden Gun and the whole bay is dramatically spectacular.We decided to spend the week in Patong as it was a relaxing place to stay and gather some rest since traveling is tiring.As it turned out it was perhaps fortutodious as the day we left it John had a spill off the bike so the extra rest stood to him in his recovery.North of the island as we headed through a mountainous tropical jungle the area was really beautiful with a fine twisting road.We came into a section where it had rained prior to our arrival with the result that the road was still wet. Rounding a bend John's bike hit a patch of diesel and down he came at about 50 to 55. Luckily he slid harmlessly along the road and his now famous panniers yet again came to the rescue as they once more took the brunt of an accident. The bars were totally twisted however and John had a deep cut to his thumb. It is testimony to John's ability the way he dealt with the accident. At 3 days before his 66th birthday he was up on his feet in seconds and dealing very rationally with the situation.We righted the bike and gathered the contents off the road.

James Bond Island3
Long Boat Trip to Islands
Pictures on way to Island

Pictures on way to Island2
Pictures on way to Island3
Pictures on way to Island4


Pictures on way to Island

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