On the Road Again 2 Sat 11th to SaT 18th Feb

Saturday 11th Feb

Taxi to Kepong Sentral railway station. First Malaysian train ride and we were very impressed. Spotless train station, clean, modern, spacious train and the best train toilets ever encountered; shame it was only an hour's ride to Kuala Kubu Bihari (known as KKB)

We were met by David, a Canadian who had lived in Malaysia for the past 11 years. An enthusiastic tour guide using expansive arm gestures, he pointed out all the traditional buildings, their particular architectural traits and the types of families who had lived in them, Chinese, Indian or Malays.

Main Street KKB

After a lunch of noodles, we set off for Bukit Fraser (Fraser Hill); a journey of 1 & a half hours. Throughout the twisting bends that climbed gently up through the hills, David would indicate places of interest, gesturing with his arm and letting his gaze follow where he pointed while we generally watched the road, ready to grab the wheel if needed! Luckily, he drove quite slowly which was good because he often just stopped the car in the middle of the road to show us something of interest.

Finally, we reached 'Stephen's Place.

Stephen's Place

Stephen Hogg is an English man (A Geordie), a wildlife photographer and naturalist who has lived in Malaysia for many years. He is married to Salmiah and has a 10 year old son, Adam and an adopted Malaysian son, Daniel aged 7. They have run the B & B for the past 4 years.

Adam, Daniel & the gosling
The gosling
The garden

Dinner around the table with the other guests; three Malaysians and an American couple. Lively, far ranging conversations. The Malaysians are just here for the weekend. The Americans - Tom and Nancy are on a FIVE YEAR trip around the world travelling in a huge 4x4 type vehicle; shipping it when necessary!

Sunday 12th/ Monday 13th Feb

Every evening Stephen sets up a moth trap; a special canvass sheet illuminated by a light. A huge variety of moths both big and tiny are attracted to the sheet.

In the morning, the birds arrive to feast and we watched in awe as one of them swooped down and carried this monster off!

This one was size of my hand!

The weather has, unfortunately, taken a turn for the worse with mist coming in low, outbreaks of heavy rain and quite cool temperatures.

Despite this we walked 'the loop' with the mist casting it's eerie magic through the jungle.

Tuesday 14thFeb

We said our farewells to Tom & Nancy who set off before us and then to our hosts Stephen and Salmiah.

David arrived to take us back to KKB station to take the train to Ipoh (pronounced Epoh) Back to the hot weather. Ipoh is a shock to the system after the complete peace and quiet of Bukit Hill. We are only here for one night, staying at The French Hotel.

Wednesday 15th Feb

Have a wonder around the old part of Ipoh.

Then ordered an Uber to get us to the bus station in plenty of time for our bus to Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands leaving at 4.30.

Poole bus Station it isn't!

However, looks aren't everything and we waited till 5.45 when it finally turned up and even then didn't get away till 6!

Just over two hours to Tanah Rata (the name means 'flat ground' in Malayan) Cameron Highlands and straight into back-packers territory again. This time we're staying at 'Fathers' hostel which is mostly dormitories and a few rooms. We have a room but it is very basic - a shower ensures that the whole bathroom is soaked for the rest of the stay! Nevertheless, it's clean and the bed is comfortable.

Thursday 16th Feb

Have booked a tour this morning to 'The Misty Forest'. Breakfast was good but a bit rushed, then into a jeep (eight of us from 'Fathers' plus the driver/guide. Three Dutch, one other Brit, a Brazilian and a Greenlander..

We hang on for dear life as we bump and wind up the steep, winding road to the tea plantation (women in the back of course, men sitting relatively comfortable in the front!). The weather worsens and as we get out for a short hike it is hard to see more than a few metres ahead and the 'stunning' views sadly remain hidden behind a thick curtain of mist.

There are mountains ahead, honestly!
Looks better than it actually was
Our Jeep

Stop off at Boh tea plantation for a look at the five processes of tea production which in this particular site haven't changed much since the 1930's. Have tea and cake at the 'view point' cafe where we jostle with the crowds to take photos of the views. Give up and take photos of the people taking photos instead .....

Taking a selfie!

We are driven to the next town and dropped off to walk back to the hostel, a distance of about 4 to 5 Km. The two Dutch girls and the Brazilian girl joined us and with the aid of GPS we made it back. We dined together at a Southern Indian restaurant.

Hindu Temple in Tana Rata

Flores & interesting leaf along the route
Golfers calling us (well, the girls) to join them!

Friday 17th Feb

Breakfast with the gentle, quiet Greenlander, who has been living in Sweden for the past twenty years. Then, the bus to Ipoh & back to the French Hotel for one more night.

Saturday 18th Feb

A week ago part of Doug's tooth fell out and he managed to make a dentist's appointment for today, so we hire an Uber to take us there. It is a good experience, clean, quick, efficient and cheap and all is fixed within twenty minutes so we have plenty of time to go to one of Ipoh's Cave Temples.

Here it comes
Inside
Very cheap & a snack as well!

Ipoh to Butterworth ......

Then it's the ferry to Penang.

Very quick - 15 minute ride

Penang is a shock - wasn't expecting it to be such a big city with more high rise buildings than London. Booked an Uber ride to our hotel, The Museum, reveals we are in one of the quieter areas. On arrival, following 'welcome' drinks of nutmeg syrup and Sprite, we find we have been given a free up grade to a two story room comprising of two toilets, two showers, two hand basins and a king sized bed and two singles!

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