As a keen lover of travelling through nature, Borneo had of course been on my bucket list a long time. It was my dream to come face to face with an orang-utan to find out if they are really that much like us. But first, off to Malaysia.
After a nearly 13-hour flight we landed in Kuala Lumpur. We stayed here 2 nights to acclimatise and to explore the city. There are many hotels in every price range. We stayed in Hotel Corus KL. It's situated in the so called Golden Triangle and it's perfectly located to explore the city..
You can’t miss a visit to the Petronas Twin Towers, once the highest buildings in the world at 88 floors and 452m high. Visitors can go up to the 42nd floor. The two buildings are connected to eachother by a glass-bottomed bridge. Not suitable for visitors with a fear of heights! Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones did have access to the top, to record their film Entrapment.
- Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square): Beautiful grassy square surrounded by graceful domes and Moorish minarettes. It was here that the Union Jack was lowered for the last time on 31 August 1957.
- Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad is the most photographed building in the Moorish style
- Royal Selangor Club was built in Tudor-style by the British and was mockingly called the Spotted Dog after the club’s emblem of a running leopard.
- Chinatown is a haven for lovers of fakes. Rolex, Burberry, Prada… it is nearly impossible to tell them apart from the real thing. I don’t like it, but it’s fun to walk around the area. Our guide/driver wasn’t a big fan of Chinese either. He was prompted to say “Chinese people eat anything that moves”.
- Istana Negara is the state palace. They roll out the red carpet here for politicians and other dignitarires. The yellow carpet is reserved for royal visitors, as yellow is the royal colour.
- Stesen Keretapi Kuala Lumpur is an old railway station (1911) that looks more like a mosque than a station because of its towers, domes, minarets and the Moorish arches.
- Masjid Negara Malaysia is the national mosque. The 18 points of the star-shaped dome are a symbol for the 13 states of Malaysia and the 5 pillars of Islam.
Where to eat?
Many of the houses in Malaysia don’t have a kitchen as it is so cheap to eat from the vendors along the street.
In Kuala Lumpur you’re best to visit the Chinese Village. There is a large assortment of stalls where you can eat the most beautiful food for next to nothing. I have sensitive innards but didn’t suffer at all.
Malaysia is a safe country so it's a perfect destination to visit the rest of the island on your own.
After your visit to Kuala Lumpur, you’re best to rent a car and visit the rest of the island on your own.
Our first stop brought us to the Cameron Highlands at 1800 m high. This is one of the Hill Stations that were created because the unbearable heat chased the British colonists into the hills. They conquered the jungle and small, quiet havens were established with rose gardens and bungalows in mock-Tudor style. Nature is truly stunning in this area.
We stayed at The Lakehouse , a beautiful old English villa in Tudor style and the perfect location to explore the area.
Be sure to have a break near Tasik Sultan Abu Bakar, a man-made lake near Ringlet.
Enjoy the beautiful surroundings with tea plantations, lush flowers and the imposing rain forest.
You can book a tour with many different organisations, but you can also easily visit everything on your own.
And of course you have to visit one of the many Chinese temples. We found the Hill Strawberry Farm and the adjoining Rose Centre also very nice. Honey Bee Farm is also worth a visit. Most places give you free entry.
There are so many attractions in Cameron Highlands but an absolute must-do is the Butterfly Farm. The most beautiful and large butterflies flutter around your head.
The oldest tea factory (1929) is located on the plantation of Fairlie near Habu and is owned by the local giant BOH. The original production process is still followed here.
Tana Rata is bursting with great places to eat. Be sure to have the local Steamboat Soup (like a Chinese fondue). Delicious!
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