Incredible Asia: Langkawi (2)

Our second and final day in Langkawi inlcuded the so-called “island hopping”, visiting one of the several waterfalls, parasailing, and a lot of car-riding.

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Ready for departure in the morning

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Taking a boat ride to the first island

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Water is life!

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Local monkeys are extremely happy to see new targets (us).

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“Give me food now!”

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Swimmnig in the fresh-water lake amidst the island

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At the second destination: eagle spot

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This cute little beach was the final part of the island-hopping trip.

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Embracing the beach atmosphere

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A waterfull with cool water felt extremely good in the extreme heat.

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Our car was our best friend.

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Enjoying amazing views from above

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Beautiful sunset at Cenang beach

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Final dinner and live guitar at the “Cactus” restaurarnt

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Good-bye, Langkawi!

 

Incredible Asia: Langkawi

Langkawi was by far the best part of the Malaysian trip. Langkawi island has it all – beautiful nature, beaches, waterfalls, extreme sports, good food, and open-hearted people. Besides, there are many other smaller islands around in the Andaman sea to explore.

We stayed in a very clean and nice guesthouse run by an elderly couple of Anna and Borke. The hosts were very helpful, and definitely contributed to the overall great impression from Langkawi.

The two days spent here made a perfect ending of the Malaysian part of the Asian trip.

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Our guesthouse and the rented car.

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It’s very tidy and cosy inside.

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Having a local buffet lunch

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Encounter with the first beach

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Taking a “screen roller coaster”

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Ready to reach the Langkawi Sky Bridge

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With friends inside the cable car

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View from inside the cable car

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On top of the hill

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Romantic heart-locking

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Final step: taking SkyGlide from the top station to the bridge

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Langkawi Sky Bridge: an engineering masterpiece

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On the bridge

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Surrounded by the fog

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Taking the cable car back and enjoying the view

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The road around Langkawi island

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Our super team …

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… and our super car 🙂

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Time to exercise! Ready for the yoga crow pose. The monkey in the background doesn’t care :).

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A sound mind in a sound body.

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Working out on the beach is excellent.

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Final exercise before diving into the sea

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End of the first day: dinner in the Chinese “Boat” restaurant recommended by our hosts.

Incredible Asia: Kuala Lumpur

Our next destination in Malaysia was its capital Kuala Lumpur, or KL, as it is often referred to. This was another day full of impressions, discoveries, and new people. My brightest memories from here are the KL Tower during the thundersorm, and a Chinese district at night.

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Our first stop was in KLCC, or KL City Centre Park.

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Nice tree alley

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Petronas Twin Towers (Menara Petronas) – by far the most famous tourist attraction in KL.

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The Petronas Towers reach 88 floors.

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There is a nice park in front of the Towers.

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Welcome to KL!

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Walking in the green park is very refreshing.

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Petronas remain the highest twin towers in the world.

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Encounter with a local dolphin

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View from above our next destination – Kuala Lumpur Tower (Menara Kuala Lumpur) – the 7th highest tower in the world.

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Hovering over the abyss: I had adrenaline pumping up through my veins taking this photo.

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Going shopping in the night market

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The market is full of gifts and souvenirs.

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A ride in the local overground train. Interestingly, the seats are positioned in the middle.

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It’s time to meet the night city.

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Colourful fountain in the fashion street

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Chinese decoratinos just a few blocks off the main road

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Bargaining is in full swing :).

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Cars, lights, and people – this is KL at night.

Incredible Asia: Kuching (2)

When I arrived in Kuching, I couldn’t help thinking that the name resonates with the Indian town of Kochi that I visited last December. As it turned out, according to one version the Malay name “Kuching” indeed derived from the Indian “Kochi”. As per another version, the name comes from “kucing”, the Malay word for cat. Throughout the day we saw many stray cats in town, with local people stroking and caressing them. No wonder our accommodation was also in the ‘cat’ style.

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“Quiik Cat”: our journey begins here.

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Cats are everywhere on the hostel.

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What a cute cat guy. 

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The hostel is cute and artistic inside also.

In the morning went for a walk towards a shopping mall to have coffee and buy hats. And explore the surroundings in the meantime, of course.

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Telephone booths

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St Mary’s school is the oldest in Kuching (dated from 1848) and the fourth oldest in Malaysia.

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Merdeka Palace Hotel. “Merdeka” means independent in Malay. It’s a popular word in the Malay urban architecture. For example, just in front there is Merdeka Padang (Independence Square).

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And this is Merdeka Plaza where we sat down for coffee.

I immediately noticed how friendly the local people were: in the shops, in the mall, in the street. Especially if you say in Malay Selamat pagi (Good morning) and Terima kasih (Thank you).

Our goal for today was Bako, the oldest national park in eastern Malaysia. However, it started raining. So we sat down at the reception of “Qiiik cat” and shared some Hungarian palinka (strong spirit) brought by my friends. Since the St Mary’s School was very close, we saw many kids around, and took photos with some of them. The most amazing scene a young lad literally swimming in the rain pool next to the main road.

After the rain abated, we called a taxi and headed for Bako.

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Waiting for the rain to stop

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Kuching fire station

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Another school with kids just before the boat station

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Ready to take a boat ride!

We hired a private boat for a reasonable price to take us from Kuching boat station to Bako. The journey was really fast and enjoyable, with wind blowing in the face and water drops splashing around.

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Approaching the Bako National park. 

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Bake begins where the Sarawak river flows into the South China Sea.

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We are welcomed by the local residents …

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… and local wild pigs.

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Looks like there are crocodiles here also.

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Amidst the rainforest nature

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Three musketeers in the rainforest

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Back to the Bako boat station after a quick 2-hour exploration

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Time for boarding

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River houses on the way back

Exploring the rainforest was very quick as the last boat for Kuching was bound early. Nonetheless we had fun meting the local fauna and flora.

In the evening we went to the waterfront and took a boat across the Sarawak river. The ride was quick, but fun, with local people laughing and joking. The other bank turned out to be much more clearly Muslim, even though Malaysia is predominantly a Muslim country. We had a dinner in a public open-air canteen, tried local Teh C Peng (three-layer milk tea: syrup, mil, and tea), met many cats around, and took a stroll along the river.

Rollei Digital CameraCats in town

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Taknig a boat across the river

Upon crossing the river back, we sat down for a beer in the Barber pub with a great interior and atmosphere. The day was pleasantly tiring, full of impressions and emotions.

Terima kasih, Kuching!

Incredible Asia: Kuching

During this day we continued exploration of the NUS campus, walked around Marina Bay, and had a quick look at the Gardens by the Bay. Towards the end of the day we were in rush  packing up for Malaysia. Luckily, we arrived at the Changi airport just on time to catch our flight to the first destination – Kuching.

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Kuching is the capital of the state of Sarawak. It is located on the Sarawak river on the Borneo island.

On the plane I met a local girl from Kuching who gave me some tips on which local food to try in town. On arrival at the airport I was impressed by the politeness and kindness of the Malaysian immigration officers. I was given advice to come again for the famous Rainforest Music Festival, and received wishes of the pleasant stay in Sarawak.

We took a taxi from the airport; the driver was nice and answered our questions about Kuching. We noticed his forefinger was in ink. As it turned out, this was a way of marking that someone voted during the election. This “election ink” was applied so as to avoid double-voting, and thus prevent cheating. We saw other people with their fingers in ink the following day.

After unpacking in the hostel we took a stroll towards the Sarawak river (“waterfront”) and had fried rice for dinner at a very local place. There were almost zero tourists at waterfront, which I liked a lot. Although the place was quite dirty, I enjoyed the atmosphere, with local youth sitting at the river, playing music, and having fun.

We came back at the hostel tired, and fell asleep soon.