(15th September 2019) So we had a day in Kuala Lumpur. Or actually half a day. This is just a small teaser of what this city can give but it was good for our start.
We agreed on starting the day early but we tried to save the world the previous night. In a very similar way to most politicians: sitting in the high tower, drinking wine, telling what people should do …
… so started relaxed in the top infinity pool of the hotel. And realized that while the view was amazing, one could not go past the extreme haze caused by the fires in Indonesia. More precisely it’s the island of Borneo, shared among Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, causing some discussions about who should take care of the problem. But smoke and fire do not care about the borders.
We finally decided to make use of our short half day in Kuala Lumpur and visited Batu caves. It’s about 20 minutes drive from the center and was an interesting experience to suddenly see sharp tropical limestone peaks emerging from the all covering haze. The caves themselves contain hindu temples and accessible through steep stairs. It shows the interesting mix of cultures in Malaysia: this is one the most important hindu shrines outside India. The place is beautifully decorated and comes in package with the usual monkeys (long-tailed macaqs). However, reading after the history it looks like that the caves only became famous in the late 19th century. The most prominent installation of the 50 meter tall god statue just happened in 2006.
I realized that humidity, heat, hangover and jetlag can harm my photography skills, a note for the rest of the trip: focus (pun intended). At the end of the visit I had to try my first ever coconut. Better late than never, eh?
We went back to the city and took a look at Chinatown… which looks like Chinatowns in most part of the world, selling tons of things, branded and unbranded. Of course, original ones. The interesting thing was to see the different churches even in this part of the city: only a few steps away there was a chinese and a hindu temple, too.
We finished with a quick visit to the botanical gardens where we found most of the paths we planned to use closed so decided to finally close the visit and prepare to get our luggage from the hotel and leave for the airport. Just to eat the most spicy soup of my life so far… that fixed stomach for the day.
We flew over to Kota Bharu airport and during the flight I already spotted the lights of the Perhentians. We are getting closer! Our flight was Air Asia which someone classified as the Ryanair of Asia. Well, the price may be otherwise it’s way better, pretty clean and nice planes.
Looking back to these flights I feel a bit guilty, Aaron made some calculations on the CO2 and we realized that for this trip we could have chosen the overnight bus to there. More in line with the purpose of the trip. Of course, our arguments were the convenience of the short travel and the mild excitement of sitting in a bus during the night where nothing can be seen outside. But it was still a flight which could have been avoided…
Anyway, we arrived at Kuala Besut, in a budget hotel right at the jetty where they were supposed to pick us up the next day. The Perhentians were at arm’s length now, adventure awaited us!
But we were still unprepared for what was about to come…