Malaysia – Unknown Grounds

Even though Thailand – the tourist Mekka – is right across the border – the beautiful country of Malaysia doesn’t see the hype and tourism masses its neighbor gets on a regular basis, which is a wonderful opportunity for me to explore the hidden gems and unknown beaches.
The plane hits the ground and I am here. Kuala Lumpur. Capital.
Stepping outside, the humidity and the heat take my breath away but as usual this feeling is swept away by incredible views, sights and adventures but this time I have a feeling me and Kuala Lumpur are not going to be friends. It feels like a trillion people live here shrouded in the smog that sweeps through the city where plastic waste is everywhere and mosquitos/flies/ants trying to take away the trash left around…. I decided to check out the must-see locations and leave as soon as possible.
The bus takes me out of the city and finally I can breathe and enjoy the gorgeous hills and winding roads.
First stop Tioman.
Damn this island could be so awesome – if not for their huge waste disposal problem that is evident behind the beach bungalows.
The waste management plant is supposed to be up and running but when I was there – a monitor lizard was swimming in a river of waste and mud behind our hotel.
If the Malaysian government would take care of the problems on their islands the tourist would flock there but political issues and bribery are preventing that, which will at some point lead to the irreversible destruction of untouched nature.
Tioman looks like a forgotten mysterious island out of a movie with a jungle covered hill that rises above it all. (Actually I just found out it was the set of the 1958 movie South Pacific).
From there it is back to the mainland to see the tea plantation on the Cameron highlands. High up in the hills we are dropped of after a neck braking drive in a bus that sped through the serpentine like it was a Sunday walk. Life flashes before my eyes.
The humidity reaches 100% but I am a happy camper. Nature, tea and wonderful charming people come together…. a tour through the highlands is ended with a cup of tea and a hot soup. As the night temperatures drop I settle in for a cosy night.
Morning calls, and off we go! Time to step into one of the oldest jungles in the world Taman Negara a place of wonder, adventure and excitement. Nothing felt quite like it.
I wish I could have stayed a bit longer but my next stop is calling:
Perhentian & Langkawi
Why name both together. Well even though they are on opposite sides of the coast they feel like the same genre of island. Perhentian is the less touristy and less developed version of Langkawi. Which has its pros and cons. For those who love to get away from everything and are ok with decent sleeping opportunities and diving/snorkeling Perhentian is the place to be. Langkawi has a wider array of activities, hotels (luxurious too), restaurants and well maintained streets.
and at last:
Pangkor Laut
The main island – Pangkor is an ok place to go but you will probably have a much better time on any other island but the privately owned mini island right next to it which has just one resort is so cool that I would have stayed forever. Maybe not forever because there is not a lot to do. But here the owners have created paradise for those who can afford it. Part of most of my vacations is staying for a night or two in these kind of hotels usually just before I go back home. The idea is to get as relaxed as possible before getting back to the routines of daily life.
When you look at pictures of islands, beaches and hotels – the reality often is far from it but here it actually looks just like the pictures. (even better) As I eat my mango at the infinity pool a peacock ruffles its feather right next to me. Among the palm trees monkeys lazily hang around, too well fed and cared for to even try to steal food from the breakfast tables. Intense.
time to linger