Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Singapore & Malaysia

Well, we settled into Singapore with no problems. It's clean, multicultural and reminds us of Toronto. The subway system is pretty extensive so we were able to make it from the airport to our hostel with ease. Along with its other similarities to home, the prices here are a little higher. To save money, we booked dorm beds for the first time in a while, but then we decided to treat ourselves to a movie! We saw Rambo IV and were pleasantly surprised to find that movies cost less than half the price of tickets at home.

We spent one full day in Singapore, walking through Little India and down through the colonial district along the Singapore River. The river has been laid out well with the central business district on the south side of it and the colonial district on the north side. It was a very nice walk. To finish off the day, we saw another movie (27 Dresses). It's just so cheap!
We got up early the next morning and caught the 8:30am bus to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was a 6 hour trip on a comfortable bus. We contemplated going for a walk in the afternoon but then it absolutely POURED with rain. We stayed in, watching Balls Of Fury and Knocked Up in the hostel with other guests. In the morning, we walked to the Patronas Towers (2nd & 3rd tallest buildings in the world) followed by the Menara Tower (4th tallest tower in the world). We went up the Menara Tower to admire the view over the city. The tower sits on a hill surrounded by forest. We enjoyed a nice walk through the forest on the way down. We then walked to the multi-archtectured Merdeka Square, down to the National Mosque and Old Railway Station, and took the monorail back to the hostel. After a short nap, we went out for dinner and another movie (Cloverfield). Nicole had her eyes open for only about 5 minutes of the movie due to handheld camera induced motion sickness...

To make matters worse, we took a 4-hour bus ride to a town called Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands the next day and the last hour or so of the trip was on a VERY windy road and the bus was taking the turns as quickly as possible. Nicole was really not feeling well. It rained from mid afternoon until well into the evening. We relaxed at our hostel, reading, and spending time on the internet. We realized that we had acquired bed bug bites from our hostel in Kuala Lumpur... So now Nicole wasn't feeling well and she was itchy. Grrr...
Nicole was still not feeling great the next day so Jason went on a little hike on his own. He took Trail 9 to Robinson Falls then up the difficult Trail 8 to the top of Berembun Mountain. Lots of scrambling up hills and holding on to tree roots, through the highland jungle. It was quite fun. Only 2.2km up and 2km back down Trail 7, but was still challenging enough to be satisfying. The bottom of Trail 7 went through tomato and strawberry plantations before reaching the town again. Unfortunately, Jason left everything with Nicole, including the spare camera battery... The camera sure enough went dead after the falls but Jason managed to get one last picture out of it at the top. We've found some other photos on the internet that represent what the trail looked like. Nicole enjoyed her peaceful time at the hostel including a nice call home and some online web cam chatting with Jane and Honey :). At 4:30pm, we caught the bus back to Kuala Lumpur then managed to get an overnight bus leaving at midnight back to Singapore. It's Chinese New Year so the buses were all pretty much full. We were lucky to get seats.

We arrived in Singapore at 6am and walked to the hostel by 6:30am. We had to wait an hour before the hostel opened but luckily they had two dorm beds ready for us and we crawled right into bed to get a couple more hours of sleep. We spent the afternoon doing laundry at the hostel and finally writing home and catching up on emails. In the late afternoon, we took the subway down to the harbourfront and took the gondola up to Mount Faber for a view of the city and industrial harbourfront. After dinner, we walked through Chinatown, which was nicely decorated for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. We spent the evening on the internet and reading.

Today we arrived in Sri Lanka for our one night stopover before carrying on to the Maldives for 5 days! We are a little uncomfortable staying the night here due to conflicts with the LTTE terrorist group and their random civilian attacks throughout the country so we're staying at a hostel in Negombo near the airport and unfortunately not venturing into Colombo. We were happy to find, on arrival to our hostel, that there are still many foreign tourists around and we wonder if they don't know the current situation or if they're happy taking the risk to travel here. We enjoyed a nice sunset on the beach at least. We catch our flight to the Maldives at 7am tomorrow. Hopefully all will be fine and we'll be soaking up the sun from our water bungalow in the Maldives soon enough. Can't wait!

Singapore Pics | Kuala Lumpur Pics | Cameron Highland Pics | Sri Lanka Pics


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