From Singapore, a bus took us over the border to Malaysia to the east coast to Cherating, which is located approximately 300 km further north. The rainy season was not yet completely over in this part of the country. Deserted beaches, closed or barely booked hotels, empty restaurants gave a rather abandoned, sad impression. But for me this was not of such a great importance, because since Singapore I was affected by a full-blown bronchitis, the desire to leave the room was practically non-existent. Bine could enjoy the beach alone. The résumé for me from these three days in my room was that for the first time I didn’t take a picture for three days in a row and that it was quite boring to be in bed with a bad internet connection.
The further plan was to drive from the east coast to the west coast to the capital Kuala Lumpur, then to travel via the island Penang further north almost to the Thai border to the island Langkawi to spend some days on the beach under dry summer weather conditions. The roads and vehicles are ok even for European conditions, so there was nothing to be said against doing this tour over several stages with the quite comfortable coaches.
The stay in Kuala Lumpur was short – the only thing I can say later about this city is – yes, I was there as well. Compared to Singapore it lacks the quality and the glamour, compared to the other capitals of South East Asia like Bangkok, Phnom Penh or Ho Chi Minh it misses the life on the streets and the authenticity. We could not visit the landmark of the city, the Twin-Towers, because only a relatively small number of people are let on this connecting bridge between the two towers every day. We could go up to the Menara Kuala Lumpur, the 7th highest television tower in the world with 421m. Two nights were enough to continue to Georgetown, the island of Penang.
The centre, the old town of Georgetown, impressively reflects the architectural influence of the last colonial masters, the British. Malaysia is the second Muslim country in the region besides Indonesia. However, other religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism are fully accepted. The population is multicultural, besides Malaysians, mainly Chinese and Indians live in Malaysia. Chinatown and Little India are located right next to each other, so it is hard to avoid stopping at one of the excellent street kitchens during an evening walk and having a good meal.
On Penang you can easily rent a motorbike and explore the most interesting places of the island within one day. The Ke Lok Si Temple, a Chinese-Buddhist temple complex with a great view of Georgetown was very impressive. As usual in Chinese Buddhism, the presentation (for my taste) is very cheesy. For the believers it is nevertheless a spiritual place. Those who like it colourful will surely feel comfortable there.
In the far north, right on the Thai border, lies Langkawi, a very touristy holiday island in the Andaman Sea. On the ferry crossing from Georgetown to Langkawi we met Angelika and Wilfried from Vienna, who also spent the remaining days of their Malaysia stay there. Common preferences for Indian food and cool drinks in a casual beach bar, led to pleasant evenings in a relaxed atmosphere. Langkawi is a holiday island, which means that the main attraction is the sea and the beach. Personally, I tried swimming in the sea twice, but each time I was stung by a jellyfish. After that my interest in the sea was over.
Another attraction on the island is a cable car to a panoramic platform. The great view compensates for the long waiting time. Anyway, it is a well visited destination and a welcome change to the long days on the beach.