Malaysian Road Trip: To KL and Back
In November 2011, my wife and I toured Malaysia, Singapore and Bali in celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary. These articles describe our trip from Johor Bahru (known locally as JB), on the southern tip of Malaysia, to Kuala Lumpur (KL), and back. We followed an anti-clockwise route from JB to Kuantan to KL, returning to JB through Melaka (also known as Malacca).
Day 1: Johor Bahru to Kuantan, wia Mersing
Day 2: Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur, via Tasik Chini and Batu Caves
Day 3: A Day in Kuala Lumpur
Day 4: Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru, via Melaka
Driving in Malaysia is very different than North America. In Malaysia they drive on the right-hand (wrong) side of the road, there were many more motorbikes than I am used to, and they are very aggressive when merging into traffic. Having said that, it was a lot of fun trying to chase my brother-in-law around the country - him in a luxury vehicle, and me in an under-powered, over-loaded economy car. As any one who has ever had played follow-the-leader in a car will know, it seems like you're always having to travel at hair-raising speeds just to keep up!
Day 1: Johor Bahru to Kuantan
We started our four-day race around Malaysia in Johor Bahru, a border town across the causeway from Singapore. Popular with Singaporeans looking for cheaper residences, it has some beautiful buildings, several large malls and a new public park called Taman Merdaka (meaning the Freedom Gardens).
The trip to Kuantan took us through the coastal town of Mersing, a jumping off point for those wanting to visit the Seribuat Archipelego, home of Pulua Tioman, the largest island on Malaysia'a east coast, famed for its soft, sandy beaches, warm waters and coral reef. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit.
Kuantan and Teluk Chempedak
Kuantan is a busy, commercial town and the main attractions are the beaches, the closest being Teluk Chempedak, or Jackfruit Bay. The sandy beach is beautiful and offers opportunities for swimming and water sports. The north end of the beach leads to a boardwalk over the rocks and adjacent to the forest which is home to a troop of wild monkeys.
Day 2: Kuatan to Kuala Lumpur via Tasik Chini
On Day 2, we set off from Kuantan, on our way to Kuala Lumpur, via Tasik Chini.
Tasik Chini is a collection of connected lakes, nestled in Malaysia's forested interior and surrounded by hills. In the summer, Tasik Chini is covered in lotus blossoms and is a sight to behold.
The shoreline of Tasik Chini is home to Malaysia's oldest indigenous peoples, the Orang Asli. They live in traditional long houses and still hunt using blowpipes and catapults. I was thrilled to have the chance to try a blowpipe, and was amazed at how accurate it is over quite a long-distance. I'm not sure that I would ever be able to hit a monkey, but I was certainly able to hit a target from 30 feet.
The Orang Asli Tribe: Testing the Blowpipe
On leaving Tasik Chini, we continued our trek across country on roads that grew ever larger as we approached Kuala Lumpur. The scenery is magnificent and literally reaches a highpoint in the Genting Highlands before sweeping down the winding highway into the busy metropolis that is Kuala Lumpur.
Before reaching our hotel, we made one final stop on the northern side of KL at the spectacular Batu Caves.
The Batu Caves are a vast set of caverns set high in a range of rugged limestone cliffs just north of KL..
Discovered by American naturalist William Hornaday in 1878, it was converted into a shrine dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Murugan, During the annual Thaipusam festival, over a million pilgrims visit the caves.
The entrance to the caves is dominated by the 141 foot high golden statue of Lord Murugan. From here, there are 272 steps leading up to the main Temple or Cathedral Cave, which is 328 feet high and partially lit by shafts of light coming through holes in the cavern roof.
Not surprisingly for this part of the world, the steps and caves are populated by monkeys, adding character and charm to what is already a spectacular site. Before descending the steps out of the caves, we had the opportunity to enjoy sweeping views over KL.
Other Articles by this Author:
Here are some of my other articles that you might find interesting:
- Wedding Anniversary Quotes and Sayings
- Wedding Anniversary Quotes for Husband
- Free Anniversary eCards
- Romantic Getaway to Hawaii
- Romantic Getaway to Bali: Sunsets and Beaches
- Birthday Quotes for Family and Friends
- Birthday Quotes for Friends and Co-Workers
- Birthday Messages for Friends and Family
- Birthday Wishes for Best Friend