Final departure from Kuala Lumpur

6 02 2010

Kuala Lumpur main square

Sadly, our trip is at it end.  After one year and one month, we are preparing to return to Los Angeles. After our stop in Melaka, we headed back to the Kuala Lumpur for some final shopping, packing and sightseeing before heading home.  Kuala Lumpur is a nice modern city and a good regional transit hub, with many of our SE Asian flights using the city as a hub.  We were able to get one-way tickets to Los Angeles (via Tokyo) for about $700 US. Read the rest of this entry »


2 02 2010

Main square

We took a quick trip to Malacca, which is a city about two hours south of Kuala Lumpur.  Historically, Malacca was a major shipping port for merchants coming from Europe, the Middle East, India and China, giving the city a unique blend of history and culture.  We spent two days wandering through the different historic districts, visiting some of the museums in town, shopping and eating great food. Read the rest of this entry »

Thaipusam in Kuala Lumpur

31 01 2010

Stairs up to the Cave

Wow, what an event. We had heard about Thaipusam from some travelers in Sumatra, and also in Penang.  We knew that it was a big event with about 1 million devotees celebrating in Kuala Lumpur.  Commonly known for the visually impressive piercing aspect of the festival, we were amazed by the whole event, which is more than just intense piercing. Read the rest of this entry »

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

26 01 2010

Tea plantation

Since we are winding up our trip, we are sticking to the well-beaten tourist path in Malaysia because it is much easier to travel from one tourist trap to another.  Cameron Highlands is another stop on the Lonely Planet warpath in Malaysia.  The area is know for being agriculturally productive and has a moderate and cool climate.  There are tea plantations, strawberry farms, and a whole bunch of other tourist oriented things including a butterfly farm, botanical gardens, waterfalls, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Bukit Lawang

19 01 2010

From the northern tip of Sumatra, we headed back down to the village of Bukit Lawang, famous for its orangutans and jungle park. We needed to get back to Malaysia so we only stayed one day, but we were still able to see some orangutans. Bukit Lawang is on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park and has an orangutan rehabilitation center where you can watch them feed the primates up close. Read the rest of this entry »

Penang, Malaysia

3 01 2010


We left Pakbara by land and took a mini-van across the border and into Malaysia.  We had a brief stop in the city of Hat Yai.  This southern-most portion of Thailand is home to the minority Thai Muslims, and they are easy to spot with the women wearing headscarfs.   There is infrequent violence between the Thai police/military and local Muslim extremists in this area, so we were just passing through.  Hat Yai had a bunch of punk rock Thai kids hanging out at the downtown, dressed up like they had just spent all their money at Hot Topic (a ‘punk-rock’ store at many American malls).  We had some really good donuts at Mister Donut, then got back in the bus headed for Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »