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This stall was selling moist chocolate cake. When we ordered some, the lady doused our cake with a thick chocolate sauce. Needless to say, it was sinfully scrumptious!
A visit to the Perhentian Islands is a must if you find yourself in Malaysia and want some beach time! If you want a nice quaint island stay on Perhentian Besar. If you are looking for more action then stay on Perhentian Kecil, but even Kecil is very nice and has its remote and quiet areas. There are no cars or roads on the island. One morning we rented a kayak for the day and paddled to "romantic beach" (east side of Kecil) and had the beach to ourselves most of the time. You can also hire a boat taxi for a few dollars ($3USD). Along the way there are tiny private beaches if you want some alone time!
This is the time to sit back, relax and soak in the awesome view with a cold drink in hand at the Pangkor Island Beach Resort. Pangkor is a small island, a sleepy town. It's the perfect place to get away from it all, sit on the beach and just reflect on life.
As Malaysia is a Muslim country, mosques can be found everywhere. One of the most famous mosques in K.L. is Masjid Negara (the National Mosque). It was built in 1965, and can accommodate some 15,000 worshippers. This photo is of the Mihrab. It's a semicircular niche in the wall at the front of the mosque and it indicates the direction of Mecca, which is the direction that worshippers face when praying. The Imam (the one who leads the prayers) stands close to the Mihrab, and everyone else congregates in rows behind him. As can be seen here, the Mihrab is usually quite intricately designed and decorated with Islamic motifs.
The Feathered Friends Photo Booth in the KL Bird Park gives you the rare opportunity to have your photo taken with some exotic birds. I had a go with my family and we were all very nervous having these birds perched on our arms and backs. We ended up having stiff poses and forced smiles but it was worth it! This lady who came in after us was very brave. She had seven birds on her!
On any muggy night in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia you could find yourself being driven home in a sunken cab and look up to this blur of the Petronas Towers, a KL centerpiece that you can't miss. That is, of course, after you get your fill of the culture, cuisine and mix of all that makes Malaysia "Truly Asia".
These two young gentlemen were kind enough to let me take their portrait. After our photo session the one on the right gave me quick tour of this fabulous Hindu Temple.
The Durian is fondly known as the king of fruits in Southeast Asia. It's a fruit that the locals love, but that many outsiders find to be an acquired taste. In fact, Andrew Zimmern, the presenter of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods, (the guy who eats the world's craziest and weirdest things) can't stand durians. The name durian comes from the Malay word "duri," which means "thorns." Cutting open a durian is an art. You have to cut along certain lines created by the thorns, which are barely visible. If you get it wrong, it would be tough to open. Once cut, you use your palms to push apart the insides to reveal the yellow flesh. The smell of the durian is strong enough to make you salivate or faint, depending on which side of the fence you are on regarding it's taste. If you're ever in Malaysia, you must give it a try. Who knows? You could end up liking something that Andrew Zimmern himself can't stomach!
The largest collection of Islamic art in South East Asia can be found in the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. There are four floors, spread over 30,000 square meters. Two floors are designated for permanent collections, while galleries in the other floors are for temporary exhibitions. The museum has a lovely Middle Eastern restaurant and a wonderful gift shop. Not only can you buy souvenirs and books but also actual Islamic artefacts from around the world.
The Night Market (or "Pasar Malam" in Malay) can be found at various places throughout K.L. and Malaysia. It's an open-air market which starts around 4 p.m. and ends around 10 p.m. You can find a variety of things for sale. From fresh meat and vegetables, to dresses and home accessories, to toiletries and herbal supplements. Most people go to buy freshly cooked food to take home for dinner. There are lots of local delicacies available, like satay, fried rice, noodles, grilled fish, and kebabs.
I love the sea. One of my favorite things to do on the road is take my camera and my tripod and wade out into the ocean where I can be on my own in total peace. Malaysia's Perhentian Islands offer some of the most incredible beach vistas in the world, and since most people stick close to their hotels in the evening, I usually had the ocean to myself. Add a bottle of rum, and I was happy.
Central Market in K.L. started life as a wet market in 1888. It's now a one-stop shopping destination for Malaysian handicrafts and souvenirs. It also holds cultural and arts events at the outdoor stage in front, as well as art exhibitions at the Annexe Gallery in the back. There are several restaurants and food stalls inside, so you can shop for hours and not worry when the hunger pangs strike.
This Kuala Lumpur institution is in the heart of the Bukit Bintang shopping area. In the basement of the Lot 10 shopping mall, at 50 Jalan Sultan Ismail, a developer built the quintessential food court. It's an atmospheric hawker center, with over 30 stalls, most of which are branches of famous K.L. eateries, each with their own specialties. These include barbecue pork and duck, wonton noodle soup, dim sum, Singaporean specialities like radish cake, Korean dishes, and desserts like ice kachang—a crushed ice and fruit dish. I was sitting at a crowded table at Lot 10 when I realized I could live in K.L., so long as I were walking distance from Lot 10. Everything I ate was fantastic and reasonably priced.
One of the 'must-dos' for visitors to K.L. is to visit the Petronas Twin Towers. There are hourly sessions where you are taken up in groups, stopping first at the Skybridge on the 41st floor. The bridge links the two towers and is 170 meters above the ground. You're given about 15 mins to walk about and take pictures. Then you'll be taken up to the 86th floor, for one of the most commanding views in all of Southeast Asia.
Severely dehydrated, severely under-dressed, severely cold (the sum of these parts means, of course, that I am severely stupid) my travel partner and I dragged our sorry carcasses through the woods and over rocks in the dead of night in search of Low's Peak. We found the peak, and under cover of dark we sat huddled together in an effort to get warm. And then the sun peaked over the horizon, and everything changed. I was still damn near freezing to death, but at least I had a smile on my face. Kota Kinabalu, for all it's commercialization, is still a brilliant climb. This is the 20th tallest mountain in the world by virtue of topographic prominence, and you'll feel every inch on your way to the top.
Kek Lok Si is a Buddhist temple situated in on Penang island just outside of Georgetown. It is one of the better known temples on the island and is thought to be one of the largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia. This temple is fairly commercial so don't expect a serene atmosphere but the friendly environment makes up for this. Incense is smoking everywhere, there is a turtle liberation pond and if you get hungry there are several options of places to eat near the temple. The structure you see in the picture is a bust of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. "Rapid Penang Bus 201, 203, 204, 306 and 502 goes to Air Itam Village. The most convenient stop is located along Jalan Pasar, at the foothills of the temple. Jalan Pasar is a one-way street. Walk following the traffic flow until you reach a T-junction. You can see Kek Lok Si towering to the left side. Turn left and walk in its direction." - Penang Travel Tips Website.
If you're a jazz lover and you're in Malaysia between Nov 29 - Dec 2 2012, you have to head north to Penang for the Penang Island Jazz Festival. Held at the grounds of the Bayview Beach Resort in Batu Ferringhi, the 4-day international festival is now in its 9th year. I was there last year and had a great time!
It's had quite a few different names over the years, but it's the same place. Please select from any of the following: Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple, Sri Arulmigu Mahamariamman Temple or Sri Mariamman Temple. No matter how you refer to it, you will be referencing the oldest Hindu temple in Penang, which has been in the exact same place for the past 200 years. You will know when you are approaching it, because from afar it looks like an exquisite mound of multi-colored candy has been strategically placed in the center of town. Upon closer inspection you'll notice that what you are seeing are statues of various Hindu deities surrounded by ornate decor. After crossing the threshold, you will encounter some of the coolest carvings and sculptures in Asia, which are representations of Lord Ganesha, Lord Muruga, Ashta Lakshmi, Nadaraja and Sivakami to name but a few. The sheer volume of sculptures and the almost cartoon-like quality makes every single statue feel like it is a superhero in its own right. I would highly recommend a visit to this intriguing historical sight. The temple is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and again from 4:30 pm to 9:00 p.m.
My travel companion wasn’t incredibly excited about our hike out to the island’s floating mosque. I’m not sure why; there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as a 12km hike when you’re weighed down by a couple hundred pounds of camera gear. Interesting adventure, nonetheless. The mosque, built not too long ago, is situated on what is touted as the “largest Arab community in Asia…” though each and every building is derelict, built in the late 1990’s as a super community and never inhabited. The rains came in after the sun went down and we didn’t get a chance to shoot the empty buildings, sadly. If you make it to Melaka, you should try to visit this mosque - though please take a taxi. You don't want to walk. For the photo geek in all of us, here's how I shot this image (all my work was done in camera): - CP-L filter to flatten reflections on the water - Graduated ND8 filter to bring down the bright sky - Graduated Sky Blue filter... for fun - ND1000 filer to smooth out the water
Here is the gateway to Komodo National Park home of the largest lizard in the world. The national park is comprised of Komodo Island, Rinca Island also many smaller islands as well as the surrounding ocean. This combined with the remoteness makes an underwater world rivaling the terra firma. The SCUBA here is some of the best I've ever experienced. The corals and macro life is amazing but there are almost large animals such as sharks and manta rays.
The best place to view the iconic Petronas Twin Towers is from Sky Bar, across Kuala Lumpur City Park on the 33rd floor of the Traders Hotel. There is construction going on all over KL as an indication of where Malaysia is headed, but in gaping at the awe-inspring steel glow, and when you consider the towers' six-year stint as the tallest buildings in the world from 1998-2004, you could be forgiven for thinking Malaysia has already arrived. View the full album!
by Joe Rosli Sidek A really interesting gallery that shows abstract and contemporary paintings by local artists. 83 Lebuh China 60/4-262-6840. This story appeared in the September/October 2010 issue. Photo by Morgan & Owens. See all of Joe Rosli Sidek’s favorite places in George Town.
The island of Penang is an interesting place. It has been a boiling pot of culture and religion for centuries due to its geographical location. This island has been a major port for a long time and it has seen an its cultural identity shift after the arrival of slave traders and merchants in the past. Malays, Chinese and Indians all inhabit this island today and have coexisted in peace for a number of years. This is the type of place where you will see mosques sitting across the street from a Hindu temple, with a Chinese clan house next door. Getting lost on Penang is easy but you are never far from something of interest. While looking for sights one day I stumbled across the Hainan Temple (above). I sat and watched the patrons pay homage and was entranced by the temple's atmosphere - chanting, incense burning and prayers being read aloud. If you are on Love Lane (a famous street in Georgetown) walk NE until you can go left on Jalan Muntri (street) walk straight for about half a mile and the Hainan Temple will be on your left. If you continue to walk straight and take a right on Lebuh Leith the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (another famous sight in Georgetown) will be a couple hundred feet further on the left.
The Perhentian Islands in Malaysia have some of the best diving and snorkeling with crystal clear water, cheap digs and thumpin' bass if you need to party.
Penang Island is incredible. When your not stuffing your face full of Penang cuisine make time for a visit to the island's national park. Several miles worth of trails that zig-zag through the jungle and beach make this place perfect for a day trip. The trail has sporadic look-outs (pictured above) that will have you ready to swim in no time (as the trek is typically humid). From central Georgetown hop on bus 101, headed towards Batu Feringgi, the actual stop for the National Park is the last stop so if you are in doubt when to get off just ask the driver to tell you when to get off for the national park. He'll gladly oblige, Malaysians are friendly. The bus ride takes about an hour or more so bring a book to read or enjoy the coastal views.
My charged childhood memories of summer days spent fishing, swimming and exploring the backcountry of central Ontario are a far cry from the wild tropical jungles and lavish sandscapes of Malaysia’s island paradises, places where angel fish tango undersea, sharks and rays rub shoulders with astounded divers and the tangled web of seemingly unending jungle demands exploration. Differences abound half a world away, yet there is something about these islands, these wild natural playgrounds, that remind me of home. Perhaps this is because I don’t do the beach the same way most people do. I never did. I’m more Jack Sparrow than I am Jimmy Buffett; I’ll take a swashbuckling adventure over a piña colada any day of the week. When I was five years old my mother took me on my first trip to the beach. An older boy bet me I couldn’t dig a hole in the sand clean through to China. I didn’t quite make it, but I knew one day I would show that boy Pangkor Island, the forgotten underling of posh Penang, has the power to set free any inner child yearning for adventure. It all starts with the ferry from the mainland; studying my map by what light does stream through the grimy port window I can’t help but feel a little like an 18th century navigator, a commander of the high seas. The sluggish ship, surely at one time a tin transport, chugs along at a knot or two. The wooden seats are cracked and stained with salt and saturated with shellfish stink. All I can say is that it feels like paradise
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