A Travellerspoint blog

Leaving Singapore and heading to Kuala Lumpur

We only lasted 2 nights in Singapore...to be honest it was a bit boring (Unless you like to shop!) and it was very expensive (we're measuring the expense by price of beer, in Singapore it cost singapore $8-14 which is roughly 4-6 quid!) so we booked ourselves on a bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (KL) for $25 each. We couldn't find the bus station for a long time, we exited the MRT (metro/tube) then had to walk for ages with our backpacks to the remote bus station only to find that we'd just missed the 10am bus by 10 minutes and we'd have to wait until 12 for the next one... so we sat on the shaded benches and travel hysteria kicked in! For some reason the cans of Mango juice has bits of jelly in them much to my amusement and Clare's disgust but she persevered with drinking the entire can!
The bus was air-conditioned thankfully as the journey to 5 and a half hours. The border crossing took no time at all, put it this way, a Kim Wylde song started on the radio as we got off the bus at the crossing point and it was still playing by the time we got back on the bus! The journey didn't seem to take that long (compared to the 12 hour flight!) and we even got a refreshment stop at what can only be described as the scariest service station in the world! Whilst Clare pottered around looking for food I was left with the task of calling ahead to make sure we could get beds in KL. The first phone I found did not appear to work and before I knew it I had a big spider on my face but I refused to scream about it and went to use the other one...then a poor man with backwards feet got off another bus, he could only walk squatted down so he was only 2 feet tall and it was quite bizarre to watch him get off and then back on the bus! Needless to say though I still couldn't work the other phone either so we were heading to KL without accommodation.
Once we had realised that there was absolutely nothing I was going to eat we got back on the bus with a packet of wheaty cheese crisps which I took an instant dislike to! During the rest of the bus journey there was a massive rain storm which lasted until we got off the bus in bustling KL. We didn't have a clue what bus station we were in or where any of the hostels were that we decided we were going to try and get rooms in...luckily we managed to orientate ourselves quickly and stumbled across the hostel that was number one on our list of places we wanted to stay (Red Dragon Hotel in Chinatown) AND we managed to get 2 bed room for 3 nights at a very reasonable price (19RM each per night. 6RM = 1 pound! Oh and I'll get to beer prices in a bit!).
The first night we decided to have a wander around Chinatown, it has a really busy street called JL Petaling which is filled with market stalls and places to eat...you literally can't pass a stall without hearing 'beauty, come look at my watches/bags/perfume/pirate DVDs/fake football shirts/belts', it's all very amusing but it is quite annoying having to say 'no thank you' every few seconds every time you walk down the street to get somewhere!
The next morning we got up early and walked to the KL Tower which is the 4th tallest communications tower in the world. The lift to the observation tower was unbelievably quick and after a few seconds we were 276 metres above KL which had some amazing views!
We then headed to the Petronas Twin Towers but by the time we walked there we decided we'd had enough of being hot and enough of looking at towers and ambled through the shopping mall instead to take advantage of the air-condtioning and get a ice cold smoothie! Yet another walk back to the hostel, and we had a few well deserved beers (beer price in the hostel 7RM = just over a pound!), and I have managed to convert Clare to a beer drinker...
We then headed back down the market street to find a place to eat, it was raining bu we sat out on the street tables with a massive brolly to keep us dry. We ate loads and headed to the Raggae bar which is the only bar in Chinatown because we'd seen a sign saying it was ladies night and we'd get drinks for a pound! We had several! We finally got over our collective shyness to chat to some English people in the bar and only tow things soured the night:
1. Some guy did something (not sure what) and was asked to leave but he refused and got man-handled out of the bar but not without a fight and he squirted pepper spray all over us (we were sat at the next table) and the bar was quickly vacated until the pepper had gone.
2. We decided to try and find a club but were to inept to read a map and ended up seeing more rats and cockroaches than is generally acceptable before heading back to the hostel!

This morning we tried and failed to get up early... we were not exactly clear-headed! But we did manage to walk to the Lake Gardens which were beautiful! Plus we've booked ourselves into the next hostel in the Cameron Highlands, a place called Tanah Rata which is apparently a mountain rainforest where I hope to be left in a hammock for one entire day with NO WALKING! Not that I'm complaining but I just had to insist that we get our first taxi of the entire trip today from the Lake Gardens as I think I'm quite exhausted from walking up to 6 miles a day in very hot and humid conditions!
We'll be in the Highlands for around three days before heading up to Thailand for some sunbathing on the beach (at last!).

Mosquito bite count
Clare: 6
Leanne: FOURTEEN (all in the last 12 hours!)

Posted by garvie 01:49 Archived in Malaysia Comments (1)

Day 1 - Singapore

We left London on Monday morning in rush hour to get the flight to Singapore... the first couple of hours were fine and we watched some of the in-flight entertainment (P!nk live at Wembley of course!) then tried to doze...I was unsuccessful but Clare fell asleep before we even took off so I had sleep-envy for most of the flight! I also had a small child behind me who insisted on kicking the chair repeatedly...I was not amused! in the 10th hour of the flight I started to get very grumpy and it was't helped by the awful breakfast I was served... We landed in Singapore at 8am their time which was like 2 in the morning our time and immediately found me the smoking deck...once 'd stepped out of the air-conditioned terminal in the very hot and humid air Ithought I was gong to die there and then of heat exhaustion but we managed to haul ourselves back to the baggage carousel and both bags arrived safely!
As we are useless we had badgered our hostel booking and so we got the Metro/tube/MRT to one of the many shopping centres and sat there wandering what to do with ourselves. We walked for a while (mostly in cirlces) before finding a little hostel called the Cosy Corner which is...ummmm....interesting! We have a double room and we're staying here 2 nights and some how managed to ight off the urge to sleep and went for a walk to one of the Quays to have a look around and take photos (they are lovely I promise to upload them asap!).
After walking around for hours and developing blisters from our flip flops we decided to have a snooze back at the hostel...unfortunately I have no concept of what day it is and set or alarm to wake up up yesterday...needless to say the 3 hours kip we got was great and we headed off to Little India where we ate a very hot Indian meal before a thunder storm strted crashing around us...a bit soggier than before we headed back to the hotel which has free internet but there's a queue so I'm going to sign off now and update you all later....We're heading to the rooftop beer garden to drink Tiger Beer and look rather pink and tourist-like!

Posted by garvie 04:02 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Last day at work

It's been a really sad day so far and it's really sinking in that I'm leaving everything behind just to go off travelling the world. I've quit my job, I'm working my last day of work for a long long time and I'm saying goodbye to people I've worked alongside for almost 3 years. It's a pretty upsetting day for me....there have been so many people who have been saying lovely things to me and I'm lost for words by peoples' generosity.
This is real! I'm leving to go around the world...in less than a week! Serious preparation is still needed....ahhhhhh! I think I'm still convinced that it's all just some mad dream I thought up a while ago and I'm really not going anywhere and I'll snap out of my daydream any second....Clare leaving on Saturday morning to go back to London FOREVER didn't really hit home because I've sat there all weekend just waiting for her to walk back into the flat...but she hasn't, she's at home, preparing, and packing, and shopping for stuff...
I on eht eother hand have been watching dvds, drinking rum and muttering about how bad tv over Easter has been (I mean, how many antiques shows do we need...really??!). I did attempt some packing yesterday though...it was a pretty haphazard attempt which culminated in me getting very annoyed by the amount of tat I have been hoarding and wondering if anyone would be willing to remove the entire contents of my room and take it all to the skip! AND how will I get all these things to the train station on Friday night? It baffles me...
Tomorrow is going to be a very strange day because it will be my last time plodding up and down Northumberland Street looking for the various bits and pieces I still have to buy for my trip (at least I was bought some flip flops, that would have taken my hours to make a decision on!!!). Then there's Thursday and my last night out in Newcastle for a long time... I'm sure it will be a messy affair with beers and tears!
Also on my mind today...how many times will I unpack and repack my backpack in the next couple of days?

Posted by garvie 06:14 Comments (0)

Counting down the days

I bought a backpack last weekend, it's great! I've added a picture which makes it look tiny but, to give you an idea of size, the little sticky out part with the Berghaus logo on is actually a day-pack which is the same size as a normal-size backpack that you would have used for school! When I tried it on in the shop (with two tents in it to give me an idea of weight!) the shop assistant sent me on a walk around the shop... I nearly knocked two people over when I turned around! I'm probably going to be that REALLY annoying tourist type, especially if I attached my daypack to the front of my backpack...and with me wanting to buy some geeky sandals instead of flip flops....I'm turning into someone's embarrassing dad!
Back to bag....It's 55 litres plus 15 (the day pack) and all the straps and everything can also be zipped up so it's better for all the flying as I've heard stories of backpacks getting stuck on conveyor belts and then having to be cut free making the bag useless!

Obviously, I'm far too excited about the backpack...but it is lovely! I also bought some new board shorts and some bikinis and I need sandals/flip flops (am I going to be cool or comfy??!) too before I go.
I think we've decided that taking the bare minimum is the best plan and picking cheap stuff up along the way. There's no point paying loads for these things when they'll be a third of the price there....unless I go to Primark and stock up on £1.50 t-shirts?!

We're staying in Singapore for a couple of nights to acclimatise ourselves. We're also not going for the cheapest hostel either just in case 'roughing it' is too much for us in the first few days! The hostel we're keen on is called The InnCrowd (link below) which is in Little India

It's not the most expensive but it's had some good reviews from people who've stayed there.

We've done loads of other research and planning on the rest of our adventure but I can't put it all in this post. At least we know where we'll be for the first couple of days then we'll have a clearer plan where to go next when we're there and talking to other packpackers!

Oh and we've discovered they have disposable mobiles out there in vending machines...I'm not entirely sure how they are disposable or what use they are but we're thinking they might be safer...although I'm still keen on taking mine with me!

Posted by garvie 03:03 Comments (0)

Home from home

There are only 27 days to go. I must not panic...I must remain calm.
I am back at work today after a long weekend away with Clare to visit my family, it was great to get away as it's been a very long week with far too much stress!
Firstly, my second income has been stopped as the management, in their infinite wisdom, decided that I must be stealing from them as I'm leaving and there has been some dodgy goings-on with the tills. I have not been so angry in a really long time. I am angry that I have been accused of something would never even think about doing, angry that my plan has been jeopardised and angry that Clare and all my friends have to listen to me prattle on about it for hours on end about 'the injustice' of it all.
I have mostly sorted it out though through the disciplinary hearing I had last wednesday where they showed me the 'evidence' they had gathered which to me looked suspiciously like hard work. I handed in my resignation letter before the hearingas a ahow of protest too and they said they'd pay me for the shift I missed and all the holiday pay I'm owed. They also asked me to reconsider my resignation by the end of it as I'm 'one of their best staff'....I was most confused by the whole experience and have vowed not to work for them again as my little stressed head can't put itself through working in a place where I'm accused of such things. So I'm a bit worried about money now... I was relying on those wages to live on for the next few weeks and now I'm eating into my spending money... I'll have to work something out!
Going home was really great though, entirely more relaxed than Christmas at home and it was nice to present Clare to my family so they know she's not devoid of her sensibilities... But it was also really sad leaving them behind at the airport, knowing they're going to worry so much about me, even though I'm an adult who has managed to look after herself (mostly) for a few years now...
We're getting travel insurance htis week, I've finally made Clare start looking for the best deal as I'm sick of the sight of the small print. Plus we're getting the Oz Working Holiday Visas...I hope!
Money money money! I must check that lottery ticket I bought on Saturday...

Posted by garvie 01:52 Comments (0)

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