Friday 24th – Sunday 26th April
We arrived in the Cameron Highlands refreshed and ready to go! Our hostel was a stones throw from the bus station, so we managed to get checked in to our cheap 4 bed dorm and back out inside 10minutes. Cameron Highlands is very similar to Ella, Sri Lanka. The temperature is lower, it’s very green and easy to navigate. The only difference is the size and opening hours. CH (cba writing Cameron Highlands everytime ?) is a lot bigger and more lively. After the initial walk round, we picked a spot. Rachel had a Malaysian style curry and I (James – Yes I’m finally physically writing in the blog! Woop woop) had a traditional oven cooked chicken & rice claypot. Both were incredible. During our dinner, we starting chatting to two very muscular lads on our table – Levi (like the jeans) & Sam – both 23 and living in London. Turns out we had stumbled on our new roommates which instantly built rapport. CH offers a wide variety of hill treks and sightseeing tours. With our new acquaintances we decided to book a half day tour to see the famous Mossy Forest and Tea & Strawberry Farms. The following day we arose early and ventured off with our guide – Appu. Appu was a very knowledgable local who’s love for photography made asking for pictures non-existent. He would literally grab the camera, manoeuvre us into positions and snap away quite happily. In all honesty the tour was okay but not fantastic, we got the feeling we could of probably found most of the places we went to, without 50rm pp price tag. But we got to know Levi & Sam a little more, so silver clouds n all that … Lol … silver clouds. After, the tour we checked out the night market in the next town with the two boys, had some drinks and headed for our beds – shattered from the early start.
The next day Rachel and I, awoke at 07:00am to catch the early bus to the island of Penang. Known for its street art and love of outstanding food. We were pretty excited to get involved with all the hype. Before boarding our transportion I grabbed breakfast in the form of two egg rottis, for a pound – bargain! The trip was very smooth along the expressway and we arrived around mid-day in the baking sun (I saw the panic on Rachel’s faces as she envisioned sunburn round two). Once again, our hostel was pretty straight forward to find and we adventured out in search of what Penang had to offer. We had heard about the markets and street food from the book Jono & Alex gave us, but all markets open at 5pm. With a couple of hours to kill we grabbed some push-bikes and headed out into this historic city. Penang really is a mixture of old and new. Within five minutes of our hostel we came across various cafes, bars, multicultural building and museums. In the evening, we came across a local basketball game (Free Entry) between two local teams – I think we were both very impressed by the standard and set up of this evening match. We even started to clap and cheer which delighted the local fans. Afterwards, hungry and thirsty from all the action we went in search of the night markets. I love the night markets! You order your chosen meal at the many different stands and pay once it’s delivered to the table. You are able to enjoy live music, people watching and premier league football. I took part in all these activities haha. Rachel got annoyed because she keeps ordering the wrong type of noodles and then my meal turned up and turns out it’s what she wanted.
We were onto a winner the next day though when we found ourselves in a small hawker market surrounded by only locals. At first we thought we were out of our depth, probably were, but then a girl who could speak much better English than the staff who only seemed to be giving us one option for a meal, offered to help us choose our order. 2 minutes later she’d successfully led Rachel around the market and ordered 3 different Malaysian specialties which were promptly delivered to our table and it was amazing – Laksa, Char Kway Teow and some iced tea….delicious!
Apart from the heavy rain at 1pm & 5pm, Penang is a hit! Can’t wait to spend a couple more nights here before heading north to Langkawi.
Peace out homies