We were so sad to leave the Perhentian Islands, we loved them so much. Probably would have stayed longer, but we’d already booked an overnight train to KL the week in advance. Glad we did, it was a nice break from the buses! Firstly we took a ½ hr boat from Perhentian Kecil to Kuala Besut. We then jumped in a 1hr taxi to Tanah Merah for 90RM (£17), which was a bit steep, but it was so hot we couldn’t be bothered to haggle or try and find a public bus instead.
The overnight train from Tanah Merah to Gemas took 12 hours and cost 38RM (£7) for an upper bunk, even cheaper than that taxi! The train was good, much newer than the Thai overnight train and we both managed to get a few hours kip. Took the 9am 2 ½ hr ETS express train then from Gemas to Kuala Lumpur for 32RM (£6) each. Very new and speedy train. Jumped on a metro from central station to near our hostel, and walked to finally get there 24 hrs after leaving Kecil.
What we did:
It was cool in Kuala Lumpur. Very modern in the posh part, with lots of green spaces which was nice. We took the metro all the way to ‘Batu Caves’ and went in the big cave at the top, where the steep steps take you up to a great view of the city. The other 2 days, we just spent getting our CV’s ready for when we get to NZ (great fun) and enjoying the novelties of city life; walking around the markets, eating different food again including a Nando’s (it was amazing), and we went to a pretty cool old heli-pad roof bar at the top of a high rise building.
‘The Explorers Guesthouse’ is where we stayed, after Lucy’s great recommendation. It was situated in Chinatown and was a lovely homely place to stay. There was a great social area, with free PC’s (which I used to do my CV as Jack had the laptop), free toast for breakie and free tea/coffee. The lady who owns it was also really nice. A double room and shared bathroom cost 75RM (£14) per night for the two of us.
Our first accidental separation happened after 7 months! Getting the MTR (over rail) from Chinatown to the bus station, we got on the wrong train…Jack then realised and jumped off but I was behind him and the doors slammed shut in my face…he turns to see me still on the train and just smiled and waved at me!...I didn't know what to do, we had no Internet and hadn't bought sim cards for Malaysia so I couldn't contact him...I thought ‘do I wait at the next stop, or do I catch another train back?! If I do that, what if he gets one here and miss each other?!!’... I decided to walk across the tracks to get a train back the way I'd come… luckily one pulled up from the direction I'd come from and Jack got off the train and waved at me across the tracks!...He thinks a local person was filming the whole thing on his phone, probably found it hilarious...
Apart from that hiccup, it was very easy. A ½ hour metro to the Bus Station (TBS terminal) then a 2 hr bus to Melaka with KKKL for 14.40RM (£3). Air con, big comfy seats and not terrifying driving for once. Dropped us at Melaka Central, jumped on the No17 bus to town and hopped off about 1km for a walk to the Guesthouse.
What we did:
We walked around a lot and Melaka has a lot of history as an old port town on the trading routes. The old town is nice and small and easily accessible to see all the main sights by foot. We saw lots of old colonial Dutch and British and Portuguese builds, including the Dutch square, the Portuguese fortress walls and St. Pauls Fort. It was originally build by the Portuguese, then taken over by the Dutch, to be again taken over by the British.
We took a stroll down Jonker Street, where we had delicious Malaysian coffee at Calante Art Cafe. We also found a classic British pub and had a few drinks at a bar on the riverside. Jack's favourite place was ‘Capitol Satay Cup’. It's like a hot pot, but with boiling Satay sauce in the middle of the tables and was delicious! You cook everything you want on sticks chosen from a buffet; raw chicken, prawns, tofu, beans, broccoli etc. Also only cost 35RM (£6.50) for the two of us for so much food, bargain. We also met another British couple there who'd just started their travels. They were so nice and we had a few beers with them on the riverside after.
‘Lucky House Cardamom’ is where we stayed. A small hostel on the riverfront which cost only 50RM (£9) for 1 night for a big double room and shared bathroom. Also had free tea and coffee all day, but no breakfast unfortunately! They let you just let yourself in and check out and come and go as you please as there seemed to never be anyone working the desk, but the security was good plus bathrooms and rooms were clean and comfy.