27 September 2008
Last weekend we headed over to Pasar Seni to Central Market. I predict that this will be a great favourite with anyone who has enjoyed Stanley Market in Hong Kong! It's a huge indoor (airconditioned) market full of colour and (a fair sprinkling of tourist tat too)! Here's a sample of what's on offer.
Love these kites!
Buddhas come in all shapes and sizes.
And if shopping isn't your thing you can always enjoy a fish spa!
Or a cup of excruciatingly sour hot lemon tea! They certainly don't skimp on the lemon slices here!
Next stop was China Town where we discovered that once you've seen one, you've probably seen 'em all!! Petaling Street is home to vendors hassling you to buy Tshirts, bags, watches, DVDs etc just like in Hong Kong! It's worth a visit but not somewhere I need to be too often, I think. Venturing down the side streets we found shops selling ceramics, incense, herbal medicines, noodles, tea and some beads and ribbons but unfortunately, nothing to quite match Sham Shui Po, the crafters' paradise in Hong Kong!
Making our way back I spotted this temple and outside, some Indian flower sellers
In the distance, the beautiful architecture of the railway station.
And lots of colourful spikey fruits.
And smelly, spikey fruits!
Back in Bukit Bintang - outdoor eateries..
And cats riding motorcyles!
16 September 2008
We've just had a whirlwind weekend in Singapore! Well, it's not that far away - just a comfortable 5 hour coach ride. We went to look at a car we'd seen for sale. And very nice it was too - so we've bought it! Now we have to wait for all the paperwork to be in order before we can import it into Malaysia - by all accounts this can take anywhere between 3 weeks and 3 months - sigh!
That done we checked into the hotel on Scotts Road then headed off to see how much Singapore has changed since we were living there 20 years ago! In a nutshell - it's changed a great deal!
Orchard Road, a favourite area for shoppers, now has even more malls, is way too crowded and incredibly noisy. Not our idea of fun so we were glad to turn off into peaceful Emerald Hill, a conservation area where many of the lovely old Peranakan houses have been renovated to provide contemporary living spaces, bars and cafes.
That evening we ventured a little off the beaten track again to Rochester Park where pre-war colonial black and white houses sitting amid lush tropical greenery have been converted to chic eateries. We enjoyed a delicious al fresco Italian meal and can thoroughly recommend this venue to anyone visiting Singapore!
Next day after breakfast we headed for the zoo. Singapore has one of the very best in the world and we enjoyed a few hours with the animals in beautiful surroundings. Here you can get up close to the animals in their natural habitats - dens are 'open' (well, almost!) and there are lots of monkeys swinging freely through the trees and parrots posing for photos! In addition to the inmates there are many beautiful varieties of orchids and other flowers and trees here, some of which I can't identify! We didn't have time to do it all but the white tigers cooling off in the water were definitely the highlight!
5 September 2008
Being the intrepid explorers that we are, we've been out and about in KL these last two weekends.
First off - Petronas Twin Towers - amazing buildings complete with vast shopping centre. This is great - a huge variety of shops which is a breath of fresh air after Hong Kong and its upmarket malls overflowing with designer outlets! Jules will be happy - Top Shop is here!
Sunday, 31st Aug was Malaysian National Day. Jan was up at the crack of dawn to attend the Merdeka (Independance) Parade sporting his new Batik shirt - apparently suits are out and batik is de rigueur at official functions here! Jan wishes it to be known that he will definitely not be wearing batik/loud shirts on a regular basis if he can help it!
Next on the agenda was Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill) Reserve - a rainforest situated right in the middle of the city - tropical vegetation with monkeys and many varieties of butterflies residing within.
Yikes!!! Check out this sign at the start of the trail!! Fortunately, we saw none of the above, but also didn't catch a glimpse of any monkeys or butterflies either, as being hotly pursued by mosquitos we had to make our way pretty swiftly along the path! Yes ... stupidly forgot the insect repellant! Not much time for photos here either, but will go back (suitably sprayed) as we discovered that you can get a guided tour from another entrance (which conveniently cuts out the very steep uphill climb necessary to reach the trail from where we started).
Next stop, KL tower - the 4th highest tower in the world........ hope you've got a head for heights!
Wow! What a view from the top! Pity it was so overcast, but even these photos taken through windows on the viewing platform aren't too bad! Well worth a visit.
Beware of falling parachutists! Dare devils jumping from the top and hurtling past the viewing platform at a rate of knots is quite scary! Something for Andy perhaps?
A short walk downhill again took us to the fashionable Bukit Bintang area with more large shopping malls and some interesting watering holes too! Look what we found!!!!!
Those who have been with us in HKG will surely remember La Bodega as being one of our favourite Lan Kwai Fong Friday haunts! Can certainly recommend the wine and tapas here!
Monday was a national holiday and we ventured out again. We braved the public transport system and travelled by bus, LTR (equivalent of HKG MTR) and monorail. All very cheap and pretty straightforward, though have to say we were a bit confused at times by the signposting (or lack of it - what is it about countries where Brits have had a hand in the traffic system? Plenty of signs for miles and then all of a sudden they completely disappear into thin air and you simply haven't a clue where to go!). Anyway, our destination was the Bird Park, but lack of signage and heavy rain diverted us and we missed it, ending up in the Lakeside Park! Never mind - it was a scenic and peaceful place. Despite the rain I managed a few photos.
Ramadan has started for Muslim Malays - we notice little change to daily life, unlike in the middle east. However, at sunset every evening the restaurants offer vast Ramadan buffets - Buka Puasa (breaking the fast) with lots of traditional Malay delicacies to sample. Needless to say I probably won't be losing much weight during Ramadan!
There's been plenty of rain again this week and on Saturday it was torrential - early Monsoon apparently. However, we hopped on the train to Bangsar, home to KL's cafe society. We got pretty much soaked walking from the station despite umbrellas. First visited a car showroom in the hope of finding some 2nd hand wheels - the owner dealt us his best sales pitch but didn't have anything suitable in stock. Apparently it is also possible to import cars from Singapore so we will investigate this too. Had a wander around Bangsar village and gave it the thumbs up! Found interesting interiors shops, art supplies, and branches of European fashion chains -lots of spas and even a Turkish Hamam (bath)! Bangsar seems to have a busy night life too with plenty of restaurants and bars frequented by expats and locals alike. No pics as it was too wet! However, I did get one of the Petronas towers on the way home.