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Trip Report Back from Singapore, KL, Melaka and Penang

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Have just returned from a spectacular and refreshing first trip to asia.

Thank you all for the great advice before we left.

This was my
first time to asia
first time REAL snorkling
first time jungle trekking
first time canopy walking
first time malaysian food court scene
first time i had a dessert i puckered up when i tasted!

I will write a report soon, but wanted to post that our hotels were great, which might help someone make a decision.

We stayed at the intercontinental in Singapore. Great location, (walking distance to most atractions)fabulous breakfast, and nice room. Got a fairly good rate over the holidays there.

In KL we loved the Sheraton Imperial. It is probably the nicest hotel we, as a family, have ever stayed at. The staff and room and breakfast were marvelous, as also at the Intercontinental.

its location across the street from an elevated train station would be perfect for those using public transportation. We opted for a taxi driver we took a liking to for the three days we were there.

We stayed four nights at the holiday inn at batu ferringhi (Penang Island). This is a modest beach hotel. We had a sea view room. did not take breakfast here. I would not have spent the huge extra money ( about double) to stay elsewhere in this area. This area is good for the jungle trekking, hike and secluded beaches, or for the busy night market. Great food court at Long beach, too.

We moved to the E+O for our last night, which was absolutely an experience! Would have liked to have had the time to stay longer there.

I will add more details once i get unpacked, my xmas tree down and a few other neglected things here!

Thanks again and happy new year to all.!

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    I am leaving for Singapore next week, and your itinerary sounds very interesting. Maybe I will follow it! How long were you in Malaysia? How did you travel from location to location? I can't wait to read your full report!

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    when planning, i was reluctant to think about more airplanes at the beginning, wondering how i would want to climb aboard another flight after spain-amsterdam-singapore. but flying later proved ( as advised by the esperts) as a profitable way to go timewise.

    but we did the first leg by train. from sin to KL.

    My first option became complicated.I understand there are some fine luxury buses but during the holidays it was near impossible to find seats online.

    I had wanted to go to Melaka by bus from Sin, but had trouble finding tickets on internet. so.. i sacked that idea and we went from Sin to KL by train.

    Frankly, it is not something i would repeat, especially in second class. It took the entire day to do this! it was an "experience" but the bathrooms and train were soooo dirty .. and first class didn't look THAT much better.

    we later hired a driver to do melaka and petrajawa. (backtracking, and unfortunately hitting a gigantic four hour traffic jam!!) then flew everywhere else.

    air asia has good rates. i would be tempted to fly to langkawi for a couple nights. KL is a huge hub. It has three airports. LCC, KLIA ( both an hour or so from town) and Subang.You can fly anywhere from there.

    i would fly the long stretches.. and perhaps luxury bus to melaka, stay over, then bus to KL.

    if you are looking for special crystal clear waters, penang is not really that, however, hotels over new years at all the other places were sky high, and we thought Penang had more to offer than just beachfront.

    it was a good decision for US.. as i do not relish laying around a beach sunbathing. there is a lot to do there.

    i will try to get some pertinent info before you leave. sorry i don't have much time now!

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    I see no need to repeat what others have done so well, but here is our overview.

    We enjoyed our Singapore portion of the trip from the first moment. It was exciting to finally have arrived, setting out on this new travel adventure (although not quite so adventuresome as everything was very civilized).

    How can one not realize the exquisite maintenance priority in this country just along the highway from the airport to downtown. you pass manicured bushes along the entire stretch.. and the abundance of natural vegetation reminds you this was practically all jungle once.

    Which then makes the backdrop for the interesting historical colonization of this area.

    You begin trying to imagine what it was like to land here.. find the wooden houses and the native people, and want to claim this paradise as another of your own.

    The first night we walked to Chijmes, a converted convert to restaurant/ entertainment center and had a lovely special Dec. 25th meal at Li Gardens. After dinner we walked back to the hotel the long way around and retired fairly early.

    The next day we went to the Little India area, stopping to see temples, ending up down in chinatown, collecting our booked tickets at the train station for KL, and working our way back to the river area.

    My credit cards were not working on internet for quite awhile before the trip so I was getting very frustrated trying to book flights and these train tickets. I wrote an email to the train company office, and within in a few hours they had booked our seats and sent me a confirmation number to be settled before our departure.

    The website recommended here is an excellent resource for train travel worldwide.
    Despite the "condition" of our train car, I, personally, would like to do more train travel ( learning to ignore the grime) in Asia. But I doubt I can convince my husband, unless it is a very scenic route not to be missed.

    My son and husband accompanied me to the Asian Civilization Museum later which we found very interesting. we then had lunch next door at the Indochine restaurant on the river. This area is very pleasant, and we re-visited it in the evening to enjoy the night lights/atmosphere, (but for a disappointing meal at Jumbo Riverwalk).

    On the way home we COULD have gone up to the 70th floor of the Swissotel (walked right past it) to have a lovely drink overlooking modern singapore. However, I had not located the Fairmount (also connected) yet on the map and we were saving it for our return leg of the trip. So, for all you newbies.. the Swissotel 70th floor is the same as the Fairmount building. The famed Equinox Restaurant is also here.

    Do not miss this place! They have happy hour until 9pm so you can enjoy a reduced "sundowner" price drink and enjoy the night lights, too.

    Great photo op place, and they do not seem to mind tourists coming to the various upper lobby areas just to photograph.

    We visited twice. once alone and once with our son on our goodbye evening.

    Both these hotels are connected to the Raffles City Convention center, which, BTW, during Chinese New year has great dancing events and acrobats of traditional Chinese fare a few times during the day. I chanced a short program at another mall as I was passing through my last day. It was really impressive and something to look out for at the larger malls til end of January.

    I will jump to the last three days of our trip as they were also in singapore.

    Restaurants we enjoyed:
    Flutes at the Fort. ( Canning Park)Luckily we were able to get in with no reservation at lunch after our Battle Box visit. They have a fabulous business lunch menu for 35 SGD.Highly recommend this place I was guided to by Fodorites.

    A visit to the Singapore National Museum would be a logical after this lunch stop but my other half opted out, so that is a place i must visit on our next stopover!

    The Legends are building a 5 star hotel right at Canning park, which will be open soon. There is a Culinary Academy in the Park buildings where you can do cooking classes on Saturdays. These are activites I will attend on my next trip to Asia.

    We celebrated out last night in singapore at the Raffles Hotel Buffet. It was a lovely atmosphere and our hungry son certainly got his money's worth, as did my seafood loving husband. I was not even hungry but managed to have some perfectly cooked filet mignon and some grilled jumbo shrimp. I passed on the oysters and crab, but it was very well displayed with all different types of foods. The desserts were NOT memorable, however.

    I had read about some other buffets (Cafebiz, for example), but we chose Raffles for location to the Swissotel pre-dinner drink, and simple return back home.

    We had a fine dinner at The Blue Ginger at Tamjong Pagar road. (very near the train station).

    The owner put us upstairs (a much better view of the colonial buildings along the street). He ordered a few appetizers and a main dish for us to try. Everything was very good and most had the chef's "recommended" star next to it on the menu.

    It was here we tried the two recommended desserts and almost choked on the VERY unusual tasting green/red, with seeds soupy dessert that you experts know the name of. I am certain it is an acquired taste.. and i tried and tried with little spoonfuls.. but i just couldn't get myself to like it.

    Our son stuck his spoon in and took a mouthful and I wish I had a picture of his face!

    A melaka dessert was better, as it had a lot of brown sugar, but I will have to do more research on local desserts before the next trip!

    Since our luggage hasn't arrived yet my notes are in a folder, but we had a nice chinese lunch at Wisma Atrium Mall at the place everyone recommends on the first floor.I will post the name later.

    We also went to the Malaysian Heritage Center.

    This is in a spectacular setting.It has a history msueum and also offers classes and workshops in another building. We were able to meet the famed Iskandar Jalin ceramic artist here and spoke to him at length. What an interesting man. he gives several months of his time to a small village in cambodia between siam reap and angor wat where he is training the people to make good ceramic souvenirs for vistors. He is a volunteer at the Malay Center, too.

    There were Batik classes going on, too, by an artist who perfected the process in Indonesia.

    This heritage center also has folkloric dances at times, so it would be a good idea to try to see them. The restaurant next door is also amazing.. ask the owner to show you the upstairs where they have weddings, with the gold chairs for bride and groom, and pillows on floor around a beautiful rug.

    They can arrange private dinners with dancers for a reasonable fee.

    things in this neighborhood seemed cheaper. I bought some batik wraps i had liked in penang, and decided i hadn't bought enought of! There are some beautiful renovated buildings along the streets of this neighborhood. Next time i will spend more time here.

    As you can see, this trip practically revolved around FOOD. I am not even getting on the scales for a week (or three). i was doing pretty well until we got to upper Penang and stopped walking as much and started stopping to try more and more things people had recommended.

    Places we didn´t get to but wanted to : Changi Village, the protected island nearby and the Sungei wetlands. There was just no time as we were very late starters. I do think these two places should be interesting early in the day, and they say changi village is nice at sunset if you want to get away from the concrete.

    We found the tourist card a nice deal for trains and buses the two days we were buzzing around a bit more. we hopped on any bus at times and just alighted when we saw something. do not forget to redeem your card within 5 days of purchase for the $10 rental return.

    same goes for one way green cards. They have a returnable $1 rental fee deposit attached to them.

    You do not get ANY return from the EZ link cards ($5) but single trips turn out cheaper.

    KL and the rest when i get my breath. Have to attack the tree and house now!

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    Off to KL on the train at 2 pm.

    We viited some more sites in the morning on the way to the train station. You do need to check in a bit early as there is immigration to deal with and a departure card to fill out before you board the train.

    Then the train proceeds over to malaysia itself and there is another Singaporean immigration stop where you get off train, and stand in line, show passport,etc.

    There are bathrooms in this terminal, but unfortunately if there are a lot of people trying to use them they will call for the train boarding before you get a chance.

    Women: My last experience with squat toilets was in Turkey at a street market area in a long winter coat and trousers.not a good combination. this was so many years ago i guess i forgot how uncomfortable some clothes can be for women when this need arises and you find yourself away from a seated toilet.

    so.. words of wisdom: Do not wear long, wide linen comfy travel trousers in this area until you master the art of rolling them up or grabbing them to keep them from soaking up all the excess liquid there is on the bathroom stall surface.

    on to the train trip. it was an experience.. we had front seats ( but riding backwards for 7.5 hours) and supposedly with extra luggage-leg room.

    when we boarded, other passengers had PILED all their bags in front of this area and taken up all the room. we could hardly extend our legs. we nicely asked them to rearrange some of this stuff to the empty places provided for large luggage nearby. they did so smiling and i assume understandingly.

    we had some snacks but couldn't resist going to the food car to see how it was. they offered microwaveable soups and noodles and some sandwiches. we had milo (hot chocolate ) and our son had some noodles that he liked. when we paid, i couldn't believe the price. was it 20-40 euro cents for each thing?

    My goodness.. this trip is going to be cheap.. i was thinking, and rightly so.

    we got to see plenty of basic living conditions along the way, the brown skinned children all waving as the train sped by their townships. we saw some oxen in the fields and massive plantations of palm trees and other plants i cannot name.

    At the KL station you go to a kiosk to pre-pay your taxi to your hotel. we checked into the sheraton imperial and beamed as we entered the wonderful room we had been given.
    We are already liking this part of the trip, too.

    The lobby was also impressive, as were the staff and breakfast.

    we were fairly tired so we walked next door to the heritage row, a popular dining street with cafés and clubs and sat at the nicest looking place outside, which turned out to be from Indochine company again! No problem. we had a pleasant dinner and off to bed early.

    we arranged with the same taxi driver who broguht us from train station to take us to FRIM for the canopy walk, jungle trekking I had read about. This is a lovely green space outside KL, a short distance away. You can hike, picnic, bathe in crisp natural ponds and do a canopy walk, too.

    Wear proper clothing and footwear. this hiking is a bit more tedious than I had expected, which proved to me how the extra pounds i am carrying are really putting me into an out of shape category. I am resolved to doing something about this!

    It was hot and humid ( another late start it seemed) but we forged forward, paid our admissions, got our maps and arranged to meet our driver two hours later at a specified point in the park which we marked on the map for him, too.

    This day was a highlight so far on the trip. We really enjoyed being away from it all and doing such interesting exercise in this jungle.

    The canopy walk itself was not as frightening as i had expected because the sides are very high netting and secure.. so you don't feel in any danger of slipping out.

    Being among the treetops was great fun, and we tried to do more of these walks across Penang island but they were all closed for repairs!

    With our driver we went for some tea and ice cream at the malaysian tea house in the park before heading to Batu Caves. These are two activities that are a good combination if you get a driver.

    The extreme contrast of malaysia.. high tech skyscrapers.. and dilapidated neighborhoods anxiously waiting for a facelift or new urban landscape. Posh restaurants and grimy food courts. Shopping malls galore.. but how can most people afford them?

    We enjoyed reading the local english paper and listening attentively to our cabbie who had plenty to say against the corruption and outlandish public spending going on in his country.. "not like singapore", he said. "THAT is a very good country".

    That evening we went to a nice restaurant suggested by the hotel called Binyan. It was like a house in a residential high rise area. Very peaceful, nice dark wood decor.

    We had a delicious meal and an interesting dessert similar to warm tapioca with some honey and spices.

    The next day we went out for the entire day with our driver. he had said a "shame we hadn't gone to Melaka", so here we go! He udercalculated the time, or I wouldn't have even suggested it. But we had a good day out in general, but too little time to enjoy the town.

    It was a national holiday we realized once on the road seeing the horrendous traffic. we stopped off at petrajawa at my request to see the new administration center of the malaysian government. Some of the architecture was impressive..lots of wide open spaces, a beautiful mosque but it is hard to understand the reasoning behind making this center 45 minutes by super highway out of town.

    the new airport is even further away, when, according to the opposition, there was plenty of space to enlarge the old subang airport which everyone found more convenient... so go politics.

    You could easily include petrajawa on your way to the airport by taxi if you give yourself extra time.

    Melaka was quaint but so full of people and busses on this holiday it was a little stressful. Traffic was miserable getting into the town itself.. we were so happy just to get out of the car!

    we bought some nice souvenirs here of natural wood. the river provides a nice backdrop for the old houses you find there. we walked around the heritage streets marked on a tourist map,stopped for a drink and climbed up to the remains of the fort.

    we then left to find oursleves after 30 minutes on the road in a three lane parking lot all the way back to KL.

    The King's entourage and motorcade passed us on the way down to Melaka and then again on the way back. It was amazing to see how the cars split to either side to let the many limos and teams of motorcycles speed through as though traffic didn't exist.

    out cabbie and others tried to get right behind the last motorcycle to take advantage of this temporary lane opening. it lasted awhile, but not long enough!

    We attended an evening dinner cultural show in KL at the Malaysian center Salom Bistro. We enjoyed the dancers and their colorful costumes, although at the beginning the coreography seemed very basic. It got better as more dancers came out.

    I was very happy to be able to do something like this, as we found NO concerts, rectials, dancers or anything cultural anywhere we went due to the holidays.

    Both nights in KL we finished off our evening at some very nice rooftop bars to see the petronas lit up.

    One bar was called Luna Bar at the Pan Global Building, where the Pacific Regency apts are. We sat upstairs outside, a real treat.

    The other was at Traders Hotel (a very nice place!).

    Do not miss the views from these places. Traders gives you a view of both Towers, but Luna Bar you only see one as you are aligned with the towers themselves. But both are worth a stop.

    Had we stayed over in Melaka I had hoped to go to the elephant sanctuary accessible from there. Hopefully there will be a next time, or this is something we can do in Thailand.

    two of the things i wanted to do but ran out of time:

    visit craft center for gifts
    canoe in the lake park
    visit the negara hotel (cabbie missed turnoff on way to airport so we said forget it)

    My suitcases are still not here although they supposedly landed 16 hours ago at our airport. so still no notes.

    next, off to Penang!

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    great report....we were in melakka last june....we spent 2-3 days and really enjoyed it....there were very few people around so it was very the old sections we were often the only people on the streets....go back and give it a try...

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    lucky you! something about crowds just puts a different light on things.

    we certainly hope to get back to asia.. and are so satisfied with the entire trip.

    i wonder how many travel books peole used to have to read to get a small portion of the info and suggestions we now get here!

    I am off to the airport itself to see what on earth has happened to our bags that show ( on KLM website)they arrived yesterday. KLM Madrid not answering their phone. The Valencia airport is impossible, too.

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    I will try to finish this report, although our experiences seem to be similar to others posted!

    I forgot to mention we visited the Baba Nonya heritage Museum in Melaka. This was an intersting introduction to this wealthy familiy's lifestyle.

    Back to KL and off to the LCC airport for our Air Asia flight to Penang. Our check in was delayed tremendously, with no announcements, and finally they opened the WRONG counter where a line had formed, leaving those of us who had been waiting for an hour at the counter displayed on the general screen, just standing there while the employee proceeded to check in everyone else standing in the line next to us that boasted a sign going to a different destination.. but it really was to Penang??

    we suggested she alternate checking people in.. one from each line, but that didn't go anywhere. finally, some time later, our man came and actually did a good job of catching up.

    our son was able to catch up on his laptop with the free wifi available here.

    we had paid for express boarding. we got to the gate area.. but no announcements for quite awhile. flight time came and went. this flight was delayed but no one knew anything.

    we were then instructed to get ready for boarding. 15 minutes later told to sit back down.
    10 minutes later that the flight was boarding. "no.. go sit back down". "this flight will be leaving in an hour and a half".

    5 minutes later.. "this flight is boarding".

    the express passengers were escorted out the door towards the runway and waiting plane.

    "oops! wrong flight come back!!"

    anyway.. we finally took off about 10 minutes before they would have had to reimburse us all!

    quite the experience. reminded me of ryanair antics in valencia! express boarding is worth the little extra, as i had been advised here. these people can get a bit pushy in lines.

    we thoroughly enjoyed the flight despite the pre-boarding situation. you certainly can travel great distances with this company at very reasonable rates.

    we arrive in penang, catch a taxi to the hotel up in batu ferringhi. I chose this area to be close to a beach, and to be able to hike in the natural parks at the north western tip of the island.

    We arrived at night, and the intense holiday traffic was evident everywhere on the island. It is a surprisingly busy place Penang!

    As our taxi approached batu ferringhi area the night market on the streets was in full swing with hoards of tourists trying to dodge traffic on the street as they made their way along the road to their next stop.

    People, people everywhere. traffic was crawling amidst short clad bodies.. and wares dangling from flimsy street stalls all the way to our hotel lobby.

    hmmm. where i have sent us? did i mention we do not like crowds and lines and cheap souvenir stands?
    seems i booked ourselves into the middle of it for 5 nights.

    we check into our hotel. The Holiday Inn. This is a modest beach hotel, and although our first two nights were pricey, the others wre not. The other options were very mcuh more expensive and I did not feel like spending the difference when their reviews were not that much better.

    The view from our sea view room was beautiful. the beach is right in front of the hotel. no road between the two if you stay at the beach wing.

    There were a number of fine places along the beach to have breakfast and meals. and if you like water sports.. banana boat rides, parasailing, etc. this is the place to be for a few days.

    Actually, the next day everything looked so much better. the sunrising over the sea.. breakfast along the beach at a simple muslim place. we had banana crepe (roti) with honey and hot chocolate to drink. food is so reasonable in malaysia.

    we took the public bus up to the end of the line to Teluk Bahang, which stops at the entrance to the Penang Natural Park. you must register before entering the park.

    You have several options here. trek through the park to a couple white sand secluded beaches, or hire a boat through the official office ( not before you go into the fenced area) to take you around to monkey beach or turtle beach, and then hike back, or, arrange for them to collect you several hours later at the beaches.

    we couldn't find anyone to share the ten passenger speed boat so we had to pay for it ourselves, but it was still cheaper than going with the drivers who are at the docks to the right of the gate.

    the entire boat is 100 MYR one way to turtle beach. ( about 20 euros).

    this day was another highlight of our trip. we spent a little time on the beach and then proceeded to trek back to the entrance following the signs. parts of the trek were somewhat strenuous for me, but really interesting.

    the heat and humdity don't help, but i really enjoyed it and would love to include more activities like this on next vacation.

    remember to get plenty of water and snacks at the shop as there are no services on the beaches or anywhere in the park. you can also rent a tent for 15myr and camp out in designated areas.

    we saw an eagle adn her nest and monitor liards on our way back.

    after the trek back we got on the bus and skipped stopping at the hotel and continued straight back into georgetown to take a look around and see about going to the Pulau Payar marine park on our own without a tour. (Finally booked a tour through the hotel and since there were three of us, they discounted it about 10%).

    It was Dec. 31st, so most places were getting ready for the big celebration. we were starving and found oursleves at Queen E. dock. We walked to the end and asked if they were open for business, and we were served some of the best calamari, salad and snacks overlooking the bay in a very comfortable setting.

    We then walked to the E+O after meandering through the streets. We
    sat outside near the pool and ordered some fruit drinks and an artfully arranged plate of exotic fruit. I should have taken a photo. Three drinks, one plate of fruit. 25myr at the top hotel in georgetown? (5 euros).It was "Happy Hour".. but still. Such affordable luxury is welcomed on any trip!

    They have beautiful buffets here friday and saturday nights. we didn't go, but they include free flowing beer and wine so are considered a bargain at 99 myr.

    The next days were spent enjoying the walks and just resting up. we went to the longbeach food court almost every night as once you ignore the grimy floor.. the food is very fresh and made to order. most dinners for three with fruit drinks and occasional beer did not surpass 25-40 MRY.

    the tour to pulau payar was an excellent day away. although it was choppy water at the beginning and not very sunny, the weather picked up a bit once at the island. i can't imagine the beauty in full sun and calm waters.

    It is a 1.5 hour fast ferry ride to an uninhabitated island halfway between penang and langkawi. tours come there from both ends.

    it included snorkling gear, buffet lunch on huge floating platform and hotel pick up and return. about 250-280/per person.

    this tour leaves from the langkawi ferry in georgetown. some used this tour as transportation between the two islands as many were travelling with all their luggage.

    i have never really snorkled where there was much to see. this day was amazing, like floating atop an aquarium. it was so exciting to see so many different species of colored fish just swim by or dart into or out of a large coral below.. i would definitely like to do more of this on our next vacation.

    I decided to cancel our last night (foreseen separate reservation)at the H.Inn as to spend more time in georegetown. We splurged at the E+O and this was an experience in itself. We had a sea view room, and not enought can be said about this hotel and its location.

    All the constant suggstions by kathie to every inquiry convinced me we had to do this!

    we took a taxi from B.Ferringhi, dropped our luggage early at the hotel and procceded to go see the temples furthest away ending up at Penang Hill.

    Suggestion here. Go first to Penang Hill tram, get a ticket for a couple hours later, then go to the nearby Kek Lok Si Temple, then back for your timed entrance at Penang Hill. Unless you arrive very early, the time slots are not available usually for a couple hours during the holidays, at least.

    Once atop P.Hill, the heavy fog and light rains rolled in making it impossible to see anything. we walked to the Bellevue hotel for hot drinks to warm up.

    This hotel also has rustic cabins you can rent atop the hill. There are so many interesting things to do on this island. there are also cultural talks occasionally including dinner and four by four arrival at the hotel.

    Our last night we ate at Red Garden, trying a variety of dishes. We absolutely LOVE CHAR KOAY TEOW, trying it at every plae we could.

    Our last cab driver was such a sweetheart we asked him to take us to the airport the next day extra early so we could stop at yet aother temples on the way,Khoo Kongsi and the snake temple.

    Khoo Kongsi was gorgeous. Do not miss this temple of this clan.

    At teh snake Temple, less impressive, but there are real vipers coiled around some tree branches in the main temple area. but the most interesting part was a snake house museum. The owner of this place accompanied us around to each snake and explained details about each one. Our son loves snakes, so he was enthralled and i have to admit this man's explanations did make it all worth the stop.

    it was here we learned of the two malaysian deadly poisonous snakes that are found in all the jungles.

    Glad we didn't know that before.

    I would have liked to have had time to go to the world war II museum not far from the airport, but it didn't work out. we had snacks at the food court at the snake temple and caught an uneventful flight on Malaysian Airlines back to Singapore.

    Three days later back to spain via amsterdam, missing out by one day the worst airport chaos Madrid has ever suffered! the airport was closed and has still not recoverd from the hundreds of cancellations!

    All in all we had a wonderful trip, thanks to all of you who so graciously contribute such valid suggestions about everything.

    I hope my report can help someone in his planning of what i am sure will be an unforgettable experience.

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    i am not sure why non of my editing and additions have taken in the previous post.. but anyway, please excuse typos.

    going to malaysia was in a certain way for us like visiting a little of India, China and of course, a muslim country. It gave us a great introduction to the area, and very positive impressions that will call us back.

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    Thank you for the wonderful detailed report. I felt your enthusiasm as I read it! We are leaving this week for a similar trip (but Bail instead of Panang) and I'm sure I'll use many of your recommendations.

    Everyone on this board is so helpful. Thanks to all who have been asking and answering questions about Singapore, KL and Bali lately -- they seem to very popular destinations right now.

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    I just realized the additions that didn't register with my editing.

    We also went to a Fish Spa where hundreds, it seems, feisty little guppies swarm onto your immersed legs and nibble away at dry skin everywhere under water. Now that was an experience!

    In the end we surpisingly liked the B. Ferringhi area for those few days. There wer plenty of quiet areas. The wonderful Yahong Art Gallery had excellent souvenirs, and along the road there were a couple internet places, plus laundry services and tailors(had two items repaired) and many good eateries from food courts to nice restaurants. " Ferringhi Gardens" was one of them we enjoyed.

    it has an entrance on the main road, but the beautiful entrance is the "back way" off their small parking lot to get the full effect of the strategic lighting as you approach. The outdoors has been very well designed.

    So this is really the end.. thank you for bearing with me. Enjoy your travels.

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    No res yet.. but enjoying reading everyone's reports on cambodia and laos! We will probably have to wait a year or two before venturing so far ..

    in the meantime this armchair travelling I do here at fodors is great!

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    Hi lincasanova, you've convinced me that the Sheraton is the right place to stay in KL. We expect to use momorail or other transport to get around. From what you said, this seems viable from the location of the Sheraton. Where did you find the great rate you got?
    thanks, travelbug

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    i think i used kayak in general and then booked directly with the hotel. they were having a "stay three pay two" promotion. look up ALL their promotions on their website. and somtimes staying an extra night reduces the bill.

    Traders was beautiful also. I am sure any of the five stars will be nice. this sheraton is a step above any i have stayed at before. it is their luxury edition hotel and the rooms show it.

    let me say though that i am very price oriented as far as hotels go, staying from b+b's to whatever fits into the budget!.. so this was a real treat for us.

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    just a question unanswered. we spent 2 nights in SIN at beginning. then 3 nights in KL. 4 nights in B. Ferringhi, and 1 in GEORGETOWN. then we flew back to SIN for 3 more nights to spend more time with our son.

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    Thanks so much Lincasanova! Your trip report is great and getting me extremely excited for my trip. My husband and I are backpacking for 6 weeks around SE Asia and have just started planning. I'm going to take alot of your advice for KL. One quick question, I love the idea of a private taxi to Batu Caves. Any chance you have the business card of your cabbie (if they even have them?). I'd like to go with someone who has received such rave reviews!

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    Here is the link to your request from a post I made months ago.

    Combining FRIM and Batu Caves works out really well. I'm not sure Batu Caves would be really high on my list, but so close, we had to see it. But I certainly would never pay a tour to take me there.

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