Friday, February 24, 2012

Big silver bird in sky

Not sure that it was so smart to book a mid year holiday before I had my holidays at work arranged. It never used to be a problem, but different times, different management.

We are going to Malaysia this year. We have booked with Air Asia. What a trial that was. Their website is not so friendly and they use Verisign for extra credit card protection. R was paying the air fare, so he had to put in some hard yards sorting it out, but we are now booked.

Why Air Asia? They are cheap. A friend who is fussy recommended them. They are the only cheap airline that flies directly to KL.

A friend of a proper friend offered us accommodation in Kuala Lumpur, but we would really prefer to stay in a hotel on our own. We will spend a few days in KL and a few days in Penang, an island off the west coast. Malaysia is quite a cheap country, and others have confirmed that it is literally, in a geographic sense, and figuratively, in between the chaos of Thailand where little works well, to the efficiency of Singapore where everything works.

Our Euro holiday is off the agenda for this year because of the London Olympics.

Malaysia is in parts a strongly Muslim country and R asked me if we could drink there? Of course we can. Malaysia is a practical country too. Dollars are welcome, even Aus dollars at the moment. A friend urged us to buy the buffet breakfast when booking our accom. But, he said, you won't get bacon. That is fine with me because Asian hotels usually cook bacon American style, where it shatters into a million pieces as you approach it with a knife. It must have been in Bangkok where we heard an American tourist yelling at staff in a long drawl, I wan ma crispy bacon.

There is no end of hotels to choose from, quite reasonably priced for four and five star. The first person who says 'what about backpackers/capsule/YMCA' will get a slapping. We plan to stay in Kuala Lumpur for a few days and Penang for a few days. Penang is an island off the west coast, its principal town being George Town and nearby on the mainland is Butterworth, the place where there has long been an Australian Air Force base.

Of course I want to take a train sometime, and we are looking at an express from Butterworth to Kuala Lumpur after our Penang visit. All still a work in progress. We have done Thailand a few times, Vietnam too and Cambodia and Laos briefly. Singapore is nice and that is ticked off, although we would like to visit again. Apart from the airport, we haven't seen Hong Kong or Indonesia, including Bali. Maybe next year it will be the grand European tour, the retirement trip before I have retired.


  1. The train trip is terrific, much shorter than luxury train trips in other countries, but just as expensive. Still, I would do it because it has a half day stay en route to do an organised, fascinating tour.

  2. Anonymous3:22 pm

    I'd love to see how you'd cope in a Backpackers or capsule hotel!! V.

  3. Thanks Hels. I haven't checked what it is like but we may review and perhaps go overnight.

    V, the prospect is just too preposterous to even think about.

  4. I ope you have a wonderful time and please, please take the camera. I'd be staying in 5 star accommodation too. Luxury and privacy are so much more appealing than backpackers etc. Not that I travel, but if I did....
    My ex, the first one, was in the Army and got sent to Butterworth for 3 months when our first baby was only 6 months old. When he got home she didn't know him at first.

  5. Ok, now I have to decide. Is this a case of let's see Victor bite, yet again? Or is this, Victor please correct embarrassing errors?

    Ok, I choose the latter.

    Write after me Lumpur (not Lumpa).

    Ok, Andrew, now you can tell me off.


  6. Anonymous11:35 pm

    Try the 'Fishhead Curry' in Jalan Alor night street food vendors, KL.

    And visit the Hindu Temple with about ten thousand steps and same amount of monkeys.

    They do have bacon at the buffets but it is artificial bacon - try it, Andrew

  7. Agree River, it is a holiday, somewhere nice to stay. I suppose we still use Butterworth as an air base. I expect it was a busy place during the Vietnam War. That's a bit sad about your child not knowing its father, but I suppose that was soon corrected.

    Victor, it clearly wasn't a typo as I spelt it wrongly more than once and consistently. I wonder why? I know the name well enough.

    Anon, I don't think I will be having fish head curry, especially not if the eyes are still there. But I am looking forward to the food. I've heard of this artificial bacon. I will try it. Certainly plan to see the hindu temple on Penang Hill.

  8. Try Bali!
    And if you're into the unique cultural experience rather than surfing, visit Ubud and watch Kecak at Uluwatu Cliff. It's amazing!

  9. My Bro in Law was in the Navy and one night in Hong Kong, while Brahms and Liszt, he and his mates decided to get tattoos of the names of all the places they had been. He now proudly boasts of having been to Koala Lumpa.
    [While you are in HK avoid Pinky's tattoo parlour.]

    PS I had to look up Liszt.

  10. oh brilliant, sounds like you'll have a marvellous time and I will get to live vicariously through your pics and tales. :)

  11. Immigayrant, Ubud is clearly the place to go, even now it is not too spoilt.

    Oh dear FruitCake. I worry about what those Chinese tattoos really say that are very popular now.

    You will indeed Fen. Might even do it live this time.