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Have you watched the reality show “Amazing Race” ? Somewhat, I felt we were like the participants chasing for the bus, chasing for a cab, to reach Larkin Bus Terminal to catch the 9.30 pm coach departing for Lumut. This was the festive period. This was the school holidays season.
Fortunately, we somehow managed to reach our destination in time but also in the rains. Never mind the rains. We were more afraid of the jam- motor and human !
We took the Super Coach bus which we paid RM45 per head. Normally, to our experience, overnight ride is always very cold. To our surprise, the coach we took was not too cold for the many warm clothings we brought. Well, you never know sometimes.
For this trip, we were heading to Pangkor Island – Ipoh – Kuala Lumpur – Singapore. Lumut is a small sleepy town that is ferry point to Pangkor Island. Arriving at Lumut at around 6.30 in the morning was a little too early to do anything. Most shops were still closed. Ferry to Pan Pacific Resort only started from 8.00am. We decided to take the 8.45am ferry so as to have some breakfast at the only Chinese coffee shop we could find.
My wife,Joy, daughter,Jia Hwei and myself were the only guest passengers among the staff of PPR who were going to work. It is kind of early to check-in but there is nothing much to do in Lumut. It took about 30 minutes to reach PPR. Return ticket for the ferry ride is RM15(adult) and RM10(child).
We were brought to the reception by the resort van. At the Hornbill restaurant, it was hub of activities. Ah, buffet breakfast was served then.
We were given room 130 Garden Wing after the normal check-in procedures. To our dismay (we were so happy to be able to check-in so early) when we entered the room, there was pungent smell of sewerage. Obviously, we called the receptionist and requested for a change of room. We were not going to stay in that room for 3 days ! After numerous calls, we were told there was no room available. We had to wait. Why was room 130 available in the first place ? Why there was a fruit basket in the room ? Well,well,well, this was not for us ! The name stated on the card was not mine. I know my name. It was not removed ! An oversight ? I don’t really know. All I want is to change for a new room. At last, at about 2.30pm we were given a new room. Sometimes, you just have ass luck. I like Pan Pacific hotel. It is a nice hotel.
With that unpleasant episode over, it was relatively a nice stay. The private beach was clean and safe to swim. It was very windy at times. There were ample deck chairs for the resort guests. The setting was almost similar to that of Berjaya Redang Resort except for one thing. Over at Pangkor, the water was not crystar clear at that of Redang.
This time around, I did not have sandflies attacking me. How I detest those suckers!!#?
We had dinner at Hornbill the first night. Cost=RM55 per adult. RM20 per child. It was expensive because it was not worth the value. Second night, we decided to take a taxi to Pasir Bogak for our dinner. The food cost RM45 and taxi cost RM25. It was about 20 minutes ride. There were more varities here. I was here about 10 years ago. Things had changed but not too drastic. The beach here was not as good as that of PPR.
Jia Hwei had a jolly good time riding the banana boat for RM20. We also rented the bicycles for RM10 an hour. Alas for her, she fell and had a rather a bad cut on her palm. Fortunately, she recomposed herself and was able to carry on riding with me to explore the village of Telok Dalam. Armchair traveller was never able to view this place. Joy was not that adventurous to cycle with us as she had a phobia since young. She was glad to explore herself around PPR.
In order to spend more time in Ipoh, we decided to leave Pangkor early after breakfast at about 9.30am. Reaching Lumut in about half an hour time, my immediate task was to book the coach tickets to Ipoh. After enquiring around, we managed to find where the bus station is, behind the Lumut Tourist Information ofiice.
We got tickets for a 11am departure at RM4.60(adult) RM2.30(child). This was a local bus. Though it took longer route, as a result we had a free sightseeing tour of Lumut. Along the way, we saw many rambutan trees.
Ipoh (11/12/01 – 12/12/01)
We arrived in Menan Kidd bus station in Ipoh at about 1.30pm. Again, my immediate task was to purchase coach tickets for Kuala Lumpur. I had planned to try Plusliner coach. Unfortunately, it did not have super VIP coach going to KL. Finally, I got 3 tickets from Alison bus counter at RM13 each. Only later, I learned I was being overcharged by RM2 per ticket. I got the feeling the sales staff who sold the tickets pocketed the extra. On overcharging, I was also overcharged by the taxi driver from Menan Kidd to Casuarina Parkroyal hotel. Along the way, the driver kept hinting to take us around. Thank you very much, you were very unsurpuluous!
I had planned to stay in Ipoh for a night because it was a long time since I was here. We did not plan for any sightseeing as it was almost 2.30pm when we checked in.
Casuarina Parkroyal is little wayoff from the city area. We took about 20 minutes to walk from the hotel to the city. At that time, the traffic was very heavy. For those who like the convenience of city, Hotel Excelsior or Hysuen is a better choice.
By chance, we walked into a street where there were many roadside hawkers. It is called the Mama Mia Food Centre, quite near to Hotel Robin. We especially liked the yam cake which was superb.
Kuala Lumpur (12/12/01 – 15/12/01)
From Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur (or affectionately called KL), it took about three and half hours. For long trips, normally I will break the journey by stopping at KL. It gives us time to rest as well as to visit the place. We were at KL last year. As usual, the jam was terrible. The air was polluted. There were people and more people every where. KL is unique in a sense. Modernisation has taken place considerably. I saw many huge constructions in progress. The LRT is taking in shape. The old and new are standing side by side. I get the feeling that the old is giving away to the new. Thing changes with time. The Chinatown I saw now may not be the same in a few years time. It is starting to lose its character giving way to modernisation.
We checked in to Novotel Century Hotel amid the large crowd at the lobby. This is the festive period and school holidays season. The hotels along Bukit Bintang are having a full occupany business.
I had planned to visit the nightfly park at Jalan Kuantan and Payah Indah Wetlands while in KL. Both did not materialise. Payah Indah is so new that one taxi driver I spoke to did not even hear about it ! I could not find any local tour that conducted the nightfly park. Only later did I know that I had to go to Berjaya Plaza where one can find lot of local tour agencies there. Well, perhaps next time… I’ll be back
What did you do beside shopping and eating in KL ? Well, we went to Dataran Merderak. This is where you can find the world’s tallest flagpole. Nearby is the Central Market where you can shop for some souvenirs. I did not get any. Central Market is quite near to Chinatown. Some of stalls we visited last year were no more there. Modernisation ?
Another place of interest is the Lake Gardens. Forget about the bird park. At RM19 per entrance, it is not worth it. Visit the deer park or the Tunku Abdul Razak Memorial Hall. Get to know some facts of the second Prime Minister of Malaysia. It is interesting. Near the deer park, you could find some wild monkeys around. They seemed quite tame. Anyway, it is better to be alert.
We also went to Mega Valley Shopping Mall, the largest shopping centre in Malaysia. As far as I know this is the only shopping centre in Malaysia that does not charge you for using the toilet ! We did not completely walked around this mall because it was very huge.Little did I realise that all coach tickets to Singapore were sold out on 15/12/2001. This was the day I planned to come home. I guess it was because of the Hari Raya festive season. The new year celebration for Muslims. Fortunately, I managed to purchase 3 tickets back to Johor Bahru at RM20 each. It was a 4pm coach.
Anticipating there was going to be jam at the causeway, I was pleasantly surprised it was quite smooth going. Perhaps at 10pm in the night, it was not a peak hour period. We were glad to be home again. Though I love to travel, I always have that special nice feeling to be back at home again..