| Part 6: Pulau Kapas,
Ipoh, Kuala Kangsar, Taiping |
Tengah -> Merang -> Kuala
Terengganu -> Marang
-> Pulau Kapas
chalets, Pulau Kapas. RM 110 (reduced from the official RM 130 rate)
for a chalet with attached bathroom on a slope overlooking the sea. The
trees block the sea view, but provide shadow. The chalet has a
veranda/balcony where you can stay and relax. No A/C, only fan. Door
cannot be locked. Some furniture and finally a cupboard. What is good
about this place is the nice setting on the hill in the middle of the
rainforest. The problem is the toilet which is open towards the
rainforest. I see a big rat in the evening next to the toilet. This rat
(and any other jungle wildlife as well) could have easily walked into
the toilet, so basically you cannot leave any stuff in the toilet
because who knows which animal will pass by and mess up your
stuff. The water in the toilet smells like mud. I don't dare to rinse
my mouth with it after brushing the teeth. The door of the toilet does
not close properly and later in the evening the lower part breaks off
leaving a large, gaping hole in the door. The whole point of sleeping
in a room is that you are able to prevent animals from walking
into the woom while you are sleeping. Since the toilet is open, it
cannot be clean, because all kind of stuff can get or fall into the
A/C would have helped, because it is extremely hot
today. Still 30°C at 10pm in the room.
friendly, nice and helpful staff, but I can't recommend this place (and
I'm glad I'm only staying one night here).
In addition, at RM
this place is overpriced. In the nearby Kapas Coral Beach resort you
can stay for the same price and get a room with A/C and full board (see
very hot sunny day. It starts in the morning with a spotless blue sky
on Lang Tengah, which continues over the whole day. Very thin clouds
layer late in the evening. No rain.
morning wake up at 7am. After breakfast I check out. The
boat leaves at 8:40am, jam-packed with tourists and arrives at the
Merang jetty at 10am. Then I get into a bus (with A/C, quite
comfortable) which waits for 45 minutes before leaving, no idea why
because it does not pick up other passengers.
plan would be
to get to a place with Internet acccess, so that I can book the flight
to KL tomorrow and download my emails, then go to Marang and take the
boat to Pulau Kapas.
bus drops me off at the airport at 11:15am. The airport is in sort of a
sleepy mode, because there are only very few flights per day and right
now there hasn't been a flight for quite some time. No Internet cafe or
other way to check the emails at the airport. No decent restaurant or
place for eating something.
Luckily there are
Airasia, Malaysian Airlines (MAS) and Firefly. Airasia has only flights
in the early morning and late evening. MAS has three flights, early
morning, late evening and around 4pm. Problem is the ticket price of RM
359 - more than twice what Airasia costs.
a flight at 4:10pm for RM 220 and what is even better, it lands in
Subang airport, and not in KLIA which is 70km away
from KL. This means no expensive and time consuming taxi ride, since
Subang is quite close to KL.
So I buy a ticket to
tomorrow 4:10pm. I call Shirley and ask her if she can arrange a car to
pick me up at the airport and bring me to Teluk Intan. That is possible
for the modest (!) amount of RM 170, RM 40 more than what I paid last
It's now close to 12pm noon and I start
getting hungry. I take a taxi to Kuala Terengganu (RM 25) and ask the
driver to drop me off at a KFC restaurant. There I have a meal and at
the same time download all emails and check the news.
Germany-Uruguay 3:2, we won 3rd place, not bad.
also call a couple of places on Pulau Kapas. Qimi chalets have rooms
for RM 130.
1pm I get ouf of the KFC restaurant and slowly walk towards the taxi
station. On the way I take some pictures of the city and top up the
Maxis phone card. Kuala Terengganu is a colourful city, in which
the women wear fashionable full-body dresses.
taxi to the Marang jetty (RM 25), arriving att 1:45pm. The next boat to
Pulau Kapas leaves at 2pm (RM 20 one way, 30 two-way). In less than 15
minutes we reach the island. The boatman drops me off on a large
beach, from which I walk with all my stuff to the next beach.
spend the rest of the day exploring Pulau Kapas. There are a few
beaches, all on the west side, some with resorts or places to stay.
Quite nice and laid back setup, but not as beautiful
as Perhentian for instance. Near Kapas lies the small island of Gemia,
with just one resort on it.
Strong sun and very hot.
Even the SPF 20 sun tan lotion is not strong enough to protect against
the tropical sun.
the evening I run into the Norwegian couple who did the Mulu Pinnacles
trek with me. They are staying in the nearby Kapas Coral Beach
resort and paid only RM 300 for the first two nights (total for two
people) for a room with A/C and full board. Additional nights after the
first two cost only RM 110. And they also stayed in the Four Points
hotel in Kuching, paying only RM 200 something (I paid RM 345).
spent not doing much. The world cup final is at 2:30am, so I think I'll
Kapas -> Kuala
Terengganu -> KL
of Shirley's parents, Teluk Intan
in Pulau Kapas overcast in the morning, the sky opens up around
10-11am. More fresh than yesterday. Thin clouds layer every now and
I wake up at 8am, but stay in bed
until after 10am.
Only fell asleep at 3-4am last night due to the heat (30°C at night).
Besides outside it's overcast so why would I get up
After taking a shower and packing my stuff
I have some lunch in the restaurant of Qimi chalets, then ask about
boats to Marang. There is one at 1:30pm coming to Qimi chalets.
spend the next hour walking on the beaches then head back to Qimi
chalets. Ben tells me that there is no boat at 1:30pm, the next one at
2pm from the main jetty. Quite far away, but he can bring my bags by
boat to the jetty. Shortly after that another brief update. A boat is
coming at 1:30pm to Qimi.
At 1:40pm the boat leaves
arrives in Marang about 10 minutes later. I pay RM 20 for the boat at
the Suria counter, then take a taxi which just
arrived. For RM 50 he'll bring me to the airport.
taxi has no A/C and is hot like an oven. At 2:30pm it arrives at the
Kuala Terengganu airport where I finally get some fresh air.
flight takes off with some delay and lands in the Subang airport (KL)
minutes late at 5:20pm. Subang is the old airport quite close to town.
is the taxi driver which Shirley arranged for me is already waiting. I
buy some food, the get into the taxi. It's 5:40pm when we leave and we
arrive in Teluk Intan by 8pm.
Shirley's parents, Teluk Intan
sunny in the morning, then gradual clouds build-up in the afternoon and
mostly overcast. No rain.
spent relaxing with the family in the house of Shirley's parents. I
arrange with Shirley a car+driver to bring me around tomorrow in Perak.
Cost will be RM 300 and the round trip will cover Ipoh, Kuala Kangsar
Intan -> Ipoh
-> Kuala Kangsar -> Taiping
of Shirley's parents, Teluk Intan
sunny in the morning, then gradual clouds build-up in the afternoon.
Almost no rain. The sky opens up again in the evening, nice sunset.
8:40am the driver arrives. It's the same guy (an old Indian guy in a
very old Mercedes) who picked me up at the Subang airport the day
We drive towards Ipoh making a
first stop at
Kellie's castle at 10am (entry ticket: RM 5). Kellie's castle
ruin of a mansion built by a rich Scotsman at the turn of the 20th
century in Moorish style. It's not too interesting and in fact I'm only
stopping here because this lies on the way to Ipoh.
about 20 minutes in this place we drive to the next place, the Sam Poh
Tong temple, arriving at 10:50am. This is a Chinese temple set up in a
the rock. Quite cool setting, with the vertical rock wall and the
garden and buildings on the outside, and the decorations and
statues in the inside. Near this temple are two additional, more modern
Chinese temples, all set up in caves. One of them is the Ling Sen Tong
By the time I finish visiting the temples
11:30am. I tell the driver to go to Ipoh, but no, he has a better idea.
He brings me to the Gua Kek Look Tong temple, another Chinese temple
set up in a cave in the mountain. This is very close to the Sam Poh
Tong temple, in fact you only have to drive to the other side of the
This Gua temple is not mentioned in my
Rough guide) but it's very nice. It's inside a large cave which is open
on both sides. You walk from one side and continue walking until you
reach the other side in which there is a large hall with an altar and a
nice view of the countryside. I have to say that I'm positively
surprised by Perak - wasn't aware that there are so many interesting
It's 12:05pm when we finally leave and drive
railway station of Ipoh. It takes over half an hour to arrive there
because there is some traffic jam. The idea would now be to walk a bit
in the centre of Ipoh to get a feeling for it.
too much to see in the centre of Ipoh. The railway station is nice,
there are some mosques and temples and colonial era buildings. But
nothing overly impressive.
I continue walking
around 1:30pm I arrive at the Ipoh Parade shopping mall where I have
some lunch. In the mall there is a beauty contest going on, Miss
Malaysia Earth 2010.
Shortly after 2pm I'm ready
and call the
taxi driver on the phone. His English is not good but somehow I manage
to explain that I'm in this mall and that he should come and pick me
up. Some waiting, additional phone calls and explanations and finally
40 minutes later the driver manages to find the place. I guess he is
not too familiar with Ipoh.
We then drive to what
the Perak Tong temple, again a Chinese temple set up in a
the mountain. Nice temple with statues, altars and wall frescoes in the
It's 3:25pm when we leave for Kuala Kangsar.
getting later than I had expected. Or perhaps I have underestimated the
time it takes to visit all these places.
35 minutes later, we arrive at the Ubudiah mosque near the royal
palace. The sultans of Perak are residing in the city of Kuala Kangsar,
i.e. Kuala Kangsar is a royal city in Malaysia. You can see at
those golden colour decorations everywhere, the street lampposts for
The Ubudiah mosque is stunningly
when the sun is shining and the sky is blue. This mosque alone is worth
the trip to Kuala Kangsar.
the mosque lies the royal
palace, which you can only watch from outside the fence, because you
may not enter the park surrounding the palace. Adjacent to the palace
is a the Royal Perak museum, with nicely decorated walls, very
4:45pm we drive back to the centre of Kuala Kangsar, where I briefly
stop buying some drinks and taking some photos. The city is
sort of cute, but not too impressive.
when we start driving
to Taiping, arriving at 6pm. Since it is already quite late I
only spend 40 minutes in Taiping, visiting a few places, then we start
driving back to Teluk Intain. We arrive after 9pm.