Malaysia 2007

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 As our Singapore News story has told, 2007 hasn’t proven to be the year of fine time cruising that we had hoped!

 It was a set-back having to have the work redone in Singapore, neccessitating a lot more marina time and delay to our plan to extensively cruise the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia and the Gulf of Thailand before heading to North Borneo. That will have to come later. However, as other stories show, the ‘down’ time allowed some more land travel, -something we perhaps don’t do enough of, -we’re never keen to leave the comfort of our own boat! And the cruising we did manage between marina and repair stops was time well spent, the following being a summary… We had some family visit in Langkawi, keen to dive, we escorted them to ‘Mr Pooh’ on Ko Lipe, in Tarutao National Park


an amusing, -if somewhat alarmingly amorous, -character!  There seemed a few initial misgivings…soon put to rest,


then after  a few days enjoyment in that laid back island paradise






they returned to Langkawi, and of course there was no excuse for us to not ride the gondolas properly, no walking up the track for them!




Needless to say when we had to, there was nothing worrying about it, the extra view from the wires was more than adequate reward for our bravery! We were there for the start of the ‘Tour de Langkawi’  dsc_0829-copy.jpg after all the hype of the build-up for an exciting event, for us, relatively near the start, it was over within a few seconds! As they passed through Telaga, the riders were all still in a bunch, there were no break-aways and surprisingly, no stragglers.From Langkawi we went again to Penang, back to our favourite food!


It was coming up to Chinese New Year, red lanterns were everywhere,




the whole city lit in its finest way.




I found the road to the top of the Penang Hill,


-a steep alternative to taking the cable railway


getting up among the grand old homes on the summit


and seeing the views of the city sprawled below


Our next stop was Pangkor Island, we had only visited briefly before, we hoped for longer this time.  


Scenically it is a beautiful place with good clean beaches, but also with Chinese New Year and a predominantly Chinese population, all on holiday, it was comparatively busy and festive  


There were massive incense sticks and night-time fireworks. The population live in crowded villages,


many over the water


on the mainland side of the island, away from the beaches and resorts. Like all the Melaka straits settlements, Pangkor has a history, it was occupied for a time by the Dutch, but there’s not a lot to show for it now, just the remains of a fort built by them in 1670.


Mostly the towns are very functional, with a large fishing industry and many fish-processing factories and drying plants. 


but smelly as parts of it may be, it is not an unattractive place


particularly around the Chinese Temple and being New Year.





Children took the opportunity of unlimited fireworks


and adults prepared feasts, the luxury of freshly roasted crispy pork selling like hot cakes on the street!


You had to be quick!

We enjoyed a week at the island, anchored over from, but not among the rich and famous at the exclusive resort.


The island is hilly and mainly jungle covered, there is a sealed road around the shoreline and it’s a good distance with enough steepness to make a satisfying walk. There are also jungle tracks cut across the island, but there are limited views, they are overgrown, sometimes difficult to follow, -and after rain I discovered, thoroughly leech-ridden! How to become an unwilling blood donor to the masses? -stray off the tarseal!  


From Pangkor we went once more via Port Klang to Port Dickson, another of our favourites, it’s a good base from which to explore.

It was another opportunity to visit Melaka (it’s a pity there is no secure anchorage there for us!)


Like everywhere else where there are Chinese, it was looking its best for the season!




On our previous visits, the Zheng He museum had not been open, but now, having read much about it and become more convinced by the evidence for the 15th century voyages of the great Chinese treasure fleets, it was good to have the opportunity of seeing something more tangible.


It is a large and well put together museum, easy to spend a few hours in.



 There are some real Zheng-He artifacts and excellent old Chinese pottery of the time


but a lot of the displays are ‘artistic impressions’, or evidence of a more circumstantial nature. 


 It is very unfortunate that so much of the real evidence back in China was intentionally destroyed by later Emperors.


We took another trip to Kuala Lumpur


it was of course busy in the malls and markets, and it was also the season for the ‘Lion Dancers’, -that spectacular and noisy ritual of the season where on the pretext of buying good luck, businesses are cajoled into parting with large amounts of money…


 The colourful ‘lions’, with a human in front and a human behind, dance into a traders business and to a crescendo of drumming eventually with the climax, -their true nature is revealed!


Inland from Port Dickson, beyond the town of Seremban is Minangkabau country, where they typically built their houses with turned up roof corners…


 although the traditional thatch has been replaced by more modern building materials, some of the old characteristics remain.

The road to Sri Menanti goes over the hills, (nice cycling!) and past the Dragon Fruit farms, where the cactus plants are trained up wooden poles.


Sri Menanti is an old royal capital and the site of the Istana Lama, the Old Palace, a marvellous wooden building built in 1908, on four floors and completely without nails!



 It is well preserved though now used as a museum, its role as a palace having been taken over by a bigger, newer place up the road.

Around the little town there are various items of royalty, a cemetery, triumphal gateway,


and as it is a backwater, some nicely kept houses in the old tradition.



 The countryside down the valley, around Kuala Pilah back towards Port Dickson is now largely used for growing palm oil, with large plantations of palms and big town development.

However, there are still small-farmers and little villages with an atmosphere of ‘old’ having traditional shop-houses


and roadside markets



 It was while we were in Port Dickson that we became aware of problems with our new teakwork, -disappointing when we had until then thought we were ‘problem-free’, -so after making preliminary preparations by ‘phone, we continued on to Singapore and took up residence once more in Raffles Marina…

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