Monkeys in Malaysia

Our first stop in Malaysia was a place called Georgetown on Penang island. We enjoyed walking all over the city, taking in a museum, lots of street art, the botanical gardens, Penang’s national park, and hawker stalls (street food).

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Street art in Georgetown.
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Street art by Zac.

We didn’t mention it in the last blog, but we have had several monkey encounters. Most have been friendly, but two times we have had experiences that have made us less fond of the little primates.
The first was on a short eco walk in Thailand. We saw a monkey crawl onto a boat and started taking a few pictures when all of a sudden it jumped out of the boat and started coming at us. We calmly turned and started walking away, planning to just ignore it, but it came close, so I turned around and stomped at it. The monkey stopped in its tracks for a moment, but then came towards us again. I yelled and stomped towards it and it jumped into a tree and climbed away. Landra was running down the path screaming like a girl. Fairly minor encounter.

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The first (smaller) monkey we saw.

The second assault happened in Penang. We were on a 5.4km all uphill hike to a train station that had a good lookout of the city. At the 4.5km mark we came across two larger monkeys (we’d passed several earlier without a problem). I was ahead of Landra and as I got close the monkeys started growling and showing their teeth. I stomped towards them assuming like our last encounter they would run into the bush. Nope. I yelled and stomped again, but they kept coming. Now I ran and screamed like a girl downhill towards my wife. When I got to her she stomped and yelled at them and they both stopped. Now it was the two of us facing the two of them. We had less than 1km to get to our destination and they were in the middle of our trail hissing at us. We both yelled and stomped at them again to get by, but this made them more mad and now 4 other monkeys had come down from the trees and were walking on the road towards us. Throughout our hike we had come across maybe 10 vehicles in 2 hours, but luckily we could here a motorcycle approaching. As it drove by, we sprinted beside it yelling like crazy people and hoping the monkeys would be scared of the sound of us and the motor and leave. The two larger monkeys ran after us and the rest scampered away. Luckily we got on the uphill side of them and they stopped chasing us after about 20m. The view at the top of the hill was great though and the 188 flights climbed and 6 monkeys dodged were worth it.

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View from the top of Penang Hill station.

That night we googled what to do when faced with an unfriendly monkey.

1. Don’t look it in the eye – we gave them death glares hoping to intimidate them.

2. Don’t yell or show your teeth (they take that as a challenge) and other monkeys may approach to attack as a group- we yelled as loud as we could with no attempt to hide our teeth. Other monkeys approached.

3. Be still, even if they jump on you (most likely they’ll lose interest and leave you alone) – we ran.

We didn’t see any monkeys in the Cameron Highlands area! From the little town of Tanah Rata we walked to the Bharat tea plantation and the next day did a great tour that included a trip to the Boh tea plantation, a lookout point, trek through a mossy forest, strawberry farm and a few other tour fillers not worth mentioning. The Cameron Highlands area looks just like it does if you google it, which is exactly what we were hoping for. We had a great group of people with us on our tour and had supper together that night at a great Indian restaurant. Malaysia has a high Indian population and we’ve discovered that we love Indian food.

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Bharat Tea plantation.
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The workers use sheers in areas where the incline is too steep for them to use the slightly more efficient tool they normally use to cut the tea leaves.
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Cameron Highlands!
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View from the highest point on Penang island.
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Our ride for our tour through the Cameron Highlands.

We aren’t huge fans of being in the cities, but we really enjoyed the architecture in Kuala Lumpur – especially the twin Petronas towers. They are the largest twin towers in the world and were amazing to see during the day and at night. The KL tower, which is the 7th tallest in the world wasn’t that impressive to look at, but we took in the great views it had to offer during the day and again at night.

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The twin Petronas towers! The bridge in the middle is there so that if you have to go from one building to the other and are on one of the top floors, you don’t need to go all the way to the ground floor and then back up again.
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Every night there is a water show in front of the towers. The show is nothing too spectacular, but the towers in the night sky are worth taking a look at.
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KL tower was much nicer to look at at night.

Safety standards are much different in SE Asia and we really noticed it on the viewing deck of the tower. Part of the chest high glass was under construction and below was the safety precaution at 420m high.

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High level of safety precautions at the top of the KL tower.

Another highlight of Kuala Lumpar was the food. We found several delicious Indian restaurants and found our favourite street food of the trip so far (with the exception of the second picture below).

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One of our favorite food experiences of the trip. The street food in Kuala Lumpar was some of the best we’ve had.

We spent one night in Melaka and did an afternoon tour of the city centre. The highlight for one of us was a Frozen themed trishaw ride. Our drivers English was not the best, but he insisted we learn a street safety song. If I knew how to post a video on here I’d let him and Landra educate you by song on crossing the street safely.

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Our Trishaw. Unfortunately this one did not come with a ghetto blaster to blare the “let it go” theme song.

From Melaka we headed to Singapore and really enjoyed our time there. It was a bit more expensive, but extremely clean and had much more order to it. The Gardens by the Bay were beautiful and there is an awesome light show choreographed to music each night. We spent a full day walking through the gardens and the marina area.

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Th famous Merlion at Singapore’s waterfront.
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The double helix bridge and the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore.
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Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.
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Choreographed light show at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

Our second day was spent in the botanical gardens, riding the subway, and checking out the malls. We found a Lululemon, but unfortunately prices were double what they are at home, so I couldn’t let Landra buy anything.

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Botanical Gardens in Singapore.
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Monkeys in Malaysia

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