Category Archives: Malaysia

A Good Remedy

4th June 2015

Finally, a reprieve from the sweltering heat that is Southeast Asia!!  Just when I thought all hope was lost for me not having a dry shirt after a day of sightseeing, we went to the cooler climate of the Cameron Highlands.  The break from the heat couldn’t come at a better time because Robbie and I were both battling colds.  During our stay in the Cameron Highlands we got some good rest, drank some great tea and made some new friends.IMG_3048 IMG_3053

The Cameron Highlands is home to beautiful tea plantations, tasty strawberry farms and great trekking.  However, Robbie and I realized that we wouldn’t be able to do everything there is to do.  I was dreading the time that we would get sick on our trip, thinking it would be due to food poisoning, but instead it was a cold.  When you’re traveling from place to place, you want to be able to see the sights, especially when you’re not in one place for a long period of time.  However, we were able conquer our desire to do everything and actually stay in and get some rest.
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The times we were able to go out, we took it slow and tried not to over exert ourselves.  On our first full day in the Cameron Highlands we visited a tea plantation.  The views of the tea plantations are spectacular.  We had never seen mountains covered with so much green!  But don’t be fooled by the easy access to the plantations, they take tea very seriously (they’re not plucking around)!IMG_3041IMG_3087

On our second day we went on an excursion, but only a half day!  There are tons of excursion tours to choose from, including guided treks through the mountains to more relaxed trips like the tea plantations.  We picked one in between, which included a visit to a tea plantation and a short guided trek through the mossy forest.  It was really interesting to hike through a forest so different from the ones we’re used to in Colorado.  The forests are tropical environments so there are different hazards and sights.  We learned about different types of moss, poisonous centipedes and even saw some carnivorous plants!IMG_3075 IMG_3091IMG_3122In the end, it was a good trip.  Although we didn’t get out as much as we would have liked, we were able to recuperate from our colds and start the next leg of our trip with more energy.IMG_3100IMG_3155

— Aubrey

Street Food and Street Art

2nd June 2015

Peninsular Malaysia has a lot to offer, we chose to focus on two main things: food and art.  The first destination was Ipoh (“eee-poo”) , a strategic stop over between Singapore and Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands, a cool climate region full of tea plantations and national forests.  For some reason, Ipoh has managed to remain mostly undetected by modern travel literature.  We were fortunate enough to stay in Ipoh, and with local family.  Lou, Cindy, and their two daughters were our hosts, and they gave us a taste of Ipoh’s best food, and it started as soon as we arrived.

On the way to a busy street half full of patrons dining on bright blue plastic tables, and the rest with cars and pedestrians, we were educated on why certain dishes in Ipoh are so spectacular.  The chalky limestone soil and tropical environment of Ipoh create an ideal environment for growing bean sprouts.  Apparently, these locally grown sprouts taste better than all the other mediocre sprouts in the world.  I was skeptical at first, but Lou is right.  Our first dish was a hot bowl of broth and shared plates of perfectly cooked flat noodles, a mound of sprouts, and an entire chicken chopped whole.  Dig in!  It was an eye opener… simple yet unforgettably delicious.

Aubrey and I also experienced a traditional Chinese dim sum breakfast.  Unlike at home, where dim sum is something you get from the frozen isle and lazily eat for dinner, here, dim sum is a way of eating different al la carte dishes.  Once you sit and place a drink order, a series of servers bring tray after tray of bite sized goodies.  All have names that I didn’t understand, but we sampled pork, shrimp dumplings, bbq, lotus flower, custard, fried crab, and fish balls.  All excellent.  The fish balls however, were a mistake:

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Don’t mind the grainy picture, this was taken from my phone.

I’m not exactly sure of the name, but here’s what the dim sum restaurant looks like if you happen to cross it.IMG_2955

A couple of murals near Old Town Ipoh spotted after a nice stroll following a big dim sum breakfast:IMG_2987 IMG_2971

The food in Penang was just as delightful, but we were on our own, no Lou to show us the best of the best.  Luckily, our converted store front apartment was adjacent from an empty lot which filled with 10-15 food stalls every night.  My favorite, the spicy fried noodles with prawns.  Aubrey’s favorite, more steamed BBQ dim sum buns.  This grazing went on for two days and then we uprooted and went to high ground on the island, Penang Hill.  IMG_3164Once to Penang Hill, we stayed with a lovely couple who are about our age.  We immediately felt like friends, and they showed us around the “hawker” food stalls in their neighborhood.  Here, we sampled two kinds of pad thai, dried cuddle fish, and lots fried cakes and pancakes.  Penang is known as the Pearl of the Orient, and for good reason.  It’s an old, busy port city in Asia that has become a melting pot of cultures, art and food.  Here’s a sampling of the street art spattered across Georgetown, the oldest settlement on the island, and a UNESCO World Heritage Location.IMG_3189 IMG_3259 IMG_3268 IMG_3285 IMG_3293IMG_3264

— Robbie