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Travel Story by Louise McLeman and Justin Macree

  Monkeying Around in Malaysia!

Petronas Towers at night

After a long flight from Heathrow via Kuala Lumpur we arrived at Langkawi Island. It was a fantastic location to relax and rewind as a part of a stopover before our adventurous trip to Cambodia. We stayed at Berjaya Langkawi Beach & Spa Resort in a chalet situated on the edge of the beach and a forest. The place had a jungle feel with monkeys roaming about freely in the grounds. The monkeys are known for nicking things – they would take your swimwear if you left it on the balcony to dry and they would also enter rooms to raid the mini-bar! It would have been amusing to see it happen but we didn't take any risks, as we needed our swimwear for the rest of the trip.

The spa treatments with a full range of different massages are highly recommended. We tried the one called Deep Tissue Massage, which helps ease stiff muscles and recovery from jetlag. We swear it works as we felt energised and the daily stresses from our busy lifestyle at home completely disappeared.

The hotel is quite an isolated location on the island but you can walk to Oriental Village, 10 minutes away where can take a cable car up into the mountain to enjoy a 360° view of the surrounding Malaysian islands and even Thailand on a clear day. There are also restaurants with international cuisine and shops nearby.

We got up earlier than we usually do at home which was beneficial because we could see different species of animals early in the morning at 6.30. For example, the rhinoceros hornbill bird (with its distinctive ‘double’ beak) could be seen walking about on the beach looking for food before the weather became too humid later on in the day. Also the island is known for its eagles, which hover about every day. One day we went on a boat trip into the mangrove forest to watch the eagles feeding and there were also monkeys lurking about.

After a week at Langkawi, we caught a 40-minute flight to the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. It is famous for the Petronas Twin Towers, 452m high (1,486 feet), which used to be the tallest building in the world. Access to go up to the 41st floor and walk across the bridge is free but you have to get your ticket in the morning, on the day you want to go, before the allocated number of tickets run out. We got there at 8am and there was already a long queue. Eventually we got our tickets with the time slot marked. To pass the time we went shopping in the huge mall situated in the basement of the towers. Then it was time to go up to 41st floor and enjoy the views of KL.

The best hotel to stay in Kuala Lumpur is probably the Traders Hotel because it is directly opposite the Petronas Twin Towers and is only a 10-minute walk through the park. We enjoyed a drink in the Sky bar and there is even a swimming pool at top of the hotel facing the towers. It looks breathtaking when it is illuminated at night. It is a must see for those keen on architecture.

If you plan to stay at the Traders Hotel then it’s worth getting a park view room to enjoy the view of Petronas. Although a bit more expensive than rooms with a city view it does allow you to enjoy the views and we sat for hours staring at and admiring the building’s amazing design.

There are some old Malaysian style buildings at Market Street in the Central Market area on the border of Chinatown. They are noticeable for their colourful Art Deco design.

Seven miles north of KL are the Batu Caves, a sacred place for the Hindus in Malaysia. The caves are made of limestone and 400m long and 100m high. On arrival you will be greeted by lots of monkeys. So you have to remember to keep a tight hold of your belongings as they are a bunch of thieves and go for nuts, bananas and even canned drinks. To reach the caves you have climb 272 steps to access the biggest cave, referred to as Cathedral Cave or Temple Cave, which houses several Hindu shrines beneath its 100m vaulted ceiling.

Two days are sufficient for visiting Kuala Lumpur as it is a small city and a similar size to Singapore.

Click on photo to enlarge

Berjaya Resort, Langkawi  Monkey at Berjaya  Market Street, Kuala Lumpur

Date Submitted: 28 Feb 2008

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