Biking on Atolls

Biking on Atolls

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Langkawi, Malaysia

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - Langkawi
Langkawi has a UNESCO World Geopark status. Not exactly sure what that means but the place is gorgeous.

After my success the previous day in teaming up with other travelers to see the area I decided to try this again. It’s actually quite a stretch for me to approach total strangers and ask to spend the day with them, but desperate times call for desperate measures. As it turns out the move changed the course of my time on the cruise. These people were so fun to be around that I ended up spending much of the rest of the cruise with them and I hope to be in touch for years to come.

At the port there was a list of costs to hire taxis for the day and I noticed some people talking about how many each vehicle could hold and what the cost would be. I asked if they had room for one more and they kindly included me in their calculations. The day was really terrific. The main site I wanted to see was the cable cars and fortunately this was also on the list of most of the other travelers. We refused the taxi drivers suggestion that we stop at a batik factor to ensure we got to the cable cars before a feared onslaught by the rest of the cruise guests.
The cable car ride up to the halfway point.

Me at the halfway stop lookout point.

The view from the halfway point up to the lookout platform. (This is the site I'd read about before traveling here!)

The amazing lookout walkway. This is -the- site I wanted to see in Langkawi and I was so happy to have been able to visit.

Next up were the bat caves. We had a flashlight with us and once we saw how many bats were hanging from the cave ceiling a couple of us insisted on no flash photography, so unfortunately there are no pictures to share. Uh... not that I'm afraid of bats or anything like that - there is just that whole bats caught in the hair thing I'd like to avoid.

Then we went by boat to an area on the river where they feed the eagles. Really cool to see these beautiful birds.
Next we went to a floating fishing area on the river where we all got to hold this guy - a horseshoe crab. Also saw a type of fish that spits to capture it's food. To show how this works they put a bit of bread on a rail and the fish would spit to knock it into the water. Pretty amazing! Seriously - check it out.

No really - go now to look at this YouTube clip.

Port Klang, Malaysia - but mostly Kualu Lumpur

Our first cruise stop was on Monday, November 11 at Port Klang. As it turns out there is nothing at the port – not even an opportunistic souvenir stand. Prior to reaching port I had reviewed the excursion offerings by the ship. All were in around the 100 Euro price range and as there were nine ports it didn’t seem feasible to book an excursion for all the ports. However this left me at Port Klang with not a lot of land options.

I got off the ship to take a look around at the dismal prospects and met a couple who were looking for others to share the cost of hiring a taxi for the day. So instead of paying 100 Euros for a ship tour I spent the day with this couple from southern France at a cost of 30 US$. Yippee! I’d been to KL before so that was my justification to myself for not going again, but I was very happy to have the opportunity to go in again. I found my memories were pretty sketchy even for the places I’d been before and also the Petronas towers had not been built at that time and I had wanted to see them.

Petronas towers

View of Petronas towers from Menara Kuala Lumpur (aka KL Tower). This viewing tower was also not built the last time I visited KL and I was quite happy that the couple I was with was also interested in going to the top to see the views.

KL Tower and Petronas towers (very small in background to the right of KL Tower). You can't tell it here, but KL Tower is built on a hill top.

We thought this beautiful building was the KL railway station. After taking careful photographs we were informed the railway station was across the street. :-\

KL Railway Station

Back at the port. Here is our very friendly taxi driver and Dieter with Costa Romantica in background. These two guys played off each other all day - practically like attending a comedy show!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Flew into Singapore from Kota Kinabula and cut it a bit short to get on the ship. The flight originally planned to land at 5PM was delayed by a bit more than an hour. All check-in was to be complete by 8PM. So I arrived in Singapore at about 6:15PM, gathered up my cruise bag from left luggage that I'd left in Singapore On November 2, waited for a cab. Things were going pretty well until we got into near grid-lock traffic. Still managed to get on the ship by about 7:40PM. The ship was still in port for another day, but I wouldn't have wanted to pay for a hotel night or have the hassle.

The next day I set out to see two sites

- The Singapore Flyer, like a giant ferris wheel. I think it is like the one in London though I have not been on that one.

View from the Singapore Flyer - the Marina Bay Sands hotel can be seen here. The main attraction is the roof top pool.

City view from Singapore Flyer.

- The Marina Bay Sands hotel pool -

Pretty amazing.

Singapore has changed a lot since I was last there - so much new construction and I'm pretty sure a fair amount of land fill - it seems like Beach street keeps getting to be more inland with each visit. Transportation super easy to use.

Singapore subway - Pepsi ad written on stair risers.

On a bad note - No internet! Unfortunately there was no internet cafe to be found in Singapore - not that they don't exist but more likely there are fewer available when the population all has internet at home.

Kota Kinabalu

I think when I last left off I was in Kota Kinabalu in Borneo. Not really as interesting a city as some but looks like it is on the way to improving with a nice riverside walk under construction. What the city did have that I had not seen outside an airport for a while is a Starbucks. So in my one evening there I first went to the night market and had dinner at a cost of about $1 then a Starbucks coffee for about $3.

Speaking of the night market, the Lonely Planet guide mentioned it had one of the best in SE Asia, so after walking around during the day I was just thinking about how I was going to locate the night market. I happened to look out the window of the hotel I was staying at and the streets below had magically transformed into the night market! So turns out it was not difficult to locate. There was a section devoted to dining (where I had my $1 meal) a section to selling fish, chicken, etc., another for fruits and vegetables, another for eggs, one just of racks of clothes, another for misc. - jewelry, sunglasses, and just about everything else.

Met a couple of UC Davis students where I was staying that were traveling all around the area on there own. One was continuing on her own up the Malaysian peninsula and over to India. Quite an adventure! Still I was thinking I would be very worried if it were my own daughter making the trip.

The Welcome sign - for those arriving by boat.

Kota Kinabalu Night Market (view from my hotel). The Le Meridian hotel is the building at the end of the street.

McDonalds delivers????? Click on the photo to zoom in and you can see the sign on the door for 24 hour delivery service.

This is where I took my clothes to be cleaned.