When going to a new place, we always try to look for something different to do. Lots of the excursions here featured city tours and we decided to go on one that featured the #BatuCaves, before it went into the city.
The caves are a vast limestone area. carved out millions of years ago, which were converted into a place of worship for the Hindu religion and there are temples around and inside the caves. The 350 steps going up didn't give us much of a problem but coming down you had to be careful not to slip.
The vast cavern was impressive with its ornate temples and there were small monkeys living in it. It was fascinating watching people arriving to worship in their finery and seeing the traditions involved.
The next stop was a short drive into the centre of Kuala Lumpur; the KL Tower,which the guide told us was now the 7th highest in the world, but is slowly going down the rankings as more are built. We proceeded up to the viewing platform where we could walk 360 degrees round looking over the city. The views were good, but I have seen better in other cities, although it was a shame we could not go right to the top of the tower, as this would have been more interesting.
After a stop for lunch, we were taken to view the #PetronasTowers; a standout piece of modern architecture. We would rather have had the chance to go into this impressive building and go across the walkway, if this is allowed. On a side note the local youths did a roaring trade selling clip on, wide angle lenses, for your phone, so you could capture both towers in one picture.
Summing up the day, the guide could talk in an Olympic event, as he talked for the full journey there and most of the way back, giving us a headache! Having said that, he clearly loved his country and even tried to get us to retire there.
The trip was advertised as the 'Best of Kuala Lumpur' and although we did stop in a couple of places there must be more to see; trip advisor lists 105 things to see or do! A drive round the main centre of Independence Square, to see the colonial architecture would have added to the day out.
However, the caves were well worth a visit and one of the highlights of the holiday, whereas the city tour only gave us a brief glimpse of some of the sights, which was a shame.
Looking at pictures, Kuala Lumpur, certainly seems to come to life when lit up in the evening. A pity we couldn't experience it!
After sleeping-in the next day, we eventually set off to explore Penang. After getting a map from a tourist counter on the way out and negotiating the throng of taxi drivers etc. we set off not knowing what to expect.
We were soon surprised to find a narrow street filled with artwork and for a change it was possible to interact with these, which several tourists, including ourselves enjoyed doing. We soon realised that this was a theme of the area and set out to find more.
This seemed to be a new trend in several cities. As some of the old industries disappear, this simple idea creates interest and a chance to find a new identity. It also creates a tourist attraction, and one, which looking at the number of different nationalities viewing them, was a really successful idea, These pieces of artwork, being interactive, gave a novel approach to the idea and was appreciated by visitors as well as now being listed as a heritage site.
After finding several more artworks, and having a tour of a Chinese market, where the art walk was featured on several buildings, we also managed to take a look at some of Penang's landmarks. Then, after a hot, busy day, it was back to the ship .
Talking to other guests, who had gone on the rickshaws, they would recommend the activity, as they had enjoyed the adventure round the busy city. We were sorry to have missed this but finding the artwork was an added bonus for us.
To save the planet's resources, Marella have stopped giving out paper maps of the ports that they visit; instead they suggest you take a picture of one on an interactive screen, on board ship, which is not ideal. Although we applaud their good intentions, we were surprised that we received about ten information sheets on trips alone, and also one leaflet each night called Cruise News. If you were being cynical, you could wonder if, by not providing a map, the company would hope that passengers wound be more likely to buy their trips, rather than travel out into the unknown on their own.
If we had known this before arriving on the cruise, we could have printed our own maps, or as a lot of cruise information is now on their Navigate App and on the interactive screens, a map could be added as a downloadable PDF.
In a couple of ports, they had welcome desks and you could get a map there; one guest went into the nearest hotel, as most receptions have a tourist map on their counters. The Cruise News leaflet that you receive every night, could have included a small map, that you could take out with you.
We weren't the only passengers who felt this way; it was one of the main topics of conversation round the destination service area!
As we set off for our cruise, we weren't looking forward to the twelve hour flight but it wasn't as bad as expected being slightly shorter than we had been told. However, after watching four films, I was beginning to feel tired but as we flew into the early sunshine and new time zone, the cabin was flooded with light and so I had no time to get some sleep; so time then for another film!
Arriving in Langkawi, boarding the ship was the quickest we had ever experienced, as arrivals were spread over two days. After a quick meal, our cases had arrived, so we got changed and went for a walk.
The port was very pleasant and we walked as far as the nearby beach, passing a hotel with open Wi-Fi, an added bonus! However, after not sleeping for 24 hours, the heat soon got to us, so we went back for a short sleep before the evening meal and the first of the nightly shows that are popular on cruise ships. We did a little exploring, as this was the first time on the Discovery. Then time for an early night, after two long tiring days.
Lots of small Islands. This reminded me of a skull.
We set sail into the Sunset. Our adventure begins.