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Ipoh & Back to Kuala Lumpur

We had been in Penang for almost a week, in all honesty, we could have stayed a month, but it was time to see somewhere different as we were quite short on time for Malaysia. We got on the free ferry (yes, FREE) from Penang Island to Butterworth, walked to the train station and took the fast train south to Ipoh, it only takes around two hours and takes us back half way towards KL again.

We planned to stay in Ipoh for just two days, we had read it had a very lively food scene and that it was relatively untouched by foreigners, both turned out to be very true. The people here were very friendly and interested to know why we were there, and the food was fantastic, which seems to be true throughout Malaysia.

On the first day we headed straight out for some food around four in the afternoon to find that most places were closed until re-opening for the evening, but after a quick stop at a 7-11 (we love these, I’m sure every traveller in SE Asia does) for a drink, we stumbled across a night market full of hawker stalls selling similar foods we had seen so far and some new Ipoh specialities like salted chicken with beansprouts.

We sat at a stall where the woman who owned it had given us a huge smile and asked her what was best, it turned out she only sold Won Ton Mee, fried noodles with a bowl of won ton soup, and fried won tons on the side. We ordered one set between us and immediately knew we’d be ordering a second one straight after we’d finished the first. It was exactly what street food should be, hot, delicious and extremely cheap at 6 ringgit (£1.10) for the whole set.

We both decided this was one of our favourite street food dishes ever and planned to return again the following night before even looking for anything else here.

After the quick pit stop for food, we walked to the local shopping mall as we were planning on going to the cinema again. If you read the last post from KL, you’ll have read how cheap the cinema is in Malaysia, it’s not something we’d normally do, but a couple of hours of switching off, and getting lost in a film, for very little money is very nice when away from home.

Again, a ticket was less than £2 each, large popcorn and two drinks for £2, I know everybody back home is hardly going to believe that at a cinema, but it was exactly the same quality as back home, but without the rip-off prices.

By the time we left the cinema it was almost midnight, it wasn’t a far walk back to the hostel, on the way we walked straight past a big outdoor night market selling all kinds of clothes and accessories, there were only locals walking around it, no other tourists except us, so we got quite a few inquisitive looks as we wandered around, but everybody still appeared friendly.

The next day we went to a cave temple nearby Ipoh, only twenty minutes drive from the city centre and only a couple of pounds in an Uber, the cave and shrines inside were stunning, it was quiet and peaceful with not many people there, the cave dripped inside with rain water and it had beautiful gardens outside of it. The pond in the gardens had large fish and turtles swimming around in it. It is what people expect of South East Asia, but maybe not of Malaysia, but perhaps that’s a good thing though, as it was yet to be over-run with tourists like a lot of temples can be.

Later that afternoon, we went back to the shopping mall and went bowling, for no reason other than we had been told with a cinema ticket, you could get bowling for half price, so for less than £2.50 we had two games of bowling, which I was actually good at for a change, Stac was abysmal, just like normal 🙂

It had been a while since we’d had a few drinks, the prices of alcohol in Malaysia can be quite high, especially in bars, with drinks costing as much as, if not more, than home. Also, we had been so distracted by all the amazing food, we’d barely had chance to think about having a drink.

On this particular day though, we had decided we’d like a beer or two… or twenty. We went to an Irish pub in Ipoh (I know, the Irish get everywhere) and after a bucket of bottles of Guinness, it turned in to a whole beer tower of Tiger, and the night ended sat in the street drinking a coffee with a local guy chatting about football, all-in-all it was a great night. We also did manage to fit in having the Won Ton Mee again, one each this time, it makes great beer food.

Two days passed by quickly and we were already heading back towards KL again, we had two more days there before a flight to the Philippines, and we hadn’t been to see the famous Petronas towers yet, so that was on the agenda.

Tickets aren’t cheap to go inside the towers, at £15 each we thought it was a little bit steep, but these did used to be the tallest buildings in the world, and are still the tallest twin towers in the world. We booked the tour for just after the sunset so that we could see that city at night, firstly we were taken to the 43rd floor at 170 metres high and walked on the bridge between the two towers.

If you have a fear of heights, this probably wouldn’t be in your KL itinerary, it is high! After the bridge, it got higher again, more than twice as high, at around 360 metres on the 85th floor, this was as high as it was possible to get in a building not too long ago. The view was spectacular, and the tour was well organised, so I would say it was probably worth the money to do it once.

We once again had some great food, definitely a recurring theme of the Malaysia trip, but I’m sure you’re all getting a little bored of us talking about the amazing food, so I’ll just show some pictures this time.

So the two weeks in Malaysia were coming to an end, but the plans coming up are very exciting, before we set off from home, we didn’t know if we’d make it to the Philippines or not, but the flights are booked and we are going.

The plan includes the Central Visayas; Cebu, Bantayan Island and Bohol and also Palawan; El Nido. We’ll update on all the action soon.

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