It's Thursday and my parents are coming out to see us today. We are looking forward to being fed and at last we get to check out of this bed bug infested hole. Ok it's cheap and friendly but I draw the line at sharing my blood! We had booked us all into the Chinatown Boutique Hotel. It was £15 a night, which makes it the most expensive place we have stayed in on the whole trip, but it was bliss. Modern style bed rooms with en-suite bathroom and HOT showers, a flat screen TV showing HBO, WIFI, free water, free tea and coffee, air con, and super clean comfy beds.
At 5pm Mum and Dad were due to land and we had promised the bag of nerves (Mum) that we would be on time to meet them. We left at 2pm giving us 3 hours to get there. We took the Sky train from Plaza Rakyat onto Bandaraya then back to Masjid Jamek, as we missed it the first time, ooops! We then changed at Masjid Jamek and got off at Sentral. We got our train tickets to Kuala Lumpur LCCT, and then we waited for a few minutes for the train. We were on track and were still just going to make it on time. We were supposed to get the shuttle bus from Salak Tinggi, but we were asleep and missed it. We woke up just as we were pulling away and ended up at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (the wrong one). It was ok as we just stayed on that train and it went back to where we were supposed to get off, but by this time we were 40 minutes late. We got on the shuttle bus service that takes us to LCCT but had to wait for it to fill up before it could depart, it filled up and we were off. Just as we were pulling into LCCT I got signal and 3 text messages came through, "We are here, where are you" "Where are you?" "Where are you Leanne?" Ooooops!
We arrived at the Airport and saw Mum frantic outside arrivals, Dad was chatting to a Taxi driver to get prices to go. Mum had called my phone three time's and a Man answered?! It was something to do with the country code still being on her phone but we were now in the same country. It was a sleepless 12 hour flight and they both looked like they needed a drink. We welcomed them with cuddles and then got the Shuttle bus, Express train, and then Taxi to the Hotel. We had arrived in China Town! We dropped their bags and went straight out for some food and drinks. We ate at our fave local spot, Tang city food court. It was a fab people watching spot and the food was amazing. It's amazing the amount of choice you have at your fingertips, but I could see Mum and Dad were a bit startled. Fried Noodles x3, Garath had Clay pot Chicken and we shared some Goyza Dumplings. Everyone enjoyed the food, and Mum and Dad couldn't get over how cheap it was. Four meals and a side £5, 8 pints of beer £10, Total Bill £15, Dads face Priceless!
We had a good night's sleep for once but it was another early start Friday morning, at 7am! I brought cornflakes, chocolate cereals and milk from 7-11 and we ate them with tea spoons out of polystyrene boxes from the food court. All washed and packed up we headed for Buckit Jalil bus station. We boarded the coach for a five hour journey to Mersing. The journey was slow, but a comfortable one. I was just hoping that we were going to make it in time to catch the ferry, and the weather was going to brighten up! We finally got to Mersing at 2:00 and had to power walk to the pier for the 2:30 boat, by the time we got there we all were sweating buckets. On the boat we sat in the front of a cold blowing air con unit which was nice, but after an hour it was far too cold. The sky was still grey on the way but after 2 hours we arrived on Tioman Island and it was lovely and sunny. Crystal clear waters showed florescent fish all around the boat. Off the boat we headed for ABC Bungalows which we had made a reservation for. We arrived and were greeted by a lovely garden space with 6 wooden bungalows around, with jungle covered hill tops behind and the beach at the front. Mum and Dad seemed to settle in nicely. We freshened up and headed to the ABC restaurant where Baha the owner greeted us. We had some food, strolled on the beach and took a dip in the sea which was like bath water. We also had our evening meal at the ABC restaurant. It has western and Malaysian food but the fresh fish BBQ is what ABC is famous for. I had Travelli, Mum had Tuna, Dad had Marlin and Garath had Shark. A few beers followed the meal and soon enough it was time to hit the sack as it had been a long day.
We woke up around brunch and it was a hot Saturday in paradise. We decided to take a walk to the next bay called Tekek. It was the main port for Tioman and had a Duty Free shop. We had been told the previous night by two English girls that it would take half an hour. 'It will be a nice easy stroll' we thought, but it took us 2 hours in the mid day heat. It was a nice walk though and we passed many Monitor lizards and monkeys chilling out on the beach, and Dad took about 200 photos. Tekek itself was a bit of a building site with a massive new hotel popping up at one end of the little town. Once we had visited the duty free shop we got a speed boat taxi back to ABC beach which we had set off from, Lovely Jubbly! The afternoon sun didn't let up so we were forced to take to the sea for a little bit of a swim. The evening was rounded off with more great food from our friendly staff at the ABC Bungalows. The choice is amazing, Shark, Travelli, Marlin, Tuna, Catfish, Squid and Prawn. We thought about trying other restaurants though everyone comes here, and you can see why. Tomorrow we have booked for a snorkelling trip so it's an early night for a fresh start.
We woke up early on Sunday and headed for breakfast. We were excited about the snorkelling but soon the sky turned black and within minutes the rain came, the wind threw up waves of sand from the beach and twigs and leaves started to drop from the trees above the restaurant. Baha said "No Worries! It will blow over". It rained for 2 hours and by 11:00 it was sunny and calm again. Mum and Dad were surprised at how bad it got and how good it was so quickly afterwards, another thing me and Garath must be used to. We had the chance to take the rest of the day and go snorkelling but we decided against it as the water was stirred up and we would get a full day tomorrow. Some other people went including a friendly French man which Dad had nicknamed Jacque Custoe. When they got back later he said "Zer was une Shark, du Turtles and une fish wis de long Trumpet", "Mousey Bucket's", Dad said.
We all decided to swim around the bay and have a snorkel about. It gave Mum and Dad a little practice at snorkelling and a preview of what to see tomorrow. There were nice corals and allot of bright fish to see, but nothing big. Garath's Dad had sent us his snorkelling mask with integrated camera and video camera, so he enjoyed a little play and got some good shots of the fishes. We swam around a half sunken Yacht which was in roughly 4 meters of water at high tide. We were told it had sunk there 5 days ago and it was owned by a white rich man, which made the locals laugh. The evening was spent indulging in BBQ again. Garath and I are going to make the most off the good food while we are here, as it makes a change from the oodles of noodles that we consume! Later we sat on the veranda and saw some of the Jungle wildlife come out for the night. Bats the size of St Ives Seagulls and what the locals call a tree Fox which we later found out was actually a Porcupine.
Monday was a lovely day for our snorkelling trip. We headed off at about 10:30am after breakfast. On our boat were the friendly captain, Me, Garath, Mum, Dad, a Red headed Russian man and two French girls who liked the sun so much they had blisters. Our first snorkelling point was Coral Island where we saw allot of smaller fish including trumpet fish, Rainbow Parrot fish, Clown fish, Jelly fish, and a massive Hump-head parrot fish which gave me a fright as it was not like anything I'd seen before. We next stopped at a beach on the other side of Coral Island which was amazing with the bluest of waters and the finest of sands. It looked like the jungle was trying to reach the sea with moisture seeking vines coming from the depths of the jungle along the sand, and Massive monitor lizards strolling in the shade. We snorkelled off of the beach and out to a rock which had a strong current around it where we saw a Sea Snake. After Coral Island we stopped at a rocky area between the islands and saw Sting Ray, barracuda, Triggerfish, Turtles, and A Black tip Reef Shark. We stopped at Selang for lunch and from afar it looked lovely, but we were glad to get be back on the boat after lunch. Selang is the bay favoured by backpackers for the cheaper shabby huts and cheap shoddy food and warm beer, there were lots of cans on the beach and rubbish in the sea. By the time we stopped at Monkey Bay the sun was on its way down so the water was getting colder. I think we had all had enough by then as our fingers and feet were all wrinkly and the salt water left my mouth feeling like I'd eaten 2 tons of salted peanuts. When we got back it was easy to see the how much the sun had tinted us, many red patches were to be seen.
That night was going to be our last night on the Island so we were going to have a good sending off with . . . .Yep you guessed it BBQ! Why the devil not when it's that good. Baha the owner came and sat with us and told us he hoped we enjoyed our stay, which we had and we complimented him on his food. He stayed and told us about Tioman Island, and how his family owned the land because they are the original people of the Island, and how his business is a family run business started by his father. He told us about his Muslim faith, and how it angers him that a lot of people in Malaysia especially in Kuala Lumpur are so money orientated. He also told us about how the Malaysian Government try to police the Island but the Island locals have their own laws. After a long chat with Baha and his son it was soon time for bed as we have to be at the pier at 7am.
It was still dark when we got up at 6am on Tuesday morning. We were at the jetty at 7:30 and saw the sun rise. 8pm the boat arrived and we got back to Mersing in good time for us to stop off at a cafe and have a simple brunch. Dad took some photos of the Chinese temple nearby and then we headed for the bus station. He was feeling brave and offered to carry my backpack to the bus, now he saw what we have been travelling with and soon offered to take some stuff home for us. Our bus departed at 12:30pm to take us back to KL and we arrived in KL at 5:30pm. At some points we were unsure if we would arrive at all with the way Malaysia's answer to Colin McCray was driving. Comment's like "He isn't? Is he?", "He is you know!", "not on a bloody corner", "bloody mad man!" Were making us giggle, as Dad and Mum were coming to terms the way south East Asia bus drivers drive.
Off the bus in one piece we caught the Monorail to China Towns Masid Jamek station, and back to the homely comforts of 'The China Town Boutique Hotel'. Quick refresh then off out to grab some food at The Tang City food court. That night Mum and Dad were settled enough to choose their own food there. Dad got chatting to a Malaysian man who had come to Kuala Lumpur on Holiday with his wife who was from Singapore. A few beers and then off to bed as we were knackered from the days travels.
Wednesday I had a little tour planned. We started with a hearty breakfast and then it was on to a local bus to the Batu Caves. Mum and Dad were shocked once again by the bus driver's crazy antics. We were ushered off the bus on a busy junction and told "Batu caves that way". We probably could have worked it out for ourselves as the giant golden statue that stands at the foot of the cave is hard to miss. The height of the statue equalled the height of the steps. We took some photos of the statue and started our climb up the 272 steps up to the cave. From the top of the steps there was a good view back over KL. We went into the caves and they were massive, with little Hindu shrines poked into corners all over. The 3rd of the 3 caves has an opening above which lets in light and hundreds of monkeys. Someone rustled a bag and they descended upon us scavenging for food, which made some people leave quickly and one lady almost got bit, all you heard was a scream. When we left the caves the weather had taken a turn and it was suddenly cloudy. We boarded a bus back to the city and this bus driver had a more James May than Colin McCray attitude. We had some lunch and then Mum and Dad were in a shopping mood so we took them to a couple of shops then hit the market. All shopped out we freshened up and went to the KL tower for some Birdseye sightseeing by night! The KL tower is one of the tallest buildings in Kuala Lumpur. The tallest building in Kuala Lumpur is the PETRONAS Towers. We didn't go up the PETRONAS towers because we wanted to look at them from the KL Tower. We went up and were all given an audio-tour headset which pointed out the landmarks. After being up the KL tower for around an hour we took the weird lift down and got a taxi to the PETRONAS towers and took some more photos. After Dad had almost filled his memory card with fuzzy pictures we headed back for our last evening meal together in KL. We thought about going somewhere new but in the end we didn't want to be let down so we went to the Tang City Food Court. We made it special by getting more beers and more food! I think me and Garath have probably gained weight this week!
We both really enjoyed having Mum and Dad around this week. It was fun looking after them instead of them looking after us. It was also fun watching Dad trying to use chopsticks, and watching Mum grip the bus seat like she was on a rollercoaster. We were sad to see them go when we took them to the Airport the next day. We waved them off and they got home safely about 16 hours later.