Journey Three / Chapter 15

South & Central Malaysia

January 2019

From colonial Melaka, through busting capital Kuala Lumpur and Batu Caves at time of Thaipusam festival, up to the jungle national park in the middle of the peninsula.

After crossing the bridge from Singapore to Malaysia we are finally back 'home' on Eurasian continent - first time after months. Our first destination in Malaysia is historical city of Melaka (or Malacca). The city is an unique experience with a rich historical and cultural background from previous Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. Islam has spread to Malaysia and Malay archipelago through Melaka, and later did colonialism. This puts Melaka into unique historical position within Malaysia.

After Melaka we head up to the busting lively capital Kuala Lumpur. Aside from visiting the ususal sites (most famous are the twin Petronas Towers), we are very lucky that we visited the city during a major Hindu festival taking place in nearby Batu Caves - Thaipusam festival. Hundreds of thousdands devotees from whole hindu world reach the ornamental caves yearly to pay respect to the gods. They carry containers containing milk as offering to Lord Murugan either by hand or in huge decorated carriers on their shoulders called 'kavadi'. To get in and out of the cave temple, they have to pass steep flight of steps guarded by unfearful monkeys.

Our next destination is simply large jungle in the middle of the peninsula - National Park Taman Negara (Taman Negara actually just means 'National Park'). While a road to central village has been built recently, we choose traditional approach that was used for ages - to come in and out with a boat. The main river and its tributaries are still main mean of transport between various native villages in this remote area of Malaysia.