North-East Coast, Malaysia, 2008

Heading over to the east coast offers a chance to cross the central ridge of mountains that run down Peninsula Malaysia and are still covered in original South East Asian jungle – plenty of monkeys, some of the biggest insects we’ve ever seen, lizards and snakes by the thousands, and a dwindling number of Asian elephants.

Sadly we haven’t seen this one in the wild. The photo is from a elephant sanctuary in the central part of the country, where elephants that are encroaching on local farmers (sic) are brought, rehabilitated and then relocated.

It is about 3h from KL to the east coast (using the central east-west highway E8)where the scenery and culture are radically different.

It’s predominantly rural, Muslim and conservative – especially as you head north up towards the Thai border – about 4h drive. The top-most state, Kelantan, is the only state in Malaysia where the Islamic party (PAS) is in control (may change as of March 8th).

One of the main benefits is the cuisine – spicy Malay food, alongside a stunning variety of Chinese and (mostly) Soutern Indian – and a vast number of ‘fusion’ dishes that borrow from all traditions.

Some of the best places to appreciate it all are the markets, where the mix of fresh food and spices is intoxicating (almost too much so during the durian season, a tropical fruit whose smell is indeed mind-boggling, especially when it gets mixed up with that of freshly gutted fish and battalions of slaughtered chickens).


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Some of the best places to appreciate it all are the markets, where the mix of fresh food and spices is intoxicating (almost too much so during the durian season, a tropical fruit whose smell is indeed mind-boggling, especially when it gets mixed up with that of freshly gutted fish and battalions of slaughtered chickens).


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  1. February 19, 2017

    […] East Coast of peninsular Malaysia […]

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