Wednesday, 6 January 2016

October break - A Mushroom farm in Ipoh and Pangkor Island our local beach.

Stephanie has her first holiday from school since starting, and we have decided to do a couple of things during the break, cheap things if honest because here in Malaysia it can be just as expensive or more so than in the UK if you have the funds and desire luxury, on the other hand there are some cheap gems all over the place and it just takes a keen eye and a little research and a poor mans paradise can be found all over where the pretentious five star brigade are none existent.

This particular mushroom can cure many illnesses of the gut its dried and crushed and added to food, its very bitter, 
We have found an app called Airbnb, basically you can rent every type of accommodation on it but essentially for us you can rent someone's spare room in a house, this for us is very interesting because we get the instant hit of meeting a local with local knowledge so we get a cultural experience as well, and its much cheaper than most hotels, some of them work harder for your money to (not always ) but on occasions you luck out and do well by it, you can also haggle the price and pay cash because out here you can buy anything with cash...even Grandmas and souls are for sale.

They are grown in bottles, many mushroom sets can come form one bottle until the nutrients dry up. 
So to start we found Jimmy on his mushroom farm and homestay tucked in by the rocks and jungle and near the best Temple in Ipoh. Jimmys place is here -

Jimmys place

 It was a test to see if the app worked well and to see what you get for 75 ringets  a night (£10.50) this is for a private room and bathroom with aircon and TV and coffee facilities with private outdoor seating area. This price is for the rooms not per person, so we each paid £5.25 a night. !! not bad...

It was nice cute and twee, the rooms were very clean and in Malaysia that really is your main concern, is the bed clean and bug free....after that most things can be accommodated, but you must have a bug free clean bed. The bathroom was a wet room type so when you shower everything gets soaked the toilet the sink everything as it is in Malay. When outside your in the world of bugs, they lived here first so it is us in their home really, the flies outside made it nearly impossible to relax and chill with a morning coffee but I did try. we liked it and for that price it was stunning value Jimmy and his family were delightful and very accommodating and this is what makes Malaysia so nice it is its people.

Meeting Janne and Susan the Finns. 

There we were in the shop looking at a map and a forlorn soaked and tired looking Finn named Janne
(Yan Ne) came into our lives, he was asking to borrow a bike to hunt down food, we offered him a lift into town...his eyes lit up ..... and so the epic story begins of our time with the Finns.

They were travelling all over SEA for a while and were on a tight budget, they were essentially back packers and Susan looked weary from the toll travelling had taken on her and here in Malaysia to travel without a car is never easy not in this heat, in my opinion you need a car (or a bike). Once in town we got funds and headed for food when we were introduced to Janne's bottomless stomach this man could eat...and he ate, and ate and ate and ate some more..incredible eating stamina, a Finnish X eating champion possibly who knows. Suffice to say we became travelling friends and UNO card game combatants and I suffered heavy emotional defeats in this field of card playing during our time together.

We took them out to places and we had a cool time at the best Temple in Ipoh pictures below a stunning place full of wonderment hard to describe really it has to be seen flt to be honest, I am touched by these places and struggle to vocalise how beautiful they are in another life I would live in one.

We let them stay in our place in Ipoh after our time at the mushroom farm came to an end essentially to let them re cope and re charge, and I think they really enjoyed the break from the stress of not knowing where they will sleep next, during our time together we hit the Cameron Highlands getting some awesome pictures swam at night in the luxury dome pool great fun, and we also swan wild in a waterfall on the way up to the Cameron Highlands it was a great time. They only stayed  a few nights and were then off the KL on the bus, lovely people and an opportunity for me to repay my dues to the back packing community as I was helped so much when I was doing it years ago. when they arrived at ours they just hit the the hammock and chilled ha ha...great....

We will never forget each other of course never...impossible, because me and Janne both ate the same dodgy food one day and both ended up suffering the same terrible violating outcome at the same time whilst out and about in Malaysia in those kinds of toilets (hole in the ground types)....the kind that rats avoid, well they will now we've destroyed was for a while a concern having such multiple violent watery anal attacks as those but(t) as the stomach settled and we were able once again to sit normally and relax in the car without fear of fucking up the leather interior the laughter began, and it never ended.....details of our spoils literally were explained in excruciating detail to the girls and we all got the giggles, I'm even giggling now weeks after the event as I write... stunning what your own body can do to you.....sigh...a tough day for sure.

Pangkor island - Poor mans paradise (my type)

Paradise lost

We looked on-line after Janne and Susan had travelled onward and we wanted to escape the Haze and though the coast might bring some rest from it, we saw a nice place slightly higher in price and we thought wed try it for a few day in the end we stayed 4 nights, it was worth it. Here is where we stayed.

Nipah Guest House

OK to get there its a hour and a half drive from Ipoh, then you dump you car at the ferry terminal we stayed for 4 days the parking costs us 38 ringets when we picked it up on our return (£5.75) wow....the ferry across to the island is 10 ringets open return for a month (£1.55)...

when we got there we caught an infamous pink taxi, all having set prices of 15 ringets for anywhere on the island yep pink here they are....

So its dark we caught the last ferry over at 7:30pm and were at the chalets at 8:15...we have found in Malaysia to date that everywhere looks so nice at night, when the darkness hides the drainage, sanitation and rubbish dumping issues as well as the bad finishing of everything which is just Malaysia in general, so when we arrived it looked stunning at the end of small lane just off the beach road the A frames were all lit up and the pool glimmered temptingly, I could not wait to get in it and you could swim all night if you cool is that.

Costs well we got it for 120 for two nights and 150 for another two nights as its more on the weekend. so 540 ringets for 4 nights bliss...(£81 total) £40 each...£10 a night each...that's the price you pay to lift yourself slightly above good hostel level.

The pool was lush I just laid there for hours, what we did not know but do now, is that the island is empty during the week and only really kicks off on the weekends, so for the first 2 and a half days it was bliss the beaches were empty and we could just walk alone for hours wading in the warm sea...(it is very warm).

These types of non luxury islands do sadly lend themselves to look like dumping grounds and Malays in general struggle with understanding what the fuck to do with litter and garbage so in-between the rope swings hanging over the sea off palm trees and the multiple crafted swings you can chill on, rubbish kind of creeps constantly into view as well as old and tired boats canoes and equipment once having seen better days, they just dont get it, rubbish will destroy there tourism industry completely....they need to be careful.

But the Island has a rustic charm about it which creeps into your sole, like all these rustic lived in tropical  places they just well get to you, the lack of rules and legislation gives a feeling of freedom and abandonment which is enjoyable in a very human way, there are good spots and bad spots, you and can choose where you go and as always its the people that are magic, they are the ones who make the trip a success not the immediate environment at your feet.

We engaged with the locals we hunted them down rode our scooter in to the edges where tourists probably dont go to, stopped and looked and showed interest in their lives and it and it is this that touches you and made the break a roaring success, it was good it worked because this is the cheapest and nearest beach of quality to us and only 2 hours away nice for weekend breaks.

The hosts were wonderful, it was the kind of B&b small b because you had to make your own breakfast, it was nice with fruit toasts and eggs and sausages and free T&C all day. it was a beautiful layout and it was a pleasure to be there, we also met all the other guests and spoke with a couple from Belgium who were returning home after this weekend so their Malaysian trip was over, they said that Malaysia was much better than Thailand....The pictures tell the rest of the story but suffice to say Pangkor is now our local weekend beach hideaway should we need it.

Its a bit knackered its a bit worn, but its our favourite local cheap poor mans paradise escape, We love Pankor and there is so much to see we missed this time around, we will I imagine go ever October half term as it was very quite at this time of year.