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A short stop in the civilization / Zastavka v civilizacii

Singapore & Malaysia in two weeks. / Singapur & Malajzia za dva tyzdne.

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By ZZ

Singapore, a small insular state on the tip of the Malay peninsula with a population of 5 million inhabitants, is the most expensive city in the world. And probably the cleanest, too. An ultra-modern oasis in the middle of Southeast Asia. But there is much more to Singapore than that. It's an amazing melange of Chinese, Malay, Indian and European culture. It all started at the end of 18th century when Sir Stamford Raffles established the port of Singapore. It became the most important stop on the trade route between India and China and therefore grew increasingly richer. The wealth is now hidden in the trade banks of the financial district.

We enjoyed Singapore to the fullest. The city represents a shining example of how to preserve green gardens in the middle of a concrete jungle. On the very first night we made our way to the Night Safari zoo, a great exhibition of animals which are active mostly in the dark. You can either take a tram with a guided tour or walk along one of the 4 trails. We did both. There are in fact no fences... (or they're almost invisible). Fancy a lion roar at midnight?! The next morning we followed the example of the locals and went jogging to the Marina bay. The first 2k were great, but then it started pouring cats and dogs. After hiding at a bus stop for the better of an hour we returned to our hostel with no dry spot on our body. Anyway...we dedicated the rest of the day to cultural exploration and visited the Arab street and Little India. We kept the best for the evening: Gardens by the bay. These futuristic gardens were opened to the public in 2011 and every night people gather to listen to the "singing trees". A stunning theatre! On our last day we walked through the beautifully preserved colonial quarter and visited the Asian civilizations museum. It was one of the best we've seen and the impression was multiplied by the museum's guide who led us through the expositions. The museum does free guided tours every day and you get so much more out of it going on one.

Only 6 hours bus drive and we were in another capital: Kuala Lumpur. Basically it's a huge building site and a display of Malaysian effort to become the regional leader in trade and tourism. The well-known campaign "Truly Asia - Malaysia" brought many interesting activities like free walking tours or the "Mud" musical about the city history. Of course we couldn't miss a picture in front of the highest building in the world - the famous Petronas towers :) We tasted also the delicious Peranakan cuisine, a fusion of Chinese cooking style with Malay spices and ingredients. In Malaysia we wanted to visit 2 more places, the first being the Cameron highlands. This famous tee plantation was unfortunately packed with tourists and did not have much authenticity left. We enjoyed a few hikes in the forest and left for our next destination. Penang. A beautiful multicultural city on an island full of beaches, jungle and the best food we thought Malaysia has to offer. Every evening we tasted local specialities at the night market - seafood, sushi, curries, soups and rice. Yummy! We spent our days strolling around the streets of Chinatown taking pictures of the local street art and drinking coffee in the unique coffee shops. We would recommend a day trip to the Penang national park. After a two-hour jungle trek we entered a virgin beach where sea turtles come to lay their eggs. When a storm broke out, we hid in the turtle sanctuary and fell asleep next to the small sea turtles :)

2 weeks on the Malay peninsula offered an interesting insight into the two richest countries in the region. It was pleasant to be in a place where traffic rules exist, plus one can pay by card and buy some chocolate ice cream ;) We can say that we tasted some of the best food here, and literally on every corner! The cultural diversity gives these countries their exotic flair and fantastic atmosphere!

...

Singapur, maly ostrovny stat na cipe malajskeho polostrova s populaciou 5 milionov obyvatelov, je najdrahsie mesto sveta. A zaroven pravdepodobne najcistejsie. Supermoderna oaza uprostred juhovychodnej Azie. Nie je to vsak len pozlatko na povrchu. Singapur je uzasny mix cinskej, indickej, malajskej a europskej kultury. Vsetko to zacalo koncom 18.storocia ked Sir Stamford Raffles zalozil pristav, ktory sa postupne stal najdolezitejsim obchodnym uzlom medzi Indiou, Cinou a Indoneziou. Dnes je toto bohatstvo vidiet hlavne na bankach vo financnej stvrti.

V Singapure sme sa citili skvele. Toto mesto je ziarivy priklad, ako zachovat zelen aj uprostred betonovej dzungle. Hned prvy vecer sme navstivili nadherne nocne safari, kde sme si az do polnoci pozerali zvierata aktivne hlavne za tmy. Su dva sposoby, ako sa po parku pohybovat - vlacikom s vykladom sprievodcu alebo pesi po znacenych chodnikoch. My sme skusili oboje. Kedze v parku nie su ziadne ploty (alebo ich nie je vidno), je celkom sranda nacuvat revu levov v totalnej tme... Na dalsi den sme sa po vzore domacich vybrali behat do Marina bay. Trochu mrholilo, ale aspon nas to trochu schladilo. Asi po 2 kilometroch z toho bol taky lejak, ze sme as museli schovat na autobusovu zastavku, ale aj tak sme naspat bezali premoknuti do nikty. Poobede sme sa vydali preskumat kulturu v Little India a Arab street, nekonecnej spleti uliciek, obchodikov a stankov s vybornym jedlom. Na vecer sme si nechali perlicku - Gardens by the bay. Tieto futuristicke zahrady boli otvorene v roku 2011 a kazdy vecer sa tu ludia zhromadzuju pocuvat "spievajuce stromy". Nezabudnutelne divadlo! Na posledny den sme si nechali prechadzku po kolonialnej stvrti a prehliadku Muzea azijskych civilizacii - jedna s najkrajsich zbierok, ake sme videli. Celym okruhom nas previedla jedna zo zamestnankyn a vysvetlila nam vsetky pribehy okolo pamiatok - velmi poucne!

6 hodin cesty autobusom je vzdialene malajske hlavne mesto Kuala Lumpur. Je to jedno velke stavenisko a vykladna skrina malajskej snahy stat sa ekonomickym a turistickym lidrom regionu. Obrovska kampan "Truly Asia - Malaysia" priniesla super aktivity ako prehliadku mesta so sprievodcom zdarma alebo muzikal Mud o historii mesta. Samozrejme sme nemohli vynechat fotku pri znamych Petronas towers. Ochutnali sme tu aj vyhlasenu Perenakansku kuchynu, cinsky styl varenia s malajskymi prisadami a koreniami. Vynikajuce! V Malajzii nas este cakali Cameron highlands, zname cajove plantaze severne z Kuala Lumpuru. Mozno to bolo hlavnou sezonou, ale tato oblast bola preplnena turistami a to nas trosku odradilo. Pozreli sme si vyrobnu caju, spravili sme si turu po lese a vyrazili sme dalej. Penang. Nadherne multikulturne mesto na ostrove s plazami, dzunglou a najlepsim jedlom! Kazdy vecer sme ochutnavali speciality na nocnom trhu - morske prisery, sushi, curry, polievky, ryzu. Okrem toho sme si uzivali prechadzky po uzkych ulickach, fotili sme miestne slavne graffiti a posedavali v jedinecnych kaviarnach. Za celodenny vylet urcite stoji Penangsky narodny park. Po dvojhodinovej ture dzunglou sme sa dostali na panensku plaz, kde sme videli morske korytnacky. Ked sa spustila strasna burka, schovali sme sa do chovnej stanice a zaspali vedla malych korytnaciek :)

2 tyzdne na malajskom polostrove boli zaujimavym pohladom na dva najbohatsie staty regionu. Bolo fajn zase byt niekde, kde sa dodrziavaju dopravne predpisy, plati sa kartou a da sa kupit cokoladova zmrzlina. Zaroven tu bolo zatial najlepsie jedlo, a to doslova na kazdom rohu! Zmes roznych kultur stale dava tymto krajinam exoticky nadych a fantasticku atmosferu.

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Posted by zuzana.zav 21:53 Archived in Malaysia

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Brilliant photos! lovely to read, as ever! wishing we were there in Indonesia with you!

by AllyBeeFree

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