Singapore was a port that we decided to do on our own. I was looking forward to visiting, but it wasn’t the most important on the list and we didn’t want to get jammed up with a tour. We researched a few places and once through immigration we hit the road. Our first stop was Chinatown and the Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple, Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, founded in 1827. It was absolutely incredible! I’d never seen anything quite like it and the colours were beautiful. The temple is a national monument and it’s built in the Dravidian style.
Next, we made our way to Little India to see the Sri Veeramakalimman Temple and it too was stunning. This temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess and destroyer of evil, Kali, and it was once named Soonambu Kambam Kovil. We decided this time we would go in. I was given a pashmina to cover my shoulders and Marian and skirt to cover her legs. It was beautiful inside and there were a lot of people there praying. I took a few photos, but I was as keen to leave as I was to enter. I sometimes feel like I’m intruding when people are there trying to worship.
We spent an hour or so walking around Little India, buying some savoury treats as we went, before jumping in a cab and heading for Marina Bay. By the time we arrived, we were hot, tired and hungry. We looked inside the rather posh shopping mall and walked around the bay, taking photos of the museum and everything else as we went, but before we knew it, it was time to start thinking about heading back to the ship. Our call time in Singapore was very short, especially given that it took a month to get through immigration, but our main goals had been to see the temples and we did just that. It was a good day, but I would like to visit again and check out everything I missed. Raffles was closed for refurbishment.
We left Singapore and made our way to Malaysia for a day of exploring in Kuala Lumpur. That was a port I was very excited to see. Before leaving the UK, I did some research and came across a man named Kernail. He owns a taxi and has some excellent reviews on TripAdvisor. We’d been in touch a few times before the cruise, to arrange times and an itinerary, and as promised, he was there waiting for us when we left the ship. His car was fully air-conditioned – perfect given it was absolutely roasting outside – and he provided us with water, juice and wipes.
We left the port and began the drive to the Batu Caves, both Marian and I were very excited to see this as it was top of our list for our time in Kuala Lumpur. It took just over 1 hour to get there and it was incredibly busy. Batu Caves is a limestone hill which is home to three major caves and several smaller ones. The 100-year-old temple features many statues and idols within the caves and limestone formations that are thought to be around 400 million years old.The temple is a very important landmark for Hindus and the Cathedral Cave is the largest and most popular, followed by the Art Gallery Cave and the Museum Cave. The cave is dedicated to Lord Murugan and boasts the world’s tallest statue of him, standing at 42.7 metres! It is a fascinating place and you should definitely visit if you get the chance. There are 272 steps to the main cave and I have to admit that I didn’t walk up them. It was so hot and humid, I would have been a wreck by the time I got to the top. Marian, however, did make the trek up – gold star for her!
Although I didn’t go in the main cave, I did go inside the Ramayana Cave. It’s much smaller and accessed via flat ground, so it was perfect for me. A story is told inside from beginning to end and it’s quite impressive. I didn’t understand it all, but I’m sure if I do more research on it, I’ll know it all in no time. On my way out of the temple, I noticed a lot of monkeys and one was carrying a tiny newborn baby. It was so sweet! It couldn’t have been more than a few days old.
We jumped back in Kernail’s car and he drove us around the city. I felt like we went everywhere! Some of the places we stopped at included the King’s Palace, National Monument, Chinatown and the Petronas Towers. We also made a stop at the city shopping mall so we could have lunch. I decided to have Indian food and not only was it delicious, it only cost around £3.20. I had tandoori chicken with dhal and naan. Before heading back towards Port Klang, we made one last stop and that was at the Central Market. We got there just in time. As we left the car it started thundering and raining, so it was a perfect excuse to do some indoor shopping. There were lots of different things for sale, including clothes, bags, jewellery and souvenirs. It was a bustling place spread across 2 floors. I really enjoyed Malaysia, it’s definitely a place I’d like to visit again. There was so much to do and the culture there is the kind of thing I always crave.
If you’re ever in Kuala Lumpur, please consider Kernail as your driver and guide for the day. He was excellent, I can’t say enough good things about him. He did everything he said he would do, he made sure we were hydrated and back to the ship on time and he even bought us some local souvenirs each as a parting gift. He’s a lovely man and you’ll definitely be in safe and reliable hands. You can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp: +60 13 394 8560
Our next stop is Yangon and we were supposed to be arriving there tomorrow evening but due to a medical emergency onboard, we’ll now be arriving early tomorrow morning. I doubt I’ll do much tomorrow as our tours are planned for Wednesday and Thursday, the port is apparently in the middle of nowhere and it is going to be incredibly hot, around 37 Degrees Celsius! I like the sun, but this Asian heat is really tiring me out at the minute. I’ve never felt heat and humidity quite like it.