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A bit of a photo disaster has meant I've been trawling through back-ups of a trip we took in 2009 to Malaysia. It prompted me to think about the trip and although a bit hazy now over the next few weeks I'll post some details and some photos.
My wife and I plus children then 15, 13 and 9 headed over to Malaysia and Singapore for just over 3 weeks in September 2009.
It was a bit of a zoo trip but as the trip went on the families ability to do that many zoos was put to the test. A disaster in Singapore (my son telling me the hippo has a baby and I fell over running and damaged the camera) meant I didn't quite get the photos I hoped.
I'm particularly keen on primates but in general anything unusual. Unfortunately I'm a bit like a stamp collector - I want to a) see something I haven't seen before, b) get a photo of it
The first few days were spent in Singapore and the usual parks and zoos so I won't spend time on these.
After that we headed over the border to Johor which was harrowing because Malaysia was turning Australians around at the time due to fear of swine flu. After hours crossing the border including medical tests, we picked up a hire car and headed to Melaka. Driving in Malaysia is really easy and highly recommended to get around - no one drives on the motorways.
A couple of days in Melaka allowed us to look around as well as see a reptile show, Melaka Zoo (review to follow) and the butterly and reptile park.
Driving from Melaka to K.L we visited A'Famosa because they had a free range primate island. This place was pretty shocking. Terrible cages, drugged tigers for photos. The island had one baby dusky langur and heaps of squirrel monkeys. The rest of the inhabitants were all kept in a brick building with very small concrete rooms and a couple of climbing branches. There were some very distressed looking primated in there - especially a gibbon family with a young baby.
At K.L, we stayed at Sunway Lagoon which had its own animal section. This was mixed with some good (sun bears, tigers and some small mammals - best civet enclosure I have seen) and some bad - albino monkey in a small cage, a pair of skunks kept in little more than a box. They had a moat style enclosure for slow loris (think mini moat because the whole thing was about 10 foot long and 4 foot wide).
At K.L we also visited the zoo and bird park and it is about this time that the family revolted about visting animal places. After K.L. we headed to the east coast to Cherating. This was a great experience seeing turtles laying eggs at night and then the chidlren digging up and releasing baby turtles the next day.
From Cherating we took a day trip to visit the Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary and nearby Deerland. Plenty of feeding, riding, scrubbing and swimming with elephants and at Deerland holding and feeding everything from deer and snakes to hedgehogs, sun bears and monkeys but didnt leave it feeling good about the conditions.
Off to Penang and from there a day trip to see Taiping (review to following) and Bukit Merah laketown resort (so the family could use the water slides and I could visit their wildlife area. This was a very small area with deer, reptiles and a lot of small mammals and petting area. Quite a lot of binturongs - some you were allowed to pat others you were told would bite. A couple of other civets - masked and small toothed from memory. They gave my son carrot sticks to feed to small toothed civet. A few interestign reptiles. An enormous reticulated python in a tiny cage and a huge crocodile in a small cage too.
The tail end of the hotel was 8 days in Langkawi. I had chosen the resort because on trip advisor there were lots of complaints about the wildlife invading the resort. We had Dusky Langurs on the balcony everday, a civet running around inside when we left the door open and giant squirrels in the trees - so I got what I wanted. We did a few wildlife parks on Langkawi while we were there (Crocodile farm, aquarium and bird park) but nothing outstanding.