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I visited Malaysia with Michael Toon in 2002.  Michael lives in Thailand, so it's just a short stop for him.  We had always wanted to travel on the Eastern Orient Express railway train.  The train travels from Bangkok to Singapore once a week, and takes two days.  We decided that one day would be long enough to be on a train, as nice as it may be.  So we booked a trip from Bangkok to the island of Penang in Malaysia.

The train crossed the bridge over the River Kwai.  The track is single line all the way to Penang, and there is an open-air scenic car.  In the evening, there is a piano bar with good champagne, and an excellent dining car.

We had dinner on the train, and slept in the tiny sleeping compartments.  The next day we arrived at Butterworth, the departure point for the nearby island of Penang.  In Penang we stayed at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel, built by the Sarkies brothers, the original owners of Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

We rented a car in Penang, and drove to the Cameron Highlands, several hours away.  The Cameron Highlands are well known to us because Jim Thompson, the Thai silk magnate, disappeared there when on a walk in 1957.  His Thai house in Bangkok is now a museum.   In the days of British rule, the Cameron Highlands was a hill station - a place to get away from the heat of Penang and Kuala Lumpur.  We had dinner at a very British half-timbered hotel.

  Near the Cameron Highlands, we visited the Boh Tea plantation, and factory.  Tea is an important Malaysian crop.   The plantation was started in 1929 by JA Russell, a pioneer of the tea industry in Malaysia.  Today, Boh manage four plantations in the Cameron Highlands with a planted area of 1,200 hectares of the world's best tea.  We had a nice cup of tea there.  Since then, I have bought my tea from the Boh plantation - they ship it to me by sea, eight boxes at a time,  from Malaysia!

We flew back to Bangkok from Kuala Lumpur, a big modern city.  The airport is as clean as the one in Singapore, and has a Harrods store and tea room.  Telmar now has an office in Kualu Lumpur.

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This site was last updated 03/08/06