Wilma & Jos Wanten; Reuver – The Netherlands
Anne-Marie Kuijpers & Roland Holz; Otterstadt – Germany
For the first time in many years we (my wife Wilma and me) decided to plan a holiday together with our best friends Roland and Anne-Marie. We actually met them during a holiday in South Africa in 1999, and we have stayed in touch ever since. Roland has been a keen birdwatcher for many years and it was actually him who introduced me to the fantastic hobby called bird watching. During the preparations for our trip we decided to combine bird watching with some ‘culture’ and to end the trip with some beach leisure. Our preparations for the trip were based on general information from the internet, bird-reports from, for example, http://www.birdtours.co.uk/, several travel guides like the Lonely Planet Malaysia, and the Field Guide to the Birds of West Malaysia and Singapore and a Photographic Guide to the Birds of Malaysia and Singapore.
Special thanks we like to give to John van der Woude. We used his trip report for its accurate descriptions (e.g. Great Argus site in Taman Negara NP including his excellent description of the call) with maps of sites and additional info on food, accommodations, etc. You can read many more of his reports at his excellent website http://johnbirding.wolweb.nl/.
We would also like to thank our friend Mr. Durai from the Nature Education Centre at Fraser’s Hill for showing us fantastic spots and beautiful birds around FH. Besides this his company was great fun. He really enjoys guiding people around. You can contact Mr. Durai at firstname.lastname@example.org or just ask for his office.
We booked our flight through the Internet with Emirates Airlines for a price of c. 600 Euro pp. Although this meant a three-hour stop in Dubai it was definitely worth saving lots of Euros. Airlines with direct flights offered prices from 800 Euro upwards. Actually it was very pleasant to have the opportunity to stretch our legs in Dubai after a 6.5 hours flight. Because we live in the south of The Netherlands and Roland & Anne-Marie in Otterstadt (near Mannheim/Germany) the most convenient airport to depart from was Frankfurt. We drove to Otterstadt the day before flight departure in order to have a good night sleep and breakfast the next morning before getting a taxi to Frankfurt which was only a 50-minute ride.
Although travelling by long-distance taxi would have been a cheaper option, we arranged car hire in advance so that we could make the best out of our limited time. This meant also that we were much more mobile at the sites visited. We had a Proton Wira 1.5 that was spacious enough for the four of us including luggage. Road conditions were very good and roads were well signposted. We used the Nelles Roadmap West-Malaysia that seems to be the best according to the Lonely Planet travel-guide.
Although we travelled in West Malaysia’s “dry” season we had afternoon rains (and thunderstorms) most of the days which also meant we had lots of leeches in Taman Negara and Fraser’s Hill. It was very hot and humid, especially in Kuala Selangor. On the other hand temperatures at Fraser’s Hill were at a pleasant 24oC.
Accommodations & Food
Finding appropriate hotels was no problem at all. They were cheap and of a moderate to high standard. Especially on weekdays the hotels were almost empty. Most of the times it was possible to negotiate the price with 40-50% off the original offered price - being a party of four people certainly helped.
The food was varied, cheap and of excellent quality. There is a choice of Malaysian, Indian and Chinese food. Some places also offered western food, but we didn’t try it (the eastern food was far too delicious!!). During the day we drank lots of bottled water and excellent fresh fruit-juices. Beer wasn’t available at some places and quite expensive compared to food-prices (c. 2-4 Euro for a small bottle).
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