This trip was not planned.
I won a holiday on an Australian photography site.  
I entered this photo that I took in Jasper, Canadian Rockies.  Nice hey.

It was a travel photo competition and the first one hosted by the site that had a holiday for the prize.  I had only been on the site for about 8 months when they announced this competition.

We went on a fabulous holiday to Canada and parts of the States and Belize. You can read all about it in my other blog here.  I have some fabulous photos and great stories of visiting the Rockies as well as the Smoky Mountains with vivid fall colours.

Anyway, I took this photo early morning in the freezing cold at lake pyramid resort, capturing the morning sun on the mountains behind the lake.  This was pretty much straight out of the camera.  
 I waited the full 12 months for the competition to finish and was shocked that I won the intermediate category.  Then my photo went up against the winner of the advanced who had a fabulous night scene of Brugges.

   And lo and behold, I won! Woohoo!! Imagine a 56yro dancing around the house like a kid with the latest x-box!! I could easily have given the Toyota add a run for it's money .... Lol.

8 months down the track, and hubby and I are about to embark on another USA adventure starting in New York with all expenses paid air fare tickets, accommodation and a week photo

tour including a photography chopper ride over Manhatton.  Then on to Florida and Jamaica.

Sadly we could not go.  The company that was supposed to pay apparently had cash flow problems.  Something to do with money being tied up in Cuba.  Can you believe that!!?

So here we are.  No holiday to USA.  Out of pocket for other expenses we had already paid for.   Annual leave booked through work.  Some of that leave without pay.  So now what?

Oh well.   Guess we'll go back to KL.  Visit our friends and pick another island to check out.

So.....  That is how we came about to be back in Malaysia.

This time we accepted a kind offer from our good friend May Sue to stay with her in her condo just outside of KL.

May is lucky to live here.  The condo has a pool, nice gardens, cafe, shop and washing dry/cleaning service.
Not only all of that, but it has a fabulous view of the city and twin towers thank you May for hosting

us.  You are a true gem and great friend! Xx

People that live here really don't have to cook at all.  Food is so cheap.   We visited the local cafes every morning, just down the road.



Back in KL and we were happy to see our friends again.  What better way than to go hang out at our favourite restaurant in the grocery shop, lower ground floor of the Publica Shopping Centre.  

This time we were so full that we couldn't fit in the shucked oysters around the corner in the same grocery shop.  You need to check that out in my previous blogs.  Fancy that?   I even shocked myself!! 

Malaysians are truly spoilt in the food department.



Monday was a public holiday in KL.  They seem to have a lot of public holidays.  But then with the infusion of different cultures here, no wonder.

So today may sue wanted to take us somewhere local that wouldn't be overcrowded.  Janda Baik.

True enough, it wasn't crowded.  We got a lot of strange looks.  Tourists in a local hang out lol.

We just loved it here! Our type of place.  Off the beaten path, nice flowing river, locals having bbq's on the banks, kids riding the river rapids on tubs.  There were even small holiday huts that were obviously rented out for the long weekend.  We had a fabulous time!!

I was even asked if I was from National Geographic, with my tripod and camera haha.  A family invited me to join in for lunch which was nice.   But we had just had some local food called Nasi Lemak across the road at the small café


Following this, we drove around the corner to a day spa where hubby and may sue had a massage and I wandered around to take some photos.



Patrick our driver and now good friend also wanted to catch up.  So we asked him to take us to Melaka.

So when Patrick rocked up in the car, his wife was there.  What a lovely surprise.  How nice to see Samika.

She had taken time off work at short notice especially to spend a day with us.

This was a nice relaxed day with good company.  When we arrived we discovered that our favourite
Baba Nyonya restaurant the Peranakan had closed.  So sad.  But straight across the road was a very small

Baba Nyonya cafe so we thought we would give it a try.


Baba Nyonya food is an infusion of Malay and Chinese with a distinct Indian spice flavour.   We love it!

We ordered the share buffet and it was just right!  So yummy!!  Washed down with a cold tiger!
Ah.... Heaven!  😍

Tummys full.  We really need to have a wander around.  Melaka is so good for a leisurely stroll amongst the fabulous old Portugese infused architecture including people watching.

We came across an old derelict building that had some awesome grafitti!   Check this out.



Last stop.  Geographer Café.   
Love this place.

Didn't take any photos this time, but if you have not seen my other blogs, then here are just a couple.

We wanted to spend another day with Patrick.  
Where to this time?


This was a long day commencing at around 7.30 and finishing after 10pm but we packed a stack of stuff in and it turned out to be the highlight of our trip.

The scenery along the way is spectacular. You won't have a bored moment.  First stop, a beautiful waterfall.   Be prepared to jostle for a parking spot here as there are not that many and it is a very touristy spot.

It was here that I discovered that my phone takes fisheye photos.  I have been looking for a compatible fisheye lens for my Canon 60D which is a crop sensor camera. Hubby and I share a good canon fisheye lens however it does not give me the full round photos that I am after.  It does on hubby's full sensor 5D camera.

So here at the Cameron Highlands waterfall, I discovered that my phone has an option to take fisheye photos. Cool!! 



Boah Tea is way up high in the Cameron Highlands.  The surrounding mountains were covered in mist.  The view here was spectacular!

We had a tour of the tea making and sat down to tea and scones.  Hubby and I bought a sample pack of 6 different flavoured teas.  There's passion fruit, normal tea, lemon with mandarin, lime and ginger, earl grey (my favourite) and lychee and rose.  Yuuuumy.



We stopped for lunch in the main street of Tanah Rata, the city centre of the Cameron Highlands. Got to hand it to Patrick!  He knew the best place to eat and suggested what would be good.  It was more than good. It was blinkin' awesome!!  Fabulous Indian food on a large banana leaf!!  Washed down with a cold tiger!   And we were totally satisfied.  😁

We were lucky enough to get a parking spot right outside the front. The main street of Tanah Rata is very busy.



Tanah Rata and surrounds has a lot of popular tourist attractions.  The list is huge.  You could easily fill 3 days with stuff to see and do here.  The first stop we made was at an old Tudor building with plenty of character.



I just loved this!  I wish we could have spent less time at the tea place.

To get here, we had to negotiate driving through the markets with people everywhere  The closest I could compare was in Morocco and even then it wasn't as crowded as here.  A pretty cool experience.

There were so many varieties of roses and other little colourful flowers.  They even had flowers that looked like ballet shoes and a butterfly.



This was our highlight of the trip.   We have been to the butterfly park in KL and it is real nice with beautiful surroundings.  Here, not the same.   But what made it special was this fella that seemed to take a liking to us. Probably arranged by Patrick.

Anyway, he started showing us the other creatures that they had here.  Check out the following.

We kind of lost all interest in the sweet butterflies’ lol. 😉

I swear, this guy had no fear !!!

It was amazing also checking out the insects that disguise themselves.  The huge stick insect you saw above can look just like one big long stick.  Here is another insect that disguises itself as a leaf.

Ok... a couple of butterfly photos.

Couple of butterfly shots

And a flower that cannot be burnt with a flame.  But when you stick the lighter underneath, its colour changes.

I bought a lovely ornament here that looks good in my ornament cabinet.


We could have visited the strawberry farm and lavender farm but by this time we were running out of time.  We still had to drive around to Ipoh which is a couple of hours north of KL and then back to KL.

By the time we reached Ipoh it was dark but Patrick still drove around town pointing out some of the beautiful old buildings which has wet our appetite for another trip.

All in all, a fantastic day that I am sure you will enjoy too if you decide to check it out.  Please ask if you want  Patrick's details.


One last photo - catching up with Mei Leng and Charles.  We attended their wedding here in 2014 which was absolutely beautiful!  It was so nice to see you guys again! Xx 

We also met Sharon for the first time.  On our very first trip in 2010 we were looking forward to meeting Sharon. Unfortunately she couldn't make it so I spoke to her on the phone from our hotel.

This time, 7 years later we finally met Sharon and I am so glad.  You are a kind and thoughtful person.

Lastly, one more special thank you to May Sue for everything you did for us. Love you to pieces!! 



I have mixed feelings about our stay on Manukan Island.

All the other islands that we have visited in Malaysia hold their own special memory.

Pulau Tioman - snorkling, diving, locals, sunsets, beach bar, gorgeous diving instructors.....

Hell  Tioman Island has the best memories!! 

Pulau Ketam - off the beaten path, different local living, houses on stilts, quaint fishing village, fantastic seafood.

Pulau Langkawi - awesome scenery, monkeys, yummy seafood, sunset cruising and other fun stuff to see and do.

Pulau Penang - foodie heaven!  Fabulous mountain scenery, friendly locals, fantastic accommodation on Ferringhi beach.

Manukan Island was different.  Maybe it had something to do with us having to book somewhere at short notice because our plans to travel to New York fell through.   Check out my previous blog.

Maybe it had something to do with the mozzies and sandflies or the staff who need a lot more coaching on how to interact with their guests.   I don't know.

When I say rustic paradise, I mean that the beaches here are stunning!  The accommodation was definitely 5 star!  

But the other facilities let Manukan Island resort down.  And the staff let the place down.  So, Manaukan Island resort was a mixture of paradise with a basic rustic feel.

In hindsight, even though this place certainly has a lot going for it, it lacks a lot compared to the other islands that we have been to in Malaysia.

So what is good about Manukan Island resort?


When we arrived at Kota Kinabalu or 'KK' as the locals call it, we took a short 15 minute boat ride to Manukan Island.

I booked one of the expensive cabins on stilts overlooking the beach. This is 5 star accommodation with a price to match.  We were not disappointed.


However, we were disappointed that the staff didn't tell us about the mozzies at night.  There was an electrical mozzie plug in thingy in the bedroom that we discovered after 2 nights.  If we had have known that earlier, we would have avoided the massive bites and itchy arms and legs.   Later we overheard staff telling new arrivals about this. Unfortunately they forgot to tell us.

Same thing with midges (sand flies).   When we arrived, the staff should have warned us about the midges on the beach.   If they had have done, we would have purchased some sandfly stuff from the little shop.   Instead we suffered mozzie and midge bites for 2 days before finally working it out.


Relaxing on an island is not complete unless you experience an awesome sunset.

To see the sun setting, you had to walk up hill on a small path to the lookout and then walk back in total dark with a torch.  There was no way I was going to do that.

But we did happen to capture some awesome sunset light on our private beach in front of our accommodation.



And after the sun sets, the stars come out.   I ventured down to our private beach one night. It was quiet and peaceful.   We had a star gazing telescope in our accommodation that we didn't use.   I was more interested in capturing it on camera.



😧  HAHA ðŸ˜

Pulau Manukan had heaps of visitors every day.  They had permanent beachside facilities to cater for the crowds.  They even had these funny fake diving set ups that are supposed to replicate the diving experience.
We had a good laugh at that.  😁



We had incredible weather the entire stay.  This holiday was all about R&R so we chose not to do any activities on the mainland in Sabah Borneo.  Something unusual for us as our holidays are normally jammed packed with activities and sightseeing.

I actually watched a lot of movies this holiday, something I don't do at home let alone on holiday haha.   But we needed to have a good relaxing break and Manukan delivered.

Anyway, weather great, sea calm and we hit a neighbouring island and another gorgeous beach.   Along with a wedding.



The best meal we had was over on the mainland.  We wandered around to the pacific hotel and had lunch and a couple of cold tigers at the beach bar in the shade coupled with a nice breeze.   And no mozzies or flies.



Cocktail hour.  Best time of the day.

Howie ended up having to show the barman how to make a proper Margareta without ice in the drink.

The chicken wings were our favourite bar food. They were much better than the restaurant food which was pretty

basic without much variety.

For a 5 star resort, they need to do a bit more work in the food department.  Buffet breakfast was good but was not on the restaurant verandah which would have been more comfortable.  Instead it was next to with basic seating on the sand.  

Below is the restaurant verandah where breakfast should have been served.

They needed to employ more outgoing bar staff.  The only one that had a bit of character was Frederick pictured above with the coffee martini.   We had to remind the other bar staff when our glass was empty.

Speaking of Frederick, he was admiring my silver starfish neckless and asked where I purchased it as he wanted to get one for his wife for their 10th aniversary.   So I just gave it to him.  Frederick got real emotional.  
It was touching.

Last day at breakfast Frederick had set up the wedding beach cabana for us.  That was such a lovely thing to do and wonderful surprise.

Last day I work up early, sat on our cabin
 verandah with a nice cuppa and watched the 
first boat arrive.

So it's goodbye to Pulau Manukan with mixed feelings.  I paid top dollar, but unfortunately didn't receive 5 star service.

We plan to visit Sabah Borneo again but we will stay on the mainland and visit Manukan on a day trip, just to see Frederick.


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