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Our First Days

Keck Family Trip to Malaysia June 24, 2011


Our journey began on June 21, 2011 as Alex, Thad and I left Tulsa for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As our travel plans changed upon our arrival to San Francisco and missing our flight to Hong Kong, the real adventure began for all of us and it prepared us well for all that we have experienced here. We were redirected by American Airlines thru United to Seoul, South Korea and then on to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Words cannot begin to describe our excitement once we landed in Kuala Lumpur. As Alex said "We are finally here!", we arrived at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2011. As we knew would be the case before we left San Francisco, our bags did not travel with us. They did not come until Saturday night, June 25.

Friday, July 24, 2011

We began our day in a local eatery, where the boys and enjoyed a Banana Roti that was served with two dipping sauces, one was curry based the other, I am just not sure. Roti is similar to a crepe, except you roll crepes, these are laid out flat, like a thin pancake. As we have learned everything here, that is traditional, is served with dipping sauces and you must be prepared that one will include Curry. We drank freshly squeezed orange juice. Thad was not quite sure what to think about what we were served and opted to have a egg scrambled. It took longer for us to explain how to prepare Thad's egg then for them to take and serve our original order. I will say as we were the only white people (that is how the locals refer to us) in the restaurant, us eating with forks was a little out of place.

Once breakfast was finished we were off to purchase Durian. Not all the grocery stores offer Durian, due to its odor. It look like a Pineapple on steroids. The outer shell is very thick. Durian has a very obvious odor. It traveled home in the back of the pickup truck, we could not take the odor. We have yet to try it but it will be served tonight with our meal. We also purchased Rombuatian, it looks like hairy strawberry, and Mangosteen, this looks like a plum. Both fruits you remove the exterior and eat what is inside. Both are very delicious.

We also made a stop at a mall where we slid down the tallest slide and completed our grocery shopping all in one stop! Where in America can you do that!

Friday night ended with Mike taking the kids to the pool, while Lari and I went shopping for clothes for the boys and I to get us through our weekend.
This is where the boys saw their first monkeys. This will the be first of many that they will see during this trip.

Facts: Currency is Ringget

Posted by keckfamily02 05:27 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

June 25, 2011 Melaka and Singapore


June 25, 2011

With our bags packed with our newly purchased clothes we are off to Melaka, Malaysia, Singapore and Mata, Indonesia. So we loaded up the cars and headed off thru the countryside, where we saw many Palm Groves. These groves cover hillside after hillside, on our way to Melaka. Once we arrived in Melaka we enjoyed a great lunch then shopped the market area. Along the way we came across the Maritime Museum. We could not pass up the tour upon Ridgley's announcement that it was Peter Pan's boat. We enjoyed looking at the artifacts, the kids enjoyed climbing around on the ship.

After our time in Melaka we were off to Singapore, about 3 hour car ride. As we crossed the border we gained another stamp in our passport. We also purchased our Travel Tag. This is similar to a Pike Pass, however you use this everywhere. And the govt of Singapore uses it to know where you are during your visit.

We stayed on the Tip of Singapore in an area called Sentosa. As you enter they have a theme park operated by Universal Studios. They have their own tram system, a gondola that will take you from this area back into Singapore. A tram system, similar to that at disneyland. Hard to describe but a neat place. Our accommodations where incredible.

Posted by keckfamily02 06:12 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

June 26, 2011 Singapore and Batam Indonesia

June 26, 2011

Our day began early as we had a lot to do and see. Mike (my brother) took all the kids to the resort pool, then on to the beach where they enjoyed there morning. Lari (Mike's) wife and I headed into Singapore, we started at Little India and worked our way to Chinatown. Lari and I had breakfast in Little India where we had Puri served with Coconut Curry and a Potato Chutney, we also had Fresh Mango Lassi and Masla Tea. We walked the streets and marveled at the sites. Then on to Chinatown where we entered into a Chinese Market. The market had fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and textiles.


Lari and I headed back to meet Mike and the kids. We then headed off for Batam, Indonesia by Ferry. Let's say this was one expensive dinner. But Thad was able to collect their currency, Rupiah. We were able to obtain another stamp in our Passport for places that we have visited. At the end of the day what more could you want.


Posted by keckfamily02 06:40 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

June 27, 2011 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

June 27, 2011

Today was a day of rest, we did not get home from Singapore until 3:30 a.m. So we took the day off. But I thought that I would use this page to give you some fun facts that we have learned since we have been here.

Fun Facts:

  • Currency Equivalents:

$1.00 USD = $3.20 Ringgit
$1.00 USD = $1.32 Sing Dollar
$1.00 USD = $8,300 Indonesian Rupia

  • Population:

Malaysia 25.7 Million / 6+ Million live in or around Kuala Lumpur
Singapore 5 Million
Indonesia 240.3 Million

Palm Groves - Palm is a highly productive crop here in Malaysia and as we traveled we encountered miles of Palm Groves. A Palm tree life expectancy is 25 years. After a tree has lived out it life expectancy then the groves are burned including the stumps and replanted. The groves we saw were in valleys and up along hillsides. The palm trees are harvested to make palm oil.

Below are pictures of the architecture in Singapore.


Posted by keckfamily02 02:16 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

July 28, 2011 Kuala Lumpur, Maylasia

Hindu Temple and Muslim Mosque Visits

July 28, 2011

Today was about KL and accomplishing some things around town that are must see's. The first on our list was the Batu Caves which serves as a Hindu Temple.

Batu Caves - Hindu Temple

Batu Caves - Hindu Temple

Along our journey, up the many stairs, to enter the Temple, we were greeted by monkeys. A lot of them! Alex and Thad were very excited and both made it clear, that they can officially mark of their list of things to see in Malaysia. We did not just see one, we saw hundreds of them.


Once we reached the top and was inside the cave you understood the reason for picking this as a place to worship.


After having a lunch we were off to the Blue Mosque in Shah Alam, Malaysia. Talk about incredible, this Mosque can be seen for miles. It is ranked in the top 10 Mosques to visit and is well known around the world.


Then we were off to pick up Bennett and Ridgley from school and prepare for the evening activities. Mike offered to take the boys out for dinner while Lari and I enjoyed a Thai Massage. What a great end to the day!

Posted by keckfamily02 07:40 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

July 29, 2011 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Day of Shopping - Central Market

July 29, 2011

Today was all about shopping and negotiating. And did we ever negotiate, something that I learned well from my current employer was how to negotiate and and let the other party talk themselves down in price. This tactic worked well for all of us. Now remember that the exchange rate is $1 USD to $3.20 Ringget, it was hard not to feel like we were taking advantage of a situation, however, I likened it to going to the dollar store and buying dollar trinkets, it was honestly the only way I could consciously pay what we paid for items. Needless to say Alex bought a watch, Thad bought a RC car (this one we really had to negotiate), the bigger problem will be how we are going to get it home, and I purchased fun stuff to share back home.

We started at the central market....

Central Market

Central Market

Lari and Alex enjoyed a pedicure of the fish kind before we started our day of walking. I could not bring myself to enjoy this treat....

Alex and Lari Pedicure

Alex and Lari Pedicure

Then on to Petaling Street


What an incredible marketplace.

Posted by keckfamily02 00:17 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

June 30, 2011 Pulau Ketam, Malaysia

Our trip to Pulau Ketam, Malaysia

June 30, 2011

Today was an exciting day, we took a ferry...boat...torpedo converted to boat, to Pulau Ketam, also known as Crab Island. I will say that the transportation to the island was as interesting as the island itself.


Once in the Straits of Melaka (some of the most dangerous parts of the world due to the pirates). We began to experience things that we had heard about but could not imagine. Entire villages built on stilts on islands of Malaysia. Tree's that root systems are completely exposed. Walking fish, yes, walking fish (all that can be said on that subject).

Enjoy the photo's below:


After our experience of Pulau Ketam, we rushed to get the Bennett and Ridgley from school and head out for their horse riding lessons....


It was a great day!

Posted by keckfamily02 06:19 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

July 1, 2011 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

July 1, 2011

So today has been about preparing for our trip to the East Coast of Malaysia and spending time in an area known as Cherating, Malaysia, at a place called Ruby's Resort, located on the China Sea. This area is known for the plight of a certain breed of rare endangered sea turtle and the poaching of the sea turtles eggs. Our plans are to enjoy the weekend on the beach, and on the way home stop at the Elephant Sanctuary and a place in the area where we can see Sun Bear's.

Wish us luck!

Posted by keckfamily02 06:22 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

July 2, 2011 Cherating, Malaysia

Cherating, Malaysia - Beach, Turtle, Rescue, Mangrove, and Fire Flies

July, 2, 2011

We are officially at the beach staying at Ruby's Resort. We made our way down early to enjoy playing in the China Sea. We swam, walked the dogs and enjoyed our time in the sand.


Then we were off for lunch in the town of Cherating, Malaysia. I say town, really more like a village. This is really where things get kind of sticky for me. Being from the United States, we have Towns, Townships, Cities, Parish, but nothing that I would consider a village. But this is really the only way I know how to describe these small remote areas that have not been developed. As I am reminded during my visit, that Malaysia is a developing country, in all ways.

After lunch we ran across a guide that did excursions around the area, so we signed up for those we thought would be of interest to the kids. We signed up, to enjoy the Mangrove tour, Firefly tour (at night), and Snorkling in the China Sea from an Island in the Sea.

But before our excursions began we had time to visit the Turtle Rescue not far from our resort.



From what we could understand the rescue captures the eggs from the endangered turtles and keeps them until they hatch. Then each night they release the baby turtles back into the sea. From June thru September the large turtles find their way to the area beaches where they find a safe place to release their eggs. Each mature turtle can release as many as 100 eggs. This is the only area in Malaysia that experiences this nesting of these turtles. Once the mother lays here eggs then she carefully covers them up. Due to the wildlife in the area (Gibbon Monkeys, Monitors, Snakes and Wild Boar), these eggs are collected by the rescue to hatch in a safe environment and then released.

Once we were done at the rescue we headed back into Cherating to take the first guided tour. This tour was a wildlife tour thru the Mangrove. Mangroves can be described as wooded area along the banks of rivers and passage ways. The trees that grow in these areas help protect the land mass from Tsunamis. We saw snakes, lizards, and crabs while on our tour, that was the best part of the whole trip for the kids.

Pictures below are of the root systems of the trees....

How can I provide photo's of tree roots without showing you the real reason we took the excursion.....




After dinner at Ruby's Resort, we went back to enjoy our guided tour thru the Mangroves, this time to experience the Firefly's. Honestly, I had no idea what a big deal firefly's could be. Living in Oklahoma, it is nothing to see firefly's in the evening in our backyard. Here in Malaysia they have a certain type of Firefly that is rare to this area and lives in the Mangroves. Some of these fireflies light up synchronized with one another, the type we enjoyed looked as if they were twinkling lights in a Christmas Tree. The WOW factor was the fact that the guide had found a way to lure the fireflies from the trees towards the boats so that we could enjoy them up close and personal. This was a highlight of everyone's trip to Cherating, but a part of the trip that is not recorded in pictures. (Sorry!) Since this tour was in the evening their was not a way for us to capture the experience. I guess that you will have to plan a trip to Malaysia and take your own Firefly tour! I have to say it was truly an incredible experience for all of us.

This is where the day ended for some of us. Tired from all that we had experienced, but for some the the highlight of their evening, already heightened by the Firefly adventure, really had just begun. Alex, Thad, Fifi and Mike, joined a gentleman from Ruby's Resort and went on a expedition late at night to see the Sea Turtles nesting. They also helped release over two hundred baby turtles out into the sea. Those that went on this adventure could not stop talking about it for most of the day. Again, it was hard to capture this in photo's but great memories where made by all that enjoyed that adventure.

Even though the evening ended quasi early for some, others ended their day early in the morning, either way, it was another great day in Malaysia!

Posted by keckfamily02 06:54 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

July 3, 2011 Cherating, Malaysia

Cherating, Malaysia - Snorkeling, Elephant Habitat and Sun Bears

July 3, 2011

Today we were up and at it early since we had a boat to catch to enjoy the morning snorkeling at an island in the China Sea. Those that enjoyed the late night Turtle adventure were a little groggy but quickly prepared themselves for another day of adventure....

So that speck in the sea, that is where we are headed. I will tell you that if my grandpa had seen the boat they used to get us to the island he would not have been happy with either Mike or I for allowing our families to join this adventure. However, their are times you have to do what you have to do, so that is what we did....


This is a close up of where we went and snorkeled.


So once we arrived everyone was outfitted with gear and sent on their way.....


Some fished after snorkeling....


Some decided to jump from a cliff......

Some just enjoyed the view from the Island...


All this to say that everyone had a great morning on this island, doing whatever they wanted to do!

Once our snorkeling adventure came to and end and we returned to Ruby's it was time to pack up and head to the Elephant Rescue and then on to see Sun Bears. This is where the story comes to a sad ending. Due to all the fun we had snorkeling we arrived so late to the Elephant Rescue that it was closed, no Elephants and no Sun Bears. So we headed home.

Along the way back to Kuala Lumpur I took pictures trying to capture the landscape.....

Posted by keckfamily02 08:57 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

July 4, 2011 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Elephant Rescue and Deerland

July 4, 2011

As our time here is coming to an end, the activities left to accomplish grows more intense. However, I think that for the most part this will be the last day the boys will really get to enjoy the wildlife of Malaysia. Mike, Alex, Thad, Bennett and Ridgley, left for the Elephant Rescue and Deerland, where they enjoyed animals up close and personal. Personally I am glad that boys had this experience, but I am really glad that this was a side trip that I did not make. Not sure that I could have enjoyed this boy adventure as much as they did.


So as you can tell this day was all about the boys and animals. When they got home that evening they could not stop talking about their experiences from the day. What another great day in Malaysia.

Posted by keckfamily02 06:23 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

July 5, 2011 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Cars and Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

July 5, 2011

Today is about seeing what we had left to see in Kuala Lumpur. Mike was our tour guide for the day. As you will see he saved some of the best for last. Well at least as the boys were concerned.

As Thad has been maturing from a boy to a young man one of his facinations has remained the same, CARS! Except he is slowly progressing from Matchbox and Hot Wheel cars to actual cars. He is facinated by the engines, the body styles and how fast they will go. His cousin Tanner had prepared him that his visit to Malaysia would allow him to see more readily Maserati's, Ferrari's, Lamborgini's and Lotus's, so everytime we were traveling around the city or across the country he was on the lookout and pointed them out. He learned quickly that his Aunt Lari did not know much about cars and as hard as he tried, he could never really to get her to grasp the big deal factor when he saw these cars. Thad was able to convince his Uncle Mike of his sincere appreciate for cars, so Mike took us to a car importer in Kuala Lumpur. Enjoy the photo's.....


I could bore you with pictures of cars but let me tell you this was a facinating dealership that we visited. It was all indoors, they had Mercedes, Porsche, Bentley and Rolls Royce vehicles on display for purchase. Thad's only disappointment was that they did not have a Bugotti. I guess we will have to come back!

Once we completed our tour of the dealership we were off to Downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We had wanted to go up in the Petronas Twin Towers, they stand at 88 stories high with a skybridge between them. However due to unrest caused by recent elections the towers had been closed to tourist. But Mike had a back up plan which was to go up in the Kuala Lumpur Tower. It is one of the 7th tallest towers in the world. We certainly enjoyed the views...


As you can tell from the photo's the views were breathtaking.

We discovered as we were riding in the cab to and from the towers that neither of the boys had been in a cab! So I share with you their first cab ride.....


There were so many first's for us as we enjoyed our travel to and around Malaysia, here is a short list....

First plane ride that lasted longer than 12 hours and we still were not at our destination
First time to be a passenger on the left side of the car and drive on the left side of the street
First time to visit Malaysia
First time to visit Singapore
First time to visit Indonesia
First time to see a Hindu Temple up close and personal
First time to have monkeys running at your feet or to see them playing in the trees along side the highway
First time to visit a village at sea
First time to swim in the China Sea
First time to see a Mangrove
First time to let baby sea turtles loose into the China Sea
First time to snorkle and do it in the China Sea
First time to Visit the Blue Mosque
and of course....
First time to ride in a cab

There are so many first's that I cannot list them all. What I can tell you was that our trip was an incredible experience. We are so very greatful to Lari and Mike for allowing us to come into their home and have them be our tour guides for 13 days. They made sure that our trip was well worth our time traveling. On the way home, I asked the boys if their was anything that they wished we had done, they could not think of anything that we didn't do and they thought of so many things they wish they could do again.

We will cherish all the memories we made during this journey from beginning to end. We are greatful to our family in Malaysia for taking their time to make sure we did all there was to do! Till our next visit!

Posted by keckfamily02 15:12 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala malaysia lumpur Comments (0)

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