Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to be selected as a participant for Tourism Selangor’s Day Out – a daytrip that the tourism board run on a monthly basis with the aim to encourage more people to visit Selangor (a region just outside KL, for those who don’t know). It’s a pretty smart social media campaign that they run, just over Facebook and Twitter and it’s gaining more and more popularity – this month, for the first time, they had to draw names. And their Facebook fanpage has got over 6,000 fans, so it must be doing something right (ok, ok – jealousy got the best of me there – my company’s still only at 362…).
Anyway, back to Saturday. We met nice and early, at 8am outside Pizza Hut in Bangsar, which was an adventure in itself – I’d forgotten my phone so was armed only with the address ‘Pizza Hut Bangsar’ and a kind taxi driver. But between the two of us we muddled through, and I soon spotted the crowd outside Pizza Hut – what other reason would they be there, it was too early for pizza?!
I joined the crowd and met a few friendly faces who were to become my buddies for the rest of the day – the lovely Jenny Chee and Ikmal Zahrawani, as well as Nigel Low (who takes awesome pics – check out his blog). The coach pulled up and we were off – first stop Pulau Carey and the Mah Meri tribe. This is one of the Orang Asli tribes still living in Western Malaysia, and it was really interesting to see how they lived, with the juxtaposition of new and old traditions: they arrived on scooters a little after we did, dressed in traditional outfits, with beautiful headpieces that I particularly admired. Two of the main traditions which the Mah Meri tribe still practice are weaving and wood carving. Apparently the girls have to master weaving before they get married – not sure if that’s still the case now, but funny how prized these skills are still, especially compared to the West! The tribe performed some of their traditional dances for us and I even joined in the last one, which was fun (but embarassing)!
Lunch was mee soto and the famous ABC, or Ice Kacang, which had, unbelievably, sweet corn in it. So… ice cream, ice slivers, red bean, sweet corn and syrup. Must be pretty weird tasting, you ask? Actually, quite delicious! But the size of the bowl defeated me and most of the others too!
We then visited the Museum Institu Jugra, which was a prison built by…. surprise, surprise, the British. But quite interesting – they’ve now converted it to a museum showing the local history and we saw what was quite possibly the highlight of the afternoon – proof that the iPad was not invented by Steve Jobs. Ok, well it was a tablet that schoolkids used in the 50s. But it looks pretty similar, right? It even has a ‘camera’ at the top! Someone should let Apple know…
A special surprise was a visit to the old Alaeddin palace, up the road. It was built for the sultan’s second wife (you should always keep your two wives separate…) however, it is now in quite a state of disrepair. The outside was beautiful, inspired by Indian, Chinese and Arabic architecture, but the inside rooms were totally bare. I should imagine that if they managed to restore it, the palace could become quite a tourist spot. Let’s see what happens there.
Finally, it was on to the Morib Goldcoast for teatime and prize judging – we were all challenged to submit five photos under the theme ‘texture’ and the best would receive cash prizes. Sadly, mine weren’t up to scratch but the table I was sat on had two winners – Jenny and Calvin, so I basked in their glory instead!
Then back on the coach to KL, and Ikmal guided me how to get back to Bukit Bintang (where I live) on public transport – very helpful and not sure I would have got home without her help.
So a really fun day and informative too – I definitely would not have made it to Pulau Carey on my own, so thanks to Tourism Selangor and Dian Azura for organising!