Malaysia and Thailand
RTW day 107 - Just left the Phillipines and weather is very hot and humid again but no rain. We were also lucky that we left Japan the night before the earth quakes happened. My guardian angel chime is still protecting us.
March 12 - Penang, Malaysia
Did not have a tour scheduled today. We were going to do a hop-on-off bus tour but the weather is very hot, 91 degrees and very humid. So new just did a short walk around several blocks looking for a couple caches for Roger and returned to the ship.
March 13 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Had a 9 hour tour of the “Garden City”, 1 ½ hour bus ride from the port. Our first stop was at the Butterfly Park. The tropical environment housed over 6000 butterflies. Then stopped at the botanical park and visited the Orchid and Hibiscus gardens. Did a short city tour of the business center then headed for a good lunch at a local hotel. After lunch, we had a stop at the Petronas Twin Towers. This also housed a 6 floor shopping mall for some retail therapy. Then the drive back to the ship.
March 14-15 - Singapore
The ship medical department arranged for Roger to have a mole on his chest checked out. The doctor removed the mole and lasered the blood vessels. Turned out to be nothing to worry about. Returned to the ship then took the shuttle bus to the local mall. Found a KFC there so had fried chicken comfort food for late lunch. The next day we took a cable car ride that went to 3 islands and over the ship. One leg took us up a hill to Faber Peak that had beautiful views. Roger found 2 caches there. The other leg went to Stenosa Island. This was a very large entertainment location with casinos, Universal Studios Park, restaurants, kids inter-active play and more. We made a stop at a Hard Rock Café. We then took a tram back to the port.
March 17 - Koh Samui, Thailand
Had a tour to the Na Mung Safari Park. This was where we were to have our 2nd attempt for an elephant ride. But was not to be. Oceania had cancelled this portion of the tour due to an earlier bad experience of a passenger being hurt on a ride. We enjoyed an elephant show and a demonstration of monkeys harvesting coconuts from the trees. There was also a Thai cooking class to make Green Mango salad. The final stop was a demonistration of rubber sap collection and processing it to small mats for export.
March 18-19 - Bangkok, Thailand
King Bhumidol Adulyadej has reigned since 1946. For the last 10+ years, he has been confined to a hospital with dementia. Our guide tried to explain the line of succession since the King has 3 children. Two of them even have an army ready to fight. It’s any ones guess who will win. Since the King was born on a day that has yellow as the color, yellow marigolds are everywhere. They drape garlands of yellow and white everywhere. Hair, neck, auto’s, bikes, cars, busses and boats. Our tour on the 18th was mostly bus ride around the city with very little walking and steps. We saw most of the city highlights then had a nice Thai lunch at a riverside hotel. I had the real Pad Thai! (but not spicy). After lunch we did a tour of the Wat Suthat from the 14th century. The courtyard is lined with statues that have mosaics of glass which came to Thailand as ballast on Chinese trading ships. Then some time for retail therapy again.
Day 2 was a tour of the Imperial Treasures . First stop was at Wat Trimitr for the Golden Buddha Temple. The 700 year old, solid gold Buddha weighs 5 ½ tons and stand 10 feet high. During enemy invasions, the statue was entirely covered with plaster and was located in a different district, this was about 1931. A deserted temple was in need of a Buddha and received permission to move this one. During construction in 1955, the plaster was partly broken and the discovery of the gold statue was found. During our visit, there was a monk novication procession happening. Many family and friends took part and all were offering presents
The next stop was the Golden Palace and Emerald Buddha temple. The complex was built in 1782 by King Rama I and covers over 1 square mile. Thai Kings resided in the palace till 1949. The buildings are covered in gilt, glass mosaics with towering finials. The queue was very long to see the jade Buddha so we passed on that (and it was VERY HOT!!) Lunch was next on the menu at the same riverside hotel as yesterday. We then got on a local boat for a ride on the Chao Phraya River and canals. Along the river were teak houses, Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and Phra Prang, a 260 ft high pagoda decorated with ceramic tiles and pieces of porcelain.