A Travellerspoint blog

Kuala Lumpur

sunny 35 °C

So our journey to KL started with a taxi and a bus. Simple enough..perhaps? We got to the bus terminal easily enough, told the ticket touts where we wanted to go and when and were promptly bundled onto the 845am bus. Almost inevitably 9am arrived and we still hadn't left. Soon after, however we were approached by a conductor, he took our tickets and told us we were on the wrong bus and the 845 had already left! EUGH. Fortunately the 9am wasn't fully booked so we stayed onboard and set off soon after. Disaster averted!

Not too long afterwards (6 hours) we could see the towers of KL looming in the distance. Perhaps this made us too excited, or perhaps the thunderstorm which had just started had made us edgy. Regardless, we jumped off the bus at the first opportunity thinking it was our stop. (It wasn't.) This led to a very angry Susie and a very exasperated John! Fortunately the solution was a local bus which cost 4R (less than a pound) and it actually dropped us off nearer to our hostel than the original bus would have done!

However, our first day problems weren't over yet! After our bus ride we were pretty tired so we headed for the first place we could find for dinner. This happened to be a rather local looking Chinese restaurant, it wasn't a tourist trap and only had one other westerner vs 10 or so locals inside. We ordered two dishes, some rice and a beer, which should have cost about 15R.....as if they saw us coming (and later we realised the menu hadn't had any prices on it) the bill we ended up with was for 49R! We reluctantly paid but it left a nasty taste in our mouths which we hoped wouldn't be a running theme for our time in KL.

The second day promised to be much better and it certainly delivered! Susie had industriously found a man who did tours to an elephant sanctuary he volunteered at. It was slightly more than the normal tour but had the potential to be far more exciting and interesting. We went to get picked up at Titiwangsa (ahem) metro station at 9 am, where we'd been told a Dutch couple would be accompanying us. (queue the jitteriest, most picky and fussy aged couple an elephant sanctuary had ever seen...more on this later). We were also followed by 3 Aussies and their 11 yr old son. One of them can be explained in one word...spandex. Eugh. The drive to the sanctuary would take about an hour and a half, during which time the dutch man kept hanging his camera out of the window very precariously. A few more bumps and he'd have lost it over the rather sizable cliffs!

Anyway, we got to the sanctuary and were told we would first meet two elephants who were in the most need of care. We were told not to take photos because it could stress them. Cue the dutch man snapping away again..... Of the two elephants, one had been attacked by the other elephants 2 years ago and was still recovering, and another baby with elephant ADHD. The former had spent the best part of the two years lying on it's side because his left legs had been broken. The volunteer told us it had crushed his side so he looked more like ( | than ( ), however in the last week he had managed to stand! We helped with his physio for the best part of an hour, trying to get him to push himself up, John was even left in the paddock with him on his own for a good while to try and tease him out. Unfortunatly he'd had an injection earlier that day and it was just too painful for him. Nevertheless, the volunteer hopes he will continue his recovery and be better soon. The other little one was an attention seeker and would not calm down til he had a thumb to suck (cough). He also loved velcro and would happily spend a good few hours pulling our sandals apart with his trunk if you gave him the chance, not to mention the tyre which he...tirelessly.... threw around his paddock all day long.
After seeing these elephants we helped strip some banana trees for the others' lunch and then fed them. The two we were looking after were a bit of a comedy act. The female was greedy as can be and kept stealing from all the other piles! She just would not stop! The others didn't seem too bothered but she was a pig-ephant if ever there was one! Earlier in the day we had been told that while we were feeding the two elephants, a third would be brought out and that he did not like people he didn't know. We had to stay away from him. In strolls the dutch man to within a few feet snapping away with his camera.....(un) fortunately the elephant didn't choose today to lash out!

Next the work continued and Susie was tasked with making the milk for the baby, recovering and greedy elephant. The milk was a particularly tasty combination of bread, water, milk, rice and sugar made into a porridge, sick, goo. The elephants loved the stuff though and the recovering elephant drank approx 5L of the stuff!

With that the work was pretty much done. All that was left was a ride on the larger elephants. This would have been the highlight of any tourist visit, but after the connection we'd had with the other elephants, especially the one struggling to stand, it paled in comparison but was pretty cool all the same!
We clambered onto the bus, covered in elephant....stuff....exhausted after an absolutely incredible day! KL would have to try hard to match up to this!

Posted by Susiep539 03:57 Archived in Malaysia

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Elephant day sounds like it surpassed all expectations - shame no elephant threw anything at your dutch friend tho!

by Sarah

The elephant sanctuary tour sounds amazing! I'm planning to go to malaysia in January, is it possible to get the details of how to book one of these tours?

by Alicia

Hi Alicia,

If you email Razali at jungletrekker69@gmail.com, he is the man who organises the 'backstage' tours, like we went on. Its fairly expensive - about 200RM (40pounds, $60), but so worth the extra to the other tours that go. Hope you managae to go, and you enjoy it as much as we did!

by Susiep539

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