Not Really In Hollywood
Trip Start Jan 09, 2012
68Trip End Jul 31, 2012
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Where I stayed
Around 11.30 we checked out and made our way to the bus station. We were hoping to get all the way to Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands today, and we probably would have if we'd set out earlier, but as you can probably guess we didn’t make it!
Getting to the bus station, we said we wanted to go to Ipoh which was where we would get a connection to our final destination. After being told that there wasn’t a bus until 15.00 we were advised to get the bus that was just about to leave that was going to a place called Alor Setar, from where there are more regular buses to Ipoh.
So arriving at Alor Setar around 13.30, we found that there was no bus to Ipoh until 15.00. And finding this out was a chore. There are so many different companies if you ask one, they will naturally only tell you when theirs is going, and most were at 16.30. And because it was Muslim prayer time, many of the booths were closed so it took us a while to find the 15.00 bus.
But we got it and it took four hours to get to Ipoh. Turns out Ipoh is not pronounced "I poo" after all. But I don’t think we will be able to stop saying it like that now! Anyway, it was 19.00 by the time we arrived at the long-distance bus station, 5km out of town. We then had to wait for a local bus to take us to the city bus station from where we hoped we’d be able to get to the hotel we had selected.
Realising on the bus to Ipoh that we were going to miss the last connection to Tanah Rata, we knew that we would have to spend the night in Ipoh so we started researching hotels. Embassy Hotel seemed the nicest and it was about a kilometre from the city bus station. It was dark by the time we arrived there so we enquired about a taxi from the bus station, but every one of them was trying to rip us off so we were stubborn and decided to walk. Trouble is, it took us a while to work out the direction to go in. Stupid Lonely Planet maps strike again with incorrectly named roads and landmarks in the wrong place.
Having said that, the owner was the friendliest most helpful person you could imagine. He told us about a decent Chinese restaurant next door (and it was very good and very cheap – a nice, much needed meal after a day’s travel); and he told us that we didn’t need to go back to the bus station in the morning to get the bus to Tanah Rata as it passed right outside so he told us where we could buy our tickets in the morning (another Chinese restaurant – we were staying in the Chinese Quarter). He almost made up for the nightmare night ahead. Almost, but not quite.