Escape from Isla Nublar

Part of a collection of travelogues by Trevor Hopkins.

In case you've forgotten, "Isla Nublar" is the island featured in the first Jurassic Park film...

(2006) Tracey and I have just returned from a trip to Malaysia - great fun! The early part of the trip was to Kuala Lumpur (known as KL - means "muddy river junction" apparently), flying Emirates via Dubai. We stayed in the Ritz Carlton Hotel - a rather posy "boutique" hotel. This provided a free lunch and snack service in the clubroom - Tracey found this interesting, especially the small, red, tentacled sushi thing I persuaded her to eat! The hotel also had a very posh Chinese restaurant called Li Yen - splendid food and highly elaborate tea ceremony!

While in KL, we took a couple of tours; on one tour we shared a minibus with a couple who just flown in from New Zealand, on way to visit her relatives in Todmorden (a village 3 miles away from home)! The tours took in various standard tourist attractions; the monkeys were particularly entertaining - the parents had grey/brown fur, but set off by the infants' coloured bright ginger! On this trip, dinner was served in a much more sleazy Chinese restaurant - built on stilts (mostly straight!) over the river. Crockery plastic and coloured mauve - but wonderful crab, and a large hammer was supplied to break open the shells. Yum!

We also took a boat trip to see the famous fireflies. For some reason, the fireflies flash in (near) synchronisation - males fast, females slow - making the whole spectacle look like cheap flashing christmas decorations, all over the low trees in the swamp. Of course, this was after dark, so enjoyment limited by biting mosquitos and noisy children!

Island of Pangkor Laut Most of the holiday we spent on a small island called Pangkor Laut. We were struck, on arrival (after 3 hours in a car, and 40 minutes by boat!), just how much the island looked like there were dinosaurs behind every tree! We walked all of the rainforest trails, stopping occasionally to whisper "we're being hunted", or perhaps "let's hope they can't open doors" .

There was also lots of other wildlife, including monkeys (making loads of noise in the treetops), 6 ft monitor lizards, sea eagles (and not pterodactyls!) soaring over the highest trees and cliffs, excitingly coloured snakes (not very poisonous!) and astonishing birds (which looked a bit like Toucans) in practically every bush.

The hotel facilities were wonderful. Great rooms - we had one (separate villas), built on stilts over the ocean - again, stilts mostly upright! Indoor baths, with (opening!) windows on three sides, so you could bathe and watch the moonlight. Terrific food everywhere - we ate in different ways every evening, including a cook-your-own hot-pot and hot-plate combo on the decking at the back of the villa.

Sea Villas at Pangkor Laut There was a considerable emphasis on spa treatments - we had several, including an all-day spa treatment. This meant practically every bodily part scrubed, steamed, washed, polished and/or massaged. We liked the wooden mallets (for massaging the soles of the feet) so much we bought one! And there were aromatic full-body wraps - mine was brown rice and lemongrass, so I smelt very much like a Thai curry!

We took boat trips (snorkling poor, compared with Maldives) touring local islands, walking in the jungle (as noted before), and much swimming and other exercises. So, we had hoped to return fit and tanned - which we did, but somewhat stiff and sore after lengthy ferry, flight and car rides on return journey. Next time, helicopter transfers!