One of my best house sitting assignments has to be in Malaysia. Port Dickson (PD) is a bit of a weekend town. Meaning that each weekend people travel down from KL (Kuala Lumpur) to stay in PD – just for the weekend. A lot of Malaysian people from KL own a second home in PD and, as it is only about an hour’s drive from KL, it’s the ideal place to go. The beaches are not crowded and they are clean. The sunsets are beautiful. There is a good variety of foods to be had along the strip and of course, the people are friendly. During the week it is quieter, but not dead.
Driving is easy in Malaysia – they drive on the same side as the UK (the left). You just need to watch out for motorcycles that love to undertake! This is normal for them. They ride close to the kerb and use this as their own lane. They are motorbikes as opposed to scooters that you will find in India. Best to get yourself an International Driving Permit – available from certain Post Offices in the UK. See this Branch Finder for your nearest one. And it is dirt cheap currently at £5.50
So, back to the best house sitting assignment. The owners were Brits, which was handy, and they were extremely welcoming. They made us feel at home from the first time I spoke with them via WhatsApp video call. (Remember what I said in my The House Sitting Life Blog about ease of communication?). When we arrived they showed us around PD, introduced us to some good friends and took us out to dinner. Plus of course, everything to do with the house and pool. Now, we hadn’t actually taken care of a pool before – but we soon learnt! One thing a pool needs is attention, to be kept clean and topped up of things like salt. It was a delight to swim in but a little deep at one end for me. There were also tropical fish to tend to – feeding and cleaning out each week – something else we didn’t know about but soon learnt. YouTube is a great friend when you need to know how to do something quickly!
And we had the most delightful of dogs to look after – a semi-wild dog who roamed outside but loved to go for a walk on a lead each night. He had the most beautiful nature and temperament, was clean and extremely affectionate. But was not allowed in the house although we had to feed him twice a day. You will know what it’s like taking a dog for a walk. You get to know the neighbours and the area pretty well. Bob was just gorgeous. An absolute pleasure to tend to.
A couple of places to visit are Melaka – a most interesting town with a beautiful Canal Tour to take. Another is the Turtle home in Teluk Kemang where they are doing some amazing work with our four-footed water friends.
One of the nearest larger towns to visit was Seremban – a 30-minute drive up the motorway. And, yes, it is that Seremban in the news this summer, unfortunately. This is where you get the train to KL if you don’t want to drive. It is a bit of a drawn-out journey though, stopping at hundreds of stops and not a speedy train. But it does save you the hassle of driving in KL city and finding parking. We took the train to KL and went direct to Batu Caves on it. Nice and easy to get to, and right by the caves, so no other transport needed.
If you want to find out more detail on how to become a house sitter, The Complete Guide to House Sitting by Niki Rivers is not a bad place to start.
Whilst enjoying the house sit, we planned to take a road trip to some natural hot springs. Neighbours had recommended Felda in a little known town of Perak. Here we relaxed in the soothing hot spring which was big enough to take a school of young muslim girls along with us. We then moved over to cool off in the fun pool – slides and waterfalls – again plenty of room for all. One thing we wanted to try was boiling eggs in the natural earth. A small 90 degrees pool of water in the earth provided the perfect nest for our eggs and they were delicious.
All in all our experience in Malaysia was a beautiful one. For more information on the country see The Rough Guide to Malaysia or Lonely Planet Malaysia. From PD we flew to Kuching in Borneo – more to follow on that journey in a later blog.