The Golden Chersonese
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The Golden Chersonese

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  37 ratings  ·  11 reviews
First published 127 years ago, this classic travelogue by the world's most famous nineteenth-century lady travel writer offers a unique insight into Malaysia and Singapore in the 1880s and is one of the oldest surviving travelogues written by a woman. This intrepid lady explored the British colony of Singapore and the jungles of the Malay Peninsula. This fascinating and hi...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 16th 2011 by Monsoon Books (first published 1883)
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It is like when Lucy goes into the magician's house on that island in "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader". A long corridor lined with shelves of reference books, artefacts from exotic lands hung up as decorations, stuffed animals, but mostly in this case tropical plants in pots. Every so often there is a doorway leading to an unwritten Conrad novel. How I wish Miss Bird had written some of those novels! All the characters are kicking around in this book, cooling their heels. I plan to use her descr...more
"I had a delightful canter of several miles before the sun was above the tree-tops, the morning mists, rose-flushed, rolled grandly away, and just as I reached the beautiful pass of Bukit Berapit, the apes were hooting their morning hymn, and the forests rang with the joyous trills and songs of birds. 'All Thy works praise Thee, O Lord!'"

Isabella ate with British functionaries--and with apes at the table, eating off of fine china. She rode in dug-outs through swampy lakes. She rode on frightenin...more
Zulhilmi Ghouse
This is an excellent book! I recommend it to all adult Malaysians. In fact, I'd go so far as to recommend it be included in the Malaysian high school syllabus as well, but alas the language is a bit too fancy.

From 20th January, 1879, to 25th February (This was 33 years before Titanic), Ms. Bird travelled from Singapore to Malacca, Sungei Ujong (I didn't even know where that was before!), Klang, Penang, and Perak, on boat, pony, and on foot (Yes, hardy woman, she was). She paints so vivid a descr...more
I've read enough 19th century British non-fiction to know to brace myself for the inevitable deluge of unobfuscated racism, but this book was a little much. While it shows an interesting perspective on Malaysia during British colonial rule, Ms. Bird's voice as a narrator was hard to stomach, and I got the impression that she attributed far more humanity to the ants and apes than she did to the people she encountered in her journeys.
Graeme Laird
As an introduction to Malaya in the late 1800's this was a fascinating insight to the people. Some of Isabella Bird's comments remain very relevant today although I am sure Malays would deny it.
Jia Li
An interesting insight into 19th Century Malaya, through the eyes of an independent Englishwoman. I liked the narrator, and perhaps enjoyed the book more due to her acute observations. No doubt some of her sentiments were tempered by colonialism of that time, but she seems like a fair, level-headed individual, and reading her account was akin to taking a step back in time. Pretty cool.
Kenny Chan
Really took my time reading this. Savoured every word. Miss Bird virtually strolled through Malayan history during the early days of British rule. Great insight in the minds of the colonial rulers, the natives and the immigrant Chinese. Would love to travel together with her.
Wan Atiee
I borrow this book from my friend. this book is really awesome. i take 1 weeks to finish reading it.
Not easy to find good travel narratives on 19th C Malayan peninsula - this being one.
Jordan Magnuson
Read this while in Malaysia... Gotta love this Victorian-era adventurer.
Jun 23, 2009 Valerie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Valerie by: Marcia Rider
Shelves: arewethereyet
First female member of the Royal Geographic Society!
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Isabella Lucy Bird (October 15, 1831 – October 7, 1904) was a nineteenth-century English traveller, writer, and a natural historian.

* The Englishwoman in America (1856)
* Pen and Pencil Sketches Among The Outer Hebrides (published in The Leisure Hour) (1866)
* The Hawaiian Archipelago (1875)
* The Two Atlantics (published in The Leisure Hour) (1876)
* Australia Felix: Impressions of Victori...more
More about Isabella L. Bird...
A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains Unbeaten Tracks in Japan Six Months in the Sandwich Islands: Among Hawaii's Palm Groves, Coral Reefs and Volcanoes Adventures in the Rocky Mountains Among the Tibetans

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