Posts Tagged With: Asia

10 Things I Learned While Travelling the World

I’ve been back in Canada for a little less than a month now and have had some time to decompress and to think about my trip.  At first, I thought I hadn’t really changed at all during my travels, but it actually has in a million tiny ways.  I’d like to share that with you now:

10. The Journey is the Thing

My trip had no specific goal, other than to relax, enjoy and experience the world that was far away from home.  This turned out to a great way to travel and, for me, to not focus on the result, but to really take the journey for what it was – an adventure into the unknown.

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9. We are all the Same

I included this in my last list, but I want to say it again.  I love people, and the truest realization I had again while I was overseas is that we are all, at our most basic level, very similar.  We just want to be happy; to have enough food to eat, a roof over our heads, some people who love us and a purpose in life that brings us joy.  I saw all kinds of people living in many different ways as I worked though six countries, but they all have this in common. We are all part of one big human family, and it doesn’t matter where you are from or what you are doing with your life, some things are the same within all of us.

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8. Travel is as Easy and as Hard as you Want it To Be

PATIENCE.  This one virtue has eluded me my whole life, and nothing cures the need for control than a less than smooth travel experience.  I learned about the essence of the journey in my search for patience as I met setbacks and mishaps along the road.   I learned how to be more adaptable, to let things slide, and to only care about the most important things along the way.

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7. Roll with the Waves

This one is a good follow-up to #8.  When I rolled with the upsets along the way, the journey got even more interesting: I saw some things I would otherwise have missed, or had a completely new experiences I wasn’t expecting to have.  By saying “Yes!” I got into more trouble, saw more unexpected things, and had more impromptu adventures than if I had stuck to a strict schedule and followed it the whole way along.

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6. Pay Attention

I learned that there is beauty in the details.  That every city is an intricate mess that somehow works in its own unique way.  That the road less traveled sometimes results in a washed out car or monkeys attacking your windshield.  To stop and save the kittens, get lost on a bike and get found again, and that fun can be found in every airport, bus station, or boat ride.  By paying true attention to my surroundings, I was also able to glimpse into the local life of the people, and have real experiences from the country I was visiting.  That, to me, is priceless.

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5. Embrace the Inner Hippie

I’m normally a goal-oriented, round the clock, by the book kind of person.  To escape that mentality for a while and embrace my inner beach bum was an enlightening experience.  I had whole days with no plans and nothing to do, vague ideas of where the day would take me, and days where I just went with the flow.  That rarely happens in my “real” life in Canada, and it was refreshing to break out of the bubble of who I think I am and step into the sandals of my inner Hippie Goddess.  She is someone I want to know better, and a side of me that I won’t soon forget now that we’ve been re-aquainted!

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4. Trust the Kindness of Strangers

In my travels I stayed with family friends, friends of friends, new friends and people I didn’t even know at all. I was welcomed into countless homes with open arms, to people eager to share in my travel journey and get to know me.  I feel SO blessed to now have friends from all over the world, and want to thank each and every one of you for your hospitality and help in exploring all these new places 🙂 If you ever travel, and someone recommends that you stay with a friend or you have family/friends to stay with overseas, DO IT! It will completely change your perspective on the country you are visiting, because you get to see it through the eyes of a local.  A thousand thank-you’s again to all those who put me up while I was abroad!  You are welcome to return the favour here in Canada anytime!

3. Comfort Zones are Boring

I did something new and crazy in every country I went to: Surfing in Indonesia, Parasailing in Philippines, and even Skydiving in New Zealand.  Get out of your comfort zone and try some new and crazy stuff.  It will enrich your travel experience and add a whole new level of fun.  Besides, that’s what travel is for: new experiences and adventures! It doesn’t matter how scared you are – do something wild and crazy!  eat that cricket off a Bangkok bug cart!  Take the jet boat ride through the canyon!  Throw yourself out of a plane! These things are the highlights of my travels as I look back on them now, the times I challenged myself and really went for it.

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2. Theres No Place like Home

Canada is an amazing country. I learned this while I was abroad through other travellers stories about my home country, that it is a well-loved place in the world and worth exploring in its own right.  Talking about it with others made me realize how much I love being a Canadian and how lucky I am to call this place my home.  I never really appreciated it until I left for a long time and realized what a phenomenal place it is.

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1. I am SO lucky

The fact that I was able to pull off this trip still boggles my mind.  There was so much planning involved – a years worth of time and effort went into it, and now that I’m back I can see what a privileged position I hold as a citizen of Canada.  I have enough food to eat, a roof over my head, and friends and family who love and care about me.  The rest is just gravy!  Upon returning I went to my bathroom and turned on the tap, thinking back to all the times I didn’t have access to fresh water on my travels. Something as simple as turning on the tap can take on new meaning after travelling: it represents all that we take for granted, being from a first world country were every comfort is provided for.  I feel that, now, I am able to name how lucky I truly am.

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Well. That’s it!  I’m sure I will update this blog again in the future as life takes me on more travels, but for now I am happy to have landed back in Canada, ready to take on the world 🙂

xo

D

Categories: Australia, Cambodia, In the Air, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Phillipines, Singapore, Thailand | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Long Drives and Great New Zealand Views

We’ve had a long couple of travel days that were broken up by some sweet sites as we make our way down the coast on the South Island, our first short stop was at Oahu Point to see some smelly seals!  There were over a hundred seals just hanging out below us, frolicking in the waves and mini pools, fighting, playing and generally just looking like a big ol family.  They kind of smelled, but hey what do you expect from some animals that hang out eating fish all day? After we had our fill of snapping pics of the seals, our next stop was Kaikoura, a small town overshadowed by huge rocky snowy mountains and a pebble beach.  We had a couple of hours to kill in this lil place, so we shopped and looked around and ate a delicious lunch of Thai food (very authentic NZ, I know).  There were opportunities for some people to go whale watching and dolphin watching, but most of us opted to take a hike along the peninsular walk to spot some more seals and wildlife along the way.  it was a great way to stretch our legs, and there were definitely some hilarious moments as it had rained and the slippery paths made for some spectacular falls as well!  After lunch we entertained each other with funny videos on the bus (cat massage, anyone?  a little prancercise, perhaps?), getting into Christchurch early that evening.  it’s kind of frustrating that I would be there three times over the next week and a half, without really getting to see any of the city. Boo 😦  We stayed in a hotel in the suburbs, the city was shook by a devastating earthquake in 2011 and the downtown has yet to be fully rebuilt.  Our place was very cosy, and the beds were luxurious, perfect for a long lovely sleep!

 

 

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Cairns, Sunshine City

I am at the northernmost point in my trip, and Cairns is a gorgeous place!  It’s nice and warm, the weather is perfect, and there are tons of backpackers chilling out and great activities.  There’s no great beachfront, but there is a man-made lagoon area where sunbathers can hang out.  I walked around the city on my first evening, there was live music spilling out of the doorways, lots of shops still open,  and even an outdoor movie theater in the town’s square!  I am totally coming back some day to check out this city again, it’s not a huge place but there are SO many activities, I only got a small taste in the two days I was there, and decided to go and check out some waterfalls in the tropical rainforest on Captain Matty’s Barefoot Tours.  I boarded the bus early on the Saturday morning, not knowing what to expect out of the day.

It was a sweet tour, there were some little hikes to gorgeous waterfalls (not one, not two, but three!) lakes and mountainous areas that showed off the region around Cairns really well, and we got a taste of all things Australian, some new music to listen to on the bus and a history of the surrounding area.  Our guide Gili was hilarious, made the day when he rescued someones Go-Pro from the natural waterfall rock slide, my favorite part of the tour.  We saw a Cassowary in the wild, one of only 1500 of these endangered birds that are left in the surrounding area, we got a good close look at it too, which is apparently really rare.  I slid down the rocks into the pool even though it was a bit cold, it looked so fun! We even got to sample some Aussie goodies like Tim Tams and coconuts from palm trees ( which are actually not native to Aus!).
I went out that evening with some people I met on my tour, first drinking goon (ugh) and then hitting the Woolshed to dance on some tables. It was a bit of a gungy backpacker bar but it was pretty fun to watch the ultra hammered people fall off tables!  We went to a second bar attached to our hostel which seemed like the nicest/biggest bar in the area, and danced the night away with an assortment of people, a pretty multicultural crowd for Australia!  Seems like Cairns is a big draw b/c it’s actually closer to Asia + other countries than Sydney/Melbourne.  I took myself home as the club was closing, i had only one more day to check out Cairns before flying off.
I had to pack and check out before stowing my locker in storage then sneaking back up to make myself breakfast in the communal kitchen 😛 I had a not so nice goon-over, and decided to check out the Lagoon and try to get in some snorkeling before leaving for the airport later.  I lazed around at the Lagoon after walking through the main beachfront area, and have decided I really like Cairns and would totally give it a second shot with more time to look around the area and explore all the activities.  I finished up with a dip in the Gilligans pool and said goodbye to (what i thought would be the last of) tropical Australian weather! My flight went off without a hitch, and soon I landed in the Sydney Airport where there were a few new adventures waiting for me! The best part about Sydney so far is my friend David, who I met in Vancouver when we both lived there.  He’s already picked me up and welcomed me into his house for the next few weeks while I explore Sydney and the surrounding area. I feel glad to put an end to the frantic pace of my trip so far and just to stay put for a little while in the same place – after all, I’ve stayed only up to three nights at EVERY place I’ve been to so far – 5 countries, 2 months! Whew.
Categories: Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1 Night Only: Noosa and Rainbow Beach

I only got to spend one night in both Noosa and Rainbow Beach, I’ve seriously underestimated how long its gonna take me to get up to Cairns so I gotta hustle!  Plus I’ve booked a tour to Fraser Island, A Unesco World Heritage Site (my fourth this trip!) the worlds largest sand island.  The trip from Brisbane to Noosa was only two hours, and when I arrived in the afternoon there was a bus waiting for me from my hostel, Nomads Noosa, which ended up being an ok place to stay.  It was about ten minutes walk to the beach, I immediately met a lovely Aussie girl in my dorm, and we decided to hit the beach, and strolled the cute beachfront town as the sun went down.  Dinner that night was free because I booked through Hostelbookers (yippee!) and after a few beers and a look around the (seedy) club and empty streets, went to bed.  I’m glad i did, because the next morning Jaz an I had a fantastic hike/walk through Noosa national park in the morning as the sun rose!  We grabbed coffee and power walked back, I had a bus to catch and Jaz was going to the zoo 🙂

I got on the bus to rainbow beach around noon, and there was only a short 1-1/2 hour journey to rainbow beach, another tiny beach town where I was would be picked up for my Fraser island adventure! When I say tiny, i mean one road, a few small shops, two restaurants, and a beachfront with a giant sand blow (the main attraction of this place!) A sandblow looks like a giant pile of sand on the beach, several stories high, and in the right conditions you can sandboard down it!  My guesthouse was very cute, I went to bed early again cause I had to be outside at 7:45 to meet my bus.  A HUGE ADVENTURE  was waiting for me on Fraser Island!!
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Koalas and Kangaroos in Brisbane, oh my!

Today will go down as one of the most fun and memorable of my trip.  I did so much!  I was up bright and early to catch the shuttle bus to the the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, a service provided by my awesome hostel in Brisbane, Bunk Backpackers.  We even stopped at another tourist attraction along the way, Mount Coot-tha, where we got to hop out and take scenic pics of the city below us and check out the view.  Bonus!

The Koala Sanctuary was next up.  I signed up for the “cuddle a koala” package which cost a little bit more but gave me the opportunity to take pics while holding a Koala!  This being the sole reason I was in Australia in the first place, I didn’t mind the extra $16.  Our group was dropped off and we headed inside the sanctuary to check out the animals and get our pics.  I did the photo opp first before checking out the rest of the sanctuary, and got to hold a one year old girl named Tifffin, she stayed very calm and posed for a gorgeous picture with me!  The encounter lasted all of five minutes but I was stoked!  After that there was a show about the koalas at the enclosure next to the photo booth, and I sat down and learned about the sanctuary, which was created in 1927, and now has over 100 different koalas and a successful breeding program.  These little guys are actually not bears, contrary to popular belief, but belong to the same group of mammal as the kangaroo. who knew?
After the show I walked around and checked out the rest of the koalas, who were hanging out in comfy eye level open air habitats, looking as cute and cuddly as can be!  There were also Tasmanian devils, platypus’ (platypi??), emus, and kangaroos!  In the kangaroo and emu enclosure, you could walk right up to them and even purchase kangaroo food and they would eat directly from your hand, much to the kids at the parks’ delight!  Most of them were well fed and super lazy, lying around in the sun, so I plopped down next to one of them and started taking selfies with one.  Aside from my koala photo I think I like these ones the best!  The sanctuary trip was the highlight of my time in Australia so far, and the day was only half over.  At the recommendation of the hostel staff, I took the river trip back to Brisbane on a slow boat, checking out the beautiful houses along the way.
After the meandering boat ride, we were dropped off on the South Bank of Brisbane, which is the cultural heart of the city.  Since all the art galleries and museums are free, I decided to take a wander around and took in some great art at the gallery and learned about the Aboriginal history of the region at the Museum. They were both kind of small but hey, free is free and it was a nice change from the rest of my trip to Aus so far. Not that I’m complaining about endless beaches and great weather but hey, I’ve seen a lot of beaches on this trip!
My next trip brought me across the Victoria Bridge into downtown Brisbane, along the Queen Street Mall, which is a pedestrian street with not access for cars, lots of shops and overpriced restaurants, so I browsed and window-shopped my way along the street, getting sidetracked by a cute little art market in Kings Cross square and successfully walking most of the city while finding my way back to my hostel.  My dorm room is now full after a blissful almost-empty evening last night, so I escaped to an overpriced coffee shop ($3 for a tea?? whats it made of, gold??) and am now typing to my little hearts content.  Tomorrow morning I get on the bus for Noosa, to join some English friends who I met last night and hopefully spend my Saturday night partying on the beach! Farewell Brisbane, you are a cute artsy little city and I really enjoyed my time here 🙂
Categories: Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Culture Shock in Coolangatta

My time in Asia is at a close, I’ve landed in Australia and said goodbye to SE Asia for now.  What a difference! Everyone speaks my language, the toilets all have paper in them, and everything is twice the price.  Did I mention it’s incredibly gorgeous as well?  The flight here was uneventful, I had three seats to myself for the seven hour journey, and managed to nap most of the way, since my sleep was interrupted last night by a very loud Aussie woman (go figure) in Kuala Lumpur.  When I woke up this morning I was sure to bang my stuff around a lot as she did at 3:30 am when she came in from the bar, exclaiming loudly to no-one in particular that she was “absolutely pissed!!” Lol.

I landed around 9pm local time, collected my bag, and was promptly searched thoroughly by customs, swabbed for drugs and had my emails examined as the surly Aussie lady I was dealing with was convinced I was running drugs into her country.  All she found was my pile of sweaty clothes, however, and she seemed almost disappointed when wishing me a pleasant stay in Australia.  I thought I was headed for a cavity search!  I guess I just look too suspiciously goddamned innocent ;-P I found out I had just missed the last bus into the town and the information lady informed me it would be “not much” for a taxi to my hostel, only $20. Gulp.
It ended up being about $17, but my driver gave me a much better welcome to Aus, even turning off the meter at one point and detouring around the coast to show me Danger Bay and the nighttime view from the lookout.  He dropped me at my new hostel, Kommune, where I paid a wallet-shattering $25 a night for my two nights there. Remember, I’m used to $5 a night!! There was a party going on in the main room, but I didn’t join in as I was super tired from all my travel and figured I would see the sights the next day.  Turns out there is nothing really to see in Coolangatta besides the beach.  I woke up late the next day and walked around the little town, quickly realizing I was in a Florida-like retirement community mixed with a smattering of young people with babies.  Hmm. Boring! I walked around Danger Bay, which was not dangerous (lol) but had gorgeous views up and down the coast.  I stopped at the beach for a bit while the sun was still hot-ish, and walked and walked and WALKED down the never-ending beach for lack of something better to do.  I walked all the way to Kirra Beach and found it more boring and quiet than the last beach, so I just admitted defeat, bought an overpriced organic peach iced tea from the local seven eleven (the Australian equivalent of a Southeast Asian temple; throw a stone and you’ll hit one) and walked back.  I decided to treat myself to some Indian food, and paid way too much for some admittedly delicious butter chicken.
There was NOTHING going on in the hostel besides three of us sitting in the lobby using the wifi, so I decided to but my losses and take my tired legs to bed.  Surfers Paradise is my next stop, and it’s sure to be much more entertaining than Coolangatta. Please? Australia? Hello?
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A Walking Trek of Kuala Lumpur

I actually think I walked ten clicks today, or more! There is a certain satisfaction to navigating yourself around a new city, especially one as confusing as Kuala Lumpur!  I had some walking tours outlined in my trusty Lonely Planet, but decided to save them till later and check out the landmark that is the Petronas Towers, once the tallest twin towers in Asia.  I figured out I could walk there, and decided to make the 20 minute trek over to see them myself.  As I walked, I stumbled upon the Tourist Center, and decided to go in to change the 200 or so Philippine Pesos I had in my wallet (about 17 rinngit worth but hey I didn’t want to hit another Malaysian ATM before heading to Aus!) Luckily I stumbled upon a chocolate shop and was treated to 6 or 7 samples along with all the other Asian tourists on the bus tour that I wasn’t on 😉 Nobody needed to know that!

My next stop was the twin towers.  They were pretty impressive as I walked up, and after a few minutes of figuring out where to buy tickets, I found out that they were sold out for the day and NOT free as my two-year old guidebook had said. Grrr! Oh well. I saw them from the ground!  They were cool!  After feeling like a schmo in walking in the fancy mall for a while, I hit the streets again and found myself on Bukit Bintang, the shopping and tourist district of KL. I wandered in and out of shops, feeling harassed by massage ladies, taxi drivers and salespeople alike, and took refuge in a giant mall with about a thousand kiosks selling every single imagineable item know to man.  I found a cheap meal in there, Black pepper beef and rice, along with a scalding hot coffee.  As I moved back out onto the street, I managed to get myself a bit lost and as I wandered, I just took in this big noisy dirty city with its walls of traffic and construction, and luckily got spit out only a few blocks from my current place of residence, Reggae Mansion.  I went inside to escape the heat and after a mid-afternoon shower and nap, I was ready to spend my evening in Chinatown, where I took in the covered Central Market and uncovered Petaling Street, where counterfeit bags were the order of the day.  I couldn’t help myself, I joined in and bought a fake Tory Burch clutch.  Oops! Dinner was soup noodles (surprise, surprise) and as night was rapidly approaching, I hurried back to my hostel as I didn’t feel safe on the streets of KL, having been followed last night.
The next day was my last full day in Asia, and I spent most of it planning for the adventures ahead!  I found a comfy spot in the hostel with good wifi, and booked my bus trips for the next two weeks in Australia, along with some of the sightseeing attractions that were booked in along with my pass.  I soon figured out that these places were a lot farther than I thought from each other, and groaned when I realized I had to take an eighteen hour bus ride at one point in order to fit it all in and make my flight to Sydney from Cairns at the end of the month.  Ugh!
To clear my hear, I headed out to the hustle and bustle of KL one more time, this time to Little India to peruse the night market that was just getting started and find some rice and chicken dish to celebrate my last evening in Asia.  I was feeling nostalgic and actually enjoyed the crush of people, smells and tastes for once, as it would be the last time in a long while I would experience the uniqueness of SE Asia’s flavors.  That night was tough to sleep as I was worried/excited for the next morning’s trip.  I was leaving the continent for a completely new place, filled with people I love and tons of new adventures!! Bring it!
Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lazy Langkawi and the Long Ride to KL

Our third day in Langakwi was super beachy- the sun was shining and it was almost unbearably hot – almost.  We set up in front of our favorite five star resort and I snuck into their pool numerous times to cool off – hehehe. Sneaky.  We grabbed some duty free beers after burgers for lunch and did some last minute poking around in the mall and little shops before spending the later part of the afternoon in our pretty guesthouse with all the kitties, and our fellow travelers.  I seriously can’t say enough good things about Soluna guesthouse – you have to walk a little bit to get to and from the main road, literally through a field and some rice paddies with water buffalo hanging out, but its so quaint with the cottage style rooms and beautiful greenery, the owner obviously put a lot of effort an planning into making the place a comfortable destination for travelers, and I especially enjoyed the air-con in the dorm and mini fridge to keep our cheap beers cold!  After cleaning up and eating dinner once again at the cheap and delicious Indian place down the road from us, we packed up our stuff and went to bed early.  In the morning we had a kitty-escort to the taxi stand, two funny little guesthouse cats followed us halfway down the road, just being cute little punks!

Our taxi took us to the jetty and I arrived in time to buy a ticket for the 8:15 ferry across the channel to the mainland.  Micheline and I said our goodbyes at this point, as she was traveling north to Thailand and I was headed south to Kuala Lumpur!  Thanks for being such a great and easygoing travel partner!  I’ll miss you!
The ferry ride was FREEZING but I was prepared this time with a sweater and blanket, I sat next to an energetic girl who watched me play candy crush the whooooole way, then whipped out her iPad and played a few rounds herself!  The jetty was a short walk to the bus station in Kuala Perlis, and I spent the next hour anxiously awaiting my bus after being told there is NO ticket counter for my company there. Eeps! Will it come? Am I in the right place? What happens if it doesn’t show up? I was also, at this point, trying to fend off a Pakistani man who decided since I was alone I must be lonely and offered to be my friend, but i soon realized he meant “boyfriend” and I told him thanks but no thanks. Lol. He persisted and THANK GOD my bus rolled up only about 15 minutes late, I said goodbye to my new “friend” and boarded the Transnasional Bus.  I soon realized I had bought a ticket for a bus that stopped in EVERY town in the province, and it was two hours before we even crossed the border into the next one!  Oh well, I got to see every little towns’ bus station, so – there’s that.  We finally got on the road and I figured the ride would take twice as long as the estimated five hours. I was right, cause five hours into the ride we were still nowhere close to KL.  Oh well.  We stopped at another little roadside rest stop, this one more picturesque than the one we had stopped at on the way to Penang.  I ate some noodles and chicken, had my bag of drink and waited in the rain for our bus to open up and depart.  When I say “bag of drink” I literally mean it – they serve drinks in these hilarious takeout mini bags with handles and a straw and ice.  I guess cups are too much effort.
We rolled into KL around 8pm and I was dropped at a bus station called Duta – which is still kinda outside of town. I was anticipating taking a taxi into town but the driver told me to board another bus with the same company – no charge – that would take me down town!  Win for Transnasional Bus Company!! The bus took its sweet time leaving but I wasn’t complaining about a free ride, especially after I realized I could now walk to my hostel from there.  I was armed with my guidebook as we arrived at the Puduraya Bus Station and I successful navigated myself through the streets of Kuala Lumpur and ended up at Reggae Mansion, the coolest, cleanest and funkiest hostel I have stayed at.  I have a little “pod” in the girls dorm with four walls that feels like a tiny hotel room, there’s free breakfast and the facilities are gorgeous! Yes! I already was loving KL!!
Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Beach Daze and Cheap Changs

Our time in Langkawi was equally split between eating delicious food, lazing on the beach and shopping our butts off.  We woke up on our first full day on the island and were disappointed that it was kind of cloudy out.  No matter, we had an island hopping tour booked at 2pm and decided to head to the beach anyways – as it promptly started raining. Poop. We took shelter at what would become our favorite beachy place, outside the fancy Casa Del Mar resort, and watched the rain.  It let up in time for us to grab some lunch and snacks and be herded onto a bus to the jetty to catch our boat.  it was us, four girls from Syria and a whole lotta Malaysian Muslims! Our first stop was to the lake of the Pregnant Maiden, a freshwater lake on an island nearby that was gorgeous!  It reminded Micheline and I of our cottages back home and we laughed as some of the other tourists took what looked like their first swim, life jackets and all!

The second stop was cool but not to my taste, since eagle-feeding sounds all majestic and awesome but is actually taming these gorgeous animals and making them dependent on the food we give them.  It was interesting to see such a large eagle colony and of course to see them swooping down to grab the food, but made me sad since this is not a responsible thing to do.  The garbage at the tourist sites in Malaysia disappoint me quite a bit as well – if you have been given the gift of Paradise, do you seriously want to ruin it with pop cans and candy wrappers!  Smarten up, Malaysia!!
We stopped at a third island as well, for more beachy fun.  We wanted to snorkel but our conversation with the water sports guys went like this:  “Is there anything for us to see” Snorkel guy: “um, no. really clear water.”  us: “ok. pass.” We laid on the beach and befriended some other girls who turned out to be from Canada as well (french side) and I got to hear a bit about their travels in Australia, my next destination.  The weather ended up being great for the rest of the day and we loved just boating around the various small islands.  Not bad for 25 ringgits! about 9 dollars.  After chilling at the hostel for a bit, we shopped in the evening, I picked up some souvenirs for friends and family and bought cheap beers to drink on the beach since there was, once again, NO party to speak of on the beach or otherwise.  We snuck through an amazing resort on our way home, the Frangipani, and were amazed by how the other half lives – winding pools, private water park, and gorgeous villas.  Someday!!
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Love in Langkawi

I have officially found my favorite place in Malaysia!  Shes got everything I need – incredible beaches, cheap beer, great shopping and awesome accommodation. The only thing she was lacking was a good beach party!!  We took the ferry from Penang to Langkawi, since both are islands and fairly close together it made sense to hop on the ferry that connects the two.  Our tickets were 62 Ringgits, about $20 each and we managed to catch the bus there (about a ten minute ride) from out hostel on Lebuh Chulia for one ringgit (YES).  The ferry left an hour late and we got underway around 9:30 am.  It took three freezing hours to get there, seriously if you ever go on a Malaysian ferry bring both a sweater and a blanket, we had hoodies and sarongs to cover us but were still cold.  We went from cold to sweltering hot and boarded a taxi to Pentai Cenang after a quick food break at the jetty since neither of us had breakfast.

There’s no public transport on Langkawi, so taxi are the main transport for tourists if you are not renting a car.  We found our guesthouse with not too much trouble, we had found a brochure for a lovely looking place when we were in the Pehrentians, and luckily they had room in the dorm.  The place is called Soluna Guesthouse, and I would highly recommend it, its newly opened and very clean, centrally located, though not on the beach it’s quite close, and cheaper than a beachfront place, very quiet (except for the homemade Ramadan bombs going off, not much they could do about that), and run by a lovely Italian woman and her husband who keep a bunch of friendly cats around!
We dumped our stuff and had the rest of the afternoon to explore slash fall in love with this little place!! Langkawi is a pretty big island, and we stayed on Pentai Cenang, the biggest and most populated beach.  There is one loooong main road off the beach which holds all the restaurants, shopping, hotels and guesthouses, construction was going at a frantic place everywhere you looked, im assuming Langkawi will look very different in a few years with all the mid rise hotels going up!  But for now its still quite charming, we walked down the main road and found tons of interesting shops, even a shopping mall and a duty-free complex!  There was also lots of yummy looking and cheap food to be had.  We walked the whole strip before turning our attention to the beach, which was unreal. White sand, untouched tropical islands in the distance, the sky blue Andaman sea, it was just the thing this beach bum wanted to see!  We walked the length of the beach, climbing rocks and watching the parasailers as they sailed above us.  After dinner at a little Indian restaurant, we noticed that a whole new batch of shops had opened up in the evening, and did some poking around before heading back to our guesthouse.  There is NO nightlife to speak of in Langkawi – the beach bars were dead, the restaurants close early – I guess since it’s a family place we guessed everyone was at home with their wee ones.  Oh well. There’s always a catch in paradise, I guess!!

 

Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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