Posts Tagged With: Ramadan

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!!

 

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

Gili T – My New Favorite Place on Earth

I think I’ve found it….again.  Gili Trawangan is my newest in a long line of favorite destinations, and this time, I think its love!  Let me back up a little here – three days ago we took a two and a half hour ferry to the Gili Islands, three tiny beachy islands nestled close to the mountains in Lombok, an island province close to Bali.  We were going to stay in a hostel but decided against it, the cheap and cute guesthouses that dotted the island were too tempting for us.  We found the Pondok Twins Garden with a little help from our Scoot Cruises employee, the ride over here with them was awesome and I highly recommend it.

It was perfect!  A little guesthouse nestled in on a back street not far from the beach.  We settled in for four nights, and set off to explore this gorgeous little place.  We were amazed at the turquoise blue color of the ocean, and the view of distant mountains on Lombok.  After settling into a table at Gili Cafe, we ran into one of Chelsea’s friends that was, by coincidence, was staying on the island. Yes it’s that small!!
The sunset was our next destination, and after getting horribly lost in what we jokingly referred to as the “suburbs of Gili”, we emerged on the other side of the island, in time to watch the beautiful sunset and have a bintang.  That night we chilled with Chelsea’s friend Connor, and his two Canadian counterparts, Joey and Pete.  Since its Ramadan, the island is very quiet, and out of respect for the locals the nightlife is curtailed to a single silent disco, which we got to experience the next evening! We ate dinner at the night market, which was a super fun experience, trying all the local foods and finishing my meal off with a giant roasted corn on the cob mmmmm.
Our first full day in Gili was super beachy, I learned some bad news from home, my family had been affected by the flooding in Toronto from the storms that are going on there right now, and our basement was in 7ft of water!! There is a ton of damage, but as my mom said, “it’s just stuff” and they are all safe so apart from a massive clean up job they are ok!
We shopped the island that afternoon and literally shopped it out, finding nothing of interest to buy – all trinkets and overpriced beachwear. I did buy a sweet Balinese mask from a local artist though, who had his workshop and store  right beside my guesthouse. I felt kinda like i was getting an eye infection, but a smooth and painless trip to the Indonesian Dr on the island and some meds, later I was on the mend. It’s already cleared up! Yay! sickness one averted.
It looked like it was gonna rain so we strategically sat ourselves in a beach cafe to watch the rain and eat a late lunch.  Then it was time to meet up with the guys for shisha and people watching, until after the sun set and we moved onto the silent disco!!
The silent disco was my favorite experience on Gili so far, we all got these sweet remote headsets and were listening to the same tunes at the same time, filling the dance floor and the room with our off-key singing.  It was hilarious to briefly take the headphones off and look around at all the people dancing wildly, silently to the music!  We had such a good time!!
Gili is such a friendly, sunny place, full of unbelievably nice and accommodating people, there’s tons of families around as well as young people, the food is good, and the vibe is just right.
It’s good to know there’s a place like this on earth. It’s as close to heaven as I’ve ever been.
xo
D
Categories: Indonesia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pak Bara and the Authentic Thai Experience

Our luxurious air-con minibus took us on the two and a half hour ride from Hat Yai to the Pak Bara pier…we got there and quickly realized the only ferry to Ko Lipe was gone for the day, and we were stranded in PB for the night…lucky us.

Our driver took us to the best (only) guesthouse in PB, where we paid a whopping 600 Baht to stay in an interesting (gross) hut. We settled in and tried to figure out what the heck to do with ourselves until 11 the next morning.  We went exploring and quickly learned that since Pak Bara is so far south in Thailand, Muslim is the majority religion and shoulders and knees are a bit of a novelty…we had some teenage fans. We started to walk around, found a Seven Eleven, waited for the power to come on (!) at 5, and bought some snacks. We would get to know that 711 very well by the end of our time there, as NOTHING WAS OPEN! Turns out our luck was not with us that day, it was Ramadan and we were stuck in a very muslim town in the middle of Thailand. Nobody spoke a lick of english, or even really seemed as if they had seen a tourist before, which was so strange as it was a port town with major connections to all of the islands in the area. I guess since it was low season they hadn’t really had much tourist action in a while.

I’m actually glad that our travel plans turned out the way they did that night,  as the three of us had such funny memories of being stuck in Pak Bara and will forever remember our brush with Southern Thai culture. Also: Camille gave an amazing bug report that night (like the evening news but strictly concerning the location and size of each bug in our room) and I lost one shoe to a dog or the hotel staff, who knows. We went out (to the sev, where else) then came back and one of the shoes I had placed outside had mysteriously disappeared!!

After our delicious (disgusting) meal and staring at each other for a while, we decided to bed it up and get ready for our adventure the next day!

Glad we rested up cause it turned out to be what will go down in history as three of the most fun and hilarious days of. My. Life.

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