Posts Tagged With: Travel and Tourism

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.
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Categories: Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Long Night Ride 2 Magnetic Island

I got off the island at Hervey Bay, and was dropped off at the bus station to await my coach.  But first, I had to stop and get some reading material for my long bus ride!  I settled in for a long haul up the coast, doing an overnight bus that left at 9pm, arriving at my destination around 1pm the next day. It wasn’t too bad, all things considered.  I slept + read my book and ate bus-made peanut butter sandwiches. Mmm.

The greyhound rolled into Townsville and I was dropped off right at the ferry terminal, which was convenient but I’d just missed the ferry! I hoped this far-flung Magnetic Island was worth it, after all the trouble to get here!  I boarded the ferry and sat on the windy top, happy to be outside in the sunshine after more than half a day on a bus!  The public bus on the island dropped me off right at my hostel, Base Backpacker.  It was one of the most scenic places I’ve stayed, right on the shore, and my dorm was a little cabin! Cute!  When I got there, I decided to explore and looked around the surrounding area.  I hiked up the hilly terrain into the sleepy town, and watched the sun set over the beach, which looked over the coast of Australia.  It was a beautiful view, and a perfect stopover on my long trip to Cairns.  I slept like a baby in my little cabin dorm, too bad I didn’t have more time to explore this little island, which is not actually magentic, but had some properties in the sand that was said to throw off compasses, so was named for it.  Looks like a perfect and popular spot for weddings, it’s so picturesque!
The ferry back was fantastic, the weather was warm, and it was ONLY  a six hour bus ride to Cairns. Luckily I was into a good book, so the time flew and before I knew it, I was in Cairns!  The small city immediately charmed me, and I made my way to the big hostel in the middle of town, Gilligans, which was definitely the swankiest hostel I’d stayed in on my whole trip! I was excited to explore Cairns the next day and check out the city.
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Fraser Island FTW!

My two night-three day trip on Fraser Island will definitely be included in the highlights of my trip to Australia – It was such an adventure!  Fraser Island is the worlds largest sand island, and held in place by the rainforest that eventually grew on top of that sand.  It’s a unique natural formation and worth checking out if going up North on the east coast of Aus!  I did the tour which included giant 4WD buses, glad that option was included in my pass because there are other tours where you drive the vehicles, and although it looked like fun, they often got stuck in the soft sand.  You need 4WD vehicles on Fraser Island because there are no paved roads, only sand roads and original logging trails.  The “highway” is the beach area, and on the highway you have to dodge fishermen, rocks and the occasional sunken ship 😉

I was picked up at Rainbow beach on a HUGE 4 wheel drive bus, and after doing our rounds we drove right off the road onto a barge, for the short ferry ride to the island.  Our first stop was morning tea (cute!) and then a trip to Lake Mackenzie, where we would be picked up by the rest of our group to carry on with the trip.  The lake was perfect, formed by rainwater, made your hair soft, the sand ex-foliates your skin, not a bad first stop!  We met the rest of our group at lunch, and set off for a rainforest hike through Fraser island, to an area once called central station because of the logging activity there in the past.  We learned about the ecosystem of the island, and did another short hike back to the bus.  The bus ride itself was worth mentioning, as it is the BUMPIEST ride I have had yet, kind of like an amusement park ride, bouncing along through the forest on this giant sand island.
We were driven (bumped) back to our resort, called Kingfisher Bay, in time to watch the sun set over the jetty, and to have a delicious dinner.  I had a box of goon (gross wine) to get into, but after a few glasses i decided to go to bed.  Other tour members were Aussie, German, American, British and Kiwi, a good mix of people!  We had to get up early the next day and be on the bus by 8am to check out the giant Stonetool Sandblow, which is basically a mountain of sand, and the pinnacles colored sands, which were giant outcroppings of these sand blows that had all different colors of sand contained in them.  We also visited the Maheno wreck, a ruined ship that had washed up on the shores of the island and was used as target practice during WW2.  It was cool! My favorite part of the day was when we visited Indian Heads and the Champagne Pools on the far side of the island, with spectacular views and a chance to swim in the ocean without being afraid of the jellyfish!  The last attraction on our list was Eli creek, an incredibly clear freshwater creek that we could tube down and relax in the sand, right by the crashing waves of the ocean!  it was awesome!
The second night there was another good dinner and lots of drinking games which allowed me to finish my goon which gave me a wicked hangover on a jolty bus 😦 not my best idea.  Ugh.  Our third way we visited two more lakes, Birrabeen and Lake Wabby for some refreshing swim time, and finished up partway through the day so we could make the 5 o clock ferry off the island and back to the mainland, arriving this time at Hervey Bay on the other side of the island.  Cool Dingo Tours took very good care of me, and I met some cool people who were fellow travelers and adventurers.  I feel like I learned a lot about the history and heritage of the island, and was able to do some relaxing in between the bumpy bus rides!
I was about to get on another bus, though, for an epic sixteen hour journey! My Greyhound awaits!
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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 🙂
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Sun and Sand in Surfers Paradise

Wahoo!  I’m in Paradise!  Surfers Paradise, that is.  I had hoped it would be a little warmer when I arrived here, and while 24 degrees Celsius in the winter here aint bad, I’ve had to put on extra layers at night since I am used to the sweltering heat of Asia!  The tepid temperatures haven’t stopped me from getting my tan on, though.  I arrived here from Coolangatta in the afternoon, and had no problem finding my cosy, if not well worn hostel, Sleeping Inn.  The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the full kitchen.  Nice! Time to do some grocery shopping, cause the Aussie prices were killin’ me.  I settled in and met some of my bunk mates, including a surly 50-year-old woman wearing ( I kid you not) a Tilley hat and matching vest with a zillion pouches, who ended up snoring all night after glaring at anyone who dared come into the room after she went to bed at nine.  Also, she managed to lock herself out of the dorm the next morning at, oh, 5am, and then banged loudly on the locked door outside until some poor German girl went to let her in.  Yayyyyy bunk-mates!  Lady. Get a hotel.

I wasn’t too concerned with all of this, because I had to check out the beach!  I had my bikini ready, and walked through the small but impressive downtown to the beachfront, which resembled one big expensive tourist trap, complete with a wax museum, Aquaduck tour and Laser Tag center.  I wasn’t interested in any of this, because when I saw the beach it was OVER for me.  What an incredible stretch of sand!  It went on for miles, and the sky was clear and blue, although it was a WEE bit cold in the shade, I plopped down in a sunny spot and took advantage of what sun there was.  I laid there for a few hours until I was actually too cold to stay, and then explored the shopping area a bit, found a grocery store, and headed home to cook myself dinner in our cute kitchenette.  That night at the hostel was trivia night, and I met some of the travelers in my hostel, and won third prize in the contest.  Which was – nothing. lol.  After finishing my ciders and wrestling with the shitty internet for a bit, I called it an early night.
The next day was my only full day in Surfers, so I made sure to get to the beach early and catch as many rays as I could! This got old at around two o clock and I shopped around the town a bit, finding a $5 sweater that cost less than my lunch, and some cute souvenirs for myself and my friends (i cant. resist. the. shopping. gah)  My rationale was that since I’m saving so much money on food by cooking most of my meals at the hostel, there’s some extra money for little things to help me remember my trip!  That night was the pub crawl, and $20 got you into four bars with four drinks so I decided why not? me and some fellow travelers boarded the giant party bus and picked up people from all over the city.  It was cool because I got to know so many people in such a short amount of time, the drinks were flowing and every time we got tired of one place we were off to the next.  I made friends with my bunk-mate Johanna, a Californian and a lot of English people! It was a great night out and the last club was within walking distance back to our place. Yes!
The next morning was a bit rough but i finally won the war with the internet and was able to chat with my family for a bit and get ready for my next adventure.  By 2pm I was off to Brisbane on a Greyhound to hug some Koalas!
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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!
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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!!
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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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