Travelling Highlight of the Week (w.b. 20th May 2013)

Although it was sad to wave bye to my mam, the highlight of our week had to be our last few days in Singapore. We had such a great time together over the past 20 days and it was a fitting end to a great trip.

It was almost like a second send off, just this time we were toasting my Mam who was heading back home, instead of people waving bye to us heading off around the world.


Langkawi to Penang (Georgetown)

Since our last KL blog post ( through a mix of rubbish internet and lack of spare time (surprising i know, but we have been busy bees from dusk till dawn!) its been a while since we have posted and we have already been and seen lots of Malaysia.

When we left KL we met up with my mam in KL airport and all traveled together up to Langkawi. Now I know anybody with a slight orientation of SEA would think this was madness, to travel from Thailand down through Malaysia, to only head back towards Thailand again, a kind of 4 steps forward, 6 steps back approach. Well it is madness and not something we originally planned in, but these are the things you do for your loved ones and especially your mammy. Plus the flights were cheap and very, very short.

We stayed in Langkawi for only 3 days as there wasn’t a great deal to do there apart from soak up the sand and sea and dine in the various restaurants along the ‘strip’. We were led to believe that Langkawi was a duty free haven, full of cheap ass beer and even cheaper food. Now coming from Thailand this would be a hard act to follow, however coming from KL, this should be childs play. Well unless we went to the wrong bars and ate at the wrong restaurants, Langkawi was no cheaper, if not more expensive than KL, however you do  have a beach to sit on and fresh seafood to eat! So i guess it all evens out in the end. Aside from the duty free shopping area and main beach strip, Langkawi also has some beautiful scenery, which is best seen by taking a cable car to the highest point on the island, were you are met with panoramic views of the whole island and glimpses of Thailand if you are lucky enough.

It was a great place to introduce my mam to Asian cuisine and gently, as there were no hawker centres, no plastic bag drinks or spicy spicy cuisine. Everything was catered towards the western tongue and was a good intro. She also got to experience what being a backpacker was all about, as our lovely accommodation (that isn’t sarcasm) was without air con and three people in a room without air con in 40degrees is not cool!! (pardon the pun). Even after i moved into the dorm (which was open to the elements and had only fans too, the room was still walm enough to be able to boil water. So a great intro into what roughing it can look like, just we happened to have nice beds, linen, decent toilets, no roaches or rats and no thumping music till 5am. Baby steps though, maybe next time she comes to join us!!

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We then headed back down to Georgetown, to explore areas that we haven’t seen on the first visit and take my mam to some of the sights we got to see in the company of our Malaysian friend Alan who lived in Georgetown. One of the biggest draws to Penang/Georgetown is the food and it does not disappoint. If you want to really submerse yourself in Malay, Chinese, Hokkien and Indian cuisine, then look no further. I personally became a BIG fan of the Laksa, which is a spicy coconut based soup (its a fact, I am addicted to coconut like a druggy, its going to be missed in South America!) that is made in a fish broth and usually served with chicken and squid, sometimes dried anchovies, tofu, shrimp, noodles and fresh herbs and veg………mmmmmm you might want to wipe that dribble off your chin now!10072

The time spent in between chewing down on sensational food, we visited Penang’s biggest chinese temple Ke Lok Si, Penang Hill, Penang Botanical gardens (where we saw lots of monkeys!), Fishing village, searching for street art, walking tour of the colonial buildings, Japanese temples, Chinese temples, Hindu temples, walked along the beach, walked around night markets and drank lots and lots of coffee out of plastic bags!!! Now you can see what i mean by being very busy! This was all done in under 5 days and we touristed (yeah not a word but you get its meaning) from dawn till dusk. Obviously the only way to wind down after a full day of sightseeing in 35+ degree heat is to fill up your belly with more food, wash it all down with fine Asian beer and have a good old chin wag with my Mam. 198816_792972377072_511313963_n 264552_792969557722_819905831_n 432140_792971079672_872638842_n 941160_792970875082_1630636138_n 969455_792967312222_1260859552_n 970764_792971833162_824621388_n 984180_792968170502_984130151_n 984277_792971947932_565090724_n

The last picture is a little glimpse of the lifestyle of Georgetown residents and as Alan admitted ‘we are very lazy and like to sleep’. Which was a welcome surprise from the hectic 5am awakening in Thailand every morning from people going about there everyday business and starting their business day. In Malaysia it is more like the day starts about 10am, maybe 10:30 just depends. Love it.

Georgetown is definately somewhere I would return and if i was going to, i would definitely fast before arriving so i could tuck away at least 4 meals a day and get the most out of the amazing food that is on offer, which aside from the chic colonial buildings and various other sights, has to be Penang’s biggest draw and reason for visiting.


Starring in a Malaysian Advert….?!

So during our stay in KL, we got on well with the hostel owners and when we were there they were promoting a coffee they were making and we had a tasting morning where they gave us their new coffee and put on a lovely Malaysian breakfast and a photographer took photos of us doing so.

A bit later on in the morning we were asked if we would help them out and be in their advert…”Sure! Why not!?” we answered, this sounds like fun! Later on in the day they asked if we were ready and we got filming. We imagined us and a few others maybe being in the advert, but no, it was just Adam and I. And we had to (try and) act. Not either of our strong points to say the least. Needless to say, about 20 takes later they were happy with what we could produce (not a lot at all) and probably thought they should go with what they had as we really couldn’t give them any more!

We will not be disclosing the name of the coffee or where we were staying as even though we are proud to say we did it, I am very sure in saying that no-one actually needs to witness what we produced. It can only be described as a homemade advert with shocking acting!

So I am very proud to say we have starred in our own Malaysian coffee advert and were paid with a Burger King dinner. And who said we were cheap…!?!

Travelling Highlight of the Week (w.b. 6th May 2013)

This weeks highlight is a easy one.

My mam coming to visit obviously, having flew over 9,000 miles to see her precious baby (obviously not just for holiday) and me getting to see her after being away from home for 6 months, was a true highlight of the week and if not  up there with our engagement for highlight of the trip so far. 


Malacca…Melaka…Mellaca….Any other way to spell one place…?


I am going to stick with one spelling of Malacca throughout this post, even though it is spelt in a multitude of ways all over the town and country. It seems no-one can decide on just the one spelling. I think they need a board/council meeting to decide once and for all!

Anyway…moving on…Malacca is a beautiful town much similar to Georgetown in its architecture in some parts.


But it has the added bonus of a beautiful river which has had a lot of money spent on it and on which our guesthouse sat.


That was the view from our guesthouse. Fabulous. Like I mentioned before, a lot of money has been spent on this area to build lovely walk ways and all the buildings are decorated by local artists. This has become a big tourist attraction as boats run up and down this river every half hour to show it off.


But once the boats go away the big monitor lizards come out and have a swim, I woke up early one morning (by accident of course) and had a quick look out over the water and saw 2 massive lizards having a nice early morning swim. I felt very lucky to catch a sight of them as people rarely do.

I think I will quickly sum up our favourite things that we did in Malacca, as yes, there is a lot to do inside the town  which is flooded with bus loads of tourists, but one of the best things we did was outside the town, and not too easy to get to. I don’t think they like tourists leaving the town as there is no information on how to get anywhere just outside! We found a bus which runs to the botanical gardens and recreational forest which took our interest, and after many questions we found we had to get a few buses to get there. Once we got there we were greeted by an area devoid of people. Literally. No-one. It was great! We walked around this massive forested area and came across the occasional person jogging or walking but that was it. We then found the canopy walk which we were quite interested in doing and asked how much, “8 Ringgett, but only one person at a time” this made us think a bit. We looked up to the canopy walk and saw it infested with monkeys! “Will the monkeys move?” we asked, the guy looked a bit confused until he looked himself, “oh yes, if you walk they will!” We didn’t think anyone had walked on this for quite a while and the monkeys (maucak monkeys which are now considered a pest as stupid people feed them) had claimed it as their own so swiftly decided against it. Nobody wanted to be the first one across to try and make them move and to find out the hard way that they wouldn’t…also some of the platforms looked quite old and rickety! So we carried happily with our normal walk along the quite steady ground. The highlight of this walk was seeing a family of Spectacled Leaf Monkeys, or Dusky Langurs. We were walking on our way out and saw this big black monkey at the base of a tree, “wow thats a big’un!” and then we realised that it wasn’t one of the common pest monkeys but something much dfferent. As soon as he heard us, he scooted quickly up the tree and watched us from above. We were stunned into silence and quickly got our cameras out to try and catch a glimpse of them, but these shy monkeys weren’t too keen on that and decided to leave. But we stood in awe for ages just watching them jump from tree to tree with their babies attached to their bellies getting far away from us.


One of the other great things we did was drink possibly the most expensive coffee in SE Asia. But it was worth it. Since we touched down in Bangkok we keep seeing these coffee places which have coffee contraptionswhich look like something from a chemistry set, so when we walked past a tiny coffee place using these we jumped at the chance. We didn’t think to ask about the price :s we were just a bit too excited!


The guy new his stuff, he made this so precisely taking so much care when he was making it and tasting it as cocktail makers do to test their product. It did not disappoint!


What made it better, they served it out of their modified VW Van and even roasted and ground their own beans too



Oh yeah, and our most expensive coffee came to a grand total of 50 Ringett for 3 delicious coffees, a grand total of around 10GBP….shocker!

We ♥ KL



KL is an amazingly eclectic and diverse city. A big mish-mash of history, culture and people, full of higgidy-piggidy streets and back alleys with amazing architecture springing out at you from the most unexpected places.

Take for example Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu Temple which we stumbled across as we were walking down the street we were staying on. Bang in the centre of China town and down the road from many Chinese Buddhist temples. See what I mean about a mixture?

Then we found this little beaut, was quite surreal to see. A typically tudor house with cricket green (of course), in KL surrounded by palm trees, a beautiful mosque opposite it and skyscrapers all around. Mind F***!


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The architecture varies greatly, one of my favourite buildings we found contrast so greatly, it again, sums up how eclectic this fabulous city is. Art Deco meet Dutch/Roman architecture…some in better conditions than others.

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building destroyed by fire. Shops still in operation underneath. Obvs.

building destroyed by fire. Shops still in operation underneath. Obvs.


We couldn’t stay in China town without drinking in some Chinese tea houses. So far we have sampled the oldest tea house in KL, street tea sellers and other places a bit more fancy…

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street tea where you can pick 1 of 2 types (in the big urns)

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      Adam feeling like a giant in the tea worldP1050751 (2)   All the bits and bobs you need to make a good cuppa fresh green tea (Hint: all the jugs are used for the tea to flow through at one point or another)


Travelling Highlight of the Week (w.b. 29th April 2013)

Our highlight of the week stems from our uber friendly bus journey to Georgetown, Penang as we were unexpectedly and very generously offered to be shown where is good for some food by our new friends; Alan and Alice. (Never met an Alan in my life, and the first happens to be Malaysian…who’da thunk it?) Its fair to say we jumped at the chance.

So we got off the bus and we followed Alan to his apartment and let him put his bags down and then 6 of us crammed into a small Proton and off we went for some typically Malay food. The whole while there Alan was pointing out all the good landmarks and places to go in Georgetown. Once we got there Alan explained that where he wanted to take us was closed as it was too late and so instead we went to a place screaming out Karaoke and with about 20 different stalls to choose your food ranging from Malay to Thai to Japanese. Once ordered, Alan then surprised us with some popular Malay dishes; deep fried Oysters and a massive pile of veggies with a ‘Special sauce’.

But our new friends generosity did not end there, after we finished dinner he asked, “what are you doing tomorrow?” In which we replied “ummm…dunno”. He offered to show us round for the day. We were blown away by his generosity but he simply said, “if I was in your country I am sure you would do the same”. What a lovely outlook to have.

It’s safe to say we have made some great new friends who we will be revisiting once we head back to Georgetown.

Koh Lanta to Penang, Malaysia- Our friendliest bus journey

We were leaving Thailand, and for good this time 😦 We were both quite sad to be leaving a country that has been so good to us and in which we originally started our adventure, it felt quite poignant, like leaving a second home. We had become so used to its customs, language and the way everyday life goes.

We started our journey at about 7 in the morning. It was the usual sort of long journey; cramped mini van, too many bags crammed into every spare space, bongos bouncing off Adam’s legs for hours on end, many stops and mini van changes. But our last leg of the journey really made it for us as we were lucky enough to have some very friendly and chatty Malaysian companions.

Our companions were nice enough to explain what was going on at each point of the border crossing as the driver was unable to. Just the command given of “PASSPORTS!” With an expecting open hand makes both of us respond with “eeerrmm…No!” But our travel buddies were able to explain actually what the driver wanted and why. It definitely put us at ease as border crossings can be quite stressful and confusing when not in your own language or script.

After the border crossing, which occurred event free and included putting our large backpacks through an unmanned scanner (I questioned the point of it…) We got chatting to our fellow passengers, one a young Malaysian couple and one an older man and we hardly stopped talking for the remaining 6 hours of our journey to Georgetown, Penang. The older man was extremely animated, excitable and fast talking whilst the couple were a bit more chilled. We discussed everything to holidays to jobs and the difference between our countries. Talk got serious when they mentioned the upcoming elections happening on May 5th. They asked where we would be, we answered Kuala Lumpur and their response deeply worried us. “For your safety I recommend you leave the country, or at the least do not stay in KL.” Oh. We can’t afford to get any extra journeys out of the city. “You will need to find a secure hotel and stay inside then” they warned us. The older gentleman reminisced about the 1969 elections where people were killed in riots and told us that tensions are as high as they were then and would not want us caught up in anything by accident.

We have heeded their advice, have got extra advice from the hostel we are staying in, and are currently taking it easy inside. It looks like we are going to have to play it by ear. Nothing may happen at all, but I know that I do not want us being caught up in something we have no idea about. I also worry for the tourists who do not know about what is coming and all the “accidents” they could get caught up in.

We are both very lucky and grateful to have met such friendly and helpful people, and made us think “I hope our first amazing insight and account into Malaysia and Malaysian people doesn’t let us down…” And so far it hasn’t and actually leads us quite nicely into our ‘Travelling Highlight of the Week’…