A Travellerspoint blog

Day 43: Au Nang, South of Thailand

sunny 35 °C

After two days of travel, Diana and I are back in Thailand (a town called Au Nang) once again to tour the beaches in the South. We love the cheapness of everyting here but miss how good everyone's english was in Malaysia, we never had a problem conveying our message.

Ha, I think I could write a whole blog on transportion and accomadations alone. Last night...our $5 a night special also featured cockroaches and bats. One of the bats (bigger than your fist) had decided to die outside of our window on the ghetto cement wall cover our window and decay....nasty! They squealed and scurried all night long.

Tomorrow we're off on a Tour by long boat to 4 islands. When the tide is out you can walk from one island to the next via sand bar, should be a great day! We'll be doing some more snorkeling there too :)

Posted by thai 2011 06:03 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Day 39-41 Perhentian Islands

sunny 36 °C

Don't Worry Be HAPKE!

Perhentian Islands, what a perfect place to spend my 30th birthday. For the first time since our travels begin, we've decided to booked a place ahead to avoid lugging our packs around in the intense heat trying to find something available. Tuna Bay Resort was more than we could have expected. After a jarring speed-boat trip over huge swells of ocean water we made it to the dock of our resort. Our bags were taken care of and fresh juice was served on our arrival.

Our morning of snorkeling was more than worth it. Its amazing how on the surface the area seems like all the others until you escape underneath and it turns into a tropical world of bright colours and busy highways of grouped fish. Diana would swim down, wave the water infront of the giant clams making them close tight. My favorite were the 'Nemo's we saw living contently in their sea anememies. I wasn't aware that they did not leave their home, unless they have visitors...us...then they just come out to check out who you are. So cute! My least favorite were the jelly fish :S ....they're so small you can't see them...just feel them stinging you. I popped my head up looking for Diana and at that moment both of us were in an area full of them and they were on the attack....lil stings all over like being zapped so we quickly swam for the both. Our guide was laughing...."only mesquito bites" he says...its MORE than a mesquito bite! :)

Crazy enough I also got to swim with a shark...yes a real live shark that was not caged. Diana didn't even see it. Of course I squealed when I did, then for some reason I started to follow it. The beast was the size of me....compared to the rest of the lil fishies...thats huge! It was amazing to see him move, very magestic, I could have watched him swim all morning.

I spent my 30th birthday here and couldn't have had a more perfect day. Diana suprised me in the evening at our busy resturant with a version of the birthday song we've never heard loudly playing over the speaker system and a cake made specially for me. Everyone was clapping...and I got to blow out my candles on my birthday :) Thanks again D!

We tried our hand at surfing again....We took a speed boat over to the smaller island and walked from there to other side where the waves are. The waves were definately more intense and closer together than the last place we went but being a novice I still didn't see a huge problem with this....Diana did though.... It didn't take me 2 minutes to realize I was way over my head, my bathing suite had been thrown off multiple times and I was sucking back water like it was going outta style.

AND I knew...we were being watched...someones entertainment for the day. Thats what kept me going....I can do this...I can do this I kept saying to myself. But realistically trying getting passed those crashing waves that only want to plow you over and take you back to where you came from was really difficult and drainging. Diana kept powering through, she did so well. In the end I was conqured and sat and watched Diana get thrashed instead...its way more entertaining :) next time we'll try medium sized waves....and no bikinis! (well something other than...)

Posted by thai 2011 05:59 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Day 33-35 Surf's Up! Cherating, Malaysia

32 °C

And the adventure continues....

We've spent a few days in a surfer town called Cherating to learn the 'art of surfing.' During the monsoon season huge surfing events are held here by Billibong and RipCurl but the monsoon is over so there's only baby waves, which is perfect for us newbies.

After an anxiety driven video on the 'how to's' of surfing overloading us with too much information we set out carrying our beastlie, gigantic long boards to the ocean. Its only a 5 min walk but when the board weights half as much as you do...its agonizingly long :) We had a quick land lesson, feet positions, popping up, paddling that sorta thing and then we hit the waters.

The ocean is so warm here, its almost too warm. I didn't think I'd ever hear myself say that, but its true...so we're in the water and I quickly attach the leash to my ankle and slap my body on the board and paddle away. Before I know the instructor is yanking me back by my leash telling me to hold on ;) I was so excited to start. The concept of surfing is very similiar to snowboarding which I already do so I felt pretty confident, but apparently there were still a few things I needed to learn.

So there we are laying on our boards waiting for the perfect wave. The anticipation rising and our hearts racing waiting for the instructor to say "ok, this one is good." when he finally does say the words, he turns my board so the tip of the board is facing the shore and tells me to wait.....eeek so nerve racking, I have no idea what to expect then he says "paddle, paddle" and I'm like wha?? with his accent, it didn't really sound like paddle...until he started yelling it....then I got it :) and off I went, paddling my heart out till I felt the wave pick me up, I see the crest of the wave in my peripheral and give it to more strokes. Pushing up with my hands on the board at my shoulders I get my feet into position and finally lift my uppper-body tall. Legs slightly bent, chin up, arms out for balance...and I'm riding my first wave....ooohhhhh yahhhh.

Our instructor was great, gave us lots of tips and Diana and I were rock'n every wave that came our way. After two hours we were toast...literally, our backsides were completely burnt and we hadn't realized it, not to mention how much our upper bodies ached. It was a great experience and one we're looking forward to doing again very soon on this trip.

Tomorrow we're off to the Parahatian TIoman Islands...we thought the last islands were beautiful....mmmm not in comparison so we've been told. We've found an amazing resort at tunabay.com.my if you want to check the website out. We'll be spending my 30th birthday there on the 14th so we're going in style ;)

We've got...2 tickets to paradise....pack your bags and we'll leave tonight....

Happy Valentines to all you love birds out there!

Posted by thai 2011 03:40 Archived in Malaysia Comments (1)

Day: 27-32 Pulau Tioman Island

sunny 30 °C

Here for a good time, not a long time

After a month into our journey across south east asia, constantly traveling from one place to another, to another, Diana and I were ready for a well-deserved vactation from our vacation :) The place we set out for is called Pulau Tioman Island, a group of 64 small islands off the east coast of Malaysia. With endless beaches of white sand, crystal blue waters, thick jungles on moutainous terrain it was the perfect place to mellow out.

The ferry over was more of a barf-fest than our crazy road trip to the plain of jars. Diana and I faired well but it wasn't the most ideal situation... we were placed in the front of the boat in the lower portion with small windows and huge waves. The waves would pick up the front of the boat what felt like 15ft and hurl it back down again...butterflies in your tummy feeling....not good!
At the very back of the boat you could venture outside and that was amazing, scenic views of all the surrounding islands and the fresh ocean wind blowing in your hair. Arriving at the island was something like that of a postcard....it made our long journey there completely worth it...truely paradise. :)

Our main goal was to relax...and avoid tours at all costs and we did just that. We've had many amazing beach days, sunning ourselves with not a care in the world.

Our part of the island 'Salang' is a pieceful cove with no roads and very few resturants. Palm trees surround the bungalows creating the perfect comination of sun and shade and monitor lizards lazily roam the water's edge. The thick of the jungle is at our finger tips with the monkeys sneakily eyeing your belongings so hold on tight :)

At night the place comes alive with ragae music and the most friendly people we've met so far on this trip. The whole village knows our names and cheerily greets us even if we're 50ft away :) An outdoor BBQ is put on every evening with the fresh catches of the day. It's great being able to pick out your own crab and veg...but after a few days we're over having our dinner look back at us. It's a no frills kind of deal, you get the head, and the fins and there are no special tools for the crabs except your very own teeth :) Makes you really appreciate every bite cause you worked hard for it.

We trekked across the island (7km) to a remote beach where we were the only two people on it. The beach was huge and completely untouched in it's beauty. The waves gently rolled in keeping us entertained for hours too bad we didn't have a boogie board with us.
The hike itself was really fun, we saw a few different species of lizards, flying squirrles, monkeys as well as an aray of colourful butterflies. We were drenched within the first five minutes it was so humid but the trek itself was moderately challenging. 3hrs later we arrived at our beach, making the trek that much more worth it. :)

Snorkeling and diving are also recommended activities in this area so we rented some snorkeling equipment and checked out the marine life along the cove. However, growing up with a pool at my disposal it took me awhile to get used to the salt water and breathing underwater does not come natural to me. I often found myself clentching the snorkel mouth peice the entire time; my jaw hurt emensly afterwards. The fish were fun and very interested in us, so interested one fishie took a bite at my bangs...of course I squealed through my snorkel :)
Another adventure was our trek to Monkey bay, just up and over the dense moutianous jungle beside our cove. It was a half hour straight up and a 20min straight down, climing over and under fallen trees from the pervious monsoon. We were warned about the sneaky monkeys and told to keep our belongings close at hand....sneaky little guys, they're so cute though. We had our lunches premade for us and had a great picinic. Again it was just the two of us on the entire beach, It was very relaxing.

Tomorrow we're off for Cherating, a surfing town for beginners, with small rolling waves and soft sand so should be fun!

Until then....pictures to come shortly...

Posted by thai 2011 03:10 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Day 24-26: Change in Plans...We're in Malaysia!!!

sunny 30 °C

Up until a few days ago there wasn't a lot for me to share with you all, our days were mellow and excitingly non-eventful. Exactly what we needed :)

We arrived safely in Vientiane, the capital of Laos and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The city was sprouting with back-packers so finding cheap accomadations was very difficult and we ended up having to raise the bar a little and spend $25.00 a night ooohh big spenders :) and so we had our first baths in a month...it was heaven :)

Our whole trip had been running so smoothly without having to prebook, we really thought we were on a roll. Well it turns out that came to an abrupt end when we found out that the Vietnam Embassy was closed for a week for holidays....what kind-of government run place closes for a week!#%? anyways...no embassy, no Visa's....no visa's no Vietnam. We'd seen all there was to see in Laos from our prespectives and were 100% ready to continue our journey to the next country.

Once it was settled that Vietnam was no longer an option we checked out our other possibilities and Malaysia seemed like the best fit. So we grabbed a travel book to do some research and boarded a flight for dirt cheap the next afternoon heading south :)

The humidity hit me like a ton of bricks as soon as I got off the plane....immediatly I was covered in a layer of sweat and it was already 8pm. I don't travel to the humid places so this was all very new to me...Diana on the otherhand just got back from...well where didn't she just get back from is the question?...Ciaro, Jordyn, bali, australia and the list goes on. Anyways, she was used to it and told me to get used to it too :) lol we laughed.

So here we are in Kuala Lumpur....in Monsoon season...ha and we're looking for a place. Apparently we didn't do enough research (you'll hear why in a second)...anyways, we were told Malaysia is a little more expensive than we were used to ...($5.00 a night specials on room rates) so where is cheap in any city?....but China town. So we hop on a bus and head to China town...guess what day it is??? Chinese New Year. lol so finding a place was next to impossible....and its not like there was this lovely sign saying "sorry we're full" Instead we had to go up crazy flights of stairs and meander our way through people dinning. This wouldn't be so bad if our backpacks didn't double our size :) They have the entrances to these hostels in the weirdest locations. So after the 5th or so place of us taking turns trekking to the unforseen we found a place. :) I won't describe it until after we've left...which we're hoping today. its pretty comical....I also have video...

Kuala Lumpur is a beautiful city but we're planning on heading to the beaches for a while to relax....crystal blue waters, white sand and great snorkeling/diving...did I mention it was a little island :) oh yes!

Until next time....2 countries down....however many to go...peace!

Posted by thai 2011 17:16 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Day 22: Vang Vieng Tubing Adventure!

overcast 28 °C

Hello Hello (there are over 250 of you reading this....) thank-you!

We've arrived safely in Vang Vieng, aka the party town. This place is back-packer central with cheap rent, cheap food and really cheap beer! Girls are walking around in the bikini's, guys in their shorts and no one wears shoes....eew we do though. That's just nasty. :) This small town caters to us entirely, all the restaurants have lounge chair seating with flat screen TVs playing re-runs of "Friends" and "The family Guy."

So the main reason we came to this town was for this legendary tubing experience everyone has been talking about. And that it is....Legendary!!! No matter how many stories we were told, nothing could have prepared us for that day. Hundreds and hundreds of young people gather together daily to take this 4hour journey down a quaint meandering river on a tube. Its like spring break....everyday! The banks of the river have these make-shift bars that look like they've come right out of Robinson Crusoe's island. Tall bamboo structures, waterslides, rope swings on pulley's and dance music with enough bass to make anyone want to boogey down with their bad self :)

The concept is simple...you float down the river, if you want to go to one of these bars, you wave, they throw you a rope with a pop bottle attached so it floats and then they pull you and store your tube till you're ready to float again. All drinks are served in lil sand buckets which is equivalent to 3 normal drinks so Diana and I shared. Did I mention you get to take the bucket with you on the river....looking back on the experience that was way too convenient for us.

There's one trick to the river though....you HAVE to get off the river before dark, or you're toast (I'll let you define what toast means to you). It sounds easy enough in theory, but when you're relaxing and having a good time, its hard to remember its getting darker.

Anyways, that's the end of the PG version :) Just know we've made it home safe, and we're alive and will never ever do that again! But I totally recommend you try it....just once...thats all you'll need.

Tomorrow we're kayaking to Vientianne :) its a 4hour journey...yes back on the river, no drinking this time though. Until next time....

Posted by thai 2011 21:44 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Day 20: Plain of Jars

semi-overcast 25 °C

Sa-by-dea!!!!! (Hello....)

The Plain of Jars....what can one say about the "Plain of Jars" that isn't already said in the title :) We chose the largest tour package that allowed us to go to all three sites. Our thought was, since we drove 8hrs out of our way we may as well see every single jar they have to offer. In short, it was a day long event and from the pictures you can see how unique this area is, however, a jar is a jar....is a jar :) We give it a funess factor of 4/10 and overall experience a 7/10.

Short and sweet today :)

Thank you again for all the comments, I finally figured out how to approve them so all of you can read them too!

Posted by thai 2011 21:08 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Day: 19 Journey to Phonsavanh

sunny 26 °C

Team Canada powers through once again!

The interesting thing about traveling is the route one chooses to travel to their next destination. Normally, one would choose the most efficient, cost effective and safe way to travel, or so they would think they were. So it isn't until they have completed their journey that they know they will NEVER try that route again :S

So...Diana and I opted for the VIP mini van. We'd taken one before and the trip was great! Very roomie, few people and a dvd player playing the movie the "Hangover." By bus the trip would take ten hours to our next location and by VIP mini van....only 6 and they pick you up at your hotel, so for a few extra dollars we splurged! Ha....we spent the first 2 hours driving around the little town to pick up all 11 passengers, going down the same streets multiple times just to find out we this was only the van to take us to the bus station that was minutes away....we could have walked there!

Finally we arrived.....at the bus station! Still in Luang Prabang, they tried to cram 15 passengers into a 12 passenger mini van. "No Dice" Diana says....so did everyone else thank goodness and they got another van ready. After another half hour of sorting bags out we were settled and off for a journey we'll never forget. I love the odd roller-coster ride....a few ups and downs to get the heart racing and then its over in a few minutes and you're back on solid ground once again. BUT this....was a 6 hour ride....driven at moch speed through the windiest roads we've ever been on. The longest straight stretch was 20m and the shocks were gone and the roads were sh*t (granted it is a third world country so we'll give then that....but slow down at least). Plus all that...we're sharing the road with semi's, scooters and random cows, chickens and pigs. I can't tell you how many times our bottoms left the seat (conviently the ceilings were high) and we were gasping for our lives. What a journey!

8 hours later (good ol' Laos time)....we've arrived....in Phonsavanh "Plain of Jars" yahoo...only to catch a tuk tuk (taxi) that doesn't know where our hotel is....lol so after an hour we got him to drop us off....at the bus station, found a place right across the street and settled for the night :)

Posted by thai 2011 02:05 Archived in Laos Comments (1)

Day: 18 Laos Cooking Lesson

30 °C

I must admit, I was pretty aprehensive about this idea, and was only in it because Diana was really excited about it.

So it turned out to be an awesome experience and a great way to learn about a culture. We started our day off going to the local market where we learned about their spices, local treats and popular cuisines. The market was huge, selling everything from clothing, to electronics, to hoofs of cow and pig, to fruits, vegetables and many spices. Your regular own one-stop-shop. Sometimes the smells were pleasant, the fresh herbs and fruits, and sometimes the smells were....not. I was happy to hear that the resturants purchase their food fresh daily at 5am when the market opens. The idea of that meat sitting there for hours and hours.....well enough said. :)

As a group of 8 we selected 5 recipies we would like to make from recipie book we recieved. We chose spring rolls, a coconut curry soup, stuffed bamboo, mango with sticky rice and another curry dish. So delicious. It was great to hear about the Laos traditions in food preparation....in the past going out for dinner or any other meal, nothing comes out at the same time. Sometimes, Diana or I will have finished our entire meal before the others is ready or will be waiting 45 min for our meal (so don't ever go too hungry). And, they don't understand the concept of courses, so if you order a salad, appy and then entree you may recieve your entree first or everything all together. So now we understand why, it is because they serve to order. We always say "we're on Laos time now" grab a few extra drinks and enjoy the atmosphere.

The meal preperation was great fun, after we completed our dishes we joined as a group to enjoy the traditional flavours of Laos. It turns out Jamie Oliver the famous british chef once took the same class. :)

Tonight we'll watch the sunset on the mountain where the temple Wat Xieng Thong lies...only a 15 min hike up a few stairs ;) Apparently the view is amazing.

Tomorrow we head for an 8hour journey to a village called Phonesavanh also known as the Plain of Jars. "One of the world's most archaeological wonders. The jars are said to be at least 2,000 years old, but to this day, nobody knows who made them or why" Did I mention they way 5 to 6 tons each!!!!

take care and kop chai la la (Thank you very much)

Posted by thai 2011 01:54 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Day: 16 & 17 Tour around Luang Prabang

sunny 28 °C

Sa-by-dea!....hello in Laos!

Laos is nothing like I ever would have expected, its so beautiful and clean. Because Laos was colonized by the french, the architechure has a french feel and there are tons of pasteries to be had..mmm.

Our first day here we did a tour of the city, the city centre is so small our tour was easily done by foot. We started at the Tribal market, there's just something about shopping that a girl can't say no to :) Next we saw a beautiful temple called Wat Mai, which has magnifcent wood carvings and golden murals. Temples are sorta like castles, once you've seen a few, they all sorta blur together but we got a ton of fun photos. To continue on the tourist trail we had to see the royal palace where the king, his son and 17 wives lived. Very impressive! We finished our afternoon with a traditional Laos coffee overlooking the river. Later that evening we met up with the group who had found this amazing lounge with a beach volley ball court, no chairs, only cushions and great music. The place was hidden away from the busy streets and a great place to unwind.

Our second day we decided to check out the Tad Khuang Si waterfall. Taking a tuk tuk to the destination would have been the easy route, but no we wanted to get some exercise and see the sites so we decided to hire a guide and cycle. Before we handed the guide our money we asked "is it far?"....no no..."are there any hills?"....no no, just one. Well ok then, lets bike we decided. Ha so 30km later and tons and tons of rolling hills with yes one huge hill we arrived. It took us two hours and I swear other tourists in the tuk tuks were cheering us on like we were in the Iron Man or something... So hilarious. So in the end we made it and the falls were amazing, no fishies this time surprisingly, so we took full advantage of the pools and rope swing. The bike home was less than hilarious....more like long, tedious and hot. Did I mention our gears weren't working either. I was seriously this close to hauling my bike in a tuk tuk and taking the easy road home. But, we didn't and survived...barely. Our one hour oil massage that night was probably the best massage I've ever had!

Tomorrow is our Laos cooking class....

Posted by thai 2011 01:20 Archived in Laos Comments (1)

(Entries 11 - 20 of 27) « Page 1 [2] 3 »