A Travellerspoint blog

Malaysia

KL, Cameron Highlands and Penang

sunny 30 °C
View The trip on RozandRob's travel map.

We arrived in Malaysia early on 30th Jan, and initial impressions were that it couldn't be more different from India and Sri Lanka. We took a high speed train into Kuala Lumpur where we were greeted by about six versions of Westfield, and men walking around in skinny jeans! There is even an air conditioned glass walkway that takes you from the main shopping centre to the Petronas towers, about a 20 minute walk. We went up the towers (really good) took a trip out to the batau caves (average), went to central market and had a "feet eating fish" spa treatment (highly amusing), but we are really in Malaysia to eat and so far we haven't been disapointed by the food; although randomly it is quite difficult to get Malaysian food, with much more of it being Chinese and Indian.

On the first evening we wandered up to China Town and had the most amazing Assam Laksa (Laura - your idea of hell as it is a spicy, sour, mackerel soup) and then headed to Jalan Alor on night two which is where some of the best street food can be found. We did a food tour on our last day in KL where we were shown around Brickfields (little India) and went back to China Town and basically ate for 4 hours straight! Charles (our local guide) introduced us to Chendol which is crushed ice, palm suger, coconut milk and wierd green noodles which is what they all eat when it is hot (every day?!) but it is really good.

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We loved KL, but the only problem was the price of booze as the first pint Rob ordered (in one of the shopping centres) cost £8! That was the one and only time he has let me order a cocktail as it was cheaper! We have managed to find it less expensive since then but it is a world away from the 50p a big bottle we were paying in Goa.

After KL we took a bus to the Cameron Highlands which looked on route to Penang for a one night stopover. They were actually about four hours out of the way as the roads to get there are so windy, and there really isn't much to do when you get there. We went on a "countryside tour" which was supposed to include a tea plantation, honey farm, strawberry farm etc, but we were just driven around to a few shops at the side of the road which happened to have a few strawberries growing out the back (and in the rain) - so not really worth the huge detour. Anyway the next day and another five hours on the bus we arrived in Penang and Batu Ferringhi, the Malaysian version of Tenerife! We were there as the SuperBowl was on early the next morning, and there was a Hard Rock Hotel. Unfortunately it turned out they weren't showing it, but our crazy homestay owner Annie let Rob watch it at her house next door. The beach at Batu Ferringhi was also pretty amazing, and we found a great local restaurant that served some of the best food yet, so our three nights there wasn't wasted.

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Batu Ferringhi beach

Batu Ferringhi beach

The last three days we have been in George Town on the other side of Penang Island, which is Malaysia's second city and much more old school/ traditional. We are staying above a cookery school and have been taken out around all the markets and told the best places to eat by the owner, and spent this morning in a class with her making laksa and beef rendang - so good :)

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Tomorrow we head to Langkawi for Chinese New year, and as a duty free island we have been told beer is only about £1 a bottle, so its going to be a boozy one!

I'm summary:

Weather: mainly hot but it rains most afternoons for an hour or so
Bites: Malaysian mozzies seem to like Rob more than me :)
Food: we have eaten all of it, and all of it is amazing
People: really friendly
Overall: beautiful and a very easy place to travel

Posted by RozandRob 21:34 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

The backwaters and Sri Lanka

sunny 30 °C
View The trip on RozandRob's travel map.

We are currently staying in our nicest hotel yet as a treat after a disappointing first few days in Sri Lanka. We arrived delayed as there was such heavy rain in Colombo it meant we couldn't initially land, and then once we did we were mobbed by taxi drivers telling us the bus wasn`t running and we had to go with them, even a policeman was trying to get us to use his mate! We couldn`t find the bus so an expensive trip later we were taken to the hostel from hell which Rob compared to a squat where he once stayed in New Zealand. After around 20 bites each from insects that definitely weren't mozzies, we left as early as we could and got the 7am train to Kandy, although we had to fight for seats as only 3rd class tickets were left. It rained for two more days in Kandy so after a trip to the Temple of the Tooth we decided to head for sun and hot showers and booked the Cantaloupe Aqua hotel (which is over double our nightly budget) down in Talpe beach on the south coast, next to Unawatuna.

We stopped at an elephant orphanage on route where we got to ride one (Rob loved it) but have been pretty much just lying on the beach since. We did take a morning out to visit a tea plantation and turtle hatchery, and have naturally put aside several hours each day to eat curry; they are amazing over here!

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Before we arrived in Sri Lanka we had spent another night in Kochi after two nights in the backwaters near Alleppey. We had been recommended a home stay just outside Alleppey by some girls in Kochi when we were there previously for the cricket, and it turned out to be one of the best places we stayed in India. Home cooked curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner helped (including a water buffalo curry) but the owners also took out us around their village and school and we met the locals, including a trip to the island toddy bar (the local booze made out of fermented palm sap which is vile!). The backwaters themselves are absolutely stunning, although slightly ruined by the hundreds of houseboats that cruise up and down the main waterways.

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We leave Sri Lanka tonight for country number 3 - bring on Malaysia!

In summary:

Food: amazing
Bites: currently none, 20+ each though after the night in Colombo
Tan: a tiny bit! Rob is pretty brown
People: they will try and squeeze every penny from you!
Weather: 3 days of rain but the sun is now shining
Overall: India was better

Posted by RozandRob 03:38 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

India

Mumbai, Goa and Kerala

sunny 32 °C
View The trip on RozandRob's travel map.

So, a week and a half in and we are just about getting used to India. It is exactly like you would imagine; dirty, crazy, beautiful and with pretty good curry!

Our two nights in Mumbai were pretty sleepless due to the five lane road outside and Indian drivers` love of the horn, something that we found out more about from our drive around the city on day one. They are all completely mental on the roads! Mumbai was actually a lot more beautiful than expected though, and it was good to be thrown in the deep end to get our heads into gear.

View from our Mumbai hotel:

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Four nights in Goa were next, and it is pretty much paradise. Whilst our hut was in a really cute little cove of its own, (in between Palolem and Patnam beaches) sleep was still impaired due to the local wild dog packs and their nightly fight for turf, and our resident mouse. All our Yorkshire tea bags were thoroughly nibbled at :(. We managed a bit more success on the exercise front though as I did yoga everyday, and Rob even managed a run.

Paradise in Palolem:

Palolem Beach

Palolem Beach

After a 15 hour train journey to Kochi in Kerla (where we finally managed to get some sleep) we were off to see England get destroyed by India in the cricket. The atmosphere was amazing though with the crowd going crazy for every run, with flags, horns and Bollywood stars a plenty.

We then took another train for a mere five hours to Varkala where we are now. We treated ourselves to a fancy surf and yoga retreat (randomly owned by a guy from Seaford where I grew up) and both attempted surfing this morning. Rob was unfortunately slightly more successful than I, although I did manage to pretty much stand up on one of my first attempts, but then failed miserably then after!

Where we are now, Varkala:

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We have two more days here before heading back towards Kochi (via the backwaters) where we fly to Sri Lanka.

In summary:

Weather: 30+ everyday
Tan: both still more white and red than anything else
Food: avoiding meat (No dheli belly yet) but the fish currys are amazing
People: mainly hippies
Books: 3 each
Bites: Roz 11, Rob 1

Posted by RozandRob 02:04 Archived in India Comments (0)

Just over a week to go!

rain

On Monday 7th January, Rob and I are heading off travelling around the world for six months. We will be in Asia for three months before heading to the US for a three month road trip.

We are trying to hit places that neither of us have been before and therefore the itinerary at the moment is:

  • India - Mumbai, Goa, Kerala
  • Sri Lanka - Kandy, Galle
  • Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Perinthian Islands, Singapore
  • Vietnam/Cambodia- Ho Chi Ming, Mekong Delta, Angkor Wat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Halong Bay, Hanoi
  • Japan - Tokyo, Kyoto
  • US - LA, Monument Valley, Albuquerque, Austin, New Orleans, Miami, Carolinas, Washington, New York, Toronto, Chicago, Yellowstone, Vancouver, Seattle San Francisco, Vegas

I will try and post weekly with updates of how we are getting on - see you in July!

Posted by RozandRob 16:00 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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