Friday, 29 July 2011

The Perhentians

So, we arrived on the Perhentian Islands after an overnight bus journey with a screaming baby and a bumpy boat ride- and to top it all off, 1 dodgy stomach from a curry eaten by Abby the night before. Remind me never to eat curry the night before a long journey again!

When we finally arrived at 8am we had nowhere booked to stay on Kecil. We found a room free at D’Lagoon and decided to pitch up there for a few nights, A private beach, a sea view chalet and a lagoon in the bay made us comfortable for a few days! J We did a lot of snorkelling- no point in spending money on diving when you can see even more with just a mask and a pair of fins! We saw a large group of Napoleon fish which swam with us for a while. We also saw parrot fish, clown fish and cornet fish. As it’s egg laying season for turtles at the moment we were hoping to see some action in this area, especially at night, but unfortunately we didn’t. L

We moved to Long Beach after a few nights for a bit more night life and a change of scenery. Long Beach is geared more towards swimming compared to D’Lagoon. We spent a few days lying on the beach and swimming- clear, turquoise waters, white sand and a few beers in the evening- not many though as at 8-10 ringgit a pop it starts to get expensive! L

Later we moved to Besar which is the bigger of the two islands. This island is a lot quieter and aimed towards couples and families. Here we stayed at Abdul’s Beach Chalets which was our favourite spot on the islands- quiet; a beautiful clean beach; clear water with a pristine swimming area and a pontoon to jump off of! J The food was good too!

Next, and finally was a move to Bubbles Dive Resort, Here we did a refresher dive and a second dive in order to prepare ourselves for our trip to Sipidan. The diving was good to get back into after a year, but unfortunately the visibility and the coral wasn’t the best we have seen.

Next, onto the Cameron Highlands for some well needed exercise, trekking and a little bit of cold! Wearing hats and scarves will be a nice change! J

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


This was our week to chill out and stay in one place for more than a day or two. We were again kindly put up by Choo in his apartment. There, we rested, lounged by the pool, ate some good food and even went to the gym.

Melaka is a nice town; there’s not too much to see other than the hundreds of museums but they have some awesome food. Malaysia has lots of different food influences; Chinese, Indian and of course Malay. In Melaka, we found an amazing Pakistani restaurant, Pak Putra, and we ate there three times! We couldn’t find a bad dish and the naans were the best we’d ever eaten.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Kuala Lumpur

We arrived in KL early evening and doing as proper travellers do on a budget, taxis were definitely on our list of no no’s! We managed to take a bus, train and then walk to our hostel. The hostel was basic, but pretty cheap- basic actually just meant a bed and a bin, and that was it (and we’re not kidding!) A little different from the standard we were used to in Nam for the same price!

We spent 4 days in total in KL and managed to see all the must see sights, such as the Petronas Towers, Central Market, China Town and Little India. The highlight of the trip though was definitely the demonstration which took place due to the people of Malaysia wanting corrupt free elections. This was all very exciting for us because we had never seen, not alone taken part in a demonstration before! Thousands of people were walking up and down the street outside our hostel shouting and cheering (although we didn’t understand what they were saying!) It seemed quite peaceful though- no violence. We saw all this from our hostel balcony before deciding to venture out into the crowd ourselves!

We walked around China Town and watched the demonstration taking, photos and filming. After a while we spotted some police getting ready to close in on the demonstrators- aiming to keep them in a certain area of the city to be able to control their actions. As they got closer tear gas was set off and we saw some demonstrators running in the distance (probably away from the gas!) Unfortunately due to the wind the tear gas got us too- so much that we had to shelter behind a building, trying to get rid of the tears in our eyes and the burning sensation in our noses- what an experience!  Not something which happens everyday....anyway, we were OK and things seemed to disperse once the rain set in and threatened to last for a while.

Other than that just the normal touristy things were done. The food is great here- they have numerous food halls where you can see all the food and go around and pick what you want- fab curries/ Chinese/ Malay.

KL is a really easy city to get around and a breath of fresh air from the chaos and impracticality of public transport (I.e: it’s non-existent) in HCMC!

Next, Melaka- 160km to the south of KL. Even the bus to Melaka leaves from an extravagant terminal which looks like an airport- very swish! J

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Bike Ride Day 27 - Dalat to HCMC!!

Distance: 300km
Time: 10 hours

The first leg turned into a bit of a challenge. We were doing great until about 100km away from HCMC when we got a puncture (typical that this only happened on the first and last day of our ride!). Luckily, it was a slow one so we had enough time to find a mechanic’s. Then, as they tried to take the tyre off the bike fell over with the weight of the bags on the racks (we should have taken them off!). The only damage was a broken clutch lever which they tried to glue back together (only in Viet Nam!) It was awkward, but the clutch could be used....just about!

With the puncture fixed we met our final hurdle- solid traffic jams with a fiddly clutch. After many, many stalls we finally made it into familiar territory and drove to our friend’s house.

The final traffic hurdle coming into HCMC! 

After 3300km’s, we popped open the champagne and celebrated a little! J It was a great ride and even though the bike had a few issues it kept going strong. Definitely an experience we will both never forget. An adventure of a lifetime with a few quirky tales to tell too! the Malaysia for some more travels- but this time, sadly, without the bike!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Bike Ride Day 26 - Nha Trang to Dalat

Distance: 150km
Time: 4 hours

A very, very wet ride today, but at least it was the first drive we had been in a down pour! Hopefully it will be the last... The higher we got into the mountains the more it seemed to rain! L

Eventually it stopped, so we decided to change our clothes, eat, drink and before leaving, on the insistence of the owner, have a shot of rice wine to warm us up! J

We arrived in the strawberry and wine city of Dalat cold, wet and in need of a hot shower. We luckily found a place with a Jacuzzi in the room- exactly what we needed after the days ride.