Monthly Archives: April 2015

Kata Beach

Week 43 – Sunsets, Beaches and Sails – Thailand and Vietnam

‘What’s stopping you?’ (That’s right – nothing!)’

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Nai Yang

Nai Yang Beach, Thailand

This week has afforded me to see some lovely beaches, gorgeous sunsets and join in on a really nice cruise through Halong Bay.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay, Vietnam

We’ve covered a fair distance as we had quite a few early mornings with short-haul flights to get us from Thailand to Vietnam.

So, we started at a lovely beach – Nai Yang, Thailand which was 5 minutes from the airport, but you would never know it!  Highly recommend staying here, if you ever needed to do an early morning flight from Phuket Island, Thailand.

Then one night at a comfy hotel in Bangkok which had a gym and nice pool, but attached to the airport.  Once again, great for that early morning flight, as it was quiet, good food and made for easy travel over a sky walk to enter the airport 5 minutes later.

Hanoi

Hanoi, Vietnam – pineapple seller

Then it was another quick, early morning flight to Hanoi, Vietnam.  Now this is a city which is a real feast for the senses.  It’s hard for me to describe, but my first impressions have been full of excitement and anticipation.  We, only stayed one night.  Then it was a cruise for 3 days in Halong Bay.  This is a beautiful area where we saw a small portion of over 1000 limestone islands. (extra photos of the cruise at end of blog)

Limestone

Limestone Islands, Halong Bay, Vietnam

Our first day was in the very tourist area of Surprise Cave

Surpise Cave

Surprise Cave, Halong Bay, Vietnam

and a hike up one of the islands to a look out.

lookout

View from Lookout Halong Bay, Vietnam

The second day was the jewel and hardly any tourists.  We saw a fishing (floating) village, Fairy Lake Cave,

Fairy Lake

Fairy Lake, Halong Bay, Vietnam

did kayaking,

Halong Bay

Kayaking, Halong Bay, Vietnam

swam in the ocean and then saw a pearl farm.

Pearl Farm

Nursery of Pearl Farm, Halong Bay, Vietnam

The food was all banquet style

Fish in a net

Fish in a net, Viola Cruise, Halong Bay, Vietnam

with evening squid fishing, karaoke and socializing with other travelers.

Needless to say, back in Hanoi and having a few days rest while we wait for our India visa.

Love Debx

Photos of Halong Bay Cruise:

Week 42 – The land of Siam – Phuket Island, Thailand

‘7 Steps to Happiness – 1.Think less, feel more 2.Frown Less, smile more 3.Talk less, listen more 4.Judge less, accept more 5.Watch less, do more 6.Complain less, appreciate more 7.Fear less, love more’

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

float

John floating in pool

Well, all I can say for this week is a big – Ahhhhh! of comfort and relaxation.  We decided to have an extended stay on Phuket Island in the Kata Beach area.

Kata Beach

Kata Beach

One thing I would suggest for anyone traveling to this island – do your homework, as this is such a popular area with the worst of what tourism offers to the best.

We got lucky and found a gorgeous little boutique hotel – the Melody – really suited me to a tea with musical keys on the stairs and sheet music above the bed.

Stairs

Piano stairs at the Melody Hotel

Just now, they rang through and are giving us a free upgrade to a direct access pool room – awesome!  We’ve been very lucky with this sort of thing happening on our travels.

The beach is beautiful,

Kata Beach

Kata Beach

but the town around it is quite touristy and, at times, unpleasant, but we didn’t do our homework on this part and we are slowly finding some real treasures.  Last night, we found an awesome Italian Restaurant that is under new management, as well as, trying street hawker stalls which can have better food than the restaurants.

Street Hawker

Fish street hawker stall – people walk by, drive in or they have a few tables to sit and eat the food

What we’ve found is our hotel has given us a lot of what we hoped for – excellent lunches, fresh breakfast, great service and a lovely pool to swim in and relax around.

Pool

Pool and lounges

Within minutes, there are some good restaurants, cheap laundry services and yoga classes.

Yoga

View from yoga class

The beautiful beach is about 15 minutes walk, but past a gauntlet of ugly restaurants, massage parlours and shops.

Still love Thailand, but it has changed in many ways.  Despite its recent political problems, I’ve felt very safe, so that is still the same.

Hotel cat

Every hotel needs one hotel cat, like ours has!

Love

Debx

Gardens by the Bay

9th month – March Video Blog on You Tube

Below is the link to my video blog on you-tube from March:

Rafflesia

Week 41 – Giant Flower, Tea Plantation, Jungle Walk, Street Murals & Much More – Cameron Highlands & Penang, Malaysia

‘And now, this is the sweetest and most glorious day that ever my eyes did see.’ – Donald Cargill

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Jungle Hike

Jungle Hike

I’ve trekked through jungle, had a tea at a tea plantation,

BOH Tea Plantation

BOH Tea Plantation

seen a centipede in the wild,

Centipede

Centipede

tasted foods I’ve never tried before

Dim Sum

Dim Sum – a banquet of surprises

and, now, fly off to Thailand.

It’s been a brilliant last week in Malaysia.

Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands

We went from the Cameron Highlands to Penang – an island in the north known for its excellent food.

John

John trying some of the street hawkers food in Penang

Also, its known for its wall murals which can be quite the challenge to find, but worth the effort. (more photos of the murals at the end!)

Mural

Street Mural

Continuing with the multi-cultural lifestyle of Malaysia, we visited 2 Chinese Clan Houses,

Oldest Clan House

Oldest Clan House in Penang

the Fort Cornwallis,

Fort Cornwallis

Fort Cornwallis – Penang, Malaysia

went to the Penang World Music Festival

Penang World Music Festival

Penang World Music Festival

and visited a variety of temples.

Clan House

Chinese Clan House where they filmed ‘Anna and the King’

Trickshaw

Trickshaw – one form of public transport

One thing I’ve loved about traveling through Malaysia is how easy its been.  Most people speak enough English to easily make travel arrangements, order food and deal with any problems which arise.

I’ve found the people pleasant and friendly.  They’ve given us tips on places to visit and helped when we’ve needed it.  I look forward to when I may have the opportunity to come back and see even more of this beautiful country.

Penang Beach

Penang Beach

It’s funny I’ve always thought of where I come from – Canada, as a young country and my years in Europe have only enhanced that thought process, but, really, Malaysia is much younger, as it wasn’t until the middle of the last century that Malaysia gained its independence from British rule.

Penang Hill

Penang Hill – Cable Car

Clan House

Clan House – where they filmed ‘Anna and the King’

The film ‘Anna and the King’ was filmed in one of the Chinese Clan Houses we visited in Penang. (more photos of the Chinese Clan House are at the end of this blog!) This story is the backdrop for where I am flying to next – another country which has seen many changes over the years – Thailand.  I love Thailand and am off for a weeks holiday in Phuket – the south with beautiful beaches, Thai food, massage and many more beautiful people.

Love Debx

Murals of Penang, Malaysia:

Clan House photos:

Yoga

Week 40 – Tea, Street Food and Buddist Cave – Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh

‘Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky.’ – Rabindranath Tagore

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Seeing as almost every afternoon here in Malaysia has brought thunder showers, today’s quote is very apt for my current lifestyle.

Street Food

Street Food tour Kuala Lumpur

This week started with a stellar food tour in Kuala Lumpur.  We started the tour with the ladies getting jasmine flower bracelets, then to Little India

Jasmine Bracelet

Jasmine Bracelet

and eating with our right hands only,

Tour Group

People from all over the world joined us on this tour.

after that, some delightful treats at some street vendors

Snacks

Some tasty snacks at street stall

with a finish in Chinatown.  All n’ all – yummy!

Chinatown

Chinatown

Twin Towers

Twin Towers of KL

Then we made one final tour of the twin towers of KL to then head off to Ipoh – a place we heard that the food is worth trying and a good way to break up our trip to the Cameron Highlands.

So, our first morning, we tried dim sum.

Dim Sum

Dim Sum

It was delicious and so cheap, especially, compared with what the prices are in the West for this food.

There is more in Ipoh than we thought, as we hired a taxi to take us to Kek Lok Tong Cave and Zen Gardens, a bit like the Batu Caves, but cleaner, less crowded and completely different religion.  I loved this place as it’s so refreshing, cool and quiet.  It was a very beautiful place to find.  The Zen gardens are a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the beauty and sculptures. (some more photos of this spot are at the bottom)

Zen Gardens

Zen Gardens

To help set our mood for the tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands, we went to the STG Tea House Cafe with excellent tea and cakes, plus brilliant WiFi in a nice setting in Ipoh.

STG Tea House Cafe

STG Tea House Cafe

Then, it was a taxi ride to the Cameron Highlands where I am now, on my birthday and the hotel even fashioned me with a lovely cake.  Where has been the most unusal place you’ve spent your birthday or what is the most unusal thing you have done on your birthday?

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Oh, forgot to say, I tried my first steamboat meal – glad I did, it was an experience!

Steamboat

Steamboat Food in Cameron Highlands

Love

Debx

Kek Lok Tong Cave and Zen Garden photos:

Tiritiri

8th month – February Video Blog on You Tube

Below is the link to my video blog on you-tube from February: