Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Batu Caves: Blessings and Monkeys.

We had just over half a day in Kuala Lumpar and decided to spend it visiting the Batu Caves. The caves have been turned into a hindu shrine by locals and were truely worth a visit. There are numerous buses that run to the caves, ours took around 45minutes from china town. A friend told us a taxi takes just 10 minutes but the bus detours the local area which we didn't mind. There is also a subway stop at the caves so they are really easy to reach from anywhere in KL.

I hadn't expected the caves to be so 'animated', I don't know if that's the right word but check them out:

Inside one of the caves.

While there we met a man and his first child who had just been to receive her first blessing in life at the temple in the cave.

We also met numerous monkeys. They were entertaining to watch, breaking into the bins for food, stealing finished coconuts from the coconut stand that were almost as big as them, fighting over scraps and just monkey-ing about. Monkeys are pretty damn good indeed!

We had planned on seeing the Petronas towers at night but instead missed our stop and got stuck in the middle of nowhere for an hour while we waited for a train back and then decided to admit defeat and head back to the hostel. A pretty unsuccessful day in KL for us! But here are some pics I quite liked of the day:

Melaka: When cultures collide...

From Penang we took an 8 hour overnight busride to Melaka. The journey could actually have been shortened to about half the time but in Malaysia the buses pull up and sit for around 30 minutes while people say 100 goodbyes, run to the toilet 5 times (that was me- I didn't need to pee this many times but I just failed to take the right amount of money every time!) and have a little feast.

We arrived in Melaka around 7am and had actually seen most of the sights in the town center by 10am. Melaka is again a complete blend of cultures from Dutch Square to yet another China Town.

Dutch Square, Melaka.

The downtown area is small enough to do in just one day with plenty of historical sights to see. We took a ride in a rickshaw, it was around 40RM ( 9 pound) for one hour, we probably could have haggled for a cheaper price but we were just too tired!

We spent 2 days in Melaka, the first just wandering the streets and taking in the sights and the second we hired a bicycle and rode along the riverside and around some more local areas. There is also a beach nearby but we didn't venture out to it. At night we were lucky enough to experience the night market and work our way through all the delicious eats, satay chicken, spring rolls, pancakes, dim sum, fried chicken, coconut shakes....I could possibly go on but I sound like such a pig already.

My favourite part of Melaka was the riverside graffiti, such a brilliant contrast to an otherwise serene and peaceful area.

Where did we stay? Private room at Jalan Jalan Emas Hostel in China Town. For just 5 pound per person per night it was an absolute steal, the staff were great and location just perfect. There is also a very special 6am daily wake up call when staying here- The call to prayer for local Muslims, followed by a 7am (ish) Hindu call (clattering) to prayer. I actually enjoyed being woken up to something other than an alarm and it was quite an experience to listen to the enchanting mellow prayer call at 6am followed by an manic chanting and clattering at 7am. I would definitely be in the the clattering tin drum team I think-bedlam at 7am!

Monday, March 12, 2012

First Stop: Penang Malaysia.

We flew with AirAsia from Seoul to Kuala Lumpur then boarded a plane to Penang just hours after arriving. We had just 6 days in mainland Malaysia and from our research it seemed we would enjoy spending the majority of our time in the historical and culturally diverse cities of Penang and Melaka.

We sure were right!

Penang was the most wonderful place to ease ourselves into the next few months of travelling. Firstly, its incredibly beautiful, secondly everyone speaks perfect English, the foods AMAZING and there's a little taster of a few countries- India, China, Malaysia and a few European countries, all bustling along together within one small area that is Georgetown.

I wanted to photograph EVERYTHING and I pretty much did, but here's just a few to give you an overall view of Penang:

While in Georgetown we spent the day checking out the multitude of temples, mosques, markets and historical sights. Georgetown has so much to see and its great that the area is small enough to be viewed on foot in just a day. There is also a free shuttle bus around the area to all the major attractions.

We ate delicious Indian food, Indonesian Food, Malaysian Food and Chinese Food. Food, food, food!
The following day we took a bus to the national park, we had read of canopy walk ways through the Jungle but upon arrival it was closed so we had to make do with a regular trail alongside some lovely beach areas.

 Unfortunately a storm prevented us from finishing the trail at the lighthouse (although we did push on for some time in declaring  "We are adventurers" but unfortunately my camera just isn't fit for an adventurer). So we took a boat back to the park headquarters after sharing some BBQ'd fish and chicken thanks to a lovely French family we met on the beach.

We spent our final day in Penang visiting South East Asia's biggest temple 'Kek Lok Si'. It was so beautiful and yet again I didn't know where to start with the photographing.

You can take a local bus to the temple and then walk just a kilometer or two to Penang hill to ride the cable car, however it was broke on the day we went.

While in George Town we stayed at 'Old Penang Guesthouse', the prices were a little more than your average hostel but definitely worth it. We had a lovely private room, shared bathroom which was always clean (except for the time the crazy French surfer was so drunk by 6pm he was vomiting everywhere-nice!) and lovely dining area. The guesthouse is located on Love Lane alongside 'Red Inn' hostel.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Let the trail re-commence!

Having put my teeny UK size 3 up my significantly larger backside (this is a very difficult task), I have returned to the world of blogging or as I see it 'writing my Mother and a few friends a very public note'.

So its been about 9 months since I posted anything-them half Marathons really take it out of you!

What's changed??

I have left the land of 'morning calm', kimchi and halmonees and set sail (boarded an AirAsia flight) for other lands of other things: Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, China, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Tibet, Nepal .......others to be confirmed.

Now, leaving Korea and the safety of life as an English Teacher...was it hard?

No, I was very much ready.

I will obviously miss a magnitude of things about Korea mostly friends, students, money, clothes shopping, Dalk Galbi, festivals and the ease of travel (to name a few). BUT, I have longed to travel the asian seas (skies?) for what seems like forever!

Now the real advetures can begin....toot toot!