A Travellerspoint blog

Koh Phangan

storm 29 °C

A day long coach journey and I've come to Thailand, my 4th country of the trip. The first destination in my stay here, which will last until the end of the year, is the island of Phangan for the famous (notorious) Full Moon Party.

I stayed in a hostel in Haad Rin (the village next to the party beach) so paid a premium for what was undoubtedly the worst hostel I've stay in so far. The owners of the Haad Rin Muay Thai Boxing Arena had some spare rooms that open directly onto the arena and thought 'why not make them dorms?' While not very nice, it was easy just to rough it for 5 nights. The advantage of this hostel was free entry to the 2 boxing nights staged around the FMP. The boxing was very entertaining while sometimes extremely brutal. The highlight was a fight where the first round was dominated by a bigger, slightly older guy who at one point just stood and let his opponent have a free shot at him. The following round he hit the deck like a ton of bricks after 1 or 2 well placed hits from the other guy. Knock out.

Onto the party...I'd say overall is was a bit disappointing as I was expecting something special whereas it was just a really really big beach party. One person I met at the hostel asked 'where are the activities?' which I think summed it up quite well. There was one podium of fire dancers but no skipping ropes or people lighting Chinese Lanterns or anything. Just a big beach party. But the atmosphere was good and the bad parts weren't as bad as I thought it would be. I feared it would be full of drunken wankers whose definition of travelling is 'getting wasted while not at home.'

The rainy season was still in full force during my time on Phangan which was a shame because if you can't lie on the beach during the day there really isn't anything else to do in Haad Rin. I did have my first Thai massage (of many no doubt). After a day or travelling/partying nothing beats a good hour long massage for the sum of about £5.

By the end of my stay on Phangan I was more than ready to leave. I had heard the weather on the islands off the west coast of Thailand were getting good weather so I headed west with a couple I met on the island. Next stop Phuket.

Posted by oli.heeley 05:19 Archived in Thailand

Penang

sunny 28 °C

OK, so I've been a bit naughty and let the blog slip but I have my reasons. Mainly poor wifi and spending the majority of my waking time at night but more on that later.

Penang was without a doubt the highlight of my brief tour through Malaysia. This was for 3 main reasons; historical architecture, new experiences and a great hostel.

My first full day was a trip to the national park with two great guys I met at the hostel. A lost-esque hike through the jungle was followed by a bumpy and extremely wet motor boat ride. I drove a scooter for the first time, which was scary at first but became great fun. I enjoy driving and there's nothing like the feel of two wheels and the air rushing into your face (and sweaty body!). We got stuck inside a food court waiting for the rain to end but soon gave up, took this photo and made the dangerous drive through a wet Penang town centre.

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The next day I walked around town and saw many old and stunning buildings inside and out such as this.

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In the afternoon I went up Penang hill for a stunning view around the peninsula

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Enjoyed some great street food thanks to the incredible owner of Roommates Penang Hostel who took us out for dinner as well as treating us to a game of drinking Jenga...(no photos sorry!)

Posted by oli.heeley 08:20 Archived in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur

sunny 27 °C

Kuala Lumpur is possibly one of the most boring cities I've ever visited. Saw the Batu Caves which were lovely but there wasn't much else. Got my VISA for Thailand which was good. Had some nice meals but drinks were the cost of one night's accommodation/3 main meals. Still managed a fun/interesting night out though.

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Picture stolen from google as my photos are on my phone.

Next stop is Penang, another UNESCO world heritage site

Posted by oli.heeley 08:13 Archived in Malaysia

Melaka

storm 31 °C

Bearing in mind it's a UNESCO world heritage city I had certain expectations about Melaka. Obviously such fame brings huge crowds and a few aspects left a bit to be desired. With lot of tour buses and taxi trikes blaring out Gangnam Style I feared the natural beauty may have been lost amongst the hype.

On my first night I took a walk through the China Town night market which had a great entrance and atmosphere

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And from the sublime to the ridiculous it had Wayne Rooney and sub-karaoke standard singing

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Explored the proper heritage sites the next day and really enjoyed myself. Reading the many signs and visiting a museum you can get a feel for the history of the place without to much work. It's easy to get around with it being so small that my feet probably considered today a rest.

Also remember a funny incident from Singapore. I was in a mall, walking past what can only be described as an internet learning centre and there was an 'internet heritage' desk where a man was playing to some young kids the sound of a dial-up modem! Never have I felt so old...

Next stop Kuala Lumpur.

Posted by oli.heeley 04:45 Archived in Malaysia

Sun and storms

storm 32 °C
View SE Asia on oli.heeley's travel map.

Overall had a great time in Singapore. Spent the first full day walking around the whole city. My hostel was just north of Little India so there wasn't a great deal nearby but I was only 2 mins walk from an MRT station (underground). Walked into Little India in the late morning, saw the Divali celebrations and poked my head into a temple.

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Then walked through a city centre park followed by a quayside area. You very quickly know when you're in the business districts of Singapore with the large number of people in suits grabbing a quick bite to eat - that and the skyscrapers...

Walked in the China Town and grabbed some Satay

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Then over to the bay

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And finally onto Arab Street

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Phew! Don't know how my feet survived all that. They toughen up and get used to flip flops quite quickly although I have picked up some blisters...lovely!

Also made the trip to the night safari and zoo during my Singapore stay. It's really good and if you only go to one zoo ever it should probably be this. I liked the atmosphere of the night safari and there's a very good family-oriented show. You can see a few interesting animals on the tram ride but they won't be up to much The zoo was really good as they cut down on cages as much as possible with only moats/ditches separating you from the animals. There were creatures from all over the world but typically I was most excited about the big cats.

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I went on the Singapore Pub Crawl as well. Met some great people and spent a lot of money but it was well worth it. Other highlights were the Asian Civilisations Museum and Gardens by the Bay.

Foods been ok so far. Nothing's blown me away but then wherever you buy food it's of a decent quality. Ate something from a picture menu thinking it was going to be chicken. Turned out to be parcels of some oozy warm goo. Yum. I think it was Cream of Sum Yung Gai

Posted by oli.heeley 00:57 Archived in Singapore

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