A Travellerspoint blog

Thailand

The Southern bit

To get to Ko Lipe, a small island off the Andaman Coast, you have to take a ferry from Tammalang and transfer to a longtail for the final 100 yards to the beach. The surrounding waters are too shallow for the big boats. Jumping off a boat and paddling ashore with our rucksack instantly qualifies as our best 'arrival' so far. Our journey to Ko Lipe had been somewhat circuitous, first taking a coach to the northern tip of Malaysia, then a ferry to Lankawi, a small malaysian island for the night, then an early boat in to Thailand and another to the islands. As we entered Thailand, whose sandy beaches Katie had been relishing for quite some time, it began to rain, and Katie began to swear. A lot. Thankfully the sun was shining by the time we were installed in our Ko Lipe beach hut and kicking back with a pineapple juice. A couple of days of dedicated sun-bathing (Katie) and snorkelling and hiding from the sun (Tom) ensued. Quite the Jaques Custeau, Tom has invested in his own underwater equipment to enhance exploration.

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From Ko Lipe we ferried to Ko Taruntao, getting absolutely soaked and slammed about in the process in some rather choppy seas. But the end was well worth the means. Ko Tarutao was beautiful. Beautiful and very quiet. It is a National Park and as such has been protected from mass development. It attracted some controversy with the decision to allow the 'Survivor' TV series to be filmed there. In survivor style we dumped our bags at our beach hut and headed straight into the jungle in search of a hillside waterfall. An excellent scramble up river, and several times across and through river, led to a georgous isolated pool where we stopped for a dip.

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On the way down we explored the local beaches and enjoyed the local wildlife (though sadly no sign of the elusive Hog Badger native to these regions). If you are ever in this neck of the woods, we'd recommend getting yourself here - compared to some of the resorts on neighbouring islands this is Robinson Crusoe desert island wilderness stuff of dreams. Next stop Ko Lanta.

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Posted by tomkat2010 06:16 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Cameron Highlands

'Boh'

rain

'The Cameron Highlands is an old British Colonial station, nestled in the jungle covered hills, a couple of hundred kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur. We stopped in for a couple of days to explore the area and visit its famous tea plantations. Unfortunately, katie returned from the shower on the morning of our first day to inform me that it was belting down with rain (our first of the trip). Thankfully our accommodation, Father's Guest House, was a lovely little place perched on a hill above the village and provided excellent sanctuary for reading, cards and a DVD or two.

Day two and the sun was out. We opted for a half-day morning tour that took in the sights culminating in a stop at the 'Boh' tea plantations. Ali G would approve of the name.

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The plantations, which are still owned by a Scottish family, make for a spectacular vista, appearing out of the jungle and carpeting the hillsides. They have a whole commuity on site complete with shop, health centre, temple, church and school. The visitor centre offers up scones and jam with a, needless to say, excellent brew that we took full advantage of.

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Fortified by several cuppas and with the rain still holding off, we spent the afternoon scrambling through the jungle on one of the many local trails, climbing up to a couple of local peaks to take in the view. Great fun - try and spot Katie in the picture below.

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Tomorrow we head for the border.

Posted by tomkat2010 06:14 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Kuala Lumpur

sunny

Kuala Lumpur is the city of "Sky Scrapers and Trees" and it does indeed have a lot of both. It is also the place of rubbish budget accommodation and we found ourselves in a room which resembled a partitioned office with paper thin walls and one window - facing the corridor.

However, it was New Years Eve and we were excited to see how KL welcomed the bells so headed to Meradaka Square where there was a party going on. They had a stage and lots of Malay pop stars busting their moves and warbling - amazing. The most popular act by far was a rather elderly gentleman who did a cover of "sorry seems to be the hardest word"- they went mad for him! Which was weird as we felt the song put a bit of a downer on the atmosphere and probably wasn't best timed as he was on at 11:30. But fear not! Two Sikh guys came on doing a bit of a rap and some Bangra dancing which perked us up. There was also a man who covered Lionel Richie - fabulous.

As clock struck midnight the fireworks began. They were brilliant if not a little erratic and not quite up to the display Tom had seen in Glasgow synchronised to the music of Joseph. Still, very enjoyable. And that was New Year - Happy New Year to everyone!!

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The next day we wondered around KL spending a lot of time admiring the Petrons Towers, and shopping! We went to the Mulberry store to get an idea for comparison to the one we'd seen in the market for around 10 GBP - pretty good I'd say, but I'm holding out for Bangkok! Will get a happy-family matching one- Elspeth- do you want a fake one for when it rains? For you I give you good price!

People in Malaysia seem to love Rick Astley, not that I'm complaining.

Posted by tomkat2010 23:25 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala lumpur Comments (0)

Singapore

sunny

Ahhh Singapore, the cleanest place in the world (probably).

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We arrived in a daze having flown through the night arriving 5:30 am local time (3:00 am Indian time), and alas we couldn't check into our hostel until 2pm. So, sleep deprived we did what any adventurers would do: we had noodles with a fried egg on top for breakfast from a Singaporean greasy spoon stall (When in Rome..) and went exploring. It was a bit surreal having come from the chaos of India - Singapore is extremely organised, quiet and there is a lot of space. And no cows.

First stop Museum of Asian Civilisation - loving the information plaques and displays. Later we visited the night safari where I met an old friend: the Hog Badger. The Hog Badger sends its love Pikey and wonders if you are still thinking of it. The information tape still says:

"the hog badger gets it's name from the foraging behaviour it displays. But don't meddle with the badger...". It made us laugh a lot. Again. We also visited some old favourites, the mousedeer, greater mouse deer and lesser mouse deer. It wasn't clear whether you could meddle with them.

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Then it happened. A low-hanging fruit bat tried to eat Tom. "Fruitarean" ha! I saw the look in its eyes as it went for him - opening its expansive wings and getting right into his face. I think it would be fair to say that I almost screamed and that this might be an over-reaction. It did in fact flap at Tom giving us a massive fright. It was perilously close - good job we went for the rabies jab!

The next day we visited...wait for it....the day zoo (we saw a lot of animals in Singapore). Saw some beautiful white tigers, and developed a new love for Orang Utan. The Orang Utan have a huge free-ranging enclosure so they kind of just swing above your head. We also saw an Elephant show which was good, if not a little cheesy.

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Our means of transport in Singapore was the MRT- their equivalent of the underground. The MRT system and Indian buses could not be more different! Strangely, we missed the buses and headed for the hustle and bustle of China Town. Singapore is a really interesting place, they have adverts on the MRT about how to behave so that everyone gets on with each other. Feeling a little emotionally suppressed we prepared ourselves for our next stop: Kuala Lumpur for new years eve.

Posted by tomkat2010 23:17 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Merry Christmas Everybody

overcast 32 °C

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Well this is strange. Christmas Day 2010, the sun has gone down, and we are smeared in extra strength Jungle Juice, mopping the sweat from our sun-glazed brows as we sit here typing in the early evening. We fell asleep last night listening to Christmas Hits 2 on the iPod, attempting to conjure wintry images as we lay on top of our sheets appreciative of the fan whirring above us. Truly, truly bizarre.

Christmas morning involved a Varkala breakfast of Butter-Jam-Toast with two fried eggs (both sides) and pineapple juice. Katie then sun-creams up for some dedicated bathing and I ease into a shady hammock with a Tale of Two Cities. Our Christmas residence is a secluded hotel on a sunset facing cliff-top. Terrace outside the room with hammock and hanging chair and secret steps down to a deserted beach. In North Berwick, Katie's home town, people dive into the sea on Christmas morning - in a nod to this excellent tradition, we braved the waters of the Arabian. Not quite the North Sea, but we were with you North Berwick. Thank you to Elspeth for our excellent Christmas Tree sunglasses, worn with pride. Christmas Dinner next - substitute Roast Turkey and Brussels for Grilled King Prawns washed down with a Lassi.

All sounds perfect, and it has been, but the is a small part of us (just Tom?) craving for my second helping of Turkey and roast potatoes, cheese board, cake, chocolates, port, The Queen, more cheeseboard, thirds, scrabble, charades, log fire, carols and a snooze on the sofa. Hope all of you are enjoying a healthy combination of the above. A very Merry Christmas to all of you back in the UK (or wherever else you are!). Tom & Katie x

Posted by tomkat2010 06:29 Archived in India Tagged varkala Comments (0)

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