Thursday, August 30, 2012

angthong national marine park, thailand


what a day in angthong national marine park in gulf of thailand, close to the koh samui island on our next to the last day in thailand ... a day full of kayaking, swimming, trekking, eating, drinking, ship riding (folks, this is for us middle europeans a great issue because we don't have any sea at home, you know?), sleeping in the ship on the way back, only the snorkeling was bad due to (seasonal) unclear water  ... but who cares? we have had the best snorkeling in our lives few weeks ago on the tioman island, malaysia ...


as always: enjoy few more PICTURES :-)

Monday, August 27, 2012

koh samui, thailand


next stop after bangkok? koh samui, thailand .... well, we have landed at the island's nicest beach (due to some internet research) in chaweng and you know what? the water is not clear because of the current (monsoon) season and most of the day only knee deep, at its maximal peak is the water level only a little bit above my hip, if you want to swim, than you have to go miles before you will find deeper water, the airplanes are landing/starting right above our heads, there is a party most of the night in all these bars, cabarets, pubs, the local taxi driver mafia charges for a short few minutes drive more than we pay for 1 hour of thai massage on the beach (=> yes, i hate rigged markets and yes, the open market competition as in the massage area provides fair + reasonable prices for the consumers), everywhere folks trying to sell us some (mostly completely unneeded) stuff => WTF? yes, we will move to a different place on koh samui tomorrow :-)


chakka, the northern part of koh samui, the bo phut beach is much much much better than the eastern ramba-zamba-but-no-deep-water chaweng beach, thanks goodness ... and yes, our hotel 'lawana resort' even if not much more expensive than the previous one but much nicer + the people especially in the reception are also much much more friendly than in our chaweng stay 'the island resort & spa' :-)

enjoy my insights comments below the PICTURES

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

bangkok, thailand

our flight from georgetown to bangkok with backpackers' air asia was quite fine, let's see what has changed in the city from our first visit it 15 to 20 years ago :-)

part of thai king's grand palace in bangkok (it is just a little bit more than 200 years old because the destructed former thai capitols sukhothai + ayutthaya are in the central/northern region of the country) ~ damn, for me still the nicest man made part of the earth i've ever seen ...

... coming soon or never: pictures + insights (what about my comments below the pictures?).

our next stops?  the koh samui island + anthong marine national park

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

george town (unesco heritage), penang island, malaysia


well, after we had spent 100 €uros per night in butterworth, we have got a 10 to 12 euros stay on the penang island in the stardust hotel in the historic city centre in chinatown, unesco's world cultural heritage site in malaysia ~ quite a differnce, wouldn't you say? and yes, we have felt the spirit of former times in our cheap, but so clean + nice + authentic + friendly + just GREAT backpackers' hostel :-)

folks, there is so much more to do on penang island: visiting the penang hill in the middle of the island (by a rack railway to the top), so many old temples  mosques / churches, the taman negara penang national park (NP) in the north-western part of the island especially if you havent't been in mainland's taman negara NP or haven't walk on aaa canopy walkway as we did in kuala lumpur so we have been only on the beach in front of the NP but unfortunately didn't see any black faced monkey there ...

btw, the link library to all our destinations in malaysia is here: on the road

... coming soon or never: penang & georgetown insights + pictures :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

butterworth, malaysia ~ the convenient city :o)

well, we didn't get a room in georgetown for tonight because of big muslim holiday/celebration due to the end of the ramadan fasting season .... so we have stayed in butterworth, the gate to the penang island (bridge + ferry) and yes, we haven't complained :-)

first of all, after so many days + nights spent in backpackers' stays on tioman island + kuantan + cameron highlands, we have enjoyed the luxury which a 100 €uros per night hotel 'sunway seberang jaya' provides here in SE asia .... and the city was a real positive surprise ... maybe because we didn't expect anything as there was not a single sightseeing point which our travellers' guide highlighted and we have been surprised by the convenience of this parts of butterworth we have seen:
  • port with ferry to georgetown + bus station + train station + bridge to penang are close to each other
  • in front of our hotel there was a (modern) temple street with following temples door to door: hindu, chinese buddhist, katholic church, thai temple, small hindu temple again, huge hindu temple under construction ... no mosque seen there but probably there was one in front of the first hindu temple :-)
  • mall in mall, so you could walk there and get (almost) everything at one place ... well, this mal in mall concept was misunderstood by my girls, they still walked 3 or 4 levels up and down ... and of course, mcdonalds, burger king, KFC, etc were also located in the food corner of 'our' sunway mall ...
  • little india and little china (chinatown) were parallel streets (= two different sides of one row of blocks)
  • ...
additional PICTURES and comments :-)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

cameron highlands, malaysia


what to say about cameron highlands? well, this alps like countryside in central malaysia was a real surprise for me ... both, on the positive and the negative side .... i have expected jungle + nature + tea plantations, unfortunately the first impression was industry + whole landscape filling farms (even 'tourist' strawberry + cactus farms in this wet wet wet and somehow cold region), block houses, destructed and even burning jungle, massive landslides etc ... damn, if you can, avoid entering the highlands via the brinchang city/village like we did by coming from the tin mining city ipoh and go directly to tanah rata, the main cameron highlands tourist center .... damn, to be honest i feel here more like in india or china than in malaysia, you know?

poor malaysia, poor world ... i fear, here in the cameron highlands i've seen how the mankind is going to destroy its own habitat first and suffer right after that next ...

mossy forest like in the lord of rings movie, isn't it?

more insights are posted as picture description in my picasa photo album ;o)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

malaysia, on the road

the river meets the ocean (mersing, ferries to the tioman island)

yep, we are going to travel for 5 weeks from place to place by plane, bus, car (taxi), boat, train  ... i'm going to update some insights / experiences later on but one thing could i tell you right now: now i believe that i know why is germany doing quite well comparing to many other countries ... well, such simple things like withdrawal of money from ATM or ferry/bus transport by schedule simply work fine ... not so on the tioman island: the one and only island's ATM had just small 10 ringgit bills (aproximately 2.5 €uros) and you can't withdraw more than 30 bills ... a ferry? our ferry arrived on time, then someone decided there is not enough space for all passengers, so the ferry has waited for approximately 100 minutes for some miracle like the arrival of next ferry which doesn't happen, the engine was all the time on and none of the employed sailors could tell me why but no one of them cared (after a while there was an oil film on the water and i easily recognized where the term 'sardines in oil' comes from), then we have finally moved on and couldn't pick up all passengers from the remaining ports on tioman before crossing the 50+ km to mersing on malaysian mainland ... OMG ... what about mersing? well, the burger station at the ferry terminal was already closed one hour before the shop where it was located closes and mersing's bus terminal was a real shock: the tickets selling lady told us that the first available bus on the only road to the north would be available in 4 days ... and outside was a guy who told me that in 15 minutes comes a bus to the north and he will look if there will be some empty seats ... well, not only all 3 of us could move further but also 7 or 10 additional tourists/natives => WTF?

few major stops / views (picasa PICTURES):
  • palm oil plantations or jungle are the most common pictures ... in cities blocks of chinese shops and in the villages still many stilt houses ... well, malaysia is not that crowded like western + central europe (or sri lanka) and there is still a lot of place for nature
  • kuala lumpur (KL) ~ capitol
  • malacca ~ unesco cultural heritage
  • mersing ~ the ferry from/to tioman island + monkey beach
  • kuantan ~ a capitol of a province on the eastern part of  the peninsula + 1 huge mosque + 1 river + a bus station with buses in the directions taman negara NP, cameron highlands, penang island (georgetown), perhentian islands, KL, singapore
  • ipoh ~ a tin mining city in the east, the former riches still to see / recognize viewing the so nice old buildings out there .... town hall, clock tower, train station 'taj mahal', old streets, ....
  • cameron highlands ~ jungle + tea plantations in alpine looking countryside ... + massive nature destruction :-(
  • penang island ~ butterworth
  • penang island & george town (unesco's heritage)
  • KL again
  • ... and yes, we have been to thailand (10 days) and dubai (1 day) as well
typical malay stilt houses
many nice mosques out there like this one in kuantan

a picture tells more than 1,000 words => let's move to 'on the road' pictures + my inline comments :-)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

gorilla guru occupies monkey beach ;o)

jungle trip ...

well, here in the northern part of the island (~ salang) are even no roads to any other place on the planet (no cars either), so even my small visit of  monkey beach was a 45 minutes jungle trekking tour, you know? anyway, we have been few people there, most came by water taxi or as a part of they snorkeling trip by boat ...

to be honest, even that jungle trip was the main reason for me to go there, so of course i didn't miss that chance and yes, it was the nicest day for me in malaysia so far. don't worry, i wasn't alone all the time, there were many many mosquitoes, exes, butterflies and some homo sapiens over there :-)

monkey beach / monkey bay

btw, my daughter and one friend of her swam (snorkeled) to monkey beach from salang, it also takes approx 45 minutes, so its up to you which way do you choose ... water, earth or water taxi for the convenient of you :-)

monkey beach pictures

Friday, August 10, 2012

tioman island, malaysia


malacca => taxi => intercity bus => mersing => speed boat => tioman island (pulau tioman, malaysia) ... yes, it is really as easy as that, 6 or 8 hours later we arrived in complete different world ... here in the northern part of the island (~ salang) there are even no roads, no cars, just small ways for motorbikes witch transport all the things needed from A to B ... and yes, water taxi is everything unless you like trekking through the jungle to the next village as i did today in order to visit monkey bay 

well, now we are in the divers' paradise in the eastern malaysia - swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, watching the komodo dragon like lizards from the bridge over the (ugly + stinky) stream on our way to the beautiful beach, no rain season in the eastern part of the peninsula either ... komodo dragons? comodo? you still remember bali / indonesia 4 years ago, don't you?

btw, do you know what is the strangest thing out there? here is some tax free / islam restrictions free zone and e.g. beer costs only 30% what it costs in kuala lumpur or malacca => OMG, cheers :-)

OMG, komodo dragons ... nice  

some updates and pictures will follow soon, as for now here is the link to my tioman photo album

well, here it is so nice, do we really need to move to the cameron highlands or perhentian islands later on? who cares, let's visit the monkey beach first .... my dears, tioman is a really, really beautiful island and still so original = jungle + beaches + sea .... and you know what? it is even nicer underwater with all its coral reefs + colorful fishes ;-)

a corresponding underwater picture found at (source adventure4ever.photoshelter.com)

eof

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

malacca, malaysia

our first stop (easy to reach by bus) after KL (kuala lumpur) in malaysia, ? malacca (english), malakka (german), melaka (malay) ... a famous malay city occupied by the chinese, indians, portuguese, dutch, english and by chinese again if you asked me .... and unesco's world cultural heritage. why is that city unesco's world cultural heritage? just see the PICTURES, my dears :-)

coffee-break in chinatown

next stop? the tioman island on the  other side of the malay peninsula ....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

#jarooccupies kuala lumpur, malaysia

(golden?) lord murugan in front of the 272 steps leading to the hindu temple inside the batu caves

well, we have arrived 3 days ago, spent 2 full days in the streets + outskirts of kuala lumpur, malaysia ... and i still have no opinion how to 'classify' the city .... it is so diverse, you know? there are many many ethnic chinese folks (more than malay i would guess), malay, indian, european, indonesian, and yes, there is also our eldest daughter for 4 months right now :-)

and there are huge differences between the rich and not so rich people / areas /  markets / houses / ... between modern and traditional way of life, between high end technology in one field and simplest tools somewhere else, between this and that ... and such a huge variety of food, dress codes, religions, ...

damn, before i tell you what i think, feel, did, etc ... i do better show you some pictures and one video, ok?

PICTURES, PICTURES, PICTURES ... as for now unsorted, without comments ...  i  will comment them later + upload some more + delete the uninteresting ones later, so just take it as the 1st trial :-)

soo many ethnic different folk groups ... and in so many ways the same :-)


what's next? well, our interesting day trip jungle tour at FRIM's site (Forest Research Institute Malaysia) in kepong close to KL where we enjoyed the canopy walkway (pictures) in the tree tops and malacca / malakka / melaka

KL 3 years later (march/april 2015)
.