Malaysia pt. ✌🏼

July 3, 2017 Leave a comment

Perhentian Islands 

I headed on a bus with my mates and we moved on to the next destination. The Perhentian islands, we were told, there would be amazing scuba and beautiful scenery. I was not disappointed! I took part of PADI classes and learned how to officially scuba dive for the first time in my life. Man, I sure have been missing out so far. The ability to be underwater breathing and viewing sea life was stunning. I imagine it would be like going to outerspace. Totally different senses, feeling and outer world experience. I took courses for four days and experienced being in a 30+ bed hostel dorm for the first time. One of my biggest regrets from my journey is that I didn’t stay here longer. Being a remote island I was told to bring a surplus amount of money since there are no ATMs and only handle cash. I unfortunately did not bring enough there for more than the four days expected there and the thought of going back to and from the mainland seemed daunting. Looking back now, I wish I had done it. After I finished learning how to scuba dive and enjoy being on an island for a few days. We took a bus cross country of Malaysia towards the island of Penang on the west side. 

Penang.

After an overnight bus we arrived in the city of Georgetown around 5am. Let me tell you there is no bigger adrenaline rush than arriving in a brand new city having no familiarity of what and where. Whilst getting mobbed by locals to see if you want a ride into the city via taxi or tuktuk and paying the “tourist price”. I highly recommend while you are out traveling to do some research of the city you are heading to next. It is nice to be aware of how to get to where you need to go. Now if you plan on having cell phone service in every country you travel. You do not need to take my advice at all. 

After finding our way to where we needed to go. My friend had a conversation with me that we could no longer travel together. It was harsh, hard but a good learning experience. We said our goodbyes and moved on with our travels. 

I stayed at Tipsy Tiger Hostel and stumbled onto an amazing group of people. What I genuinely enjoyed most was that we made the most of each day. You tend to find groups while traveling that either party at night or rise early and enjoy the area. This group did both very well. We went and saw a bunch of things in the city and also enjoyed each other’s company at the hostel. The unlimited drinks for a very affordable price helped as well. 

Penang is known for their food. I met plenty of locals who were jealous at the fact that Penang was in my sight based purely on how good the food is there. Man it didn’t disappoint. Having been a haven for Chinese immigrants Penang had various delicious Chinese cuisine. Some of the best chicken and rice/ pork and rice dishes I had while I was traveling. There were streets lined up during the evening with all kinds of street food. They were cheap, numerous and delicious. After a few days of adventuring and enjoying all kinds of food we all headed our separate ways. Langkawi was next for me.

Langkawi

I didn’t really know what to expect out of Langkawi. I had met travelers coming from Langkawi in Penang some said they liked it, some loved it and some didn’t enjoy it at all. Since I was so close I decided why not. I ended up being in Langkawi for about 3-4 nights. I saw or experienced most of the areas Langkawi was known for. But I ended being one of the few travelers who didn’t like the area too much.

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Malaysia

June 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Kuala Lumpur

The city of Kuala Lumpur was the next destination. After spending the first initial days trying to reacquire my phone that I had left on the bus on the way to Malaysia. I finally settled into my hostel in the city. Kuala Lumpur was in the midst of Ramadan so there were various types of delicious street food being sold right outside of my hostel. It was a great introduction to what would be an enjoyable and delicious stay throughout the country. 

Kuala Lumpur is the only city I visited where they offered free public transportation to all the major areas of the city. They run constant bus loops throughout the day so it was very easy and affordable to explore this humid and vast city. 

Visited Batu Caves, Chinese Temples and the Petronas Tower with a few mates I had made at the hostel. 

Cameron Highland.


Then took a bus towards Cameron Highlands. This area is known for their amazing hiking and tea farms. I was able to enjoy hiking a fair amount solo. This is something I find peace in and I found it soothing after being in two hectic cities for quite some time. The hikes were not too much trouble but the payoff with the landscapes were absolutely worth the sweat. Met another group of travelers and followed them on their journey to their next destination.

Tamar Negara

I followed my new mates on a journey to the jungles of Malaysia. We took a six hour boat ride through the river on a speed boat and arrived in a little town right outside the entrance to the jungle. My mate and I planned a overnight 15km trek through the jungle for the next day without a guide. Safe to say I highly I recommend booking a guide as we got lost three times and be in fairly good shape if you don’t want to end up like we did. The trek through the jungle in the heat was unbearable for me about 10km in. I literally could not hike anymore. We forced our way towards the river while falling on my butt and getting my lips cut by sword grass. We were picked up by the locals who do a river taxi throughout the day. They sure had a laugh looking at the exhausted state I was in. We got back to the town and booked our bus out to the Perhentian islands.

Pt 2 of Malaysia will be next. 

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Singapore

April 9, 2017 Leave a comment

I left the US on June 1st and arrived in Singapore June 2nd. The surreal feeling of me leaving everything I knew didn’t really hit me up until I sold my car. The feeling that I wouldn’t see my friends anymore didn’t hit me until I jumped on the plane while I pondered what the future held for me. 

I arrived in the Singapore International Airport saw the actor who played the “Mountain” in the show Game of Thrones walk right past me. Singapore overall was good. It is a great starting point for your journey because of how modern the country is. You can ease the transition of being in a foreign place by finding all the comforts of familiarity. They have an amazing public transportation system that takes you everywhere in the country. They offer unlimited rides on their buses or trains for three days for 20SGD. 

Singapore is the food Mecca. There are hawker stalls everywhere in the city that offer all types of dishes that will satisfy your appetite. Most if not all dishes are very budget friendly as well. You can go to malls, train stations and street corners to find these hawker stalls. Each area has a unique dish or flavor. My favorite dish from Singapore and still the best thing I have had on this trip was a dish called Katong Laksa

Oh man looking at this picture gives me so many good memories. I had never ever heard of this dish until one of the staff at the hostel suggested this restaurant 328 Katong Laksa. I am so glad she did. The dish is a delicious spicy coconut curry with noodles and seafood. I was completely confused when they only handed you soup spoon but no chop sticks for the noodles. The noodles are cut just long enough where chop sticks are unnecessary. The spice and the coconut mix very well together with the vegetables and protein. They also serve a delicious lime juice that helps you cool down. 

All the places you want to go see through this country can be found on the all mighty Instagram. The one lesson I took away from Singapore is hostel dynamics. Hostels are amazing not only for the budget friendly prices they offer to stay in a country or a city. It is also a hub to meet other like minded travelers who want to meet other people. I learned the initial part of meeting people is the difficult part. Although people are open to the idea of meeting others you often have to step up to the plate. If you want to meet others on your travel you have put yourself out there. Get out of your comfort zone there is always a conversation waiting to be had, an experience to be shared or a travel tip to be told. 

A few other experiences I have from Singapore was the sudden realization that the area I stayed in was a red light district. I walked back to my hostel three nights before I realized what was going on outside. I wondered why these young girls who were dressed fairly nice were attached to the hip to old casually dressed guys. Then suddenly the combination of all these “Karoake Bars”, hotels and sleazy guys made sense. 😳😳 I also almost lost my phone within a week into my travels. While being busy with my newly found friends playing cards in transit to Malaysia. I left my phone in the bus 😱. I was fortunate enough to have some locals who lent me their phone allowing me to call the bus company to grab the phone. A few days later and a round trip back via bus from Kuala Lumpur I got my phone back. 

Well that ends my Singapore experience. Malaysia will be next.

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1.

April 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Most people start their blogs at the beginning of their travels. I am not most people. As my travels are winding down and I am not moving around so much anymore here in Melbourne. I decided to express myself on the interwebs. I will rehash all the experiences from the beginning until now both from memory and from my personal journal. 

I’ll begin with why? Why did I travel? Why did I leave the comfort of my job, house, my car and my friends for the unknown? It has always been something that I have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to explore and see the world. It only took until I was 29 to finally man up and do it. Why did I wait so long? It wasn’t because of finances, school, job or a girlfriend. I waited until now because I was waiting for a group of friends to go travel with. I had never visited countries on my own and never imagined myself doing it. I just got tired of waiting for my friends to have time to go. I realized why put aside my own personal happiness until my friends had time. Why the hell would I do that! After I had this epiphany I trained myself to go to events, festivals, bars and parties by myself if it was something I wanted to do. We all dread going places by ourselves because we will feel lonely. Eventually that fear went away. 

How did I travel? Once I decided to travel I began saving up. I am very thankful for the job I had while I was in the US. I worked as a dealer and eventually managed some shifts as well at a local poker club in Portland. It was a great job. I worked with alot of great people and the guests we had were amazing. I worked my tail off for about a year and a half at that job picking up as many shifts I could as possible. I also played poker during my free time and ran really hot for a few months before I left. In total I left the US with 17,000$ USD. This is after I bought my travel bag, vaccinations, medicine, travel insurance and my one way ticket to Singapore. (I was so nervous when I purchased my ticket to Singapore. I couldn’t believe I actually had done it.)

17,000$ USD isn’t that much especially when you find other bloggers who travel. I know one guy @nasdaily (Instagram) who was from New York and saved up 40,000$ and is still traveling the world. The amount I saved through some research I had found would be enough for Asia. I never really realized how inexpensive living in Asia is compared to the US. As of today I have been gone nearly 10 months I still haven’t clocked in for a job yet. I’m not quite sure if that is something to proud of or not but it is a fact. I had budgeted my daily expenses to be about 30$ roughly a day. This amount includes accommodation, food, bus, water, entrance fees, alcohol. I didn’t spend buying any items to remind me of a city or a place other than a few shirts. I didn’t board a plane until I left Vietnam for Japan. I rode a bus or a train to arrive at my next destination from Singapore – Malaysia – Thailand- Cambodia and Vietnam. In Vietnam I purchased a scooter in Ho Chi Minh City, found some friends and we ended up driving 2000km until we reached Hanoi in the north.  I lugged around my 35 L Gregory bag and had my day pack strapped in front of me. I carried just enough cash on me and was fortunate enough to have banked with Schwab. Schwab Bank refunds all ATM fees back to my checking account so I never ever had to worry about losing 3-5$. (I highly recommend opening up a Schwab account)

How did I stretch my funds so far? It’s just that budget friendly in Asia. Accommodation that you can search for on sites like hostel world were anything from 5-7$ a night. Most if not all of these hostels provided free breakfast as well. Unlike Australia where I was playing 20-25$ a night free unlimited WiFi is included at all the hostels. I didn’t and haven’t stayed at one luxury hotel during my trip. I was in it for the long run and staying at a five star hotel would cost me two days traveling. Food was inexpensive as well. I mainly ate as the locals did and that was either a dingy pop up shop or a food cart. Every once in a while I would grab some Western food that was available but that was about five times the price you would pay for local food. Transportation information from city to city or country to country could be found via your hostel or the internet. I either booked online or found a transportation company nearby the hostel who helped travelers. Cost was dependent but very budget friendly. Water was probably the biggest cost on my journey. You don’t realize how much free clean water is as a blessing once you have to constantly buy bottles of water everyday. I met a friend in Vietnam who brought a high quality filter that saved him heaps on the journey. Water isn’t expensive they are anywhere from a 1-1.50$ for a 2 liter but it’s the daily amount that adds up. I would recommend buying a filter if you are planning on doing a long term trip through Asia. 

I believe that covers the what, how, when and where for this blog and my travels. I recommend if you have a burning desire to see and explore the world. Do it. Solo or in a group. Whatever way possible I encourage you to do it. Singapore will be the first country I reflect on in my next blog. Thanks for reading. Comment any questions about traveling Asia if you have any. 🤗

🤙🏼 – Ji

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