Published: May 13th 2011May 11th 2011
Tanah Lot Temple
Supposedly the most photographed place in Bali.
In the last month we’ve taken the boat out of the water, (where we will store it for the summer) , driven back home to Guelph for a day, got on a plane to Malaysia, visited our Daughter Dawn and her family in Malaysia, spent 12 days in Bali with Dawn and the grandkids, flew to Thailand where we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary, and now we are back home in Guelph. Wow!
After living on the boat in the Bahamas, that’s quite a change of pace. Here’s a little more detail and some pictures of our incredible trip to South East Asia . It was triggered by our daughter Dawn and her family’s move to Malaysia for 2 years, and of course our missing them and craving to see our grandchildren, and…….as you know we do love to travel!
MALAYSIA We left Toronto on March 31 , with a stop in Hong Kong and landed in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 22 hours later. Dawn, Ella and Gavin met us at the airport and after hugs and kisses, we got in the car and drove to Ipoh, where they are living. Our first reaction was that it was very , very
Shopping while Ella is at school.
hot but we were so happy to see them it just didn’t matter! Although Ipoh has a population of about 700,000 it seems rural compared to KL, and is nestled in a mountainous part of the country. Ipoh is close to the equator, so it’s hot and the vegetation is very tropical with steep cliffs and lots of plants that we usually only see in greenhouses.
While we adjusted to the time difference, and hung out with the grandkids in IPOH, Dawn acted as tour guide, showing us around Ipoh, and some of their favourite spots. First we went to a water park where Ella and Gavin got to splash around in all the pools, a lazy river and some other attractions. This should have been a popular spot as it was Sunday, and a good way to cool down. A major percentage of the population of Malaysia is Muslim so at a beach or a water park they dress accordingly. A couple of days later Dawn drove us up about 2 hours north, where we took a ferry to a Island called Pangkor. This is a beach town, with an interesting and very cool beach. It was our first
experience with Motor Scooters instead of cars as the main transportation mode. We spent the night in Pangkor then went back to Ipoh, to meet up with poor Paul, who had to work while we were at the beach.
The next day was Saturday, and we headed up to the Cameron Highlands. We looked forward to this, as it is a main agricultural area, and much cooler. They grow lots of strawberries in Cameron Highlands, and there are places all over where you can pick or buy Strawberries that are delicious, although not as good as Ontario Strawberries in June. The other important crop is Tea. This is a major tea growing area, and we were fascinated with how tea is grown. The tea fields look beautiful on the hillsides. Ella and Gavin enjoyed roaming around the tea fields and the other Cameron Highland attractions, including a night market where we saw some pretty strange food. The night market is almost like a country fair, with both tourists and locals visiting the stalls, of everything from vegetables, cooked local food, and crafts. Kind of like our Guelph market only much larger. We spent the night in Cameron Highland then headed
Ferry to Pangkor
It was a short ferry ride to Pangkor.
back to Ipoh to get packed for our 12 day trip to Bali.
BALI When we wrote Dawn and told her we were thinking of coming to Malaysia for a visit, she came up with a great idea to go to Bali for part of our visit. She thought we might get a little bored in Malaysia. She had wanted to go to Bali, and knowing us she suggested we include Bali in our trip. Dawn is very good at researching things and she chose 3 distinctly different parts of Bali to visit. She planned 4 days in Sanur, 4 days in Ubud, and 4 days in Amed.
Sanur is a beach resort, close to the main beach resort of Kuta, but far enough away that it is not quite so busy and a little more relaxing. We stayed at a place that was almost like a bed and breakfast, with some guest suites, around the owner’s pool. It was great for the kids as they spent lots of time in the swimming pool, and Ella became friends with the owner’s son Joshua. Every morning we walked and hung out at the beach and watched the Bali boats with
Rather than walking the road we made our way through the rocks to the next beach.
pontoons bring in their daily catch. One day we took a day trip to see Tanah Lot - an old temple on the ocean and Kuta. As there is in most of Bali there are lots of stalls with local people selling their crafts, and all sorts of other souvenirs. .Sanur was relaxing and a nice introduction to Bali. Buying things in Bali is an exercise in bartering and I must say that I enjoy this.
Our next stop was to travel to the Ubud, where all the craftsmen are. There are villages famous for wood carving, others that are artists, and others famous for silver jewelry. On the way to Upud we did stop for a traditional Balenese dance show. The costumes were incredible, and they take great pride in this tradition. Our driver stopped at silver and woodworking showrooms, but they were meant for tourists. The drivers get a commission, and prices seemed pretty high so we pushed on to our next accommodation in Upud, at the edge of the monkey forest. Another good pick for Dawn, as the place we stayed was right by rice fields, so our rooms looked out towards the rice fields and the
monkey forest. It was a very, very nice place. We would be having breakfast and the monkeys would come out and steal someone’s breakfast. The monkeys are pretty aggressive, and at times we found them a little scary. One day Sharon and I went on a bicycle tour up to a volcano, that took us back to Upud through local villages, rice fields and some woodworking shops. For us it was a real cultural experience seeing how these people live in compounds, sometimes cooking on open fires and with very few conveniences. Ella took her first swimming strokes in Ubud. We were fascinated by the woodworkers and the detail they put into their carvings. So now we are owners of some nice carvings of mahogany, teak and ebony. I also bought some musical percussion things that are made locally, giving Ella and Gavin instruments to play.
Amed is a more remote fishing community , that has only recently attracted a few tourists. Dawn picked a resort that was sandwiched between local compounds, so we felt like we were living right in the middle of a fishing community. Our hotel in Amed was very nice and we had a beach house
This monkey stole Dawn's pineapple juice, took the glass up a tree and licked the drink off his paws.
for ourselves. It was modern, and very very nice. Our cottage had a outside stone shower, and when we showered we were very close to the compound where the locals lived. In fact when I was having a shower, I could smell their wood fire, as they were cooking over an open fire. It was a strange feeling, living in such luxury right next door to people that were existing on basics, such as open fires for cooking, and in many cases no running water. Amed is known for its diving and one day Sharon and I rented a motor Scooter, and drove down the coast stopping to snorkel on some beautiful reefs. Amed while being very nice, might have been just a little remote for us, and we cut our stay short and had a driver take us back to Kuta. Kuta was close to the airport, so it would make our trip the next day easier. Our hotel wasn’t quite so nice in Kuta, as it was new and still under construction. Actually we thought Kuta was a little too busy for us, and enjoyed the beach at Sanur better.
Our 12 days in Bali flew by.
Our only disappointment was that Paul (Dawn’s Husband) was unable to join us for part of the time in Bali. He had arranged to take a long weekend and visit for the Ubud portion of the Bali trip. Unfortunately his passport only has 5 months until it needs to renew, and Bali requires 6 months. So after leaving Bali we went back to Malaysia to Dawn’s home for Easter. The grandkids were very excited to see their Dad, after 12 days. The Easter bunny made it to Malaysia, with lots of chocolate and toys!
THIALAND The Monday after Easter we bid farewells to Dawn and her family. We had 3 glorious weeks with them, and while we were looking forward to Thailand, we knew we would really miss them. We took a taxi back to KL and flew to Krabi Thailand on Monday. We decided to splurge and we booked a very nice hotel in Ao Nang which is a beach resort town in Krabi province. We had emailed ahead advising the hotel that we were visiting their hotel to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. We envisioned a special room, with maybe a bottle of Champagne waiting for us,
and maybe a congratulations card. Ha… not even close. Our reservation got messed up and they didn’t even have us registered! However, after I expressed my disappointment (many times) they gave us what we thought must be the honeymoon suite, which was the best view of the town and ocean, a Jacuzzi tub, and a cake! They were very. very nice to us.
The first day in Thailand, Sharon wanted to show me Railey Beach, where Steven, Dawn and her had spent time on her previous trip to Thailand. Railey is a small resort area, that can only be accessed by water. While it’s on the mainland, mountains prohibit roads from being built. The prettiest beach on Railey Bay is Hat Phra Nang. The high limestone cliffs running down to the shore, the soft white sand, and the turquoise- blue water make this beach one that you just want to keep taking pictures of. It is also the cleanest beach we saw in Thailand. Generally one of our disappointments in all of SE Asia, is the pollution along the shoreline and the water quality. We’re used to that beautiful Bahamas water, and nothing quite matches that. Railey is a destination
Hillsides of tea.
that lots of back packers, and climbers visit, as the cliffs make for incredible rock climbing. (we didn’t try rock climbing). Out in the water there are many small but very steep islands that really add to the character of this area. To get to Railey we took a long tail boat which is the chosen mode of transportation along the coast. Sailboat cruisers could take a lesson from the simplicity of the engine installations of these boats, as they all have diesel engines connected to this incredibly long shaft. They don’t have mufflers, so they are very loud.
The next day we were going to just hang out at the beach in Ou Nang, but at the last minute we decided to hire a private Long Tail boat for the day and go to Hong National Park, advertised as a pristine island with great beaches and snorkeling. The boat ride to the island was incredible, passing along the Thailand shoreline, and many nice islands. We did some snorkeling, it was nice, but in the end we still favored Railey. Hong Island was really impacted by the tsunami , and some people unfortunately died on this island. There is a
plaque on the island dedicated to those that died here during the Tsunami. It seems that everyone , when they found we were going to Thailand told me I should have a Thai massage, as it is supposed to be an experience “you don’t want to miss”. Sharon agreed with this, and was failrly persistant that I should have a massage. So… after returning from Hong Island, we went back to the hotel for a swim, and I worked up the nerve to go get the massage. Sharon and I both had a one hour Thai massage, down at the beach , at Oh Nang. So now everyone I’ve had a massage!
We flew back to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia the next day to catch our flight back to Toronto. Including the layover in Hong Kong our travel time back to Toronto was 22 hours! We’ve been back about a week now and we are finally getting over the jet lag. This was a trip of a life time, something we probably would not have done if our daughter, husband and our grand children were not over there. We saw beautiful places, experienced cultural differences that really opened our eyes, but
best of all we got to spend a whole month with our grand children! We’re happy to be back in our home and now have the whole summer to look forward to. We don’t plan on going back to the boat until after Christmas, so we’ll have lots of time back here this year to enjoy being home.
Sharon and Doug
There are more photos below