It is difficult to conceptualize Angkor before we get there. Our highest towers in the West are office buildings. We, pragmatic, use temple-architecture for banks. Khmer ancestors didn’t see it like that. Instead, they built hundreds of temples to worship their gods. Leaves and leaves and leaves, leaves curling like shadows, roots over crumbled buildings. Monumental, awesome.
Alalala, the more I spend time here, the more time flows in between two posts. I would be a poor influencer really, me who usually recommend bloggers to write two to three posts a day! I am on an Internet detoxification. Only one hour every now and again, just the time to reassure my mum, friends and family about what is going on and update my Facebook status. But I have to say I feel a little guilty so here are the news of the last… errr… month.
We arrived in Krabi a few weeks ago and spent a few days there. Whouah… what an entry to Thailand! Emerald waters, rocks popping out of the sea and islands all over the place. Sublime. We did some canoe Kayak in the mangrove, visited a few paradisaical islands, had a nice party at a local coffee shop with some rasta men, chilled on beautiful beaches and visited a temple higher than the Machu Pitchu apparently, the Tiger temple under a boiling sun (1237 very steep steps by 40 degrees ouais!)
We then made a move towards the east coast of Thailand to Ko Pha Ngan, where we were meant to meet some friends from Gili islands but didn’t because we got confused with the names of the guest house. We found a very nice place though on the north of the island, Coconut bungalows, I warmly recommend it, we had the beach for the two of us and what beach! White thin sand, coconut trees to put your hammock and the best snorkeling spot of the island. It is very different from Perhentians there. The corals looks like a field of tiny little multicolor flowers and I saw some funny, long, thin fishes with a big nose and the usual clown fishes and parrot fishes and sea cucumbers. Basically we nearly didn’t move from the beach, except to go to the food market in Thong Sala. Thai food is soooo up to its reputation! We rented a motorbike and went across the island and discovered some amazing places such as the Amsterdam bar, recommended by a friend from the Cameron Highlands. It is at the top of the mountain and the view with the sunset on the sea from there is just… striking. We were too late or too early for the full moon party so we did the black moon party, also on the beach and smaller than the full moon but still it was good with nice decorations and crazy techno music.
I could have stayed there for ages but we wanted to see more and so we went to Ko Samui, the next island, bigger and ore commercial. I have experienced there for the first time what they call sex tourism as we had managed to avoid it so far. Well, not experienced really but that is quite a shock to discover the numerous old, ugly, wrinkly men accompanied by these lovely Thai young girls… But beside of that, we had a great time there, swimming in water falls, discovering derelict holidays resorts (there is no tourists at the moment and a massive competition so many places are closing) and going all around the island with the bike.
But every good thing has to come to an end and islands are a bit boring after a while so off we went, direction Bangkok. What wasn’t our surprise to meet Emily (with whom I started this trip) and our friends Didier and Jeanne (the friends from Gili that we had missed at Ko Pa Ngan) while taking a breakfast in Ramboutri! The world is tiny! We went to Chinatown, to the relying Buddha temple, did loads of shopping and we also went to Ayutaya, one of the ancien capital of Thailand with some Thai friends. Laure went off to Sukotai while I came back to Bangkok to meet the awaited beautiful man. And here he came, beautiful and lovely as usual. We have left Laure with her brother, here for a month and headed off to Cambodia and the temples of Angkor. But that deserve a new post for itself….
Filed under: Malaysia, Singapore | Tags: Cameron Highlands, Malacca, Malaysia, Perhentian Islands, Singapore
I’ve got to say I am a bit late on the news… The last post was written from Malacca, the first stop in Malaysia after Singapore. We have since been to Cameron Highlands and the Perhentian Islands, two oasis of wild beauty very different from each other… We are now in Kota Bharu, just at the Thai border where we are getting our two months visa done for Thailand. Tomorrow we will take a bus towards our next country: Thailand! Exact destination still to be confirmed but it will definitely be an Island and definitely be on the West coast.
Have you ever been to Singapore? If yes then you’ll know what I mean when I say that this town is just souless and asceptised. Firstly you can’t smoke anywhere, even outside. You have to go into some little yellow boxes painted on the floor where you feel very silly and bored (because all your friends are having fun at the table just 5m away but you can’t stay there). You can’t eat in the tube, you can’t eat chewing gums, you can’t drink outside… in a word you can’t do much appart from being nice and pretty and well behaved and healthy… Just not me! The streets are very wide and surrounded by big funny (I said funny, not pretty, note the difference!) buildings and there are about a commercial center every 10m and the people are… well… like city people: in a rush to get somewhere, they don’t smile naturally and if you do smile at them they look at you as if you had a problem or they check their shirt in case they have a weird stain or something… Needless to say that it makes a hudge difference with Indonesia! But there are some things that I did like though: The toilettes are clean and there is paper in them, they have loads of funny computers with touch screems and funny workout machine where you ride a horse and they have lovely sunsets on the port and the skyscrapers and, best of all, you can find real, massive sirloin steaks :)
In 2 days we spent the budget of 2 weeks in Indonesia so we didn’t stay long and we made our way to the third country: Malaysia.
First glimpse of Malaysia: Malacca. Hum… the first impression was a bit disapointing. Everything seems recent and there are only a few vestiges left from their original culture. Indeed, Malacca has been successively invaded by Deutch, English, Chinese and Japanese people who just destroyed what the others had left. But having said that Chinatown is very pretty and has a few nice buildings and temples, including the oldest boudhist temple in the whole of Asia. The best in Malacca was our guest house, Kancil guest house, ‘a home away from home’ where Daoud received us as if we were part of the family (that’s him who let us upload our pictures the whole night!). We liked it so much in fact that we spent a day… at home!
After that we were planning on going to Kuala Lumpur but who needs a town when you leave in a town. So change of plans (there was many changes in Malaysia!) We decided to head straight for the cameron Highlands, a breath of fresh air in the mountains where they grow tea and strawberries. Ahhhh the Cameron Highlands… I loved it. We went for a trek, let me tell you, my bum still remebers! We went to visit the Boh plantations, check this out:
Ohhh man it was so worthy!
So proud of our muscle soreness, we left the father’s guest house as soon as the sun left us (and without saying goodbye to anyone as we changed our plans at the last minute – again), we left for the perhentians Island. A lovely little beach paradise on the west coast of Malaysia where we did our Open Water diploma. That’s the picture BEFORE the sunburn I got on the boat…
Spice divers, they star! that’s Sarah, our Instructor on the left and the two German cool chicks we met, Kat and Bianca with whom we partied yesterday to celebrate our new diploma and then you have Greg, their instructor, very cool guy too and us, cool chicks too… In a word everybody was cool :)
And that’s closing time now… but at least i’m p to date :)
Hi there, just a little message from Malacca where we have just been spending the past two days. Haven’t had a chance to tell you all about Singapore yet but I have managed to upload a few more pictures on Flickr. 3 sets actually, none of them being completely finished but anyway… (We have been sneaking out a little and used up about 10 hours of Internet without guest to notice, we had turned off the screens and let the images uploading…) I have put a little resume and explanation at the beginning of each set for your perusal (I love that expression, it is so Account Manager like!). It starts with Kuta Bali, here and then Ubud, our second stop, here (but there are just a few), and then Amed, well, the beginning of Amed, here. Hope you like it!
Filed under: Indonesia, Travel diary | Tags: Ampanam, Boroboudour, Indonesia, Java, Yogyakarta
That’s a statement, Indonesians are the most lovely, helpful, smiley people I have ever met. They haven’t got much at all, you can tell by the old people still doing very hard work at over 75 years old (like pushing a Cebak) or sitting in the street and ask for money because they can’t work to live any more or even sleeping in their Cebak because they haven’t got anywhere to live but it doesn’t stop them from being happy and offer a big toothless smile to anyone who return them the same.
After going up the Bromo Volcano, we took an 11 hours train trip to Yogyakarta where we settled down for a few days. There’s plenty to see in the town as this is the birth place of Indonesian culture. The local specialty is the Batik, a piece of cloth that will patiently be painted with oil and wax. They tell stories and mythes from Java or sometimes even represent various abstract forms. We went to visit one of the many (only!) cultural center and couldn’t resist to buy a few as souvenirs. We then went to see the bird market, a big market where they seel all sorts of animals: birds of course but also, geykos, hawls, snakes, cats and dogs (poor things, they were kept in a cage with no room to move!
I’m not going to go through the whole of the day as it would certainly be boring and long but i had to tell you that we have met the sultan of java’s sister and she even gave us a present! Yes yes, we were the only tourists there so I believe we looked more important! :) Monday was a big day for Javanese people. There’s a big ceremony that happens once a year where they take the Stupas, the sacred bells from the sultan’s palace to the mosk.
For the occasion, the sultan’s palace is open for visit in the evening, the national orchestra is playing and there’s a big fair in front of the palace. But when I say big, it IS big! Our fairs looks like mini games beside of it! Millions of people go in the street to play games (they are so funny!), eat and have fun (no, they don’t drink, they are Musulman, I know it’s weird
Then yesterday and today, we went to visit two of the Unesco world inheritages: Prambanan and Boroboudour, two amazing Boudists temples. Emily who has seen Angkor Wat was a bit disapointed but I was pretty amazed. These temples are so big and so majestuous. I can’t believe people built them in 800ish after JC, even before our French Cathedrals! i was really impressed by the sculptures in Boroboudour
Tomorrow we will are leaving Indonesia to fly to Singapore where we will be spending a couple of days and then we will be heading to Malaysia. I have really liked Indonesia and after the first few days where I was adapting to the heat and the time and the food (I’m finally getting into spicy food since I have no choice and apparently it is good to fight against mosquito’s bites!), I feel like South East Asia is really growing into me.
How cool is that?
Filed under: Indonesia, Travel diary, Uncategorized | Tags: Gili Island, Gili Trawangan, Indonesia, Lombok
That’s the title of an Indonesian song. That will be the song of the holidays.
Just came back from Gili Trawangan, a little paradise for party people, lost in the north of Lombok. The coral barrier is one of the most beautiful in the world and divers from all over the world come to see the fishes and the submarine flowers. Internet is almost inexistant and all you can do is relax, dive, snorkle, chill on the beach and drink banana juices in little berudas. No. Really, look at this:
We were meant to stay 3 days and stayed 5! We went out every night, met some nice French, Canadian and Dutch guys, ate lovely food for nothing from a little warung owned by a beautiful old lady who was opening her pans proudly to show us what she had cook for the day, danced, smoked, read, went snorkeling and had to force ourselves to get out of bed at 7:00am yesterday to go back on the main island… I think I’m getting into this trip ;)
We are now back in Bali Kuta where we will take a bus tonight to go to Java. We want to climb the Bromo volcano to see the sunrise from the top. Then we will head to Yogyakarta where we want to hire a scooter and visit the surroundings. Java is the cultural nest of the Indonesian culture, sounds promising… Any advices and tips are welcome :)