In the Big City of Kuala Lumpur!

March 13
We arrived in the city around 2 pm and found the hotel.  It is located in China town which is a crazy place with markets.  There are businesses on both sides of the street and then booths in the street which makes it difficult to move around.  Then, there is a market in the evening which completely fills the street.

Our guide took us for a walk and showed us where the Central Market is so that we can return there on our own to shop later.  It was about two blocks from our hotel so easy enough to find.  We took a quick walk through and I found a few things I wanted to come back for.

From there, we walked to where the two rivers meet in the city.  You can see the different colours where they merge.  The Petronas towers are visible from here.  Next we went to the LRT.  There were machines where you pay the fare which gives you a disc.  You place the disc on the spindle which then lets you in.  Then, when you leave, you deposit it to get out.  The LRT was very busy as it was around 6 and there were likely a lot of people on their way home from work.

Once we got to our destination, we went outside (the LRT let us out at a mall) to see the towers.  We were going to hang out there until it was dark but most of us were hungry so we headed into the mall to find food.  This was an expensive mall as I saw quite a few big brands – Gucci, Prada and many others.   There were six levels to the mall, we didn’t explore them though.

After we ate, we went back outside and waited for it to get dark to check out the towers all lit up.  Unfortunately, the fountain was not working as it was being repaired.  We went back to the LRT and the hotel.  My feet were so tired and the next day had another half day tour scheduled.

Next Country, Malaysia!

March 11
Left around 8 am and headed out to the border.  This was definitely a different border crossing than any I have gone to.  We had to collect our luggage and get off the bus.  We had to walk up to the crossing and fill out a form to exit Thailand.  Then, we walked a minute to enter Malaysia.

Once everyone was through, we walked to our van and continued our journey to our first stop.  This van was comfy as each person was able to have two seats so we could stretch out a bit; a definite advantage to travelling in a smaller group.

Unfortunately, we hit a lot of traffic along our route.  The first traffic jam was half an hour but it was not the only one we encountered.  We finally got to our hotel around 9 pm.  Most of us ran out, got some food and then went to sleep.

March 12
We did a half day tour of Georgetown.  
Fort Collins

Fort Collins

Chew Jetty:

3 temples – Chinese, Muslim and Thai. Unfortunately I don't remember which is which so if I have a reader who can help me, I would appreciate it.

Temple 1:

Temple 2, the outdoor gardens


After our tour, the afternoon was free to do what we wanted.  I was going to buy some souvenirs but our tour guide said we would get better selection in Kuala Lumpur.  Instead, I relaxed and wrote up some postcards to send home.

Supper ended up being a bubble tea and salad due to the hotel restaurant being closed and the market from last night being closed.

Another bus trip tomorrow and off to Kuala Lumpur!  Lots to see and do here.

Off to the Beach and Snorkeling

March 9
The morning started with a breakfast of sticky rice, our bananas wrapped in leaves from last night as well as rotti (like a crepe with sugar) and fruit.  We vegged until our ride came to pick us up.

We were told that it was half an hour to Krabi but it only felt like ten minutes.  We got checked into our hotel and we had some free time.  My roomie and I headed out to explore a little bit and we found a cafĂ© with Wi-Fi and a snack.  Then back to the hotel to have a swim and a nap.

Such an iconic shot for Thailand
The entire group met up for 7 for supper.  It started to rain but we managed to get to the restaurant before it started to pour.  It continued throughout our supper but it was still going afterwards and we got drenched on the way back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we are off to Phi Phi Island.

March 10
It was about a 30 minute ride to the first island and we had 40 minutes to wander around.  The swimming wasn’t great here and there were a lot of people so I just walked around and sat.
One of several warning signs.
The second island is where the movie “The Beach” was filmed.  Due to the amount of boats here, there wasn’t really any place you could swim.  There was a bit more to explore here and you could walk around and go to a lookout point.  With the way this island was, it was tricky to get back into the boat as it was going up and down with the waves and the tide was moving.

Such clear water!
This wasn't even the busiest area.
Where do you want to go?
After this island, we headed to Phi  Phi island for lunch but we stopped in an area with such clear green water.  You could see the bottom even thought it was 5 to 20 meters deep in different places.

Sooo clear!
Approaching Phi Phi Island
Lunch was buffet and anyone who wasn’t ready for snorkeling got ready here.   Our first stop was about 45 minutes long and I stayed in the water most of that time.  There was an opening that you could swim through and around which was rather tiring.  When I got back to the boat, I was one of the last ones there.
Another group getting ready to snorkel.
From here, we moved to another spot to do a bit more snorkeling.  There were more fish in this location.  From ones that were yellow striped to others were white with black dots.   Other fish were turquoise and some were black and red.  I’m not sure how long we were in this spot but most of us were exhausted by the time we got back in the boat.

Tomorrow we head to Malaysia!

Staying with the Locals

March 8
Today we were up at a decent time and headed to our homestay.  The drive was about two and a half hours and it started to rain while we were driving.  As a result, we stopped to put a tarp over the bags so that they wouldn’t get too wet.  

After getting settled, the group went out for a walk to check out the rubber tree.  I didn’t go as I wasn’t feeling good but it seems a rubbery tree is similar to a maple syrup tree.  There is a sap that they collect off the tree that is turned into rubber.  They saw pineapples and a cashew tree.

Due to the way this home stay was setup, the girls all stayed in one room with mattresses on the floor and mosquito nets.  One of the guys chose to sleep in a hammock outside the girl’s room and the other found somewhere else in the house to sleep, maybe one of the actual bedrooms they had.

Supper was provided by the family we were staying with.  It was served family style on the floor.   It included:
  • White rice
  • Chicken curry – not very spicy
  • A chicken and seafood stir-fry
  • Vegetables and meat
  • Hard boiled eggs
After we had a chance to digest, they showed us how to make banana’s wrapped in sticky rice.  Due to the time required, they became part of breakfast the next day. I never did get the name of it.
  • Cook sticky rice, coconut cream and sugar
  • Place on a banana leaf
  • Spread rice mixture out
  • Place banana on the rice mixture
  • Use leaf to wrap the rice around the banana
  • Fold leaf to make a tight bundle
  • Steam for approximately an hour
  • Cool for many hours before eating
My attempt
From there, some people chose to play cards and others did some reading.  It was a relaxing and nice evening for everyone.

Lots of Travelling

March 6
Our journey on the train was good and I slept on and off throughout the journey.  The bunks weren’t that big but I was okay.  I did keep my purse with me as I didn’t trust it out with my bag, just in case.  
On the sleeper car once the beds were made up.
We arrived around 8 am which was 1.5 hours beyond our scheduled time.  They call it “rubber” time as time is flexible.  We got off and had some breakfast and then onto our trucks for the ride to the park we were spending the night at.  
View off our deck.
 We arrived and I changed and had a swim.   It was very refreshing!  From there, I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the loungers on our front steps.  It was tempting to bring a mosquito net outside and sleep there.  Thankfully, the temperatures cooled off so sleeping at night was easier.
I could spend all day here!
Loungers on the deck
March 7
Off on a boat tour today.  We did stop at a 7-11 on our way to the lake and most of us grabbed some toilet paper and water.  We continued to the lake and everyone stopped to use the washroom first.  When we came out, there was a group of Muslim ladies outside who stopped us and asked if we would take a picture with them.  That was fun and a different experience for most of us.

Off to the river and onto the longboats.  We rode for about an hour until we got to an island and we hiked to an inner lake which took about half an hour.  It was a hard trek and one member decided to stay behind (70+ year old lady); it was uphill on rough terrain.
Steep uphill climb

Once we arrived and got back down the hill, we got onto a raft to go to a cave.  We didn’t have very far to go but the raft did sink down a bit into the water and my feet got wet.  We then had to climb up to get to the cave.  Inside the cave it was quite warm which seems odd as a person is used to caves being cool.
Cruisin, could have used some water shoes

Into the cave, who is afraid of the dark?
Then back to the raft and a hike back to the long tail boat.  It was a ten minute ride to our lunch stop where we had a family style lunch of steam rice, deep fried fish, a stir fry and a green curry.  There was also dessert consisting of a banana wrapped in coconut cream in a banana leaf, a banana fritter and a coconut leaf wrapped with sticky rice.  

After lunch we had free time.  Some people went for a swim; some went out on a canoe and some of us just relaxed and read or visited.  I did dangle my feet in the water but my kindle and I just relaxed for the most part. 

At three, we got back on the boat and headed back to the mainland. It started to rain and most of us donned the rain gear they had given us when we started out for the day.  We stopped to check out some large, mossy rocks but due to the rain, the majority of us had put our cameras away.  

From there, back to where we were staying to relax, eat and find out what is on the agenda for the next day.