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Kat & Andrew's Worldwide Adventures

Last Stops! Phuket, Thailand & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

MALAYSIA | Thursday, 26 December 2013 | Views [2010]

The boat trip from Koh Phi Phi to Phuket took an hour and a half. Phuket is a huge island – to the point that it almost feels like a city. The main beaches are Patong, Kata & Karon. We decided to stay at Karon as it is the quietest of the 3. The beaches are beautiful with golden sand & turquoise water but is decked out with rows of umbrellas & beach chairs, loads of people, activities such as jetskiiing & parasailing, and locals wondering around selling various things. Still, I was pleasantly surprised that I liked it as I had heard that the island was seedy & tacky.

It still has its seedy parts for sure though! Patong Beach is incredibly hectic and full on, and at night, the streets are lit up with flashing neon lights from endless bars, with people trying to drag you in to see ping pong shows. Still, it has a really fun vibe for a random night out and I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. I think it would be great with a group of friends!

We stayed in Phuket for 3 nights and hired a motorbike and checked out the other beaches on the island and a few wedding venues. Also did a little shopping at the markets. We had great weather so on our last day in Thailand we treated ourselves and hired sun loungers and spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach until sunset.

Thailand is so diverse – the North, Bangkok and the Islands in the South do not feel like they are all part of the same country! In the North you can really feel the culture, Bangkok is very busy & Western, and the South is stunning and very much the foreigners play ground – so its natural beauty is getting ruined. We spent over a month in this wonderful country and it was sad to leave.

The island is so big; it took over an hour to get to the airport by taxi. Our flight to Kuala Lumpur took an hour and a half and our clocks went back 1 hour. There is a train into the city from the airport that only takes half an hour and costs $12pp but we opted for the cheaper but longer option by bus (one hour) for $4 each. We stayed in the heart of Chinatown above the colourful and busy tourist markets. It was inevitable that we would do more shopping!

We spent 3 nights in Kuala Lumpur and explored the markets, malls and city streets with its mosques and of course, the splendid twin Petronas Towers. It cost over $30 each to go up the towers to enjoy the view – for Asia, that is incredibly expensive! But it was worth it. The Towers and the view over the large sprawling city is spectacular. We had an early start to get in line as tickets are first in first served (you get 15 minute designated spots assigned throughout the day) and people begin to line up before 8am. We discovered afterwards that you can also book online – do this!

The city is quite a vibrant and interesting mix of cultures and religions – Chinese, Malays & Indians, Buddhist, Christian & Muslims. The Islamic faith is quite apparent in a lot of the buildings designs and how many women are dressed covering everything but their hands and faces. Still, the city is very western, the LRT subway train system is fantastic, and we felt comfortable there and enjoyed ourselves. We decided not to check out Batu Caves, and other than that, shopping and the towers, there’s not too much to do in the city so a few days is definitely enough.

After 3 and a half months, 6 countries, 38 guesthouses, 92 hours in 22 buses & vans, 46.5 hours on 4 trains, 26.5 hours on 8 flights, and 28.5 hours on 10 boats (+ 2 days on a Junk Boat in Halong Bay)– we finally returned to reality in Australia. With only one days “rest” though, we were off on another 8 hour road trip with Andrew’s family to Merimbula for Christmas & New Years!

Asia has been a fantastic journey – very different from our 5 and a half month South American adventure. The highlights of this trip would definitely be volunteering in Cambodia & Angkor Watt, Gibbon Experience in Laos, Halong Bay & Hoi An in Vietnam and sunning it up in the islands of Thailand.

Travelling is in my blood, it’s ingrained in who I am, and it will always be my passion – but I am definitely getting older and backpacking is becoming less desirable. In South America we coped easily with roughing it in dorm rooms, living simply and making most of our own food as cheaply as possible. This time we preferred private rooms with our own bathrooms (which mostly were very affordable), ate out a lot at cheap stalls & restaurants (mainly because most guesthouses don’t have kitchens) and treated ourselves to lots of shopping. On both trips though, we mainly moved locations every 3 days. 3 and a half months of that was enough this time! From now on it would be nice to not move around as much, stay in nicer hotels and most likely only go for 2 – 4 weeks at a time. (But it’s so hard when there is SOOO much to see hehe!).

Now back to reality. Not looking forward to interviews and being in limbo without a home for the next 3 -4 months, and being broke! But very eager to get my new life in Australia on track for 2014.

New Years Goals:

  • Find a decent job to continue my desired career path as a PA / Event Coordinator (hopefully not in the city as it would mean a 1.5 hr commute in each direction...)
  • Get fit and complete a Half Marathon
  • Set up a home & get a Dog with my fiancé (and look into buying a new house together)
  • Start a Bachelor of Business – Event Management - Degree part time by distance learning
  • Save for and organise our wedding for January 2015 in Thailand

 

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