Australia and Oceania, Asia · 34 Days · 27 Moments · May 2017

Hannah's journi to South East Asia

28 June 2017

Same same but different! I travelled throughout Vietnam with Mum! Our experiences were so diverse. We went from a beachside resort called Fusion in Nha Trang (the beach capital) to Mrs Soi's homestay in Sapa where the kitchen was shared by a feral cat. We travelled from South to North mostly via plane and under no exception did we not have our conical bamboo hats on (especially Mrs Date!) Other forms of transport included: the back of motorbikes to Mr Phong's local village (go Mum - bet you didn't think you'd do that!), a private car with HuePrivateCars driven by the exceptional Mr Ben over the Hai Van Pass (Top Gear road). Amongst massages, cocktails, treks amongst rice fields, local cuisine and navigating through hectic noisy motorbike traffic - our favourite destination by far was the beloved Hoi An. This place had glorious food, cheap drinks and by night the colourful lanterns radiated light to make the old town ridiculously pretty! Mum and I LOVE Vietnam.

22 June 2017

Sengiggi & Gili T Island I met Kate and Madie in Sengiggi which was perfect because they were in relax mode and it is definitely what I needed to recover from the trek. Plus it was just in time for happy hour at the Sheraton Resort. Eat, sleep, cocktail, repeat. That's pretty much what we have been doing! With a bit of bartering on the side at the markets. The Sheraton resort is in the ultimate location with a fresh pool with a swim up bar. Our favourite spot was the hut on the beach - because you know, it's a beach front location! This morning at Gili T we rode our bicycles to the north of the island to snorkel. We saw reef sharks, a massive ray and so many fish! Unfortunately, no turtles... YET! We are currently waiting for happy hour to kick off a night of partying! 2 for 1 cocktails so shall we order 6?!

21 June 2017

Farewell Indonesia and my Gili T girls! We had such a fab, relaxing time filled with laughs with the locals. We stayed at the Oambak Sunset which I highly recommend. They were very helpful with great breakfasts. Plus staying on the quiet side of the island was a great choice so that we only rode our bikes to central Gili T for dinner or events. Being away from the havoc and busy shopping street had no downfalls. Now it's time to fly to Vietnam to meet Mum in Ho Chi Minh. Perhaps we will get a pedi tonight?!

18 June 2017

I did it. I climbed to the summit of Mt Rinjani. I cannot believe I did it. The trek was so difficult mentally and physically! This was over 3 days and 2 nights. The summit trek was so steep through volcanic sand so every step was half of a step back. We began at 2am and my head torch was dim within minutes. I just kept thinking of the troops in the world wars and how they were able to get through extreme conditions. I also kept reminding myself that your mind gives up before your body does. Just keep climbing one step at a time - how tedious. Luckily, I had a wonderful team who were so encouraging of each other. I think an Oreo cookie with 40 mins to go got me through haha! The sunrise on the top was just wow. It was also FREEZING! But we had 360 degree immaculate views. Just wow. Absolutely worth it! Then we had to climb down... now that it was daylight I could see how narrow our path was. So scary! The day consisted of 13 hrs of trekking. Wot.

17 June 2017

It's 4.22am and I'm waiting for a bus that's ETA was 4am. ASIA! I'm going to travel for a couple of hours up to Senaru to start trekking to Mt Rinjani. This will take 3 days and 2 nights and will be sooooo worth it - I can't wait to reach the summit but as they say it's about the journey not the destination. We will see.

14 June 2017

Today I drank from a coconut and spent time exploring the beautiful beaches in South Lombok.

12 June 2017

Goodbye Malaysia. I will see you again, one day. I'd like to go to Brunei with someone to see jungle life, visit the Sandakan memorial park and go diving! Who's in?

11 June 2017

Last night we drove to Kuala Selangor to the firefly park- Hanna hired a car to make it so much cheaper than a tour or taxi. Only 60RM each. It was a pleasant experience, riding in boats that were guided by some local men. It was so surreal to me because the particular trees where the fireflies live just looked like delicate Christmas lights. The night was filled with ooohs and aaaahhhhhs - even when we found a beautifully detailed temple on the way home.

10 June 2017

I've met another Hanna - from Finland! She has been to Lombok, Indonesia, many times so she's given me a great insight. I'll be flying there on Monday morning. She's on the same path so at the moment we are taking the night bus to Kuala Lumper. I'm a little sad I miss out on Singapore but it was more expensive to fly from there. Im looking forward to the day I will have a step over there and know exactly where to explore!

8 June 2017

So far so good at Perhentian Islands. I'm loving my scuba diving course and especially hanging with the solo travellers I've met along the way. Beers and dancing every night with swims and breakfast every day!

3 June 2017

We set off to Monkey Beach, Penang to camp. At first we thought it would be super hot and was skeptical about the place - WRONG! This mad dog of all mad dogs, Aslan, owns this place called Lazy Boys Cafe. They rent out a tent for 15 ringgit a night then you pay just a tad more for them to cook for you and have some beers. This set up is amazing. Hammocks everywhere, a live reggae set at night, board games, books and fresh water coming from the mountains to shower or bathe if you wish. We trekked to the lighthouse to watch the sunset on the first night, played music til 3am and slept in a hammock or a mat in a tent (check for scorpion first). The next day we played monopoly, I did some yoga in an abandoned house looking out to the jungle, swam and checked fishing nets, played more games as a group which was of course followed by more music. I had so many one on one lessons - such a thrill! We left after sunrise this morning and took this photo before we separated :(
Markus, Chiara and I had a snack at little India. SO MUCH AMAZING FOOD!! Then had a $1.50 beer at the beer garden and ended up at Tipsy Tiger hostel for some more drinks. The crowd headed to Love Lane where we ended up all dancing on the street to a live band!! Just bliss 😊 luckily, Chiara and I still have a quiet hostel to ourselves so we got home for a good rest - except the Russian Nan here was telling us to shoosh when we were giggling getting in the door!

1 June 2017

George Town is a mix of Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and English in such a small, historical, seaside town. It is renown for it's street art and delicious FOOD! Chiara and I are staying in a pretty empty hostel which is nice and then along came Marcus. Last night we grabbed noodles cooked on the street, bought a couple of beers from a stall and talked to fellow travellers. Today, we walked around to find more beautiful street art, eating fruit along the way and grabbing any Indian snack we could find. Ahhhh it's so yummy I'm in love with the Indian food here, sweets and all!

30 May 2017

THE CAMERON HIGHLANDS Hitch hiking - tick! Meet Malaysian Warwick - tick! Our driver showed us his glorious farm amongst the hills. He picked us some spring onion. He was happy to drive us around while he did in town errands - such a warwick thing to do. Not only that but he had the same mannerisms. Dad, you would have loved the off beaten track, the farm lands, tea plantation and factory. Plus, all of the locals I met were super happy and they say because they know they live in such beautiful highlands. The photos that follow are of mossy forest - hilarious tour guides showed us their favourite trail and educated us on the plants of the forest (including ones for medicinal purposes)...

29 May 2017

Petronas Towers. After grabbing Indian cuisine for $2!!! (We laughed out loud at the sight of the bill) Taylor, Kiara and I took a 50 min walk to the towers. It was a splendid walk mostly because we got an insight to each other's travels and motivations for travelling. We arrived just in time for a spectacular fountain light show on the pool in front of the centre. Taylor let me borrow his doovalacky (a wide angle lens?) that attaches to iPhone camera to get a splendid pic. (See above!!) Each 5 points of this architecture represents the 5 Islamic Pillars.
ChinaTown! We tried a Lychee and a hairy fruit by the name of Rambutan. Lachlan, are you sure you don't want some hippy pants to go with that Asian bar we will manage? 👀
Islamic Art Museum This museum was such a great insight to the Islamic culture and history. Malaysia has a multicultural nation consisting of Malay, Indian and Chinese influences. The Islamic culture / Muslim faith was spread throughout the world over centuries and craftsmen of various cultures introduced each other to their techniques and traditions. Most craftsmen then narrowed down to one specific trade. As I was observing the intricate paintings from India, and the beautifully crafted jewellery from Central Asia as well as the royal Malay textiles - I thought to myself "hmmm maybe I didn't get my 21st Arabian Nights party theme correct - perhaps it should have been "Islamic". BUT then I came across an Islamic map simplifying the origins of Islam and most came from Arabia! Nailed it! 1. Iran Helmet (thought of Dad) 2. Central Asia Female Headpiece 3. Malay Royal Dress 4. Royal Textiles (purple and yellow reserved for royals)

28 May 2017

This morning I headed down to Thean Hau (Chinese Temple) via Uber for $1.50!! When I arrived I of course took my shoes off and entered the temple that had the aroma of scented smoke sticks and alight wishing candles. The architecture of this temple is incredible, colourful and immaculate. Looking beyond the deck there are views of KL's skyline. The whole nation here is enveloped in their religious ways and I believe they are very humble people for this reason. They pray and participate in faithful activities and they never seem in a hurry because it's simply their way of life. I was granted with a guidance letter from a little drawer on a cylinder shaped stand - cute!

27 May 2017

I headed down to Central Market and by this time it was late morning. Apparently the morning is the happy time for shop owners or just their way of selling their products to me. Nevertheless, everyone is happy and I enjoyed getting the hang of bargaining again. My way is always being joyful and friendly, then get straight to the point and start walking out of the shop if they don't want a bar of your price! I bought a watch with a tan leather band, 2 pair of hippy pants and a cotton top with an elephant print. (Oops!)
Booked into Explorers Guesthouse and they greeted me with smiles and "Selamat Detang"s (welcome in Malay). They have a luggage store room so I could drop off my bags and help myself to tea and coffee with breakfast and wifi even though I couldn't check in til mid afternoon. I gained an insight to the must do's in KL from fellow travellers before I set off to get my bearings of the city - all to myself!
China Town was a lot more frantic compared to my morning at Central Markets. If you want to grab yourself some great fake sunnies or runners - that's your place. I, however, gained myself some bananas, chestnuts and sourced out a place for a SIM card. Price: 152 Ruggit for 10gig data and 50 mins calls to international.
Vishal Indian Catering was an authentic experience - eating delicious Indian curries from a banana leaf with nothing but your hands! All you have to do is take a seat and the cooks come around and slap on some curry on your leaf that's placed in front of you. Thank you to Lee the local who not only introduced it to me but shouted the dish! (Or leaf?) What an absolute gem.
I caught a 1 Ringgit bas (30c bus) to Brickville where there was a funky strip of shops, a west field looking shopping centre and temples hidden around amongst the modern architecture.

26 May 2017

Thank you to my wonderful family for taking me all the way to Melbourne International Airport. I am so grateful and I know how lucky I am to have so much love and support in my life. I'm so proud of myself not only for taking a leap of faith to do something I've always wanted to do and travel solo - but look! I packed so little!! If you want to see what I packed - scroll down to my female packing guide!