Missing Malaysia

We are now in Thailand at Phuket, Kata Beach. It is a bit of a contrast from our time in Malaysia. We are at a lovely new hotel close to Kata Beach called the Melody. There is not a lot to do that appeals to us here except chill and relax by the pool. The islands do not appeal as I was here in the 80s and prefer to keep those memories and fear if we go it will be like a reenactment of the Normandy landings. Lots of shops and the massages are cheap but not as good as the ones we had in Malaysia.

Food in Thailand is well below par compared with Malaysia. It is not awful just lacks the wow factor. Below some of our foodie experiences from Malaysia.

Our next stop after Thailand in a few days will be Vietnam so hoping the food will get better.

Day 3 Sydney: A trip to Manly Beach and what it cost

John:

Just thinking of how nice the beaches were in Sydney

Originally posted on JohnandDebbieRTWadventure:

A trip to Manly Beach

We awoke to another glorious sunny day in Sydney. I have the proof with some sunburn. We purchased a daily metro pass for A$24 each and that includes ferry rides. Our first stop was Circular Quay after leaving Bardwell Park at 9am. We were lucky to catch the 9.30am Manly ferry. The ferry ride gives you the opportunity to see Sydney from the sea with views of the bridge, Sydney Opera house and coastline. The ferry also bizarrely goes backwards for 30 minutes all the way to Manly. It is a short walk from the ferry terminal to Manly beach where we had brunch at The Pantry.

Manly Scenic Walkway

We decided to do a shortened version of the Manly Scenic Walkway. We walked to Shelly Beach and then up a hill towards North Head. Because we were meeting someone in Sydney later that…

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Talking to the great white telephone: Food poisoning while travelling and how to avoid it

John:

Probably playing with fire here but five weeks in Asia and no problems yet unlike past trips!

Originally posted on JohnandDebbieRTWadventure:

Have you ever been travelling and a few hours after eating you get that nauseous feeling. Depending on the virulence of the poisoning it can develop over a few hours or up to 3 days later after eating contaminated food and the symptoms can include stomach cramps, fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. The result of food poisoning is you spend the next few days either speaking to the great white telephone or emptying bits of food that may have been trapped in your bowels for years. I have had food poisoning in Egypt, India, China, Pakistan, South Africa, Botswana and Peru. My wife has had it in South Africa, Thailand and Australia.

This food was fine in Dubai This food was fine in Dubai

I would be curious to hear about your worse food poisoning experience while travelling and how you dealt with it? Below are some of ours plus a few tips to avoid it…

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Fourth Week in Malaysia: Cameron Highlands and Penang

Our last week in Malaysia was spent in the cooler climes of the Cameron Highlands and the delightfully spicy Georgetown, Penang. It was a simple task to get to the Highlands, we just hired a taxi for the grand sum of 150 ringget and even had a few stops along the way for photos. It did not take long and it was nice to go somewhere a bit cooler. The few days we were in Brinchang were busy. One day was spent hunting for the Rafflesia flower and of course a tea plantation visit to sample the produce.

Brinchang

Once again we stayed in a lovely hotel. the Copthorne in Brinchang. However, unlike other places in Malaysia the food was decidedly mediocre. We did try a steamboat restaurant but it was all a bit bland and unappealing. I think we really needed someone to help us with our selection and that actually knew what they were doing!

Our day tour of the Highlands with Eco Cameron Highlands Tours started at 9am and finished around 6pm. You definitely get value for money. The jeep was comfortable and the guide Navin was very informative if a little fast when walking through the jungle. After two hours through a lot of sweat and the heat of the hottest part of the day we saw the magnificent rafflesia flower. It only blooms a few days and dies so it was nice to see one in its natural habitat. If your inspired to see this flower then make sure you wear a hat, have good footwear and bring water. At the end of the trek we were given a demonstration of how to use a blow dart pipe which was fun and which we could also try. After lunch we visited the Boh Tea Plantation, one of only two plantations that produce tea in the Highlands. The road to it is not far from Brinchang where we were staying and is a narrow, albeit sealed road. At the end of the road is a tea factory, exhibition and a great cafe with views to die for from there verandah.

The last part of our full day tour was to drive to the highest point in the Cameroon Highlands where from a viewing tower we could see our hotel and a lot of clouds. Afterwards we walked in the Mossy forest which is a bit like being on the movie set of the Lord of the Rings. We had a great full day listening to Navin’s explanation of the forest and the tea plants. I would recommend anyone visiting the Highlands to do this trip.

The Highlands is a bit of a contradiction with a lot of ugly parts, miles and miles of plastic covered greenhouses and the tea plantations are tucked away behind hills. The road through the towns of the Highlands is a narrow one and on either side their appears to be a competition on who can build the ugliest building. In saying that once you get off the trodden path and venture a bit further afield there are some real areas of beauty and of course great tea.

Penang

We took the bus to Penang, we had to change once as the bus had problems but it only took around 3 hours to get their from Brinchang. The bus ticket was a very reasonable 35 ringgit each and the seats were comfortable. During our five days in Penang we visited temples and clan houses, Penang Hill, one night at a world music festival and of course lots and lots of eating.

The highlight for me of our visit to Penang was Kek Lok Si temple also known as the temple of Supreme Bliss. The complex is not to big and split between different levels with the Pagoda, the hall and the large Goddess of Mercy statue overlooking Penang. We climbed to the top of the Pagoda and got some wonderful views and enjoyed the cooling breeze. Throughout the temple complex the Buddhist statues are exquisite and I can see why this is considered one of the finest temple complexes in SE Asia. The large Goddess of Mercy is impressive and we enjoyed the nearby gardens and fish pond.

There is a lot to see here. It is easy to get to from downtown Georgetown with the 204 bus which also goes on to Penang Hill. Going up the hill on the funicular was ok and the views although misty were nice. However, I would not rush back to do it again. The visit to Kek Lok Si is a great day out for young and old. I would go early while it’s relatively cooler. Bus ticket cost us 2 RM each to get there and another 2 RM to get back from Georgetown. It cost 2 RM for entry to the Pagoda complex and 6 RM return on the short funicular ride to the Goddess of Mercy.

If you want to read more about our visits to restaurants then check out my kiwiinbrighton tripadvisor page. Overall the food was excellent and the service good.

What did our week cost?

This week we travelled only a few hours on a bus from the Cameron Highlands to Penang for our last week in Malaysia.

Brinchang accommodation cost £125 or US$187 for three nights at the Copthorne Hotel
Penang hotel accommodation £239 or US$359 for five nights at the Sunway Hotel where we enjoyed the use of their pool every day after the heat of Penang.
Spending for the week for food, transport, attractions £367 or US$551 or 2000 ringgit

Total Spend for the last eight days: £731 or US$1,099 which works out at US$ 138 per day for two people. I also paid some of the hotel nights from our ringgit which is deducted from the food, transport, etc.

The last week In Malaysia was brilliant. We did a great hike in the Highlands to see the Rafflesia. Penang also was a delight with the murals in Georgetown, the world music festival we attended one night and of course the food. From Penang we fly to Thailand for a few days relaxing at Kata Beach.

Devils and Delights: A Tasmanian Adventure

John:

Just saw it is raining in Tasmania. Really enjoyed our trip there and hope to get their again one day.

Originally posted on JohnandDebbieRTWadventure:

After a stopover in Melbourne for one night we headed for the Southern most state of Australia, Tasmania, flying into the capital Hobart. We were here for six days to explore a little of what Tasmania has to offer. The accommodation we decided to use was mostly AirBnb and boy was that a great decision. The first two nights we spent at Paul’s in Hobart, his place is literally a few minutes walk from Elizabeth Street and its many restaurants. A bit of a theme was that we seemed stay at people’s places who had dogs which was fun. Hobart was a great city and we mostly just walked around and visited the two highest points to enjoy the views. Luckily, the days we were there the weather was kind. I also visited the Cascade brewery and did a tasting.

The next day we visited the Tahune Air walk. We…

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KL food tour and Ipoh. What did our third week in Malaysia cost?

This week we returned to Kuala Lumpur from Melacca for a further four days at the Invito Hotel. The highlight of our four days was a food culinary tour which took us to Little India and Chinatown. We then headed up to Ipoh where we were told has the best food in Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur

My wife Debbie found on tripadvisor the Food Tour of Malaysia. We booked the tour and met on the day at 11am Charles our knowledgeable and friendly guide. We first headed for Little India where we enjoyed a great Indian meal and ice lemon tea. Then we had some lovely dessert snacks at a nearby hawkers stand. After that we had a lovely cool shaved ice with I have no idea what was in it, but it was tasty. We then had to sit out a downpour at a nearby Indian cafe where I tried banana roti, yummy. Once the downpour stopped we used the monorail to get to Chinatown.

Here we saw a traditional wet market with fish and a range of meats. We finished at a Chinese restaurant trying out several yummy noodle dishes. It was a great day with Charles and one of our highlights in Kuala Lumpur. For US$35 each the food tour was well worth it. Great guide and I learnt a log about different dishes. The remaining few days in KL we spent exploring the city and enjoying the wide range of foods available.

Ipoh

Getting to Ipol was easy. I purchased the day before two tickets on the Gold Express for 70 ringgets. The train took two and a half hours and was comfortable with even a movie to watch. On arrival we took a taxi to the Regalodge for our next three nights.

It was a great few days in Ipoh where we visited a Buddhist cave and ate our way through the town. Dim sum, Northern Indian and traditional Malay food. The Pakeeza restaurant near our hotel also had some lovely food. We had a tasty meal of several dishes including a great butter chicken, dhal palak or yellow lentils and spinach, aloo gobi masala and two thirst quenching mango lassi’s. I enjoyed the dhal the most it was scrummy. Our banquet came to the a total of 73 ringgets or £14 or US$20. Service was good and the decor ok. The other highlight was the Dim sum restaurant. We had breakfast at Foo San. They bring around little trolleys with some of the dim sum. You also line up to get them as well. The dim sum was delicious. Enjoyed the atmosphere of this huge and very busy restaurant.

If you ever go to Ipoh make sure you go and visit the KeK Lok Tong Cave Temple and Zen Gardens. They are about 8 km our of town and beautifully set in some lovely gardens. The caves have some wonderful statues and are also a place to escape the heat of the day. We also enjoyed seeing the turtle pond. See if you can spot the giant turtle in the photo.

What did our week cost?

This week we travelled not to far getting up to Ipoh before heading on to the Cameron Highlands and then on to Penang for our next week in Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur accommodation cost £180 or US$265 for four nights at the Invito Hotel
Ipoh hotel accommodation £80 or US$119 for three nights at the Regalodge
Spending for the week for food, transport, attractions £389 or US$577 or 2087 ringget

Total Spend for one week: £659 or US$978 which works out at US$ 140 per day for two people.

This we sampled the food delights of Kl and Ipoh. Next stop are the Cameron Highlands where we plan to drink tea and do some hiking.