Malaysia, the third time around – Langkawi

November 11, 2011 - Filed under Travel

The first time we visited Malaysia, we flew into Kuala Lumpur and fell in love with some elephants at the elephant sanctuary, arranged our 3 month Thai visas, ate a ton of hawker food, and shopped till we dropped.

The second time we found out the hawker food was even better in Penang, dove the Perhentian Islands, dove with turtles and sharks in Sipadan, and had an amazing experience riding motorcycles in Malaysian Borneo.

This third time, we laid on the beach!

Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Malaysia

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Posted by: Shim

Malaysia and Canada travel budgets

September 27, 2009 - Filed under Planning, Travel

Continuing our series of travel budget posts, here’s the numbers from the last 3 months. We spent 2 months in Malaysia with 1 month spent in Penang and 1 month in Malaysian Borneo. Since this was the end of the Asian leg of our journey, we traveled around a lot more and took part in a few more costly activities like diving at Sipadan and a motorcycle tour near Kota Kinabalu. I also had to buy a new laptop in Kuala Lumpur to replace my busted computer. Then there’s the clothes budget. We had to prepare for upcoming Canadian weather and business meetings. Overall, it was a big hit to the wallet.

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Posted by: Shim

Rasa Ria Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Center

August 15, 2009 - Filed under Stuff to do

Since Mike finds monkeys creepy and had no desire to see Orang-Utans while we were in Asia, we didn’t bother making the trip to Sandakan, eastern Borneo, to visit Sepilok Rehabilitation Center. Luckily, however, there is a smaller Orang-Utan sanctuary, not too far from where we were staying. I took a day out from motor-biking and went to see the Orang-Utans by myself.

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Posted by: Kelly

Week 49: Borneo Biking Adventures

Back in 2007 I picked up an issue of Bike magazine with an idyllic inside cover shot of a motorcycle traveling up a pristine, empty road through lush jungle valleys shrouded in mist. “Like a trackday paradise” read the title, and I was pretty much sold. Reading the actual article did little to dissuade me. Government funded and maintained highways, little to no traffic, and you get to stay in a beautifully architected house overlooking a valley of rainforest below? This was undoubtedly motorcycle paradise. The article was ear marked, often re-read, and each time I swore that if I had a chance to visit Borneo, I’d be tearing through the S-curves on an Aprilia Pegaso, wind in my face, tires to tarmac. Who knew at the time that Borneo also housed a little diving gem called Sipadan? When planning our trip through southeast Asia, my sales pitch to Kelly lasted all of 30 seconds before we were arranging itineraries in Sabah.

Malaysian Borneo
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Posted by: Shim

Week 48: Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

August 7, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

We spent this week in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, quite content, doing practically nothing. After a couple of weeks of budget living (single beds, shared bathrooms and cold water) we couldn’t wait for a hot shower, and the prospect of whiling away the hours with a good book and a hot bath was something I’d been looking forward to for months. Those of you that have traveled in Asia understand how rare it can be to find a bathtub, and we were quite intent on making the most of it.

Our grand plan of taking the last few weeks off, kind of backfired on us, and we both ended up putting in a few days of work. I also spent a big chunk of time going through all the pictures from our 5 days of diving in Sipadan & Mabul, and Mike has been busy editing together a video with some of the footage we got from one of the guys we dove with our last day in Sipadan.

In-between working and wasting away in the bathtub, we enjoyed several beers along the waterfront, and had a couple of really good meals. KK is definitely the place to get some fantastic seafood. There are several good restaurants, and the night market has some really great BBQ stalls.

All-in-all it’s been a pretty chilled out week, but exactly what we needed.

sunset in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

Posted by: Kelly

Week 47: Diving Sipadan and Mabul

I’m a spoiled scuba diver. I started diving last October in the Philippines when I realized that my motorcycle habit wasn’t going to be fulfilled and was instantly fascinated with the underwater world. Over the last year, I’ve done around 80+ dives (not too shabby for a recreational diver!). While I’ve enjoyed almost every dive, the first 40 or so tend to be the most memorable since they took place in the Philippines.

The Philippines pretty much had it all as far as I was concerned. Great macro and muck diving in the Dauin area. Fantastic wall dives at Siquijor. Beautiful soft corals and schools of fish at Apo Island. Turtles at Moalboal and sharks at Malapascua. It’s a package that was hard to beat. Traveling through Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, I never came across a place with the diversity that the Visayas offered. Sure, there were some amazing hi-lights along the way like the whale shark in Thailand and manta rays in Indonesia, but never matching the sheer range of corals, creatures, and dive opportunities. Until Sipadan…

Sipadan, Borneo
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Posted by: Shim

Week 46: The Perhentian Islands

July 27, 2009 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Weekly Report

Monday was a travel day. It took us almost 11 hours to get from Penang to the Perhentian Islands off the east coast of Malaysia. One taxi, two planes, a mini-bus and one very bumpy speed boat, and we finally arrived.

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Posted by: Kelly

Week 45: The week that we forgot

July 21, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

Ok so I know I’m a bit late in posting this, but to be honest, not a lot happened during our last week in Penang. We had couple of the biggest storms we’ve seen since we arrived in Asia (with the exception of the huge one in the Philippines). The thunder was some of the loudest I’ve ever heard, and the lightning was so close together it felt like it was practically on top of us. At one point it struck a tree outside of our condo and I must have jumped about 3 feet.

Needless to say with the weather so crappy we didn’t get up to much that week. We ate dinner at the hawker stalls a few more times, and hit up the local mall to buy a few new books and pick up some travel essentials to see us through the last few weeks.

We’re down to our last month of traveling in Asia, and have quite a bit planned. We’re hoping to put away the laptops as much as possible, and head a little more off the beaten path. So, we might be a little late with the next couple of updates, but stay tuned for our adventures in Borneo!

Posted by: Kelly

Week 44: This week in pictures

July 6, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

Monday: Steamboat dinner @ Guan Guan Cafe

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Posted by: Kelly

Week 43: Penang continued…

June 30, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

We’ve been in Penang for just over 2 weeks now, and to be honest, our feelings about the place are still kind of mixed. The area we’re staying in, Batu Ferringhi, consists mainly of large hotels and overpriced restaurants, and it seems as if the entire place is undergoing construction. It often feels as if you’re walking through a hurricane zone. That being said, it’s oddly quiet here. Most of the shops and restaurants are closed during the day, and don’t bother opening till early evening and some times not even at all. There is a strange inconsistency to opening hours, which we just can’t seem to figure out.

Batu Ferringhi

On Saturday we decided to head into George Town to check out some of the heritage buildings, and see what there was to offer. We headed to the tourist office first, in order to grab a map and get ourselves oriented, but surprise, surprise it was closed. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

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