Friday, 29 June 2012

Trip to Bangkok (The Journey)

Our trip to Bangkok for 12 days was very eventfull, so there shall be several parts (see bottom of post)
Part 1: The journey
On our journey to Bangkok
We decided to go to Bangkok by train for our next visa-run, not only because it was cheaper than flying, but because we wanted to experience the overnight train. Rebecca, a girl we met in Bon Ton did this a few weeks ago and we thought it sounded quite adventurous. It was difficult to find out how to get a ticket, as you could not book them in a travel agency anywhere. The best thing is to reserve a ticket online  or by phone and find out a couple of things about the train. This done, we would start by taking the ferry from Kuah (Langkawi) to Perlis and from there by taxi to Arau where we caught the train for our 15hr. trip to BKK. At the train station in Arau we sat and waited by a wire fence and Fiona, dead relaxed, said: "Look at that snake" the thing was about 2meters away (see photo)
Snake on the fence at Arau train station
The train was on time (which is not always the case and you can read about that later) and we started this new way of travelling. We had booked two bottom beds (they are more spacious then the top and you have a window) and were surprised how clean and professional it was. Once we were seated a waiter came and asked whether we wanted to order dinner and breakfast so we did. It was a little on the pricey side, but we just had to do it as a treat and when it came it tasted and looked really good.
The seats
Diner on the train to BKK
We desperately needed a cigarette after our feast so went on to explore the train and ended up where the staff work and it was as if we just entered an "Indiana Jones" movie. The doors were all open, soot flying through the air, no suspension on the waggon, so it rocked like on a roller coaster and definitely no air con. It was great and we thoroughly enjoyed this part immensely as you would not find this anywhere in Europe
Ahh fresh Air :)
No door? No Problem
Sunset at the open door
View out of the train

It was time for our beds to be made and we had to try them out as soon as they were done. Surprisingly really spacious and comfortable. The whole wagon was all of a sudden covered in blue curtains and most people got straight into their bunks and it quickly went quiet. Ahh, it might be an idea to wash your feet before going to bed, specially if you travel with flip-flops (picture below)
In bed
Plenty of room
Silence on board

The next posts will be about:

- Arrival in BKK and our Guest house
- Temples in BKK
- China Town and Markets
- The Tiger temple
- Bangkok tipps and tricks
Each part will have lots of photos to look at and more info

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Monday, 11 June 2012

Animal Encounters and other events in Cenang

We have been in our new home now for about three weeks and because we are about to go on our next visa run ( two weeks Bangkok, getting there by overnight train) we are actually writing two posts in one. These are just things we experienced in the last three weeks.
Let`s start with the scary part:
We were on our veranda a couple of nights ago, barefoot, and had no lights on outside (we`ll never do that again) We told you before about the story where cobras are concerned, so I went (beer in hand, and contemplating about life) walking on the veranda. Within a split second Fiona shouted: "Come over to me NOW.." stepping back herself a foot or two. I moved, very fast indeed (thinking there was a cobra behind me) lol and when I turned my head I saw.....(see picture below) a black scorpion about 10cm in length. If Fiona would not have seen it, I would have definitely stepped on him and got stung. Scary or what?
Well, funny things happen too. When we left Berlin we had to leave our beloved cat behind (with some nice neighbours) and after the experience with the scorpion we thought how nice it would be to have a cat again, not thinking how quickly this wish would become reality (it all seems to fall into place nowadays) So, two days later a black cat appears and walks right over to our house, a little TLC and he adopted us real well. He sleeps outdoors, but is there in the morning and lingers around the house all day. When we go out he sits on the veranda and greets us really nicely when we get back. He`s a right gem and we have called him Squeaky, due to the noises he makes.
No miaow just a squeak!
The next day Fiona got up and had a surprise when she opened the back door. In the hotel complex next to us was a herd of cows eating away in the garden, and in the front of the house the harvesting of coconuts took place. How crazy is that, first time privacy endangered ;)
Roaming cows
Freestyle climbing
Watch out for coconuts
Ok, let`s go to the interesting part (if you are still reading)
We had written about the rainy season starting and to prove it, we took some pictures of what damage a storm did to Cenang Beach. Some of you might have been here before and recognize parts of the beach, especially Babylon Bar, where at night people enjoy a good drink and Reggae/live music lying on the beach and also some other spots by hotels where now walls have been washed away and debris covers parts of the beach. Palm tree roots have surfaced and about a metre of sand height has just been washed away.
At Babylon Bar
Still standing (just)
All along the beach
We are about to go to Bangkok by overnight train, meet friends, do some shopping and visit the tiger temple as well as other things, so the next posts may be quite interesting.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Langkawi Virus

About two weeks ago someone contacted us again via our contact form from Singapore. The woman wrote to us saying they were in a similar situation as us, i.e. they sold up and are travelling different countries and that they are coming to Langkawi and would like to meet us. This was the second time we were meeting people through our blog, which is great, it means people read it and find it interesting what we are doing.

Anna and Jon
We met Anna and Jon at the entrance of  theWaterworld Langkawi and decided to go for some snacks and a cold drink. They are at the moment living in Singapore but are (very similar to us) looking around at different places, open minded where they might end up. The story of Anna`s life was absolutely fascinating as she was one of the Boat People (check out these pictures) who escaped communist Vietnam in 1979, by this time her family had lost everything and she had been imprisoned twice. First for two years and then a short-while later for another year. Her Homepage is well worth a visit. Luckily we had a lot to talk about and decided to go up to Gunung Raya together the next day, where we experienced again the friendliness of the Malay people.

Little Nabila(h) brought us a plate with food. Shy and sweet
Malay Family, with Anna, Fiona and Jon having a picnic on the pavement 
In front of a misty Gunung Raya Tower
The clouds were too low to see the sunset on the hill, so we just stood for a break at the railing for a chat after the drive when a little girl came up all shy and offered us some food wrapped in banana leaf. It turned out to be a sweet rice jelly, filled with coconut and it was delicious. When we turned to the family to thank them, they asked us to join and we had grilled prawn, chilly crab and more of these lovely banana leaf wrapped sweets. The family are from Malacca on mainland Malaysia, here on holiday and it turned out one of the girls is a children's TV presenter. It was soon time to move on and we went to Kuah for an evening meal.
Jon, the Crab and a bottle of Scotch (can it get any better?)
Fiona and Annas plates are empty, so is the beer, must have been good
Fighting over the bill (the big man lost) who is the big man? :)
We went to Wonderland a Chinese Restaurant and had some good food, but the best was, Jon had bought a bottle of Grouse (my favourite Scotch) by chance and we were allowed to compliment our meal with it. Good company, good food and a bottle of Grouse on a tropical Island, what else could you wish for. We think they enjoyed Langkawi and we are sure they shall come back soon (they already looked for places to stay) Must be the Langkawi Virus....