A Travellerspoint blog

Korea

It was a very long time ago since I went on a trip with my extended family, meaning the entire tour group comprises of all our own family members. To be honest, I didn't feel all that excited, although I won't say I wasn't happy. Turned out to be a rather enjoyable trip but at the last minute I dropped my camera on the plane, together with all the precious photos we took. I hope we find it soon.

This time round, we followed a tour package and like most other tour packages, there is nothing much you can do except follow people around. There're advantages to such kind of travel too, like not having to lug along your heavy baggage, staying in comfortable beds and not having to wait or walk too much. We went for a total of 8 days, to be precise 7 actually. Day 1, straight after alighting, we boarded another plane to Jeju. Jeju's a quiet and nice town BUT packed with tourists now, thanks to Korean dramas that stormed the whole of Asia. Nevertheless, there were many sites with beautiful natural formations that we visited, including an extinct volcano entrance and beautiful coastal views. After Jeju, there was Namiseom Island, the filming location of Winter Sonata. I can just imagine how nice this place was before all the tourists pack in just to have a feel of Bae Yong-joon. Heard that he's really popular especially in Japan. A whole straight row of trees, ending at the horizon are common sites on this island but now looking straight down, heads bobbing are more probable than the horizon. And then there was Seoul. Seoul is just like another other metropolis. Tall buildings, cars, people overcrowding, and honestly pretty costly. The cost of living is not much of a difference from Japan. I think there's where the misconception of most people lie. South Korea is not much cheaper than Japan, a cup of coffee at Starbucks cost over S$10. Nevertheless, when one is overseas, it's often good not to compare prices with those at home. You are after all over there to have fun and to spend money. Nevertheless South Korea has been a pleasant experience, but if I were to go back again, I hope it'll be on a backpacking experienece.

Posted by loiloikoh 19:47 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Eastern Coast of Malaysia

First authentic backpacking experience

sunny

Day 1

What I remember most about day 1 of our trip is that we had to wake up extremely early...wahaha..not the most fantastic thing to remember about but then nothing much happened on Day 1 either..we had to wake up at like 3+ in the morning, get ourselves ready and got a cab to the checkpoint so that we would make it in time to check in by 0610 for our flight from Senai Airport, Johor Bahru to Kota Bahru. Honestly, I was quite amazed at how nice the airport looks. I mean you wouldn't or shouldn't be expecting to see a luxurious airport with all the duty-free shops and nice counters because this is basically a domestic airport and a small one...but it looks pretty new and clean, and has a few eating places. Although it is small, it is kept nice and truly amazed because i was expecting a really basic airport. Anyway we got on board our Airasia flight and in 2 hours, we reached Kota Bahru to begin our adventure for 8 days. We first had to make our way from the airport to the city centre to get our place to stay. The bus we took was really old and looked catered to the locals, so when we got on, we got stares like we were from out of this world. It wasn't a very long trip to the city centre and when we reached we started looking for the place to stay. In the end, we stayed at Ideal Travellers' House. I should say it looked just like any of the houses there and we probably got one of the lousiest dormitories left. It was really basic and for a person who actually backpacked for the first time, i was kind of shocked by the condition of the dorm. You could see that the "room" we stayed in was an extension to the house, and there were 4, well, really old beds. Despite the initial shock, after some time, I kind of got used to the environment. The good thing about this dorm is it has many toilets, although i literally only used the one in the house and they arranged for tours to Perenhentian, which was good for us cos we had the intention to go anyway. After packing our stuff and bathing, AND playing cards, it was time to go out for dinner. You will soon see that it seems that eating and playing cards are the 2 major activities going on in our entire trip. And then that was it. One day gone..tired..lack of sleep...but extremely excited for what's to come...

Day 2

We had to wake up extremely early AGAIN~ this time round it was because we wanted to catch the early boat to Perenhentian. The nice owner of the guesthouse told us it would be better to get the earliest one because then we would be ensured rooms.Ok, so we took a cab which cost us RM14 per person to get to the jetty, then we had to pay RM60 for a 2 way boat ride and RM5 for this park fee or something, only i should say it's like an island fee. There're a few places you can drop at actually and they drive you both to Bahasar and Kechil, which i think literally means big and small. We had decided we wanted to stay on Kechil but was undecided where so we thought we'll get down at Long Beach, where there're quite a few lodgings. after getting there, we realised this wasn't really what we wanted. it was well..too "commercialised". So in the end, we took a water taxi, which took us to D'Lagoon. D'Lagoon is a resort on a well like lagoon place by itself. It has a very quiet environment, although i'm not sure about it after our arrival, and very..well..natural..A-huts made of wood, in fact, i think everything's made of wood there..they even had a tree house!! Unfortunately it was under renovation when we went, but i think it'll be really good if we could stay there..anyway the place was booked when we went and the only sleeping places available for us were dorm beds..so well it didn't really matter to us anyway..Also, there were a few other beaches within like 10 minutes walk away, the turtle beach and the adam and eve's beach. Very nice.very isolated..very beautiful..and for the first time i tried snorkelling..sometimes when i see people at the beach near my house sitting there stoning for the whole day i would wonder how they manage to do that..but after visiting these beaches i realised it really doens't take much effort..once there you naturally feel so calm and so relaxed that you can just sit there looking at the beach an entire day without doing anything..Although the food there isn't fantastic, but well it's edible..and other things made up for the not-so-nice food..at night, the full moon was so bright it casted a reflection on the seawater and it was just mesmorising..ok maybe we over reacted a bit to the whole episode cos we started taking out our cameras and attempted to capture it all..but who can blame us..we're like these deprived urban kids who never got this close to nature..the night air was cooling and refreshing, so we decided to leave our stuffed and hot dorms to sleep outside with our sleeping bags..and turned out we had a good night's rest..

Day 3

It was time to move on..although many people were quite shocked we were only staying one day..which really is too short if you really love beaches..but such places have to be visited with people who feel comfortable with doing nothing the whole day...we had to make our way to Kuala Trengganu today...so we decided to take the 1030 boat so that we can reach Kuala Trengganu in the afternoon..saying our last goodbyes to the lovely beaches and the lazy environment..we were to venture to another kind of travel..

after some bus rides here and there..we were still puzzled with how their bus stops work..were they fixed stops with no signs? or just no designated stops..just where people are, the bus will stop? anyhow with some help from the locals we managed to locate the "busstop" which is just this point before this bridge..(?!@$%$^£$!@) anyhow it was fortunate we managed to get help from the friendly people around..it take RM8 to get from the jetty to Kuala Trengganu on a non AC bus..it was pretty warm..but with the moving air from the window of the moving bus..it was pretty ok...upon reaching Kuala Trengganu..we tried to look for our sleeping place..decided to try Ping Anchorage..which turned out to be a really good choice..very clean toilets...beds were ok..but i felt that they were a bit dirty..we wanted to leave after that night but turned out there was no more seats...we met with a holiday..anyhow the day was almost over by the time we went out..so we went for dinner..SEAFOOD...first luxurious dinner in many days..then we walked around and found this fruits street where we had durian by the road...yumz..

Day 4

I should say we were kind of stuck in Kuala Trengganu..although it need not be a really bad thing...we just spent the day walking around...looking at places..and then it seemed the whole day just passed before us...nothing much to say about this place..because well..basically we were all very concerned with our digestive system when we were here...and thanks to the clean toilets...everyone rushed for their share of Yakult and yoghurts...for us...this place was like a resting point...catch up on some rest...do some shitting...get ourselves revitalised..and then get ready for the next day..Kuala Trengganu itself does not have many sites..but it has buses to some of the more interesting places around..and that's from where we're heading to our next destination...Cherating...

Day 5

From Kuala Trengganu to Cherating, buy a ticket that goes to Kuantan and let the driver know you're going to Cherating..the ride isn't that long..about 1+ hour..and you'll get down at this site with a big Cherating sign..Cherating is like a deserted village by itself..from the main road you have to take some time to walk in before you reach the beach...but i really love this place...a very idle village..with many guesthouses..so no worries for accomodation..although i am not that sure during the peak periods..a self sufficient little village..with quite a large stretch of beach...and quite a vast choice of food..the whole mood is so relaxed there that you can really let loose and have fun...also..boat rides can be arranged in the day or night along this river situated nearby..in the day it's more of an eco trip but at night..in the summer..FIREFLIES...we went for the night one..and it was so BEAUTIFUL...it was the first time i saw fireflies..and i'm really amazed..they REALLY glow...wahhaha...a place not to be missed if you're in the vicinity...

Day 6

From Cherating, we looked for this really nice lady who arranged for us tours to this cave and waterfall..the cave although meant for visiting..is not really that populated and many of its natural presentation remains as it is..and that makes it extremely pleasant to visit..it was a pretty tiring climb...but the cool air in the cave makes it worth all the perspiration...however this place is not advised for older folks..the route isn't that straightforward..meaning it's not plain stairs...we were supposed to visit this waterfall..but unfortunately it was closed so we returned to kuantan earlier...and had our lunch...at macdonald's...then it was a long ride to KL..where we looked for lodging and finally got one with AC...FINALLY...had a real good nite's rest that nite..

Day 7

After breakfast at Chinatown..we went to buy tickets to make our way to Malacca..not that long a ride..about 2-3 hours...the people in Malacca are really nice...and real helpful..and the first thing we reached Malacca...the one thing i noticed was the very nice bus terminal...very nice very modern very clean..fully AC...best! we looked for a local bus to get us near to Chinatown..to look for our accomodation..we found this real good one...it is in an old shophouse..still with all the old furnishing..very nice...we got two rooms this time..and the girls got the room with the windows...which was really great...we then went out for lunch of chicken rice balls...YUMMY...i came to Malacca once before but that was with a tour group..and it was only this trip that i enjoyed Malacca more..there were quite some places to see and look around..and many things to eat...chicken rice..chendol...this satay steamboat thing...a lot of chinese eateries around..but wat i loved most about Malacca is it keeps many of its old things intact..no restoration..nothing..the original flavours..i would love coming here again some day...

Day 8

Today was the last day of the trip...sadz...honestly a bit reluctant to leave..although it seemed like we never did anything much...anyhow we took a bus to Johor where we had a great dinner of BBQ seafood...fried oyster..fried kway teow..bakuteh..and then it was the end of this trip..

Posted by loiloikoh 19:39 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

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