Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Big Turning Point of My Life

Last year September I quit my job to travel and to see the world.

Got my working holiday visa in New Zealand. Stayed there for 9 months, doing all sorts of crazy jobs. Traveling around throughout NZ. The craziest days I'd ever had. I had the time of my life there.
NZ will always be my 2nd home after Malaysia.

Bungy at Kawarau Bridge, NZ

 Came home and headed out for a solo backpacking expedition around Thailand and Cambodia for a month.
Met the most wonderful people while I'm traveling.
Daydream at Angkot Wat

Another month of traveling around China. The place where my ancestors were from.
Levitation at Hongluo Temple, Beijing, China

Met bunch of new friends/fellow travelers which you wouldn't know whether you would get to meet them again or even bump into them at the other side of the world someday.

After 1 year plus of traveling, I'm now gonna go back to my working life and yes this is a VERY big turning point of life.

Having a new job at a field which I'm totally new to. I was a piano teacher for 4 years and now I've chosen a different path. Exciting yet nervous to start off.

Till then....for now I would have to set aside my bag pack but I won't give up my RTW dream.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Train From Butterworth to Bangkok & Vise Versa

This is my first time taking a long journey train ride. Most of the people would have opt to take the flight but because I only started to plan for my trip few weeks before, Airasia ticket was too over my budget so I decided to take the train instead.

The train ticket cost me RM111.90 from Butterworth, Malaysia to Bangkok, Thailand and 1160 Baht for the other way round. The total distance is 1161km and will take 21 hours to reach.

There's only 2 trains (Expresss Antarabangsa, train 35&36) which run daily from Butterworth to Bangkok. I booked my ticket through the ktmb hotline and was required to collect my ticket 5 days before my departure date from KL Sentral or Butterworth train station.

The train from Butterworth to Bangkok departs at 2.30pm from Butterworth train station and will arrive at 10.30am(Thailand time which is 1 hour ahead of Malaysia's time) at Hua Lamphong train station, Bangkok.

While the train from Bangkok to Butterworth departs at 2.45pm and will arrive at 1.45pm at Butterworth.

The train ride was pretty good especially if you are lucky enough to get the lower berth sleeper and it is a great way of meeting travelers and the locals. There is even a plug for you to charge your electronic gadgets.

*remember to pre-book your ticket few days earlier because the ticket might be sold out if you were to get in on the spot

The purple train

Ticket from Butterworth to Bangkok
Food is available on board at a reasonable price

The seating
Seats were changed into sleeping berth by night time

My lower berth 2nd class sleeper felt like a first class flight

Passing through Hua Hin station

This is how the toilet looks like....ain't that bad ;)

View from the train

Fellow traveler
Arriving at Bangkok Hua Lamphong train station
Train ticket from Bangkok to Butterworth

Got an upper berth this time....wasn't as spacious as the lower berth but still good enough

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Photo A Day - Marfells Beach, Marlborough, NZ

Marfells Beach, Marlborough, New Zealand

Located around 38km away from Blenheim, NZ.
It is one of the popular camping ground in Marlborough region.
While I was there, we spotted fur seal lying around and also you get to catch mussel there.

Monday, November 12, 2012

China After Thoughts

I just got back from China 4 days ago.

It's my 3rd time in China. The first time I was there, it was 16 years ago. My parents brought the whole family to China with a tour for a week and we went to Beijing, Tianjin and Chengdu. 2nd time was 4 years ago again we followed a tour for a week and went around Jiangnan covering Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Nanjing. This time I was in China for 1 month. Stayed in Beijing for 2 weeks+, 1 night in Tianjin, 3 nights in Xi'An and 1 night in Zheng Zhou.

I've heard quite alot from travelers about China. People either love it or hate it.

For me its a love-hate relationship towards it.

1. Everyone from young to old spits anytime anywhere.
2. They smoke even in indoor area, worst is that some places even put up the no smoking sign but still people ignore it.
3. Some people just never learn to queue up. I actually told off 2 person who tried to cut my queue during this trip.
4. They like to throw rubbish on the floor -__- creating more work to be done by the roadside cleaners
5. Some of the older people still do not like to close the toilet door while enjoying their business ;(
6. You got to buy a ticket in order to visit the tourist destination. Almost none of the places is free and ticket price aren't cheap. The most expensive entrance ticket I've paid for was to visit the Terra-cota warriors in Xi'An, China which cost me 150RMB.
7. Shopping is not VERY cheap though 90% of the products in our daily lives are made in China and if you tried bargaining with the seller and not buying afterwards they will show you the one of a kind face.

However on the good point is that I've seen a very drastic improvement on the city especially Beijing after 16 years!

It fairly easy to travel around in China IF you can read chinese. Since chinese is my mother tongue, I had no problem at all traveling around and asking for directions. However, there might be some hassle for the westerners because the public bus routes are written in chinese ONLY.

Public transportation is very cheap in China. For example, it only cost us 1-2 RMB to take the public bus around and 2RMB for the subway no matter how many stations you are going. *unbelievable cheap
If you're too lazy to take the public transport, taxi is also a great way to go around. In Beijing the starting rate of a cab is 10RMB, 8RMB in Tianjin and other smaller provinces and 14RMB in Shanghai.
Bullet train will cost you more though but you get to travel with comfort since the seats are quite spacious and food is available on board.

The food they have in China is delicious and price is reasonable. I wasn't backpacking this time and I'm traveling with my parents so most of the time I had my meals at restaurant. A meal for 5 person will cost around RMB200. My favorite dish is the dumplings and also the Daoxiaomian (a kind of noodles)  *To my surprise, Korean food is much cheaper in Beijing as compared to the price paid for in Malaysia.

Toilets are much cleaner that I expected but most of them do not comes with toilet paper so its important to always bring along your own toilet paper.

Overall I think that China has been quite an eye opener and it exceeds my expectation.

A Photo A Day - Tai O, Hong Kong

Tai O (大澳), Hong Kong

It is a fishing town located on the western side of Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Tourist normally go there to have seafood and also to buy the local traditional salted fish and shrimp paste.
Perfect for a 1 day trip. We took bus no.21 to Tai O, after visiting Ngong Ping 360 which is also located on Lantau Island.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

23 Photos of Hong Kong

So here you go, 23 photos of Hong Kong.

Too lazy in include caption since a picture is worth a thousand words ;P

A Photo A Day - Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Boh Tea Plantation at Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Cameron Highlands is located at the state of Pahang, 200 km away from Kuala Lumpur. It is one of the popular getaways for the locals and is famous for its tea, vegetables and fruits plantation.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Photo A Day - The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China Mutianyu section
Its my 2nd time going up the great wall. The last time I went up to the great wall was 16 years ago.
Time flies.

Thursday, November 08, 2012