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Sandakan Borneo

Australian war memorial, Sepilok Orangutang Sanctuary,

overcast 26 °C

Sandakan

Another smooth flight which is always rewarding, no one sat behind us dragging on our head rest and no one infront leaning right back onto our laps.

When the stewards do the emergency run through, which we've seen far too many times now, they should give advice on flying etiquette........................

"Please do not grab the persons seat in front of you as they may be holding a hot drink.

Please do not kick the seat in front, it is extremely annoying.

Please do not lie back into the person behind you whilst they are trying to eat, remember their tray is on the back of your seat.

If you need to sneeze/cough/ burp please be seated with your hand over your mouth not stood up leaning over the person infront.
Please also be aware that your arm rest is to the left of you so do not elbow your way to claim space which isn't yours.

Most of all please be aware that as interesting you may feel your conversation is ......not everyone wants to hear it, so be quiet.

Should you wish to play on your games console ie Angry Birds, please turn the volume off or else there will be more angry birds on the plane aside your game.

Please do not play your tasteless music aloud not everyone appreciates 80's songs in fact you might be the only person.

Lastly, please do not stand in the aisle like an idiot when everyone else wants to get off.

Thank you for listening. Anyone that ignores this information will be banned from all future flights and immediately ejected via the emergency exit on the left."

I would enjoy every flight then.

Sandakan is a fair sized city with plenty of shops and restaurants. It seemed a bit dodgy to me as there were people sat randomly outside our hotel and there was permanently a porter at the door unlocking it for guests so no locals could get in. We went to a travel agent to book a trip and it was the same, you had to ring the bell outside before they pressed a buzzer to let you in. It was the first time in Malaysia that we have seen people sleeping rough. There were kids on street corners selling cigarettes, local lads shouting "beautiful....I love you.....hello where are you from?" Obviously to Chloe! One evening I saw a group of seven kids aged from 4-6 just wandering around the streets. Nothing happened to us but I got the feeling that it wasn't a safe place to be.

We took a bus to the war memorial which commemorates the 2200 oz and UK soldiers captured by the Japanese in WW2. They suffered horrendous treatment and only 6 of them survived...because they managed to escape. The locals tried to help as much as they could but if the Japanese found out they executed them. It's another sad truth of history that wasn't that long ago that I didn't even know about. There's more too....21,037 killed in Mandor, Kalimantan in Indonesia by the Japanese during their 3 year occupation...another killing field. Seeing the memorials and reading what the men, women and children went through makes me wonder how anyone can do this to another person....war or no war.

We visited Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary which was a cheap bus ride of 5 ringgit....about a quid....taxi wanted 30 ringgit. It's out in the jungle and we sat on the large decked viewing platform waiting for them to come out. Soon enough we saw them and it was great, have to say Monkey World is better, but these at Sepilok are in their natural environment. After about ten minutes Chloe said "Ouch!!! I've been stung or bitten." I looked at her and her face was pale and beads of sweat appearing all over her face. After a minute she felt sick so we decided to leave, after standing she lost her vision and nearly collapsed but managed to hold onto me as I sat her down and got help. Staff came over and were really helpful, taking us to the air con office and giving water. Still don't know what it was but Chloe said it was painful and it looked it to.

We also managed to blow the electrics in our room after the first night so we got upgraded, the third night the electrics went, not my fault this time, and yes upgraded again. In three nights, three different rooms!

We thought we deserved abit of flash packing but didn't expect having to use our torch to get around the room!

We've been living on veg and rice or egg and rice. Tea tarik which is tea but instead of milk you have carnation milk....don't knock it til you've tried it! It's lovely!!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 10:14 Archived in Malaysia Tagged sandakan flights war journey monkies world_trip back_packing orangutang insect_bite chloe_bailey flash_packing flight_etiquette sandankan_war_memorial mother_daughter_blog sepilok_orangutan_sanctuary teh_tarik Comments (1)

Missing home comforts.

Sandakan and Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Sepilok Memorial

overcast

Another smooth flight which is always rewarding, no one sat behind us dragging on our head rest and no one infront leaning right back onto our laps.

When the stewards do the emergency run through, which we've seen far too many times now, they should give advice on flying etiquette........................

"Please do not grab the persons seat infront of you as they may be holding a hot drink.

Please do not kick the seat infront, it is extremely annoying.

Please do not lie back into the person behind you whilst they are trying to eat, remember their tray is on the back of your seat.

If you need to sneeze/cough/ burp please be seated with your hand over your mouth not stood up leaning over the person infront.
Please also be aware that your arm rest is to the left of you so do not elbow your way to claim space which isn't yours.

Most of all please be aware that as interesting you may feel your conversation is ......not everyone wants to hear it, so be quiet.

Should you wish to play on your games console ie Angry Birds, please turn the volume off or else there will be more angry birds on the plane aside your game.

Please do not play your tasteless music aloud not everyone appreciates 80's songs infact you might be the only person.

Lastly, please do not stand in the aisle like an idiot when everyone else wants to get off.

Thank you for listening. Anyone that ignores this information will be banned from all future flights and immediately ejected via the emergency exit on the left."

I would enjoy every flight then.

Sandakan is a fair sized city with plenty of shops and restaurants. It seemed a bit dodgy to me as there were people sat randomly outside our hotel and there was permanently a porter at the door unlocking it for guests so no locals could get in. We went to a travel agent to book a trip and it was the same, you had to ring the bell outside before they pressed a buzzer to let you in. It was the first time in Malaysia that we have seen people sleeping rough. There were kids on street corners selling cigarettes, local lads shouting "beautiful....I love you.....hello where are you from?" Obviously to Chloe! One evening I saw a group of seven kids aged from 4-6 just wandering around the streets. Nothing happened to us but I got the feeling that it wasn't a safe place to be.

We took a bus to the war memorial which commemorates the 2200 oz and UK soldiers captured by the Japanese in WW2. They suffered horrendous treatment and only 6 of them survived...because they managed to escape. The locals tried to help as much as they could but if the Japanese found out they executed them. It's another sad truth of history that wasn't that long ago that I didn't even know about. There's more too....21,037 killed in Mandor, Kalimantan in Indonesia by the Japanese during their 3 year occupation...another killing field. Seeing the memorials and reading what the men, women and children went through makes me wonder how anyone can do this to another person....war or no war.

We visited Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary which was a cheap bus ride of 5 ringgit....about a quid....taxi wanted 30 ringgit ....six quid.....cheeky buggers! It was a public bus with four staff on it for some reason. Music blarred out with a thumping bass all the way. There was a union jack flag at the front and the bus had the Jack Daniel stickers all over the front! We travelled about an hour out to the jungle. It cost 30 ringitt to get in, 6 quid, and we made our way to where the orangutans were expected and sat on the large decked viewing platform waiting for them to come out. Soon enough we saw them and it was great, have to say Monkey World is better, but these at Sepilok are in their natural environment. After about ten minutes Chloe said "Ouch!!! I've been stung or bitten." I looked at her and her face was pale and beads of sweat appearing all over her face. After a minute she felt sick so we decided to leave, after standing she lost her vision and nearly collapsed but managed to hold onto me as I sat her down and got help. Staff came over and were really helpful, taking us to the air con office and giving water. Still don't know what it was but Chloe said it was painful and it looked it to.

We managed to blow the electrics in our room after the first night so we got upgraded, the third night the electrics went, not my fault this time, and yes upgraded again. In three nights, three different rooms!

We were missing our home comforts and thought we deserved abit of flash packing but didn't expect having to use our torch to get around the room!

We've been living on veg and rice or egg and rice. Tea tarik which is tea but instead of milk you have carnation milk....don't knock it til you've tried it! It's lovely!!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 10:18 Archived in Malaysia Tagged travel memorial sandakan orangutan journey mother_daughter blog sepilok world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (0)

Tioman Island

ABC Resort, Salang, Tekek

sunny 33 °C

Imagine falling asleep to the croaking sounds of frogs, tuneful crickets, the distant whoop of monkeys, the chirping of geckos that scuttle around after the pesky mosquitos and the far sound of reggae music from the beach bar with the odd flash of lightening coming through the humid chalet window........welcome to Tioman.

During the day this place can't get any more chilled out, its got to be the most relaxing place in the world.

We first arrived in ABC given that it was described as the backpackers place we thought that it would all be happening here but we couldn't have been further from the truth. It was like a ghost resort. There was hardly anybody there even though the majority of chalets were fully booked who knows where everybody was. It was coming upto Ramandan which meant alot of places were closed. There was a bar that was open in the evening called Happy Bar and yes everyone was happy there, it was a lovely place to watch the sun set over the sea. One day we took a trek through the jungle path toward Monkey Beach which is a secluded golden beach .....no accommodation....you can only get there by boat or the jungle trek. As we marched through the jungle in our flip flops.....not recommended.....making hiking sticks out of broken branches we got to see monkeys jumping through the trees and even saw a green grass whip snake that was coiled up in the air ready to strike an unexpected gecko. There are 25 different species of snakes here but we only saw one, there is a black cobra and king cobra....so just as well we didn't see them! You could hear the monitor lizards slowly moving through the leaves but they kept away. After a long trek we took a welcomed dip in the sea at Monkey Beach, the shore was awash with broken coral and Chloe managed to cut her foot which isn't a great thing to do when you have to hike back!

We hired bikes one day and cycled to Tekek which is the main town.....but don't be thinking of a town in UK it was very basic but is the only place on the island with an ATM. Again there wasn't much to do even though there is a small marina, we just cycled around and headed back to ABC. I would say the best thing in Tekek is at apx 4pm you can hear loud screams like a baby crying and if you look upto the trees you will see hundreds of Flying Fox Bats that are huge hanging down from the trees, we watched them for ages and could have stayed longer, they are amazing!

All in all I wouldn't recommend ABC I found it very boring and didn't enjoy it at and was glad to leave....and forget about the place.

We headed to Salang on the ferry and as we arrived at the jetty already the mood was lifted where you could see that there was actually life on the island. What a contrast! We easily found accommodation at a good price and saw various different restaurants and shops. It was such a relief!

We stayed in Pusaka Salang Resort and I would thoroughly recommend it, the restaurant there is amazing with a BBQ every night with any fish you can think of, they even cater a BBQ for veggies which was delish.....peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic potatoes, corguettes, egg plant......I could go on and on. The best part of this place is the staff - they were fantastic....we were made to feel so welcome by them and got to be good friends by the end of our trip so Zaid.....you cheeky monkey, thank you for your banter and smiles, Joey ...... thank you for looking after us, Anjay .....thank you for the fun and for changing our tickets ha ha, Raheem.......thank you for all your laughter and fun, Big Banana thank you for making us laugh with your big banana shorts! We were only supposed to stay a few nights but ended up staying a lot longer. We had such a great time with you guys and hope we will see you again!

We went snorkeling one day and were lucky enough to see 2 black tip sharks, yes sharks. They are so called for the black tip on their fin and the rest of them are similar to the colour of the sea so they can be difficult to spot, we went out with a guide so we could get a better chance of seeing one. They are quite big about 5ft to 6ft and have the distinctive shark face so it was a bit scary but they didn't come anywhere near us luckily. The guide told me they were vegetarian....which was rubbish but had I known this before we saw it I probably wouldn't have gone shark hunting! We also got to see turtles, sting ray, needle fish, jelly fish, parrot fish and massive schools of various fish. It was amazing with clear waters and the beautiful corals of purples, lilacs, pinks and electric blue.

We had the benefit of seeing the huge monitor lizards swimming up and down the river, giant black squirrels and Chloe said she saw a bush tailed porcupine!

We only bumped into two English people there...two girls from Brighton.....and to be honest I wished we hadn't....they were awful....very obnoxious and rude toward the local people. They were telling me about their trip and funnily enough how they had encountered problems from local people where ever they went......not suprised.

We eventually left Tioman having changed our plans, and tickets a few times but would like to thank everyone there that makes the Island what it is......especially Salang residents.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 23:03 Archived in Malaysia Tagged tioman tekek travel journey mother_daughter blog abc world_trip back_packing salang chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (0)

Perhentian Island

Panorama Chalets, Monkey Bar

sunny 33 °C

We had heard marvellous tales of this Island "it's a must", "so beautiful" etc. It leaves a mental note to ensure you go there at some point and being on the west side of Malaysia it would be foolish not to take the 7 ish hour bus journey and 1/2 hr boat trip there. Ok so if we were at home that would be like saying " we're just popping upto Scotland for a few days." You can't go anywhere here without some lengthy bus ride but it's always worth it.

It sounded easy and to be fair it was pretty straight forward in comparison to other trips. The only snag was waiting to get on the plentiful boats, they wouldn't accept our tour operator ticket but eventually we made it. One overnight bus and a short boat cruise.

Docking upto the beach you swap onto a water taxi for a few ringgit then you're on the shore. A beautiful beach with an abundance of chalets and according to the internet you can't book online so we decided to ditch the bags for one of us to do the accommodation hunt in the blazing heat. I offered to go as I can never turn down a mission plus loaded with the Lonely Planet tips of where to stay I thought it would be simple. Unfortunately one of the tips in the book is to get there early to get accommodation but because we had the last morning boat everywhere that was a reasonable price was booked aside one place called Chempacka so 'beggars can't be choosers' we ended up there for two nights. What a dive! I'm not talking sea diving, I'm talking very run down chalets with a pipe for a shower, stinking toilet, pillows you wouldn't let your dog lie on etc. We had to make do and endeavoured to find a decent place asap. Outside of our door was a huge dead monitor lizard, reckon it was as tall as me! We saw live ones too, but you don't want to get close to the live ones as they have quick response to lashing out with their tails plus if they bite they won't let go. So a dead one gave me the chance to get some photos. Grim eh! They also have the biggest geckos here I've seen any where! Big buggers!

The island itself, you can't complain, it's got what you need but for basic stuff like snacks and drinks with seaside gifts of bangles and sarongs. There are plenty of cafes with exactly the same menu and some good beach bars for when the sun goes down. You can watch the sun set and rise sitting on the beach, even go for a moonlit dip....it's that safe. Also there's something about plastic doors with plastic locks???.....

We were very fortunate that Dan knew Bart the owner of Monkey Bar, with a buzzing atmosphere and fantastic staff making you feel welcome. Here they play live music everynight with Anaz singing and playing the guitar.....a brilliant musician capable of belting out all your favourites. They have an open mic too and we were lucky to hear some very talented tourists make use of the stage. One night we found a couple from our town....turns out the wife was in the same school as me but the year below! Small world and all that.

It's a very friendly place and nearby are better chalets in Panorama where we ended up moving to.

Bart took us out on his boat and showed us the best snorkling sites where we saw massive turtles and all sorts of colourful fish. I saw more here than I did in Koh Tao scuba diving...it was brilliant and all thanks to Bart.

After a few days I caught some sort of bug and suffered for a few days which was a pain feeling miserable, being miserable and not being able to do anything but eventually I shook it off.

In a nut shell the island is so relaxed and chilled out you can't ask for much more if you want to escape the rat race or city life. Initially you might find it too chilled if that's so, you need to be there! Listen out for the firework bangers being let off or you might jump abit.

So people were right and now I'm telling you..... put it on your list.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 23:27 Archived in Malaysia Tagged sea accommodation beach travel island perhentian journey mother_daughter blog world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing monitor_lizard gekos monkey_bar how_to_get_to_perhentian_island Comments (0)

Melaka

Mallaca, Melaka......and Mark.

sunny 31 °C

Melaka

Melaka, Mallaca a few different spellings but the same place. This town has a lot of history to it and in my second hand Lonely Planet guide there were plenty of scribbles where someone else had decided to go there.

We got a bus from Kuala Lumpur which was only a few hours down the road. It was simple and cheap with buses leaving there almost hourly. We had met Dan in KL and planned to go there together. So after a short train ride and a brisk walk to the bus station we were on our way. He had to wait for us a few times juggling the guitar and other bags about so that Chloe and I could manage but think he was relieved we weren't dragging around the additional suit cases we bought months before......now given away.

Melaka has a river flowing through it which reminded me slightly of Venice purely because of the small cafes running alongside the river. They have colourful painted buildings too of sceneries, not graffiti but reckon Banksy would nod his head in approvement. One in particular was a take from the Portuguese ship invasion in the 1500's.

We visited a re-created Flora de la Mar now a maritime museum and St Pauls Church 1521; it never ceases to amaze me of the history around the world, that gives a good view over the town.

We stayed in a small compact room that may as well come from the IKEA catalogue. It was apx 9 ft x 6.5ft with a ladder to upstairs. There was a sofa and table downstairs and a mattress.:..yeah no bedstead, upstairs but you didn't need anything else. It was clean, tidy and cheap.

We rented bicycles one day and had a look around, it was quiet because of Ramadan which meant a lot of the food places were closed. We went to a pub which sold food called Geographers and we were approached by the manager Mark Roberts who decided we were his new best friends. Already my alarm bells were going off but its difficult to gage, is he being friendly? am I being unfriendly? Maybe he's a nice guy, he's got a responsible job he can't be that mad. All these thoughts racing through my head whilst he's telling Dan what a good looking guy he is and how beautiful his eyes are.....I was safe then, he likes men....I thought.

He rambled on and on about all sorts of stuff, translating into Malay/Indonesian etc as he went, it was like a crash course in the life of Mark. I won't go into all the details but he told us to call all the men....balls. eg..."hey balls....where are the toilets?" "Hey balls you want to eat?" I didn't believe this for one second. The stories came on thick and fast albeit very entertaining! Then the dilemma came....."Balls....(aimed at Dan obviously) wanna come eat at my kampon tonight?" We were invited to and after a few moments of eye contact decided why not. Kampon is like home village, now it is good to be invited and Mark told us about the wild boar running about, huge lizards etc so I had a mental image of a real kampon in the sticks with the community pulling together. Mark said he had killed the boar to save some of the children and killed the lizard for food. Not unusual....so no reason to doubt him. Even when he brought his car round to pick us up which he affectionately called....wait for it....the bat mobile....we knew it was going to be a wierd experience.

We would never had gone had Dan not been there and seeing how much he liked Dan made me feel even more safe.

Arriving at the 'kampon' it was clear we would not see any wild boar or lizards here unless they were plated. We were taken straight to a local cafe which was in amongst many others. Imagine a carpark full of tables and chairs, well this is where we were. Mark ordered our food, said he wasn't eating. Dan ordered sting ray....which as you would know doesn't have a tail....so when plates after plate of food arrived Mark suddenly had a massive appetite.

Dan challenged him on the sting ray as this one had a distinct tail. "Yeah balls, that's sting ray" was the reply to which Dan made a comment about knowing about fish etc and Mark flipped. "Balls, I kill you...you won't leave this kampon alive....I'm gunna kill you! I've paid for all this food balls.....I kill you!" He hadn't paid for any of it ....we did....I tried to placate him but he sat in a strop like a 5 year old sulking. After five minutes he was fine and laughing, very tempermental and the scar across his head should have been a giveaway, turns out he had been in a serious accident once and now has a metal plate in his head. But he was still a jerk!

The next day he text Dan to see if we wanted to go to the cinema.......no chance. Back row I thought!

Tip.....don't go to Discovery Cafe unless you want to be deafened by the ridiculously loud solo singer so much so you can't even have a conversation.

Check out Mark at Geographers bar, worth having a laugh at his pathetic stories.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 06:28 Archived in Malaysia Tagged travel journey mother_daughter blog melaka world_trip back_packing melacca chloe_bailey flash_packing mallacca Comments (0)

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