Thursday, February 9, 2017

Travelogue Jan 2017

Travelogue 2017

January 2017

1st - had had great New Year eve night out at the Waikiki Bar with fellow GIFTers. So naturally woke up late and lazed about at home only.

6th - 8th - Drive to Nuang Outdoor Gathering event. Helping out the crews for the day before setting up my booth on the event day, 7th & 8th. Before going back, we detour for seafood feast in Jeram, Kuala Selangor. About an hour away from Shah Alam via Klang.

14th - attended a Fundsupermart event, Where and When to Invest  in Sunway Pyramid. Very informative event mostly the review of 2016 and going forward for 2017. More infra projects and exciting emerging economy markets. The grand plan has been laid out and big change will reshuffle the economy along the route of new port cities as well as fast track trains. And ohhh malaysia general election soon!!!

15th - spent the day out with the family in Taman Warisan Putrajaya. For RM8 entry fee, you have access to huge orchard of many types of fruits and u can pick and eat as u like. There was no other group other than our family at the time but the fruits wasnt much either. Perhaps its not the season but plenty of non seasonal fruits even the rare ones we dont know how to eat or if they are edible at all! Lol but obviously they should. So we googled some of them to learn how to eat haha.
Some tips : bring the following

1. umbrella. It can get pretty hot and given the large area, unpredicted rainfall is just...well... unpredictable. There are gazebos every few hundred metres or so.
2. drinking water. To drink to wash up fruits.
3. knife. U need to pluck, peel, slice, cut the fruit all by yourself. How else do u enjoy a sweet juicy cempedak sans the blade?
4. tissue/wiping cloth - it can get messy u know.. walking and harvesting and eating and scour for next tree to feast.
5. insect repellent/ointment  - not a big fan of deet thingy here and any strong smelling ointment good enough to repel some bugs/mozzies away soothe the bites

19th - took the train to KL sentral and ETS to Gopeng. Important to note that u can buy ETS tickets from most of the major KTM station so u can plan ur journey ahead! Also important to check the fare and schedule as the counter kakak will just sell u anything at all. A trip to Batu Gajah on Silver train is RM24 but the kakak tried to get me the RM44 without asking me any further. Upsell much?
Fr Batu Gajah Jaja picked me up to Gopeng Guesthouse & Cafe in Gopeng town.

20th -  packed for camping trip in Anak Kurau, Taiping, Perak. Reached there in late afternoon. One of its kind journey ahead!

We stopped at the Joe & Adik's house, (stumbled upon Joe's parang making workshop). There was 6 of us, the company for the weekend. We had to ride bikes to get to the trailhead. We were supposed to ride one each but yours truly skillset doesnt include riding motorcycle and not planning on acquiring one. So i hitched on one with Jaja. Shes one good rempiter to say the least! Wasnt very exciting with such terrain. Uphill, downhill, all equally thrilling for me. I dont know people actually having conversation like they would in a car! It was noisy with the engine roaring and the wind, hows that even possible! Apparently i missed kandang rusa maybe i was closing my eyes and didnt hear it when Jaja pointed that out for me. The offroad - farm bike ride last for good one hour thank goodness!

We parked under the trees before continue the journey on foot. Not even 5 minutes up, we reached one small 'dangau'. Its local for hut. Usually built by the farm worker, small and simple shade. Terrible amount of leech greeted us. Then comes the rain. Always, dont they? Unexpected downpour? So we spent more than 30mins not moving, just staying still under the dangau while watching our feet for damn leeches. Joe made this tobacco water- simply tobacco soaked in water - to apply on our socks to repel the leeches away. Thats pretty much what we did everyday there. Effectiveness? Of course it works but knowing for tropical jungle, theres puddles and stream crossing every now and then so it got washed away fast but its good when it lasts.

The rain showed no sign to stop but getting lighter so we quickly track a bit more to reach a cave where we can have a better shelter and its by the river so we can cook dinner. It took us less than 10mins. So u get it, 5 mins of trekking, 1 hour of resting lol. We had simple dinner of maggi mee and tortilla wrap with canned green peas. Finished eating, we continue our journey to the 'dangau' further up.

We reached the dangau at about 11pm. Cold and hungry, the guys set the campfire up so we can cook and enjoy the heat. The dangau is a lean-to type of shelter. Built semi-permanently as the friends, Joe and the wife, Adik, Dikmin, Din come here every weekend or so and they do stock up some supplies of food and dishes so they dont have to carry them everytime. There are benches and few other basic camp furniture, really nice set up. There was a cave like big rocks nearby too, they said they used to camped there when the group is small. Then there was a nice small stream.

We washed up, change and feed ourselves proper dinner and ready to call it a day. It was really nice meal albeit simple. Salted fish, sardine, sambal, all goes little too well with hot white rice. Thats pretty much our meal everyday and i go for second helping almost everytime need i say more? I should really include dried salted fish in my ration next time! But urgh the smell haha

The following day, we just laze about by the campsite. Walk around (not too far) cook, eating, playing card games, sleep some more. We decided to continue our journey to the next dangau. I was getting too comfortable staying there and lazy but Adik insist the campsite is too nice to be missed!
Indeed it is! Larger stream and the dangau is right at the Y junction of the river and theres a also a very nice waterfall (thanks to my love for sleeping i didnt bother to go there) and also a bonus of nice rambai tiong fruits! Its a trunk-attached fruit type almost similar to another infamous brother Tampoi fruit. Alright i cant quite make the diff here. Sour crunchy peel and sour juicy fruit. Damn nice! (im drooling as im typing this). They were so good we had to pack some home. Special thank you to Dikmin for carrying some 5kg of the fruits down.

On Sunday, we packed everything up and make our out and reached the kampong by 5.30pm. we then wash up, had dinner of very nice local delicacies with couple of other friends who showed up before heading back to Gopeng again.

22nd, 23rd, 24th - gopeng guesthouse & cafe again. Did nothing much. Mostly reading anything readable. What a bummer i didnt have my laptop with me! But a good break i guess. And oh nursing the itch from few dozens of leech bites on my legs (and some other parts of the body)

25th - packed for journey up north. Shakeys and Maksu picked me up from the cafe. Heading to taiping for the night.

26th - from taiping, drove further up to kedah, stopped by at Tanjung Dawai and Gunung Jerai, continue for Kuala Perlis.

27th - went Padang Besar, Gua Kelam and back to Kuala Perlis. basically circling whole Perlis state

28th - picked up Kak Lita and Nida and crossing Wang Kelian border to Satun town, the jetty to Koh Lipe. From the jetty we bought the ferry return trip. Can also buy one way but apparently theres discount when u buy both. Be sure to ask for free Koh Lipe map cum travel guide it sure come handy during ur stay! But u can also pick one up in the island later on at no cost at all.

The ferry ride took 2hrs plus. Reaching the beach, we rest by the nearby non operating cafe. We settled for some bread and snacks and gosh u should see the water. Very inviting! It wasnt long until i take my first dip hehe. So be sure to be wearing suitable clothings right at the start of the journey. My quick dry trekking pants wasnt all suitable but i pretty much living in it until the next day.

We stayed at the Koh Lipe Camping  Zone or rather mozzies zone. Damn big fat school of mozzies! Im not exagerating there was really challenging for us all! What more with my fresh leech bite scars the itch just unexplainable! we set up the tent and prepared dinner and hurried out to catch sunset by the sunset beach nearby.

When we get there by the beach, the sun has set we still get to enjoy the twilight tho and just laid by the beach and little did we know its tidal up time! Lol. We then proceed to the happening part of walking street. A bit lost by the many junctions there but once u get the hang of it, should be easy to remember the major landmarks.

By the time we head back to our camping site, the tidal was really high what used to be wide open beach by day is now all water we even had to tiptoed in the water at some places. But the beach is very flat so dont worry its very shallow.

29h - Koh lipe island by myself. Others went for plankton snorkeling sunset island hopping. Koh Lipe is a small and quite densely populated island so its pretty walkable everywhere just watch out for too many dogs sometimes they gang up barking on u. always keep the guide map handy at all time! they are taxi-bike too but walking free body and sweating is not bad at all. So i went beach hopping. As the name suggest, i went to the beach, all three major beaches, hop into the water, soak up nicely and laid down sunbathing like a true western girl y'all. But asian being asian, we seek shades under the tree, covered up in long pants and long sleeved shirt and more cover to face and head and not to forget the trusty sunglasses! It sure hot to sunbathe despite all the covering so before the hair dried i was already back into the water. And its pretty chilly due to the strong breeze.
There are few main attractions of the island

Pattaya beach - the beach for arrival during high season oct - may. Its happening with many beach front joints, high end stays, and travel agency. But too many boats parked by the beach too. They reserved some bays for non parking area so can safely enjoy in the water but still.. lol
Walking street -the entrance is right by the pattaya beach. It literally is walking street - u can walk covering major part of the island but not really. There are lots of bikes and taxi bikes sharing the road too so watch out! Just remember to be mindful of the traffic behind u and give way. The pavement is concrete, beautifully painted at some stretch and its totally fine and cool to walk around barefooted! Some of the shops even require patrons to take the footwear off by the door. The area rather clean. Very sandy, but white sands making it all the more beautiful. Theres more dogs and fat cats too. Most of them are sleeping. But the dogs wandering quite a lot. The friendly lazy kind is fine as long as they didnt get agressive. Been attacked with gang -loud barks twice in my short stay really not the best thing. Oh i got bitten by a fat cat btw. My fault for couldnt refrain myself petting the fluffy furry thing!

The street has many shops. Convenient stores, 7eleven, restaurants and bars, hotels and hostels, pahrmacies, hospital, travel agency, massage and spa place, hair saloon, souvenir shops... walk further and u will find the quieter side and more local of a shops.. groceries and wet food.. there are also notable strecth of muslim majority area.. but worry not there are many halal makan place all over the walking street.

This island is by no means a nightlife party island. So most of the review stated. On Saturday night, shops closing by 12 or so. By 10pm most of makan place is closed. On Sunday night, lights already out by 11pm! It gets very dark on 12pm!

sunrise beach - if theres only one place u should go, its the sunrise beach. The hue of the water is different way too pretty! The sand is smoother at the pattaya beach, almost clayey sand. The other two is a noticeably coarser but still white but the water is truly emerald green! Very clear. The beach is also steeper so u get to have deeper water here. Less boats parked in this beach too. Not in the season perhaps. This is the arrival/departure beac h for low season only. Nicer hotels and resorts are by this side, high end and more island bungalows, massage gazebos, hammocks.  theres also kampongs and school here.

sunset beach - somewhat rocky side of the island. One end its the cliff, another end is the fisheries department and princess palace and theres a rocky part that eventually connects the sunrise beach on the other side. Not sure the walkability during high tide though.

I watched the sunset on the second day here, next to the fisheries department buildings. Theres nice pine trees in the area and also coconut trees. So setting up campfire was quick and easy.

30th - check out koh lipe, bumpy speedboat ride back to satun and drove all the way back to taiping. By bumpy i really mean it. We were so wise to sit at the front deck. Me with the thai iced tea on one hand, 3/4 finished, another hand holding the rail for dear life, i was pretty much soaked up in thai iced tea that morning. Or at least my jacket was. The concerned driver/pilot/sailor or whatever they call the operator guy even had a brief stop to let us go inside so we dont die. Lol.

Reached taiping, we then rushed to Ipoh Amanjaya to catch bus back to KL.

End of Month #1 yay!