Penang

February 27, 2015

From Kuala Lumpur I took a bus and ferry to Penang, an island in northwest Malaysia. I stayed at a hostel called Couzi Couji in Georgetown, the main town in Penang. When I got there I met some girls in my dorm (including two Swedish ones, there are so many Swedes travelling here) that I went for dinner with. In the evening we had drinks in the hostel. The hostel was pretty cool, they had a bar and some cats.

The next day we went to Penang Hill. We shared a taxi to the base and then took the funicular railway to the top. The view would have been great if it wasn’t so foggy.

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It was a bit cooler on the hill which was nice. There was also a small Hindu temple which we had a look at.

After going down the hill we went to the Kek Lok Si Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia.

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In the evening we had dinner at a night market with lots of different foods. Food in Penang was really good in general, it’s famous for the food and we tried a few different local dishes during the day. For breakfast we had Char Kway Teow, a noodle stir fry with seafood, and for dinner I had Chinese crispy pork rice and dumplings. Everything was great and the following days in Penang I continued to eat a lot of nice, cheap food.

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The next day me and Radhika, one of the girls from the hostel, went for Indian for breakfast and then we did a tour around the town to see the main sights and some street art. Central Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site so there were some historical buildings and interesting architecture to see. Georgetown is also famous for its street art.

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This day was also the start of the start of the celebrations for Chinese new year so there were a lot going on. We had dinner at a Malaysian hawker stall and while we were eating it started pouring down. We were stuck in the rain for quite some time, then we decided to run to a bar just down the road so we could have a drink while we waited. The food place was Muslim so they didn’t serve any alcohol. When the rain died down we started walking back home. On the way we walked passed a small temple and were invited to the new year celebration where we got to see a small lion dance.

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There were more celebrations going on near the hostel and we stopped there for a while here too to watch.

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My last day in Penang I spent resting which was really nice. I had an early night and flew to Langkawi the next day.

After Penang I went to Langkawi and I’m currently in Bandung in Indonesia. I left Langkawi for Jakarta a few days ago. Jakarta didn’t seem like a great place (and I don’t really like visiting big cities) and I decided to not stay long. My first morning in Jakarta I met another girl, Olivia, who had also just arrived and wanted to travel around Java. We found a tour we wanted to do and by the evening we had it all booked with a pickup at 5am the next morning. For the next 6 days we’re travelling around in a car with a driver/guide and seeing different volcanoes, some hot springs and temples.

 

Kuala Lumpur

February 20, 2015

I’ve just arrived in Langkawi this evening after spending four days in Penang. Malaysia has been great so far. It’s very hot and humid and I’m eating lots of great food.

I started Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. I got there Friday night last week after an 8 hour flight from Sydney. I had a small room for myself in a hostel with shared bathroom. It was nice to have my own room as I needed some time to plan and research where to go next.

After I arrived at to hostel I went out to see a friend from London, Vincent, who happened to be in KL. I met up with Vincent and Anand, the brother of my friend Mahen, and some of their mates. It was a good night, after the bar we ended up at a Japanese restaurant to see a Japanese magic show. It was a very random night, but good! The magic was very impressive but that could just have been for the drinks we had before.. In the end we went for some really good Chinese food in Chinatown, close to where I was staying.

The next day I walked around the city to see them main tourist attractions. I started with Central Market.

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Then I went to see the Merdeka Square (Independence Square), but it was so hot I kind of just walked there and took a quick look and then left to the National Textiles Museum across the road. The museum was pretty good, they showed different kinds of textiles, clothing and accessories used in Malaysia throughout history. It was also a good escape from the heat for a moment…

After the textile museum I walked down to the mosque and the Islamic Arts Museum. I went to the museum first, the mosque would open for tourists a bit later. The Islamic Arts Museum was really good. They had art from different muslim cultures and countries, there were models of different mosques, old Quran writings, paintings and more. After the museum I walked back to the National Mosque which was now open for visitors.

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The mosque was impressive. Tourists weren’t allowed into the prayer hall but we could look inside and walk around on the outside part of the building.

I ended the day with a walk around Chinatown. I went through a very busy market where vendors tried to sell me lots of fake bags, wallets and watches.

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I spent the rest of the evening in my hostel room just relaxing and trying to figure out where to go after KL. When I got hungry later I went out to the Chinese next door for some noodles.

The next day Vincent picked me up and we went on a tour around town to see different sights. We started with the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre. Royal Selangor is a pewter manufacturer and retailer. They’ve also made the worlds largest pewter tankard.

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At the visitor centre we got a free guided tour about the history of the company and pewter in general and then they showed us the different stages of creating pewter products. We also got to try to hammer a pattern into to a cup, is was very hard to get it right but looked so easy when done by the professional.

After that we drove to the Petronas twin towers so that I got to see them. We never went up in them cause the tickets were sold out at that time. I’m coming back to Malaysia in April though to meet up with Mahen, so maybe I’ll go up for the view then.

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We had some Malay food for lunch around the towers, it was really good! I had rice with some kind of lamb and beef. I’m loving the food over here, there’s a good mix of Chinese, Indian and Malaysian street food, so good!

After the towers we went to see the Batu Caves where we met up with Anand. The Batu Caves is a limestone hill with caves and Hindu shrines and temples. I climbed all the 272 steps in the heat, it almost killed me.

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There were lots of cute little monkeys running around.

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The next day I took the bus up to Penang where I had a really good time, I’ll write more about it later. I’m always so busy doing stuff this blog is starting to lag behind a bit, but I’ll try to keep it pretty up to date. I’ll at least be updating the map here with my current location since it’s a lot quicker to do than a whole post: http://hannahollstrom.se/travels/map/

 

 

Sydney

February 15, 2015

I made a short stop in Sydney before leaving Australia. I got there on Tuesday (10/2) evening after flying up from Melbourne. I stayed in a really good hostel in Kings Cross (Blue Parrot Backpackers) in a 10-bed dorm. After I got there I met some people in the hostel and went out for a drink in Darling Harbour.

The next day I went for a walk around town to see the touristy stuff. I first went to the botanical gardens and opera house.

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I walked around in the gardens for a while and stopped for a bit to read, until a lizard snuck up on me and I got scared of sitting on the grass.

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After that I went to The Museum of Contemporary Art, for like two minutes, then I remembered I don’t really like contemporary art. I went for lunch in an area called The Rocks and on my way back I stopped the at The Art Gallery of New South Wales for some Aboriginal art which was a bit more interesting.

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In the evening I went out to The World Bar in Kings Cross with people from the hostel. The next day was my last in Sydney, so I decided to try and make it to both Bondi beach and Manly beach which I had heard was really nice. I went to Bondi first, a short train and bus journey from the city center. It was pretty nice, it was really hot and the water was warm.

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I stayed for a couple of hours then I got bored and decided to go to Manly beach, just to have seen it too and I had nothing else to do. Manly is an area in north(east?) Sydney that you have to take a ferry to. It’s about a 30 minute ride.

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Manly seemed like a cool area and the beach was really nice, but by the time I got there it had gotten pretty late so I didn’t stick around for very long.

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In the evening I stayed in and took it easy as I had a flight the next day. I’m currently in Kuala Lumpur, but that will have to be another post. Tomorrow I’m taking a bus to Penang where I have booked four nights in a hostel.

 

 

The Dandenongs, beaches and Lorne

February 9, 2015

Yesterday I arrived in Lorne, small sort of beach resort town southwest of Melbourne. It’s been really nice and warm in the days but quite chilly in the evenings. Tomorrow morning I’m heading back to Melbourne where I’m catching a bus to the airport to fly to Sydney.

My last days in Melbourne were really good. On Thursday last week I went to the Dandenong Ranges, a mountain range outside of Melbourne, while Bjorn was moving out of his house. I went on the Puffing Billy steam train, it’s on old railway that’s been restored as a tourist attraction.

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I got off at Emerald Lake Park and spent a couple of hours walking around the lakes and forests there, then took the train back. After that I visited the Dandenong Ranges National Park which has lots of walks around the mountains. The forests were beautiful and I spent a long time there just walking around on quite trails with no other people around.

The next day i finally got to go to the beach! It had started getting really hot so me and Bjorn went down to St Kilda beach in Melbourne. In the afternoon I met up with Emmy, a friend of mine from London who moved to Melbourne last year, and in the evening we went out for Bjorns leaving dinner and drinks.

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So yesterday I travelled along The Great Ocean Road to Lorne. I spent the day walking around town and along the beach before I cooked dinner at my hostel. I’ve been eating out a lot recently so I’ve decided to start cooking more myself, at least as long as I’m in Australia where food is expensive. I’m staying at a really nice hostel (Great Ocean Road Backpackers) on a green hill above Lorne. My dorm is a 4-bed in a small cabin, and at the moment I’m alone in there :)

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Today I’ve been going on more walks along the coast and a river. Then it started raining so I walked back home and made some food. I wanted to go to the beach this afternoon but haven’t been able to because of the weather, so I’ve just been reading at the hostel. I’ve been pretty tired so it was nice to just take it easy. The coach to Melbourne leaves tomorrow morning at 7 so I’m going to bed soon so I don’t miss it.

 

 

Melbourne

February 4, 2015

I arrived in Melbourne on Friday morning last week after leaving London Wednesday evening. The whole trip took about 24 hours with a stop in Singapore. In Melbourne Bjorn met me and we went for breakfast at a nice little cafe near his house.

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In the evening we went to his friends place for a party and later out in Melbourne. It was a good first night! Then I spent a couple of days at home recovering from drinking and jetlag while Bjorn was working. Had another amazing breakfast, this time alone.

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A couple of days ago I went to the shrine of remembrance and botanical gardens and walked around for hours. It was a really nice and sunny day, the gardens were beautiful with lots of different plants and flowers.

Yesterday me and Bjorn went to the national gallery and then we walked around town stopping for beers every now and then in the sun. Then we met up with a couple of Bjorns friends for dinner. Today is a bit chilly so we’re just in taking it easy. Bjorn is leaving for Sweden on Sunday and I’m planning to go to Lorne for a couple of days before I fly to Sydney on Tuesday.