The reason we had to fly to Penang in the first place was that when we arrived at Hong Kong airport for our flight to Bali, we were told that in order to enter Indonesia, we needed proof that we were leaving I.e a flight out of Indonesia. We had to book a flight using the airport WiFi before they would let us check in so we literally searched for flights from Indonesia into Malaysia and had to estimate how long we would want in both places. Nightmare! We finally booked it and checked in, boarding the plane with minutes to spare.
So, not a great start! We arrived in Penang and made our way in a taxi to a street in Little India where our hostel was located. At the end of our road was an amazing Indian restaurant called Kapitan where we actually ate both nights because it was so tasty (and really really cheap!). As we were using Penang as a kind of stopover, we didn’t really do much during the day because we were planning our time in Malaysia but we did go to the cinema in one of the huge shopping centres one evening which was fun, though something we’ve learnt about cinemas in Asia is that you go in through one door and afterwards, you leave through a door near the screen which takes you through the carpark…random!
After a couple of nights, we took a ferry to Langkawi which was much more touristy. After yet another hostel nightmare, we found a lovely beach and spent our few days relaxing on the white sands.
The sea was unbelievably hot, which sounds like a strange complaint but it must have been way over 25° which when you are in desperate need of refreshment after being out in the sun, actually isn’t that great! When we arrived in Langkawi, we realised how close we were to the Thai island of Koh Lipe, which we had heard from our friend Lisa was absolutely beautiful and a must-see! So we booked a boat to the island and decided to spend a few days there.
It was strange going through immigration at the Malaysian port but soon, we were on our way, in a speed boat back to Thailand! It was one of the bumpiest boats we’d been on (so far!) but it was really fun as we sat up at the front. When we arrived, oh my goodness…it was stunning! It was like the beach we wanted every beach to be like!
We had to trek to the opposite end of the beach to find our hostel and when we got there, I think that was the sweatiest we had ever been! We were shattered, starving sweaty beasts – the perfect time to make dorm friends! We started chatting to Luke, Kirsty and Sandra who kindly took pity on us and invited us to breakfast with them. This was the day we were introduced to the breakfast that we would have for the next 3 days. It was a place called Café Lipe right on the beach and we had a fruit shake and American pancakes with yogurt and fresh fruit – so good!
We spent the afternoon on the beach, swimming in the clear, turquoise sea until later in the afternoon when a storm hit. Well, we actually ran back into the sea during the rain because a few of us had never swum in the sea in the rain before, which was great fun! Little did we know that the storm would last for the rest of our time on this beautiful island but we didn’t let it ruin our stay. In fact, we got into quite a nice routine: wakeup/get woken up, go for pancakes on the beach, walk up to see which films were playing in a couple of the bars, stop in Elephant Books and Coffee for a few hours of board games, incredible grilled cheese sandwiches, baked goods and cups of tea and then wander back along the beach to the hostel before heading out to watch the preferred film choice in the evening and have dinner – smashing!
On the day we were set to leave Koh Lipe, the waves were so rough and the rain so heavy that we didn’t think the boat would even take us back to Langkawi…Fortunately by 4pm, the sea had calmed down and we got on our speed boat to take us back to Malaysia. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the bumpiest boat ride ever and we had to stand up the whole way, clinging on for dear life! We made it back to Langkawi, a bit battered and green around the gills but were pleased to have made it as we later found out that a huge storm hit Koh Lipe an hour or so after we’d left and caused destruction on the island. If we had been stuck there, we might have missed our flight to Kuala Lumpur!
Anywho, we were lucky and caught the flight as planned. We took a bus from KL airport, directly to our hostel, which was in a great location, we could even see the MRT (monorail) as it went past our window!
It was early afternoon when we arrived so we decided to get some lunch/dinner and we were pretty amazed to find a Nandos! So obviously we went there! That evening we walked to see the famous Petronas towers and they were amazing to behold!
We wandered around the shopping centre below the towers for a while, marvelling at various English delicacies that we found, including M&S biscuits and Terry’s Chocolate Orange – yes, we purchased both.
The next day we decided to explore and also to book our bus to Singapore so we jumped on the monorail and headed for Times Square Shopping centre, home of the world’s largest capsule vending machine:
…and Malaysia’s largest indoor theme park…
After booking our bus for approximately £9, we then made our way to the Petronas towers again to get some day shots and also because we had booked tickets for the cinema to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which was really good!
We had an early bus to Singapore the next day, which was one of the strangest buses we’ve been on – it had loads of legroom and huge massage chairs for each person! It took about six hours to get there and when we were dropped off in a random place, we negotiated the MRT and made our way to the hostel, which was a bit out of the way. The train system was fairly easy to work out and when we arrived, we headed straight out for food. We were pretty tired when we’re arrived so we did a bit of research in the air conditioned room and had an early night.
The next day, we went to do some sightseeing using the MRT. We started off at the Merlion park and saw Singapore’s national icon, a cross between a lion and a fish.
From that park you can see the very impressive Marina Bay Sands Hotel and also a building shaped like a durian.
Then we went for a walk along the river past lots of nice restaurants that we wished we could afford.
We also saw this guy, dressed as Father Christmas riding a scooter!
In the evening we made our way to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel to watch the light and water show, which was really good. They used projections, water fountains, fire and little film clips to tell a story.
We went back inside the shopping centre attached to the hotel and took the escalator to the Gardens by the Bay feature where you can see out across Singapore and also see the Botanic Gardens. Definitely worth a look!
A trip to Singapore would not be complete without a trip to the legendary Raffles Hotel, creator of the ‘Singapore Sling’. When you walk inside, discarded monkey nut shells crack under your feet. It’s the tradition to just throw them on the floor, a tradition that is surprisingly easy to get used to!
So, we both had the ‘Singapore Sling’ and it was delicious, expensive but delicious.
The next day we took the MRT to the airport and flew to Australia!