Back in HK

Lonely Star Ferry Just to let you know, I’m back and up ‘n running in Hong Kong now. I have a back log of blog posts about the travel to publish still here, as well as more photos. I can hint you this though: the end of the trip was the most exciting and also the most disappointing part of the trip. Right now though I will continue the Chinese New Year celebrations with my girlfriend.

I have also updated the blog system to WordPress 2.

Paradise Langkawi

100_1272 Since the 12th of January I and Patrick have spent our time on the northwestern Malaysian island Langkawi. We had chosen the island because it was close, it wasn’t affected by the rainy season (that is all over Southeast Asia right now) and because we wanted some simple sun, rest and nice beaches (and add a bit of jungle and caves on top of that!).Island hopping II

Now, 19th of January, we have booked our flight to Borneo via Kuala Lumpur, leaving tomorrow. The week has been the greatest time so far according to me and an utter failure according to Patrick. I guess I have to explain that…

Patrick simply woke up the first morning in Langkawi sick, with fever. He went to the doctor and got pills. And went more sick. Stomach problems, head ache, fever, you name it, he had it. And that kept him more or less bound to the bed all week. He hasn’t seen anything else of Langkawi than our bungalow and the street outside, basically. Which is very sad and very unfortunate. I know that Patrick right now is looking forward to Borneo though, so let’s hope for the best (and he is more or less healthy by now).Blue-green-green

For me, it was completely different. First day I did nothing but read. But the next day I met up, as planned, with Claes and his friend Jesper, who just had arrived from their ongoing trip in Thailand. It was really nice meeting them and with them I went exploring the island. To make a long story short, we have made an island hopping tour, including monkeys, cat fish, jungle lakes and eagle feeding, we have made scooter trips and seen beaches, hot springs, wonderful waterfalls, a crocodile farm and a bird zoo. I’ve also read a lot of good books during the time here (I strongly recommend 1421 by Gavin Menzies for an unsurpassed historical enlightenment).Waterfall

Although I both have gotten some bad sun burns and a strange swollen eye (which now is gone… the swell I mean) it has been great. Every evening have ended in a beer on the beach, a walk, a nice restaurant and then chatting in some bar. The weather has been as close to perfect as possible. And in the end, most things are incredibly cheap here. A lunch for 1-2 Euros is normal.Night out at the Reagge Bar

I just wish that Patrick and all those of you at home (or around the world) would be able to experience the same. My family especially missed an opportunity of getting a nice holiday on top of their visit to HK (it’s possible to rent an easy rider motorbike for around 8 Euros a day! And the roads and views are great.. too bad I forgot my driver’s license in HK!!).Langkawi sunset

I can only add a small, small subset of the photos I’ve taken so far here, so I urge you to take a further look in my Flickr gallery.

Noteworthy about KL

Petronas Towers KL, that is Kuala Lumpur, is not like any other town. It’s like taking a mixture of all big or notable cities around the world, shake, stir and then spill some on the table while pouring the drink into an old tea mug…Kuala Lumpur from above

Ehm. Anyway, Kuala Lumpur is huge, and I mean huge area wise (it’s huge in many other aspects too, though). There seems to be no limit on the spreading of the city, and there is also an apparent lack of city planning. Skyscrapers designed by architectural geniuses stand shoulder to shoulder (or rather foot to shoulder) with forgotten construction yards, garbage piles, small mosques or just badly maintained concrete condos. The city core is defined by the Petronas Tower and the line from them to the TV tower, but its hard to really distinguish the city center. You can find enormous skyscrapers far out in the suburbs, and you can walk in the city center in the middle of the day and not really meeting anybody…Petronas Towers again

Kuala Lumpur is famous for its horrible traffic. The city is heavily polluted and constantly under attack from millions of vehicles – many of them shining SUV:s. Which takes me to the next point – KL is a city of sharp contrast between the rich and the poor. Or rather, most people seem to be quite well off in KL, but in the same time, the poverty is alwaays visible. The really rich ones are nowhere to be seen… The city is no less then five or six commuter systems with include monorails, normal trains and subway, but they don’t seem to make much difference.

Culturally KL is extremely mixed, almost more than Singapore. Malays, Chinese, Indians, Arabs and European ex-pats are side by side. As the country is muslim the city makes a sharp contrast to other Asian sprawls – many buildings are clearly islamic, there are lots of mosques and traditionally dressed muslim women can be seen everywhere, especially in the governmental offices.100_1158

Anyway, enough about this city. I will leave it soon in favour of Langkawi, a paradise island up north (unfortunately a quite touristic place). And after that, we will head for the Sarawak state in Borneo for some jungle safari!

Roaming in Singapore

100_1064 (This post will be updated as time goes on, because due to time restraint, slow internet and other reasons I can’t write completed posts every time)

I’m sitting here at a internet center at Bugis, the cheap and chic almost-central shopping area of Singapore. We have just browsed through the Sim Lim Square IT-mall with a really good assortment of IT stuff. Some prices are even better than Hong Kong, but in general it’s the same.The Esplanade

So far Singapore hasn’t impressed me overly. Far less skyscrapers than Hong Kong, more humid, not as clean as I thought, etc. Probably I just had high expectations, but right now, I can only say Singapore is nice but I prefer Hong Kong any day of the week. Tree at Fort Canning A plus with Singapore is that it’s so green and lush in the streets with lots of trees and small parks. This is a luxury not afforded in Hong Kong. I also like the food so far in Singapore, although I’ve mostly avoided the chinese food which probably is the same as in HK.

Take a look at the gallery for some pictures. The internet center I’m at the m0ment has really slow computers and low bandwidth, so this is all I can produce for now… tomorrow we will be heading to Malaysia, destination so far unknown. Either Kuala Lumpur or some relaxing island…Roti Prata Breakfast