After nearly two years of planning and waiting, the time is ALMOST here. We have planned this trip knowing our Great Dane was not going to live "forever" and we could not go whilst he was with us. He passed away on 20th January 2014 and from that date the wheels have started turning.
So on March 14th we fly out of Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur and onward through China and South East Asia for an expected six months
We will chronicle our trip in here compliments of Travelfish Admin who have allowed us to Link back to our own site Wandering Wombats
So Travelfish people, please bookmark this page and return often over the forthcoming months.
We will be taking video cameras and still cameras (have been to photography classes recently) along with a laptop and all sorts of gadgetry. So we hope (internet availability permitting) to upload pictures and videos to our website Flickr and You Tube / Vimeo.
Our itinerary is basically from Melbourne - Kuala Lumpur - Hong Kong - China - Vietnam -Cambodia Bangkok - Laos - Thailand (Chaing Mai) and other spots then back to Malaysia and Singapore flying home from Kuala Lumpur in September.
We had to plan up to and including China to comply with the Chinese visa requirements. But after that we may change with the weather and tides.
So the clock is ticking (its on the website) and we are getting excited. So if you would like to follow the exploits of a pair of 70 year + olds.... Ahhh I saw the look on your face :-) Watch this space.
Hey Tassie - so sorry to hear about the passing of your 'puppy', Zeus. Even when it's expected, it's still very sad, and I'm sure he will leave a big hole in your heart. But on the other hand - you finally get to take off on your long-planned adventure.
It looks like our paths won't quite cross - I'll be in KL 21-15 March before heading to Istanbul. I figure it's time to move on from SE Asia for a little while and check out Turkey and a bit of Eastern Europe.
All the best to you and your wife on your travels. I will keep an eye out both here and on your blog to see how you are getting on.
The adventure has begun. Our first posts will be from Kuala Lumpur. Where we will be spending two weeks in our friends Mark & Kimi's Condo.
Saturday 15th March 6.30am. We arrived in KL after a trip that started In Tasmania 24 hours before. Friday was spent getting everything ready for departure at 8.15pm from Hobart.
A great on time trip to Melbourne by 9.30 and we found our way to international departures. As our flight to KL was not scheduled to leave till 1.30 Saturday morning we sat and looked at the forming queue and wondered (along with a few others), HOW could so many people and so much luggage fit onto one plane? We waited for the queue to reduce which took till almost midnight and after other long queues for passport, customs etc. found ourselves in the departure lounge. The Air Asia A330 was bursting at the seams and we missed out on our Optiontown upgrade to business class, but were upgraded to a Hot seat (extra leg room by the exit door). If you travel the area you would do well to check it out.
Landing in KL after a great flight and putting watches back 3 hours to 6.30am KL time we boarded a Sky-Bus and made it to KL Central. We never realized the airport was so far out, 70KLMS !!
Although we had a small meal on the plane the worms were gnawing and we opted for our first meal in KL. Maccas !! :-)
We will update in condensed form on here otherwise we might "Blow the site" so check out our travel website using the links:
Home page: wanderingwombats
The First day in KL
Food glorious food
However coming from the island state of Tasmania / Australia where our tallest building is around twelve stories and any new building of size makes headlines it is AMAZING to us to see the development here in KL. There are huge developments going on everywhere, roads, shopping complexes, multi story housing developments etc. To an outsider from a small place it really is mind blowing. And the food !!!!!!!!!! which is one of our main reasons for being here has to be seen to be believed.
So after only two days on "the road" we are starting to settle in. We can strongly advise if you have the time, start your trip slowly or it will knock you around very fast. The difference in time zones, temperatures, cultures, food all take a bit of getting settled in to.
So another day.... More food, more scenery.. Will report back soon.. Keep watching our travels.. only 5 months and 28 days to go [img]smileys/smile.gif[/img]
Food. That's what it seems to be about. Have been to Bangkok, really love the place and the food. Can't wait to get to China in about 2 weeks (after a week in Hong Kong) and get into the Chinese cuisine.
Watch this post more blogging coming..Having a job to keep up with it all getting up at 3am to do websites and blog, what with picture downloads and uploads, video prep etc... It's a hard life but someone's got to do it [img]smileys/smile.gif[/img]
WATCH THIS SPACE [img]smileys/smile.gif[/img]
As previously stated if you have the time to "Ease" yourself in to a trip it is easier on the body (especially an older body) however we realise that for everybody that is not possible. Our first days were kept busy getting SIM cards for Wi –Fi modem and phone. And so after a successful internet hookup we were able to get onto our web reporting again.
The week has been spent eating lots of great foods, exploring shopping malls bigger than anything we had seen before, sleeping, eating and uploading pictures and fighting for hours with You Tube as it recognised we were in a different country and wanted us to re confirm with an SMS. As I had left our SIM card back home and purchased a local one for the couple of weeks here I could not do this and after hours of frustration we managed to set up a new account and have uploaded a couple of videos. (Experimental). Now we are worried that when we move on to China etc the same thing will happen. At the end of the day we have found it easier to use Vimeo. It is good but the video editing program we use Sony Vegas allows direct uploads to your You Tube account with Vimeo we have to save to computer and then upload. Any way it works.
We are lucky to have friends who own the Condo we are staying in and Kimi’s parents live just a few stations away. So one day we went to visit them.. After fighting with the auto ticketing machine much to the amusement of the other people lining up (not in our line BTW) we made it to their station. We were picked up Kimi’s parents you asked “Do you like Dim Sum?” What a question that’s like asking “Do you like breathing”. So they took us out to lunch to a really great busy “Dim Summery” in Selengor Darul Ehsan. We have never been so Dim Sum-ed out. The food was fantastic and the pictures here prove it. Our hosts simply did not know when to say no and the food just kept coming. The restaurant was packed and we were told people even queued to eat there for breakfast and all day on. If success is measured by numbers this place was truly successful.
We just had to relax at their place in the afternoon as they had organised dinner at a seafood restaurant of no less popularity.That evening joined by son and his family we were driven into what seemed obscure back lanes and side street tocome across an enormous restaurant “PantaiSeafood” And seafood it was. Hundreds of fish crabs, lobsters, abalone, prawns,oysters and many other seafood delicacies all swimming around in tanks inside this very large restaurant with a kitchen nearly as big as a train station!!
Our hosts ordered dinner and much like lunch it came and came and seemed unending. Vegetable soup with 100 year old eggs, crab in sweet and sour sauce, garlic clams, whole hot prawns, chicken, noodles with mixed seafood and fresh baked soft bread to mop it all up. We must have used a hundred serviettes cleaning our fingers as we tucked into what can only be described as a magnificent spread all laid out on a large Lazy Susan. Whole baby coconuts with a straw for drinking and Tiger beer washed this gargantuan feast down. Then we were driven home where a lovely large bed welcomed us for the “rest” of the night. And thanks to Kimi’s efforts way back in Australia (lots of message texting) the Air Con in the condo had been fixed and we enjoyed our first night without perspiration running off us. :-)
The adventure continues:
Watch this space.
Much Water has passed under the bridge since our previous update.
Time flies so let me give a condensed version of our Wanderings
We had a two day trip to Penang From Kl on a "Plushliner" doubledecker coach.
Stayed at the Broadway Budget Hotel in Georgetown.Although it was only 70rm a night it certainly has a few shortcomings among its pluses. The rooms are spotless. The aircons are new as are ceiling fans.Toilet and shower combined are fine. But we were place on the third floor and..No lift.!! Now for youngsters that's fine but for decrepit old Wombats it was a challenge. "Would we like a room on a lower floor? They have TV and cost extra" No thanks Malaysian TV is not something we can watch (if you have you know what we mean) Woke at 1am as dry as a biscuit. No side table in room (or table even)so struggle to door to find light switch. No jug or cups in room so downstairs.No facilities there either so took a 1klm walk for water. They have no communal room or any facilities at all, and I would happily pay another 10-20rm for these.
But Penang and its old world charm mixed with modernity made up for this. However another Caution! The taxis here all charge a fare that they think suits. Although on the door it states â€œThis is a metered taxi,Haggling is prohibited the fares are usually way over metered rates. (In KL there is no such problem)
So taxi to the funicular railway to the Penang HillRailway which is well worth a visit although try and make it on a non-hazy day or you won't see much or the view. Then pick up a taxi to the hugeKek Lok Si Temple. Make sure to tell the cab driver to drop you on the MID level or you will probably never make the steps up especially in the heat. The temple is magnificent and well worthy of a visit.
No visit to Penang is worth anything if you miss the food. Penang is famous for it's foods from the hawker stalls of Gurney Drive to the multitude of restaurants and hawker stalls in and around Little India. However no matter where you venture the Penangites love their food and are blessed with some extremely good eateries.
So our time went fast and it was back to KL on the bus:
Here I will tell you a story. BE warned.. CHECK everything all the time.
On arrival at the bus terminus on TUESDAY we went to the counter and said "Can we have two tickets to KL on THURSDAY on the 1pm bus please?"
Tickets issued .. yes they said Penang - KL 1pm. Great put in bag and went Penang-ing.
Arrived back in plenty of time Thursday (Terminus is nearly 45 mins out of Georgetown)waited for bus, handed in tickets and got aboard. Nearly time to leave and the attendant got aboard and told us "Your tickets are not valid you must go and purchase new ones" WHY !!!
It seemed the girl in the office had issued tickets for WEDNESDAY and that had passed so the tickets had expired. I went upstairs to the office to get the date changed as the bus was ready to leave leaving Mrs. Wombat sitting on the bus. A heated exchange took place when the girl in the office said I would have to buy new tickets as it was my fault because I never checked the date. Incidentally the day Wednesday was not printed, only the date and like a lot of travelers I am never sure of the date only the day. Then Mrs. Wombat appeared saying they had ordered her off the bus and departed. The proverbial S*** hit the fan and everyone in the depot at which there are about 20 different bus companies heard about it. I was told to phone head office which I did for 20 mins on my fast running out ofcredit phone but that was a waste of time. To make it short I purchased tickets from another company and arrived back in KL at 8pm, hot, tired and exhausted.
So the next day after spending two hours finding "Plushliners" head office (misdirected twice, lots of train changes) I fronted the "General Manager" and explained my side of the story.. (Without raising my voice!)
Anyway credit given. He asked what I expected and I told him, a full refund and an apology both to myself and Mrs. Wombat. This he did and we parted on a hand shake. "Next time you wish to travel please came and see me" he said. Probably will, to go to Singapore. He will remember me I am sure.
The full story with picture and videos can be seen on Wandering Wombats web site
More reports coming but we are off to Hong Kong soon for one week and then China for one month etc.etc. Things may be a bit hard to put online. but bookmark this page and keep checking in. :-)
Looked up some"to go to" restaurants on a travel blog and found one not too faraway called "The Fatty Crab" at, SS/24/13 Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya.
That was close to the Taman Bahagia train station about 4 stops upline from where we were. So we walked to University station (10 mins downhill) and got the train to Taman Bahagia. Got off train and realised we had forgotten to take the address. So asked a taxi driver if he knew of "The Fatty Crab"? Of course he did! so after a non metered journey rm10 he dropped us outside a restaurant with a neon crab sign. Turns out it was not the right one, so we hopped into another cab who said "Yes I know it, it is close to the station why did you not walk?" GRRRRR. So a rm6 metered ride back we eventually found "The Fatty Crab" although it was only 7pm it appeared about 200 other people had found it as well. The place was packed upstairs and down and there were about 50 people sitting on the pavement waiting to get a table. So we waited awhile. The was no queue, apparently a lady just took note of who appeared and when and called you when she had a table.
So..... We told them we would return on a week night and wandered off (as Wombats do) down the road. The were dozens of eateries and we opted for a Hawker market with about 50 food stands. Tables were hard to find and we asked a young couple if we could share. They were happy to do so so I went looking for food which you order from a stand and they deliver to your table (if you knew the number). Ordered noodles and chicken for Mrs. Wombat and set off again to get mine. I found a Chinese Claypot chicken stall and watched them for a while cooking and ordered. Arriving back at the table Mrs. Wombats meal had arrived and as I had all the money the young Chinese Malaysian gentleman had paid for it and refused to let me refund him. My meal arrived and we washed them down with a nice cold large bottle of Carlsberg beer.Conversation revealed he had lived in Perth for two years and now worked in KL and they were expecting a baby girl in 5 months time.
At the end of the meal after explaining about our "Fatty Crab"experience they offered us a lift home and asked if we would like to join them the next day (Sunday) to go out for a crab/ seafood dinner. They arranged to pick us up at 6pm so I will let you know how dinner was later.
As all you avid readers will recall from our previous post on "The Fatty Crab" we were unable to get into the restaurant because of the crowds of patrons waiting for tables.
WELL.. Our friends who keep taking us out for meals and must think we are starved. Steven and Lynda managed to get a table on Friday 28th March.
Have a look at the pictures. And the video on Wandering Wombats.
We wondered why the table cloths had dozens of holes in them when we arrived. Then we found out, to break the crabs you put them on the table and bash them with a hammer until they break.
Sorry also that you weren't there but probably not as sorry as you are
FYI: We dined on: Stir fried rice with prawns, whole steamed fish, steamed crab, sweet and sour crab, chicken and beef sate's, chicken wings, prawns and lots of Tiger beer
It's a hard job but someone has to do it.
The adventure continues
Watch this space
We really love markets (All Wombats do) So on this day after a ride on the LRT and Monorail we made it to Chow Kit wet market. It is called wet because they sell fish, meat and poultry and the floors are generally wet so don't wear slacks/trousers that drag on the ground.
It is as one would expect full on lots of noise, vendors yelling out for trade, barrows going everywhere.
There is an enormous array of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and other seafood, poultry, beef and pork as well as the dry items, clothes, shoes, gifts, you name it. The merchants were happy for us to film and when they found we came from Australia welcomed us with open arms. (Some covered in fish and stuff!!).
We spent a while there then found an Indian restaurant on the main drag for lunch. We served ourselves from the Bain Marie and gave the chef in the kitchen a thumbs up to which he invited us into the kitchen. See the full pictures and video. on Wandering Wombats
The adventure continues
Watch this space
Saturday: Looked up some to go to restaurants on a travel blog and found one not too far away called "The Fatty Crab" at, SS/24/13 Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya.
That was close to the Taman Bahagia train station about 4 stops upline from where we were. So we walked to University station (10 mins downhill) and got the train to Taman Bahagia. Got off train and realised we had forgotten to take the address. So asked a taxi driver if he knew of The Fatty Crab? Of course he did! so after a non metered journey rm10 he dropped us outside a restaurant with a neon crab sign. Turns out it was not the right one, so we hopped into another cab who said â€œYes I know it, it is close to the station why did you not walk? GRRRRR. :-(
So a rm6 metered ride back we eventually found "The Fatty Crab" although it was only 7pm it appeared about 200 other people had found it as well. The place was packed upstairs and down and there were about 50 people sitting on the pavement waiting to get a table. So we waited a while. There was no queue, apparently a lady just took note of who appeared and when and called you when she had a table.
Queuing at The Fatty Crab
So.. We told them we would return on a week night and wandered off (as Wombats do) down the road. There were dozens of eateries and we opted for a Hawker market with about 50 food stands. Tables were hard to find and we asked a young couple if we could share. They were happy to do so so I went looking for food which you order from a stand and they deliver to your table (if you knew the number). Ordered noodles and chicken for Jewel and set off again to get mine. I found a Chinese Claypot chicken stall and watched them for a while cooking and ordered. Arriving back at the table Mrs. Wombats meal had arrived and as I had all the money the young Chinese Malaysian gentleman had paid for it and refused to let me refund him. My meal arrived and we washed them down with a nice cold large bottle of Carlsberg beer.Conversation revealed he had lived in Perth for two years and now worked in KL and they were expecting a baby girl in 5 months time. At the end of the meal after explaining about our "Fatty Crab" experience they offered us a lift home and asked if we would like to join them the next day (Sunday) to go out for a crab/ seafood dinner. They arranged to pick us up at 6pm so I will let you know how dinner was later. :-)
To see more pictures of the evening check out "Wandering Wombats" web site.
The adventure continues.
Watch this space.
Following our chance meeting
Keith and Elizabeth whom as mentioned in previous post, we by chance met at a food market had invited us out to dinner and picked us up at 5.30, we headed off to a part of town we had never visited. The Klang area. It is when you drive on a beautiful highway for about 40 mins at 100 klm that you realise how spread out KL is. It just goes on and on.
Eventually we arrived at a suburb (don’t ask me where) and arrived at this nondescript restaurant in the back streets. At 6.30 it was packed and we had to queue for a while then Keith managed to find a table in the back corned. We found four stools and plonked ourselves down. Keith spoke to the staff and ordered for us. English (no use me trying, no menu, they can’t speak English).
Crab for dinner Jewel & Elizabeth Yummy crabs
Steamed prawns in egg custard
The meal arrived in various portions. A dish of stir fried noodles, then a tray of baby coss lettuce tossed in garlic, and pork belly sliced and then some large prawns arranged in a tray covered with egg custard and steamed, two big crabs that had been baked over hot coals, and a dish of deep fried squid and baby octopus. Yours truly washed it all down with two large bottles of Tiger beer and feeling completely stuffed (again) we were driven home) Mind you going out to Mid Valley Mega Mall for lunch and having a huge bowl of Laksa and Korean Rice pork chicken and vegetables didn’t help !!!!
Catch up with the full story and video on Wandering Wombats
The adventure continues
Watch this space
Today being Friday seemed like a good day to go and find Lee Yue Mun fishing village. We went there twenty years ago and had some video on the laptop of the visit.
So around 10am or so we packed the laptop and headed out. Bus / train, change twice we ended up Lei Yue Mun by 11am (great transport system). Waited for bus to take us to fishing village. All buses are fixed fare. This one was $3.6HK each. About 300mt around the corner the driver said we were there So we wandered (as Wombats do) over to the ramshackle group of buildings that we vaguely recognised from last time. One laneway looked familiar so we got the laptop out and brought up the video of the lady and young girls who served us twenty years ago. The guy there instantly got excited and sent someone tearing off around the corner. Soon a couple of ladies appeared eager to see the video.
It turned out the lady was indeed the one in the video serving Jewel. The other two girls had married and left. The excitement went right around the nearby stall holders and they all wanted a look. So contact re-established we laughed and talked a while and said we would go for a walk before coming back for lunch.
So we walked through the village for an hour, a part of Hong Kong most visitors would never see. (See Video)
Returning for lunch we were encouraged to pick a fish, a couple of large scallops, some clams, a crab and some large prawns. And I do mean LARGE.
Yours truly asked to meet the chef and he let us video the kitchen (see video). Then a special table was set for us on the decking overlooking the harbour and the food started appearing one after another. The staff must have been on full alert because as soon as a wet towel was slightly soiled another appeared. The plates were changed as soon as they got slightly cluttered with shells etc. The tea cup was replaced after yours truly dropped a clam in it. And the lady of the house sat talking to us throughout the whole lunch. Luckily her English, although not good was better than our Chinese. They brought others to view the video and ooohed at a picture of Mrs. Wombat holding a 4kg Atlantic salmon.
The lady had NO idea about the internet, email or other IT bits. No idea at all. But it appeared her son ran his own seafood business so cards were given with our website for him to look at. I don't know if he ever will but his mother was told she would be a worldwide film star (see video)
And when it came to the time for the bill we were told we would only be charged the chefs cooking fee all the seafood was on the house. !!!!!!!
So completely stuffed with beautifully fresh seafood we took a few more photos, promised to return in another twenty years, told the feet we would take them home and walked back to the train. 40 mins later we were home in our room. Much to the relief of the feet.
To view the video of this post visit Wandering Wombats web site
Group pic The harbour The chef at work
The chef at work Yummy Wombat into it
Sign says it all Village street Friends after 20 years
Water supply Yummy crab Village house
Garlic & Ginger scallops The village main street
The adventure continues
watch this space
There are lots of things to do, based on your interests. A good elephant trek is one at Kata, called Kok Chang - my children loved this! There's also an aquarium which your child may enjoy, and a lovely butterfly farm near Phuket Town. You may also enjoy visiting Wat - the prettiest temple on the island, where you can pay a small donation and then pay your respect to the Buddha with incense and lotus flowers - a very spiritual experience. There's also the Big Buddha - Thailand's biggest Buddha statue perched high on a hill. I don't find it the most spiritual place, but it has great views and the statue itself is inspiring.
click here to see more
#18 johngates has been a member since 16/4/2014. Posts: 3
Thanks John.. Re elephant trek, I am afraid we have "Been there done that" and at our age will pass on sitting on any more elephants. :-)
As for children they are back in Aussie busy bring up our 6 grandchildren. LOL.
But all suggestions are certainly welcome re what to do and see (remember the age) At this very moment we have literally just arrived in Xian for 3 days and intend seeing The Terracotta warriors tomorrow. As for climbing Temple steps... That is another "will pass on"