I’ve uploaded new photos from my motorbike drive up in the Cameron Highlands where tea is grown on the mountain slopes. The air was cool and the roads wind around these mountains and up and down the hills. Driving the motorbike is the best way to experience the Cameron Highlands.
I haven’t posted anything to the bog other than photos over the past week because I’ve been so busy during my time in Malaysia and Singapore (over the last three days). Both countries were the two new destinations for me on this trip and I really loved what I saw of both. I had wide-ranging experiences in Malaysia such as attending the Thaipusam Festival at the Batu Caves, exploring the sites in Georgetown and motorbiking to see monkeys, tea plantations and scenic views in Penang and the Cameron Highlands. I also got to hang out with friends, old and new, as well as their family, co-workers and other friends, getting a more authentic taste of life in Malaysia.
In Singapore I saw sites and ate great food but I also met some very cool people along the way, all of whom were interesting and friendly. I got to see some examples of a really clean, organized and well run city including advanced urban features we don’t even have going on in New York yet. Last night I spent time near the river eating a huge crab, listening to live jazz and taking photos of the city at night. In addition to the photos I’ve posted, I have much more to say about my time in Malaysia and Singapore but I’ll have to play catch up while in Vietnam over the next week. For now, enjoy the photos and I’ll try to post more soon!
We’ve just uploaded photos from our last two days in Pai. Instead of joining an organized trekking tour, we decided to ride around by ourselves and explore different villages, waterfalls, wats and farmland. It was fabulous.
We are now back in Chiang Mai packing our bags and getting ready to say goodbye to each other and to Thailand. Tomorrow morning we both fly out of Chiang Mai – I am flying back to HCMC for 1 night before flying back home (via Tokyo) and Kevin is flying to Malaysia to start his adventure!
We’ve been in Pai since Sunday afternoon when we arrived by bus from Chiang Mai. The name of the town is pronounced with a hard “B” sound, as in, “Bye Bye”, not, “American Pie”. The weather is quite different up here in the mountains of Northern Thailand and we wake up to the chilly morning air protected by a couple of blankets and a mosquito net in our cabin. The cabin is the ideal setting for a little morning stretch and exercise, complete with a straw mat and a beautiful view of the gardens.
We decided to skip the included “American Breakfast” as it’s called and cross the street for something a bit more interesting and healthy. We first dropped off our dirty laundry, also across the tiny street, where they wash your clothes for 20 Baht (50 cents) and it’s ready by 6PM the same day. The breakfast cafe was small and charming with statues, flowers and little offerings of food in dishes which the passing dogs seemed to enjoy very much. Tamar had a fruit, yogurt and muesli cup and I enjoyed a mushroom crepe and some very strong and good coffee.
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We decided to end our week long stay on the islands by spending two nights in Koh Mak – a smaller island off of Koh Chang. We took a slow boat from Koh Chang’s fisherman’s village and an hour later we were on a gorgeous new island. Even before getting off the boat, I could already see that the water was crystal clean turquoise and the scenery resembled one of those posters you see in a tour agency. Koh Mak is definitely less touristy than Koh Chang with far less resorts, restaurants and activities. There are stretches of land where you see nothing but trees (and dogs). It is very quiet and somewhat secluded, a perfect romantic getaway.
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We’ve just uploaded a new album of photos from the island of Koh Mak in the Koh Chang Archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. This island is smaller than Koh Chang with less tourists and activities but offered an excellent getaway from big island life, plenty of roads to explore by motorbike (or bicycle) and very nice beaches and seafood. Click here to view the photos!
We stayed a total of seven nights on the island of Koh Chang and four of those were at a very nice resort, the Coral Resort, located at the northern end of Kaibe Beach. This is not a huge resort or even a fancy resort like the ones a bit further North at Klong Prao Beach. But this resort had what we needed and more.
We opted for a private cabin with air-conditioning which ran us 2,000 Thai Baht ($53) a night. Identical cabins with a sea view were 2,500 but from our cabin the sea was still visible between the neighboring â€œsea-view cabinsâ€. Walking about 20 meters brought us to the edge of the sea for an unobstructed view.
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Philipp, a co-worker at MSS, had a motorcycle accident yesterday. This is quite common in Vietnam and is not really a big deal. This time, however, Philipp got pretty scratched up and decided to go to a hospital. Considering he wasn’t wearing a helmet during the time of accident, he was very lucky to only have a few scratches here and there. This morning he showed up in the office (after driving his motorcycle to work of course) bruised yet cheerful and we were talking about his accident. He showed me the doctorâ€™s note he received at the hospital and it was just so funny I had to take a photo. Take a look at the last item under treatment!
I met my friend, Trang, for dinner at one of the Banh Trang restaurants in the city. At a Banh Trang restaurant you order meat or fish and get a huge basket full of herbs (some are quite exotic), cucumber slices, bean sprouts, dry rice flour crepes, pickled carrots/shallots and fish sauce of course. The fun part is assembling your meal: you take a little of each ingredient using chopsticks, place it on the rice paper and transform it into a nice roll. Some do it a little more gracefully than others (mine kinda looked like a Vietnamese Burrito) but either way, it is super yummy.
It may seem like just yesterday but believe it or not it’s been a full year since helmets became mandatory for motorbike riders in Vietnam. We wrote about the helmet revolution when it happened last year. It’s certainly no surprise that this law has saved lives and there are even more safety measures in the works! View the NY Times Article about the World Health Organization’s assessment of the existing and future laws.