Cameron Highlands

Malaysia just never disappoints. Cameron highlands was the last place in Malaysia we visited which I was incredibly sad about because I just wanted to stay travelling around Malaysia forever.

Cameron Highlands is more of a nature, hilly, hiking area than the other places we have visited. The temperature was much colder (by colder I mean 22 degrees Celsius) but it was so refreshing. I loved being able to wander around without being sweaty and downing litres of water. I loved being able to wear a fleece and not wake up in the middle of the night so hot that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I loved watching TV in the evenings under my blanket.

The hostel we stayed at called CH travellers inn was brilliant. The owner was the nicest man who would go out of his way to cater to your every need. His little boy Sam was so cute aswell.

We only really had two full days but we made the most of it. The main two things we did was strawberry picking and visiting a tea plantation. Oh and plenty of walking.

The Big Red Strawberry farm

We chose this particular farm because the reviews online looked decent and we had rented a scooter so were free to go where we pleased.

On arrival it looked super busy but actually although the garden centre and cafe were busy the strawberry picking was dead. Lucky for us that meant we had our pick of the bunch.

The garden centre area was dead cute. It was huge and had so many cacti, I was in heaven. If I didn’t have to leave I would have picked up at least half a dozen cacti for my room.

The strawberry picking itself was fairly expensive although it was on par or cheaper than the other farms in the area. We both really wanted to do it though and it was well worth the money as for half a kg you got a lot of strawberries. There is something so nice about wandering around hunting for the shiniest, reddish, biggest strawberries and the satisfaction once you find it.

After we finished the picking we went to the cafe where we ordered two rather large waffles. And actually the cafe was really cheap which was a nice surprise.

Bharat tea plantation

It was really hard to choose which tea plantation to go to because like with the strawberry farms there are so many. We decided on Bharat and I’m so glad we did because the tea and the views were outstanding.

There was a path you could wander down into the first section of the tea plants but for us the view was substantially better at the window seats of the cafe. We got a pot of tea to share which was expensive but it was a one off.

The tea plantation went for miles, as far as the eye could see. You could see the workers picking the leaves all over the plantation.

The tea was so good that I had to go to the gift shop afterwards to pick up two boxes of the loose leaf tea to take home with me.


The Cameron Highlands was brill. We ate great food at a really cheap price, ate our much deserved strawberries and I even found scones at a cafe round the corner from our hostel.

One word to describe that place: fantastic!

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25 lessons in 25 years

I’m 25 which is the exact middle of your 20s, halfway to 50 and let’s be serious over a quarter of your life has gone. BUT I try not to think about the above facts, age is just a number after all. Here are the life lessons which I have learnt so far:

1. You are never too old to learn. Not learning = severe boredom.

2. Tea is the best beverage of all time.

3. Time heals everything.

4. Don’t care what people think of you. You are you.

5. Unfortunately parents tend to be right most of the time.

6. Exercising, sleeping, socialising and eating are essential.

7. High street stores are overpriced.

8. Experiencing and immersing yourself in other cultures is important for self-growth and awareness.

9. When you look as young as I do people still think you are a teenager. And it’s great.

10. Nobody has any idea what they are doing with their lives so it’s fine if you don’t either.

11. Making time for yourself and your hobbies/interests is the key to being content.

12. Block out negative people from your life. They aren’t worth it.

13. Writing a diary keeps memories alive.

14. Sometimes friendships aren’t worth saving.

15. Always be silly.

16. Make time for your friends.

17. If you have a problem, talk about it.

18. Animals are equal to humans.

19. Always say yes to trying new things. You never know what might happen.

20. Let your imagination run wild. Find a creative outlet for it.

21. Choosing what to eat when you don’t know what you want never gets easier.

22. Converse with strangers. You never know what interesting things you may find out.

23. Learn from your mistakes. And try not to repeat them.

24. Realise that you are capable of achieving anything your heart wants (with determination and hard work). Follow your dreams.

25. Bridget Jones is the best movie of all time.

Penang

The minute I stepped off the boat into Penang I knew it would be incredible. I stayed in Georgetown the entire time rather than exploring the rest of the island due to time restraints.

The streets are so brightly coloured, it looks like a movie set. But the thing which puts this place in a league of its own is the celebration of creativity and freedom of expression seen everywhere. There were open spaces for artists to come and paint or draw whenever and whatever they wanted which I thought was a cracking idea.

There was so much incredible street art. I grabbed a map and hunted down a lot of the art which took forever but was such a good way of seeing all around the city.

I also really loved all of the cute independent shops and eating places. Little India was incredible for food, I ate veggie meals until I was full to bursting every single day.

One of the things I did was to write a postcard to myself which will be sent on whatever day you choose within the next five years. I wrote down all the goals and wishes I had for the coming year. Mine should arrive on my 26th birthday which is a scary thought.

The buildings in Penang all were painted gorgeous colours and had the most beautiful tiles on the floors and walls. Some of the building had paint flaking off them which added to the atmosphere of the place, instead of looking tired it seemed to look deliberate.

I can’t finish this blog post without mentioning China House cafe. No visit to Penang would be complete without paying this cafe a visit. It is pricy but oh my god the cakes are just insane. I’ve never seen so many cakes before. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures because clearly I was too involved in the cake situation but trust me on this one. You won’t regret it.

Penang will always hold a special place in my heart because it was so memorable. I definitely want to return with the intention of touring around the whole island and discovering whether it is all as amazing as Georgetown.

Langkawi

Langkawi has some of the most beautiful beaches that I have come across in my travels so far. It was so zen, I could have stay forever.

Meters and meters of white sand reach blue clear oceans. Very few people grace these beaches. Lying down you could hear the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore. Islands covered with jungle surrounded the beach resulting in beautiful views. The clouds were perfect – so fluffy and so white.

Where we were staying there were hundreds of coconut trees lining the roadside with foliage stretching for miles. In the evenings the skies were pink, hinting at a Shepard’s delight in the morning and crickets chirped loudly. Fluffy cats and chickens lived in harmony, happily meandering around looking for any spare food.

In the evenings after cooking for ourselves (hallelujah) we watched a film. The first time in two months I have been able to watch one. Night one was the BFG, night two was Inside Out. Having the chance to relax and unwind whilst watching a film is a luxury than I didn’t even know I missed.

Once the film was over we would walk to the ice cream stand and get ourselves a big big ice cream and sit on the bench outside watching the world go by.

Langkawi was the perfect place to come and unwind from the hectic travelling life. Having the facilities to cook for ourselves was so nice because sometimes all you want is a big bowl of pasta with plain tomato sauce and unfortunately that can be hard to come by in Asia. I feel so rejuvenated by these couple of days it’s quite unbelievable. Beach days, film nights, ice cream evenings… pure lush!

Kuala Lumpur

I may have found one of my favourite cities to add to the list.

KL is infinitely more chill than all of the other big cities I have visited on this trip. I had two full days here and mainly I just wandered (as per). There is plenty to do though if you are here for longer such as the classic museums etc.

I always use Culture Trip to look up potential things to do in all of the places that I go as they tend to have a few articles listing different things depending on what you are into.

DAY ONE

It was Rachael’s last day with us (cryyyy) before she headed home for graduation. We got food at a little Indian restaurant around the corner from our hostel which was RIDICULOUSLY cheap. It was such a confusing menu and we made no sense of it so just order two chapattis with vegetable curry and it was delicious.

After fuelling up we walked to the patronis twin towers. It was a bit drizzly but we still managed to get an ample number of photographs.

We went into the big shopping centre in the towers and it was like stepping into another world. Caroline and I haven’t been in a proper shop for months so we were VERY overexcited especially when we spotted Topshop!

Because it was Rachael’s last night we decided to treat ourselves to a nice meal out. We decided on a Tapas restaurant called Pinchos. We made a reservation which was wise as when we arrived it was packed and stayed packed for the two hours we were there. We went a bit overboard on the food ordering. We got seven between us but these tapas were huge and obviously we couldn’t go for a nice dinner without a bottle of red wine. I couldn’t recommend this place enough. Food was unreal, service was impeccable and the atmosphere was really good.

DAY TWO

Caroline and I weren’t too sure what we wanted to do on our second day except revisit the shopping centre.

We started wandering up that way and decided to walk through the eco garden which is a sort of park but it is part of the jungle which has been preserved. There is a walkway along the treetops. It was nice, felt surreal having such greenery within a city.

We did get a bit lost as some of the paths were blocked by fallen down trees or the paths had been destroyed by storms so it took a lot longer than intended but we met some really nice Malaysian people who were up for a chat.

Once we got to the shopping centre we wandered around looking in shops and lusting over various food items. There was even a Marks and Spencer’s in which I treated myself to a packet of Jaffa cakes.

After the shopping centre we walked back to the hostel for a hour of so of chill time. We actually then went to one of mosques in the city which you were allowed to walk around. I have only been inside a mosque when I was really young so I was intrigued. It was very beautiful, located between two canals.

After wandering around the mosque we walked to independence square which looked like a cricket ground almost. The building facing the square was incredible, so pretty and intricate.

That evening we walked back to the patronis twin towers to watch the light show. It lasted about 15-20 mins and was impressive. The fountains and lights were in time to various music compositions.

There is always mixed opinions of KL floating about but for me it was definitely a very positive experience. Good vibes all round.

Ko Lanta

Being on the move all the time is very tiring so spending 3 full days in the one place was a well needed respite.

DAY ONE

It was very very wet the entire day so whilst waiting for the rain to calm down I did some French on Duolingo and read. Cabin fever kicked in and we had to get out of the hostel for a walk and some food. I did quite enjoy a quiet day of sitting hearing the rain patter on the roof, cool temperatures and chilling out.

DAY TWO

This was suuuuch a nice day. We went for a big long walk along the beach. Because it is low season here the beaches were dead so we found a little secluded beach to relax for a couple of hours. I loved watching the crustaceans migrating along the shore as the tide went out, crab watching in the rock pools and making friends with a dog that was roaming around on the sand.

Caroline taught me how to do a proper cartwheel and hand stand as I am incapable of doing either so I practiced on the beach. I’m counting that as a fair amount of exercise considering the severe lack in the last couple months.

DAY THREE

We booked onto an island hopping tour which visited four islands for our last full day. It was 1000 baht and included transfer from the hostel to the pier, lunch and snorkelling.

Unfortunately the water wasn’t very clear for snorkelling so it was difficult to see anything which was a bit disappointing but I did see a couple of fish amongst the rocks so can’t complain. The lunch was a proper feast of rice and veg followed by fruit for us vegetarians and a big buffet for the carnivores.

It was such a great day and I loved being driven around in the speed boat with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face…albeit a bit too much sun considering the sunburn levels later on that evening!

Krabi

Krabi was jam packed full of activities for me which was good as I like to be busy. We had got the night bus down from Bangkok and so we all slept on the day we arrived which left us with one full day essentially.

We decided to hire scooters and climb one of the surrounding hills in the Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park (I think). The drive was around 40 minutes followed by a 2 hour hike. We set off very early to avoid the midday heat which was sensible as by the time we approached the top it was getting very hot.

The climb itself was steep and not the best underfoot but it was manageable. It was so nice to be doing some exercise surrounded by nature. The views at the top were beautiful, you could see the amazing landscape for miles.

On the way back we stopped off at a beach to cool off and go for a swim before heading back to our hostel. My scooter almost ran out of petrol which was a bit scary but I made it back in one piece.

I liked Krabi although because it was the low season it was pretty quiet which had both positives and negatives. Positives being that the beaches were so quiet which was lovely, negatives being that the bars and restaurants were all very quiet. All in all though I liked Krabi, it was the perfect little beach town.