Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Phuket - Tour Day

Hello from Singapore! I'm now at the final stop on my Asian adventure and I am loving this wee country so far, even though the prices are a shock after Malaysia and Thailand (things cost pretty much the same as they do in NZ, although public transport is still cheap).

Back to my time in Thailand, if you have been reading my blog for a while you have most likely guessed I'm a bit of a DIY no frills kind of girl. When it comes to travel I generally like to just get out and see the city, take public transport and walk as much as possible.

But this wasn't ideal in Phuket, for one thing its a pretty big island and the public transport isn't great and the sites are spread out a lot.

Whilst I am not the type of person who likes to take tours, in Phuket I decided to book one and see as much as I could see. My tour was a "city tour" but not much city was involved, but that's ok because there were still many amazing sites to be seen.

First up we stopped at two different look out points to take in the view - which wasn't too bad a all.

Next up we visited a temple, I have already totally forgotten the name of the temple, I am pretty terrible like that.

When we visited it was incredibly busy as there was a festival on and people and stalls everywhere. I have to admit, I do prefer visiting temples when they are busy and you can see people performing all their rituals.

Next up we had to stop for a spot of shopping , I guess that's what tours are all about. I did buy a couple of things for folks back home, but there wasn't anything too exciting at the store. I did like the elephant though - he's pretty cute.Next stop was the cashew nut factory, actually people tend to shell the nuts at home on a machine like the man is using in the picture below. Once they have shelled them they bring them to the factory and the factory will pay them a set price for a kilo of cashew nuts.

This factory makes all kinds of different varieties of cashew nuts - some were amazing and some not so much. I also got to try some cashew juice - turns out the nut is only a small part of a much larger fruit and in Thailand they make juice out of the fruit.

The final stop on the tour was a jewellery factory, which again was another excuse to try and get you to spend money and A LOT of money. It was kind of cool to watch some of the jewellers at work, but as we all know I'm more of a giant plastic beads and Hello Kitty kind of girl, so I didn't find it too interesting.

So that was my morning of touring about, was it worth it? Well the tour only cost US$10 and whilst I didn't like being taken places just to spend money I did like visiting most of the places we went to, so it was worth it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Phuket Wedding

If you have been following my blog for a while you will know that the whole starting point for my current trip was to attend my cousins wedding in Phuket.

After spending two days in Kuala Lumpur I took a short flight to Thailand and I landed in beautiful Phuket.This is the hotel/guesthouse I stayed at, the owner was a Swedish guy called Lars, he was really great. Helped me out with ordering a shuttle for the wedding and asked each day if I needed any help (I think he was a little worried as I was a woman travelling alone). If you ever want a place to stay near Patong Beach I would recommend the Lanna Thai Hotel.

There was a market across the road from my hotel, the market itself wasn't that interesting to me (although I visited quite early, it might have become more interesting later on) but I liked the little alters outside the building.

My first morning in Phuket with my cousins wedding happening at 3pm, I just had breakfast, a bit of a look around the immediate area and a foot massage.

My camera was not playing fair on the day of the wedding, I think maybe it was the heat and humidity. My old camera didn't work so well when we were in Hanoi and it was really hot and humid there too. Here is one of the photos I did manage to take just after the wedding, my cousin Mel with the baby elephant that was included in the family photo - he was pretty cool, when the photos were over we got to feed him bananas.
We travelled from the wedding ceremony to the river reception on these little boats - travelling in style.When dusk hit we all had the chance to let a paper lantern go into the sky - it was pretty amazing.
Finally here's the table I sat at for the reception - it was a very international wedding with friends and family attending from New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Britain and of course Thailand.I do have a lot more photos to share from both Phuket and KL and I hope to post more soon - tomorrow morning I am off to Singapore bright and early, I am spending 5 days there before heading back home to Wellington.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

KL - Day Two!

Hello World! I haven't really been blogging much lately - this is due to a lack of internet connectivity. The wifi in the hotel seems to be working well right now, so I thought I'd take the time to sit down and write a post and let you all know a little bit about what I've been up to.

On my second day in Kuala Lumpur I was flying to Phuket in the evening, but that didn't mean I couldn't do lots of things in the morning before my flight.

First of all I decided to go to the top of "Menara Tower" also known as "KL Tower" - I love visiting tall buildings whenever I travel to new cities and it can be difficult to get tickets to the Petronas Towers (they only issue 500 a day) so I decided I would check out KL tower instead.

I took a lot of photos at the top of the tower - I loved the view - especially seeing swimming pools on top of a lot of the buildings, I thought that was pretty fun and I can see why apartments would need swimming pools on the top floor in the KL heat!

As part of the ticket price for the tower, you also got entrance to a "Malaysian Village" which was a collection of traditional Malaysian houses. I actually really liked the exhibit, it was well set up and it gave you a small view of the diversity of Malaysia.

Also as part of the ticket price you could choose one other "activity" at the tower - I've found that with a lot of towers I've visited that they fill up the area with other activities for tourists, most of which are lame (just for the record, if you go to Tokyo Tower - don't bother with the wax works museum). At KL tower I bought the "budget" ticket which meant I could go to the top of the tower, the Malaysian village and one other activity for "free". I choose the mini zoo they had at the tower. To be completely honest, parts of the zoo were pretty sad. I thought the monkeys cages were way too small and they also had a LOT of rabbits together, it looked like too many rabbits for one space. Also I thought the aviary was too small. But most of the reptiles seemed to be kept in conditions that were ok, but then I don't know too much about reptiles.

The snake in the picture below was HUGE - he was 7 metres long and weighed 120 kilos - much, much bigger than me. The man at the zoo said I could have my photo taken with the snake if I wanted (for a small fee) but I politely declined.

After visiting KL tower, I decided to check out the Malaysian Visitor Centre, the main reason for this was to check out the old colonial building it was located in. It was also an added bonus that the building was decorated for Chinese New Year.

The giant shoe was advertising a "Shoe Festival" that KL is having in April, I can think of a few friends that would like to attend that festival!

Once I finished at the Malaysian Tourist Centre it was lunch time and I was pretty close to the Petronas Towers, so I decided I would go to the mall inside and find a place to eat. It was also the chance to take more photos!

Last of all - as I was walking back to my hotel I stumbled across a temple and even more Chinese New Year decorations, so I took a few photos. When I arrived back it was time to head to the airport and make my way to Phuket. I will post more pictures soon xoxo