As I’ve traveled through much of South-East Asia I’ve noticed the trend here of always attaching alliterative adjectives pinned onto the names of various cities, places and countries.
During my travels through Malaysia I was greeted by ‘Colourful Malaysia’ signs and when I flew to Penang I was welcomed by the slogan ‘Passionate Penang’ – quite how an island can rouse itself up into a state of high excitement is beyond me, although the weather was pretty stormy when I was there so maybe that’s what they meant.
One place that did stand out on my trip however was Ipoh. Located in the north-western state of Perak, Ipoh is a town built on the mining industry which boomed along with the state’s tin mining industry. Now a hub of great food, old buildings and famous for beautiful girls, Ipoh is certainly deserving of the title above. Catch up on the town’s news here.
Ipoh is a scattered town surrounded by beautiful mountains which are home to a staggering number of cave temples. I enjoyed touring these temples and found some of the most relaxing and spiritually inspiring places on this trip.
This trip was a special one for me because I’ve recently had trouble getting the money together to travel as much as I usually do. Luckily I found a helping hand in the guise of Ferratum UK. ‘Smart, friendly, reliable’ is their tag line and they really helped me out of a tight pinch when I just needed to get away but didn’t have the money in the bank.
With a population of less than 500 and voted one of the world’s most beautiful islands by TIME magazine, Tioman island in Malaysia is an obvious spot for any traveler with an intrepid spirit and a robust wallet.
After taking a ferry from seaside town Mersin on the Malaysia peninsula’s east coast I arrived in Kampong Genting a little over an hour later. I’ve been here for almost a week now and I have to say it’s one of the nicest islands I’ve ever been to. Even though I mentioned having a robust wallet helps, there are plenty of options ranging from budget becah-shack accommodation up to hill-side private villas. You can guess which one I chose! This guide helped me out greatly when it came to choosing what activities and sights to fill my time with – scuba diving being the most enjoyable activity I tried.
Malaysia has been in the news a lot recently (Tioman island specifically receiving a lot of attention because of this story of an English volunteer who turned up dead – the story was swimming in murmurings of foul play and murder, but as yet is unresolved) however I can still happily report that the tourism industry is thriving and the local people haven’t lost any of their willingness to make your stay a memorable, joyous experience.
As my months of travelling are rolling out in front of me, the money isn’t running in! So I am always looking to stretch my budget where I can. One thing I never skimp on is accommodation. However, I cam across this awesome site Air B&B where people with a spare room or a spare apartment rent them out to weary travellers looking for a home from home. The best thing about staying with these hosts is the personal touch You are living with your own personal guidebook to your destination ! So use them, ask them to tell you the places to eat, see, visit that are off the tourist map. After all, who better to show you around than someone who lives there! Well unless you end up shacking up with these guys! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9TS2BM2NUA
As an ex-city rat there is one city- the greatest on earth- that I just had to visit. New York New York! As I sat in my premium economy seat, wondering exactly what I paid extra for with a child kicking the back of my seat and a fat man taking up my extra inches from his arm rest- I was still happy as larry as ,I got that buzz in the bottom of my stomach that I always get when I start exploring a new destination. It’s a mixture of excitement and anxiety and it’s the drug that made me start this venture across the globe. It’s addictive and New York did not disappoint. I landed at JFK and bee lined for the taxi queue. As soon as I got into my first yellow cab of many over the next week. One traveller tip here- aways go with the yellow cab queue- it may look long but it’s a flat fare to manhattan. Ignore the taxi touts trying to tempt you away from the crowds! Once in a cab, I immediately fell into banter with the cabby. Just as in London, were the drivers want to immediately engage in debate, so all the way across the Atlantic do the New Yorkers. We chatted about Obama Care, the weather, the food I should try in New York and then, just as we came up over the bridge..there in front of me, sparkling like a sea of diamonds, was Manhattan. I felt immediately at home. On my first day I did the usual, the Empire State, Central Park, The Met and of course a bit of credit card crunching at Versace and Rolex! However, my main draw to New York is the food. As an avid fan of the show Man Vs Food, I was determined to do my own version. From pulled pork sandwiches to bacon fried turkey- I wanted to devour every mouthwatering flavor and food on offer. Here are my top five: 1. Dinosuar Bar B Que– Harlem- This meat haven serves brisket topped with pulled pork- yes meat on meat with traditional slaw. 2. Bar Bacon– Hells Kitchen- everything in this bar contains bacon- you have to try their candied bacon, the perfect mix of sweet and salty. 3. Potatopia– Greenwich village- only serves fries but fires with ANYTHING- salmon, shrimp, beef, chilli, every cheese imaginable, truffles, garlic..it goes on..and on!- 4. Takashi– Ramen noodles available only after midnight- try grandmas spicey noodles made from simmering beef bones, marrow, garlic, ginger, herbs, and the magic ingredient (intestines!…?) for 24 hours, before being topped with seared Kobe beef,! 5. Jacobs Pickles– Upper West- And for that morning after- the ultimate New York Bloody Mary
Part of the reason I left the London sprawl to see the world includes getting into the outdoors. Majorca is just the place to explore an amazing variety of terrain—leisurely, or with a bit of adventure.
Around an Island
Majorca is not just about beaches and sun—although its a big plus! I was happily impressed with just how diverse this island’s geography was. Yes, relaxing on various beaches kept me busily relaxed for a bit. Those sandy beaches are often cut into by cliff-sides into the sea and rocky ridged landscapes—even caves— with an occasional patch of beach in between. Ready for some island outdoors, this coastline would be the perfect place to start. Equipped with GPS, a mountain bike, dive mask and neoprene socks, I headed out for some coastal adventure.
Coasts of Adventure
Using EarthCache.org—a GPS-based outdoor activity/exploration organization—I found the locations of a coastal cave region in the east. I completely underestimated the distance, which took me all day on bike to a town called Port Cristo— ready for adventure the next day! Riding south I found several exciting spots to rock-climb, cliff-dive and even found some caves. The sport of “caveing”, exploring caves, can be a bit sketchy unless you are experienced. I’m not, so decided to find some experts. I found them in Mon d’ Aventura , a Majorca outdoor adventure company “dedicated to active, imaginative and adventurous people of all ages…” and would soon be joining them for a day of caveing!
Eager to finally leave London I booked the first flight I found. Of course, leaving London had to be done in style, so I splurged on business class with British Airways for around 550 GBP. Admittedly I was more concerned with going to a destination with plenty of sun and sea, so taking off over the grey city and soaring away over blue waters, in a few hours I landed on the Spanish Mediterranean island of Majorca. I do remember reading an online article—The Top 10 Hotels in Majorca, Spain—and chose a hotel on good faith. The hotel I selected turned out to be amazing.
A Palace in Old Palma
The old quarter of Palma with its Gothic church spires and centuries old houses in a maze of tiny lanes bursts with Spanish culture. On one lane, near the huge Cathedral La Seu stood the Hotel Can Cera. Built in a 17th century city palace, my five-star boutique hotel, in Italian Renaissance style, had a fine restaurant, spa, Spanish balconies and an ornate patio courtyard. The antique, Majorcan style suite, roof terrace, and exquisite common rooms were hard to leave. Soon, I would see more of Majorca, but not right now. JQ
It’s been awhile since I posted, I had actually fell in love and don’t want to take this blog into something I destined it not to be…all about me.
I wanted to share my journey of a guy traveling the world after selling his stuff and having enough money to see the world and experience it first hand. The truth is, love comes with it. Every…single…time.
Enough about that.
I recently flew out and landed in Stockholm, Sweden. If you haven’t flow into Stockholm you are missing out. The airport sits right by the sea and it looks like you are going to skirt right across those ocean waves, but alas, you glide into one of the most modern cities in the world.
I chose to use the modern transit, which is amazing, and hit the biggest art and cultural attractions you can before taking the train to another Swedish community you can’t miss.
Gothenburg is one of those cities you have to visit Sweden to even know of. Well, maybe not, but until I landed here I wasn’t aware of everything it has to offer. As I took this amazing train ride I was researching the history of this beautiful city. Did you know it made the list of the top 21 places in the WORLD to live? Not Europe, the WORLD!
Driving to Gothemburg is something I would recommend as well, the terrain is just “unique.”
My friends that live here describe it as boring, but as a world traveler on a mission to see as much as you can the forests, the streams, the animals, and then urban technology you see in places like Stockholm and Gothenburg make it well worth it.