Wow. I think the only thing to describe this day and this place is unbelievable. We caught the morning ferry, swapping stories with a bunch of other twenty somethings making their way through Asia, to the islands of Ko Phi Phi. Upon arrival I was absolutely blown away by the majesty and beauty of this place. Sheer cliffs, white sand, water the color of jade and azure. On shore, we took a long boat down the beaches to the place we were staying. Our room is a little bungalow overlooking the shore, a hammock on our balcony, with bright white sheets and traditional artworks on the wooden walls. At the beach, we swam in the warm water in our little cove and just floated in the sunshine. At dinner we were given a sampling of different thai dishes and eventually ordered a curry, a soup, and we got to pick out a white snapper to have BBQ’d on the spot. Full from dinner we wandered into town, ducking in and out of stalls until we came upon a shop that sells fish pedicures. We hopped inside and barely made it through the 15 minutes-it tickled so badly I had never laughed so hard in my life! Post pedicure, we wandered into a bar on the beach with fire dancers and a dance floor, so naturally we danced the night away in between ‘heated’ performances (chuckle). I think the highlight was when Safety Dance came on and my friends and I were the only people into it. C’est la vie.
Your friendly neighborhood fire dancers on the beaches of Ko Phi Phi (at Kho Phi Phi, Thailand)
Waking up early early in Cameron Highlands, we made our way back to Penang Airport for our flight to Phuket, Thailand. After my flight next to a very entertaining Thai girl who goes to school in Holland, we bused our way to Phuket town. Throwing our things down, we went out to eat eat eat. Trying a little bit of everything, we ate our dinners (and a few desserts) before wandering the night market for deals. Picking up a couple souvenirs, and bargaining down to under half the original price, we made our way to a massage shop to relieve travel’s stresses. After an hour of being rubbed and stretched until our muscles were as good as fluid, we eventually made it back to our guesthouse for the evening
We woke in Penang to the sound of pouring rain. Showering, quickly grabbing all of our things, we jumped in the van with our tour guide, William, as he spoke to us of his life growing up in Penang, his job as a tour guide, and Malay culture as he slowly brought us up into the Cameron Highlands. Four hours later, we finally made it to Tanah Rata, where our guesthouse was located. We were checked in by a lovely woman named Val and unfortunatel learned that do to the traffic caused by the muslim holiday, our tour had been cancelled. After collaborating with a german couple stuck in the same situation, we decided to grab a taxi and make our own tour. Stopping by the Cameron Valley Tea Plantation, I fell in love. Tea leaves as far as the eye could see, we played and frolicked until our thirst ultimately brought us to the tea house for a pot of lemon honey tea. There was something completely zen about surrounding yourself with tea from start to finish. From roots in the ground to golden glory in your cup, I will never forget that experience. After heading to a strawberry and honey farm and then wandering through the night market, we finished off our brief little visit to the wonderful, amazing, enchanting Cameron Highlands.
Waking up fresh, we got going for a busy day ahead (per usual) and headed over to the nearby Secawan ‘n’ Such On Hutton - a little cafe around corner from our guesthouse. Getting information from Papa Crowe and our hotel owner, we set out to obtain tickets to the Cameron Highlands. Given that we accidentally came to Georgetown, Penang on the Muslim New Year (One of the biggest holidays in Malaysia) we found every single imaginable way to the highlands 100% booked full. Getting the owner of our lodge to pull some favors, we booked a van for the next morning. With business out of the way, we hopped on the local Tram and saw some of more than four thousand UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Catching a bus to Penang Hill, we spent our last evening in Penang dining at David Brown’s Restaurant on Penang Hill, with sweeping views over the island and onto the mainland beyond. It was a completely amazing and beautiful way to cap off an exciting and fulfilling (literally and figuratively) stay in Penang.