• Asia,  Malaysia

    Penang National Park – will the jungle eat you?

    Jungle. I’m not a fan. Frankly speaking, I haven’t encountered many jungles, but I simply don’t want to come close to them. The only 30 minutes of a Thai jungle was enough for a lifetime. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy nature. As long as it’s not trying to eat me. It’s a selective love, I guess. So why jungle? Well, trekking in Penang National Park to the isolated beach is one of the “must dos” when you’re in George Town. And it took me around 3 seconds to decide that it’s not going to my Penang bucket list. Because you know – jungle. But I’m writing about it, so…

  • Asia,  Malaysia

    Penang – around the world in George Town

    The plane lands on the Penang island and I’m wondering if this really is Southeast Asia. This thought will be in my head during these few days in George Town. Our Grab driver, southeast Asian Uber, keeps repeating “Welcome to Malaysia”. Not because his vocabulary is limited. He’s just kind. Malaysians are kind. It’s evident we’re in Asia. Just one glance is enough to realize there’s no local space development plan. It looks like someone took a few dozen blocks, tossed them up and left where they fell. But the whole George Town feels surprisingly spatial as for Asia. Only a little chaotic, not so crowded, you can walk around…

  • Houses in George Town
    Malaysia

    Malaysia – expectations vs reality

    When I bought tickets do Malaysia, I had no expectations. It was a good deal, I like Southeast Asia, so I got tickets. I had a loooot of time to read about Malaysia before the departure. 10 months. So I did my homework, but it didn’t change a lot. I still had no expectations. I was sure it would be great, I was going on holidays after all. But there were a few things that came to my mind and I wrote them down. Now it’s time to confront them with reality. Like always. Expectation: lots of rain. It shouldn’t be surprising. Malaysia has equatorial climate, so it rains a…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Sa Pa: what if

    We were supposed to see rice terraces, hills, lots of green and we were supposed to walk a lot. Instead, there was lots of coffee and even more rain. We arrived in Sa Pa in the middle of the night by a sleeping bus. It was raining. We could sleep inside till 6am. At 6am it was raining a little less, but on our way to the hotel it started raining heavily. Few hours later we put on water shoes and went for a walk. Or swam. We swam for a coffee. The first coffee. Sa Pa is a typical touristic town in the mountains. Everyone goes there for trekking…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Postcards from the seaside: Mui Ne

    I have an issue with Mui Ne. Mui Ne is weird. A town, that stretches along the coast for 16 km and has over 100 beach resorts. Full of Russians, with Cyrillic alphabet everywhere. Kitesurfing. Fishing village. More holes than pavements. And lots and lots of sand. Postcard 1: the beach   We’re arriving in Mui Ne in the evening, after a heavy rain. The next day it’s mostly raining and there’s no electricity, but each day it’s getting better. Each day the sky is less cloudy and when clouds disappear, we miss them a bit. If there were no clouds on our first day, we would be totally fried.…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City

    It started with an earthquake and then it only got better. Well, not literally with an earthquake, but “Southern Vietnam” chapter started with a bang. Our trip to the South started at Hanoi Airport, were we met a couple from Poland. People with whom it simply clicks. Especially when you discover that the guy took his friend and a swan-shaped pedal boat and pedaled the Vistula river from Cracow to Gdansk. It’s about 1000 km. We met them and we knew that upcoming 2 days simply couldn’t be ordinary. Few hours later we landed in Ho Chi Minh City and while waiting for our backpacks, we discovered that in a…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Unexpected 24h in Hoi An

    Ha Long Bay. I’m lying in the sun. In just a few hours I’ll be back in Hanoi and the next morning I’ll be on my way to Ninh Binh. And it will be exactly like in Ha Long, but with rice fields instead of water and bikes instead of a boat. I’m lying in the sun, daydreaming about these rice fields and I’m checking my mailbox. Long story short: our hotel cancelled the reservation, there’ heavy flooding in Ninh Binh, actually it’s a natural disaster, our hotel in Hanoi forbids us to go to Ninh Binh, it’s serious, over 40 people died. October is perfect for Northern Vietnam, they…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Vietnam: Ha Long Bay

    You can’t go to Vietnam and skip Ha Long Bay. You just can’t. Maybe I’ll forgive you if you’re going only to the south. Maybe. “Ha Long Bay” translates to: the bay where the dragon descends into. How romantic. Because Internet is full of “where a dragon descends” titles, I will stick to Ha Long. It’s shorter. But why is this dragon descending? Of course there’s a story. There always is (remember the one about Three Sisters? Click here). And it goes more or less like this: long, long time ago, Vietnamese people where fighting with an invader and gods sent dragons to help them. Dragons which were spitting jewels…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Walking in Hanoi

      We landed in Hanoi on Sunday, when sun was setting, so it was around 5pm. 30 hours of traveling? Lack of sleep? No way, I’m staying at a hotel. Quick shower and we were ready for a short walk. Short walk ended up being 8 km long walk. Our goal: Hoan Kiem lake, probably the most popular place in Hanoi – a lake with an island with a temple. How surprised we were, when we saw that the road which goes around the lake was closed for vehicles and it was crowded. People were walking, playing games on the ground, dancing, singing. Wow. Vietnamese people know how to entertain…

  • Asia,  Vietnam

    Vietnam – expectations vs reality

    It’s time for another expectations vs reality battle. In this episode we’re in Vietnam (last year it was Thailand). Apologies for some stereotypes which may or may not occur.   Expectation: October is the best month to visit northern Vietnam. Reality: yeah, sure… It was supposed to be dry and nice, especially in Sapa. The weather should be perfect for trekking. It was supposed to be really pretty in Ninh Binh. But instead we got neverending rain in Sapa and flood in Ninh Binh. On the other side, Ha Long Bay is usually cloudy, but we had THE BEST weather ever. So all in all we won. Kind of. Apparently…