We got out of Bangkok early the next morning, it felt like a ghost town, the streets were deserted which is definitely a first for the streets of Bangkok. We sat outside our hotel wondering if our mini bus would turn up (as you do every time you get a bus/taxi/train in Asia) A film crew started filming us and asking questions about our experience of the riots and our departure of Bangkok but sadly the minibus turned up and the crew filmed our dramatic departure… We didn't see it on the news but Im sure we are famous in Thailand now. After a pretty painless journey we arrived in Pattaya. This is one of the worst place we've been on our trip so far. We were greeted by a taxi as we got off our minibus and hopped in with two other couples for our lift into the main town. There was a big advert in the taxi advertising lawyers to get your 'girlfriend' a visa in your home country. This will give you a clue as to what this town was about! We thought we had seen it all in Phuket 4 months earlier but it turns out that Pattaya is just a seedier, dirtier version with an even worse beach and even more thai 'girlfriends' (and 'boyfriends')! I won't say too much about our 5 days here as it was pretty uneventful! It was however Thai New Year while we were here, the tradition is to have massive water fights through the streets, after 3 days we'd had enough, they didn't just squirt you with a gun, they poured a whole bucket over you. We were pretty much soaked through every time we came out of our hotel. The amount of water used also meant that when it came to having a shower the 'water' that ran out was thick, brown, rusty mud. Nice! I think the highlight of Pattaya was the tasty Subway we had one lunch.
We happily left Pattaya for Bangkok airport after 5 nights there. I had a nightmare getting through security at the airport as Id stupidly packed my marmite in my hand luggage. After having the guard shouting 'you have Jam, you have Jam' at me for about 5 minutes I finally realised Id sadly have to hand over my beloved marmite. I then felt a bit bad when he put my bag through the scanner for the third time and pulled out my flip knife - I ran away quickly after apologising leaving my knife and my marmite behind. The flight down was quick and smooth, we found a cheap hotel in China Town, Kuala Lumpur and settled in. It was great to be back in Kuala Lumpur and it was just as nice as I remembered. This attitude changed after finding out Lucy and Coxy weren't going to make it because of some Volcanic Ash!!!! Livid! We thought Lucy was telling an awful joke at first until we checked the news. After moping around waiting for 2 more days we decided to go to a town called Malaka just a few hours out of Kuala Lumpur. We decided it was best to take our minds off the bad situation as all we'd done for 4 days was watch films and eat too many Mcdonald's breakfasts. (By the way…Sausage and Egg McMuffins are just as good in Malaysia!)
Malaka was a cute little town, but there wasn't much to do there apart from eat the best and cheapest curry ever! So we did just that… every night! In between curries we also saw a few sights, visited a market, went on a little boat trip, saw a few rubbish museums (something we've done a lot on our travels) and went up a big tower to check out the views. It was a nice town but after 3 days we were glad to be back on the bus to Kuala Lumpur to await Lucy and Coxys (FINAL) arrival!
We stupidly told Lucy and Coxy to get out of the taxi at the Mcdonalds in China Town, a place me and Sam had frequented a few times by then - only to realise there are 3 in that area! After chasing around trying to find them we finally spotted two rather pasty people with backpacks wandering around looking lost! We knew we'd found them and it was a glorious moment! After getting them checked into the hotel we headed off to a reggae bar for some beers and food and a good catch up! We then caught the sky-train over to the Petronas Towers where we walked around the park and then sat and watched the towers light up in the dark. We got ripped off for a beer and played cards in a nice bar… A Pint on the menu is apparently only half a pint… The 'special' Pint is actually a pint. Obviously!
The next morning we set off early to the airport and got on the flight to Langkawi. We were greeted by the biggest rainstorm I think we've had whilst we've been away. This was not a great start as we didn't have any accommodation booked and we were getting soaked through! Lucy and I did the wise thing and waited with the bags under cover while the boys checked a few places out. They came back defeated, dripping wet with nothing booked so we took the nearest room and settled in. One day we rented a little car and drove around most of the island. We went up on a cable car and had some amazing views of the whole Island. There was a bridge right at the top which joined two mountain peaks which we all walked across - was pretty terrifying!! We fed an elephant and had some lunch and then set off again. We hit a few golf balls in the makeshift driving range (an airfield) and ended up at a nice deserted beach and chilled out there for a bit.
As always we made the most of cuisine, having a few more curries and traditional Malaysian meals. We went to the beach one night to a chill out reggae bar where we introduced Lucy and Coxy to the spectacular Asian buckets and had a drunken night playing games and listening to a cool Reggae band. On our last day on Langkawi we packed our bags, checked out of our hotel and set off for the Aquarium, Underwater World. When we first got in a few locals asked if me and Lucy could take a picture, we thought they meant of them but turns out they wanted me and Lucy in the family snaps, so we had to pose with different members of the family through the first section of the aquarium. After about 5 pictures we made our excuses and joined the boys so we could enjoy the rest of the aquarium without our new found friends.
We then got a taxi to the port and boarded the ferry over to mainland Malaysia, where we rushed to the bus stop as our bus would be arriving shortly to take us to the Perentian Islands port. After finding out the bus had broken down and was going to be delayed we got some cheap noodles and settled down for a bit of a wait. Every bus that turned up we got excited but none of them were for us, the bus stop was emptying out and time was getting on. We were contemplating getting a hotel for the night but were worried that if we missed this bus we wouldn't have enough time left to go to the Perhenthians, so we sat it out. To make matters worse there was a strange man edging closer and closer to Lucy and she was getting freaked out. Finally, 9 (YES NINE) hours later than we were originally told the bus turned up, our persistence had paid off, we were on the bus and Lucy was safely away from the weird guy. We swapped buses somewhere up in the mountains but apart from that the journey was cold but smooth. We arrived at the port about an hour before the first boat and we decided to get some roti and coffee for breakfast.
We got on our boat and put on our life jackets, the boat over was the scariest yet most exciting one yet. It was so fast it woke us up immediately; it was a beautiful start to the day. We arrived by our beach and the boats stopped out at sea - they can't go right up to the beach so some locals came and picked us up in even smaller boats. Trying to move our entire luggage from one small speed boat to another smaller speed boat is pretty difficult but we all managed it without getting ourselves or our backpacks wet (yes even Lucy, although I was secretly hoping she would fall in... would have been hilarious!) Lucy and I left the boys to chill in the sun and we went to find some accommodation, I was pretty grouchy after getting no sleep and after seeing some pretty disgusting accommodation we settled for some huts just off the beach. The Perhentians are probably the nicest beaches we have seen, the sea was so clear and turquoise and the sand was lovely. We went on a snorkelling trip one day which was awesome; we swam with turtles for the first time since we've been away which was a great experience. Our guide went on a shark chase pointing out some black tip sharks, I think Lucy, Coxy and Sam saw them but I sadly missed out on them! Coxy burnt really badly through his T-shirt that day trying to find Nemo so it put him out of action for the night and the following day as he was suffering from heat stroke. (We obviously didn't make him drink enough water Kate!!!) We had some great cheap beach BBQs while we were there and our evenings were very relaxed having a few drinks and playing cards. Sam and I decided to do our first ever Wreck dive while we were there. It was a big cargo boat not far from the island but in the middle of a national park so the amount of fish was spectacular. We swam through the containers and saw some huge box fish and other massive fish we hadn't seen before. I also knelt on my first sea urchin which was painful!! After 4 relaxed days chilling on the Perhentians we left our huts to get the boat back to the mainland. This is when me and Sam spotted a Komodo Dragon. It was absolutely huge but we only managed to get a quick peak as it strolled up behind some huts. Im glad we saw this on our last day there and not our first!!
We got back to the mainland after another very fast boat ride and boarded our bus back to Kuala Lumpur. We checked into the same hotel and headed out for our last night, grabbing some dinner and drinks. The next day me and Sam did some final shopping for Australia while Lucy and Coxy checked out a few sights. We met up for a final market walk, had a fish massage (which Sam decided to sit out after his last experience!) and a tearful goodbye. Choking back the tears we jumped in a taxi to the airport to embark upon the next stage of our adventure!