Posted by: The Travelling Mallorys | August 5, 2010

One month in!

Hello from Krabi, Thailand! So the Travelling Mallorys have been on the road now for over a month. And what a month it has been…

It’s been better than we ever thought – and sometimes harder. We can’t believe how much has happened. Let’s have a quick summary:

  • 4 countries and cultures – Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and now Thailand
  • Amazing food – Singapore and Penang, wow
  • Erin’s birthday
  • Variety of transport methods, including many dubious ones!
  • Lost (and found luggage)
  • Lost (and found) wallet
  • Food poisoning
  • Burkhas on the beach
  • Adapting to squatter toilets

I would like to propose a few awards for the month of July:

Weirdest food – there are a few contenders, including chicken nuggets on a a stick, tofu and onion for breakfast, and cucumber juice but the winner is Durian by quite a long chalk with an honourable mention for the two flavours of crisp in one bag I had, jalapeno and pickle. Bizarro world.

Mmmmmmm. A spiky fruit made of garlic custard. Why can't we get this at home?

Nicest food – I salivate every time I think about the Tom Yam I had in Kota Bharu which was truly amazing, even on my chavvy pallette.

The rats looked like they enjoyed it too!

The kimchi cheese ramen in Singapore was pretty bodacious too, but the Tom Yam has it.

Kimchi cheese ramen

Gavin in spicy Korean cheesy noodle heaven

Best place we’ve stayed – it would be easier to pick the worst

because it’s the only one you picked!

Totally true! Erin has done an amazing job of picking places for us to stay. I thought it can’t be that hard, so chose a whole country that wasn’t in the original plan and a place to stay. The country was Bali and the hotel was grots. If you haven’t heard about it already, here’s the post.

So yes, back to the best place in our first month. It’s a tough one but I’m going for Hutton Lodge in Penang as the winner with The Travellers Inn in Singapore a close second.

Hutton Lodge, Penang

Hutton Lodge, Penang - better than a hostel, but cheaper than a hostel. How does that work?

Best cultural experience – Singapore National Museum, Penang War Museum and Kuala Lumpur Art Gallery all rocked our cultural tibula and fibula, so I’m honouring them all with a Travelling Mallory award for July.

Wife bopping in Singapore National Museum

Wife bopping in Singapore National Museum

Penang War Museum

Penang War Museum

We were talking the other day about the act of travelling. I think you need to fall in love a bit with the actual journeys taken to arrive somewhere as well as all the places you end up in. If you don’t, multiple hour coach trips will be hell!

I am pretty much out of love with all ‘acts of travelling’ and more into the ‘act of getting there and having a beer’ but that’s why we’re the perfect travelling team – she loves getting there, I love being there. Someone is always happy!

When we took the Jungle Railway in Malaysia we had a 3 hour minibus ride to Gua Mersing, where we were connecting with the train. In this town, rarely on any backpacking itinerary, we had 4 hours to wait, then over 4 hours on the actual railway – a rickety old, sweltering train that stopped at every shack on the way to Wakaf Bharu, our ultimate destination, were we would arrive at 8pm.

BUT the day was brilliant! A minibus ride through the highlands of Malaysia, bumping and winding down the mountains back into the heat. Our wait in Gua Mersing was  eye-opening. As mentioned before the province is a world away from the high-rises and techology and tourism of Kuala Lumpur.

Jungle Railway Timetable

Jungle Railway timetable - not exactly Brighton station I think you'll agree

Old women carry baskets of fruit on their heads to the station platform, goats run across the tracks to frolic with each other, dust swirls around you as you try to track down some food where there are no words or signs or menus in English, kids and adults stare at you as they hardly ever see Westerners. Then the train arrives and you sit near a window peppered with ants. There’s no air-con and it’s 35 degrees. People are smoking in between the carriages and the doors of the train are wide open. We pass through swathes of untouched jungle, giant, chocolate rivers, see deforestation, poverty and prosperity, toddlers on motorbikes, durians everywhere, people smiling and waving at the train.

Lean back, forget about the sweat and the heat and definitely don’t think about the toilets. This is what we came for! Here’s to the next month!

And the next beer!

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Responses

  1. Brilliant update – you guys sound like you are having so much fun and dealing with traumas very well. Can’t wait for the next update x

  2. I’m now not certain where you are getting your info, however great topic.
    I must spend a while studying more or figuring out more.
    Thanks for great info I used to be on the lookout for this info for my
    mission.


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