Imagine, if you will, a border crossing between two countries that in many ways do not get along. There are bouts of violence between ethnic groups in Malaysia and Thailand, and the Foreign Office recommend that people do not travel across land borders here. I gave myself a free pass given I’ve moved from Ecuador to Colombia so everything that comes after that is easy. Nevertheless, there’s always an easier (and classier) way to do things and so I took a boat to Thailand. 200 horsepower jetted us from Langkawi to the southern island of Koh Lipe, preserve of honeymooners and young families. This is not a backpacker classic, but it was on the way north and by all accounts a beautiful place. Passport control was a dread-locked Thai-Rasta (a staple of southern Thailand) who took all our documents behind the cafe that served as immigration and after ten minutes sunning ourselves on a white sand beach, cooling our toes in the Andaman sea, we were all stamped and ready to go. Heathrow could learn a thing or two about convenience. Continue reading
The first decision to make upon planning a journey in to Malaysia is which direction to head in once you leave Singapore. Do you go north east and follow the coast to tropical paradise? Or do you realise it’s monsoon season and go north west and follow the culture?
No prizes for guessing which one I ended up doing. The eastern coast of the Malaysian peninsular is known for the Tioman and Perihentian islands and their unrivalled seas and pristine beaches. The annoying storms that shut down the ferries for months at a time were in full swing however, and so the day before I left I discovered my next few weeks of planned travelling were completely destroyed. Not to worry. We think on the hoof in these parts. Continue reading