April 16 2015

Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi has the best of both worlds – fantastic rainforests and amazing beaches and watersports. A huge proportion of the island is rightfully protected as a GeoPark ensuring protection and eco management. 

How we got there

Langkawi was our first destination after flying overnight Sydney to Kuala Lumpur. A quick transfer to the new KLIA2 AirAsia terminal saw us on our way for a quick 1 hour flight to the beautiful and relaxed island of Koh Langkawi

Things we saw or did

Here are some of the AMAZING activities we go up to:

Day sailing on a 40ft Catamaran with Rampant sailing that included laying about in their jacuzzi net behind the boat or laying in a hammock suspended between the hulls while anchored in a protected cove for lunch. Not to mention the open bar on board. Itis not hard to see why these guys are rated as the Number 1 thing to do in Langkawi by TripAdvisor

½ Day kayak tour of the mangroves within the GeoPark including a visit to limestone caves and the fish ‘farm’ located at the base.

A not to be missed trip up into the rainforest on the Langkawi Cable Car giving you a spectacular view over the beaches and islands.

A visit to the state symbol at Eagle Square featuring a huge Brahminy Kite statue.

How we got around

We quickly compared the prices of hire cars versus a scooter for the duration of our trip. The scooter was the easy option as I was licensed internationally and had ridden a fair amount before. Also it allowed us the ability to park just about any where.

Amusingly while refuelling I did manage to lock our only set of keys for the scooter under the seat. Before full panic over took the situation a young local service station attendant with particularly small hands managed to get his hand under the seat and retrieve the keys. A lesson was had and in future scooter keys will be on a lanyard!

Food we ate

As with most South East Asian countries, I highly recommend eating in small local cafes or tea houses and street food where ever possible. This ensures your tourist dollars stay in the local community as well as would provide you with fresh good local food.
Being Malaysia, I could not pass up fresh hand made Roti, the local hotplate cooked bread that is eaten with many meals. Langkawi also has a strong middle eastern population so there is no shortage of abab stands as well.

How we got connected

As with most connected travellers, if there is a connection available at a reasonable speed and reasonable price we will connect. Because we have little need for calling while in Malaysia we chose a prepaid provider that would offer us the maximum data available. We used Internet of Xpax that is a user of the Celcom network within Malaysia. One of the benefits was that should be go over our included data we were provided 3 30min windows a day to access as much data as we could use.

I would always suggest buying local sim in each country as it is astronomical the chargers providers from home charge to roam – much less use data. The website below is full of crowd sourced information relating to costs and access in each country.

http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com

Interesting facts

The entire island of Langkawi is tax free. There is no tax on luxury cars, alcohol, chocolate etc. Think a whole island duty free. Frankie was able to purchase 1lt of Vodka for the equivalent of AUD$10.00

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April 2 2015

Trailing a new posting style for AsiaTrip2015

As promised, I will be still posting about this trip through Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand. However I wanted to trial a new style.

While other bloggers talk about things to do and see, I will write about the things we have done, places we ate – these are not things written in a guidebook that some one has regurgitated – we actually tried them so can talk honestly about them.

I will be using these main themes with others being used on a place by place basis. Let me know what you thing.

In the mean time head to Facebook, instagram or twitter and search #asiatrip2015 and you will see some of our live postings on those sites.

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March 11 2015

24 hours  with Lifeproof’s new iPhone 6 plus waterproof case – the “Nuud”


After many months of waiting finally LifeProof has released a limited number of their waterproof iPhone 6 plus case line.

I was lucky to snap one up and express shipped it from the US. It arrived today.

After a few hours use, I made a shocking discovery. LifeProof have made the charging port hideously small. My former iPhone 5’s LifeProof had a somewhat limited size hole but I found a number of cables that fit and made my entire EDC kit around that.

However the iPhone 6 plus LifeProof case will only accept cables “that are originally provided with the product” i.e. the original white cable. I rarely use these cables. They break to often and are too long for my every day needs.  I am now left with a plethora of lightning cables that are only usable for my iPad.

Hmm the hunt is not on for a 10cm narrow cable. Preferably before 27 March as we depart Australia.

UPDATE: on day 3 the two very tiny clips that keep the waterproof door closed over the charging port completely snapped off and were found on my bedroom floor. I super glued them back on, however I no longer have confidence on the waterproof nature of the door. I have requested a replacement from LifeProof.

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March 5 2015

Count down on for Asian holiday 2015

I have been looking forward to this trip for about 18 months. 

This trip will take us to the following amazing places:

  • Langkowi – Malaysia
  • Kuala Lumpour – Malaysia
  • Yangon – Myanmar 
  • Bangkok – Thailand
  • Phuket – Thailand 
  • Krabi – Thailand 
  • Chiang Mai – Thailand


Do you have any places you suggest we “must check out” while we are there ?? 

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February 27 2015

House update: We finally have internet & Garden Update

Internet

Since moving in in October 2014, we have been waiting for the NBN.

It was not until a “complex wide BBQ” that I was informed that some people in the complex had access to a separate Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) system, that had not yet moved to NBN. We have now connected to that system that offers 200gb / month. Sadly after already 5 days of connection we have used nearly 50% of our allowance.

2015-02-19 15.46.52

All this for under half the cost of the 3G system we were using just to book flights etc.

Garden looking amazing

Frankie has done wonders with our small court yard. It is now both functional and pretty.

FullSizeRender

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February 26 2015

Starting to feel like a real Scuba Diver

I have now finished 6 dives following my PADI Open Water Diver Qualification.

Of those 6, I have had to share air (essentially, I nearly ran out of air due to hyperventilation and excitement) if you would like to see this process, here is a Youtube clip showing the underwater process

I have now finished the final two, number 5 & 6. Only during these dives did I start to feel like a “real” scuba diver. Not just some one pretending. I was able to settle in to the dive. Enjoy it.

Here is a video of those dives (click on the picture)

alt=“Diving at Bawley Point NSW“ width="240" height="180" border="10" />

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February 25 2015

Gear update – Scuba Diving February 2015

Recently I was offered the opportunity to purchase some very good quality second hand Scuba Diving equipment.

I managed to snap up a family new Buoyancy Control Device (BCD), first and second stage regulator (the hoses you breath through) along with a dive knife, a surface marker (an orange sausage that you inflate to get noticed on the surface) along with a really good quality mesh bag.

Some new kit include a Suunto Zoop Dive watch and a DIY GoPro Dive Tray that will hopefully stabilise some more of my dive videos

Here is a short video using all of the gear above along in addition to the standard here included in my “learning to dive” pack mentioned here

IMAGE ALT TEXT HERE

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February 24 2015

Pebble Watch – 18 months on

Pebble

Way back in August 2013, I wrote about my first 72 hours with the now famous original smart watch – the Pebble Watch.

Read the original post here http://wp.me/p3SehX-4c.

It has now been 18 months and I am on to my second watch. The first was replaced under warranty due to a funky issue with the screen.

The Pebble has been a daily companion, no much so, I can not remember the last time my watch actually made a sound. I often get strange looks when I dash across a room at work saying my phone is ringing, I can feel it.

I have to say the only minor downsides so far for me is no automatic replies to simple SMS messages and battery life. I am getting roughly 6-8 days from my Pebble.

Since I purchased mine, Pebble have launched the Pebble Steel. A more ‘professional’ looking watch. I personally like my black plastic model.

A new colour Pebble seems to be in the works with images leaked ahead of a Pebble announcement

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January 7 2015

Gear: BadElf 2200 3 axis bluetooth GPS

Bad-Elf-2200-GPS-Pro-Blacksilver-4I recently picked up this tiny 3 axis Bluetooth tracker from eBay for $147.00 AUD.

There are two primary uses that I will be putting the BadElf 2200 to. Unlike my phone, this device can happily chug along all day turning out a highly accurate GPS track all day and night on a single charge. Not only does this allow us to see where we have been but it helps with the the geo location of photos (more that later).

The 2200 is equipped with Bluetooth which mans that it only can you transfer the created track files back to your phone or iPad it can actually supplement the inbuilt GPS (or supply full GPS in the case of a wifi only iPad) both on and off wifi connection.

This is incredibly helpful. As I discovered while hiking through the hills of Myanmar last year – your iPhone’s GPS is deactivated when the phone is set to flight mode. I found no way of turning the GPS only on without taking the phone out of flight mode and draining the battery as it constantly searches for a signal.

Another use I am keen to put the 2200 to is to assist. With geo tagging our hundreds (and thousands) of photos we take while travelling.

Read the rest of this page »

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December 7 2014

A photo tour of the Buddhist temples of Myanmar

A photo tour of the Buddhist temples of Myanmar

I was going back and looking at more and more photos from our trip all over Myanmar from 2013 and rediscovered many of the amazing temples we visited.

I have broadly divided the photo collection here into 3 segments:

  1. The temple city of Bagan
  2. Cave Temples
  3. The Temple punched on top of Mount Popa
  4. The last Kingdom of Mandalay
  5. Slowly crumpling temples in the hills of Inle Lake

 

Temple City of Bagan

 

Cave Temples

 

Mount Popa

 

The last Kingdom of Mandalay

Temple spires in the hills of Inle Lake

 

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