Category Archives: Malaysia

How we traveled Malaysia on a budget…and still had an amazing time!

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Wow!

It’s been quite the week as all of my kiddos returned to school for the second semester. I have been running around like a mad woman trying to get used to my busy busy schedule of teaching again. The kids will go from September to December before they take 2 1/2 months off, and start a new school year in March. I really wanted to blog this week, but it got pushed back as lesson planning took the front seat. Have I mentioned before that time flies here?!? The weeks turn into days and then months. It’s crazy to think we have been here 5 months already.

I wanted to share a bit more on our trip to Malaysia and how we kept it relatively low cost while still doing everything we wanted to do while there (Kuala Lumpur, Climbing Mt. Kinabalu, River safaris, orangutan sanctuary, and kota kinabalu island exploration!)

1. The biggest cost of savings for our trip was simply (or not so simply): AVOIDING tour companies like the plague.

Tom and I soon discovered the things we wanted to do were about 3x the price if we went with a tour company rather then doing it ourselves. I strongly feel as if the money would not stay in the local economy if we had booked with a large tour group (although that is not always the case!) Yes, the convenience is there if you want to have your trips all planned out. There were more downsides for us to go with a tour company such as: being on a time crunch & a bit over priced. We found that we could see sights ourselves while being much more cost effective. There are (I am sure) tour groups that are awesome. My point is that this trip they weren’t right for us. For example: A trip to the pouring hot springs was MUCH cheaper if we found a way to the place, and paid a small fee to get in. Ok, yeah. So we had to hitch a few rides (don’t tell our moms! hehe) which brings me to my next point.

2. Hitchhiking!

We had NO idea if it was common in Malaysia. BUT when the bus dropped us off 15km from where we needed to be with not a taxi, car, or phone in sight -hitch hiking was our only option. We met two awesome Malaysian fellas who picked us up and took us the almost 9 miles we needed to go. They wouldn’t take our money, but offered up some great conversation, and tips on how to get back to our lodge for cheap. Let’s just say it ended with more hitch hiking where an awesome Chinese family and a retired American couple picked us up and took us where we needed to be. I don’t recommend always hitch hiking, and I sure wouldn’t do it in the USA, but man it was pretty awesome AND we met some crazy cool people along the way.

Just a hitch hikin' ;)

Just a hitch hikin’ 😉

and lots of this...

and lots of this…

and more walkin... :)

and more walkin… 🙂

3. Unique places to stay.

We stayed in some incredible places. I wish I could tell you that it was my awesome planning that lead us to these incredible places we stayed at BUT that is not  the case. We used hostelworld.com quite a bit to book cheap/safe places that we could get our own room, borrowed a lonely planet book from a guy on a bus, and sometimes just searching around online . Another way we cut cost even further when it came to lodging was booking private rooms with a shared bathroom.

Lavender Lodge in Kota Kinabalu. We used the hostel world app to find this gem! AND only a 15 min walk to the ocean :)

Lavender Lodge in Kota Kinabalu. We used the hostel world app to find this gem! AND only a 15 min walk to the ocean 🙂

Eco friendly and 20 min walk from Mt. Kinabalu's headquarters- Mt. Kinabalu Lodge!

Eco friendly and 20 min walk from Mt. Kinabalu’s headquarters- Mt. Kinabalu Lodge!

My favorite place we stayed at- Paganakan Dii Tropical Resort. (found this gem in the lonely planet book we borrowed from a random guy on a bus!)

My favorite place we stayed at- Paganakan Dii Tropical Resort. (found this gem in the lonely planet book we borrowed from a random guy on a bus.) Made from recycled materials. We learned if they don’t have available rooms (during busy season) you can camp here for FREE!

Paganakan Dii Tropical Resort

Paganakan Dii Tropical Resort

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Enjoying our morning tea.

Enjoying our morning tea. Paganakan Dii Tropical Resort.

Hangin in the main lodge area. Paganakan Dii Tropical Resort,

Hangin in the main lodge area. Paganakan Dii Tropical Resort,

Sukau Greenview B&B- our last night in the rainforest!

Sukau Greenview B&B- our last night in the rainforest!

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Sukau Greenview B&B

Morning breakfast view! Sukau Greenview B&B

Morning breakfast view! Sukau Greenview B&B

4. Eating as the locals. Enough said!

Chinese for lunch! Porridge with chicken :)

Chinese for lunch! Porridge with chicken 🙂

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5. Keepin’ it local.

We shopped at markets and when we DID do a “safari tour” we decided to go with a local guy where we knew the money would go right into the local economy.

Exploring Central market in Kuala Lumpur and the market in Kota Kinabalu

Exploring Central market in Kuala Lumpur and the market in Kota Kinabalu

Do you have any tips on how to keep a budget while still doing all the things you want to see/do while traveling?

Walking Tour of Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia’s Capital City!

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After so much time in the Malaysian jungle I wasn’t sure what I thought about heading to a big “city.” I’m typically not a fan of exploring big cities at all. If you have been following along you know that Yeosu (our Korean home base) contains 300,000 people which feels HUGE to me. The beach is 2 miles away, and there is a mountain in our backyard. Literally. That’s all I need to be one happy gal.

So, I was hesitant to spend time in Kuala Lumpur. Which in my mind you can’t compare AT ALL to East Malaysia (where we spent the majority of our trip.) We had our layover in Kuala Lumpur back to Korea so we decided (well Tom convinced me) that we should spend 2 nights, and 1 full day exploring the city. So we did. I live to tell you it was much more interesting than I had expected, but that I am glad we only stayed one day. We walked for 14 hours around the city (with stops to enjoy, relax, and eat) and I felt like we saw EVERYTHING I possibly wanted to see. From the Muslim Mosques, to the Indian temples, all of the cool architecture, the food, the mix of culture, the crazy demented city monkeys, all of the amazing markets (we went to three), to the gorgeous garden park. I am happy to say we DID it!

Tom and I both had an extremely hard time leaving Malaysia. We love living in Korea, but it was such an absolutely incredible trip that it was hard to say goodbye. Kuala Lumpur concluded our time in Malaysia, but I know we will be back. I loved the diversity of the people living in Malaysia: Chinese, Native Malaysians, and Indian. The diversity of people brought diversity of food which I hadn’t even mentioned yet. We ate real Italian food from an Italian expat living in Malaysia, Chinese food, Indian food, and everything in between. I was humbled by all of the travelers we met there and I am inspired to continue to discover more of this big beautiful world.

China Town Market

China Town Market

This guy ;)

This guy 😉

In the morning we headed to the famous Batu Caves. Caves made of limestone, a place of worship for hindu people, and home to one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India.

In the morning we headed to the famous Batu Caves. Caves made of limestone, a place of worship for Hindu’s, and home to one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India.

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The crazy demon monkeys around the Batu Caves. Stealing people's food and drinks. Not going to lie I was scared of them not like the monkeys we seen in the wild. The may look cute...don't let them fool you.

The crazy demon monkeys around the Batu Caves. Stealing people’s food and drinks. Not like the monkeys we seen in the wild. The may look cute…don’t let them fool you.

Sippin on some delicious and fresh coconut juice.

Sippin’ on some delicious fresh coconut juice.

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Heading up, up, up the stairs into the caves.

Heading up, up, up the stairs into the caves.

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They were waiting watching the humans until they found their victims.

They were waiting watching the humans until they found their victims.

Headed to explore the city!

Headed to explore the city!

Kuala Lumpur Garden Park

Kuala Lumpur Garden Park

Checkin out the sites at the National Monument.

Checkin out the sites at the National Monument.

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National Mosque

National Mosque

love this architecture.

love this architecture.

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Checking out Central Market.

Checking out Central Market.

Chinese for lunch! Porridge with chicken :)

Chinese for lunch! Porridge with chicken 🙂

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Night Market findings. New watch from a guy who uniquely made each one (besides the watch face hehe)

Night Market findings. New watch from a guy who uniquely made each one (besides the watch face hehe)

Petronas Towers at night!

Petronas Towers at night!

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So there ya have it. 3 blog posts in 3 days!!

I am so excited that I have successfully documented our entire trip to Malaysia all before second semester starts back up for teaching on Monday! First, we are saying goodbye to our good friend Alyssa as she has completed 2 years of teaching in Korea, and is embarking on many months of traveling. Sunday is our 1/2 marathon! We are so excited to do a race in KOREA.

I’ll be back next week with more stories on how we had an amazing trip on a budget, things we learned that we won’t travel East Malaysia without, and  our travel plans coming up in just 3 weeks!

Happy Friday to you all. I just have to leave you with 4 more photos that sum up the diversity we experienced in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia- so perfectly. 🙂 photo

Kinabatangan River Safari Tours

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We were sitting in the main “tree house” lodge having our breakfast when we began to browse through some of the “tours” of the Kinabatangan River that we could take from our resort. Tom and I had mostly stayed away from the big-tour-bus-fanny-pack type of tours during our trip in Malaysia as we were trying to get the most authentic experience out of our time there. We wanted to eat as the locals, do as the locals, and just enjoy Malaysia’s rainforests, and all of it’s extreme beauty. There were so many companies to choose from when trying to do a jungle safari by river. How could we decide which would be the best? I asked the lodge worker (a native malay) which one she thought would be “the most fun” and she recommended going on a tour with a fellow by the name of Osman- with Kinabatangan Discovery.

We decided to make the trek to the river (about two hours from our lodge near where we spent time with the orangutans!) to do the river safari. Tom asked me if I wanted to do more than one “river tour” instead of making the two hour trek for just one boat ride. Of COURSE I DID! Our lodging was right on the river where we stayed one night at Sukau Greenview lodge before catching a flight to Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. Everything was arranged from the lodge we had been staying at Paganakan Dii including transportation to and from the river for us. We ended up deciding on a sunset tour, after dark river tour, and lastly the sunrise river tour. I had told myself that I didn’t expect to see any wildlife at all so that I wouldn’t be disappointed…but our three river safaris ended up being so much more than just a simple boat ride (It probably helps to have a husband with an incredible eye to spot wildlife!) All of our cruises were uniquely AMAZING, but our favorite was the sunset tour- when we saw the most wildlife, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

Let me back up for one second. Palm oil plantations are a big deal in East Malaysia. It’s a pretty big industry as Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil, and is the world’s largest exporter of the oil. With this industry, sadly, comes the destruction, and clearing of land for the plantations. So while, the plantations have disrupted the ecology of the upper section of the Kinabatangan River… the mangrove swamps as well as parts of the lowland river have survived, remain in tact, and are now protected. The river is said to contain a huge part of the wildlife in Borneo. Home to all sorts of crazy cool looking birds, monkeys, crocodiles, snakes, orangutans and even Pygmy Elephants. So three river tours, hundreds of pictures, and one awesome (non commercial) tour guide later. I present you with one of most gorgeous places on Earth. The Kinabatangan River in East Malaysia:

The start of our trip...

The start of our trip…

Gorgeous rainbow.

Gorgeous rainbow.

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Egret birds

Egret birds

Grey Eagle

Gray Eagle

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Probiscus Monkeys- aka "Dutch man"

Probiscus Monkeys- aka “Dutch man”

I couldn't get over how it was sitting like a HUMAN!

I couldn’t get over how it was sitting like a HUMAN!

Macaque Moneky- saw tons of these guys!

Macaque Monkey- saw tons of these guys!

Little blurry, but I love this shot. They were jumpin/ swinging on the vines.

Little blurry, but I love this shot. They were jumpin/ swinging on the vines.

Little alien baby Macaque

Little alien baby Macaque

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Crocodile. Bit hard to see, but he was big!

Crocodile. Bit hard to see, but he was big!

Silver leaf monkey :)

Silver leaf monkey 🙂

Yellow ring mangrove snake

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Pretty sunset pictures

Pretty sunset pictures

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Our digs for the night

Our digs for the night

Peaceful breakfast on the river before our last river cruise...

Peaceful breakfast on the river before our last river cruise…

Tom spotted this guy up in the tree with his momma (who was hiding behind the branches)

Tom spotted this guy up in the tree with his momma (who was hiding behind the branches)

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Can't get enough of these guys...

Can’t get enough of these guys…

Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary- Malaysia

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Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary- Malaysia

After the big hike up Mt. Kinabalu we headed East on a big red double decker coach bus. I was exhausted from the hike, and caught some sleep while Tom watched a movie. The bus ride was about 4 hours as we trekked to our next destination Sepilok, Malaysia. Known for the Orangutan Sanctuary. It was late at night when we were dropped off at a small round-a-bout in the middle of no where. We waited for our “tropical retreat” shuttle to come fetch us in the dark after using the bus driver’s cell phone to tell them we were at “mile 14” round-a-bout. I was pumped we were literally in the middle of no where!!! Even in the dark we could see that massive palm trees covered the terrain.

We stayed at Paganakan Dii Tropical Retreat ( I will write about this fabulous place later!) and we were ready to get some rest  pass out from our 9 hour hike, and the 4 hour bus ride East.

In the morning (after our delicious breakfast) our resort had a shuttle to the Orangutan Sanctuary which was started in 1964 as a place to rehabilitate orangutans back to health. It was a short 15 min ride to the place. We bought tickets, and walked out on this long wooden path to a platform in the jungle where two feedings per day take place (one at 10am and one at 3pm.) We decided to stay the whole day to watch both feedings, eat lunch, and walk around. The entire place is about 10,000 acres of protected rainforest for the orangutans to live, and roam freely once they are healthy enough. I read in lonely planet that although 1,000’s of people each year come to view the orangutans there is a chance (since they are essentially wild) that none will show up to the platform to feed. At the 10am feeding there was about 10-12 orangutans that came (and LOTS of little short/long tailed macaque monkeys) The 3:00 feeding turned out to be a bit less “tour group-y” but less orangutans. We did see TWO momma’s with little babes hangin on to them that came to the 3pm feeding so that was really neat!

There was a sign that read “SILENCE PLEASE” …if I had to guess I’d say about 200 people gathered around to wait quietly to view the orangutans. Sure enough as it neared 10am the monkeys, and orangutans begun to peek out of the jungle in our view. Slowly, with the help of ropes/vines they made their way over to the platform to snack on bananas/milk.

It was fascinating. Seriously, fascinating.

I don’t think I blinked for the entire time… while Tom snapped some AWESOME pictures.  The second feeding Tom was able to just sit, and enjoy as I snapped a couple good ones. 😉 I knew this post was going to be a tough one. HOW do I choose my favorite pictures of the orangutans when we took SO many incredible pictures. I am going to post a bunch, because I just can not stop staring at these precious little orange furry fellas.

If you want more information on visiting the sanctuary go here!

Here they come!!!!!!

Here they come!!!!!!

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Macaque Monkey

Macaque Monkey

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Having a snack!

Having a snack!

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;p

;p

Macaque monkey

Macaque monkey

LOVE <3

LOVE ❤

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Those EYES!

Those EYES!

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Hey little guy

Hey little guy (one of my favorites)

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You can see where we observed from in this one :)

You can see where we observed from in this one 🙂

Tom and I walked around and snapped a few more pictures before the next feeding.

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Ready for 3pm feeding!!!

Ready for 3pm feeding!!!

Just a few more for ya because I HAVE TO…

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Momma

Momma

Momma Love...

Momma Love…

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I LOVE this shot.

I LOVE this shot.

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Mt. Kinabalu Success.

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We did it in a day. It was crazy, but it was one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life…hands DOWN!

I didn’t love it all. There were parts when I thought there might be tears. Or that the altitude had sucked all the air straight out of my lungs. Climbing over 13,000 feet is no joke people. It’s the real deal. It was the coolest journee I have ever embarked on in one day. With the coolest guy that I know…who wrote all about the journee of our one day climb to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu here… and how to crawl climb it in just one day here!

People thought we were crazy. I would probably have to agree. Not because we did it in one day, but because I thought it would be “easy.” Yeah…sure…we are young whipper snappers, and yeah, I felt “fit” before we decided to climb it. Let me tell you people…it was hard. It wasn’t as hard as when I cried my way through a painful (completely-un-trained-for) second time I ran a marathon ordeal…but it was tough. I live to see another day, and if I can do it anyone can do it! I was inspired by this cool blog we heard of from Alyssa, and it inspired me that we could try to do the climb in one day.

I wasn’t going to post anything on climbing the mountain since Tom does a great job documenting of all our hiking and trekking journees, but like I said… it was probably one of those things I will never do again because now I know how much it hurt type of things. BUT it also was a HUGE part of our journee in Malaysia, and it inspired us to climb more mountains. We have our eye on Mt. Fuji in Japan next. Is it weird we like painful climbing up mountains? Yes. It’s the journee that gets me every time. The journee of the day. The journee with my husband. The journee of climbing Mt. Kinabalu in one day.

Wait, what? We are climbing to the top of... that?!?!

Wait, what? We are climbing to the top of… that?!?!

Pure happiness.

Pure happiness.

Enjoying the descent down.

Enjoying the descent down.

so cold, but so happy!

so cold, but so happy!

 

Strollin’ the Streets of Kota Kinabalu- Night Market and Gaya Street Market

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Strollin’ the Streets of Kota Kinabalu- Night Market and Gaya Street Market

One thing I love about Korea is the outdoor open air market we shop at. I have said it 100 times, but it might be one of my favorite things about Korea. So, naturally I was excited to explore markets of Malaysia! In Kota Kinabalu we found that the night market sold lots of fresh food! It’s as fresh as it comes 🙂 After asking the lovely ladies who worked at Lavender Lodge (where we stayed) for some tips on where to go, we grabbed a city map, and explored. I loved that in Kota Kinabalu (even though it was a “city”) it was small enough you could walk around/through/across it- easily in just 30 min.

While Gaya street market also sold fruit and other delicious food items this market was more of the souvenirs, clothing, live animal type of market. Just about everything could be found at Gaya Street!

Here are my favorite shots of us strollin the streets of Kota Kinabalu…

Lots of little street vendors :)

Lots of little street vendors 🙂

I have no idea what we ate, but it sure was delicious. I would say it tasted like a cross between a pear and an apple. With "plum powder" sprinkled on top. (I saw the label on the package, but I had no idea plum powder even was a thing!)

I have no idea what we ate, but it sure was delicious. I would say it tasted like a cross between a pear and an apple. With “plum powder” sprinkled on top. (I saw the label on the package, but I had no idea plum powder even was a thing!)

Night Market in KK

Night Market in KK

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Always lots of veggies. :)

Always lots of veggies. 🙂

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The night market is right along the water. Made for a really pretty sunset.

The night market is right along the water. Made for a really pretty sunset.

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Exploring more of the port.

Exploring more of the port.

Love this guy and this photo!

Love this guy and this photo!

Gaya Street market the next day!

Gaya Street market the next day!

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Selling freshly ground coffee beans. yum!

Selling freshly ground coffee beans. yum!

More coffee for sale

More coffee for sale

Butterfly made from feathers

Butterfly made from feathers

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Crazy hat.

Crazy hat.

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...and even animals for sale.

…and even animals for sale.

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Kota Kinabalu- The Gateway to Malaysia’s Rainforests.

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Kota Kinabalu- The Gateway to Malaysia’s Rainforests.

We arrived after a day of travel from South Korea to the quaint little city of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Admittedly we had no idea that Malaysia is separated into two regions (two islands) BUT the part we mainly visited is known to tourists as “Sabah” or “Borneo” and to locals as “East Malaysia” and to Midwestern U.S folk: the boonies, the sticks, or middle of no where. We found ourselves loving the Malaysian rainforest!

Our last two days were spent in Peninsular Malaysia at the country’s capital: Kuala Lumpur. First things first though.

There is so much to say and so much to share, but I thought I would try to first keep it simple, and secondly keep it short. (Both extremely difficult after so many incredible adventures.) To say we had the trip of the life time is definitely an understatement. From the people we met from all around the world who had incredible travel stories where they are making travel a way of life, to the food, and the beautiful islands, wild life, and rain forests… I can’t tell you how many times I would just sit back in awe of where we were, what we were doing, and how we got to the place (path) that led us to cross paths with Malaysia. The trip just kept getting better and better.   Kota Kinabalu was where we spent two days and two nights eating REAL Italian food with a table for two in the bay, getting in 3 AWESOME scuba dives in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park with a cool little company called Scuba Junkie, taking a boat with locals over to Manukan island for a day at the beach,  and visiting Kota Kinabalu’s famous Gaya Street market where you could buy everything from an animal to souvenirs! Kota Kinabalu was where our journey in Malaysia all began. You’ll also see pictures of the places we stayed at…where almost all of the places were either eco friendly, or had amazingly helpful staff, and most of the time they had both. Tom has been quite inspired by a man named Rob Greenfield who’s blog he has been following, and reading. Rob’s blog has begun to in small ways positively affect the way we travel, and live life.

We always tried to do two things:

1. Keep it affordable!

2. Seek adventure.

I’d say we achieved them both, but maybe pictures will tell it better than I can. Most of the photo credit certainly goes to my awesome husband Tom…and now without further ado I bring you my very favorite photos of our first two days before we climbed Mt. Kinabalu, and the explored the rainforests! I give you Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia through our eyes…

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We devoured our meal so quickly that we forgot to take pics! It had been so long since we had Italian food. Eating at Gusto on the bay.

We devoured our meal so quickly that we forgot to take pics! It had been so long since we had Italian food. Eating at Gusto on the bay.

Our digs for 2 nights in KK. We loved staying here because of the incredible staff!

Our digs for 2 nights in KK. We loved staying here because of the incredible staff and the bang for our buck! We had our own cozy little room.

Getting ready to scuba dive off the boat!

Getting ready to scuba dive off the boat!

Tunku abdul rahman marine park for some diving.

Tunku abdul rahman marine park for some diving.

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Stop between dives on Sapi island!

Stop between dives on Sapi island!

This guy wanted to hang with us for lunch!!!

This guy wanted to hang with us for lunch!!!

Heading out for more diving.

Heading out for more diving.

Gaya Street Market

Gaya Street Market

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Rambutan- SO amazingly delicious once the skin is peeled off. Inside tastes and sort of looks like a grape 🙂

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We bought a big bag of Durian- known in Southeast Asia as the “King of Fruits.” It has a thorny outside and is known to smell like onions (we didn’t smell it) but it tasted like custard and almonds to me. Pretty delicious! Tom loved this one.

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Dragon fruit or Pitaya was pretty delicious as well. We had a great time buying fruit and tasting it. All of which we had never had before in the States. It was really this bright neon pink!! It didn’t stain the hands/ mouth as much as I thought it might.

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This cutie was working the market stall all by herself! She was tiny!

Island exploration to Manukan Island

Island exploration to Manukan Island

Saw another one of these guys... looked like a dragon!

Saw another one of these guys… looked like a dragon!

Beach bummin for the day.

Beach bummin for the day.

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A storms a brewin' just as we caught our little boat back to the mainland.

A storms a brewin’ just as we caught our little boat back to the mainland.

Up next more pictures of  exploring Gaya Street Market as well as the night market in Kota Kinabalu, and the continued journey through Malaysia as we headed East to climb a mountain, hang with the orangutans, and even manage to get in 3 river safaris to check out the rainforest wildlife.

In the meantime I’ll just be here pretending we are still travelin’ and trekkin’ through Malaysia 😉

Malaysia bound!

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So, the day is here!!!

Photo credit- Lonely Planet.

Photo credit- Lonely Planet.

The one where the backpacks are packed, and we are Malaysia BOUND. We will be gone for 10 days. If you missed the post on our Malaysia Plans go ahead and give that page a little click if you wanna know what we “plan” to be up to! You’ll see where I organized our “plans” into a nice little post… I say “plans” because I’ve learned our ideas/plans don’t always work out BUT that makes for some sweet travel stories.

In all honesty…we only have one place booked out of the many we will stay at in Malaysia (to sleep.) Why? WELL. This vacation kinda sprung up on us…and FAST! With wrapping up our first semester of teaching, teaching two weeks of English Summer Camp, a NEW car to travel Korea in, and the weekends we have spent at the beach/ visiting friends…we honestly haven’t booked places to stay, planned out the trip to a “T” and I honestly have no idea what food we will eat, where the best beaches are, or where we will sleep. Thanks to the iphones though…Tom discovered an app called- Hostel World where we can enter our location, and it brings up cheap places for us to stay in the area. Perfect, right? So here we go! Off to explore. It’s so fun to check things off on bucket list that I made back in March! There are quite a few I still need to tackle over the next few months, but we have winter break for that! ;)AND actually we have already started to plan winter vacation when we have a month off to travel in January. I can’t wait to tell you where we are headed!

First things first though.

What I do know…is that those trips (the ones where there is a rough sketch of ideas/things we want to see) are the BEST ones. I have no doubt there will not be a shortage of backpacker places for us to stay, people for us to meet, and things for us to do. Tom and I actually both prefer the road less traveled vs. the resort stays (and so does our wallet), the backpacker resorts, and also maybe even sleeping on the beach where we have done plenty of that here, here, and here! WHO KNOWS where this trip will take us, but the unknown is pretty darn exciting.

…and I sure can’t wait to discover this next adventure that is unfolding…

The blog will remain not-so-up-to date for 10+ days..where I will be hanging with the orangutans, climbing the tallest point between the Himalayas and New Guinea at 13,436 feet above sea level, and scuba diving the beautiful reefs of Malaysia, visiting night markets, maybe a river safari, and OF COURSE looking for adventure! Like I have said before…this life does NOT seem real. Still pinching myself that we are livin this dream.

Don’t worry though! (I knew you were worried) 😉

I will be back SOON. With plenty of travel stories to knock your socks off!

Until then…

Stay cool blog readers.

Lots’o’love,

-elicia

Next stop: Borneo, Malaysia.

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Next stop: Borneo, Malaysia.

Malaysia.

A country I had heard of, but knew absolutely nothing about. A place where when I began to research I found has the  highest point between the Himalayas and New Guinea (Mt. Kinabalu-13,436 feet above sea level.)

A country full of culture, delicious food, rain forest trekking, river safari tours teaming with wildlife, stunning scuba diving, and magnificent night markets.

How could we choose anywhere else?

I am beyond excited.

This is what I know:

1. We decided on East Malaysia also known as Borneo, Malaysia because of our desire to hike, explore the rain forest, and scuba dive. First: We fly into Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia’s capital. Then we’ll catch another flight to East Malaysia.

2.We will be doing 2 or 3 scuba dives here (not sure which islands yet!  There are 5 in Tunku Marine Park):

photo from etawau.com

3. We will be attempting to climb Kota Kinabalu in ONE day- the tallest point between the Himalayas and New Guinea at 13,436 feet above sea level. We found the inspiration to hike in one day here. If you are a new reader you can track our hiking treks on Tom’s blog.

photo from the theplanetd.com

4. We will visit the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary- Where orangutans are rehabilitated back to independent wildlife living. Can’t wait to see these amazing animals 🙂

photo from sabahtourism.com

5. We will be taking a river safari down the Kinabatangan River- to hopefully spy some Pygmy Elephants ( we would have to be really lucky!), crocodiles, birds, and maybe even a proboscis monkey.

photo from insabah.com

6. Visit the night markets! In both Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.

photo from junesapartment.com

–This much I know.

I know we are so excited to head to Malaysia in just 5 short weeks!  We are going into the trip with an outline of a plan. Hoping for the best…expecting the worst. We will have a some what flexible schedule, but embarking on this adventure with the idea that the BEST adventures are the ones that aren’t planned, and the understanding that ANYTHING can change in a second.

Here is to an incredible adventure ahead with my husband… Off of the beaten path!