Things to do in Langkawi - Our 3 day Langkawi Experience ... without the islands!



So we booked our stay in Langkawi for three days at Amara Motel Langkawi in Kuah, it was a wonderful little place only 10 minutes walk from Kuah Pier. It is always quite difficult figuring out which part of a new town to stay in as you've never visited the place before and wouldn't know where the fun or interesting places are. After a bit of research, we opted for the pier so we'd be closer to it on departure, however, having checked out the island as the days went by, part of us wished we had stayed more towards Kedawang. 

Nevertheless, Kuah grows on you. 


On our first day we were too exhausted as we had been travelling on boats and planes all day to get here all the way from Koh Phi Phi, Thailand. So we relaxed at the hotel and in the afternoon, decided to go for a stroll. 

We took a walk towards the pier wandering through the beautiful Legenda Park (equipped with gym bars for those fanatics like Dylan.. made his day!) and we ended up visiting the ever impressive Eagle Square, finally finishing at Jetty Point. Jetty Point has a super busy, but friendly, atmosphere and here is where you can book your ferry trips as well as all your tours and hotels for the area. We decided to have lunch in this food court and actually had a pretty good selection of cuisines considering we had just been 6 weeks on Thai food alone. Lunch for us both came out to a whopping 24 Rm (£4.60) for 2 meals, 2 drinks & desserts.







Because we felt like we needed a bit of fresh air and the weather was lovely, we decided to walk around the small town, along the main street (Jalan Padang Matstrat) for about 30 minutes we amazingly stumbled across a rather large shopping mall. I absolutely loved malls in Asia as they provided you with air con! Such a necessity in those temperatures and something I used to take for granted back home. 

Our evening was made perfect when we realised the mall had a cinema! We watched the new Xmen Days of Future Past movie for £4.80, a nice price change to the standard £7 each ticket. 


Hiring a bike in Kuah



On our second day we woke up quite refreshed and decided to go visit the other half of the island, so we thought of renting a motorbike. In Thailand, the process for this was simple and quick and not so bureaucratic, here, we were asked for our drivers license as well as our passports and a deposit. Nevertheless, we managed to hire one for 47 Rm for the day after asking about 10 people where we could hire one from. Not so easy or common in Kuah to rent a bike and so found it hard to locate a place, but thankfully we found one about 7 mins walk from the hotel just by Persiaran Putera Road, close to Langkawi Idol Kareoke. 

We hired it for 24 hrs and we began our adventure by heading towards Kedawang. Its a good 30 minute drive from one point to the other with hardly any petrol stations .... Fill up the tank! We learn't that the hard way a we nearly ran out of it up in the woods... at night ... crapped our pants! 




Anyhow, once at the town of Kedawang you can immediately notice it is more touristic as you had rows and rows of shops selling you souvenirs, more shopping centres and bigger hotel resorts. We parked the bike at one end of the street and started appreciating the ambience. Walking through the town Dylan and I decided to go to the huge aquarium called Underwaterworld where we nearly spent our days budget on (80 Rm / £16.00) but was totally worth it! 




This place was incredible and a great place to take the kids. However, make sure to check the times before going there as each section of the aquarium has different feeding times for different animals. Dylan was super excited to hear that we had made it in time for the Penguins feed! We watched the trainers giving them lunch and interacting with them! Really good fun if you love animals. We spent about 2 hours wandering this place, as you also had people undertaking a live reptile show to learn more about snakes and similar creatures. 








When we finished, what better way to relax than with a nice tea and ice cream sundae from McDonalds! Yepp they have these over here and yes I had to find it... it was perfectly located next to the Underwaterworld. 

In the afternoon, we got back on the moped and decided to check out a beach recommended to us by our receptionist at the hotel by Pantai Pasir Hitam, unfortunately we are super bad at reading maps (how we survived the whole travelling is beyond me!) and ended up getting lost in the middle of a golf resort, in the middle of a beautiful forrest (the upside). We finally ended up on this beach just in time for the sunset, not really ever knowing if this was the beach our receptionist mean't. 






We went back to Kedawang for dinner but soon realised was a bad idea as there were too many touristy places for dinner, meaning we ended up having a mediocre plate of pasta for £12.50, yes £6.25 is hardly much, but compared to the local rates we were used to, it was quite a fair price to pay. 


Feeling like a local


On our third and final day we decided to take it easy and chill around Kuah, it was a great little place that I'd learned to love as you could really mix with the locals and the culture. We ended up having lunch at a hawker stall, in the midst of groups of men, women and children in the bustling Malaysian life taking up all the local traditions and family affairs. Forget menus (all in Malaysian that we didn't understand), forget talking (also in Malaysian) so it was up to communicating as humans do for our food. a perfect way to end our visit, this time costing us £2.30 for essentially three meals (Dylan repeated a plate) and drinks ... delicious! 





We the made our way back to Jetty Point where we bought our tickets for our boat trip to Penang. Two one way tickets cost us 135 Rm (£26) and we sat in Starbucks until our ferry was due to depart, perfect for relaxing as it had free wifi! It was sad to leave Langkawi as I think it had so much more to offer us, but makes it all the more reason to go back to it some day! 

Happy Travelling 
Shereen  


Want to read more about Langkawi? Click the image below 




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Tat Kuang Si Park in Luang Prabang, Laos

Get away from the heat in Luang Prabang by visiting the waterfall in Tat Kuang Si Park

The morning before visiting this place we went to see the elephants and bathe them, super duper fun, but mean't being in warm temperatures. Visiting this park in the afternoon was the perfect compliment to the day as the park has something for everyone. 

There is ample parking spaces for when you get to the entrance area of the park, there are people of all ages coming to this as part of their day trip, from families to school groups to tour groups and all to enjoy the cool surroundings of the lagoon. 

At the entrance to the park you are welcomed with an information centre, where you can see the park map, use the bathrooms and buy some refreshments to take up with you. You need to pay a small entrance fee (40,000 Kip for us both, equivalent of approx £3) but is well worth it and you are then greeted with the Bear Rescue Centre. 


The Bear Rescue Centre 

You would never have expected a bear rescue centre in the middle of this park as soon as you walk in, but nonetheless, there it is and its an incredible feature making you feel even closer to nature. 

The bears are quite happy in the reserve and the location is nicely set up to tell you the story of each of the bears kept there and what happens to them after being rescued. 


Enjoy the 20 minute trek to the summit - Start on the Right!

Once you pass the bear rescue centre you continue the path onto the waterfall, the waterfall cascades onto several levels meaning the park is divided into 3 or 4 sections. Most of the group we were travelling with decided to head straight to the lagoons to have a swim, however, Dylan, an Australian couple and I decided we wanted to check out the entire park before doing that. 

Part of the nature reserve includes a trek all the way up to the beginning of the waterfall and we decided this was something we had to do, to see the views at the top. As soon as we were about to start our ascend, a man told us going up on the right and coming down on the left of the waterfall was the best route to take and we did just that as we realised once we started the walk, that the right hand-side is a bit too steep to walk down through.  





The Park is a great pass time for families and school groups too

There are picnic tables at each level of the park making it incredibly comfortable for families and school groups to bring their own lunches and spend the day at the site, especially in warm weather. 

Once we came down from the trek, we literally threw ourselves in the lagoon as the heat was too much, but it was incredibly fun to do, as on some parts of the lagoons you could jump off trees into the water!




Please double check the weather reports for this site as we attended on the 28th March 2014 and the waterfall was quite filled up with water, in other instances, there may be less water, making it hard to bathe in. 

Please let us know if you have been here? What were your thoughts on it? 

If you are in the area, make some time to check this peaceful place out. 
Happy Travelling 
Shereen


Planning a trip to Laos, get all the information you need with this guidebook below! 

 

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Want a Mouthwatering Burger? Our favorite Western cuisine restaurant inSiem Reap

Siem Reaps buzzing atmosphere is accompanied by what we thought was the most charming and tasteful restaurant in this wonderful city known primarily for Angor Wat.









































Belmiro's Pizza & Subs Restaurant is located on Street #7, Building #7 and is famous for it's pizzas, but was recently put up to a test by food enthusiast Dylan from The Travelling Postcard. It had not been a wonderful start to the day, but everything changed upon my visit to Belmiro's, it's wonderful host and lovely waiters make you feel welcome and most of all have product knowledge of their ingredients, I was impressed! 

The charming and picturesque restaurant is run by Belmiro, a 'small town kid from Marion, Massachusetts, USA', I congratulate you for attending every table on your restaurant, it's nice to see an owner who is passionate about his line of work.



The Food is more than a treat to your taste buds!

Well we move on to the food! Shereen tried the Steak bomb baguette priced at 7 dollars not so cheap to any budget traveller but it will soon win you over! New York steak strips, provolone cheese, onion, tomatoes and a sauce covered by a soft centered baguette! Just wonderful.

I wanted to try the Man vs. Food side of it and started with some Buffalo wings with a sauce which was just superb! What a taste, only thing I would add to it is a side of sauce to dip the wings! It was just more than a treat to the taste buds! 

For my main, I tried their famous burger! It's beyond words, according to the knowledgeable waiter he acclaimed the burger the best in Siem Reap! I think I wouldn't challenge that! Every bite came directly from heaven, juicy soft Bubs, proper ground beef which was made into the perfect patty, two Cheeses, gherkins and perfectly splodged ketchup! The perfect patty as I will call it was accompanied with miniature versions of hash browns, perfection is all I can say!




















Food that can turn our day around!

You guys turned a miserable start to our Cambodia trip into one of the days highlight! Belmiro even said hello to us 2 days after the visit! Wishing you all the best from the postcard travellers!




If any of you guys visiting Siem Reap and need a slice away from home get down to Belmiro's you won't be disappointed!

Safe Travels
Dylan


For Belmiro's contact details:


For more information on planning your trip to Siem Reap: 



If you liked this, try reading:

Gibraltar Restaurant Reviews
Cooking Class in Hoi an, Vietnam


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Country Review - The Postcard's Impression on Vietnam

Is it worth a Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi visit? 

Stepping out of the plane upon arrival to Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City you will feel like you have just entered a new world unknown! Immigration Visas took nearly two hours with people becoming uneasy and hysteric at these delays. 

This was our first impression, it wouldn't end here... Grab a taxi and be prepared to fork out some extra cash if you hotel / hostel is in the outskirts of the city. Make sure you ask for the meter even before you get on or work out a fee initially. 




















Vietnam was cheaper than we thought!

Besides these first impressions, Vietnam is a country which has slowly escaped the dark doomed days of past Vietnam War and has developed links with neighbouring countries and since Bill Clinton forged business relations, Vietnam has enriched their business links with the USA. 




In my humble opinion, Vietnam is cheaper than other places I have been to in South East Asia. Our budget clearly shows that our costs in Vietnam is nearly half than those in Bangkok. One tip on Vietnam is that you will take a few days to accustom to the traffic, for example, the sooner you come to terms which you simply have to cross the road knowing that all of the motorbikes could send you flying, they expect you to cross not in the red light but anytime because it seems there are no rules to crossing (more to read here). Contrary to Germany where pedestrians crossing the street on a green light results on an automatic fine of 25 Euros. 




The southern part of Vietnam reflects less communism than northern cities and towns. Our experience of the south right up to the city of Hue was far more enjoyable as you can experience what we believe is the nicer and hotter part of the country, read our Motorcycle adventure in Hue here. To move north of the country, we would recommend overnight trains instead of buses, roads are not the greatest. However, bare in mind that overnight trains are a tad more expensive but you include your own accommodation for the night. If you do decide on overnight transport, just make sure you get a sleeper cabin for the train or a VIP bus for the road. 




The South vs. the North

As you reach the northern cities always make sure to pack some clothes for chilly places such as Hanoi and Halong Bay as we visited these places in March 2014 and it was indeed cold, by packing beforehand, this will save you on buying warmer clothing.




Spending 10 - 14 days in Vietnam is enough to visit all the places of interest and this will be enough to travel from Hoi Chi Minh City to Hanoi. The best aspect of this is that Vietnam is not as expensive as we initially thought (post on expenses in Vietnam to follow soon!). We don't claim in being the strictest backpackers, but we also try to save every penny possible. 




If you enjoyed reading this you will love: 

The Beautiful Picturesque town of Hoi An 

For more information on Vietnam and to organise your trip itinerary check this out:




Your views on Vietnam!

Have you travelled to Vietnam? What were your highlights? Dislikes? Places you would recommend to others?


Safe Travels!
Dylan 

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We Got Mail! - An Interview with Mytanfeet!



We had the most wonderful opportunity to interview Samantha and Yeison from Mytanfeet! A wonderful couple based in Costa Rica, check them out!

Postcard Snapshot

- When did you first start travelling? 2010
- How many countries visited? Both of us together, 9
- Favourite Country? So hard to choose one... Costa Rica so far!
- Best travel advice ever received? Always double check when your flight is! Also you can never have too many pairs of underwear...
- Where are you now? Costa Rica

Indepth with Mytanfeet: 


Please tell us a bit about who you are, what made you travel?
I'm Samantha and from the States. I first started traveling because I wanted to volunteer abroad and I had only ever been to 3 countries before and wanted to see more of the world. After I went to Central America to volunteer, I met Yeison who is from Costa Rica. We started a long distance relationship and that made us both travel if we wanted to see each other. Two years later, I moved to Costa Rica.


How did you bring about Mytanfeet.com? What is it all about and to what type of traveller is it dedicated to?
We started Mytanfeet to document my new life and journey in Costa Rica. We originally wanted it to be more of a journal and an easy way to let my family and friends back at home what I was up to but it developed into something more. We write all about Costa Rica - traveling, living, moving here, culture, food, etc. Any traveler can read our blog and take away valuable information. It doesn't matter if they are luxury, budget, backpacker, traveling with family or solo, we have information that caters to all. Since Yeison is Costa Rican, he gives his local point of view and I give the foreigner point of view. 

From your favourite country mentioned above, what top experiences would you suggest cannot be missed? Either for the country as a whole or a town / city within it.
Oh gosh there is so much to see in Costa Rica. I'll just narrow it down to the town we live in right now which is called Playas del Coco. Top experiences not be missed if you are in this area are snorkeling/scuba diving and boating. There are so many hidden beaches in this area and tons of marine wildlife to be seen. 


Two / Three hints or tips for travellers wanting to travel to Costa Rica? Can be anything from visas to luggage essentials etc, but if possible, specific to the country or town chosen. 
Our top tips for people traveling to Costa Rica are 

1. If you don't know any Spanish, learn how to say "pura vida" Pura Vida means pure life in Spanish but it is essentially the theme of the country. Every Costa Rican says pura vida and you can say it for hello, goodbye, thanks, what's up, how are you, essentially anything good and positive. So if you don't know how to speak Spanish or don't know what someone is saying to you, just reply back "pura vida!" and the Costa Ricans will love it!

2. Know the exchange rate. The exchange rate has been constantly changing the past few months and not all, but some stores and souvenir shops might take advantage of a foreigner not knowing what it is. If you give them dollars, you might find yourself a bit short when they give you your change in colones (local currency). Also remember that dollars are not accepted throughout the country, only in touristic areas.

You can learn more about the currency of Costa Rica here: http://mytanfeet.com/about-cr/costa-rican-currency-called-colones/

I see one of your travel goals was to swim with sharks, I love sharing new experiences and this story has to be told.... What was it like? 
Well to be honest it was quite frightening at first! I was out in the gulf with Yeison, my brother and our friends and it was my brother and I snorkeling in the water. Our boat captain had told us to watch out for bull sharks before we jumped in so my radar was on high alert as we were swimming around. As soon as I saw the giant dark shadow by the boat, I immediately starting freaking out! At first I thought it was a big manta ray but it was definitely not. Thank goodness it was a whale shark which are harmless and not a bull shark! You can read the whole experience here :  http://mytanfeet.com/activities/boating-around-the-gulf-of-papagayo/


If you had just won the lottery, where would you travel to or what travel experience would you try? 
I would take the first plane to New Zealand and stay there for as long as I could, exploring every nook and cranny of that country. It's the first country on my bucket list and I've been dying to go there for as long as I could remember. 


For fellow bloggers out there: 


What advice would you give to start up bloggers? 
Don't let yourself get overwhelmed by reading a bunch of articles about what you should do as a newbie blogger. If you do that, you will get really stressed out and think that it's impossible to do! Even if you don't know anything about web design, SEO or anything related to blogging, pick one subject first and study it. Don't study all of them at once or you'll begin feeling like you're drowning, especially if you are a solo blogger. Everyone learns as they go and nobody is an expert in every field from the beginning so don't feel bad if you don't know something. Also join FB groups for travel bloggers. Many of them are very nice and will give their advice as to where to get a logo, mailing lists, press trips, etc. 

Tips for running a successful blog? 
Consistency and quality. You don't need to post 7 days a week but you do need to be consistent so that your readers and Google will know you're active. Also if you stop writing, you might get stuck in a rut and won't want to keep doing it. 

Make sure you are consistently producing high quality content. You can crank out 10 low quality posts a week with worthless information for years and your blog won't get anywhere. It's not about how many posts you have, it's how good your posts are. Quality over quantity. If you're lucky to have the time, you can do both!


We would like to thank Samantha and Yeison for their time and if you would like to read more about their adventures, please see below:

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