Tag Archives: SE Asia

What changed in my thinking during our trip

All of this what I’ve written below is what I already thought and believed before our trip. But during this time some things in these areas just got much clearer and intensified. Here are some things to be brought out:

The World is a huge place

First and foremost I understood that the world is much bigger then it might seem during our everyday lives. Although people nowadays live quite a busy lifestyle traveling from one place to another during a week or even during a single day, we are still quite often limited to our so to say circle. Getting out of it is quite refreshing, especially if you go to a totally different environment. Of course it’s nothing new, I knew it before but actually living the experience is much different then seeing it through a screen.

The World is a tiny place

Contrary to the first point, from another perspective the world is quite small. And it’s mostly due to the different technologies we have developed lately (lately compared to the history of mankind). Within a reasonable amount of hours you can get from one side of the globe to the other, from a winter wonderland to a tropical forest. And thanks to the internet you are still connected to everyone within a matter of milliseconds, just like being back home. I think that sometimes we really forget to appreciate this opportunity to be able to connect with anyone instantly. Remember that next time when you don’t get an answer through a messenger within a minute πŸ™‚

Culture and religion can vary hugely

Coming from Estonia, the least religious country in the world, it really takes some time to consider religion as a separate topic since in here it’s really not a topic at all. But in many and actually most of the places it is. It’s really interesting to see how the religion affects and forms societies in different parts of the world. And the cultural differences can be quite different also. Some things that are considered as totally normal may seem weird to us and vice versa. That is the case towards animals likewise and to be quite honest we really didn’t like how some people acted towards cats, dogs, monkeys, turtles and many other animals in some areas. I know that these kind of people are to be found everywhere but in some places the situation is truly awful!

We need to do something with all this garbage, especially plastics!

I’m proud to say that everything in Estonia is quite clean. Streets, alleys, forests, seas and so on. Especially after a very noteworthy cleaning project called Teeme Γ„ra. It’s basically a once a year countrywide cleaning event. But the picture in SE Asia and many other parts of the world is quite different. There are just tons and tons of plastic waste and other debris in the ocean, littered on the streets and also everywhere in the nature. I know that in some places they are trying to clean it up but currently it’s being done in a much slower rate compared to how new waste is dumped to the oceans and nature. I really didn’t like how they were packing basically each individual item to a separate plastic bag in grocery stores and whenever possible we declined them. Recycle and reuse! It’s not that difficult once you get it to be a habit!

Chasing material things will bring no happiness

Many people in SE Asia don’t have much. But most of them seem really happy because they have learned how to value and appreciate what they do have and especially people around them. Family, friends, relatives and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that you have to have some material things like a decent place to live, a method of getting around, proper clothes and so on. You don’t have to be a monk living in a monastery. But chasing material things itself won’t bring you happiness. I think that through some of those things you can get a moments of happiness but you mustn’t get into the loop of “wanting”. If you do that then you’ll just want another one or a new one or a bigger one and so on. It might not be bad since it thrives you onwards, makes you make an effort but if you forget to appreciate what you already have it only brings you frustration. So always set your goals for moving forwards but don’t forget to be grateful for what you already have! And share it with other people because in the end it doesn’t matter who has the most things but who has the most loving people around them and many magic moments through which they are connected!

If you really want it, you can get it!

In some sense I believe in the law of attraction, that everything is connected somehow. Because in the deepest level we are all made of the same stuff and energy. And if you truly want something and believe in it you will send out vibrations by which you will get what you want. You just have to be specific, get the ideas to your subconscious mind and have an effort towards them.Β “Learn from Yesterday, Live for Today, Hope for Tomorrow”

 

All the best!

Lauri

 

So how it is back home

By now we’ve been back for roughly a week and it already feels like it was so long time ago when we were traveling through SE Asia. At some times it almost feels like dream. But what a dream it was :)! The first couple of days we just got used to Estonian climate and the time difference. We went to bed around 9 in the evening and woke up 5 AM :). and it was pretty weird. But by now we have acclimatized quite nicely and back to our normal rhythm.

I can’t say that we don’t miss the beautiful weather, warm seas, paradise beaches and all the greenery. Quite often I find myself thinking about all the different adventures we had but the life goes on and there’s so many new things to await for! Regarding this we already have some big changes in our lives. 5 days ago we took home a small little furry friend :). A 3-month old puppy that we named Triksi. So now we have the joy and the challenge to grow a happy and healthy member of the family out of her :)! Since we already have a 5 year old cat called Sipsik we also have another challenge of making them good friends with each other. So far so good, you’ll definitely hear more about them in the future posts :)!

Although this blog was mainly started because of our trip to SE Asia I’ll definitely plan to continue writing posts about different topics, my ideas and much more. Every day I just have so many new thoughts and interesting things I come across that I instantly feel like sharing. I guess that writing a blog has become a part of my everyday life πŸ™‚

Triksi

Sipsu

Our SE Asia accommodations

Here’s a quick overview of all the places we stayed during our trip. Almost all of them were pre-booked through booking.com based mainly on location and price/feedback ratio. I think the place we liked most was Saiyuan Residence and the least Denay’s House. Generally I would recommend all of them except the latter.

  • Bangkok – D&N Hostel. Link
    • + Great location, reasonable prices, friendly staff
    • – Basic rooms and breakfast, no cleaning included
  • Chiang Mai – The Grace House. Link
    • + Good location, tasty breakfast, extremely comfortable bed, hamsters in the lobby
    • although mostly it was quiet the sound isolation was not the best
  • Phuket – Saiyuan Residence. Link
    • + Very beautiful and clean room, balcony, reasonable size pool and relaxation area, indoor parking for scooters, friendly and helpful staff, very good price
    • – no kitchen as such, only a toaster and similar, if you don’t have your own scooter the location can be a bit far away from beaches,
  • Langkawi – Zackry Guest House. Link
    • + Good location right near the beach, great vending machines for drinks and snacks with awesome prices, small but decently equipped kitchen area, small pool
    • – not very quiet, basic room, most of the staff were friendly but not all
  • Kuala Lumpur – 10 Downtown Condominium. Link
    • + big shared living area (between 3 rooms) with a balcony, huge kitchen, gym and a pool, washing machine, perfect location in the middle of most KL attractions
    • – big shared living area πŸ™‚ if somebody decides to get too noisy
  • Singapore – Oxley Hotel. Link
    • + compared to other Singapore accommodations a reasonable price, location relatively near to downtown
    • – very basic and small room
  • Jakarta – Pasar Baru Mansion. Link
    • + very cosy room, big TV with numerous channels, huge pool, gym, daily cleaning if needed
    • – construction works going on in some places of the building
  • Bali – Denay’s House. Link
    • + ok room, nice architecture and swimming pool, opportunity to order food to your room
    • – VERY unprofessional staff, most of which don’t speak English, they’re keeping a monkey in a small cage, bad sound isolation. Generally wouldn’t recommend this place for anyone, if only for a couple days stay
  • Narita – Narita Gateway Hotel. Link
    • + a huge decent hotel with a separate restaurant and gym, very clean room, bath, good price compared to other nearby accommodations, good quality cleaning
    • – location a bit further away from Narita but a free bus rides every once or twice an hour

In addition there were some places we stayed during our Bali round trip. I described these briefly in this post.

Narita and Singapore were in a class of their own related to accommodation costs. Others were pretty much the same with Chiang Mai and Bali being probably the cheapest. If you have any additional questions just let me know!

All the best!

Lauri

Our total SE Asia trip budget + Narita video

So how much did it cost for us to travel through SE Asia for 5 months? Here’s an overview of different expenses from equipment to air tickets, all for 2 people.

  • Equipment (backpacks, travel guides, shoes, phone etc) – most of the things in this category are not necessary or can already be found at home but we spent in total 521€ 
  • Visas, passports and travel insurance (Visas were needed for Thailand and Indonesia) – in total 670€
  • Plane tickets (We had all in all 13 flights, thanks to a great contact we managed to get all tickets for extremely reasonable prices!) – 1727€
  • Vaccinations – 147€
  • Accommodation – 2356€
  • Groceries, transport, eating out, entrance fees, shopping and other everyday expenses – 3729€

Everything summed up it comes to 9150€!Β And about 1830€ per month or 915€ per person per month. Which is actually really reasonable and you could definitely skip some costs if you leave out the equipment part and use less flights. In addition you can also save on everyday costs and still live quite nicely!

Of course you can also spend 2x or even 10x or 100x as much, it’s totally up to you but the fact is that living in SE Asia is relatively inexpensive compared to many parts of the world.

If to leave out Singapore and Japan the cost of living is very roughly the same everywhere in the places we visited. If you like I have a more specific Excel file on our budget that I’m more than happy to share!

I recommend this kind of trip to everyone who has the opportunity! There’s a huge world waiting to be discovered and in order to see some things you just have to spend a little more time in any location. Savor the moments, embrace the journey and just enjoy!

Tomorrow I’ll review briefly the places we stayed during our trip. Here’s the video of Narita to finish this post! Wish you all the best!

“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet”

From 30Β° to 15Β°

15 degrees feels refreshing. Especially after 5 months of constant 30. It’s an early spring here in Japan and it reminds me quite much the spring back home in Estonia (of course at the moment we have about -10 degrees πŸ™‚ ). But the weather today was beautiful and the prognosis for tomorrow is even better. Our last day before heading back home :).

Warmer clothes

Before leaving Bali we did a little clothes shopping since the warmest clothes we had were basically jeans and a T-shirt. Luckily finding some jackets in Bali was not very difficult, most of the stores and markets sell them since they are also very popular among local people. In the evenings when it’s only 25 degrees many people wear them. I can actually get that. But what I couldn’t understand was that quite often we could see people during midday, when the sun was scorching down furiously, wearing long trousers, warm socks, hooded jackets, almost like winter coats, scarfs and even warm gloves. I presume that one behind this is to keep the sunlight away but I really can’t imagine how hot it must have been for them. And warm woolen socks + flips-flops is quite an interesting combination :). Finding bigger sizes can be a bit more tricky but if you dig deep enough you’ll find proper clothes. And of course if you stay away of the high-end glamorous shopping malls the prices are also extremely reasonable.

Bali airport

Bali airport looks really beautiful with it’s inside temples, gardens and pathways, they have really done a marvellous job about the looks. But on the topic of handling the masses of tourists it’s a bit lacking. In no other airport during our journey or actually anywhere else it has taken so much time to get from the airport entrance to the correct gate. There is a first x-ray security check where you have to put all your belongings through. Then there’s a passport check, then the check-in queue. After that 2 more passport/boarding ticket checks. And when you finally reach the x-ray check for your hand luggage you think it’s now a smooth run to the finish but no, there’s a huge line waiting for you to get to the final passport check where they have a look on your visa status. All in all it took us nearly about an hour and a half to go through all this so be warned to take your time. Maybe we just got there at a bad time but since there are so many tourists visiting Bali I imagine it’s the same case most of the time.

Tokyo – Narita

Our original plan was to go and see Tokyo. But to be honest we didn’t do any background research before a few weeks heading to Japan. So when we discovered that it’s almost 70km to Tokyo from the airport and getting there is quite expensive + we already have 5 months of journeying behind us we decided to leave it for another time and instead look around in a small town called Narita right near the airport. Today we went to visit the beautiful Naritasan temple and we will definitely go back there tomorrow while looking around in the area. It’s really majestic, well-maintained, covers a huge area and the admittance is totally free. There will be clips of it in the video coming about Narita :). In addition we ate authentic Japanese food (which at first tasted a bit weird but was actually pretty good) and just strolled around between our hotel and the city.

Japan compared to SE Asia is of course really expensive and it takes some time to get used to. You could get a 6-7 night stay in Bali for the same price you’ll get 1 night here in Japan. Foods and groceries are also on another level but not too expensive compared to Estonia. Either way the overall calming and polite vibe of Japan and Japanese people is really nice :).

All the best!

Lauri

 

7th and 8th video of Bali

Time is flying really fast and very soon we need to start thinking about packing and heading back home… It’s actually pretty hard to believe that it has been already 5 months! But time goes on and new adventures await! Before traveling back home we will have a 2-day stop in Japan where we plan to discover a small town called Narita. More about that later in the blog πŸ™‚

Tomorrow I will post the last 2 videos of Bali.

Sending warmth and sunshine ;)!

Lauri

A perfect place to live!

A while back we were sitting on beach discussing about what we have liked and not liked in our different destinations so far. As it turns out you could really get an almost perfect place where to live combining different things from different places. Since our talk got really interesting I decided to share it with you also :). Some things may yet change since we still have some time here in Bali.

  • Food – we’ve had had some great dishes in every place we’ve stayed but all in all from our point of view Thai cuisine is the best! Pad Thai, soy noodles and fried rice..mmmmm
  • Massage – definitely from Chiang Mai. You could get a really good massage there for really reasonable prices!
  • Beaches – Yanui, Nai Harn and Ao Sane from Phuket, Tanjung Rhu from Langkawi, Melasti, Suluban Uluwatu and Gunung Payung from Bali
  • People – although everywhere during our trip there have been extremely friendly people we’ve not seen so many kind smiling faces then in Jakarta πŸ™‚
  • Accommodation – we would take the one from Phuket, adding the kitchen part + living area from Kuala Lumpur (I will make a separate post of reviews of our accommodations)
  • Coffee – Baantaa Cafe from Chiang Mai. Delicious drinks and a very lovely lady serving them πŸ™‚
  • Scooter – from Bali, main reason is that it has quite big fuel tank πŸ™‚
  • Markets – from Thailand. I’d say that the market culture is definitely at it’s highest in Thailand πŸ™‚
  • Parks – mostly from Singapore adding some elements from Kuala Lumpur
  • Shopping malls and grocery stores – you can’t get a better choice than in Kuala Lumpur
  • Beer and other alcohol – Langkawi, because it’s really dirt cheap in there πŸ™‚
  • City as a whole – Singapore. They have made just an extraordinary work building that city πŸ™‚
  • Traffic – Langkawi. Compared to all other places it was a bliss to drive! No traffic jams, no hustle πŸ™‚
  • Weather – really doesn’t matter. The weather is just great everywhere throughout SE Asia
  • Working out – combination of gyms from Kuala Lumpur and Bali. And the basketball court from Bali πŸ™‚
  • Riding a bicycle – definitely Singapore
  • Temples – most beautiful single temples are definitely found in Thailand but I really like the way how temples and shrines are combined with everyday houses and streets here in Bali
  • Nature – Phuket, Langkawi, Bali, Chiang Mai – it’s impossible to choose πŸ™‚
  • The National museum – although it doesn’t classify as a national museum as such I would bring out Mini Indonesia in Jakarta
  • A bucket from Bangkok
  • An awesome hostel dog called Chummy from Langkawi πŸ™‚
  • Cleanliness – there just is no other competitor to Singapore
  • Snorkeling – Phuket, although I hope that Bali still has some surprises

 

The best ice-cream in the world! (So far)

I think that during our travels in SE Asia we’ve come to be a somewhat ice-cream specialists :). We enjoyed eating ice-cream also back home but in here we’ve had at least one or two of them almost every day! I know it sounds as quite much but so are the temperatures in here :). We’ve tried dozens and dozens of different ice-creams in every place we’ve stayed and we’ve had our favorites but I think now we’ve finally found the holy grail, so to speak :). It’s called Haku and it’s just a delicious masterpiece! Although it costs a bit more (about 12.000 rupiah or 0,71€) then an average ice-cream around here it’s 100% worth it! I wish we had something like this back home and I’ll definitely try to find a substitute when we get back (carrying a suitcase full of ice-creams from Indonesia to Estonia doesn’t seem to be a very good plan πŸ™‚ ). Either way if you’re an ice-cream lover I highly recommend to try it!jÀÀtis

After finishing this post I’ll go to the nearby store and buy a couple of these….

First surfing experience, eating a durian and the 5th video of Bali

Yesterday I had my first surfing experience while visiting a friend at Balian beach. As I’ve written before surfing here is really popular and board rentals and coaches are to be found everywhere. After a small consideration we decided to just rent a board for the first time, to get at least some sort of feeling with it. First and foremost I can say that it’s really exhausting and a very good all-body exercise! We rented 1 board and shared it but already with 1 hour we were both quite worn out. Although from a professional surfer’s viewpoint the waves were next to nothing for us they were huge and quite a significant amount of energy was needed to battle them. In some way it reminded my sledding – you have fun for a small amount of time when you’re on the board/sledge and the rest 90% you’re climbing the mountain or fighting with the waves πŸ™‚ At least it’s like that for a beginner. Either way after some time it kinda grows on you and we found ourselves moving towards the waves again and again. A lot of times we fell of the board, got carried away with the board, got hit by the board or scratched ourselves with the sand in the lower water but I’m pretty sure soon we will try it again :). Standing up on the board is still miles away but it would be great to achieve it someday πŸ™‚

Secondly we finally ate durian – the famous fruit that is really popular in SE Asia and what has a special distinctive smell. You really have to smell it yourself since it’s difficult to describe it but it can definitely be said that it’s not good. The texture is also pretty weird, it looks like something that has gone bad a few days ago and the taste itself is.. well it’s not as bad as the smell but it’s not good either. But still a lot of locals are huge fans of this fruit and eat it often. I guess it’s just the similar case as we have blood sausages or sauerkraut back home – something going deep into traditions. We managed to ate only a small amount of the whole thing, the rest was taken care of by a massive army of ants. At least they seemed to be happy πŸ™‚durian-3-55c69c84707a617610e1b46a

You can have a closer look to both of these things and more from the 5th video we’ve made in Bali. Enjoy :)!