29 Nov - 31 Dec 2011 Kuah

Kedah Darul Aman
Pulau Langkawi
Sri Lagenda Tower +60125914359 jaliza.sri.lagenda@gmail.com
Furnished apartment no. 9-14 on 9th floor for MYR 1,000.- or US$ 320.- per month, incl. swimming pool and stunning bay views over the Malacca Strait and off-lying islands Pulau Tuba, Pulau Dayang Bunting and Pulau Singa Besar.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Sri Lagenda Tower in Kuah and for directions:

Borrowing a rugged and reliable 1.5litre Proton Saga from our Kiwi friends Pam & John and touring the coast and the interiors of Pulau Langkawi thus visiting its great beaches (the touristy Pantai Cenang, the laid-back Pantai Tengah, the deserted Pantai Kok, the rustic Pantai Pasir Hitam and the romantic Pantai Rhu), taking a dip in Langkawi’s most spectacular waterfall, the Seven Wells aka Telaga Tujuh +6049667789, and conquering Langkawi’s most challenging summits: (i) the 708-m high Gunung Mac Chinchang (by cable car: vertical rise 680 m, horizontal distance 2,079 m, longest free span 950 m, MYR 30.- per foreigner +6049594225) and (ii) Langkawi’s highest mountain, the 881-m high Gunung Raya (by ordinary car).

Frequenting our favourite (Chinese) seafood restaurants in Kuah, (i) the Wonderland +60124946555, (ii) the Sunrise +60146091340 and (iii) the May Yi +6049661063, and feasting on deliciously prepared fish, squid, (flower)crabs, mantis and clams, mostly served together with Asian veggies, (a) crispy kangkong (water convolvulus aka river spinach), fried with sambal belacan (dried shrimp paste), (b) baby kai-lan with garlic and oyster soy sauce or (c) bok choy (Chinese cabbage) with cashew nuts and ginger; yummy, yummy!

Discovering at RZ Corner +60124397884 one of the most unique Malay culinary creations, the lip-smacking roti jala (“net bread”), a lacy pancake made from a creamy batter of plain flour, eggs, butter and coconut milk with a dash of turmeric for colour, cooked briefly over a greased hot griddle and served with durian custard aka kuah durian, and indulging at Kuah's regular Wednesday and Saturday night market in delicious yong tau foo, a dish of Hakka origins which literally means “stuffed bean curd” or "stuffed tofu" and contains fish balls, crab sticks, veggies and greens, wonton, seafood, mock meat and fish paste, served in clear soup and eaten with noodles or rice; yummy, yummy!

Bracing ourselves for WWIII, on one of those nice and fair days with blue skies, and witnessing an obscene aerial display of flying killing machines, luckily without being ramsteined, at the LIMA ’11, the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition, a military commercial which glorifies warmongery, governmental power and corporate excess, and suppressing any indecent ideas on our side about what we otherwise would have interpreted as (i) ongoing sublimation of repressed sexuality into socially more acceptable actions (e.g. into blind patriotism and national defence) and (ii) subconscious, almost delusional projection of sexual energy towards phallus-shaped weaponry (e.g. gun barrels) - just stop it, please.

"Dogs of war and men of hate
With no cause, we don't discriminate
Discovery is to be disowned
Our currency is flesh and bone
Hell opened up and put on sale
Gather 'round and haggle
For hard cash, we will lie and deceive
Even our masters don't know the web we weave
One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
One world ... One world"

Reliving the good old days of Chagos, where we lived like Robinsons for a few months in 2008 CE, together with our wonderful yottie friends and Langkawi residents Deena & Jacob (ex SY “Crimson Tide”) and Cathy & Jeff (SY “Mirage”).

"We are the people there isn't any doubt
We are the people they still can't figure out
We are the people who love to sing 'Twist and Shout'
(Shake it up, Baby now)
We are the people our parents warned us about."

Celebrating the winter solstice on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun's daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest, in compliance with local custom (Dongzhi Festival) by making and eating of Tangyuan, balls of glutinous rice, which symbolize family reunion, and skyping extensively with our Eurasian grandsons Raoni and Tien in South Ontario.

Joining the international Langkawi Beach Hash House Harriers, a drinking club with a running problem, through the island’s interior for their 5-km long Christmas Hash (MYR 35.- per person for unlimited food and booze) and having afterwards, together with our close friends Deena & Jacob and all the other Hares and Hounds, a rowdy Christmas party with the most sumptious seafood steamboat ever (Hot Pot aka Chinese Fondue) at Ah Saw’s Ka Lee Lang Restoran +60124049637; Cheers! Pro(o)st! Gesondheit! L’chaim! Gan Bay!

Bidding farewell to the old year 2011 CE, which has been a very good and rewarding travel year for us (our top destinations in 2011 CE: Tamil Nadu, Ladakh, Sulawesi), and welcoming the arrival of the New Year 2012 CE with the start of a tongue-in-cheek count-down towards the anticipated end of the world on December 21, at least according to the Maya’s Mesoamerican Long Count Calender and to a few other, eschatological New Age beliefs, and, to be on the safe side, converting all our supplies of tomato juice (with the not-so eschatological expiry date of 2013 CE) with the help of an undisclosed amount of Russian Vodka and American Tabasco into quite a few very, very Bloody Maries; cheers y’all and bottoms up … New Year 2012 CE, here we go!

Click below for blog posts about our time on Chagos
07 Jun - 15 Jul 2008 Chagos
15 Apr - 07 Jun 2008 Chagos
14 Apr - 15 Apr 2008 Chagos

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
2011 Map Konni & Matt

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27 Nov - 29 Nov 2011 Hat Yai

Kingdom of Thailand aka The Land of Conditional Smiles
Songkhla Province
Thanon Niphat Uthit 1
Hok Chin Hin Hotel +6674243258
Adequate double room with private bathroom for THB 200.- or US$ 6.40 per night.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Hok Chin Hin Hotel in Hat Yai and for directions:

Enjoying our mandatory visa run from Malaysia to Thailand, exploring the vibrant and bustling city centre of Hat Yai which tries to please almost all the needs of its mostly male aka ah beng Malaysian Chinese and Singaporean Chinese clientele (“sexy shark fins and bird nests”, “sexy girls and boys”, “sexy underpants and sock suspenders”), tucking into fresh green papaya salad aka som tam and spicy Thai fishcakes aka tod mun pla at the daily night market, located in the northern part of Thanon Niphat Uthit 3, and relaxing thereafter (i) with the help of one of the best ever foot-reflexology treatments (THB 200.- or US$ 6.40 for 1 ½ hours) from May’s Buddy Massage +66807041663, for Matt only, and (ii) the best ever facial (THB 250.- or US$ 8.- for 1 hour), for Konni only.

“You have to taste a culture to understand it.”

Paying tribute to both (i) the gigantic 35-m long, reclining in-door Buddha at Wat Hat Yai Nai (but being much more impressed by the very worldly fresh-produce market with its friendly hawkers in the Buddha’s neighbourhood) and (ii) the monstrous 20-m high, sitting out-door Buddha in the Mahapanya Vidayalai College (where overweight young know-it-all monks read fluffy Buddhist motherhood statements [“… to cultivate mankind’s wisdom and to lead into the realm of peace and bliss …”] and practise batik but play neither rugby nor cricket and can't speak any English, agh shame).
“How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask - half of our great theological and metaphysical problems - are like that.”

“Knowledge is the food of the soul."

Taking the regional bus (“Can, lah?” … “Can, lah!”) from Hat Yai’s decentralised central bus terminal to the Thai side of Padang Besar (45 km, 1 ½ hours, THB 42.- or c. US$ 1.35 per person), crossing the border on foot and being issued with a 90-day-visit pass for another “social visit” to Malaysia on arrival, free of charge and with the unique Malay smile as a bonus, forgetting to change our watches from Thailand’s Indochina Time (GMT + 7:00 hours) back to Malaysia Standard Time (GMT + 8:00 hours), taking the local Maraliner bus +60326979797 from the Malaysian part of Padang Besar to Kangar (35 km, 1 hour, MYR 4.20 per person), the state capital of Perlis, and thereafter another Maraliner bus +60326979797 from Kangar to Kuala Perlis (15 km, ½ hour, MYR 2.- per person), where we savoured the famous laksa perlis (a spicy fish gravy which is generously ladled over rice noodles and topped with boiled egg, cucumber, onion, garlic and herbs), and embarking eventually on the Ferry Line’s a/c “My Ferry 2” for the short ride to Kuah on Langkawi Island (15 nm, 1 hour, MYR 18.- per person) thus completing this pointless but nevertheless entertaining and interesting visa run.

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26 Nov - 27 Nov 2011 Satun

Kingdom of Thailand aka The Land of Conditional Smiles
Satun Province
Thanon Samanta Prasit
Rain Tong Hotel +6674711036
Adequate double room with private bathroom for THB 200.- or US$ 6.40 per night.
Friendly staff; zero English.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Rain Tong Hotel in Satun and for directions:

Exploring the friendly and low-key country town Satun, one of the gateways to Thailand's southern-most islands in the Andaman Sea and a place where mixed marriages between Thai people and Malay Muslims have been common for centuries, with many of Satun's townsfolk being samsam (meaning: "mixed person"), and discovering the town’s humble architectural highlights: (i) the modern, parachute-domed Bambang Mosque, (ii) the Satun Wat in the northern part of town with a giant Buddha statue still under construction, and (iii) the few old, dilapidated Sino-Portuguese shophouses along Thanon Buriwanit.

Enjoying life’s simple pleasures in Thailand, thus (i) sipping crisp Thai Chang Classic beer (c. 6.4 % alc./vol.) in On’s up-market bar and terrace +6674724133 for THB 50.- or US$ 1.60 per small bottle, (ii) devouring colourful and delicately shaped Thai sushi, all of them masterpieces of art, for only THB 5.- each, on the lively Saturday night market on Thanon Buriwanit, and (iii) frolicking with the experienced, freeboobing Thai masseuses in their no-name massage parlour on Thanon Bureevanich during what they call a full-body massage (THB 300.- or US$ 9.60 for 1 ½ hours).
“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”

Taking the local bus from Satun to Hat Yai (95 km, 2 ¼ hours, THB 63.- or US$ 2.- per person), southern Thailand’s commercial centre, the kingdom’s fourth-largest city and very much a Chinese town at it’s centre, with tons of gold shops, loads of noodle restaurants (for you and mee) and Cantonese/Mandarin/Singlish-speckled conversations, lah!

Click below for more blog posts about low-key towns in southern Thailand
 26 Apr - 29 Apr 2013 Prachuap Khiri Khan
18 Apr - 22 Apr 2013 Phetchaburi
29 Jan - 01 Feb 2013 Songkhla 
25 Jan - 29 Jan 2013 Phatthalung 
22 Jan - 25 Jan 2013 Nakhon Si Thammarat 

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
2011 Map Konni & Matt 

Visit the Konni & Matt Online Albums and order high-res travel photos
Konni & Matt Travel Photos

Recommended books - click below for your Amazon order from Germany:

For Amazon deals from the United States, please click here
For Amazon deals from Canada, please click here
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