In winter, I went travelling to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. My stay in Malaysia and Thailand was short, while I spent more time in Indonesia. I cannot say it was pleasant. I can even say it was, in a way, disastrous. Let’s start one by one.
I was invited to go to Malaysia by my former colleague. Upon their arrival, she said she would join later. And when she finally arrived, she told me she wanted to bail. Honestly, it is not the first time I encountered similar situations. I should have learnt something, but I didn’t. So, in life, it is always similar – if you fail to learn a lesson, you will learn it the hard way.
What was memorable in Malaysia?
Bars. I was in Kuala Lumpur and checked many good cocktail bars. Bar culture is quite developed in KL, with many prominent bartenders and many good drinks. Prices bite but not severely.
Banks. For Russians, it is hard to travel around without a proper bank card (you need to have VISA or MC from non-sanctioned countries). I used my UnionPay. It sometimes worked in some bars, but it did not work in some. My MC card from an online bank mostly worked. ATMs refused to accept my UnionPay cards.
Sights. There are not many sights in KL. The city itself is quite expensive. It is cool to wander in Chinatown, but better to check the apartments or hotels, and guesthouses prior to the visit. The season prior to New Year is quite busy. The rent of the hotel rooms is expensive, though, no match to Hong Kong. KL tower was nice, the parks were also cool, as well as some palaces. In general, do not spend more than 2-3 days in KL.
I went to Thailand to revitalize my memories from the 2015 travel when I had just started this website. I didn’t plan to stay long – only to see friends.
What was memorable?
Past. I checked places I stayed in 2015, where I met wonderful people (some of them are gone for good, unfortunately). Also, sat at the street bars sipping beer, trying to recall how we spent time over there in 2015. It was nice and painful at the same time. The feeling of time is gone for good too.
Friends. Met with pals, I met in Shanghai and back in Thailand. It was nice to talk, laugh, and drink together. We changed, but memories still live within.
Bars? No. They are shitty places with poor service (no match to Malaysia), to be honest. But I went to Piyawan tower again on Ari light rail station. The first spot to live in Thailand in 2011.
The trip was spontaneous. And now, I feel it was a big mistake and failure. In wrap-up, I was in a similar situation as in Malaysia.
What was memorable there?
Real estate. I was checking prices. It’s nice. Maybe in 10 years, it will be better developed. So, those who have spare money may consider the country.
Moving there. No. Not now and in the nearest future. Too much garbage, messy, if it’s Batam – low price is compensated with the infrastructure difficulties. Also, should pay attention to the upcoming religious tensions.
Travelling. There is not much to see around. Batam is small. If you ever go, you need to have a visa to Singapore to check it and fly from there. Flights to Batam are done through local airlines. It may be cheaper than making a visa to Singapore and then going by boat. Also, you should go to nearby islands. I checked many spots in Batam, and almost everything was possible. Beaches are trash tbh.
Food. There is excellent food there for cheap travellers – perfect fit. Also, you can find other types of cuisine.
Rent. Be careful with Agoda and other apps. Some landlords do not work with them while the property is still listed in the apps. I encountered this situation – I paid and then had a long hustle to get my money back.
A mall city. That’s it. I had only transit there. Also, if you’re an ASEAN citizen or have an APEC card, you can travel to Singapore with no visa. Tbh, you SHOULD consider making an APEC card if you do business, travel in Asia, and plan to stay in these countries often.
After that trip, I will only travel with someone from the start or plan everything on my own, depending only on myself. Also, I will carefully consider the routes and length of my trips. I don’t want to waste my time anymore. Also, will carry a laptop with me. I always bought luggage space without my laptop, which is a bummer. I could travel with minimum stuff.