Sunday, 21 December 2014

Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma & Philippines Advice!

Indonesia:
Bali (Mainly Kuta Beach)
WARNING: Beware of scams. Bali is notorious for ripping you off. When riding around try to hide your money on you, only keep 50,000 on you to bribe police with, if you have anymore than that, they'll take it all off you. Also, watch out for money exchangers. Even if they count it out in front of you, ensure you pick it up, walk towards the door, and continue to count it again before you leave to avoid them shortchanging you.

Accommodation: Kayun Downtown Hostel. 10/10 location! Make sure you get the downtown one as there's another one nearby but its not as good. Right near the best nightclub on the strip, the SkyGardens. Watch out for pickpockets there, and also the amount of drugs in the area, especially Magic Mushrooms. Its close to a Western shopping mall, though I didn't learn this till my last day! (http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/indonesia/kuta/111247/)

Getting around: Mopeds. Of course!

Things to do: 
- Tour of Ubud (This is possible to do with a few friends and a moped. It is quite a long journey so would probably recommend staying a night in Ubud opposed to trying to do it in a day, especially if you're not very bike savy). In Ubud visit the Pemaksan Barong Tegaltamu Show in Batu Bulan, Gianyar. Explore Tegenungan waterfalls. Go to the Holy Springs to receive holy water and to pray & bisit the rice fields (http://www.nevertooyoungtotravel.com/2014/08/tour-of-ubud.html)
- Take a surf lesson/ watch a surf comp! Be careful who you use though. Honestly, both times I tried surfing I went to a local on the beach, but I wish I had forked out the extra money to go with one of the established companies in the area as one of the men who taught me was rubbish and put me in danger. (http://www.nevertooyoungtotravel.com/2014/08/padang-padang-ripcurl-surf-championships.html)
- I've heard the Gili Islands are great for partying, however, make sure you book these in advance as its quite a way and also is a very small place so has limited hostel space - hence why I couldn't visit.
- Go do watersports! (http://www.nevertooyoungtotravel.com/2014/08/watersports.html)

Yogyakarta 
Accommodation: N/A - No recommended accommodation from my point of view - I stayed in a nice hotel with my mother at this place called UNY, around £20 a night.

Getting around: The only way there really is to get around is via Taxi. You can get to the temples via local buses though.

To Jakarta: If you're going here, be sure to check around for the cheapest price and book in advance, they will rip you off if you turn up last minute. Also, bare in mind it's Asia... Indonesia is notoriously bad for misinforming you on timings/ so much traffic I was told in Lonely Planet it would be a 12 hour trip, but we didn't get there until 25 hours later. Even then, that was to Bogor, not Jakarta.

What to do:
- Prambanan Temple: Largest Hindu temple in SEA. Student entrance is £5, and you can get a 15p bus from the city centre that takes an hour to get here. Ensure you watch the traditional Ramayana ballet in the evening, book it when you get to the temple from the information desk, this is £8 a ticket. It can be slightly boring at parts, but is fascinating to see Indonesian traditions and myths. (http://www.nevertooyoungtotravel.com/2014/07/prambanan-temples-ramayana-ballet.html)
- Borobudur Temple: Transport through a tour provider is probably available, though we couldn't' seem to find any of these the time of year we were there as there were hardly any tourists around. Instead, we paid £20 for a return taxi and he waited for us for a few hours whilst we looked round. It took 2 hours to get there due to heavy amounts of traffic.(http://www.nevertooyoungtotravel.com/2014/07/borobudur-temple.html)

Jakarta
Honestly, I wouldn't really recommend visiting Jakarta as there's not a lot to do here. It is kind of a grim city. If visiting, a night is long enough from what I could tell.
  • Accommodation: N/A 
  • Getting around: There is a free tourist bus that does a loop of places you might like to visit
  • What to do:
    • Visit the Independence monument: Not as impressive as other places, a tall pillar, a good place to walk round though. Lots of police about constantly to ensure your safety.
    • National museum: Good if you like ancient history.
    • Markets: Best markets in SEA! Cheapest knock-off goods and lots of choice.
      • http://www.nevertooyoungtotravel.com/2014/07/jakarta-city.html
Malaysia
Kuala Lumpar
  • Accommodation: Reggae Mansion. A little bit pricey at £10 a night, but an amazing atmosphere. There's a cinema to watch films with friends you've met whilst undoubtedly waiting for your next flight to depart for £2. A great rooftop bar that has different events on each night at relatively cheap prices, at least for KL anyway. Around the corner there is a well-connected train station. Don't do a me and forget that train stations actually close. If you're coming from the airport at a ridiculous time in the morning, it won't be open, you'll have to get a taxi. There is no cheap accommodation near the main centre hub where an airport drop-off would take you.
    •  http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/malaysia/kuala-lumpur/71026/
  • Getting around: 
    • To get from the airport, you can pre-book a bus with AirAsia in your ticket. If you haven't done this already, when you get to the KL airport ask around for the SkyBus, its just under 10 MYR (£2) to get into the centre. I've posted the link below for the timetable, though I never looked at this - just turned up and waited. Its definitely the cheapest way, you can get the train in but that's around £10. 
      • http://www.skybus.com.my/skybus/
    • To get around the city, the train system is slightly confusing but very cheap and there's plenty of people to ask for help.
  • What to do:
    • Go on the hostels 'Seven Wonders Tour', its 70 MYR (£14), but you get driven around in a nice air conditioned bus and meet people to spend the night with. It'll take you to the National Mosque, the old city centre with beautiful architecture and alights show of a mini paper model of the city showing its past, present and future, a Chinese temple, Batu caves, the Royal Selangor Museum, Royal Palace & the Independence monument.
      • http://www.nevertooyoungtotravel.com/2014/07/kuala-lumpur-day-tour.html
    • Break-out criminal mastermind game! Grab people from your hostel to enjoy this hidden gem. It's like playing Cluedo. Think carefully about what round you want to play, we found the 5 star one probably too hard, we would have never have gotten the answer without hints, but it was still a blast.
      • http://www.nevertooyoungtotravel.com/2014/07/murder-mystery-reality-role-play.html
    • Bukit Bintang for a night out! Don't leave it too late to explore outside the hostel, however lazy you may be feeling! This area has a great vibe and heaps to see/ many offers of unlimited drinks for women - woohoo.
      • http://www.nevertooyoungtotravel.com/2014/08/china-town-kl.html
Cameron Highlands:
Be careful not to venture out alone on the trails as a solo female. I was told not to do it as its very dangerous. Some trails have even been shut down as females have been raped or attacked there.

  • Accommodation: N/A, the place I stayed at wasn't great, can't remember the name.
  • Getting around:
    • Walking or bus.
  • What to do:
    • Go on a Mossy Forest trek
Langkawi:
  • Accommodation: N/A, the place I stayed at wasn't great, Havana Guesthouse.
  • Getting around: Get here from Penang for £13, 65 MYR. To get around Langkawi do so via Moped or taxi. It's a great place to moped around since its relatively quiet and nice and hilly.
  • What to do:
    • Cable Cart in the mountains for £7. 
    • Markets.
Georgetown/ Penang:
  • Accommodation: 80's Guesthouse on Love Lane.
  • Getting around: Everyone is pretty much in walking distance, if needed can get a taxi.
  • What to do:
    • Time Tunnel History Museum 
    • History of the Camera Museum 
Myanmar/ Burma
Yangon:
  • Accommodation: N/A, the place I stayed was ok, but they didn't even give you a quilt which was odd.
  • Getting around: Feet! Easy to walk everywhere you need. Small city.
  • What to do: Er.... That's a question I can't help with. A few nice Pagoda's, but after Bagan you'll be sick of them. 
Bagan:
- Accommodation: N/A the place I stayed was awful!
- Getting around: You can rent electronic bikes to get around, ensure yours works properly. Mine died a while into my journey and was a bitch to cycle back
- What to do: Well... that's obvious - just take in the beauty of the temples.

Inle Lake:
- Accommodation: N/A. 
- Getting around: Foot and boat
- What to do: Get a boat to Inle Lake, explore!

Phillippines:
Manila:
Accommodation: Where2Next hostel.
- Getting around: So many options. Try to get jeepneys were possible, they're so cheap but there routes are very confusing. Tricycles are possible too but a lot more expensive. Taxis run everywhere, but drivers pretend to know locations when they have no idea really. 
- What to do: National museum, Manila Cathedral, Intramuros citadel, Fort Santiago & Mall of Asia

Boracay:
Accommodation: MNL Beach Hostel.
- Getting around: Foot, tricycle or mini taxi buses
- What to do: Cliff jumping - Go to Magic Islands, pretend to be a mermaid in one of the classes you can buy (I didn't do it - but it would be banter too) & go on the bar crawl.