I Hate Haggling

When it comes to the popularity of Southeast Asian backpacker trail, there are really two major reasons why the region rates so highly with westerners – and they’re as diametrically opposed as the left and right brain.

On one hand, Southeast Asia has some of the most glorious vistas in the world. The cultures are unique, the people are warm and welcoming, and the scenery is phenomenal.  It really is a special place that is worth taking time to come and appreciate.

On the other hand, Southeast Asia is easy on the wallet. You can snag a bed in a hostel for roughly the same price as a Starbucks latte, eat an entire day’s worth food for the same as you’d spend on the value menu after a night out drinking, and beer can sometimes be cheaper than bottled water or Coca-Cola.  There is a lot to love about how far your dollar stretches in this region.

Money, however, is also at the root of one of Southeast Asia’s least attractive features – having to haggle.

Read more

Tools of the Road

I am a planner. I love to plan travel. It gives me a bit of a high hitting that “confirm” button and handing over my money to make another travel adventure a reality.

Along the way, I’ve discovered a number of tools online which have made booking travel easy, painless, and on budget.

Whether you’re travelling for 7 days or 7 months, there are a multitude of tools you can use to plan your trip.

Read more

SIM Card Review : Maxis Hotlink (Malaysia)

Staying connected on the road is important for me.  It lets me keep in contact with family and friends, I can continue to work on this blog, I can book hostels and flights as I need them without having to rush to find a WiFi connection or Internet cafe, and – most importantly – I have access to local information so I can better navigate the place I’m visiting.

While I wrote a more extensive guide to local SIM cards in Japan (because I’m a geek and I had lots of time on my hands to research it), from here on out my posts about using local mobile providers will be directly linked to the experiences I had while using the service.

In Malaysia, there are a wealth of mobile providers who have prepaid SIM cards available for visitors to purchase.  Maxis Hotlink, Digi, Celcom XPAX, and UMobile all have strong presences at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and have made it dead simple for tourists to get connected within minutes.

For my month in Malaysia, I chose to use Maxis Hotlink as my cellular provider.

Read more

Onward North

Leaving Langkawi was tough.  I really wanted to spend a few more days there.  But, reality was that the hostel that had grown to feel like home was quickly booking up for the Chinese New Year weekend, and I would need to move onward.  Penang was in my sights, and George Town was the destination.

In the spirit of going with the flow, I changed my plans for Penang on the fly when I realized that fellow Langkawi roommate Sean – who has a fantastic vlog site called Twenties – would be on the same flight as I was.  We bonded over our shared destination and chatted over a few duty free beers while in Langkawi before landing in Penang.

Read more