Time flies and it has been two months since we set foot at Everest Base Camp (5,380 m). Looking back, I embarked on this adventure with an open mind and came back with a whole different set of perspectives. Trekking in the mountains for a good 2 weeks was definitely something new to me. Some of my friends trekked Poon Hill and Annapurna Base Camp, but I didn’t have any references for Everest Base Camp prior to the trip.
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”
– Sir Edmund Hillary
During our hike, there were generally on average 600 to 800 trekkers checked in per day. The trial was pretty simple and straightforward to Everest Base Camp, but some part of the treks were tough given the high altitude! This trip was by far my longest trekking adventure. If you are planning for a hiking trip to Everest Base Camp, here’s 10 tips you would find helpful before going on a mission like this. Best to know beforehand what you are getting yourself into!
3rd of November 2018 – The day I ticked off Everest Base Camp on my never ending and constantly growing bucketlist. I would remember this day in the years to come. Or… at least until the next BIG adventure fills my ever wandering mind. The trip summed up to a total of 17 days and I wasn’t entirely out of connectivity. Thank god for N Cell and Everest Link, both proven to be crucial during emergencies and giving my loved ones a peace of mind.
“When you go to the mountains, you see them and you admire them. In a sense, they give you a challenge, and you try to express that challenge by climbing them.” – Sir Edmund Hillary, First Man to summit Mount Everest.
The expedition was overall very successful and it certainly exceeded my personal expectations. Now, everyone’s burning question was “How much did you spend for the entire 17 days expedition?” ! This was of course, after the initial ‘How was your trip?’, ‘How do you feel?’ etc.. Let me break it down for you! If you ever consider hiking Everest Base camp, at least you know how to plan your finances and how much you need to save and set aside.
Singapore is just a 1.5 hours by flight from my hometown, Penang! There are numerous flights connecting both cities daily via Air Asia, Jetstar, Silk Air and Tiger Airways. This is a throwback post to the month of November 2017. I actually made 4 trips to Singapore last year and each was for its own reasons – Coldplay concert in April, Ed Sheeran concert, and the entry port for “It’s The Ship Festival 2017” in November. One cannot deny that Singapore is after all a great host for concerts and events. The only downside for me is the strong SGD$. Seriously, going to Singapore is almost akin to spending it in Australia or Canada. I look forward to see what the New Malaysia has to offer!
“Visit Singapore! Known as the Lion City and capitalising on it’s melting pot of cultures, Singapore is becoming one of South East Asia’s hit destination. Whizzing around Singapore can take a matter of minutes, thanks to one of the world’s most efficient and widespread public transport systems.” – Lonely Planet
There’s so much you could do in Singapore! There are countless tourist destinations such as Marina Bay Sands, Garden by the Bay, and Sentosa Island, which are all worth seeing at least once in your life. Since I’ve been to Singapore way to many times – I’ve done most of the famous sites. If you are looking to have some fun and adventure, head on over to Universal Studio – you could spend a whole day just hopping from one ride to another. The Transformers 4D ride and the Egyptian mummy ride were the two most memorable one for me. Since I was only down for 72 hours, I spent most of my time savouring the good food Singapore has to offer and cycled around the city.
A sequel to my previous blogpost on Where to Stay and 10 Favourite Food Spots!, here’s five cool things to see and do in Toronto. There is so many things to do that I needed to make my pick. From visiting tourist attractions, checking out artsy alleys, sampling different types of foods and checking out the local Crossfit scene here – my week was packed to the brim.
“Toronto has something for everyone all year long. Toronto’s most famous landmark, the CN tower is more than just an engineering wonder – it’s also an award-winning dining and entertainment destination. Welcoming over 40 million visitors annually, this bold, dynamic city offers superb attractions, music and events backed by the best convention and sports facilities in Canada.” – SeeTorontoNow
I wished I had more time in this city. Perhaps there’s always another reason to come back in the summer to enjoy the sun and autumn to experience the fall. It would have been nice to cycle around Downtown and along the waterfront – but it was chilly and I didn’t think I was geared enough to survive the wind.
First big trip for the year 2018 ! I’ve been wanting to visit this particular continent for the years and lucky for me, I finally managed to accumulate these hard earned annual leaves to make this work back in March. That’s just because I’ve utilized my maximum capacity of leaves available last year. Oh well, seventeen days and I got to kill two birds with a stone: Canada & Mexico. If you’re gonna spend 4 hours (Penang-Hong Kong) and 15 hours (Hong Kong to Toronto) – you gotta stretch it as much as your pocket and time permits.
“Toronto is a reflection of Canada. Known as the largest city in Canada, it is the capital city of the province of Ontario. With over 140 languages spoken, it is the most multi-culturally diverse city on the planet! Some of the world’s finest restaurants are found here, alongside happening bars and clubs and eclectic festivals.” – Lonely Planet
So.. after being fed dinner-supper-breakfast by Cathay Pacific, two movies on board, some snooze time and a friendly chat with a fellow Canadian passenger, I touched down at Toronto Pearson International airport at 830pm (-1 day). My Malaysian passport did not agree with the automated passport clearance machine and I had to go through the immigration manually. It wasn’t the best experience for sure, but I made it out eventually. Here we go… my one week March escape!
There’s something magical about islands. It almost never fails to amaze me and bring along good vibes! Any beach lovers could vouch for that. One last stop before making my way back to Sihanoukville – Koh Rong! It is always better to see somethings once than to hear about it a thousand times. My exact thoughts when it comes to Koh Rong. I’ve researched on what to do, asked some savvy travel blogging friends about it, heard many different versions of what this island entails – only to spend a night on this island. I wished I had more time to explore, but obviously I had a job waiting for me back home. Reality!
“Koh Rong (កោះរ៉ុង) was little more than a jungle-clad wilderness rimmed by swaths of sugary-white sand, with a few beach-hut resorts speckling the shore around tiny Koh Tuch village. You’ll either love it or hate it, but for young travellers who descend off the ferry in droves, Koh Tuch Beach is a vital stop on any Southeast Asia party itinerary.” – Lonely Planet
24 hours on this island and it was definitely not going to be enough! I recalled disembarking from Island Speed Ferry and couldn’t help feeling FOMO immediately. The journey was only 30 minutes from Koh Rong Samloem. Snapback to reality – the chalet was kind enough to arrange a pick up by motorbike. There were strips of restaurants, bars and backpackers hostels along Koh Tuch village.
Sihanoukville is the gateway to the Koh Rong islands. For someone who haven’t even heard of these islands before like myself, there are notably TWO Koh Rong – Koh Rong Samloem (honeymoon material) and Koh Rong (backpackers material). Yes…so, choose your poison wisely. I happened to choose both because I feared on missing out. Honestly, there weren’t much to shout about the Cambodian islands. Having the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful islands and beaches previously, I guess I was able to relate to the laid back and chill out local scene that these two islands had to offer! I still enjoyed the my time mingling with the local Cambos in these islands!
“Koh Rong Samloem is owned by the Cambodian government. As a result, most development on the island is small-scale, with the low-key set up fostering an endearingly intimate aspect across the island.” – Travelfish.org
How to get to Koh Rong Samloem?
First, purchase a return ticket from Sihanoukville (Serendipity Pier – KRS) for USD $22. My ferry ride was at 3pm. They offered a pick up from the hotel at 2pm. I guess the cambodians are not punctual with their timings and I ended up leaving the pier close to 430pm. This was after a good hoo-ha between two ferries of the same company. Obviously, not the most pleasant experience because I was looking forward to arrive at Koh Rong Samloem by 430 pm. The journey was supposed to take only 1 hour.
It’s 2018 ! Time flew by so quickly, especially when it was the month long holiday season back in December. With Christmas and the New Year dawning upon me – I took a good break off blogging for a bit. That said, the adventures obviously didn’t stop. Now… Throwback to last August – I visited Sihanoukville, Cambodia! Where exactly is this place, I had to google it myself!
At least, Air Asia flies directly to Sihanoukville from Kuala Lumpur. First impression when it comes to Cambodia is always Angkor Wat/Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. I’ve visited Angkor Wat back then in 2012 and I loved it! Phnom Penh is still on my bucketlist, but it can wait. So, what exactly brings me to this beach- cum-backpacker town? Well, it was the only decent access to Koh Rong and Koh Rong Saloem islands.
“Sihanoukville will remain as the jumping-off point for the best of Cambodia’s white-sand beaches and castaway-cool southern islands. The Serendipity Beach area is a decompression chamber for backpackers, who flock here to rest up between travels and party through the night.” – Lonely Planet
First diving trip of the year 2017! I was really looking forward to this one as it was my second dive right after getting my Open Water license in December 2016. Just fun dives! Pulau Weh definitely made it to the ‘talk about list’ among the diving community. Honestly, i’ve not heard of this small island until it was suggested by my dive buddy. Being in South East Asia, I believe we are very blessed with amazing dive sites, which are all well within reach.
“You’re about to go in an unexpectable journey, become a Monster while living an incredible underwater adventure. Have a lot of fun, make new friends and learn how to dive or improve your skills. Glide over colorful reefs and meet plenty of wonderful marine life. – Monster Divers”
So, how did I ended up with Monster Divers? There were several dive centers in Pulau Weh and generally, being the review freak – I decided upon Monster Divers as they are rated number 1 on TripAdvisor. They were quick to reply to my emails and made the necessary pick up arrangements to the dive site. I stayed in Iboih Village, which was a 10 minutes bejak ride to Monster Divers located at Gapang Beach.
In December 2016, I made my way to Boracay Island in the Philippines. I have always love the sea and decided to take on the Open Water Diving (OWD) license with New Wave Divers. I did some research on which diving center to go for and New Wave Divers appealed most to me because of their prompt replies and excellent services. I liaised with Marge and Lynette via email. They were both very helpful and professional in answering all my enquiries. They were also rated number 1 on TripAdvisor and the reviews were great. My friends, who often go on diving trips used to tell me stories of how beautiful it is at the bottom of the ocean and I figured it is high time, I shall find that out myself.
“Sex – The first time you try, you get nervous.. But it’s still the best thing you’ve tried. The more you do it, the better it gets. As you do it with more people, you learn new techniques. With experience you can do it longer and deeper. If you enjoy sex, you’ll love diving!”
Savage! The display board caught my attention surely. Two weeks prior to my vacation, I signed up for the PADI e-learning online course and completed the OWD session. It took me about 6-10 hours in total to complete the course online, depending on how fast your internet speed is. The PADI e-learning course is valid for 1 year. It is fairly simple and i felt better to be adequately prepared theory wise beforehand. Everything went smoothly and it was very convenient – I paid the deposit via Paypal for the OWD course to New Wave Divers once i have completed the e-learning modules. The intention was to complete the whole course in two days. Well, of course you can opt to do the traditional method and only complete the theory upon arrival. However, i knew i wanted to see more of Boracay so two days for diving were sufficient.