Adventures in Asia: Bangkok (Part One)

In hindsight, Bangkok was a special trip in many ways. For one thing, it was my first visit to the land of Thailand. And Thailand is a place that everybody dreams of going to when they first learn they’re going to Southeast Asia for exchange. You think of the full moon parties, the temples and Buddhas, the friendliness of the Thai people, and all the weird (and good) food. Finally, FINALLY, I’d be getting to go and what better introduction to Thailand than the city of Bangkok? The other thing that made it special looking back is that it marked the ramp-up of my travel plans for the rest of the semester. January was a pretty quiet moment given that we were settling in and so, this trip to Bangkok would be the first of many trips in February and in March.             My close friend, Hailey, was doing her…

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Adventures in Asia: Kuala Lumpur and Malacca, Malaysia

Entering the port of Port Kelang for the city of Kuala Lumpur officially marked the end of our 10-day cruise around the Malaysian Peninsula. Our last day was originally supposed to be a sea day but again, because of the unforeseen lightning strike, the captain had chosen to stop at this port on the last day instead. Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, had a lot to offer. And so, as usual, we signed up for a “Best of City” tour, which would take us on all the highlights of the city so as to try to squeeze as much as we could into the few hours we had in the city. I remember feeling that everything was insanely rushed that whole day – we’d get on the bus, drive to a stop, wander around for twenty or thirty minutes to grab some pictures, and then get back on the…

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Adventures in Asia: Langkawi, Malaysia

As mentioned before, because of the lightning strike, Langkawi was an unexpected addition to the cruise itinerary. I remember when the captain first announced that we would be going to Langkawi, I was instantly puzzled and asked, “What’s that?” I had never heard of the island before and had no idea what there was to see and do there. Given how last-minute everything was, we decided to just minimize stress and book a tour with the ship, like we had done for every other port on this cruise so far. This is our first cruise in Asia and I’m finding that for many of the cruises, in order to reduce hassle, it’s easier to book a tour just because everything that you want to see is usually so far away from the port that the ship is docked out. For example, with Bali, many of the sights were an hour…

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Adventures in Asia: Penang, Malaysia

On what looked to be a sunny day, we arrived at our next port of call: Penang. We arrived after having spent three full days at sea on the cruise – something that was not in the original itinerary. Our second port of call after Bali should have been Kuala Lumpur; Penang was scheduled to be the third stop. But then came the unexpected: a thunderstorm at sea. On the second day at sea after having left the port of Benoa on the island of Bali, there was a huge thunderstorm at sea. I remember sitting indoors, on the ship’s 18th floor, watching it all unfold outside before me. The skies started to turn a darker shade of grey with each hour and then slowly, the rain came and all the people outside tanning and swimming retreated indoors. Then, with each passing interval of time, the storm picked up and…

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Adventures in Asia: Bali, Indonesia

This first post is coming much later than planned but if there is anything that exchange has taught me so far is that you can’t always expect everything to go according to plan. What you should plan for is room to be flexible and to adjust to new things given the circumstances. And so, here’s the first post to kick off the exchange series. A month late, but definitely one to mark a long series to come.             I’m currently a month into my 4-month long exchange in Singapore, which I’ve discovered is the perfect hub for Southeast Asia travel. The first month is always a period of transition – getting used to the public transit, making new friends, getting used to a new residence, and figuring out the lay of the land when it comes to a brand new campus and brand new classes. This transition – moving 15,000…

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