Hello and welcome to our travel blog and we appreciate you dropping by! Our goal is simple – enjoy and experience life while we still have the health and energy to do so. Do that travel we’ve always wanted but didn’t get round to. Experience what traveling and living in other countries feels like. Revel in and enjoy the journey. Currently based in beachside Hua Hin on Thailand’s Gulf Coast, we are pursuing new passions. For Vivien, that’s learning Thai and helping others with English. For me, it’s writing and photography. For both of us it’s travel and being able to share our experiences with you here, and in publications that accept my writing. Enjoy reading! Michael & Vivien
Just a little while back we took a trip from our home In Hua Hin, on Thailand’s Royal Coast, to peninsula Malaysia. It was exceptionally easy to do. We travelled by train stopping off at the following Malaysian point of interest (to us): Penang Island, Taiping, Ipoh and finally Kuala Lumpur (KL). Since our trip, Air Asia has started direct flights from KL to Hua Hin and return. Flights are four times a week bringing KL, and peninsula Malaysia more broadly, so much closer for us Hua Hin residents. So if you’re planning travel to KL, here are some Kuala Lumpur highlights we would like to share with you.
Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur boasts gleaming skyscrapers, colonial architecture and history, a myriad of natural attractions, and a multicultural community with Malay, Indian, and Chinese residents, and their delectable and varied cuisines.
KL’s main hub – the Golden Triangle – comprises the districts of Bukit Bintang, KLCC and Chinatown. During our five days in KL, we did not venture out of the Golden Triangle as there is just so much to see and do within this action-packed area – day or night.
Pranburi Saturday Night Market has been on our local ‘must do’ list for some time, and just a few weekends back we finally made it there! It’s only a short (25km) drive south from Hua Hin to neighbouring Pranburi and the Market only happens Saturday evenings. This is definitely a locals market with genuine Thai characteristics. A ‘walking street’ market worth spending a few hours wandering and partaking of its offerings!
Located on the eastern side of Pranburi Railway Station, the market takes over two adjoining streets and is free of traffic making it so easy to meander the stalls and shops that populate the walking street. Old Teak buildings, original I can only assume, stand proudly with doors and shutters wide open inviting you in to discover the treasures that await – antiques, bric-a-brac, woven bamboo baskets and bags, Thai kitchen utensils, and many more discoveries. Some of these old Teak buildings have been transformed into Cafes with outside seating or an upstairs balcony for a better vantage point.
Recently we took advantage of an offer that, as foodies, was particularly appealing and required an out of town overnight stay. We didn’t have to travel far. Pak Nam Pran and Khao Kalok are neighbouring beaches in the Pran Buri region just 30 minutes’ drive south of our home in Hua Hin. And just 500 meters back from Khao Kalok beach is ‘The Boutique Farmers’ and our destination for the weekend. From all we had heard and read this place, it promised to be a foodies delight!
The offer we took advantage of was simple. Book dinner Friday or Saturday night, or their now famous Sunday Brunch at the restaurant on The Farm and overnight accommodation in their homestay was free. As a special bonus, they even included breakfast the following morning.
One of the joys of our ‘new life’ as Retired Aussies in Asia is developing new skills and learning how to apply these. For me, one clear example is learning how to write – creative writing I suppose. It all started with this blog and am now contributing to magazines and other interested sites. International Living is one of those who regularly publish stories and articles from Vivien and me. Here’s a recent article I wrote for International Living – The Top 10 Things to Do in Thailand.
Our reality is this Top 10 Things to Do in Thailand list could go on and on, as we so love exploring our new home country of Thailand, and more broadly SE Asia. Lots of these explorations can be found on the pages and posts of this Blog. Feel free to explore and the Search function on the right of the screen may make it easier to delve in.
Hope you enjoy the article, and please use the comments box on this page to tell us what you would add to this Top 10 list.
And here we are having some fun whilst out and about exploring!
Descending through the lush tropical bamboo forest we hear the gravel crunch underfoot. We walk quietly through a twenty-meter-high rock cutting that’s carved out by hand. Bamboo lanterns throw eerie shadows, as people quietly make their way along the dark path. This is how Anzac Day at Hellfire Pass in the Kanchanaburi region of Thailand started for us, this 25 April 2018.
Reaching the ceremonial clearing we joined many hundreds of Aussies, Kiwis and people from all parts to await the Dawn Service. Some speak in hushed tones, others reflecting in silence. A young man proudly wears his grandfather’s medals and we all wait patiently. The uniformed Catafalque party approach, their crisp footsteps distinct, and take up traditional guard positions around the central memorial. Padre Cornelis Bosch leads us in thanks and prayer, followed by a Statement of Remembrance by the Chief of the Australian Army.
As dawn breaks, leaves gently rustle, and melodic bird songs compliment the soft, sombre tone of the ceremony. Ears are peeled as 96-year-old Australian ex-POW Neil MacPherson OAM speaks:
“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
“Lest we forget”
The Royal Thai Army Buglers further captivate the gathering and pierce the soft morning playing the Last Post. We all stand silent, reflecting on our own thoughts. Proudly we watch the flags slowly raised; the bright, cheerful call of Reveille, helps lift our spirits to a new day. Beautiful wreaths are placed by Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand officials in memory of so many lost Prisoners of War.