End of our trip

9 02 2010

Ginza intersection

We had a quick stop in Tokyo and then flew back to Los Angeles.  We got to Tokyo via the Narita express, which costs about $30 for one way and takes about an hour to reach Tokyo.  We saw the Tokyo-Edo museum, the Ginza shopping District, had a quick meal and then had to head back to the airport. Read the rest of this entry »

Final departure from Kuala Lumpur

6 02 2010

Kuala Lumpur main square

Sadly, our trip is at it end.  After one year and one month, we are preparing to return to Los Angeles. After our stop in Melaka, we headed back to the Kuala Lumpur for some final shopping, packing and sightseeing before heading home.  Kuala Lumpur is a nice modern city and a good regional transit hub, with many of our SE Asian flights using the city as a hub.  We were able to get one-way tickets to Los Angeles (via Tokyo) for about $700 US. Read the rest of this entry »


2 02 2010

Main square

We took a quick trip to Malacca, which is a city about two hours south of Kuala Lumpur.  Historically, Malacca was a major shipping port for merchants coming from Europe, the Middle East, India and China, giving the city a unique blend of history and culture.  We spent two days wandering through the different historic districts, visiting some of the museums in town, shopping and eating great food. Read the rest of this entry »

Thaipusam in Kuala Lumpur

31 01 2010

Stairs up to the Cave

Wow, what an event. We had heard about Thaipusam from some travelers in Sumatra, and also in Penang.  We knew that it was a big event with about 1 million devotees celebrating in Kuala Lumpur.  Commonly known for the visually impressive piercing aspect of the festival, we were amazed by the whole event, which is more than just intense piercing. Read the rest of this entry »

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

26 01 2010

Tea plantation

Since we are winding up our trip, we are sticking to the well-beaten tourist path in Malaysia because it is much easier to travel from one tourist trap to another.  Cameron Highlands is another stop on the Lonely Planet warpath in Malaysia.  The area is know for being agriculturally productive and has a moderate and cool climate.  There are tea plantations, strawberry farms, and a whole bunch of other tourist oriented things including a butterfly farm, botanical gardens, waterfalls, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Bukit Lawang

19 01 2010

From the northern tip of Sumatra, we headed back down to the village of Bukit Lawang, famous for its orangutans and jungle park. We needed to get back to Malaysia so we only stayed one day, but we were still able to see some orangutans. Bukit Lawang is on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park and has an orangutan rehabilitation center where you can watch them feed the primates up close. Read the rest of this entry »

Pulau Weh

18 01 2010

Underwater camera!

From Banda Aceh, we headed for the island of Pulau Weh, known for great diving and snorkeling.  We were not let down.  The coral here in Pulau Weh is not the best you can see in Southeast Asia, but the real draw is the variety of fish species and size of the fish.  We have seen cuddle-fish, lion-fish, large barracuda, huge trigger fish, moray eels and many, many others while snorkeling. A Dutch couple let us borrow their great underwater camera set-up, and we were thankfully able to get some great photos to share. Read the rest of this entry »

Banda Aceh

12 01 2010

Our ride

We headed up to Banda Aceh to cross over to the island of Pulau Weh to do some snorkeling and maybe diving.  Banda Aceh is the provincial capital of Aceh, the northern most province in Sumatra.  Well known for the suffering and devastation caused by the 2004 tsunami which wiped out much of the city, Banda Aceh is recovering from the tsunami. However, this tragedy affected everyone in Banda Aceh, as much of the city was completely wiped out. Read the rest of this entry »


10 01 2010

Gunung Siyabak

From Lake Toba we headed north to the Karo Highlands and the town of Berastagi.  In Berastagi, our goal was to climb a volcano (Gunung Sibayak) and then move on north to Bukit Lawang, where there is a park with orangutans.  The highlands around Berastagi have many active volcanoes and the rich volcanic soil provides for some great growing conditions for fruits and vegetables.  Berastagi is famous for the passion fruit they grow here, plus the many other excellent fruits and veggies.  The people here are very nice and there are not many tourists. Read the rest of this entry »

Danau Toba, Sumatra

6 01 2010

Batak houses

We took a ferry across the Strait of Melaka from Penang to the port of Medan in Sumatra.  After a little confusion at the port of Medan, our first stop in Sumatra was  Danau Toba, a massive lake that was formed by a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago.  We arrived late and stayed in the port city of Parapat, and the next day we crossed over to an island in the middle of the lake called Samosir. Read the rest of this entry »