Big City Tour of SE Asia!!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

I am spending T-day in Bali, and just had Balinese Suckling Pig for my Thanksgiving Day dinner! – It was excellent, but missing the celebrating the real thing back home with friends and family!

As I have traveled and posted on this blog most recently, I have mainly have focused on the beaches and happens there about, but this past month or so in SE Asia I have also had a chance to visit a couple Big Cities. In fact, as I left Thailand I did an actual true “Big City Tour” of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur on my way to Bali. I love big cities and I seem to learn something new and fresh and fascinating every time I get a chance to visit a new one! Here are a few collages (thanks again for Stacey for the link and stainedglasscollage for the platform to make them) and short recap of the highlights and lowlights of each of the cities I had a chance to visit, starting with leaving India and arriving in Bangkok, Thailand.

Bangkok

Snapshot: Inexpensive, great street vendor food stands, best knockoffs and Buddha ++!!

Bangkok

I arrived in Bangkok from India and felt like I had entered a new world; A western world. Possibly in part because I was staying at a Holiday Inn Express near the Embassies and the shopping, but regardless, it felt great. The City has major cheap shopping (MBK Center Rocks), it has to be the knock of capital of the world, which I loved. It had great street food vendors and – Cheap hotels, cheap beers (sorry, by cheap I mean inexpensive) – Some very cool Temples (Wats) and markets, and an old town area near the river. All great! – Some serious city traffic, but that was the only downside – otherwise a perfect stop over on travels and a great place to get recharged and stocked up for the Islands!

Hanoi

Socialist Republic, War, Peace, Religion, Crazy Traffic, Great Food and Cheap Beer!

Hanoi

It was wild going to Vietnam. I guess because of the war and the unknown. So many stories and books and movies. The craziest thing did happen when I arrived, nothing of any concern, just a major scam by the taxi driver and the hotels. I had a place booked on booking.com that sounded nice in the Old Town Area of Hanoi, which my taxi driver said he knew were it was. He took me to a hotel, where someone came out and said my room was not available, so they were going to take me to one of their other property. Since my place was called the Hanoi Boutique Hotel I, I assumed HBH II would be just fine as well. – Well, I arrived  and it was a complete hole in the wall, it was a different name (clue one) but I decided since it sounded like my place was not available, I would check in and go for a jog and not get too caught up about it. On my jog I noticed I was a block from the hotel I was supposed to be in, so I stopped in to check out what the issue was there, and they said, no, no issue, they had my reservation and my room was ready and waiting… – The whole thing was a scam…. –  The other hotel had someone waiting outside my hotel to divert me to their hotel… – oh well – I had not paid the other place any money, so I went back for my back and got the heck out of the scam place and in to my place which was very nice! – Other than the scam, the thing that stood out for me in Hanoi the most was the Traffic, which was seriously crazy – It was busy like Bangkok and other places, but here they decided to do it all with out stop signs or lights or walk/don’t walk signs… – traffic just weaved in and out of each other at every intersection – and to get across the street, you just did the same – walk between scooters and cars and all – it was crazy – I am glad I was not driving. Otherwise the place had an amazing history and it was so cool to see and experience it all – They good and cheap food as well and the people were great! Very religious and very comfortable overall and very glad I made to Hanoi – scam and all!

Phnom Penh

Great place to meet up with good friends from Austin, Royalty, Religion, President Obama & good cold beer!

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh as you know from other posts is where I had the chance to connect with some old friends from Austin, which was too, too nice. – It was kind of cool that the President was coming there a couple of days after we were there as well, so everyone was very positive Obama and the US, which was nice! – Over all a very nice manageable city, with great food, great beer and good place to meet up with friends from the States!!

Singapore

Super Expensive, clean and nice City – Great Architecture, amazing high-end shopping!

Singapore

OK, I have been to some expensive cities before, but this one is ridiculous. – I paid $17 USD for a beer – It was a good Guinness, which was nice, but the local beer was only a $1 cheaper. – Crazy! – I think they just raise the prices for a shock factor or something.

This place truly is an Island City, and Country for that matter. – Over all it was pretty cool. Nice skyline and saw some cool architecture. They had tons of shopping, and things in the stores were not that out of line expensive – just bars, restaurants and hotels (the three things I need most in a City) as I far as I could tell. Got to see a couple of my brother Dan’s companies buildings, which was cool – All and all a positive, but maybe I should have only stayed for one day and not two, which would have been a little easier on my wallet. Oh well, cool experience and city to see!

Kuala Lumpur

Amazing twin towers and KL Tower, good prices, serious monsoon season in November!

Kuala Lumpur

Way cool city – A low price Singapore and kind of  like a Bangkok of Malaysia – Nice shopping, great food, nice people, reasonable prices, … – I liked it! – The twin towers were amazing and the rest of the city was cool – but it was rainy season – monsoons apparently in November in Kuala Lumpur, so be careful on your timing to visit.

Phuket

Crazy Party town of Patong and Bangla Road, City Island and Beaches

Phuket

Most people probably would not list Phuket as a Big City, but if you have been there, you know it is an Island City in its own right – Especially if you go to other Islands in Thailand, this is definitely a different kind of Island. So, for this post, in honor of Patong Beach and Bangla Road, I am listing in the Big Cities of SE Asia!

That’s it! – I am in Bali now, and don’t ever want to leave. It is amazing here. Relaxing, rejuvenating, beautiful, inexpensive, welcoming, …a place of big smiles! – All though I am excited to continued my travels on to Sydney (tomorrow) and through Australia and New Zealand, and mostly excited to be getting home for Christmas, this truly is the hardest place I have had to leave. The whole Island is like being at a spa! Come when you can!

Looking forward to seeing you all soon!!

Joe

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About joesworldwatertour

I am starting this labor day, 2011 on an up to two year tour of the world to visit and work on water service projects in developing communities. I am a water engineer who has been working in the corporate world of consulting since I graduated from college too many years ago and I hope this will be a chance to use my knowledge and experience to give something beneficial back to the world. I am starting my adventure with four months of research and a little decompression time before leaving on world travels in January, 2012. - I love people and will be missing a lot of close friends and family over the time away, but also hope to meet and friend a million more ahead!!
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One Response to Big City Tour of SE Asia!!

  1. Crispin Ruiz says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Joe! Great tour! You are a fantastic tour guide for the world’s beaches and cities!

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