Monthly Archives: May 2012

Kuala Lumpur – is this the most pedestrian-unfriendly city in the world?

Standing at the intersection beneath Bukit Bintang monorail station, I was beginning to lose patience. Traffic had been roaring past in both directions for five minutes, with nary a sign that the lights were going to change and let the growing crowd of pedestrians cross. Then, as the fast flow of cars ground to a halt, the lights phased to allow traffic to come across the crossroads and turn right, leaving us stranded on the sidewalk. Continue reading

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Taman Negara, Malaysia – how to do it yourself

Doing it yourself is a concept frowned upon in Malaysia, much as it is in Vietnam. Ask someone about arranging a bus trip and they’ll doubtless tell you that wherever you’re heading, you need to stump for a tour too. The fact is, while we’ve been spoilt with guides in the Cameron Highlands and around Siem Reap, Cambodia, the trip has been far more rewarding, and experiences much more memorable, when we’ve sorted things out ourselves. Continue reading

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Checking cynicism at the door at the Yoga Barn, Ubud, Bali

Lying prone, the gentle sound of music that errs worryingly on the side of New Age filling my ears, I’m beginning to wonder exactly what I’ve let myself in for. And when the tutor asks ‘what we’re hiding from’ by living busy lives, I’m fully channeling my inner Mark Corrigan and wondering ‘What kind of hippy free-for-all is this anyway?’

The short answer is the Yoga Barn, Ubud’s most-recommended spot for those looking to stretch their sinews and maybe find some inner peace while on the road. Airbnb hosts, friends and fellow backpackers have all told us to check it out, so here I am, on my back and starting to fear the worst. Continue reading

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Trekking to sunrise at Mount Batur, Bali

2.45am is a time I equate with sleeping, the occasional booze-fuelled late night and Elliot Smith. But in Ubud, Bali, it’s at this time that I find myself sitting on the side of the road awaiting a pick-up to take us out to Mount Batur. One of Bali’s two active volcanoes, it’s one of the best spots on the island to see sunrise, with promised views of the towering Mount Agung and the island of Lombok.

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