It’s a fact universally acknowledged that living on a tropical island is incredible stressful. I’m pretty sure that’s a direct Jane Austen quote. She lived in Fiji right?
Jokes aside, life is dreamy but of course, if you want to stay long term in a country outside of the EU (as an EU citizen) you cannot work and have to make regular visa runs to maintain said lifestyle.
Luckily, this is super easy and there are stacks of options. A lot of people literally do a ‘visa run’ to Myanmar or Laos and come straight back. From Myanmar you can do it in 24 hrs! This is kinda crazy to me as the whole point of making travel a priority is to do just that, travel. At the same time, we are pretty broke so our initial big plans to hit the Phillipines, Cambodia or maybe even a sojourn to Australia (I know, who do we think we are) were stripped back to a simple train journey to Penang, Malaysia.
As the time came to leave Koh Tao, I was genuinely looking forward to out little ‘vay-cay’ and if I’m honest, was really ready for a nice nights sleep in an air-con train bunk.
Typically we had planned nothing, and yet again found ourselves in the midst of a public holiday (the same thing happened to us in February a few days before our flight back to London. Utterly ridiculous really, as we should probably learn by now how painful it is to try to get a train or bus when 80% of the population are heading in the same direction as you with their entire family in tow.
Our initial 4 night stay turned into 7…….maybe we should have gone to Myanmar?
For us, on our fourth visit to the beautiful UNESCO world heritage site of George Town this wasn’t a big deal as we love it there. I think people scoff a little at mainland Malaysia thinking that aside from Kuala Lumpur there is nowt’ to do. That hasn’t been our experience at all, and despite having not visited some of the ‘sights’ like the Cameron Highlands, Pulao Perhentian, Tioman or even hitting up Sabah (peninsular Malaysia) and seeing all that Borneo has to offer, we’ve always enjoyed the little things Malaysia has to offer.
George Town is, by far, the prettiest town I’ve ever been in South East Asia. The street art is legendary and this time round I found a new favourite street: Lebuh Armenian. We got bicycles and rode around aimlessly (a little too aimlessly in Oli’s opinion!) and enjoyed watching people posing ridiculously with static pieces of art which I secretly wanted to do too. We ate like kings, soaking up every corner of street food on offer and frequenting our beloved Little India as much as possible.
We went to the cinema! Yep, the cinema is a massive treat when you live on an island that has none…..and enjoyed Jurassic World in the icy air-con. I enjoyed some serious girl-time in H&M and Sephora. You find that the silliest things are the ones you crave when you’re away from home for a long time. I don’t at all miss clean water, speaking the same language as everyone else or even English food…….I miss proper tea, the convenience of Primark and spending hours (I kid you not) in Sephora she swoons swatching the latest beauty products I don’t need, but that I want.
George Town is an underrated gem of a place, that deserves a little more of everyone’s time.
Have you been to Malaysia? Is it somewhere that you want to go?