Travelling Indonesia & Eating on a budget

Hello wonderful humans!

I hope everyone is as excited for these final few months of the year as I am! For me, it’s break time from work as we head into the monsoon season, which usually means rain, some wind and often, more rain (some would say it’s the price we pay for paradise!). I’m taking the opportunity to see some sites around Asia before heading home to see my family and friends back home in Australia.

The journey away from my rocky little island began with a boat, bus and train heading to the crazy city of Bangkok to visit some friends and run some errands. It was the first time I’ve ever loved my time in that city. Previously, I’ve been caught up in it’s hectic and busy environment, and millions of people (in fact, it’s population is over 9 million people). Unfortunately I hadn’t been able to appreciate the insanely unusual yet remarkable nature of the city. I’m usually not one for busy and highly populated places, and Thailand’s capital city certainly is just that, but it also holds an incredible amount of beauty and incredible feats of architecture if you’re willing to look for it. The city overlaps itself, with roads on top of trains on top of roads, with incredible buildings. There are also shopping malls for days if that’s your thing; it isn’t mine, but walking through these huge department stores can be so fascinating that I really don’t mind doing just that.

The ‘people-watching’ game is so strong here, as the city is full of rushing Thai business men, rich and stylish elderly women, old expats, children running wild, and tourists just as confused as I about the whole thing. Sitting back and watching how people interact with each other is the most fun. Something else I really love, are the millions of alleyways full of colours, lights and choices in food – the vegan trend is strong in areas of this city, which I can’t help but mention. After a few days of the city life, it was time to hop on a plane to Penang which is where I am currently residing.

Penang is awesome. The cultural diversity here is great and is visibly reflected in all the meal options. Do you like Indian cuisine? How about Chinese? Western? Thai? Malaysian? Vegan friendly? (not a reflection of one single country of course, but hell- the vegan options here are out of this world!).

So, food is sorted for most people, and not only that but it’s affordable- Been travelling a while and need to eat on a budget? This place is perfect for you! There are also higher priced places of course, like everywhere but most of the food here is seriously affordable and absolutely delightful. One place in particular which I cannot take the credit for finding myself, is a night food market in George Town called Red Garden Food Paradise which opens every night at around 6.30. There is approximately 25 food stalls selling dishes ranging from 3.50RM to 15RM (approx. $AUD1-5). The atmosphere is incredible and every night they have live music from (what surely must be) some of the most talented voices around this area. They also bring you beer, so you never have to get up and approach a crowded bar for your next drink! If you’re in Penang, you must go there- again, the people watching is great and the singers have amazing taste in music.

During the day there is plenty to do, strolling the streets and stumbling across Love Lane is beautiful. It’s full of incredible art and many small cafes. You can also hit up the local mall when the weather isn’t working to your advantage to check out the local (and international) movies playing, and of course, try some more great food.

So, this month is very much all about trying new places, new food and what I am most excited for: new dive locations! After a bit more exploration around wonderful Malaysia the next destination will be Bali and Nusa Penida to visit a dear friend who is running a wonderful conservation centre. I can’t wait to learn all about what they do there, help out whilst visiting and then share it with you all (knowing of good hearted legitimate conservation centres is good for all of us ocean lovers!).

Will speak more about it soon, have a great month everyone!

Elle Haskin

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