Archive | May, 2015

The Creepy Men of Ipoh, Malaysia

Ipoh Malaysia Mural

Faces were changed to protect the innocent

Where did all the women go?

Seriously. Walking around the “New Town” section of Ipoh, Malaysia, away from the small tourist hub that consists of a few gentrifying streets of quaint coffee shops, was a bit like walking through some Twilight Zone episode where most of the women had been erased from the city.

The first day in town we were a little unnerved by the degree of machismo on display, with groups of men occupying most street corners. Even as a dude it felt a little creepy being surrounded by so much undiluted maleness.

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The value of reading the fine print

Highlighting added by EverywhereOnce

Highlighting added by EverywhereOnce

It’s as easy to do as it is to overlook. But consistently paying close attention to details is something that has easily saved us thousands (or is it tens of thousands?) of dollars over the years. That’s especially true when taking advantage of special rates that increasingly come booby-trapped with unexpected fees.

Today’s example comes courtesy of Ryanair, a well known champion of loading their teaser fares with hidden fees. One such fee we hadn’t encountered before is Ryanair’s requirement that passengers check-in and print their boarding passes prior to arriving at the airport. This is an especially tricksy surcharge considering how common it is to get your boarding passes from an agent or a kiosk at the airport.

But if you’re flying Ryanair and show up at the airport without printing your boarding pass beforehand, that simple oversight will cost you an extra €45 / £45 per ticket. Had we not read this little detail in our confirmation e-mail, the flight we thought was going to run a mere €38 would have cost us more than double that amount.

Paying twice as much for something is a pretty steep penalty for not reading the fine print. Unfortunately we’re encountering more stuff like this all the time.

The Visual Feast that is George Town

George Town, Malaysia

We may not have done nearly as well eating in Malaysia’s “Foodie Capitol” as we had hoped but that didn’t stop us from feasting on an impressive smorgasbord of a different variety. And while we would never claim George Town is an obviously beautiful city in the way that, say Hoi An in Vietnam is, there are enough pockets of visual attractions scattered about town to make it a worthwhile place to explore. Just be prepared. As with its culinary treasures, George Town plays a bit coy by hiding some of its best bits in out of the way places.

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10 Favorite Destinations, Year 5

Hoi An Japanese Bridge at Night

Covered bridge in Hoi An, Vietnam.

For the first time, our annual list of favorites consists of all overseas destinations. Last spring, after four years touring the U.S., we traded our RV for backpacks and set out to explore the rest of the world. While circumnavigating the globe—a first for us—we found ourselves in some pretty amazing places. Here is a list of our favorite destinations from our fifth full year of fulltime travel. Where applicable, the destination header links to the original blog post on the topic. 

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George Town: The Foodie Capital That Wasn’t

Bowl of noodles, George Town, Penang

A rather tasteless and unpleasant bowl of noodles

We arrived in George Town, Penang, with high expectations and rumbling bellies. Our expectations were set by the countless articles we had read describing this small island city as the foodie capital of Malaysia. Some folks went so far as to crown George Town’s street food as the best in all of Asia, which is high praise considering how outrageously delicious we found northern-Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.

Our empty stomachs, meanwhile, were the result of a strategic decision to skip lunch on our way into town. We were so eager to get started we wanted to hit the ground chewing.

And while we came to George Town hungry, we didn’t land blind. Before arriving we read extensively about what to eat in this provincial capitol. Somehow, though, none of the articles we devoured told us anything about when to eat. It’s almost like they withheld the secret decoder ring to the city. Even after a week of trying, we never did figure it out.

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