The time seems liquid here in Malaysia. It literally runs through our fingers and drops down on the ground of transience. Our thought of spending time here for almost an eternity shrinks day by day and week by week. It will be only four to five weeks until our semester at Limkokwing will be finished again and we’re already looking forward to the travels after it.
But first let us tell you about our last ones. After becoming true Limkokwing-Students over the first two month, we were free to explore our surroundings for one week, in the blessed and not-a-second-too-soon semester break.
As the variety of options and possible choices promise, our group of exchange students split up to visit a variety of places. One part of us went for a road-trip through our new part-time home-country Malaysia, while others went to Bangkok or hopped to the islands around us.
Even though we could have joined one of these groups, my new friend Yves from Berlin and me decided to head to Vietnam.
Both of us were interested in their culture, history and lifestyle. Besides that we thought that trip will be special and unique; and we were right! It turned out to be amazing!
When we got there we were surprised. Not because of the country itself but because of the masses of Germans waiting in the lines at the airport. It‘s funny how you try to escape from home and plan to fly away from known environments and habits to evolve as a grown up and more mature person, and what you eventually find are pieces of home all over the world no matter how far you reach or how far you come you will always find yourself at the start. Not that this is a bad thing, the world just became incredibly small. It is open to us and everyone seeks satisfaction and fulfilment in traveling. But it is indeed not what it used to be.
So Yves and me reached our hostel in Ho Chi Minh City. A nice and cosy one in the middle of the great happening. Our first impression was purely positive. The total difference of people’s behaviour compared to our western civilization amazed us and gave birth to a deep sympathy towards the country in our hearts.
Observing masses of scooter-driving Vietnamese people, total uncontrolled but somehow organized rush through the streets and reflections of the city‘s lights in the rain-made mirrors on the ground, made us feel comfortable and arrived.
Even if the city is fast and busy, it radiates an aura of harmony, which added a nice and pleasant atmosphere to the trip.
Of course we dived deep into the history, which lead us to the tunnels used during the horrible war, in order to learn more about it.
A trip gathered with terrifying truth but also interesting facts.
Besides that we entered the so-called floating market, where boats come up to each other selling their fresh food and fruits in a very surrealistic atmosphere that let‘s you think of fairy-tales.
That‘s but only a glance at the eventful vacation to Vietnam. For the perfect touch of it and the experience we can make there, one must see it for himself.
Vietnam is a beautiful country and I would definitely go back someday. The next time I‘m aiming for the north, though, where the magnificent Ha Long Bay lies, because this place, if such thing exists, builds the bridge between reality and dream.
It was sort of an act to organize a trip through Malaysia, that would satisfy the expectations of nine different persons. But all of us started with the wish to get to know the country we’re living in and understand its culture better. And of course we wanted to relax at the same time, since it was be the only free time before the stress of the exams would start again. So quite a bit to get into ten days!
We rented two cars for nine people and started driving without having a very fixed plan of where we wanted to go. Besides all the sights we saw, the driving itself was an adventure as well. We barely knew where exactly we wanted to go and at the same time we had to stick together in every traffic jam, otherwise we would have been lost. Not to mention the state of the cars – one time we were stuck for one night because the battery just cracked.
Our first destination were the Cameron Highlands, a place that was already praised by the English colonists, since it is surprisingly cold compared to the rest of the country. The landscape is full of tea plantations and strawberry farms and the morning sun gives everything a flair of a fairy tale. We discovered the nightmarket of Brinchang and were stunned by the sunrise over the mountains. The roads in the hinterland were sometimes dangerous but we drove up a mountain as well as all the other tourists with even weaker cars.
We lost some time because our car broke nevertheless, and arrived a little stressed in Taiping. This is a Chinese city on the way from Ipoh to Georgetown. This place gave us the opportunity to taste some good Chinese breakfast. We stayed there for one day to take a bath in the Burmese Pool – that is actually a river – and visited the city’s museum. The city has even more sights worth visiting, but we wanted to move on to the next city.
Georgetown is one of Malaysia’s world heritage cities. It is famous for its food and culture and we were impressed by both from the first evening. The old town is actually a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian and even Europe culture brought by the colonists. This is why you can be sure that you will find something interesting right behind the corner. If it’s not a temple or church, you may see some of its famous street art. One part of us rented scooters to get around in the city, the others walked into the backyards and alleys. Since we could already breathe some of the sea air, we were even more looking forward to our next destination.
One of the most popular islands on the eastern coast is Perhentian Island. We loved it just as everyone else who recommended it. You can go to lonely beaches as well as party hard and go diving the next day. Eating, snorkelling and sleeping in hammocks at the beach ruled our first day there. The Hotel is exactly how you imagine a lonely beach to be, except the beach was full with dead corals that made it impossible to walk there and get into the water. So the next day we took a boat to the long beach. This location is perfect for swimming, bronzing and partying. The beach parties there are amazing, even though ours was interrupted by a heavy thunderstorm.
So after these ten days we came home a little exhausted, but we had made so many experiences that we won’t forget.