Traipsing Round the Globe: Month 4

Hey! Welcome to the fourth update of Traipsing Round the Globe, a real-time recap of my round-the-world trip! Check out months onetwo and three if you haven’t read them yet.

Hey guys! This edition of Traipsing Round the Globe is coming to you (slightly belatedly) from the Windy City. And okay, I know I say this every month but Month 4, the final month of my RTW trip, was the craziest yet. After six weeks of the ascetic life India, I swung hard in the other direction once I hit Southeast Asia and reveled in non-stop fun.

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Where I’ve Been:

Koh Tao, Thailand (7 days)

Penang, Melaysia (4 days)

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia (1 day)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (5 days)

Melaka, Malaysia (2 days)

Halong Bay, Vietnam (3 days)

Hanoi, Vietnam (4 days)

The rest- at home in suburban Michigan!

Highs:

Koh Tao, as always. The time I spent on Koh Tao this year was a dream. I spent ten days there completing an Advanced Open Water dive course, sipping buckets at beach bars and zooming around on the back of an Aussie guy’s motorbike. And I finally saw a Muay Thai fight- fascinating!

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Falling head-over-flip-flops in love with Penang. So I have a new favorite city in Asia- Penang, Malaysia. From the crumbling colonial architecture to the ornate Peranakan mansions to the creative bursts of street art all over the city, I couldn’t have found more to love in Penang.

Finding my favorite hostel in the world. Haven’t been to Reggae Mansion in KL? Go now. Reggae Mansion was literally the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in and I’ve stayed in 60+ hostels around the globe! And I even tried my first karaoke in front of a large crowd at the rooftop bar. (But did you know American Pie is NINE minutes long?)

Another bonus- due to this blog almost all of my accommodation was comped while in Malaysia. Win.

Malay food. Upon arriving in Malaysia, I dove right into the national cuisine, which being a fusion of Indian, Chinese and local Malay food cultures, was downright delicious. I heart hawker centers.

Being adopted by a group of local girls in Melaka. While in Melaka I connected with a local girl and she and her friends essentially adopted me and drove me around to all their favorite food spots. They also taught me how to pray in a Chinese temple which was a very lovely and moving experience. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Eating everything in Vietnam. While I enjoyed the food in Southern Vietnam more than the north, I still relished every opportunity to enjoy my beloved Vietnamese food as much as possible. And at $1.50 for a meal, I indulged often and heartily. image (2)

Taking the party cruise in Halong Bay. Sailing through an enormous bay full of limestone karsts surrounded by fun-loving backpackers? Yes, please. The trip was infinitely improved by the great group of people I met on the boat, and we ended up hanging out every night until the end of my stay in Vietnam. image (3)

Coming Home. While I was sad to say goodbye to the beer and backpacking lifestyle, home has been wonderful. Each time I come home I’m reminded by what funny, loyal and generous friends and family I have, and it comforts me that no matter how long I’m gone nothing ever changes. I’m a very lucky girl.

Lows:

The Cameron Highlands.  Um, sorry, but the Cameron Highlands were so pointless. Cool, I got to take a picture of a tea plantation. Yawn.

Experiencing yet another creep in the street. Um, why does this keep happening to me? Anyway, this time it was a middle-aged man at a bus stop. As I was slightly tipsy, I screamed profanities at him while my travel buddy tried to pull me away. So vile. image (5)

Ripping up my shoulder in Vietnam. Tubing in Halong Bay? BAD idea. I nearly screamed when I hit the water and am still wincing in pain two weeks later. Ouch.

Favorite Shot:

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Yeah. So I miss $9 Thai massages with a view of the ocean.

Enough about me! What are you up to this summer?

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21, traveled the world for a year and now lives in Denver. She's usually in pursuit of skiing, languages and perfectly ripe cheese. Her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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15 Comments

  1. Glad to hear you had an amazing time in Southeast Asia, Ashley. Apparently we have a few things in common. I am still thrilled about my cruise in Halong Bay which I have done in April 2009 and I also loved Penang, but I was disappointed about my stay in the Cameron Highlands. I should have gone to Taman Negara instead. I was taught how to pray correctly in a Chinese temple by my chinese guide with whom I travelled twice across China in 2013. He is definitely one of the two best guides I ever had in my entire life, not only because of the praying ceremony, and I had numerous.
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  2. I am enjoying reading your recaps! I just got back an eight month trip throughout Asia, etc. I loved Vietnam, such a stunning country. I miss the massages in Thailand and I would do anything to go diving again! But, I am happy to be home as well. It hard living out of a suitcase and moving around so much. I guess there are benefits of both. :)
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  3. Hi! It looks like you had some awesome adventures, I will definitely have to take note on some of it. I am going to be studying abroad next month in Chaing Mai, Thailand for a year , and I am planning on traveling all over. Vietnam and Malaysia will probably be included! The party cruise in Vietnam sounds especially awesome, I for sure want to try to do something like that!

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  4. sounds like a busy month! I’ve never heard of the cameron highlands, so maybe it’s best that way :) Now that I actually do thai massage, I feel so bad for the women who gave me dozens in Thailand at such a low rate, because they are really hard to give (if you actually put energy into it). Not that I won’t still get them that cheap, because I totally will, but I can’t imagine charging my clients so little!
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  5. Yay, I just booked into Reggae Mansion for my trip next month! Sounds like a great place. I wish I were going to Penang this trip but I think I’ll save it for next year when I’m long term traveling and have more time to take it in. Aaahh your posts are getting me so excited for my trip next year! Looks like yours was an incredible time.
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  6. I’m in Thailand right now so I really have no grounds to complain, but oh my God Malay food! I need to go back there, just so that I can eat more!
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  7. You got your AOW – nice!! Sounds like such a great trip. I have a friend from Penang and she says the same things as you about it. Also, is everyone in Chicago? Yours is the 5th blog I’ve read today about people being there right now!
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    • I was actually in Chicago for the weekend just to see friends in the city as well as some friends visiting from France. But it’s great in the summer, that’s when I most like to visit!

  8. It looks like you’ve had so much fun on your adventures so far, I’m jealous! These places sound absolutely wonderful and your pictures are lovely! xoxo
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  9. Sounds like a other amazing month of travel! All of your south east Asia stories are getting me SO excited to head there next year!
    Laura recently posted..Funny Things Kids SayMy Profile

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    • I love it there so much! I think I’m homesick for it already :)

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