Tuesday, 22 January 2013


We've finally dragged ourselves away from chilling on one of our favorite Thai islands (yes, there is a limit- even for us!), and after seven weeks, have made the break gently back into "real" life. It's actually really nice to be out of the bubble of holiday bliss and into Thai society again.

Since a similar summary of the last two month's swimming, sunning, reading, eating, and socializing can pretty much been seen on this previous blog entry, I've instead decided it's time to publish our thoughts on last year's travel destinations.

Here goes- the second annual Sal and Rich's Best/Worst List:

Best beach experience- Tie- Ko Libong, Thailand/Eden Resort,Thailand

Best Buddhist monument- Wat Phra Mahthat, Nakon Si Thammorat, Thailand

Best Muslim monument- Raya Baiturrahman Mosque, Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia

Best colonial architecture- Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Best village architecture- Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia

Best festival- Tie-Thaipusam, Penang, Malaysia/Dayak festival, Long Bangun, Kalimantan, Indonesia

Coldest weather- Berestagi, Sumatra, Indonesia

Hottest weather-  Southern Kalimantan, Indonesia

Most rain- Ko Fruitopia, Thailand (July)

Best wildlife experience- Orangutans, Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia

Best western food- Krabi, Thailand

Best seafood- Kalimantan, Indonesia

Best local food- Phattalung night market, Thailand

Best overall food- Liberta Guesthouse, Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia

Most unusual “sight”- Long eared woman, Kalimantan, Indonesia

Cleanest guesthouse/hotel- Swallow Guesthouse, Krabi, Thailand (second year running!)

Homiest guesthouse/hotel- Birdnest, Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia (second year running)

Best value guesthouse/hotel- Tie-Liberta, Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia/Ko Dod Resort, Khanom, Thailand

Best social guesthouse/hotel- Tie- Ko Fruitopia, Thailand/Eden Bungalow, Thailand/Birdnest, Kuala Lumpar

Worst guesthouse- Hotel Santosa, Kandangan, Kalimantan, Indonesia (bedbugs)

Cheapest guesthouse/hotel-  Eden Resort, Thailand (100 baht/AU$ 3.50)

Most expensive guesthouse/hotel- Tirta asri-l Homestay, Batulicin, Kalimantan, Indonesia (175,000 rup/AU$17)

Best hike- Gunung Sibayak, Berestagi, Sumatra, Indonesia

Best museum- Islamic Arts Museum, Kuala Lumpur

Best market-Tie- Songkla Sunday second-hand clothes market, Thailand/Sidikalang, Sumatra, Indonesia

Best snorkelling- Pulau Weh, Sumatra, Indonesia

Friendliest people- Tie- Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia/Muara Kaman, Kalimantan, Indonesia

Best boat trip- Mahakam River, Kalimantan, Indonesia

Best motorbike ride- around Khanom, South-east Thailand

Most scenic road trip- Gayo Highlands, Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia

Best public transport- Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia

Worst road- Takengon to Blankejeran, Sumatra, Indonesia

Scariest experince- 8.7 earthquake, Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia

Hope it's an interesting read- it was fun for us to look back at 2012 and remember our favorite (and some not so good!) experiences.

The next three months will be something different for us, with February, March and April spent in our favorite haunt in Kuala Lumpur (see here), helping out our good friend, Will, with his newest hostel, Birdnest 2. If anyone is passing through, we would love to see some familiar faces! It's a great place to hang out, and as we enjoy KL, it should be a lot of fun.