Southeast Asia

Full of optimism and free of debt, I traveled with Jonas to Southeast Asia in Autumn/Winter 2019. We started in Thailand, celebrated the new year 2020, then hitchhiked extensively through Myanmar on a very short visa.

After Myanmar, we returned to Thailand, which was the first country outside of China with COVID-19 patients. But February saw no restrictions, which is why we had no issue to hitchhike through southern Thailand across the border to Malaysia. All we had to do at immigration is sign a form that says we hadn’t been to China in the last 14 days. We hadn’t, but the officer did analyze our passport stamp very keenly.

In Kota Bahru (Malaysia), the coronavirus numbers started to let loose. We hitchhiked with facemasks to Penang and still considered booking more Airbnbs on our future itinerary. Then there was the announcement that Australia locked its borders. Shit. We had to get some money back from those bookings. Then slowly more countries started to lock down and so did Malaysia.

Luckily, Malaysia allowed us to stay. Even though our passport stamps had long expired, we were on the receiving end of amnesty. And we were happy to stay in Malaysia, because holy smokes, the food!

After lockdown, we explored bits of Malaysia whenever cases were low. Jonas didn’t like Malaysia the first time he visited way before I met him. Now he’s a huge fan. So am I.

Our adventures in Southeast Asia came to a premature halt. I’m hoping to pick up my travels here again later, but the world will look very different. But for now, enjoy these posts!

Penang Hill to Ourselves: Funicular + Hiking without the People

Events in this story happened on Tuesday the 9th of June 2020. It was the last day of the Malaysian government’s Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO). You can read more about our experiences of the coronavirus pandemic in Penang in the dedicated diary. We took the funicular up Penang Hill and then hiked it down to the botanic gardens. Click here to skip to the Penang Hill Tips + Map. Preparations I can’t even remember the last nature hike we went on. I think it might have been in Kota Bharu before we came to Penang. We’d been less thanContinue reading

Getting a SIM Card in Malaysia

This article is a comprehensive guide to getting the best prepaid SIM card in Malaysia. “RM” is short for Malaysian Ringgit—their currency. Click “In Short” in the table of contents to skip over the text and get a step-by-step guide. For starters, the Malaysian country code is +60 Telecom in Malaysia Malaysia is a country that has two parts: a mainland Asian part called ‘Peninsular Malaysia’ and an island part on Borneo referred to as ‘East Malaysia’. Peninsular Malaysia is where its capital city Kuala Lumpur (KL) is located. Though East Malaysia is larger in size, more than 80% ofContinue reading

Hat Yai to Kota Bharu: Hitchhiking from Thailand to Malaysia via Tak Bai

Things in this story happened on Thursday the 27th of February, 2020. Jonas and I hitchhiked from Hat Yai (Songkhla) in southern Thailand to Kota Bharu (Kelantan) in Malaysia. We took the Tak Bai river border crossing. This is my first time in Malaysia and Jonas’ second visit. Taking a Grab to the Hitchhiking Spot After five days of enjoying a few of the sights in Hat Yai, it was time for us to move on. Besides finding a new spot to hitchhike from, we didn’t need to prepare much for this hitchhiking day. Jonas and I found two viableContinue reading

Koh Lanta to Hat Yai via the Khao Kop Cave: A Seven-Star Hitch

Events described in this article happened on Sunday the 23rd of February, 2020. Jonas and I departed the islands of Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Noi to hitchhike across the Thai mainland to Hat Yai. Our drivers were on vacation themselves and took us to a cave system called ‘Tham Le Khao Kop’ in Trang Province.  Preparing to Leave Koh Lanta for Hat Yai After Ao Nang, we had taken a boat across the Andaman Sea for 53 kilometers. We landed at the Saladan Pier in Koh Lanta, where our arranged transport brought us to a southern resort nearContinue reading

Ranong to Ao Nang: My First Time Hitchhiking in Thailand

Events narrated in this article happened on Thursday the 5th of February, 2020. Jonas and I hitchhiked from Ranong to Ao Nang in Southern Thailand. Despite us having been in Chiang Mai for 60 days before, we had never gone hitchhiking in Thailand – yet! Read about our hitchhiking day and check out the cool map and the comparison between hitchhiking and taking public transport. Preparations After returning to Thailand from Myanmar via the Kawthaung – Ranong border crossing at the river mouth of the Kraburi River, we made plans to travel southward. We spent five nights in Ranong (ระนอง) building differentContinue reading

Ranong by Scooter: Hot Springs, National Parks, Mangroves, Canyons, and Reservoirs

After some intense traveling in Myanmar, we were mostly in Ranong to relax and work. Our place at Savika’s Guesthouse was an excellent base to explore the region from. On the 3rd of February, 2020, we rented a scooter from our own guest house. Very convenient! Make sure to also check out the map of our route at the bottom of this article. PornRang Hotsprings First, we drove out of Ranong southward to the PornRang Hot Springs. I was already wearing my bikini underneath my clothes to make swimming easy. This was Jonas’ first time driving a scooter in ThailandContinue reading

Myanmar Itinerary: Maxing Out Our 28-Day e-Visa

This article sums up our four-week journey through Myanmar in Southeast Asia. As we’d bought a Myanma e-visa before we left, we maxed out our 28 days. We traveled in the month of January (dry season) from the 3rd till the 31st. Though we mostly traveled by hitchhiking, we also took one cruise and one train to spice things up. We always planned and booked one week in advance. You may steal this Myanmar itinerary! Day 1: Arriving in Mandalay from Chiang Mai Friday the 3rd of January, 2020 We entered Myanmar after a short flight from Chiang Mai (Thailand)Continue reading

Kawthaung to Ranong: Crossing from Myanmar to Thailand by Longtail Boat

The events in this story happened on Friday the 31st of January 2020. We reentered Thailand near Ranong after one month in Myanmar in the southernmost city of Kawthaung. There it’s possible to travel to Ranong across the Kraburi/Pak Chan/Kyan river mouth in the Andaman Sea. Mind you that these were the early days of the coronavirus outbreak and Thailand already had its first 14 confirmed cases. Click here to skip to the summary of tips for what to bring and what to expect. Preparations The Kawthaung-Ranong border is one of the few border crossings between Myanmar and Thailand thatContinue reading

Hitchhiking in Myanmar – Everything You Need to Know!

Jonas and I went hitchhiking in Myanmar between the 3rd and the 31st of January 2020. These tips are based on our experiences and the laws of Myanmar during that timeframe. Feel welcome to add your own hitchhiking in Myanmar experiences + adventures in the comments! Basic Tips Have the map of Myanmar downloaded onto your smartphone. I prefer Open Street Maps! Have the Google Translate app. Unlike Thai, Google doesn’t have an offline package for Myanmar language yet. Get a SIM card in Myanmar upon arrival. Always make a hitchhiking sign. Buy some black markers, preferably black markers withContinue reading