Without going too much into the details, 2015 has been quite hectic, unexpected and rewarding all at the same time. I look forward to more this year, especially with travel in the ASEAN region, and maybe even Europe. But before I close the door completely on 2015, I’ll take a quick look back at some notable and enlightening personal moments in travel. Here’s to many more in the coming year. 🙂
1 | Discovered beautiful phalaenopsis orchids in Genting Highlands for under RM30
I must have read about Waltex Biotec, an orchid farm with the largest selection of moth-shaped orchids, from another travel blog out there on the websphere, sometime in July. Use Waze to find the entrance, because it’s easy to miss when making your way down from Genting. The farm is quite kampung and you might be the only visitors there, but the orchids are such a beautiful souvenir to bring back from the highlands, and will look gorgeous in your home. Full bloom plants are very reasonable, starting at RM25 each.
I wouldn’t have imagined that a trip to Bangkok would turn me on to a really good band, but it did — local rockers called Slot Machine performed at the exclusive EDM club, DoNotDisturb and I happened to be there. At first glance, based on their preppy fashion sense, anyone would have been forgiven for thinking we were in for an hour of shoegazing tunes, but not at all. These boys are more U2-meets-Beatles meets-All American Rejects, and they sounded great! The lead singer must have lungs of a whale — his vocals were practically effortless. In melody, the Thai language sounds really lovely too.
It seems like there has been a spurt in good regional alternative sounding bands — not sure about the Bangkok scene; definitely in Kuala Lumpur — but what I really like about Slot Machine, apart from their muscular and energetic performance, Continue reading
Just when I was beginning to write off new “bazaars” and “artisan markets” around town as unworthy of mentioning, a friend tags me on Facebook to the page for Mari Market. Still, it wasn’t until I saw it mentioned in TimeOut KL that it really caught my interest, and I’m glad I went to check it out!
The problem with other markets is that there’s often a mix of vendors — some who sell original, handmade goods or edibles, whilst others could be your typical stall-in-the-mall vendor, peddling made-in-China cheapos. If you don’t already know, I’ll tell you why this is a problem: 1) It dilutes the authenticity of vendors who create their own products, to have stalls nearby selling mass-produced goods competing with them for customers; 2) because mass-produced vendors have a handy excuse to charge artisan prices for non-artisan goods — and that is an utter SHITE business practice, to both customers and genuine artisan vendors.
But there was none of that at Mari Market, or at least, a whole lot less. Every vendor was a local entrepreneur selling something they believed in and crafted from scratch. Whether it was the booth selling jars of organic belacan or the lady who could build your portrait out of coffee cup stains, everything was a joy to discover and browse. Mari Market successfully replicates the atmosphere of a European/American crafts market, but with a distinct local flavour (a coconut water stand, organic chili padi and papaya preserves are things you won’ find in an American farmer’s market.)
I’m told that Mari Market is held every four months, but this is the first one I’ve been to since coming back a year ago. I hope it runs again soon!