Wow, looking back on this trip and that it started 2 months ago feels like a blur… this really was an experience of a lifetime! When Spell was approached to attend a media family for Contiki, and Spelly & Lizzy couldn’t go, I was thrilled to be asked and to choose the beautiful Olive and Lucette to join me on this adventure, and quite an adventure it was!
We started off the trip by heading to Bangkok from Sydney, a pretty easy flight after just heading to Paris for one week if you ask me! In Bangkok we met our group on the trip with us for the next 10 days.. it was apparent that we were not a quiet bunch and there wasn’t really a shy one amongst us so it would be interesting.. but fun! We had a Thai dinner that evening and retreated to bed early ready to fly locally to Khao Sok National Park the next day.
Oh Khao Sok National Park was actually one of the coolest places I had ever seen – until I slipped over! Just a word of advice, make sure you look around you while shooting, not just through the lens and stack it! I was pretty sore the majority of trip until I got to see a doctor in Penang (more on that later!) but yes it was beautiful and the people there were lovely! The boat trip there and back was just stunning. That night we stayed at the coolest treehouses and I rubbed tiger balm on my wounds, that stuff is AMAZING. Saved me!
The next day we travelled to get to Langkawi, an amazing beach spot, we didn’t reach there till dinner so we had a group dinner and a lot of laughs about our road trip that day (lots of pit stops to try local treats and the teeniest cat we’d ever seen). In Langkawi we had an amazing time relaxing on the beach and some of the crew decided to go on the Sky Bridge… given that Olive is afraid of heights, and I was injured, we decided to opt for icy cold iced-teas on the beach instead. We then hopped on a sunset cruise, which was supposed to be with other people but ended up being our team – so it felt like a private yacht! A very special moment watching the sunset with our new found friends (and lots of boomerangs jumping off the boat!).
We then headed to Penang, probably one of my favourite places on the trip, A/ because I got to go to the doctor there who gave me some anti-inflammatories for my rib after my fall, so it was sweet, sweet relief but B/ because I just love to see a streetscape, and Penang’s streets are so full of amazing colours.. not sure if it is ignorant to say but it reminds me of what I imagine Cuba would be like? We had a street food dinner challenge (how much you can eat for a certain amount of money, but we were all full after spending less than half of it!).
It was then time to journey up the hills to the Cameron Highlands, a place that was a little cooler which was nice, and absolutely gorgeous. The rolling hills of perfectly lined up tree plantation was simply beautiful, and so peaceful. We got to sample and see how the tea “BOH” is made, pick strawberries and check out some markets.. and have a steamboat dinner which I think is the most genius idea ever (does not involve a boat!).
Finally we head to Kuala Lumpur for our final night.. a few too many drinks with the crew who will probably be life long friends! When you think of Contiki you may think of Aussies getting a little hazy on a trip (we were very well behaved), and seeing lots of things in a short amount of time which can be awesome, exhausting and exhilarating all at once, but what we didn’t expect was the connections and love we felt for our crew.. it was like becoming a family very very quickly! Some of them may have even found love.. not naming names!