Since I mentioned my recent trip to Southeast Asia in my last post, I’ve received several requests for more details about the experience. Although the topic of travel is only tangentially related to minimalism (in so far as keeping a minimal itinerary and luggage), it’s near and dear to my heart—and as such, I never turn down an invitation to talk about it. :-)
I do realize, however, that most of you come here to read about minimalism, not travel, so I will do my best to keep it short and sweet. Instead of writing a full travelogue, I’ll simply touch on the highlights of our trip:
* Wandering through the Mong Kok district, and experiencing its vibrant street life and traditional markets (selling everything from food to clothing to electronics to jade)
* Taking a breathtaking cable car ride to Lantau Island (photo)
* Climbing up the 268 steps to the Tian Tan Buddha (photo), and having a delicious vegetarian lunch at the adjacent Po Lin Monastery
* Spending an afternoon riding the Mid-Levels escalators (a giant outdoor escalator system on the steep slope of Hong Kong Island), and jumping on and off to explore the neighborhoods through which it passed
* Enjoying vegetarian dim sum in a traditional Hong Kong tea house
* Having a picnic dinner along the Victoria Harbour waterfront, while admiring the brilliantly-lit Hong Kong skyline (photo)
* Awakening to the sound of tropical birds every morning, even though we stayed in the heart of the city
* Sampling the amazing array of cuisine (Singapore is a food lover’s dream). We ate everything from Peranakan (a blend of Chinese and Malay) to Indonesian to Japanese
* Discovering old Colonial buildings among the skyscrapers (photo)
* Spending a warm and lazy afternoon strolling through the lush Singapore Botanic Gardens (including the gorgeous National Orchid Garden)
* Stumbling upon a crowded and colorful Chinese New Year market late one night on an after-dinner walk
* Sharing a bottle of wine (literally—we had no glasses) with my husband in our incredibly-small and somewhat-grimy sleeping compartment on the overnight train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (an adventure in itself!)
* Seeing forests of palm trees en route across Malaysia (photo)
* Staying at the very posh Shangri-La hotel (Luxury hotels are surprisingly affordable in KL, and it was a welcome treat after our train accommodations!)
* Marveling at the contrast between old and new, traditional and modern, gritty and clean while wandering the streets
* Eating wonderful Malaysian food!
Several of you also asked how we could possibly travel with just carry-on bags, given the restrictions on hand luggage. To be honest, we find it very easy! We bring whatever liquids we need in small bottles, and generally have enough to cover the trip; if we run out, we simply buy more at a local store. I don’t even bother to bring soap, shampoo, conditioner, or lotion as the hotels we stay in usually provide nicer products than I have at home. :-) To minimize the amount of clothes needed, we take a few travel packets of laundry detergent and wash our stuff once or twice (in our hotel sink) during the trip. If you’d like a peek inside my carry-on, please see my previous post Minimalist Travel: What’s in My Suitcase. I can’t emphasize how wonderful it is to travel with the lightest load possible!
Well, I hope today’s post answers some questions, and doesn’t upset anyone with its off-topic nature. I promise next week to return to our usual minimalist programming!