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Matkailua Kaakkois-Aasiassa: Updating blog

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The Journey gets an interestning start My folks gave me a ride to Tampere airport and there I met my travel mates Juuso and Pekka. We also met a new guy, Ilari (also from Tampere University of Technology.. just like the rest of us). Together we flew to Helsinki-Vantaa airport.Then the most amazing thing happened. We were waiting for the Helsinki-Bangkok flight as some airport staff member came to us and asked: "Would you like to earn some money? All you have to do is just not to go to this flight. You see, this flight is over booked and we don't have seats for everyone. If you decide to go on tomorrow's plane, we'll give you a free stay in Hotel Ramada (which is pretty good hotel) and 300 euros bonus." We didn't have to think about that for long. 300 euros in Thailand is a lot!!One night in a finnish hotel. That's all. We still have a plenty of time to spend in Thailand. :) -- We actually spent two nights in Hotel Ramada and we earned 600 euros. Not bad! We were ready to stay there even longer but on Saturday, OCT 23rd, Finnair was ready to take us on the plane :) And the best thing was that we got seats from business class. We bought economy class tickets but now we got a lot better seats. Thank you Finnair ;)Never been in business class before and I can tell you that it was a great way to fly! I even got a business card from a guy who sat next to me. We talked about traveling and working overseas. -- A lot has happened since I wrote last time. We spent 3 days in Bangkok in a place called Royal Hotel. That was very good hotel including swimming pool, breakfast and air-con.We traveled around the city by walking, tuk-tuks and taxis. Tuk-tuk is quite frightening actually because of the horrible traffic in Bangkok.I liked Bangkok a lot. There's a lot to see and everything is very cheap. Food is good and you can get it from everywhere. After a few days we had to leave. We booked a scuba-diving course from Koh Tao. (Book everything in Thailand from T.A.T. if possible)The course, housing and traveling from Bangkok to KOh Tao was something like 10200 BHT (200 euros in OCT 2004) which is very cheap.Koh Tao is a beautiful island on east coast of Thailand. We went there from Chumphon by a ferry. On that trip I saw some huge waves and quite a many people got seasick. I didn't feel good either after a 4 hour ferry trip. But finally we landed on Koh Tao. We started the course on the next day.The course included about 12 hrs theory (including an exam you have to pass), practising in a swimming pool and 4 great dives in a sea. After that course you get a PADI-license and you can dive everywhere independently. Diving is a lot of fun and I recommend it to most of the people. For me the best thing was to get to 20 meters deep and seeing many different kind of fishes. :) After the course we finally pointed our noses to Penang, Malaysia. We took a night train from Chumphon (Th) to Butterworth (MY). On the border we had to check-out from Thailand and check-in to Malaysia. That took about an hour. We arrived to Penang on Tuesday NOV 2nd. First we took a hotel room from Vistana Hotel. Cheap and good accomodation. On the next day we got a place from Sunny Ville. This is a great place, just like a hotel room. We (Juuso, Pekka, me) have 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen and a lot of furnitures which is good. We pay something like 150 euros per month each. And the best part is the view. We live in the 20th floor so the view is breathtaking. My new address is: Block F-20-05 Sunny Ville 11700 Batu Uban Pulau Penang Malaysia And my phone number is: +60 16 4919325 Feel free to send me postcards or what so ever! ;) School starts on next Sunday. First we have an orientation week. Then is Ramadan (a muslim holiday) and we don't have school then. We will probably go to Langkawi-island at that time. -- Well, plans changed like they always do. We (me, Pekka & Juuso) decided to travel to Sumatra island which is part of Indonesia. And to be more specific we decided to go to Lake Toba. We left from Penang on Friday morning by ferry. Sea was very calm and hole journey to Belawan (Medan's seaport) went quite nice. It took something like 5 hrs, maybe 7 with all those waiting parts. We were supposed to take a hotel room in Medan for one night but plans changed again when two guys offered us a minibus ride straight to Parapat (near Lake Toba). We had just came from harbor but we thought that if we could get to Parapat on this night we would save a lot of time. So we accepted their offer (minibus ride to Parapat - 50 000 Rp). Minibusses in Indonesia are like minivans, very small cars. There were we 3, a few guys from England and one japanese girl. Plus couple of locals. So we didn't have much space for our legs. That was a horrible ride (taking smthing like 5 hrs). Finally in the middle of the night we arrived to Parapat. We took a hotel room from Blue Monday. It was 20 000 Rp. Not very nice place but we were so tired that we could have slept almost anywhere. In the morning (SAT) we ate breakfast and bought bus-tickets back to Medan. That was 25 000 Rp each. It was something like 11.00 am. when we got to Parapat's harbor. We took a boat to island Samosir.You see, Lake Toba is a huge crater lake in the middle of Sumatra. And there is this quite big island, called Samosir, inside the lake. Water in Lake Toba is very clear and clean. And it's fresh water as well, not salt water. I would describe Lake Toba area as a paradise. It's a great place for swimming, the views are amazing and local people are very friendly. There lives this unique Batak population. It's worth to go and see them dancing and playing music. I enjoyed that very much. Horas!On Saturday afternoon we wandered around Tuk Tuk (place on Samosir) and compared the prizes of bungalows. Finally we took this cosy room from Carolinas. It was like 75 000 Rp per day.On the following days we: swam a lot, wandered around the island (by walking and by motorbikes), ate a lot, got friends, trekked up to the mountains and had a lot of fun every single day. On Monday we had to change our room but the change was quite nice. We got this beautiful batak house and for only 40 000 Rp. I recommend those cheap batak houses!At last Thursday morning came and we had to leave from that paradise island. I think 5 days what we spent there is quite OK time. Maybe a full week could be a little better.After leaving Lake Toba area we travelled to Medan by big bus, we took a hotel room and in the next morning (Friday) we left from Indonesia heading back to Penang Island. On Saturday we had a 'school day'. We went to Pulau Jerajak (near Penang) with almost every exchange-students. Nice day: Jungle trek (I saw some monkeys, cool!), eating, different kind of games and swimming in a pool. In the evening I was very tired. We watched a DVD-movie and got e-mails from Indonesia. It's nice to have friends from all over the world! Still going great. I'm having best time here in South-East Asia. First month went very fast. 8 months to go :)

Avainsanat: big beatiful batu bangkok asked area airport address by free food floor finnish finnair fast exchange england eating east each dvd deep days dancing clear clean class check cheap changed change cars card business bus breakfast bought bonus boat blue blog house hole helsinki happaned games friends friday fresh iives live like leave koh japanese it island indonesia pekka pay parts muslim music movie month monday me longer saturday salt rp royal rest ready population playing phone people some small single school saw save tickets thursday they theory thailand technology tampere swimming sunny students straight starts staff spend space south trek traveling travel train traffic tired you write who ville view vantaa university tuesday