The art of travelling light


The art to travelling well, is to travel light, and these darned cases became the bane of our lives.

How I came to dread carting them around.

IMG_3986 (1)

Butterworth Ferry, this became torturous…

They’ve been hauled up and down endless flights of steps and steep slopes in relentless, punishing heat.

IMG_3991 (1)

Dragged across ramps to access boats and ferries.


Bounced on one wheel, usually backwards, through markets, the only way through to the bus stations….


crushed into coaches,


ragged up and down escalators,

IMG_3851 (1)and hurled into water taxi’s.

As time went by they became heavier and more cumbersome. They blocked entrances on crowded local buses, rocked light boats and tumbled down flights of stairs. They rolled around shuttles and buses, developing an uncanny will of their own. The amount of times we had to recover the dratted things was unbelievable!

How they still have wheels and handles is a mystery to me. How we didn’t lose them, or deliberately abandon them is far more remarkable! I couldn’t even sit on them, didn’t dare to break a camera lens…or my wildlife cammie.

Blood, sweat and tears were involved while carting them around Malaysia, and kicking them became a pleasurable habit.

Never. Ever. Again!


Aboard a speedboat heading to Taman Negara.

So, all in all, our travelling involved three planes, one train, three coaches, four mini-buses, three local buses, one monorail, three ferries, one boat, fifteen water taxis, six taxis, four speed boats, four cable cars, thirty shuttles and one duck.

That one duck sure was fun!


The train to Penang from Kuala Lumpur.

Despite the dreaded luggage, the travelling was a bonus and became enlightening. Instead of the trip being disjointed and separated by flights, places flowed seamlessly into each other and view after breathtaking view presented itself. You get a real feel for how the locals live, for better or worse when travelling as the locals do. You also get a genuine feel for the country and it’s culture.

IMG_3926 (1)

A coach from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur.

Now, I’m home!

Seventeen gnat bites, thirty eight mosquito bites, two leech bites, innumerable blisters on hands and feet, two possible cases of sunstroke, a sunburnt chin?!?  a suspected fractured little toe, when the suitcase rolled over it… and a couple of food poisoning incidences later, I finally have a chance to reflect upon our adventures.

Lessons learnt?

Travel light.

Travel light.

Travel light….and…book decent hotels!!!

Some have been awful, yet others have been simply outstanding, so those deserve a huge shout out! Here’s three that are exceptional, in terms of friendly, helpful staff, great accommodation, excellent service and good food.


 The Holiday Inn, Melaka.

If you find yourself here, this hotel is a must, especially if you like being spoilt!


Eastern and Oriental Hotel, Penang.

If you want to experience how royalty are treated, stay here.


Berjaya, Langkawi.

A stunning location, the place to be if you love being pampered.

And Finally….

oddly enough, we didn’t get lost once while travelling through Malaysia. We pottered easily from one form of transport to another.

However, we ended our holiday in Singapore and cut through a shopping mall on route to the river.

Hand on heart, we roamed that hellhole for two hours, even the car park. Eventually I asked a security guy how to get out and he kindly allowed us to use the emergency exit, otherwise we’d still be in there!

A curse on all shopping malls, give me the jungle any day!

  44 comments for “The art of travelling light

  1. February 28, 2017 at 2:13 am

    You’re back! I’ll bet the dogs were glad to see you. Food poisoning and dratted luggage aside, it sounds like a wonderful trip. Can’t wait to hear more.

    • Snow Bird
      March 6, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      Thanks Brenda, it was lovely seeing the dogs and other animals again, they went wild at the sight of

  2. veggiemummy
    February 28, 2017 at 7:04 am

    After dragging similar cases around Thailand, R swore never again – it’s rucksacks all the way! Your holiday sounds utterly amazing; those views! Welcome home to the rainy UK and I look forward to seeing more photos of your travels. One more thing – 2 leech bites?!! xx

    • Snow Bird
      March 6, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      Oh yes, ideally rucksacks are certainly the way to go. I will travel light next time, I have finally learnt my lesson. Leech bites are new to me, they actually bled for two weeks!
      I must say, the weather here is utterly dismal, rain, sleet and wind…..sighs….thanks

  3. February 28, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    A most enlightening post and wonderful pictures.
    It’s clear that you had rather a roller-coaster holiday one way and another. I guess that you’re glad to be home. xx

    • Snow Bird
      March 6, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      Thanks Flighty, the holiday was a marvelous experience. It’s good to be home, well, apart from our awful weather!xxx

  4. February 28, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Welcome home! It sounds like you had an amazing trip, food poisoning aside! Hope to see more. I probably managed to beat you on the mozzie tally. The leech bites though are all yours, yuk!

    • Snow Bird
      March 6, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Thanks Jess, it certainly was an interesting trip, we both really enjoyed ourselves. Ouch re your mozzie bites!!! I’ve learnt that leech bites take two weeks to stop bleeding. xxx

  5. February 28, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    An amazing adventure, quite a lot of courage demonstrated throughout. Fascinating pictures. There’s a lot to be said for the interspersal of ‘home’ luxuries. (Lots to appreciate after landing in grotty accommodation).

    It’s always another world to experience when you travel as locals do, if you can, and you obviously can do.

    Not sure though, how you would travel really light for two or three weeks, with all your digital equipment in tow.
    “Brainwave”…….take film crew along. 😉

    • Snow Bird
      March 6, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      It really did feel like an adventure, the travelling was such a bonus, cases aside! It was surprisingly easy using public transport in it’s many forms, much more interesting than flying.
      I think clothes may have to be washed…hahaha…oh, if only I was Attenborough….I bet he never travels light! Thanks

  6. February 28, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Love your post! Totally agree about the luggage, it was a killer in Italy with all the stairs for us. Don’t know how you coped with the humidity in Langkowi … I just wanted to sleep all day. Thanks for the hotel tip in Penang. Look forward to more stories..

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks Gerrie. I can just imagine how awful it must have been carting cases around Italy, there are steps absolutely everywhere!
      Langkowi certainly was hot and humid, I thought I was about to pass out while walking in the sun there on day, I wonder how the locals cope! That certainly is a super hotel in

  7. February 28, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    And you managed to survive to tell the tale – well done.

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      It’s always good, surviving to tell the tale. I have learnt my lesson the hard way

  8. March 1, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Lovely photo at the top of this post, Dina! Just striking! I’ve gotten better at traveling light, but you’re right, there’s always more to pare down!

    It sounds like an exciting and lovely journey; although I’m sure it feels great to be home with the 4-leggeds and winged ones, I’m wondering if you find yourself mentally traveling back to those sites and that amazing scenery now and then…?

    I look forward to your coming tales and photos! rest up and take care of yourself.

    Smooches to all at your happy home. 🙂

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      That photo was a storm out to sea, it was most dramatic, I felt sorry for all the people out in little shrimp boats.
      Travelling light is going to be a challenge for me, but travel light I shall, there always seems to be things that are neither used or worn, it’s just about figuring that out I suppose…
      It’s always good to come home, I do miss the dogs and Curly. I didn’t know where I was for days after arriving home, yes, the mind certainly does wander back to certain locations. Thanks Kitty. Smooches and hugs to all of you

  9. March 1, 2017 at 12:52 am

    What an adventure! You’ll have enough stories to last a lifetime! :o)

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks Casa, it really was a marvelous

  10. Linda P.
    March 1, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Sounds like an amazing trip! I hope you’re resting up and I look forward to hearing more.

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      We sure did need a rest upon returning home, but loved this trip, so interesting. Thanks

  11. March 1, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Good morning dear Dina….Well this made me roar with laughter….and yes the key to good travel is always to travel as light as is possible 🙂 I love the look on Hubs face – even though enjoying one of the better hotels, he looks rather hot and somewhat surprised to be where he is!:) You are amazing and I will now look forward to hearing more. It must have been wonderful to get home and dump the cases…….

    Sending love Janet. xxx

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Hi Janet, glad you had a good laugh! Yes, hubs does look somewhat phased in that picture doesn’t he…..I don’t think he was expecting to be on such a beautifully decorated table.
      Oh, losing those cases was an absolute joy, we were sick to death of them! Love and hugs to you

  12. March 1, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I am glad you are safely back despite the luggage problems, being used as a a jamboy and the inevitable dodgy tummy. What an amazing trip. I am looking forward to seeing lots of photos.

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      Thanks Chloris, it’s no fun being the jamboy!!! As for dodgy tummy’s…the least said about that the better. It really was a marvelous trip, really

  13. March 1, 2017 at 8:43 am

    So glad that you are safely back once more, what an experience, i look forward to reading all about your trip.

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      Thanks Pauline, it’s always good to come home. We certainly roamed around Malaysia and had a

  14. Jo
    March 1, 2017 at 10:44 am

    It sounds like you’ve had quite the adventure. Looking forward to hearing more.

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks Jo, it was quite the adventure. Good to be home although I hate this weather….sighs…xxx

  15. March 1, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Oh your posts are always so good to read.
    I love that you include ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’ so to speak.

    Your suitcases were really, really bad!

    Great to see your photo’s and good to know that you are safely back.

    Happy March Wishes

    All the best Jan

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      So glad you enjoy my posts. There is always good and bad isn’t there, usually the bad forms all the stories.
      Oh yes, those cases were really, really bad, how silly of us to take so much luggage. Never again though….Thanks

  16. March 2, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Wow – such a lively post! Well done on insisting on travelling like the locals. Totally agree that it gives a completely different ‘feel’ to the country, much more authentic. Although having a nice hotel to stay in should be a must – you need to pick off the leeches, have a decent shower, and attend to all those bites …
    Welcome home!

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      Oh yes, local travel really does add that special something for sure and you get to see so much more of the country. How true about good hotels, there are some truly awful ones out there.
      It sounds like you know far too much about leeches…awful things for sure. The wounds bled for over two weeks! Thanks Gill. xxx

  17. March 4, 2017 at 2:27 am

    But how does one travel light? I think the only way is to constantly be washing your clothes, which can have its own challenges. I agree with you about the good hotels! Anyway, it looks like you had a fascinating trip. Looking forward to seeing more!

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Travelling light is an art, an art I don’t have at the moment but I’ll never cart cases like that around again, they were impossible to lift! I think washing clothes may be the way to go and taking really light items….thanks

  18. March 4, 2017 at 8:48 am

    You have been busy with your bags. Hope you had a great holiday.

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Those bags…I still cringe when I think of them. Thanks

  19. March 4, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    I still remember the experience of landing at a luxe hotel in Tenerife after traveling overland through West Africa. There were great adventures, to be sure. Still — I’ll never forget the look on the face of the fellow who’d escorted me to my room when I said, “I’ll bet you have hot water, too.”

    I’ve pondered how in the world I’d travel with my camera and three lenses. I know many people do it, and take even more equipment than I do. I guess I’m not enough of a photographer that such seems appealing to me. A nice superzoom that fits in the shoulder bag might be just fine.

    Great post, and I’m looking forward to more!

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      How interesting it must have been travelling through West Africa! I’m laughing at you asking the chap if they had hot water….it would be good to hear about that journey!
      Deciding what to take is always difficult, no matter what though, I’ll never take heavy luggage again, it was almost the death of us….and lugging cases in that heat….groans..thanks

  20. March 4, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Oh Dina! How I suffered vicariously through your descriptions of luggage lugged everywhere and everywhichway. I have just got the hang of traveling light for work and can stay a week with a backpack and a tote bag. But vacation travel with camera and gear and clothes… I think you did well and even survived all the bites the local bugs took out of you.

    Your story about Malaysia and Singapore reminded me of my trip to Calcutta. We’d been warned not to bring credit cards and had exchanged some cash. But as it turned out, the shops took Visa card just fine. But when we stopped in Singapore and I was at a large mall, the shops only took cash! Had to go to an ATM and select a withdrawal of 50,000 Somethings having no idea what I’d gotten.

    Welcome home 🙂

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      I could do with a master class from you re travelling light, it was utterly torturous carting those unliftable cases in chronic heat…
      I bet Calcutta was interesting! Would love to hear more!
      I raise my hat to you managing to get out of a mall in Singapore, no mean feat! Thanks

  21. March 5, 2017 at 11:26 am

    What an experience……
    Such treasured memories that will become sweeter with time.
    I admire your perseverance……….with those suitcases

    Welcome home…….

    • Snow Bird
      March 7, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks Cheryl. We do have some marvelous memories. Oh….those hideous cases…shudders…xxx

  22. March 11, 2017 at 9:06 am

    It’s been a while since I travelled abroad but I clearly remember the dilemma of what to pack for a range of different situations. These days I’ve only just mastered the art of packing lightly for a weekend away! I’m sure that you must have been very organised to travel so smoothly through your holiday – although it seems that shopping malls the world over are a nightmare! Glad you’re back safely with pleasant memories! Cxx

  23. Snow Bird
    March 12, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks Caro, we certainly managed the travelling but obviously need to sort our luggage next time! I couldn’t bear to cart cases around like that again so by hook or by crook I’ll travel light…or lighter! xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Facebook