We took a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Penang and because sometimes really great stuff just happens, we arrived just in time for George Town’s annual art festival.
George Town is, at the best of times a hugely vibrant and quirky city so to be there during George Town festival was nothing short of amazing.
We had a couple of spare weeks between when we were due to leave Cambodia and when we were due to arrive back in India to meet Tom’s parents. We decided to spend them in Malaysia since it was the cheapest place to get to and because why not.
The city of Kuala Lumpur conjured up images of high rises, shopping malls and bustling city life. These things all turned out to exist in abundance, but what was so fascinating was that in and amongst them was an array of culture, colour and soul. Beautiful old Buddhist temples sat opposite luxury shopping villages and businessmen enjoyed lunch at tiny local eateries. We didn’t have nearly long enough to explore all that Kuala Lumpur had to offer but in the four days we did spend there, we saw, ate and experienced so much more than we had anticipated.
We stayed in a great little air b’n’b with a charming guy called Zobran, who had moved to Malaysia from Bangladesh to study and work. He gave us an interesting and heartbreaking insight into village life in Bangladesh. Having grown up in a village which had only had electricity for the past 10 years and he described as being incredibly unsafe, he was happy to be living in Kuala Lumpur.
Chiang Mai was a very new kind of experience for us. Coming from India, where real life is always happening around you and everything will keep ticking over with or without you, we had anticipated that things would feel different in a place where the tourist trail is neatly pruned and waiting for you. Bangkok had been everything we had expected. Loud, mostly good fun and pretty exhausting. With Chiang Mai, we didn’t know what to expect. We headed there because everyone said it was nice and the food was great (ok, ok, what we actually heard was that there were vegan cinnamon rolls there). But to be honest, at this point in our trip we still weren’t entirely sure what our idea of a “nice” place to visit was.
Chiang Mai is a walking city and there are loads of things to see, in particular, a lot of beautiful temples. The streets are lined with artwork and the choice of food is overwhelming!
We stayed in an absolute dream of a place called Kittawan Home & Gallery, which we found on air b’n’b. Our host Non was one of the most accommodating we’d met in Thailand. He and his girlfriend, an architect who designed the whole place were just wonderful people. They went out of their way to prepare us a special breakfast, which we enjoyed in their beautiful garden. Our room was luxuriously minimal and clean, with a shower we would have killed for at various times during our travels around India.
One blisteringly hot day during our extended stay in Delhi, we decided to head out to see some street art. It’s often one of the first things we google when we arrive in a new place and we knew this was going to be a good’un.
Thanks to St+art festival which took place at the beginning of 2016, Lodhi Colony is now awash with colour. Here’s what their site has to say about it:
“St+art Festival is a collaborative platform for street artists from India and around the world. It works on the idea of ‘Art for Everyone’ with the primary objective of making art accessible for wider audiences while having a positive impact on society. The two month long urban arts festival will change the visual landscape of the city with art interventions in public spaces through murals, installations, performances, workshops, talks and screenings.”