As some of you might know, since mid August we are in Portugal. But soon our rather lengthy visit to Portugal will come to an end. Because on 8th of November we will start moving South. And eventually we will end up in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, for, umm, the fifth time.
Why Portugal? Why Malaysia? Why Asia? Why, why, why?
Originally our plan was to earn extra money in the Netherlands, as we already had been there before and already had necessary documents to work there, then go to Asia and later to New Zealand, using working holiday visa. But plans tend to change. We didn’t like the job and we didn’t like living conditions, so we decided to quit our job in Amsterdam and move on. We decided not to search for another job in Netherlands, but try to work remotely. Kaspars had a small freelance gig at that time already, and I also got one, at least for some time.
But at that time we had very little money left. Because we had traveled extensively in last months, and respectively we almost didn’t earn a cent during these months. And in addition until 2 days before we quit we felt sure, that that’s it – we will work in the Netherlands for at least 3-6 months. So, again, we spent more and also on the things that we wouldn’t otherwise, when moving from Latvia to Amsterdam.
That’s why we started to look for opportunities to base ourselves somewhere for 2-3 months, where we could spend as little money as possible, at the same time having enough time to work. And we needed to find it as fast as possible. Because we left job on the same day, when we decided to do so, and we left our apartment only 12 hours later. We wanted to find some interesting Workaway volunteering project or some house sitting opportunity.
But we didn’t need to do that, as our friends from Portugal whom we met in Goa last winter, agreed to host us! So that’s how in less than a week we ended up in a small, lovely town in Central Portugal.
During our stay in Portugal we were able to save some money, thanks to our remote jobs and few days of fruit picking. Despite the fact that it is the end of October, weather still is very pleasant here. But we can feel it – winter is coming! Few more weeks and weather probably won’t be that nice anymore.
We had different ideas as what to do next and where to move next. But at the end we came to conclusion, that what we want most is to be somewhere warm and somewhere interesting for us, like in Southeast Asia. Even if it means living more frugally for some time again. Because while cost of living there is lower, you can’t get there for like 30 euros, which would be possible, if we decided to move to, let’s say, Morocco.
Another reason why we chose Asia is because of low cost of living. You don’t need as much money as living in Europe. And while we are improvising and experimenting with opportunities, it is very important to live somewhere cheaply.
And, why to Malaysia? It is easy to get there as Europeans don’t need visa. Upon arriving in Malaysia the passport is stamped and it is possible to stay in the country for 90 days. And we know Malaysia very well, which means it’s easier for us.
Other good options for long term stay are Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, but still we chose Malaysia over them. Because Latvians need to apply for a Thai visa in advance or get 14 day visa on arrival, which in our situation is not enough. Vietnam and Cambodia – flights from Europe are more expensive to these two countries, and in most times you will still need to go through Malaysia or Thailand. So why not stay in Malaysia first and go to other countries later?
And we are really looking forward to returning to Malaysia even though we have been there few times already.
Our itinerary: Lisbon – Bucharest – Dubai – Guanzhou – Kuala Lumpur
In order to see more on our way to Malaysia, we will stop in few places.
First, we will go to Bucharest, capital of Romania, where we will stay with our friends, whom we met in… Malaysia and who will return to Malaysia as well, only few weeks after us. Their plan is to spend a whole winter there. We learned it only a week after we made a decision to go to Malaysia.
Then we will fly to Dubai, where we will spend one day and one night. The night we will probably spend in the airport (or maybe we know someone, who can host us?), but during the daytime we will head into the city to explore this booming and modern big city of Arab Emirates. We like skyscrapers. And so Dubai always seemed like an interesting place for us. Not for too long time, I guess, but for few days or a week. Finally we will see it.
In case you are also interested to visit Dubai, too – from what we found, one of the cheapest flights from Europe to Dubai are from Bucharest, with Wizzair.
Our next stop will be Guanzhou, China. It wasn’t planned. But then, booking a flight from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur we had to choose between two China Southern Airlines flights. They cost the same, only one had longer layover time than the other. Maybe it is possible to leave the airport without visa and spend a day in Guanzhou? Turns out there is such a thing as 72 and 144 hour visa-free transit in China, which in our situation means, that we will be able to do so.
It will be an amazing journey, as we haven’t been to Romania, Dubai and China as well (only Hong Kong)!
Author: Una Baufala
Una is a traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. Apart from traveling and exploring new places she loves to read books. And she adores cats. Together with Kaspars they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since October 2013. WeAreFromLatvia.com is where she shares her travel experiences.