Lessons of the Road #4 – Still Learning

by Poi on May 9, 2011

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A few people have told us how now we’ve been on the road for a while we are experienced travellers or backpackers, if that’s the case how come we keep making such stupid mistakes – Getting lost in Kuala Lumpur.

I think all of the comments must have gone to our head, we felt invincible. I’m pretty sure you could throw me into the Amazon and I’d survive for weeks with nothing but a penknife from a Christmas cracker.

Well, that must have been what was going through our head when we went to Kuala Lumpur recently without any map or clue of where anything was, we just figured we’d wander around and everything would be fine.

We got to the first hostel okay thanks to a late night taxi but when it came to the second one things didn’t quite go as smoothly….

Kirsty with a statue

What ever happens, Kirsty still has time to pose with random things!

We took the underground with our bags for a few stops before changing to the monorail for a couple more and ended up in the right part of town. We stopped for a coffee and asked someone for directions to the hostel.

We walked and walked for ages until, the surroundings started to look a little familiar, very familiar in fact. We weren’t losing our minds, we had actually walked all the way back to where our previous hostel was and we couldn’t quite believe it, the one map we had checked made it looks miles away rather than a 20 minute walk, why had we taken public transport?

To make things worse, the directions we had been given where completely wrong and the hostel was actually right behind where we had asked.

So after taking a train to the other side of town and walking all the way back to where we started, we now had to walk back again.

So who was it who called us experienced travellers again?


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

laradunston May 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I think these things happen to everyone every now and again – we have our moments too! – it’s just not everyone has the guts to write about them 🙂

I’ve also learnt over the years to resist wherever asking for directions, esp. in the Middle East & some Asian countries where people will give you any old directions, even when they have no clue – they have the best intentions – they either don’t want to lose face or they want to somehow try to help you.



Kirsty May 11, 2011 at 10:12 pm

So true, I love the smile they give you and your like yes you know what the hell I am talking about and then they just shoot you down by saying no!!!


Jaime May 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm

LOVE IT… I sometimes have the same problem. I am HORRIBLE with directions and most of the time have no clue where I am wandering too. Most of the time I am not carrying my guidebook with me or a map so I have to wing it like yall did there. I find it funny when I end up walking in a whole other direction especially when the hostel is a few blocks from the main plaza.
Jaime´s last blog post ..Photo Round Up – Week 10


Kirsty May 11, 2011 at 10:10 pm

It was fine as we didnt have big packs, if we did have big packs Poi would be running away very very quickly. I get very very tired and niggly fast on travel days


Annie May 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm

How annoying! Especially on a hot day!

If it makes you feel better (and it should) today I walked in a huge circle in Florence without realizing it. I have lived here for a year and a half.

Sometimes people get lost. 🙂
Annie´s last blog post ..What happens when you know too much


Kirsty May 11, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Haha yeah it definitely makes me feel better!! The lesson we have learnt is to find out where we want to go before we set off to go there!!!


Laur @ The Mad To Live May 9, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Oh good ole KL… what a crazy place. I got crapped on by a bird at the free range bird museum haha. I guess that’s supposed to be good luck?! LOL.

I am 100% directionally challenged so I feel you on this girl haha. I’m not sure how I even got from A to B a few years ago before GPS were everywhere!

– Laur 🙂


Kirsty May 11, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Oh dear, yeah lets say that it is good luck…. I am crap at following gps especially walking, I get frustrated if they dont spot short cuts etc.


Jen May 10, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Haha. I don’t ask for directions here cuz ppl never give you the right ones. As Lara stated it might be that ppl will just tell you something while meaning well, or it might what my cynical self is saying: they just like throwing tourists off. Who knows?

Either way, (and sorry to do this) haha! (plus point and snicker). We did that in Singapore. Lost the only Starbucks with Wifi that wasn’t “Public Wifi.” Took us 6 hours to find it…in Singapore…don’t feel bad.
Jen´s last blog post ..No Longer A Foreign City


Kirsty May 11, 2011 at 10:06 pm

It’s so true, in this case though the first guy didn’t know but his friend piped up that he did…. and then sent us in the totally wrong direction!!! We were a bit frazzled by the end but as soon as we had a shower we were back to normal!


joshywashington May 11, 2011 at 2:03 am

the more you get lost the more experience you have!!
joshywashington´s last blog post ..On top of a sky scraper in Seattle


Kirsty May 11, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Haha – usually my internal compass is pretty good, but I guess you need to know where you are trying to go in the first place for that to work!!!


oliver May 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I hardly ask for directions cause i always end up in the wrong spot anyway… i think locals get a laugh sending tourists the wrong way


Poi May 14, 2011 at 9:22 am

Maybe be some of them, I’m sure most of them want to help, I hope.


Shaun May 13, 2011 at 2:23 am

Erica and I had a similar experience here in Puebla. We figured it would be easy to find a bus to Centro with no information at all. Needless to say, when we eventually arrived downtown it was via taxi. We’ve had really bad luck with asking for directions too. In fact, we weren’t even able to find someone to tell us which direction the street was after the sun had set.
Shaun´s last blog post ..Bulgaria – a land of MANY surprises


Poi May 14, 2011 at 9:24 am

Glad yo know we’re not the only ones who think we are invincible.

I’d say there are roughly 50,000 buses go past were we are in Bangkok everyday and I don’t have a clue where any of them go.


Monica @ Total Travel Bug September 23, 2011 at 2:24 am

Haha. I feel your pain! As someone who actually (genuinely) has absolutely has no sense of direction I am constantly lost. Always lost.

Love this quote: ‘I’m pretty sure you could throw me into the Amazon and I’d survive for weeks with nothing but a penknife from a Christmas cracker.’


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