We first talked to Don and Vik, an Australian couple who found themselves in Malaysia as the first lockdown hit the country, back in August.
They have now been in Malaysia for almost a year so we thought that we would catch up with them and see how their Christmas and New Year went.
You can follow their adventures through their Instagram account @cassidyholidays
You have now been in Malaysia for 11 months, does it feel like home now or does it still feel like a holiday or travelling?
Malaysia really feels like home now. We live out of a wardrobe rather than a suitcase and have a common kitchen that we use day in, day out. We see the same faces all the time, both locals and expats and it feels like a community. We also volunteer at an animal shelter.
Can you tell us more about the animal shelter?
Our land lady is good friends with the person who runs the shelter which houses dogs and cats. She knew that we like to walk a lot and suggested we could help walking the dogs.
Every three days we go to the shelter for two hours helping with the dogs who each get a 15 minutes walk.
Are you still happy that you stayed in Malaysia at the start of the pandemic when you could have returned to Australia?
We are very happy to have spent our time here. Throughout the pandemic it has been cheaper living here than in Australia and, especially in the early days, it felt safer here as well. In fact it still feels safer here in Langkawi than back home.
How are the locals treating you?
The locals are great. They are glad that we are here and to have our limited support from our business and we spend a lot of time with them daily.
We moved to the Langkawi Chantique Hotel 6 months ago and are very happy here with no plans to leave until the situation improves. We spent one night at the Pelangi Beach Resort and Spa to use some expiring rewards points.
Are there many other travellers where you are and do you manage to socialise with them?
There is a large group of expats mostly long termers but there are some month to month and yacht people as well. We all share tips and information on cheap products, the hard to find things we all crave and where to find the best meals.
The general mood is upbeat and positive.
How was Christmas in Malaysia? Did you manage to celebrate? Was it very different to an Australian Christmas?
On Christmas Eve we stayed at the Aloft Langkawi Pantai Tengah to take advantage of the huge Christmas morning breakfast buffet.
A local hotel did a four-course Christmas dinner for expats for 60 ringgit (Approx £11 or US$15. It was more of an English Christmas dinner than an Australian one but was a welcome change from rice and noodles.
We managed to Skype family and friends back home.
Were New Year celebrations fun? What did you do?
New Years was largely a non-event for us. The fun police cancelled all live music although our accommodation had a small private party which was great.
Chinese New Year is approaching fast. How do you think Malaysia will celebrate?
Very interesting question.
Some regions may try to stop the celebrations but I feel that there are some things that you can’t really stop. In Langkawi I am guessing that bars will still shut at 10pm and live music will still be banned.
From a personal point of view I would guess we will have a private party here at the hotel. There are five rooms with expats and another five with families, some of whom are musicians.
How are the current lockdown measures in Malaysia affecting you?
There are several overlapping lockdowns currently, many of the stricter measures are elsewhere in Malaysia. However for us there is no travel and no live music. Langkawi has stayed green zone and our hosts are understanding and helpful.
We don’t really have any issues.
How do you think the recently announced State of Emergency will affect you?
It is far to early to say really but we are used to living in Malaysia now which suits us just fine.
How long do you think you will be staying in Malaysia?
The State of Emergency probably means that we won’t even have the option of leaving Malaysia until September.
Are you looking forward to your one year anniversary in Malaysia?
It will be one year Malaysia and two years travelling and to be honest it is all just par for the course. It’s not like we have anywhere that we need to be.
We have tropical weather and have escaped the worst of the virus.
We are living the dream and are born to lockdown.
When you can finally leave Malaysia where do you think will be your next destination?
I have a feeling that Thailand will be first to open up and then on to Australia to see friends and family but only when two-way travel has restarted so we can leave again.
We are happy to have any vaccine in any country and quarantine if required.
All pictures by Donald Cassidy
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