Falling Asleep In Wales

While I was in Manchester, I was deciding on how to get myself to Ireland.


I got two choices to travel from Manchester to Dublin.

Obviously, the fastest and cheapest way is to fly. There are heaps of low-cost airlines in the UK. If I book early a one-way trip to Ireland could cost as low as EUR 10 (RM48).

The other way is to take the train and travel overland through the country of Wales. From there, I can then hop on a ferry to cross the Irish Sea to Dublin.

This takes longer, more expensive and yet somehow it seems more exciting to me.

Most Malaysians don’t know where Wales is. In fact, unless they’ve been to the UK, most Malaysians probably don’t know Wales as a country even exists.

A lot of us tend to think that England = Great Britain = United Kingdom, which is a bit insulting if you were to relate it to the Welsh. Because it is a bit like saying Selangor = Peninsular = Malaysia. 


United Kingdom is a union of four countries, England being just one of them. Wales is another member of the UK, and it has its own political and cultural identity that is very much distinct from the English.

It also has the most kickass flag I ever seen. Because no other country in this world can claim to have a freaking DRAGON on their flag but Wales.


The difference between England and Wales is apparent as soon as my train crossed the country border.

Immediately, I noticed road signs here are written in two languages: English and Gibberish.


It wasn’t until later that I realised "Gibberish" is actually the country’s official language, Welsh.

I find the Welsh language incredibly fascinating. To be able to speak Welsh fluently, you’d first have to hiss and cough and generally make the kinda sounds that only Gollum from Lord of the Rings could make.


Most things written in Welsh are too long and complicated to pronounce.

For example, the word "humps" in Welsh is "twmpathau".


I can imagine the Black Eyed Peas is gonna have so much trouble singing "My Humps" in Welsh.

Anyway, after a 2.5 hour train ride, I finally arrived at a station called Llandudno, which I found out later is NOT pronounced “LAN-DUDE-NO” in Welsh.

My friend Nigel was waiting for me when I arrived at the train station.


Nigel is a Welshman who was planning his visit to Sarawak once, and stumbled across my entry on the Kuching Food Awards. He travelled to Kuching earlier this year and I had the privilege of taking him and his son around to sample our local food.

Little did I know that three months later I would have the chance to visit his hometown as well, and he was nice enough to offer me a place to stay and take me around.

We were supposed to do some sight-seeing on my first day in Conwy, Wales. But I just came off a fourteen hour long flight journey so I was honestly too pooped to do anything at all. I just wanna crash!

So Nigel took me back, and after an excellent dinner cooked by him and his wife Diane, I was ready to hit the sack.


The one thing I love about the Welsh countryside is that it is so peaceful and quiet. So peaceful in fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE not to relax.

When I was younger, I suffered from insomnia. One technique I used is to close my eyes and imagine in my head “how many sheep jump over the fence” to lull myself to sleep.


But in countryside Wales, there is no need to do that at all.

Because there is always a herd of sheep staring at me outside my bedroom window


Even if I cannot sleep, looking at them will confirm make me fall asleep.

What is this 1Malaysia thing I kept hearing about? Is it a new shopping mall like 1Utama?

97 Replies to “Falling Asleep In Wales”

  1. i was eating congee while reading ur blog.
    when i reached the last sentence, it got so funny i puked congee onto my monitor screen. -.-

  2. “Jumping from bridge is prohibited” ;p
    How cold is there??
    I wonder if the sheeps will get cold after their fur being shaved off

  3. ur entry sure brought back lots of fond memories to me…lol i was there for uni and had the most awesome time of my life!

  4. Kenny,
    I dont think you can call Welsh a country much less Scotland a country as well. You mistaken Great Britain and United Kingdom. It is United Kingdom that consists of the many British colonies etc. Hence, UK would also consists of Hong Kong when it was under colonial rule before 1997.
    It is Great Britain and not UK, that is made up of England, Welsh, Scotland and Nothern Ireland.

  5. Haha! They have seasons where they shave the fur off…which is about this time – middle of spring. It’s warmer now, so they won’t freeze their bums off. People here are pretty considerate to animals… Even horses are given rugs to wear so they don’t get cold in the stables…

  6. Wow, never knew that they spoke Gibberish in Wales. Never got a chance to go there since been spending my final year in the North East of England.

  7. Ahhh this brings back very nice memories. We did that too, except that we had our own car. Wales is breathtaking. The ferry was an adventure because we were asleep when we were asked to drive on board! Fun time. Especially fond memories of the friends and people there…

  8. Black eyed peas singing ‘my humps’ would be ‘my twmpathau, my twmpathau, my twmpathau, my twmpathau!!!’

  9. As an Englishman, we say if you look closely you can normally see a Welshman velcroed on the back of each sheep.
    But of course that’s a Myth! Although if you look at the Patron Saint of Wales (Tom Jones), you’ll see his hair has a strange “sheep like” quality…hmm (rubs chin).

  10. Michelle –
    Much of Harry Potter was filmed in Scotland – not Wales.
    Thomas –
    Now you are talking gibberish!
    The UK is made up of Great Britain plus Northern Ireland.
    Are you thinking of the British Empire when you mention the former colonies?
    Wales IS a separate country. It has its own parliament with limited powers. It has its own capital city (Cardiff)but for many legal purposes it is incorporated with England.
    Scotland is most definitely a country in its own right. It has its own parliament and many of the laws there are different from those in England & Wales.
    Bill (from Scotland)

  11. wah, their words really look like some outer space words where pronounciation is totally impossible. but its unique too.
    similar to wales, northern ireland is also part of uk too, but many people haven’t got a clue and thought that NI is another part of ireland..

  12. I’m looking forward to go Wales before reading your post. Now I’m CRAVING to go Wales.
    Can’t believe I’ll be there in another few months!!!

  13. Oh, good good good, I learnt something new. I used to think Hollywood is a country. And then I got B for geography.

  14. Kenny, that thing which involves counting sheep has never work on me…
    I have better chance to get some sleep after 4 glasses of NEscafe by listening to some music… (^^)
    Hmm…wish i can visit europe…

  15. I presume you must have caught the ferry to dublin from anglesey!
    nice town conwy is- quaint- hope you tried their famouse pork pies along the high street!:D

  16. firstly, “WELSH” would mean the people, and the language. correct me if i’m wrong.
    “WALES”, dear Thomas, is the country. It seems that you have failed to get even the most elementary of facts correct.
    with that being said, please refer to the answer given below by Bill from Scotland.

  17. “Most Malaysians don’t know where Wales is. In fact, unless they’ve been to the UK, most Malaysians probably don’t know Wales as a country even exists. ”
    Um, excuse me? Maybe the “most malaysians” you were referring to are the malaysians YOU yourself are surrounded by? because most malaysians I am acquainted to are mostly intellectual. And they definitely know where Wales is situated.
    I mean, I know you’re funny, popular and all, but.. I don’t think you be should making snide comments like that.
    Malaysians DO know where Wales is without having actually been there. It isn’t fair to imply that most malaysians are dumb.

  18. u can take a ship from scotland to belfst in north ireland is quiet cheap but if u wanted to dublin u should take a ferry or a plane by air lingus…i might better..i been to ireland too,is a nice place especially in dublin,belfast(north ireland) and galway a lot of interesting places there.enjoy.

  19. What a fallacy you’re making.
    “Most Malaysians don’t know where Wales is. In fact, unless they’ve been to the UK, most Malaysians probably don’t know Wales as a country even exists. ”
    This statement doesn’t imply that Malaysians are dumb at all. It was you who were implying that Malaysians are dumb. Dumb.

  20. It’s a pity you didn’t managed to explore more of Wales especially around Snowdonia National Park. Wales is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I used to live on top of a hill in a small coastal town in Wales overlooking the town and sea. I miss it heaps.
    Wales rocks!

  21. that picture looks like one of the oldest church in UK which is somewhere near Conwy. I was in Conwy last week and it was very beautiful! When the car crossed the Wales border, I thought I was in a foreign land coz the road signs were in another language. Yeah, now that the weather is getting warmer, the sheep are out now. At the place where I am staying now, I can see sheep whenever I open my eyes every morning and hear them ‘baaaa’ every now and then

  22. Indeed, Wales is extraordinary, it has far-exceeded my expectations. We rented a car on a winter few years ago and went for a 4 days 3 nights road trip from north to south Wales. Wonderful scenery. Snowdon Mount has breathtaking view on the top – hike up for 3 hours, and 2 hours down.

  23. dude. kenny. i believe when u say most malaysian doesnt know where wales is… but most of us have heard of wales. every football fan knows where wales is. =)

  24. Seeing Wales bring back memory of me and my wife went camping at the Great Lakes, a beautiful scenic place.
    That is where my car broke down at Bala.
    Enjoy reading your blog.
    Have a great Day !!!

  25. wow, this is so nice.. my friend keeps telling me to go wales as it’s a nice place.. i’m leaving to uk soon, i wish i have chance to drop by there..

  26. um. Hi. Yes, I wasn’t trying to make an invalid argument and all.
    I was just pointing out that it isn’t fair to be stereotyping people.. or grouping them by country or something, you know? and then make a remark.
    some malaysians are dumb.
    some malaysians are smart.
    but not MOST are dumb.
    (by dumb, i meant..not knowing where Wales is and if it’s a country. I mean, im sure football fans know this. or at least according to iluvalice)
    unless you have some sort of valid statistics proof saying that it is true that most malaysians don’t know where Wales is.
    we can’t underestimate people.
    thats all I’m trying to imply.

  27. So glad you enjoyed my home country. Some facts:
    There is a lot of Anti English sentiment in North and West Wales – common to see the English portion of the Bilingual Signs spray painted out!
    There is no representation of the Welsh Flag on the British National Flag – the Union Jack.
    The Patron St of Ireland (St Patrick) was actually a Welshman.
    The English Tudor Rose is actually a Welsh Emblem dating back from the Welsh House of Tudor.
    The common standard 8 hour working day (8 hours work, 8 hours rest, 8 hours sleep) was invented by a Welsh Industrialist.
    Wales has more Castles than any other country in Europe.

  28. This has made very interesting reading.
    Kenny would love to be here now – the sheep all have lambs – and they are very cute and …….. tasty.
    I note that Kenny did not mention that his nice dinner cooked by my wife & I was ……..LAMB.
    LOL 🙂
    Kenny, you are welcome anytime – but try to choose a time when the temp is warmer than the 5c during your stay.
    See you in December…… Beers in Nomad ?
    Best wishes
    Cymru Am Byth (Wales for ever)

  29. Just made the trip myself, driving from Cardiff to Pembroke, then ferrying to Rosslare in Ireland. I’m just beginning a year here in Wales and saw that same “twmpathau” road sign. Sent it to friends as a sort of quiz – what does it mean and how do you say it? My sister found your blog.
    It is lovely here, isn’t it? But right now it’s raining so hard that it’s feeling biblical around here…

Leave a Reply

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