Asia, Europe · 185 Days · 154 Moments · November 2016

Jo and Duncan's SE Asia travels!


21 May 2017

Back on English soil...

17 May 2017

To round off our time in Borneo and sadly our amazing 6 month adventure we headed to Kota Kinabalu and splashed out on a nice hotel where we spent the next 4 days lounging by the rooftop pool, getting a cheeky Nando's and visiting one of the nearby islands. A perfectly relaxing end to the trip of a lifetime! It's difficult to sum up our last six months with words alone but we can give it ago. We've had the most incredible adventure. We've made so many unforgettable memories. We've seen some of the worlds most beautiful scenery and spent time with some unforgettable wildlife. Six months has flown past when we think about leaving cold and wintery England in November and now it's time to return. We're sad that our travels have come to an end however if there's one thing to take away from this trip it's that the world is as beautiful as it is vast and adventure is there for those who want it. Until our next trip of a life time...

14 May 2017

And our day just kept getting better..we headed to the rainforest discovery centre where they have a canopy walk and various jungle paths you can follow. We started doing the canopy walk but in the midday heat we didn't see much, not even many birds! But just as we were about to give up Duncan saw the tell tale rustling of the trees to signal an orangutan! We stayed on the canopy walk hoping to see the orange ape but had no such luck we just watched the treetops sway as it must have been swinging from branch to branch. A friendly guide at the centre told us there was a trail we could follow on the ground right near where the trees were moving so we abandoned the canopy and carried on the search on foot! From the floor after a short walk I spotted some movement close to us and after waiting patiently for like half an hour we saw them!! Another mother and baby orangutan! And we tracked and found them ourselves! We stayed and watched them for 2 hours uninterrupted. It was amazing ๐Ÿ˜
After seeing the elephants yesterday, we set off on our last river cruise hoping to catch a glimpse of a wild orangutan but unfortunately we weren't so lucky. En route back to Sepilok we stopped off at the caves where they collect rare birds nests to make the (very expensive) birds nest soup. While making our way towards the cave our luck changed as we heard a rustle in the trees and a wild orangutan with a baby appeared above us shortly followed by another young orangutan! As good as it was to see the orangutans at the rehab centre in Sepilok, nothing beats seeing one in the wild. After watching the orangutans for a while we made our way into the cave which was smelly, dark and alive with hundreds of birds, bats and cockroaches!! We also saw a hideous looking millipede that stings if you touch it! On our way back to the bus we stopped (again) to watch the orangutans some more and there were another 2 swinging through the trees to join the others! 5 wild orangutans!! ๐Ÿต๐Ÿ’

13 May 2017

The next day started with another trip down the river scouting out the local wildlife. After breakfast we started our 3 hour round trip trek of the jungle where we saw many creepy crawlies including tiger leeches, millipedes and centipedes and some beautiful, colourful birds! We walked to a nearby lake where we stopped to take in the beauty of being in the rainforest before walking back to the lodges for lunch. The morning hadn't been too successful for spotting the likes of the orangutans, pygmy elephants, clouded leopard or other rare creatures of Borneo but that all changed with our afternoon river cruise! We got to see the Pygmy elephants!! And not just 1 or 2.... we saw a massive herd of 50!! The elephants were playing in the river, wading through the muddy banks and eating all the plants around them! They were gorgeous! Not much smaller then an Asian elephant and apparently not spotted for 3 months we spent a good 1.5hrs just watching this huge family overwhelmed with our luck ?

12 May 2017

Our guide Max was great at pointing out all the animals and birds we otherwise would of missed like a small baby croc and could tell us all the different types of exotic bird we saw including 4 different types of hornbill. After dinner we had our first night walk through the jungle! In true rainforest style there had been a small downpour that afternoon leaving the trail wet, muddy and a leeches heaven! So after covering ourselves best we could to avoid the little bloodsuckers and with rented wellies we started our trek. Within the first 10 mins of our walk we spotted a civet cat high up in the canopy above us which was incredible to see!! The civet didn't even look like a cat but was ridiculously cute. It's hard to spot the nocturnal animals as they are very shy and hear us coming however, we did come across a colourful little bird that didn't fly away as we came close 'cause it can't see at night. All in all a successful first day ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿฆ…๐ŸŠ
The last big splurge of our trip was a 2 day 1 night stay at the nature lodge on the Kinabatangan river! The Kinabatangan river is one of the best places to spot wildlife in Borneo and was recommended to us by a few different people and it didn't disappoint!! The first day started with a trip to the orangutan rehab centre in Sepilok where we again got to see the gorgeous ginger fools feeding and playing in the nursery and just generally being cheeky! From there we had a huge lunch all provided by the nature lodge before starting the 2hr drive to the river. On arrival at the nature lodge, after a quick welcome drink and run down of the itinerary, we had our first river cruise which was 2hrs of spotting the wildlife that call the river home. We saw the notoriously naughty macaques and their bigger cousins the proboscis monkeys (whose noses are just as big as they look on tv!)

11 May 2017

After the orangutan rehabilitation centre we visited the sun bear sanctuary. Sun bears are the worlds smallest bears and are unbelievably cute!! They can be found all across SE Asia but sanctuaries are needed to protect and raise awareness for the sun bears as babies are sold as pets and adults are caged and used for the tourism industry as dancing bears or their parts are sold for use in 'medicine'. These little black bears have a yellow crescent patch of fur on their chests giving them their sun bear name! They love honey just like Winnie the Pooh and are definitely up there now as one of our favourite animals!
After 3 flights and a 5 hour stop in Kota Kinabalu we made it to Sandakan, Borneo! We got a taxi from the airport to take us to Sepilok which is one of the best places to see wildlife in Borneo. After dropping off our bags we headed straight to the orangutan rehabilitation centre. The centre is incredible! There are no boundaries so the orangutans are semi wild. They are free to roam the jungle as they please but also remember when feeding time is, so normally return for some easy pickings! There's no guarantee you'll see orangutans but we got lucky! At feeding time there was 1 orangutan keenly following the man carrying the food. We also got close to another orangutan as it made its way along the railing of the footbridge towards the nursery where the baby orangutans are kept until they have the skills to make it in the jungle alone!

10 May 2017

Today we head to the last country of our trip!! Borneo here we come!! โœˆ๏ธ

8 May 2017

We spent today at the Robinson's shopping centre in Puerto Princessa. We looked into doing the underground river tour but unfortunately it's a bit too expensive for us to do so instead we chose the much cheaper option of spending the day at the cinema!! We went to see two films, the circle and guardians of the galaxy vol 2! The circle was a pretty poor film which didn't have a very good storyline but at about ยฃ2.70 a ticket we weren't complaining that much. Guardians of the galaxy on the other hand was really good! As well as browsing a few shops in between films Duncan chose to try out one of the massage chairs which pummelled his back much to my amusement ๐Ÿ˜‚

7 May 2017

Tour Day! ๐Ÿข๐Ÿ›ถโญ๏ธ So today we did a tour of the surrounding islands and reefs off of Port Barton. Our first stop was at turtle point where we could see, you guessed it, sea turtles!! I was lucky enough to see 2! one small, very quick green turtle (who we couldn't keep up with for long) and one much bigger, slower turtle making its way along the ocean floor looking for coral to eat! It was so good seeing and swimming with turtles again. Lunch was on a small island where we got to chill for an hour or so in the sunshine while our lunch was cooked. Unfortunately that's when the weather turned! It was definitely a tropical downpour and only lasted a few mins! Next, more snorkelling and with that more rain, this time even heavier with some thunder and lightening! We had to wait in the middle of the sea for it to pass so the captain could see where he was going! Everyone jumped in the sea to keep warm - sounds crazy but it was like a bath! ๐Ÿ›

6 May 2017

So today was a bit of a wasted day, we were meant to book to do a tour but in our beach bum mindset yesterday we forgot to book it!! We also realised we needed more cash but Port Barton doesn't have an ATM which meant hopping on another scooter and driving an hour and a half to the nearest town to get cash. Once we got there we looked everywhere and couldn't find an ATM we even got the local police to help and still no luck! And to top it off it chucked it down with rain on the hour and a half drive back again ๐ŸŒง Our lack of funds left us with not being able to afford to stay another day in Port Barton as we had hoped and afford to pay for our accommodation and travel to Puerto Princessa. BUT... the very lovely owner of our guest house said we could pay her for our accommodation by cash transfer once we got to Puerto Princessa and access to an ATM! Yaaaay! That means with the last of our money, time to book a tour for tomorrow....

5 May 2017

Today we rented a scooter and headed to white beach which is a lovely curved stretch of white sand beach lined by palm trees with hammocks strung between them! It's one of those picture perfect beaches that you expect to see in a holiday brochure, beautiful ๐Ÿ˜ Before getting to the beach we stopped off at the jungle bar for a drink. Jungle bar is a bar high on a hill which gives you a great view of the surrounding jungle canopy and is quiet and relaxing, would be the perfect place to settle for a few hours with a good book! At the beach, Duncan made himself comfortable in one of the hammocks while I sunbathed both cooling off in the sea when the 30 degree heat got too much! ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿ”ฅ

4 May 2017

Unfortunately we've spent the last couple of days being unwell with flu!! ๐Ÿ˜ท we left Nacpan and headed back to El Nido where we sought the relief of an air conditioned room with cable tv! A quick trip to the doctors and we were given some medicine but were mostly told to stay out the sun and rest. After 2 days of practically not leaving our room (which was well over our budget for accommodation) and watching A LOT of movies we decided to leave El Nido and head to Port Barton. Not only are the rooms more in our price range but we are both feeling much better ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

1 May 2017

More from Nacpan beach ๐ŸŒ… joined by our furry friend Professor Nibbles ๐Ÿถ

30 April 2017

Beach hut #2 ๐Ÿ’š Today, much like yesterday has been spent going between laying on the sun loungers and having a dip in the sea! 2 very relaxing days well spent! ๐ŸŒžโ›ฑ

29 April 2017

Our first little beach hut on Nacpan beach! We ended up spending just one night here as there wasn't any running water but luckily found another beach hut with water and for a cheaper price! Yaaay! โ˜บ

28 April 2017

Today we arranged to go on a tour to see some of the surrounding islands, beaches and lagoons which was really good fun and so beautiful! The tour started with us going to a nearby island to swim, snorkel and sunbathe we then stopped at the 'secret' lagoon where you could do more snorkelling and swim around the lagoon, after a short stint of snorkelling we chose to spend the rest of our time at secret lagoon taking pictures on the boat as the lagoon was surround by towering stone casks which made for some great pictures! Lunchtime meant stopping at another island to chill on the beach while the boatmen cooked us all a very tasty lunch then it was straight on to big lagoon for more amazing views. Our last stop of the day was at small lagoon where we rented a kayak to cruise around taking in more breathtaking scenery and got some good footage on the action cam! All round a fun filled day and now we're looking forward to spending the next few lazing on Nacpan beach! ๐Ÿ›ถ๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ“ท

27 April 2017

We flew into Puerto Princessa and in the afternoon (after a long nap) we got the bus to the main part of town and walked along the baywalk which is a promenade lined with restaurants and street food vendors with a great view of the bay! There is more to do in Puerto Princessa which we hope to see when we return to catch our flight out of the Philippines. We got a 5 hour bus to El Nido this morning which is a popular seaside town with amazing beaches. Today we got a scooter and drove to 2 of the nearby beaches and they were both stunning! Lio beach is a long stretch of white sand and they're currently building a resort there, even still there was hardly anyone else on the beach! Nacpan beach is rated as the second best beach in the world!! And we could see why! Lush green palm trees line the soft white sandy beach and the water is so clear and blue it's like liquid glass! We loved it so much we have booked to stay for 3 nights in a nice little hut right on the beach! ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ–

26 April 2017

A VERY long day travelling to Palawan, Philippines! From door to door it took us roughly 20 hours ๐Ÿ˜ด our route was Bali - Kuala Lumpur (stop for 3.5hrs) - Manila (stop for 5hrs) - Palawan (feeling very sleepy!) but it's definitely worth the trip as what we've seen so far of Palawan is beautiful! ๐Ÿ˜

24 April 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DUNCAN!!! ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽˆ๐Ÿ’— For Dunk's birthday we spent the day (again) working on our tans by the pool! And that evening we went to Bubba Gump Shrimp for dinner! We decided to go there to celebrate the moment we saw the restaurant when we first arrived in Bali almost a month before. Excited was an understatement and it didn't disappoint! After a platter full of shrimp and free frozen "lemonup" drinks we were stuffed! (Duncan wouldn't let me tell them it was his birthday so he didn't get to stand up and dance to the birthday song in front of everyone else.... gutted! ๐Ÿ˜œ) ๐Ÿค๐ŸŸ๐ŸŽ‚

22 April 2017

We had one day in Maumere before our flight back to Bali, there wasn't lots to do as it's mostly an industrial town with boats coming in from China for business so we spent most of our time arranging our onward travel plans to the Philippines at the local Internet cafe. Back in Kuta, Bali! We flew back 2 days before our flight onto Manila to give us some time to relax on the beach and to have time to celebrate Duncan's birthday!! ๐ŸŽ‰ We decided to splash out a few extra pounds to stay somewhere with a pool to laze around by which is such a nice change! We have very much lived up to the backpacker beach bum lifestyle the last couple of days, renting a scooter to go from sunbathing by the pool to sunbathing on one of Bali's white sand beaches ๐Ÿ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿ‘™

20 April 2017

Our last stop on Flores before flying out of Maumere was a place called Moni. Moni is a lovely village in the hills with some great views and good places to stay. Most backpackers head to Moni to visit Mt Kelimutu - a volcano with 3 lakes at the top, all of which are different colours. We decided not to visit at sunrise as most visitors do because we had heard that although the views are good, the lakes aren't in their full glory until the suns been up a couple of hours. So at 8am we got a car to take us up the mountain then hiked for half an hour to get a glimpse of these natural phenomenons. The colours in the lakes can change due to all sorts of components for example how much oxygen is in the water. Normally the lakes are green, red and black resulting in great pictures! Unfortunately for us when we visited the lakes weren't as blatantly different, just three different shades of blue! But even still a remarkable thing to see!

17 April 2017

We finally made it to Riung on Easter Monday in time to watch the sun go down at the harbour and watch the fruit bats make their daily flight inland to find some food! The next day we arranged to do the 17 island tour, which is the main reason tourists visit. Riung has some beautifully crystal clear water and amazing coral, perfect for snorkelling about an hours boat journey off the mainland and to top it off the small islands dotted around with their white sand beaches make a very picturesque setting. The tour started with a visit to see the "Flying Foxes" (fruit bats ๐Ÿฆ‡) as they flit around the trees of the island they call home looking for somewhere to sleep the day away. The bats are incredible to witness and are SO big! Their little furry red heads actually make them look rather sweet and you can see why the locals call them flying foxes! We then went on to 3 snorkelling spots each filled with an abundance of different fish and a few (very creepy) sea snakes! ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ๐Ÿก

16 April 2017

We were hoping to head to Riung from Ruteng but again due to Easter weekend we found ourselves instead stuck in the town of Bajawa for 2 days which actually, wasn't too bad! Bajawa sits in the shadow of Mount Inerie a very impressive looking, active volcano. On our scooter we managed to get very close to the mountain and get some amazing views! Unfortunately, much to Duncan's dismay, it's not the right time of year to climb the volcano as it's still rainy season and it's to steep and slippery to safely make it to the top. Also on our scooter adventure around Bajawa we visited the traditional village of Bena where we saw the thatched roofed huts of the villagers and got to see their handmade goods. We then went on to visit the hot springs where we lazed about for a couple of hours soaking in the bath like water before the afternoon rains started!

14 April 2017

Good Friday meant for us leaving Labuan Bajo and getting a car to take us on to Ruteng! As Flores is a mostly Catholic island almost everything stops on good Friday and Easter Sunday which meant no buses and left Ruteng looking like a ghost town! Luckily we managed to find a hotel that rented us a scooter so we could explore the nearby "hobbit cave" which is an active archaeological site where they discovered Flo, the remains of a human who lived around 18000 years ago and was only 116cm in height. She was found alongside remains of a now extinct type of elephant which would have been no bigger then a buffalo and Komodo dragon remains! The discovery of Flo and the "hobbit" people of Flores led to scientists questioning the evolution of the human race. Although there wasn't much for us to see/do during our one day in Ruteng we did have a nice driver who stoped to show us the Lake and the local process to make alcohol from a palm tree on our way out of town.

13 April 2017

Their size and alien like appearance was astonishing. With so many so close to me, I did have a moment when I though maybe it time move away to a safe distance. Not that I thought that one would attack, Manta Rays are harmless. More because I thought one might bump into me! After swimming with them for a while longer, the currant became too strong and it was time to return to the boat. An already unforgettable experience somehow got even better when the Mantas put on an acrobatic performance for us. Unknown to most on the boat, Manta Rays often fly out of the water to about 2 meters before smashing back into the water. It's an almost comical sight, their wings flapping frantically in the air followed by a huge splash in the water is stark contrast to their effortless gliding in the water. After it was time to head back to the harbour and enjoy another Indonesian sunset. What a day!
As it turns out Komodo Island isn't just home to Dragons. Our guide listed of various different species of the worlds most venomous snakes and some rather nasty sounding spiders as well. Back on the safety of our boat, we headed for our last destination of the day, Manta Point. After an hour the boat slowed down and gave us our first sight of the Manta Rays. Huge black outlines were visible through the deep blue water. Once we got close enough to one, it was time jump in. This was a rather daunting task at first given that, like the Dragons, these Rays are giants. Once in the water, the real scale of these amazing creatures becomes clear. Ruffly 8ft wide with huge gaping mouths, they glide through the water with incredible grace. The current in the water made it difficult to keep up with them however there were so many it wasn't long before you came across another. At one point, whilst filming on the Go-Pro I counted at least ten very close by.
After a short walk we came across a watering hole which we were told would give us our best chance of a sighting. Thankfully they were correct. Four enormous Dragons lay basking in the midday heat. At least 10ft from nose to tail with huge muscular bodies and skin as dark and scaly as a Brit in Benidorm, it's easy to see why the Dragons have lived for millions of years. We were able to get close enough to take some amazing pictures but all the while reminded very much on our toes in case of any sudden movements. They eat a diet mainly made up of Water Buffalo, Deer, Chickens and even other Dragons however Humans are also a rare treat! For a brief moment thought we had ringside seats for a battle between two of them as one moved into another's territory. The smaller of the two retreated deciding today was not his day to die! After 30 minutes watching these incredible creatures it was time to move on. No more dragons were seen however we got a very short glimpse of a Spitting Cobra.
We woke early the next morning to start a trip that would turn out to be one of the highlights of our travels so far. We left the harbour at sunrise with a few other backpackers in an old but sturdy looking fishing boat bound for Padar Island. Our journey to Padar gave us an amazing view of beautiful deserted green islands, crystal clear blue water and a quick sighting of three dolphins enjoying the morning sun. Once moored on the beach, we started our short but steep climb to the top of Padar Island. The 360 degree view from the top was like most of Indonesia we've seen so far, utterly stunning! After taking many photos and drinking in the prehistoric looking landscape it was time to move on. Next stop, Komodo Island! Our group of 10 were briefed by our guide on the rules whilst on the island and then we set off into the jungle. When Dragons are involved it goes without saying he had our full attention during the briefing!

12 April 2017

Another scooter day! ๐Ÿ›ต we decided to explore the surrounding areas of Labuan Bajo where we're staying for the next few days. We came across some stunning view points showing some of the many nearby islands and crystal clear waters! We also got to see another beautiful sunset while having a drink in a bar/dive shop in town overlooking the harbour. ๐Ÿ›ถ๐ŸŒ…

11 April 2017

A very early 2am start to catch our flight to Flores! โœˆ๏ธ

10 April 2017

Continuing our traditional Sasa experiences we were invited on our last day to see how coconut oil is made. From the coconut being hand picked from the top of the tree to oil being poured into a bottle, we saw the whole process which actually when you stop to think about it is quite cool. The coconut oil in its self isn't interesting however instead of just popping to the shop to buy a bottle we got to watch the process from start to finish and see just how long it takes to make. Amin - Mr Chris' nephew - took us to his house to make the coconut oil. We watched him climb the coconut tree and send 3 coconuts hurtling to the ground! Next he grabbed a machete type knife and started chopping into the coconuts and even letting Duncan chop them until you could get the water out. The next stage was grating them - which we were much slower at then Amin and his wife! - finally with the milk from the grated coconuts you boil it for 1hr until the oil appears on the top. Another fun experience!

9 April 2017

After 20 minutes searching, Lady Luck shone upon us a we found a small group of Black Monkeys. Long tails and colour are really the only differentiating feature to their Grey cousins however their enormous leap is amazing! After our walk, we feasted on tasty traditional pancakes with coconut and brown sugar toppings and they were superb. As with all local and traditional ways, we were invited to see how the pancakes were made. Our introduction to Sasa life (Sasa's the traditional name of Lombok people)
Our second day with our adopted 'Sasa' family was spent with Oi, another adoptee of the family. Oi sadly lost his father when he was a child and Mr Chris, the lovely father of the family bought him up as part of the family. With Oi as our guide and a nice French chap called Hector for company, we meandered through lush green country side and when our view wasn't obstructed by cloud, Mt Rinjani would loom proudly in the distance. As a result of Rinjani's close proximity, the land is extremely fertile and almost every fruit, vegetable and spice imaginable grows here in plenty supply. Oi soon guided us to a much needed break in the shape beautiful waterfall where I cooled and watched Jo and Hector wish they had bought swimming stuff with them! Next up was the Monkey Forest. After five months of traveling, seeing a Grey Monkey has become just as common as seeing a fox in England however it was the Black variety of these mischievous,fury friends we sought after.

8 April 2017

This morning we got a private car to Tetebatu (amazingly it's cheaper then getting the bus!) we're staying in a really nice little homestay where the hosts are so nice and really treat you like your part of the family! Bindani and Easy are the son and daughter of the owner of the homestay and offered to show us around the nearby villages on their scooters and show us the work the villagers do there e.g. Blacksmiths, potters and weavers. Everyone we met was very friendly and keen to get us to give their trade a go, I ended up helping a lady start weaving a basket out of bamboo and Duncan had a go at making a clay ashtray at a potters! It's interesting to see these people at work they make the very tricky work they do look so easy! Tetebatu is a lush, green place with lots of rice fields, waterfalls and Mt Rinjani as a backdrop! There's also lots of big pretty mosques and small traditional villages, we haven't seen any other tourists here and so far we're loving it! ๐Ÿ•Œโ›ฐ

7 April 2017

A well deserved drink after our day of getting lost! ๐Ÿ—บ๐Ÿ›ต๐Ÿน๐Ÿบ
We had planned for today to visit Ekas, a town about 40km away from Kuta. We'd read about some nice beaches there with views of Mt Rinjani so we thought we'd check it out! Instead we spent the entire morning getting lost down tiny dirt roads coming to constant dead ends where the trees had overgrown the "road"! After about 3 hours we did find one small beach but was disappointed as it was more somewhere fisherman leave their boats then somewhere you can sunbathe and after speaking to a local resort owner who told us about bandits that nick tourists scooters we decided to leave Ekas and head back to Kuta! We did decide to stop off at Tanjung Aan again on the way back to catch the last of the days rays which made up for our lost morning!

6 April 2017

Today was spent hopping between different beaches nearby Kuta. They varied from long stretches of secluded beach with nobody else around to busier beaches offering surfing lessons but all of them had beautiful surroundings making them some of the prettiest beaches we've visited. ๐Ÿ–

5 April 2017

We got a boat from Gili Air to Lombok and then got a mini bus to Kuta in the south coast of Lombok. Kuta is a much quieter area then the likes of Bali or Gili T and has some beautiful beaches surrounding it which is why we've picked it as our base for the next few days! Once we found somewhere to stay we headed straight to Kuta beach and had a swim in the warm blue water. We also did some shopping and got lunch before renting a scooter and exploring further afield for the last few hours of daylight. We drove to a place called Tanjung Aan which is a great spot to see the sunset and reminded us of the South Downs. The rolling green hills stretch out in both directions meeting the crystal clear water of the sea making for incredible views and we even came across some monkeys on top of one of the hills.

4 April 2017

We decided to spend our time on Gili Air sunbathing on the beach and enjoying some rest and relaxation before we head to Lombok the next morning. ๐Ÿšคโ›ฑ

3 April 2017

Gili Meno was probably our favourite of the Gili's as it's much quieter and just as beautiful! We only planned to stay one day here but ended up spending two as it was so nice. Duncan snorkelled out to "turtle city" and saw 6 more big sea turtles! This time he took the action cam and got some amazing video and pictures! We walked around the entire island which only took a couple of hours - including stopping off for food -as the island is so small. The rest of our time was spent soaking up the sun on the beach or getting drenched in the tropical downpours which would only last a few minutes but seemed to happen each afternoon!

2 April 2017

We left Bali and got a boat to Gili Trawangan or "Gili T" as it's better known. We visited 3 of the Gili islands over the next 4 days Gili T, Gili Meno and Gili Air. We spent one day on Gili T and surprised ourselves how much we liked it there, we'd heard about the party island and thought it would be too touristy for our liking but it actually had a really good vibe and beautiful beaches. Unfortunately we didn't get many pictures. We rented some snorkels and thought we'd try to find some sea turtles and amazingly we came across 4!! 2 of them were HUGE! That evening we tried some more of the local food before going to a couple of bars for some drinks. ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ

31 March 2017

We got to the conservation centre just before 9am and luck was in our favour again as some more eggs were hatching and we got to watch as the workers helped the little turtles out of the deep sand nest!! Shortly afterwards we got to pick our turtles we would be adopting and releasing and give them their names!! (I'm sure you can guess who picked which name...) Thierry was the quickest swimmer in the tank so Duncan filled up a little bucket with water and scooped him in while Tilly was bobbing around with the sand from the nest still on her shell! After a short car journey we got to the beach and it was time for the babies to make their way to sea, Tilly went first and got pushed back by the waves a few times before finally making it followed by a strong and fast Thierry who was a natural waddling down the sand to the ocean! It was an amazing experience watching the baby turtles make it to the sea and something we will both always remember and be so grateful to be a part of! ๐Ÿข๐Ÿ˜

30 March 2017

...After being bullied by the monkeys to give up my banana sandwich we started making our descent down which was marginally easier then the climb up however took much longer as all the tour groups decided to leave at once cause a slow moving queue to form snaking to the bottom. We left Ubud and headed straight to Sanur. A seaside town further south in Bali. When we arrived in Sanur we found a great homestay to spend the next couple of nights with a very lovely host. Our room wasn't quite ready so we left our bags, rented some bicycles and headed to the beach! We had read online about the turtle conservation and education centre and decided to visit in the afternoon. We were so lucky because that morning some baby turtles had hatched and were due to be released the next morning which we gleefully agreed to help them with! The centre is a great place, not only do they conserve the eggs but they take in and nurse injured turtles until they are healthy enough to go back into the ocean! ๐Ÿข
A VERY early 2am start to climb Mount Batur! ๐ŸŒ‹ We had booked for a tour to take us to climb Mount Batur for sunrise, it was exhausting and one of the hardest things I've ever done (although Duncan didn't find it nearly as tough!) but so incredibly worth it!! The climb up was made harder as it was still pitch black and we only had little hand torches to help light our path and a guide who was like a mountain goat racing off, leading the way! Amazingly it only took our small group just under 2 hours to get to the summit with a few stops along the way. The view at the top is amazing, as the sun came up and the sky grew lighter we could see the panoramic views that surround Batur. Our guide got us a good spot to watch the sunrise and went about making us some breakfast made up of boiled eggs and a banana sandwich. As the food started coming out so did the family of monkeys who call Mt Batur home - an odd place for monkeys to live but where there's an abundance of banana sandwiches.... ๐Ÿ’

29 March 2017

The day after New Year we rented a scooter and went exploring! ๐Ÿ›ต We saw the rice fields which we walked through which were beautiful and luscious green with a backdrop of tall mountains. We then drove to Mount Batur which is one of the active volcanos on Bali. It's a beautiful sight, with a lake at the base and other mountains and Mt Agur (the holiest volcano on Bali) stand tall beside it. We also drove through a very small local village sitting in the shadow of Batur but couldn't get any further without driving up tiny footpaths across the volcano so thought it best to turn around! Next stop was a nearby Hindu temple where it is tradition for the people after new year to come and bathe in one of its pools! It was still very busy when we arrived even though it was late afternoon and we were surprised at how many western people were taking part in the bathing ritual. It was a very traditional place, everyone had to wear a sarong to enter including the men and was a colourful place

27 March 2017

So knowing the next day meant having to sit indoors all day long we stopped at the supermarket to buy supplies. It was a bit tricky as we had no fridge or kitchen area in the homestay we chose to stay in so ended up with croissants, crisps and pot noodles to see us through! New Year's Eve in Bali means parades/carnival! In Ubud we saw 2 different parades going on where they have huge figures made out of foam being paraded down the streets while telling a story! Most of the figures are quite scary looking but we did see a Dipsy float from teletubbies and when we asked what he represented we were told it's cause the children love teletubbies! The parades go on late into the night and the atmosphere was great, like a party in the street and everyone is enjoying themselves, especially the children in the parades who carry the floats cheering and screaming!
From Kuta we got the bus to Ubud. I really liked the vibe in Ubud, there were lots of little lanes off the main roads filled with guest houses and places to eat which were all quite a traditional style with temple like doors and placing offerings outside daily but also had little modern twists like hand painted signs with mantras and quotes on! We visited the monkey forest which is pretty much what the name says - a forest filled with cheeky monkeys (I didn't take any pictures on my phone for fear a monkey would take it ๐Ÿ˜‚) it was all great fun and Duncan even had a few sitting on his lap and shoulders! We arrived in Ubud the day before Balinese New Year. We had read that Balinese New Year consisted of staying indoors all day and being silent but kind of assumed as so many tourists visit Bali that this was a tradition for locals to partake but there would still be some places open for tourists to keep themselves busy. We were wrong! EVERYONE stays in on Bali New Year.

26 March 2017

We landed in Bali after a 3 hour stop over in Singapore airport. Singapore has a huge airport and is filled with expensive shops as well as a swimming pool, movie theatre and various botanical gardens, including a beautiful butterfly garden. Our first night in Bali was spent in Kuta which is Bali's busy capital its a fairly big city with all sorts of restaurants from all over the world including bubba gump shrimp, Wendy's and Jamie's Italian! Unfortunately these were all out of our backpacker price range so we opted for a more local restaurant for dinner to try some Indonesian food and it was amazing! As well as good food the place we went had a great band playing to top our first evening in Indonesia off!

25 March 2017

Back to where we started! We got the bus from Krabi back to Phuket town and found a nice hotel to spend our last night in before the early start to the airport the following morning and saying goodbye to Louise ๐Ÿ˜ญ We arrived back in Phuket around 2pm so got some lunch and made sure we were all packed for the next morning, that evening we decided to take Louise to see Chillva Market as we enjoyed it so much the first time and thought she would too! After browsing the stalls for a bit we stopped in one of the shipping container bars for a couple of drinks before getting dinner, made up of the street food they sell at the market which is SO nice! We headed back for an earlyish night before our 5am start for the airport. It was so sad saying goodbye to Louise! It's been so nice to have her travelling with us and wish she could have stayed longer!! But now we're headed to Indonesia for the next leg of our trip! ๐Ÿ‘ญโœˆ๏ธ

24 March 2017

Our last day in Krabi was mostly spent going round the shops (something Duncan chose to sit out of and do some research on Indonesia instead) Lou managed to pick up some last souvenirs and presents for family and when the heat got too much there was one of the many air conditioned cafes to stop for a drink. We were all excited for the evening to come as we had booked to see Muay Thai boxing. Me and Dunk saw it in Chiang Mai and thought it was great fun and Lou was keen to see what it was like! It was definitely different to the Muay Thai in Chiang Mai, it had more of a locals feel and was in a proper stadium - whereas in Chiang Mai it was more a empty area big enough for a ring surrounded by bars - but was still fun nonetheless! We watched as hoards of local men chaotically gambled on the sidelines of the ring and cheered on our own fighters we'd picked to back. All round a great way to finish off our time in Krabi ๐ŸฅŠ๐Ÿป

23 March 2017

Somewhere we had read about before coming to Krabi was a place called Railay Beach. It is another paradise beach which is only accessible by boat. It's the place where if you search Thailand beach 'that' picture of a long tail boat in turquoise water with the limestone cask just behind was taken. Everyday in Krabi we were asked by a local if we wanted to visit Railay and get a ride in their boat and so today we decided to take them up on the offer! It really is like the pictures! Even though quite a few boat loads of people visit the beaches daily it's surprisingly quiet with just a couple of resorts and a few restaurants. Most of the pictures are on our cameras unfortunately but I will try get them uploaded eventually! We sunbathed most of the day dipping in an out of the water too cool off, it's a very relaxing place to be and definitely one of the prettiest beaches I've ever seen!

22 March 2017

Ao Nang is a short bus journey away from Krabi and is a beach town that had been recommended to us. We spent an afternoon there browsing the many shops and stalls and a few hours on the beach. The beach itself is a very long and pretty bay with colourful fishing boats at one end. It was such a hot day when we visited we couldn't sunbathe for too long and the sea was like walking into a warm bath and offered no cooling relief so after a few hours we headed back to Krabi town. That evening we explored the two local night markets selling fruit, veg and street food before heading to a bar to have a few drinks.

21 March 2017

Our next stop was Krabi! We got a bus to take us from Koh Lanta and managed to find a cheap hotel to stay in almost straight away! The city of Krabi was much smaller then any of us thought it would be so after wandering around seeing what the city had to offer we decided to get the bus to tiger temple. Tiger Temple is a temple with 1037 steps leading up to it! And did I mention how hot and humid Krabi is? It's no easy feat! Duncan powered on up to the top with me and Louise bringing up the rear! The view from the top was amazing and definitely worth the tiresome climb - as a few friendly people assured me and Louise passing us on their way back down as we stopped to catch our breath for the 100th time! - you could see the whole city from one side and big, stunning limestone casks on the other! There is also a cave at the bottom which supposedly a tiger lived in many years ago before the monks and nuns made it there place of worship hence where the temple got its name.

19 March 2017

After a few days we moved further south to a different beach on Koh Lanta. From here we visited the old town which was a cute, little town which has managed to keep most of its authenticity but still has a few restaurants and souvenir shops for tourists. We went to Tiger Cave which wasn't the most impressive cave we have visited and home to a HUGE bat that made us a bit wary! We opted to visit without a guide but it turns out we missed out parts of the cave that would have made it more interesting although after we were told snakes and spiders live in the cave too so probably best we didn't see it all! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Most of the rest of our time on Koh Lanta was spent relaxing on the beach and soaking up the sun โ˜€๏ธOne evening we watched a fire show which was very impressive and got to enjoy dinner and drinks on the beach. ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿน

17 March 2017

We organised to take part in a snorkelling day trip to nearby Koh Rok island which is the definition of paradise. The water is so clear here and it really is like walking into a holiday brochure. There is nowhere to stay on Koh Rok which is partly why it has remained so beautiful and untouched but the day trips do mean there are a lot of people about and it is near enough impossible to get a picture without about 10 other people in the background. The morning consisted of two different snorkelling spots. Lou had never done snorkelling before and this was only my second time but the reefs and water here were much better then Koh Rong where me and Duncan snorkelled before. We saw all sorts of tropical fish including most of the finding nemo cast! For St Patrick's day we headed to a party the Irish pub just down the road from us was throwing and it was PACKED. It was a really good night and everyone was in high spirits despite the rain! ๐Ÿปโ˜˜๏ธ

14 March 2017

From Phuket we got the ferry to the beautiful island of Koh Lanta. The island is very picturesque with white sandy beaches, green jungle, monkeys and coral reefs filled with tropical fish. We found a couple of bamboo bungalows to call home for the next few days and as soon as we dropped off our bags we headed to the beach! Koh Lanta has a national park occupying most of the south of the island which has one of the most beautiful beaches we've been too on our travels. The turquoise water is clear and the sand soft and white the only thing to watch out for is the monkeys who we watched attempt to steal someone's bag while he went for a swim! We did a small trek through the jungle which lasted about an hour and was very tiring in the heat but was definitely worth it as we saw some of the cutest monkeys! There's also a lighthouse overlooking the sandy beach and the rocky beach the other side which offers a good photo op! ๐Ÿ“ท๐Ÿ

11 March 2017

We flew from Cambodia to Phuket in Thailand where we would be meeting Louise in a couple of days from the airport as she's joining us for 2 weeks to travel some of the southern Thai islands. That evening we went to Chillva Market where they had lots of great street food stalls and bars made out of shipping containers with fairy lights and astro turf making the market look pretty! The following day we were quick to rent a scooter and head to a nearby beach which was ranked in the top 10 beaches in SE Asia. We got up early the day we were meeting Louise and got a bus that would get us to the airport for when she landed. After a small hiccup where we were waiting at the wrong arrivals gate we finally met up with Lou and headed back to Phuket town!Once we'd found somewhere the 3 of us could stay we headed to monkey hill where a family of monkeys have lived for years. They tend to just play and groom each other but if you have any sign of food they will come and take it from you!!
We have had the best time in Thailand with Louise! updates to follow!! ๐Ÿ๐ŸŒž

10 March 2017

The second day of temple hopping started at 4.30am when our driver picked us up to take us to Angkor Wat for sunrise. Everyone we have met on our travels that had already been to Angkor for sunrise told us how busy it gets (2000 people on average come for sunrise a day) so we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived and it wasn't swimming with people and their selfie sticks. We were lucky to get a good spot by the water and even managed to get 'that' picture of Angkor Wat reflected in the water without other people in the shot! The 'inner loop' which we spent our second day visiting was made up of Angkor Wat, Bayon, Bapuon and the famous Ta Prohm temple where scenes from Tomb Raider were filmed. Angkor Wat was obviously interesting to walk around but Bayon temple was especially interesting as it had about 40 'face towers' which are towers with detailed faces carved into the top. The number of faces is disputed and trust me, nearly impossible to count!

9 March 2017

Back to Siem Reap and we arranged to spend our last 2 days in Cambodia topping up on the culture and history of the country by visiting Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. We hired a tuk tuk driver for the 2 days for $40, we decided to save seeing Angkor Wat at sunrise for the second day so our first day started with our driver picking us up at 6.45 am where he took us to buy our entry tickets which cost us $67 each for 3 days (annoyingly they only offer a 1, 3 or 7 day pass) We completed the "outer loop" on our first day where we visited 5 temples. Pre Rup, East Mebon, Neak Pean, Ta Som and Preah Khan. The temples were all built by various Kings between the 8th and 13th centuries and most were made as state temples in the kings chosen 'capital'. The ruins of the temples really are fascinating and beautiful! Some are being over taken by the surrounding forests with trees growing through the stone walls which adds to the beauty of it.

6 March 2017

We split up our stay in Siem Reap by spending a couple of days in Battambang we started off visiting the 'bamboo train' which is an old train line which locals used to get around and transport goods before everyone had motorbikes and cars. The 'train' is a plank of bamboo on top of some wheels with a little engine on the back to make it move. You can take the whole thing apart quickly and easily which is good as carts go both ways on the one train line resulting in the cart with the least amount of people having to be disassembled to let the other one pass. After the bamboo train we visited the killing caves where during the Khmer Rouge regime thousands of Cambodians were brought to be murdered. There is now a beautiful temple next to the caves. We watched the sunset on a nearby hill and just as the sun goes down millions of bats fly out from the caves - our driver reckoned at least 12 million bats. It was an amazing sight but the smell was awful!! ๐Ÿฆ‡๐Ÿš‚

4 March 2017

While in Siem Reap we decided to go to the Phare Circus which was incredible!! ๐ŸŽชthe circus is a charity based programme which helps get street kids off the streets and trains them to be a part of the circus which not only gives them a new talent but something to aspire too as some of the performers have gone on to work with the cirque de soleil and perform across Europe. The show tells a different story each night and is performed in Cambodian but with English subtitles on big screens. The show mostly consists of acrobatics so no animals to worry about how they're treated! We also visited the famous Pub Street, which is as the name suggests, a street filled with pubs and bars. We came across a street food stall selling crickets, snakes, tarantulas and grasshoppers! The man selling the food assured us they were all tasty Cambodian snacks and Duncan bravely ate a cricket and after watching the vendor eat most of a tarantula I ate one of its legs!! Duncan was astonished! ๐Ÿ•ท๐Ÿ˜‚

3 March 2017

After Kampot we headed to Siem Reap for a couple of days which involved switching buses in Phnom Penh. Our whole journey was a little bit of a nightmare! We started off in a teeny tiny mini bus which was crammed full - they'd added an extra row of seats at the front of the bus so there was no leg room what so ever! - when we got to Phnom Penh we were told our connecting bus would pick us up at 15.00 but when the time came no bus arrived and the workers in the shop that organised our bus had disappeared so there was nobody to ask. When the lady who worked there came back it was an hour and a half after the bus was due to collect us and we were still waiting there. She eventually arranged a second bus for us to pick us up at 19.00 which luckily did turn up and got us safely to Siem Reap!! It took much longer then anticipated and was slightly annoying but hey ho! It's all part of the fun and adventure I guess! ๐ŸšŒ๐Ÿ™ƒ

28 February 2017

After dragging ourselves away from Koh Rong our next stop was the little town of Kampot. Our first evening in Kampot we took the sunset cruise down the river. The boat trip lasts about 2 hours and you get to see a beautiful sunset and after dark can even see fireflies hovering by the waters edge. The following day we rented a scooter and rode to Bokor Hill Station. The best (and seemingly least known) part about Bokor is the wildlife! On the drive to the top of the hill we got to see loads of hornbills which are huge, exotic looking birds with wings so big you can hear them beat the air as they fly. We also got to see monkeys and (the highlight) gibbons all in their natural habitat where we watched them groom each other and play in the trees, swinging from branch to branch! Unfortunately all the pictures are on Duncan's camera but will try to upload them ASAP! The hill station also had old french buildings you can explore but to be honest watching the animals was far more fun! ๐Ÿ’

26 February 2017

We've spent the last 6 days relaxing and sunning ourselves on the beautifully picturesque, coconut beach of Koh Rong island. The white sand beach, palm trees and crystal clear water is like we have stepped into a Thomas Cook brochure! We've managed to drag ourselves away from the beach and explore a bit more of the island a couple of times. One afternoon we spent doing a snorkelling and fishing boat trip with a nice French couple we met here which finished off with us watching an amazing sunset. Another evening we walked about 10-15 mins to a nearby fishing village to witness another glorious sunset and this afternoon we're planning to walk through the jungle trying to spot toucans, monkeys and other wildlife, if the beach isn't too tempting to leave!! We were only planning to come here for 5 days but it is so unbelievably nice here we've decided to stay for 5 more days!! ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒ…

22 February 2017

๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿš๐Ÿ โ˜€๏ธ

21 February 2017

Sunsets on Koh Rong ๐ŸŒ…

19 February 2017

Busy Phnom Penh by sunset ๐ŸŒ†

18 February 2017

Upon each other. 9000 skulls have been preserved here. Each forensically examined to record cause of death and what weapon was used against them. In most cases however, it doesn't take a forensic scientist to explain cause of death. The visible damage was clear to see. I had my doubts last night about visiting the site for two reasons. Firstly I felt that I hadn't done enough research into the regime as a whole and I didn't want to visit not have a full understanding of how so many people died during a time of such unimaginable pain and suffering. Secondly and I felt more strongly about this worry, I wasn't sure how we would react to the sights and history of the place. After a short discussion, Jo raised the valid point that if we don't visit now, it won't make it any easier to visit another one further down the line. Today wasn't easy but to not visit the site would have been a mistake and it's important that we paid our respects those died here between 1975-1979.
Once there, the prisoners would be tortured until they confessed to crimes against the regime they didn't commit. After their confession, they would be transported to Choeung Ek. Following the footpaths and our audio tour, we continued to walk around the grounds and taking in the harrowing facts of what went on here and in the other 20,000 mass graves scattered around the country. Large mounds of grass-covered earth outline where the graves are. We learnt that the regime deemed bullets too expensive to use. Other methods were used to carry out the guards duties. These methods used are just too horrific to relay. A large stupa sits in the middle of the site, in memory of those who died here. It's tall pointy roof and various religious creatures sculpted into the structure give it an impressive, ominous feeling. However, it's only when you get up close to the Stupa and look into the large glass rectangle windows which cover all four sides, do you see thousands of skulls staked high...
Today marked a significant day in our adventures in Asia and Cambodia in particular. Choeung Ek is today the most renowned of all of the mass grave sites in Cambodia. An estimated 18,000 men, women and children were sent here to executed during the reign of the Khmer Rouge regime which lasted from 1975-1979. Although official figures are still disputed, many believe that as many as 2.5 million Cambodians fell during the genocide. Taking into account that the country's population of just 8 million people during this time really puts into perspective the evil and horror this country experienced during 4 years of unimaginable suffering. During our self guide, audio tour of the counties largest 'Killing Field', we learnt of how the prisoners came to be here in he first place. Reasons such as speaking English, affiliation to the previous government, being well educated and even wearing glasses would be enough to have you arrested and brought to S-21, a prison during the regime

14 February 2017

We spent Valentine's Day in Mui Ne watching the sunrise and visiting the red and white sand dunes ๐Ÿ’•

12 February 2017

The main tourist strip in Ho Chi Minh city reminded me of (a slightly shabby) New York's time square with the tall high rise building's and bright lights. We had 4 days here in total with a short trip to Mui Ne in the middle. The first couple of days were spend exploring and getting lost in the city, we saw the Vietnam version of the Notre Dame, petted a tame iguana in the park, the presidential palace, went to a couple of different markets and even managed to catch another Arsenal game in one of the bars near our hostel. After our short stay in Mui Ne, back in HCMC, we visited the war museum which was fascinating, very informative and filled with heartbreaking photographs taken during the war. We also went to the 3D art museum which was much more light hearted and funny to wander through taking silly pictures with each of the exhibits! ๐ŸŒ‡๐ŸŒƒ

10 February 2017

After a busy first day riding around we spent our second day exploring more of the city. We got a cable car, which gave us a good view of the whole of Da Lat, to the lake where we rented a pedalo. We also visited "The Crazy House" which is an art project you can walk around and even stay the night in one of the quirky rooms. It's fun to explore and see the creativity that went into making such a unconventional building. It's mostly nature themes with each room based on an animal and the building looking like trees and vines. The real trees that were kept blend into the design perfectly so you can't even tell what's real and what isn't! From one unusual building to another, in the evening we visited "the 100 rooftops bar" which is another art project with quirky designs but also a bar. It is essentially a maze with many stairs leading you up and down the various floors. The aim is to get to the roof and not loose your friends en route. It is so much fun to work your way through!!

9 February 2017

After Hoi An we headed to Da Lat. Our first day we did a motorbike tour of the surrounding areas. We visited a flower farm, coffee plantation, silk factory, 2 waterfalls, a mushroom farm and a local tribe. During the whole tour we were treated to great views from our motorbikes as we weaved through the mountains. The flower and mushroom farms are where crops and flowers are grown for local markets and Ho Chi Minh. At the coffee plantation they have weasels that eat the beans and once they come out the other end workers collect and clean the beans ready for us to drink (we think the weasels add a bit of flavour to the beans?!) At the silk factory, we witnessed the process of getting the silk from the silk worms cocoons to the women manually threading each strand on to a machine to create a reel. We got to eat a silk worm larvae which wasn't great but a popular snack for the locals! The waterfalls were beautiful and the tribe village, where women are the boss came as a nice change.

7 February 2017

Before we left England, we had already decided we would spend a few days in Hoi An during our time in Vietnam. A few days quickly turned into a week once we arrived in this amazingly quirky town. The longest we have spent anywhere since leaving Goa at the very start of our trip! We found everything about Hoi An was drawing us in. The narrow, maze-like roads filled with shops are reminiscent of The Laines in Brighton and look even better at night when the strings of lanterns overhead all turn on giving off a multicoloured glow. The river in the day is lined with brightly coloured boats and locals offering a peaceful boat ride and at night has floating candle lit lanterns which tourists wish upon. And the shops themselves have everything you could want, from cute coffee shops overlooking the river and bustling small streets to tailors offering to make you a customised suit for next to nothing to souvenir shops full of handmade goods. Hoi An has been everything we imagined and more ๐Ÿ’—

6 February 2017

The many lanterns of Hoi An by night โœจ๐Ÿฎ

4 February 2017

Hoi An ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿ›ถโ›ฑ
We loved getting some clothes tailor made for us in Hoi An ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ› Duncan got a suit and 4 shirts and I got a playsuit and top and shorts made! With some haggling we got all of it for less than ยฃ200. Bargain!

30 January 2017

Our next stop was the city of Hue! (Pronounced hoo-ay ๐Ÿค“) We only spent one full day here which was filled with seeing beautiful, old Vietnamese buildings in the form of palaces and tombs of past emperors. We rented another scooter which was daunting at first as this was the first time we'd be driving through an Asian city but it all went surprisingly well if just a little manic! โ›ฉ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿ›ต

28 January 2017

We spent TET (the Vietnamese New Year) in a small town called Phong Nha. Tet is a time for family resulting in the majority of shops, restaurants and homestays all closing down for 3-4 days over that time. What better place to spend the New Year then somewhere with lots of natural attractions to see like the stunning caves of Phong Nha. The caves and the national park, which is a UNESCO world heritage site are the main draws to the town. We got to experience both! We spent the first day of the New Year walking around the botanical garden in the national park where we saw monkeys and porcupines being cared for until they could be released back to the wild. Walking through the caves was like being transported to another planet! We visited Paradise cave, Phong Nha cave and Tien Son cave. Not only were they all breathtakingly beautiful but they are HUGE!! The next two days were spent riding through the wild, green jungle on another scooter which was both beautiful and so much fun!

24 January 2017

Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam's 3 UNESCO world heritage sites and is a breathtaking place to visit. We decided to stay on Ha Long Bays largest island, Cat Ba, as the tours of Ha Long and neighbouring Lan Ha bay are less touristy then those operating from the mainland. Our tour included visiting a fish farm where the workers also live and spend most of their lives floating in the bay, swimming and snorkelling and kayaking around some of the hidden lagoons that make Ha Long so pretty. Unfortunately the day of our tour it was overcast and cold so we didn't do any swimming, but the cloudy mist added to the magic feel of the thousands of islands and islets that make up Ha Long Bay. Kayaking was fun, we paddled through caves that led on to serene blue lagoons and even spotted a couple of monkeys in the trees which we were extra pleased about as we hadn't seen any since India! ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿšฃ๐Ÿป

22 January 2017

From the green jungle of Sapa to the concrete jungle, Hanoi! ๐Ÿ™ We got a sleeper train from Sapa which was surprisingly comfortable and from there found a hostel close to the heart of bustling Hanoi. We spent the day walking the busy streets which are filled with thousands motorbikes going in every direction! Ho Hoan Kiem Lake seemed the best place to step back from the crazy streets and stop for a tea to take everything in! That evening we went to see a traditional water puppet theatre show. The story is told in Vietnamese and lasts about 1 hour but the music and detailed puppets are nice to watch regardless. A short walk round the corner after the show and we found a bar to watch a rather stressful Arsenal game in. A late penalty made our walk back to the hostel much nicer than it could have been, even though it was freezing!

20 January 2017

What a view ๐Ÿ˜ Sapa Valley through the rice paddies!
During our short time in Sapa we knew we wanted to go trekking. We started off on a 2 day trek through the Sapa valley with Dan, a Dutch boy who we travelled from Laos to Sapa with and Paiy, the local Hmong guide. The first day, we walked 16km through lush green scenery made up mostly of rice paddies where we saw tribes people going about their daily business. Our trek also included a night in a homestay in the village of Lao Cai. The Hmong family that welcomed us into their home cooked us a buffet style dinner made up of traditional Hmong dishes which was amazing! Traditionally when a guest is visiting, the family provide rice wine to drink while eating and chatting over dinner and our family didn't disappoint! Over the course of the evening and into the night the 7 of us managed to get through 2 litres of the stuff! The second day of our trek was 12km and much trickier as it rained during the night making the paths extremely slippery. Amazing scenery and great company! ๐Ÿ‘ฃ

18 January 2017

To get to Vietnam from Laos we had to get a bus to Dien Bien Phu where we would be crossing the border. From DBP we then had to get a further 2 buses to our first of many stops in Vietnam, Sapa. All together the journey from Muang Khua to Sapa took us 16 hours! The weather in Sapa is quite different to what we've become used to over the last 2 months so it seems needless to say we were rather unprepared for the drop in temperature which seemed to plummet further when the clouds rolled in over the hilltops. But when the clouds clear the long journey and the cold are well worth the amazing panoramic views! Sapa is close by to many tribal villages and one of the big draws to the town is the treks available to visit these traditional little villages which are home to the Hmong, Red and Black Dao people. The Hmong women make the trek daily to Sapa town to sell their handmade clothes and jewellery to the tourists. Their bright traditional dress adds colour to the cloudy mountain top town.

15 January 2017

Our last stop in Laos was at a place called Muang Khua. We thought we'd have to go back to Nong Khiaw and get a bus from there with a stop over but luckily there were other people in Muang Ngoi wanting to go there so we got a 4 hour boat instead, gaining ourselves an extra day. We quickly realised though that Muang Khua doesn't have a great deal to offer except a few restaurants and practically no wifi. The main attraction was the suspended bridge which we crossed every day. After 2 and a half days of relaxing, reading and trying to keep ourselves occupied we were keen to get to our next destination Sapa, Vietnam! ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ

13 January 2017

After a couple of relaxed days in Nong Khiaw we went an hour down the river to Muang Ngoi. An even smaller little village that only got electricity in 2013 and is gradually becoming more of a tourist spot. We definitely enjoyed the cute pups, pumpkin curries, Suzy dishes (northern Laos dish like a creamy stu) and stunning views ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿต๐Ÿž

11 January 2017

After a sleeper bus from Vientiane, we arrived in the laid back, limestone mountain town of Nong Khiaw. The town has a handful of places to stay and a few restaurants to choose from. Most go there to grab a bungalow with a hammock on the banks of the Nam Ou river and chill out for a few days. The roads are very quiet so this offered us another chance to rent a scooter and explore the local area. We followed a road out of Nong Khiaw. The following 25KM was amazing. We passed by dense jungle, tall limestone cliffs for most of the way. The little villages, some of which tribal, were the best part of the ride. They are as you would imagine. Bamboo huts for homes, livestock everywhere and full of friendly faces. Children would wave, giggle and stick their hand out for a high 5. Adults would stare intrigued by us. These villages clearly don't see tourists often so the locals reaction to us was always amusing. A smile and a wave always much appreciated by the locals.
Nong Khiaw โ›ฐ

9 January 2017

Sleeper bus from Vientiane to Nong Khiaw ๐Ÿ’ค
We stayed one day in the capital, Vientiane. We saw the Buddha Park and COPE visitor centre. The Buddha Park, like the name suggests is a park filled with Buddhist and Hindu statues like the large spherical statue split into 3 levels representing heaven, earth and hell, they each have meaning. COPE is a charity who's mission is to educate rural people about the dangers of unexploded bombs leftover from the 'secret war'. Laos is the most bombed country in the world due to the U.S bombing of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. 270 million cluster bombs were dropped from 1964-1973 and 80 million failed to detonate meaning farmers, villagers and children remain at risk of detonating one of these hidden bombs. Thousands of people have lost their lives or limbs as a result and COPE offers help by training local people about making prosthetics and works closely with the government too locate and safely remove active bombs. The visitor centre gave us insight into a great charity and even greater cause ๐Ÿ’›

7 January 2017

We spent our second day in Vang Vieng trying out some of the many activities on offer here. We began with tubing which is pretty much lying in a rubber ring floating down a river, however we were tubing through a cave with a rope to guide us. After tubing we had lunch on the riverside before kayaking 2 hours back to the town. As well as the lush green hills lining the river, closer to town there were bars you could stop at and have a drink before jumping back in the kayak and carrying on to town. That afternoon we rented another scooter and drove to a viewpoint that had been recommended to us. The climb up to the top was hard work and extremely steep but the view at the top was definitely worth the climb! ๐Ÿž

6 January 2017

After a 7 hour bus journey we arrived in Vang Vieng! Another popular stop for backpackers for activities on offer like tubing, rock climbing, kayaking and caving to name a few. On our first day we rented a scooter to explore the surrounding countryside and visit the blue lagoon. It's a good place to cool off and get out the sun but the best part was the cave. A steep climb up the cliff and your met by a small opening to the entrance. We carefully made our way into the cave and were met by an amazing site. Sitting high up in the middle of the cave was a shinning golden Buddha. The sun's rays reflecting off the Buddha gave the dark, damp cave a feeling of warmth. We ventured a little further into the cave and we soon found ourselves in an enormous, dark space. Even with our shoddy torch to look around, it was clear too see that this expanse was big enough to fit a cathedral in! For those who are familiar with the Mines of Moria, this is what I would imagine it would look like!

4 January 2017

We spent our first couple of days in Laos in Luang Prabang seeing what this popular backpacker city has to offer! As well as the usual, night market and temples that most of the places we've been too have, Luang Prabang has some stunning waterfalls. We visited the Kuang Si waterfalls which we both agreed was the best waterfalls either or us has ever visited. It wasn't just the impressive 200ft drop or magnificent blue water of the falls that made them so worth seeing. On the lead up to the falls there are different pools and mini falls which you can swim in and at the very foot of the hill is a bear sanctuary which has rescued bears from poachers wanting there bile and claws for medicine. Unfortunately all the pictures are on our cameras but as soon as we can upload some we will!!

2 January 2017

New Years Day meant time to say goodbye to Chiang Mai and start our three day journey to Luang Prabang in Laos! A six hour bus ride to the Thai/Laos border saw the first leg of our journey complete. Chiang Khong would be our stopover for the night. The next morning we woke early to start the lengthy process of crossing the border. Once we got our Laos Visas stamped we were able to board our vessel for the next two days and set sail along the mighty Mekong river. Seven lazy hours were spent watching the jungle clad mountains drift by. Every now and then the boat would stop and let a few Locals off, seemingly into nowhere. The vast majority of those on board were travellers but a few Laotians use the slow boat as a everyday mode of transport. We stopped in a village called Pakbeng and got a cheap room for the night. The last leg of our journey, much like the day before, was spent meandering though the epic landscape until we reached the port of Luang Prabang. ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿšข

31 December 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ๐Ÿพ๐ŸŽ‰ Our New Years was spent in Chiang Mai where we set off 2 lanterns to join the thousands of others, twinkling in the sky like stars ๐Ÿฎโœจ

30 December 2016

A traditional Thai cooking class is something we both had on our list of things to do before we even set off on our travels and we finally got around to doing one just before the New Year. Mama Noi Thai Cookery School offered us a half day evening cooking course where we got to make 4 dishes each (including curry paste), Thai iced tea and a trip to the local food market all for 1600baht! We all got to pick what dishes we wanted to make. Duncan went for the spicier options much to the delight of our teacher for the evening, 'Gun', who kept telling us "more spicy, more sexy!!" I went for the slightly milder choices of Green Curry and Pad Thai. The class was better then either of us imagined and so much fun. Gun was definitely an added highlight, constantly keeping a smile on everyone's faces with her whacky outbursts of "in hot, out hot!!" & "WELCOME TO BANGKOK!" whenever someone used the fish sauce! Both of us were very surprised at how good our food tasted as well. ๐ŸŒถ๐Ÿœ

28 December 2016

Pai waterfalls ๐Ÿ’ฆ
Hot Springs and the White Buddha Temple in Pai โ›ฉ

26 December 2016

After Christmas in Chiang Mai we headed further north to the picturesque town of Pai. Pai, located very close to the Burmese border, is known to be less touristy and a more authentic experience of the Thai lifestyle. There is a nightly market in the main town where there is an abundance of different street foods to try! ๐Ÿœ๐Ÿš We found the "more authentic experience" was outside of Pai town in the surrounding countryside as the town seemed full of other backpackers. The best (and cheapest) way to explore the countryside, waterfalls and canyon around Pai was to rent a moped. We found a teacher in the town who gave us both a 40 min lesson each on how to ride the scooter as neither of us had ridden one before and told us we were ready for the road! That afternoon we rented a scooter for 200 baht and spent the next two days exploring the surrounding countryside. We both felt safer with Duncan driving and it was a great way to get around the quiet country roads of Pai.

25 December 2016

Merry Christmas! ๐ŸŽ„

24 December 2016

Did the trick and had us up in no time! The morning of Christmas Eve was somehow even better than the day before. We had breakfast and went out to meet more Elephants but unlike the day before, it was just our group and no one else. There really is no words to accurately describe what it's like to stand so close to an Elephant that you can look into its eyes, gently put your hands on its head and share a few minutes just being in the presence of such (here comes an David Attenborough moment) a majestic creature. One moment really stuck out over the course of the two days. Whilst gently stroking a particularly enormous and beautiful Elephant who was blind due to despicable human acts, you realise that, even after what's happened to this Elephant, she is able to forgive humans and let you touch her. She even gives you a gentle nudge with her head for another stroke. We will never forget The Elephant Nature Park ๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธ
The rest of our first day was spent wondering around the park and getting to know some of 71 amazing elephants. By the end of our time at the park we saw all of them. From the 8 month old baby, to the giant adult male called Jungle Boy, to the oldest and wisest elephant in the park, an almost 100 year old female. In the evening of our first day, we had some amazing vegetarian food for dinner with our group and spent most of our time laughing. The three Canadians, a couple in their 40's and the sister of the chap were so funny and kept us entertained all night. Our room for the night was massive and much nicer than we anticipated. But the best thing about our room was the balcony backed right on to some of the Elephants bedrooms. As we went to bed, we could hear the swish and snap of the elephants eating some food! We woke up early next morning so we could watch the sun rise over the hills and had an alarm set for 5.30am. But there was no need for an alarm, a huge Elephant trumpet
Pt 3 The founder of the park Lek, also known as the Elephant whisperer, is an amazing woman who has devoted her life to rescuing Elephants. Thankfully her work hasn't gone unnoticed. National Graphic, the Discovery Channel and The Independent to name a few have given her the praise and reward she rightly deserves however it's the rise in the Park's profile which I'm sure Lek will really care about. The Elephant Nature Park now has two other sites, one in Cambodia and another in Thailand. Such has been the success at ENP, a trekking company which operates right next door has agreed to trial Lek's model of NO RIDING OR TREKKING and take on more of a educational type of tourism which is great news! Watching and stroking an Elephant beats riding them hands down Our experience was absolutely unforgettable. Our group of 7, an English couple and 3 Hilarious Canadians made for great company. From the moment we arrived and hand fed an Elephant their breakfast, we knew this place was special.
Pt2On our way to the park, we watched a video about the Elephants we would be meeting. The 20 minute video was at times too much to watch as it showed how an elephant is 'broken' once its been caught. The aim is to remove any natural instincts the elephant has and make it fully compliant to its master. 71 Elephants live in the Park and almost all at the park have been rescued and would have gone through suffering that no living creature should go through. The lucky ones who haven't been rescued from the various industries were born at the park. One of which, an eight month old boy who you will see in the photos and is exceedingly sweet! The park (around 300 acres) is surrounded by tall green hills and standing meters away from a 4.5 tone Elephant, you can't help but feel like your actually in Jurassic Park. Of the 71 who live there, most have integrated into families. Some prefer a solitary life and the 3 adult males are kept separately to avoid 15 tones of Elephant having a tear up!
Since we began our travels six weeks ago, we've been to some amazing places and already have so many fond memories. I know it's still early on in our adventure however, if we visit anywhere which will create such a lasting impression as The Elephant Nature Park did, we will have done very well indeed. The park is more of a home to these incredible, intelligent, amazing elephants. It's safe, they are loved by the mahouts who look after them and they live in families which we found out to be just as complex and loving as the ones we live in. Of course home for an Elephant is in the wild however all those who live in the Park had their homes taken away from them many years ago. In 1990's the Elephant Nature Park was founded to provide sanctuary for Elephants who have been taken away from their natural habitat, many of whom would have been infants and forced to work in the logging, trekking, street begging and Circus industries.

21 December 2016

Chiang Mai trumps Bangkok hands down when it comes to nightlife! I'd pick the Chiang Mai night market over Khosan Road any day! The atmosphere feels more authentic and less like a Magaluf strip and it has nicer bars/restaurants which are much cheaper! The market is fascinating to wander around, seeing all the street food vendors and little stalls selling a mixture of touristy souvenirs. There is a good variety of bars there's the more chilled, live music type bars and the neon light, loud, drink deal bars. We went to Boy Blues Bar, a rooftop bar above the market which had one of the best blues bands playing we've ever heard! Muay Thai boxing is also a big thing in Thailand, in Chiang Mai there seems to be fights on every night. There is a buzz around every fight which creates the best atmosphere and although it can be a bit brutal at times it's so much fun to go and watch!

20 December 2016

11 hour train journey later - hello Chiang Mai ๐Ÿ˜

19 December 2016

Picnic in the park ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒท

18 December 2016

The Grand Palace & The Reclining Budda (Wat Pho).

17 December 2016

Chinatown! ๐ŸŒ‡๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ
Our first day in Bangkok and feeling festive! ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ„

15 December 2016

Chennai is a great place if you enjoy shopping and going to the cinema! ๐ŸŽž๐Ÿ“ฝ otherwise it's a typical bustling city - smelly, loud and rude taxi drivers! Express Avenue is a huge shopping centre in Chennai. Going in there felt like we left India and somehow found ourselves back in Britain at Bluewater! Marks and Spencer, Calvin Klein, Burberry, Levi, H&M and even a Hamley's were just some of the many shops and restaurants it holds. Naturally, we ended up spending most of the day and a half we had in Chennai at Express Avenue, and when we weren't in the mall we were at the cinema! Chennai has the nicest cinema's we've ever seen with big comfy armchair type seats and lots of legroom and for so cheap! 2 tickets for a 3D showing, 2 ice creams, a popcorn and 2 drinks all for less then one standard ticket in Cineworld. We did also try to get tickets to the cricket as England were playing India but we were all out of luck... so we went to the cinema (again).

14 December 2016

Tonight is our last night in Varkala before we fly to the largest city in the south of India, Chennai. To experience one last slice of Keralan culture, a sunset visit to the states oldest Hindu temple seemed a fitting way to end our time here. Over 2000 years old, the Janardhana Swami Temple is very famous in southern India and Hindu pilgrims come from far and wide to worship here. The surrounding walls of the temple are covered in burning incense sticks and oil lamps which gave the temple grounds a warming glow. The main temple itself is only accessible to Hindus however the surrounding courtyard housed some interesting shrines including a tree with many dolls hung from from its branches (haven't a clue what this represents and a tad eerie in the candlelight). To observe people worshipping with the background sound of drums and horn like instruments being played was fascinating and a perfect way to end our time in Kerala.
Our last Indian beach sunset ๐ŸŒ…

13 December 2016

From Munroe Island to Varkala Beach ๐Ÿ– we have been living (and loving) the beach bum lifestyle the last few days. Wake, beach, eat, repeat! We did stray from the beach today however to get a traditional Ayurvedic massage which resulted in Duncan only getting his head and legs massaged as his back was too ticklish to be massaged, much to the amusement of the young ladies who worked there! Varkala also seems to be the home of so many sweet dogs and puppies!! It's hard to not scoop them up and take them all with us! Today we met a very hot dog that we named Sandy who decided our parasol on the beach was the perfect shady spot for her to cool off leaving us still sweating in the midday sun and 200 rupees lighter but with a furry four legged friend ๐Ÿถ ..until she spotted a nice sun lounger and ditched us.

10 December 2016

This little guy joined us for dinner last night and yes, he's as fluffy as he looks ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿถ

9 December 2016

Lovely morning spent drifting through the backwaters of Munroe Island in a canoe ๐Ÿšฃ๐Ÿป

8 December 2016

A couple of days ago we got the bus from Kumily to Alleppey it took us about 5 hours but wasn't too crowded and surprisingly didn't feel so long! Alleppey is the home of the Kerala backwaters and the hub of houseboats and canoe trips for tourists wanting to see "the Venice of India". We were slightly underwhelmed as the crowded water ways were more of a car park for boats then the quiet, serene canals they'd been described as. We decided against experiencing the backwaters in Alleppey and instead chose to spend one night there then move on to the much quieter, prettier and (much) less crowded Munroe Island. We chose to stay at a newly built 'resort' called Munroe Island Lake Resort which has only been open for 2 months and we're the only guests staying here at the moment! Luckily for us this resulted in us getting a free upgrade (yaaay!! ๐ŸŽ‰) so our room looks out onto the backwaters and is so peaceful.
Train from Alleppey to Munroe Island ๐Ÿš‚

5 December 2016

A quick rewind to Fort Cochin, about a week ago now. Fort Cochin, an island connected by two bridges from the main city of Ernakulam. Diverse in culture, history and religion, Fort Cochin is a place where religion and culture doesn't get in the way of day to day life. Catholic Churches, mosques, Hindus temples and synagogues sit almost side by side in peace and harmony. All practice and worship without hindrance and on the face of it, get along just fine. Maybe the rest of the world can take a leaf out of Fort Cochin's book. โœŒ๏ธ
Wildlife sightings were short and brief for most of the day however watching an Elephant walk across the lake, head submerged almost fully with just it's periscope like trunk poking out of the water to breathe was incredible and very funny! On our way back to the park entrance we stopped for a few minutes to watch a small family of four elephants, one of which a adolescent Tusker, lap up a late afternoon drink from the lake. The family's attention soon turned to us and our guides instructed us to retreat into the forest, away from danger. An incredible day and fantastic memories made ๐Ÿพ
Periyar National Park is Situated in the beautiful and picturesque Western Ghats surroundings. Elephants, Leopards Tigers to name a few call Periyar home. We opted to do the bamboo rafting trekking trail which runs from 8am-6pm where you have to pinch yourself as you walk through the jungle following in the tracks of tigers and elephants before you. Unfortunately we weren't lucky enough to see a tiger but our experienced local guides were sure we weren't far behind one as we came across its breakfast consisting of a half eaten sambar deer and later noticed its paw prints where it stopped for a drink. The beauty and quiet of the national park is amazing and truly brings you back to nature. As we drifted down the lake on a bamboo raft watching the tribes people go about their daily business, you get just a small taste of what it would be like to live here. Pt 1

4 December 2016

The climate is perfect for trekking and if it wasn't for our laziness, we certainly would have. Our time for some trekking did come in the end and we set upon a morning walk through Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, ruffly 40km away from Munnar and deep within the Western Ghats. Our guide for the morning, a local tribesman walked us though through the forest which is home to Elephants, Deer, Bison, Leopards, Tigers and many other exciting animals which of course we didn't see! It was however amazing to walk, just the three of us, through a forest where the only human noise were our foot steps. We did see some Monkeys, Langurs, Giant Squirrel (they weren't joking when they named them giant) and some very nice birds along the way to our final point of our walk, a stunning waterfall. We were treated to more jaw dropping scenery on our way to Thekkady. Even the bus driver's dare devil driving along mountain side roads couldn't spoil the view.
Today we left Munnar for Thekkady, home of Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. Our new home for the next two days backs on to the edge of the reserve so technically that means that a Tiger or indeed any other large beast could be spotted from our balcony! More on Thekkady to come. Our time in Munnar fully lived up to and then exceeded our expectations. You could quiet easily spend weeks walking mile upon mile through the endless tea plantations, thick forests of eucalyptus trees and cloud covered mountains which make Munnar a landscape right out of a J.R.R Tolkien novel. Indeed an encounter with a Baggins or even Gandalf wouldn't be surprise given the magical feel Munnar exudes! Pt 1

30 November 2016

Today we got a tuk tuk to mattupetty dam. On the way we treated to some of the best scenery we've seen since our travels began. Massive tea plantations with endless rows of tea bushes line the hills. Huge mountains in the distance give this magical land an almost fairytale feel. To avoid the crowds of tourists gathered around the dam, we snuck off for a walk into the surrounding tea plantations. We made the right decision. The beautiful blue sky and lush green tea bushes made for some incredible views and made our amateur photos almost look professional, such was the beauty of our surroundings! For dinner we went to an amazing local restaurant called Saravanabhavan and shared 2 curries, a Kashmiri rice, veg noodles, 2 chapati, 4 padpad (popadoms), 2 black teas and a bottle of water, all served a banana leaf! It only came to ยฃ6 and it was amazing!! We will definitely be going back! ๐Ÿœโ˜•๏ธ
Tap the picture to see a panoramic view!
We are now in Munnar and what a view! Everywhere you look there is greenery and tea plantations. Perfection ๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒฟโ˜•๏ธ

29 November 2016

We left Kochi to head to Munnar where we will be spending the next 5 days. We got a taxi and stopped off on the way at Athirappilly Waterfalls which in the rainy season is like India's Niagara Falls! The falls were very pretty and to top it off there were loads of monkeys!! ๐Ÿ’ We did make the mistake of buying ice creams and were then immediately swarmed by baby and big monkeys all wanting a bite but luckily a nice Indian lady scared them away with a big stick! From Athirappilly we carried on our drive to Munnar where we could see the mist rolling in over the tea plantations as we climbed the mountains.

28 November 2016

Chilling at the Tree Loft in Kochi enjoying a nice curry ๐Ÿ˜‹

27 November 2016

After a final day of rest and relaxation at Agonda, this morning we got up at 03.30 to start our trip further down south to Kerala. Our train was booked to leave Madgaon station (about a 50 mins drive from Agonda) at 05.55. We decided to travel first class as it's a 12 hour journey and a little bit of comfort in the form of AC and a bit of privacy was definitely worth the extra money! The journey on the train was pretty much what we expected, some nice views of Indian country side, an elephant on the back of a lorry and Duncan's personal highlight a big fat rat stealing a tin tray from a crow! ๐Ÿ€ We're now in Kochi which is Kerala's second largest city! So very different to the peace and quiet of the beach! We have a small but nice private room in a cheap hostel with very friendly staff! Time for bed now after a long day! Lots of exploring and planning tomorrow for the rest of our stay in Kerala! ๐Ÿš‚๐Ÿ›ค๐Ÿ™
Train to Kerala ๐Ÿ›ค

25 November 2016

Just got back from an amazing, if not a little sweaty bike ride through the Goan jungle in search of Monkeys and Langurs. Unfortunately none were to be seen however the smells of spices and bonfires, sights of local farmers carrying their daily crops upon their heads and the most amazing sunset over the jungle canopy made our ride so special! We did however see loads of huge Fruit Bats setting off for the evening having just woken up from their daily doze! Tomorrow's our last day in Goa before our long train journey to Kerala on Sunday. Time for a beer! ๐Ÿป๐Ÿšด๐ŸŒด
A great way to start the day - a quick swim in the sea then having breakfast and dolphin watching on the beach surrounded by a family of cows! ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿ–

24 November 2016

Queuing for rupees ๐Ÿค”
Our home in Agonda for the next few days ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

23 November 2016

Another day, another beach. Agonda is perfect โ˜€๏ธ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿ‘Œ

22 November 2016

We've found money has been a little tricky to come by since the Indian government scrapped the 1000 and 500 rupee note - the whole country has 30 days to change over all their money into smaller notes. When we went to the money exchange yesterday to withdraw some more cash they were all out! Nowhere had cash until the evening when they get their daily shipment so we spent our last 40 rupees on a couple of bottles of water and headed to the beach where we spent the day sunbathing and relaxing. Luckily the restaurant at the place we're staying let us eat and drink during the day and pay later on once we had money! Today, has been another beach day and now we have some cash to spend we're about to rent a kayak and see what the nearby 'monkey island' is like! โ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿšฃ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

21 November 2016

Our little beach hut has a great view โ˜€๏ธ๐ŸŒŠ
This morning we packed our bags up to leave The Dream Catcher and move down the beach to D'Costa Cottages where we have bagged ourselves a lovely beach hut literally on the beach! We had breakfast at The Dream Catcher by the river and we're lucky enough to see eagles, kingfishers, dogs chasing the birds and a monkey all in the space of about 5 mins! After breakfast we put on our backpacks and made our way down the beach. After a couple of hours of settling in and swimming in the sea we got a tuk tuk to Agonda beach and started looking for somewhere to stay when we head there on Wednesday. Agonda is a beautiful beach and much quieter then Palolem. We decided on a little bungalow just off the beach for 1500 rupees (about ยฃ12). We watched the sunset at Agonda then got a taxi back to have dinner at a little restaurant on the backroad behind the beach which was the best food we have had here so far! A cow even came in for a naan! ๐Ÿฎ

20 November 2016

๐Ÿฎ
New beach hut yay!
Breakfast by the river - last morning at dream catcher.

18 November 2016

Today we spent the day walking from Palolem to the nearby beaches. We ended up at a lovely paradise beach where there were hardly any people! On the way we stopped off at a restaurant on Patnem beach that we visited during our last stay in Goa called 'Mickeys' where we played cards (2-1 to me ๐Ÿ†) and now we're lounging after one of the best curries sipping on a cold beer next to the river deciding where we want to stay for Christmas! Couldn't think of anything better!
After 12 hours of travelling and a few hiccups along the way we finally arrive at Palolem Beach happy, tired and excited to start our adventure! We have just finished our first breakfast on the beach, it's 11am and 33 degrees! We are ready to relax!