Australia and Oceania, Asia ·
128 Days ·
104 Moments ·
24 September 2017
Landed in Auckland and got picked by Pitty. Good to be home.
20 September 2017
I woke up early at 5am for a taxi to the airport and got a flight to Kuala Lumpur it took about 3h I landed and went straight to find sunglasses and headphones. I found some wood style holebrookes for $$$ however I couldn't find much headphones. Turns out the shop closed indefinitely. I was told there was one or two on the other side. So I went through immigration and found some stupid $$$ wireless overhead. After contemplating and attributing to my blisters from the new shoes I decided fuck it. Back into the airport it seems I took all the slow lines but after buying the sunglasses and figuring out the headphones I got 3h for $25 in the air Asia lounge. Had food and coke and a shower now chilling in a bean bag. About to have more food
19 September 2017
Well not much happens the past few days. Just hanging Yangon with Matt. I did some research and bought a lot of souvenirs as well as a chess board for myself. It rained a lot so the erge to do all the fun things in town just wasn't there. I got a pipe for John. A wooden elephant for Pitty. A light shade for mum and a silver pendant. Dad a t shirt. A painting for someone and the batik for grandma. Some chinos and the vans I was going to buy last year for very cheap.
16 September 2017
Not an exciting day to say the least. It was a bus ride with Matt to Yangon. About an hour into the ride the bus broke down. If only Pete was here. Once in at the bus station that is still and hour taxi ride into downtown. We checked into the lil Yangon hostel that Matt recommended. We shared a taxi with a couple girls. We went out to eat which I'm not as a bit of a pain. We tried to get some western food but pretty expensive so again fried rice. Went to bed and chilled by diving back into game of thrones.
15 September 2017
Probably the first sleep in in a while. We went rented the bikes for another day. Saw the Jamaican again. We set of to suddan cave. We got on a nice dirt road that turned rough. Matts bike kept cutting out but we got to the cave. It was filled with Buddhist stuff. Matt slipped over and cut his elbow pretty good. We went out and fixed it up with a moist towelettes and his buff. Back in the cave we followed board walks with too many neon lights all the way to the other end. We got a boat under an incredibly low cave and through the lake. Found the bikes and matts would not start so I did the ole push with the foot and got him to a restaurant where we decided not to eat. We left the bike and dubbed back got lunch at the oscars restaurant. Told the biker and went and chilled. Fixed him up with wipes and bandages. Later I dropped the bike back and walked home. We got dinner at the only good place we knew.
14 September 2017
Loudspeakers once again was the cause to wake. The coffee was like warm. We got some bikes for 5k and checked into soe bro 2. Had breakfast there. Met Chris and set off for zeegaibion. A pagoda atop a stupid amount of steps it took 1:20 and 2L of sweat. 1400 steps? There was a sweet gong and a dude climbing a pole. Again the view out did the pagoda. On the way down we were a lot quicker despite the large and inconsistent steps. We went to a local spring where dedge and I swam after lunch. We decided to return home and chilled for a bit before an early dinner. Curry Thai green with shake milk chocolate. We went to a bat cave. Nice sun set but we didn't see the bats. Until we diecosed to leave. There was a few people there that probably disturb them. We drove back and said goodbye to dedge and Chris. Then met a couple girls at a bar for the a few drinks.
Night bus interesting. Matt and I got the biggest seats for the longest legs. We started watching numbers then pulled in to get dinner. Dedge and I bought goat jerky and dumplings. Bad and good respectfully. Back on bus numbers stopped and some random movie was on. Devil house? Matt and I joked around. Fell asleep off an on. At 4am the guy started his rock music from his phone. In the morning I gave the guy my sunglasses to keep every driver should have them. The sole hostel is closed so soe brothers 1 or 2 was the option since 1 was close we checked it out. Cheap and nasty. 2 for tomorrow. We struggled to find a good restaurant and are pretty much done with Myanmar food. We napped and then went out to hpa po which is a pagoda on an unreal limestone peak. Sunset then and interesting walk down and trying to find a driver was a slight struggle. Burgers for dinner.
12 September 2017
I've haven't been sleeping well and waking up around 630 and needing to shit straight away. So I did that then had breakfast. Went went to find bikes to rent we wanted MTB but a lil bit expensive. So we decided to just go down the east side of Inle lake. First stop the winery at 10am. We got a bottle between the 3 of us. Dedge and Elise. Dedge made friends with a French man who wanted to come with his friends and of course the more people the longer things take. And I did book a bus to Hpa An for 4pm. But we got a cheese the blue was amazing. We figured we should leave for the pool and waited for a bit then left without the French. All he did was talk politics. Along the way we met money a local fisherman. He said he'd take is fishing but I think it got lost in translation for fishing village. Anyway he took us out on his boat we went swimming and had some fish for lunch. He gave us thanaka. We biked back and showered then went to the local for one last meal.
11 September 2017
We started the boat tour at 8am and went through the canal into lake Inle. Saw the traditional fisherman with the leg paddles and big basket nets. Although mostly are for show. 1st stop was at a silver making house on stilts as most buildings are. I got mum a silver pendant which was all of my money. Next was an umbrella place that also did a bunch of stuff like smoking pipes. There were some long neck ladies. Denmark and I walked around the village and was invited into a home where they made cloths from cotton. A site filled with tightly close pagodas. Much needed lunch was expensive and I had to open a tab. Grilled pork curry. Next door to lunch was traditional cigarette making. Made form leaves and glue. Lotus weaving with big wooden machines.
10 September 2017
Met back up with dedge and the donnish dude also was there and Chris from Florida. Didn't do much but sent my work contract out. Went to a craft beer place had an Irish red ale and English bitter. Had Indian at the same place as dinner the night before.
9 September 2017
After a day of chilling in mandalay I got up early and went to Inle lake. The only eventful moment was being pulled over by immigration. I had an amazing chicken korma
8 September 2017
An early start for the bus. Ditched the broken headphones and jumped on the back of a bike to the bus. I was in a ladies seat and then in someone else's then lost my ticket but being one of two white guys in was fine. It took about 6h to blurt to mandalay this time on a proper bus. Along the way going through dem switchbacks there was a trench that could not get around a corner. It was still super misty on the hills and was cold in the bus. We stopped again in Pyin oo lyn. For food this time I actually ate dispite having the shits from 3 days of proper Myanmar food. First time. I was busting for a pee by this time. I got a motorbike taxi to the hotel Anni booked. We hung out and did some errands. We had dinner at a Thai place which had a really nice guitar.
7 September 2017
Woke up to a misty morning. Seems it didn't lift from the night. After breakfast and the girls got themselves ready we set off down what would be a slippery track. Eventually the rain came at us and progressively got worse. Luckily none of my stuff got wet. The bag itself was soaked. Back into the cornfields and out of palong territory it was mostly downhill and we slipped our way down. Most of time it was easier to walk directly on the running water. We had an amazing bowl or two of Shan noodles then a tuk tuk into town. A very nice shower and shit. Played francey in a game of chess till their bus. And drank a beer with dedge and Denmark on the balcony. We played pool later that night.
5 September 2017
Homeboy had a deal out of night terrors. We headed out towards the water fall about 2h of up and mostly down a newly made track. Being in prolong territory instead of Shan yday we crossed a checkpoint omo said if he was on his own he could get hassled. Omo and his friend made us bamboo walking sticks. Didn't really help. We got to the waterfall and had a shower Dedge brought soap. 20m later downstream we stopped for lunch. Bamboo is used for everything we had roasted nuts rice eggs and some stew. After we took another dip. So many bugs and butterflies. Back up the hill we heard the thunder and slight rain. Back at the house we had a drink and got our things for the last 1.5h. We came to Omos village and looked around he showed us flowers for dye and sour plants. There was a full moon festival on which entailed a visit to the monestary where Pepz prayed and usually dance after but due to the fog it was canceled.
4 September 2017
Woke up unexpectedly in a new bed. Went and met dedge for breakfast to figure out what to do. Couldn't find the mountain but a guide came up and said there was a 3 day mish. Frantically packed and saw the others there was 2 German girls who I met in Dalat on my bday. Recognize but not remembered. The guide was cool seems like a good one. He told us things without being asked and what we did ask he answered. Bodi tree. Sensitive plant kidney. And what's going on in Myanmar. A couple times we fell behind and saw crossroads. Stopped for a quick tea break and had local cake and some seedy fruit. Well needed as we sweat like nothing else. We walked through the town first and into rice fields as well as corn taro peanut ladyfingers. Lunch was good and well needed. There was 3 other guys. One who seems smart as he talks a lot about things. We met another guide as he was going down a track unknown. It did start to rain and we saw bamboo wild rice. We got to the village saw tea process. fire
3 September 2017
With no real intention of the day I had breakfast and learned that there was a group leaving for a 3 day. I have it a miss and went up to the balcony. Reading chess and workout. I wrote a postcard to grandma and one one to John and Rowan. Still need to figure out johns addrrss. Maybe I should just ask. Eventually I rented a bicycle and went out to the Nam tuk waterfall. About 30m high and on foot about 1.5h. The road out there was not great and with a single gear the slightest gradient is a struggle. A few down hills meant I had to get off as much as I wanted to bomb them. Once at the waterfall I went for a dip there was no one around so clothes weren't a requirement. There was a creepy little shrine nearby and a friendly cat. I went back and chilled hung out with some ozzys and an English girl and a guy form Chicago. Dinner beers and pool
2 September 2017
Not much sleep before the 5-6 hour bus ride from mandalay to Hsipaw. An early walk around the street to get started. The lady was kind enough to let me have breakfast early although it was only watermelon and toast. I waited an extra 30m to be picked up which was soooo great. Thinking I could sleep on the mini van was foolish. The road was bumpy the whole way old mate had a heavy right foot and excersised the horn regularly. My right headphone broke on the way. We got in about 130 he dropped me off at mr Charles hostel. I had a red curry for lunch and chilled till about 430 then set out for a look around and had dinner by the river more Thai curry. I went to the sunset hill. There was Boone around except a pagoda. Nice very nice sunset. Came back and now it's time to read the 2nd story in the sword of destiny and catch up on that sleep.
1 September 2017
Once again breakfast was on the rooftop and same good quality. I met a guy from Florida. We went to a jade stone market. Saw a bunch of dudes out grinding away at the stones. They had it all sectioned out from the big rough stones to the final product laid out on white cloth. This dude needed to sort his life out with money and SIM cards. It took longer than it should. We had lunch next door and went to a king gallon gold leaf. A place where they bash gold into thin paper like for rubbing on buddahs. Quite the process. Half a coconut with a a hole in it sitting in water was there timer. Came and chilled. Booked a bus to hsipaw. I met up with Laura at Central Park. A western food place had dinner either friends and a few drinks there were some Turks who joined us had we finished off their gin when they left.
31 August 2017
Carly went to bagan today. The replacements weren't as great. A German and a Chilean. We rented scooters and tried to get to the ancient cities. Not even sure we really got to them. But pagodas and temples. I bought a sweet lil painting. The usual stuff. We took the scooter across on a boat and saw a nice temple. Then drove around and across a bridge. On the way we went through a massive crowd of school kids. It's still very dusty in mandalay. It did rain in spots. Luckily the biggest downpour we were in side having lunch. The last spot was the coolest. I Bien Bridge. Connecting 2 monestary. It's a massive wooden bridge where all these monks cross. We were there for sunset.
30 August 2017
Last night I met Carly from jersey. We meet at breakfast and decided to figure out our plans together. We walked around and found an info place. The lady said Chin state will be kinda difficult. Maybe I could go north on the train but it may be easier to stick to the standard route. She told us to go to the palace and Manadaly hill. Like Bagan you pay for a couple of places at once. The palace and some ancient cities I think is included. The palace can be missed I think. It was super humid that day. Not hot but did we sweat! We had lunch pretty nice place I had some BBQ chicken. The hill we could walk to and we got a taxi back. Had a nap back home and went and got a good dinner before meeting up with Pete at the mustache brothers.
29 August 2017
Today I woke early 4:35am to get that river boat up to mandalay. It cost about $40 bit lunch and coffee breakfast was included. I saw Pete the scot at check in. There was about 10 people in total we watched the sunrise. I did most of my chilling back at the stern on an elevated platform. Tunes books and a cheeky workout. Pete bought me a couple beers and we it to know each other. Interesting dude. Lunch was nice sweet sour stuff. The guy even gave me more! They brought out some French toast stuff later. It took about 10h to get to mandalay. Pete and I shared a taxi. I basically had a nap and was woken by an American girl. We went out for dinner next door to the hostel but not before walking around for about an hour.
28 August 2017
Early start. Went to bet an E bike but the guy said it won't make it to my Popa. Tourists aren't aloud motors. So I got a taxi for 10k at 9am with an hour to kill I worked out and played chess. Driving through the back roads to the mt. There are locals waving at every car and I think they are asking for money. This also impeded my ability to climb Popa. The monastery a top a hill with steeps average views. We got back about 2pm I got a vege curry and chilled for the afternoon. I had started the 2nd wither book. I decided to at least go out and see the sunset. Got an E bike for 2k and saw just a few more pagodas. I soon real side I was in shorts and didn't want to be disrespectful so I went and got pants I should have also picked up my town pass and tripod. I did get stuck in the sand trying not to go the same way home. Went to new Bagan for diner at an Indian place.
27 August 2017
Finally another workout done. Full! I didn't get an E bike by the time I was ready it was 10 and I couldn't warrant it. I walked by a bar that didn't sell beer but was playing mayweaher v mccgregor. Was exciting to watch with locals and I lost a bet with a boy for 10k. I walked on and realized the pagoda museum was pretty far. I got a horse carriage for 4K should have a got a bike. It was bumpy but an experience. He dropped me at the palace. I didn't want that. Walking I found a cool pagoda after I made it to the museum it seemed big but I got round with disapline. After cutting through the sand roads a lady told me one pagoda was Hindi the only one. She showed me round and wanted to show me her shop. I saw one more pagoda and got bit lost. Couldn't find my shoes. I walked for another hour back home. Again got lost. Thinking I missed my hotel I turned around when it was only another 100m. I chilled. Got my SIM card after difficulty and went and got a myanmar beef curry with mandalay b
26 August 2017
I woke at 4am and couldn't sleep more on that bus. When we arrived toko booked another ticket and we got a cab to where I was staying. I had breakfast and we decided to visit the pagodas. We rented an E bike which don't go fast and are strange to drive coz they don't make noise. We didn't really know where we were going coz there about 2000 pagodas to see. After a while we went back to get my pants which are kinda required as well as not wearing shoes. We had a nap and found more pagodas also a new tower that had great vantage points of the planes. Onto new Bagan for lunch. We ended up back at the tower for sunset. Not a great one and then dinner before just making it back home for tokos ride to the station. The sts are chill very sandy. Dark red stains spots on the ground from chewing Tabaco.
25 August 2017
Met a nice ozzy on the plane who worked in Yangon. Got a taxi into town. 10000k. Nice taxi driver. Checked into the blue river hostel. Met some nice Japanese. Toko was teaching the other one how to backpack? We got dinner on 19th st. Amazing skewers I thought it was real cheap but needed another 0 making it $12 still tasty! We got a taxi to the shwedagon pagoda and walked around the outside. Looked cool. The next morning I almost missed breakfast. Toast banana coffee noodles. Figured a rough plan on what I can do for the next few weeks. Got a bus ticket to bagan for the night with toko. From there we walked to the gardens for a drink. Then I'm pretty sure I saw a girl from tinder. We went into the pagoda. One of the better temple places I've seen. Washed the Buddha of Thursday. My birthday. A mouse represents it as small quick and intelligent. I guess. Another taxi back and chill before getting a shuttle to get the bus. We got some rushed take away looking forward to eating it!!!!!
24 August 2017
Yesterday I did fuck all it was great. I did go to the war museum but didn't reeeeeally learn much. I'm disappointed more than anything after visiting most museums. Never really dives deep into anything. Just basically states what and not why. Probably coz the PC police are out. Had a kebab for ouch and walked around a bit. Hang out on the balcony. It rained. Went to the square market to find some ball jerseys looked speakers but decided they are shit. Had a sweet dinner next door to the hotel. I got and extra binh mi and snacks went back and chilled. Did some street photography or at least tried to.
Woke up early and went to Starbucks for a big coffee. Ordered a Grab to the airport chatted to Ollie while waiting.
22 August 2017
Well I got my free breakfast and told the boys about the hotel. I'm done with them and their German. Nice blokes but wholly fuck. I checked in and went to the phone store. Last night it kept restarting I tried everything but turns out just needs a new battery. Hopefully it will last. Probley from getting it wet I. Laos. 350k. I got lunch walked around surcame to the temptation of coffee and went to Starbucks. A large please. Chilled in the room saw the rooftop. Meet the boys got more bin mah. Went and sold the bikes in the rain. Four Germans. Again no English. Paid $250 so profit! The side didn't even turn it on. They wheeled them down the road to their hostel. We had a beer back the the lads and then I said goodnight. Maybe will see them tomorrow maybe never. I dot think they know how lame they are.
21 August 2017
The sounds of Vietnams streets are filled with strange and unique horns. Trucks will blar past you and honk at the last moment you see them. Avoiding potholes on TD roads and watching out for all other vehicles on AH1. Following a truck is like standing in the firing line as bits of dirt and other debris come at you with pace. The visor or sun glasses must be on. Sun screen is important as the thighs are in direct line. The idea of your bike breaking down is always present or lack of focus causing a crash. Stopping every so often to let your butt recover. Sometimes it's like being stuck in a wind tunnel with a giant hairdryer blasting ya. Adjusting headphones. Sadly my time has come and we left BAC Lac for Saigon. The road was busy and we had to filter into a spot with only bikes. It will be sad to say goodbye to the bike but not so much the Germans as they tend to speak a lot between each other in German. Tomorrow I will leave them
20 August 2017
Hungover. Got a birthday cake. Drove to atrrfall. Drove
Happy birth day to me!
I got feeeecked up big up to Maddy
19 August 2017
Not a great sleep and woke to the sound of construction. Breaky included with coffee. We set out to find some waterfalls. Thors bike didn't want to go so it went to the mechanic. He jumped on mine. The elephant fall was sick. Many slippery steps and lot of people we had lunch and went on to the next one. Google told us to go up a road that bike were not permitted. So we turned off onto a dirt path and linked onto a QL. Once at the Dalat? Waterfall it was disgusting too many people there was some sort of roller coaster and a shitty waterfall. We came back and chilled.
From binh tien we backtracked north and stopped at a mechanic to look at svens and Stephens bikes. Sort of fixed. We made our way west up an ok pass bumpy roads. Once down it began to rain. Hard. After a while Sven and I lost sight of the others and then svens bike broke. Wouldn't start. I went on for help. Found a family in a shack couldn't help. With limited 3G I realised we weren't on the road planned. Could sort of communicate with Thor I went back found him pushing hard. We sheltered on the shack for 15m then tried the bike. It doesn't like being wet. Perhaps it was the spark plug once he blew on it we got it going and meet up with the other two who are having coffee. It continued to rain up the QL27 to Dalat. We stopped. Had great green tea and a coffee. Warmed up put merino on. Drove the last hour slightly more comfort. The hostel gave us dinner a lot of it. Beers and pool down the road with a yank and two English bros. they have a guitar here which makes me happy.
17 August 2017
The power was on when we woke up. We drove to nice cafe that did both coffee and food. Both good. The night before we spent a bit of money on a few shared dishes. We drove straight south on AH1 not too bad on traffic. Made a left turn out to a peninsula that we read about. Looked a couple of spots hoping to rent a tent on the beach but they all had fishing boats around and smelt bad. The other side a bit more commercial and expensive but nice we paid a whooping 500k for a tiny shack on the beach. The food was expensive with rice at 85k. Swimming was nice with hammocks and swings in the water. I actually fell asleep. Lots of Asians here all taking photos of themselves. Stephen and I got in one of the kayaks and paddled round the bay. Saw birds and fish jumping. Took some pics of the bike with a view. Got dinner round the corner slightly cheaper even if the lady persisted it was much cheaper. Chilled in the chairs and had a quick dip
16 August 2017
We decided to leave the paradise and for good reason as we all spent way to much money. Stephen decided to join us. I lead us out the gate down the AH1 which was the best section of that road yet. We made it a restaurant that was recommended and had fish with noodles. Very nice and good view of the ocean. Thor wanted to check out a peninsula so we drove down and found nothing but sand dunes. I climbed one to see the sea but they kept going. With shoes full of sand we headed back and thors bike had a wobbly foot again. Stephen wheel was bent. It started raining and svens bike wasn't accelerating. Later when it began to rain more mine also had trouble with getting a blast of speed. Sven was leading and had no clue we went past the tie. We planned to stop so once again I pulled over and found a place to stay but ended up down the road. We found a mechanic and had a look at all of them. Only oiled my chain and gave me peace of mind he did say something about the speedo It rained going home
15 August 2017
Left the nha ngai with no breakfast and got the oil changed on the bikes. Withdrew money for the first time since I've basically been in Vietnam. We drove down some bumpy roads. And found our way to the QL19 we stopped and got some pho 🍲 decided we won't go far today once we found a hostel on the beach we drove to it. It was a bit further out of the town of Qui Nohn. Right on the beach life's a beach backpackers is a bit expensive with not great food but happy hours. We played volleyball with the German Stephen who we met at in Hoi An. Had a few drinks. Met some girls one Jo was an older woman who had quite the life. An ozzy girl. And a scot who lives on queenstown. We went swimming with the bioluminescent plankton
14 August 2017
We had a pretty good breakfast at the crazy ladies place and got a photo with her. Headed Southeast we went to thac trang Minh long water fall. Had a swim they had a few animals locked in cages. Monkeys and falcons. Back on the QL24B we went up the mountain. And down through villages. We stopped at probably the only petrol station and had lunch next door. Fried rice. Then we boosted up one of the best mountains. Once over it the roads turns to shit and it got old and threatened to rain. It eventually became light showers. So I donned the poncho for the first time in while. DT669B was our road and it was a good one we had great time in the late afternoon and made it to Kbang. Found a Nha Nghi. Got the first Pho in along time. On return the owners gave us snake booze. And water buffalo cooked on the BBQ also a 2nd dinner rice and something. So lovely one lady spoke English and told us about the snake/cat booze. Brewed for 5 days mixed with wine. Strong stuff.
13 August 2017
Slowly woke up and packed got out laundry and had breakfast. Looked for my hat. I'll hit hung we got on the road south. The AH1 is horrible but the first part of the drive was nice over a bridge and through sandy roads. We drove to Quang Ngai. Found a homestay and the people are so friendly. The lady kept giving us water and coffee. We went to a plastic chair and was disappointed as not much food it was pork and tofu. Walked across the big bridge to a night market. I bought a hat 🎩
12 August 2017
We drove into Hoi An and couldn't find a room. Two places fully booked so we made a booking and it was ok the lady couldn't really figure out our booking though. We walked around the town and drank all day on the hot hot sun. Had some of the best fish of my life paid good money for it too 155k. Free beer through. We went back and meet some Dutch dudes I played one in chess and whooped em. They also had a Chinese version which was complicated. That night we went to the 2nd hostel the sunflower. And got involved with their all you can drink for 2hours for 100k. Run and coke. Naturally we got fucked. Thor went home as he was not feeling well. I meet a nice kiwi girl who knows Kieran Wallace. I jumped on the pool and then lost my hat. After the free drinks I had to get home as was toooo smashed. Sven went on
11 August 2017
After Sven got his tire sorted we set and for the beach which was nothing fantastic. After I was crushing along in front and my back break locked up. In the unforgiving sun we had a look and asked locals where a mechanic was. Luckily in Vietnam you are never far from one. The guy spoke no English but knew exactly what to do. He took the tyre of and replaced the disc break. Turns out it was just a tiny spring that gave way. 100k to do in 20m. We were back on. The AH1 was the only way to the start and we made good time. We found the elephant spring which is sort of river that's been manipulated to swim in. We had a beer. Then found the Ha Van pass which was crazy busy with tourists driving over it and for good reason. We keep on seeing the same people every were you go. We finally got to our accommodation with out lunch and showered and food.
10 August 2017
Road to hue. Not an exciting road last bit on the AH1. Meet the Germans had a few drinks. Sven cut his hair off.
The English girls who borrowed money from to go to the botanical gardens. Didn't show up at night and then I saw them across the road from the balcony as I was packing my bags.
9 August 2017
So I said good bye to the Germans and would see them the next day in hue. I got the oil changed and chain tightened. I set off fir the loop. I stopped for a photo and a couple shezahs pulled up and we went to the dark cave. We zip line to the entrance. Swam around then walked to a mud pool and swam around in that. Came down a mud slide and back into the river with some rafts. Paddled up river and found some swings kinda things. The cave was kinda expensive and I didn't bring much. I borrowed 50k from a girl I just met and went to the botanical gardens where I saw some people I met at the cave and cruised with them. We swam in the tiny lake and a waterfall. Drove back in spectacular scenery. Now in a hammock drink huda beer.
8 August 2017
Left without breakfast only a coffee to fuel me. It seems cafes don't do food and didn't fancy pho fo breakfast. Down pot hole roads through rice paddies and onto QL46b which flowed into the Ho Chi Minh road. Just before turning on I stopped to check the map and got waved in by a local whole game me tea. It was beaut day blue sky's and some clouds. A strong wind battered me for about 20m yesterday I bought sun screen which was quite the task once we all found some (the pharmests) it set me back 500k that's like a whole day's budget. After being on the road in the sun it took me a while to find a plastic chair and ended up in quite a nice place where the lady spoke English.continuing down HCMR I came to the national park phong nha with some nice hills and roads. I got stung by a bee. Tried checking into the easy tiger but full!! Across the road then. Meet a Iran girl. Boring. Leaving that night. Went to easy tiger bar and meet Germans drank in the night. Might ride with them.
7 August 2017
Leaving the national park once again I few wrong turns. I decided to go to the beach. Sam son in particular. It was a nice beach and with not much going on. I got a pizza bad called dad while watching the ocean. Then wanted to continue on the coast but it wasn't that great. I got on the main road AH1 and then around a Peninsula. There are major industry in that area as well as the army... I got back on the A1 and got fed up so I boosted back inland and I will continue till Hoi An I think.
6 August 2017
It was a noisy night as other guests downstairs talked. Didn't bother me but Micheal. The breakfast as well as dinner was included in the price bother were good. Fried chicken and eggs respectively. I told Micheal I was going on my own I think he knew it was coming. I drove back the way we came and turned onto QL6 went up a big hill took some photos. Then came down. Made a few wrong turns and resorted to using GPS. The last few roads were small and bumpy. But I made it to Cuc Phuong national park the first in Vietnam. I found the cheapest room and then set off again after some rice. It was about 2pm and I followed the road through the forest. It was nice with lots of butterfly's. I went to a track with 1000y trees and a cave the was spooky. I never made it to the tree. The signs are misleading. Driving home it poured and I was sure my camera was wet. I hung everything up in the room and went and got dinner. Chicken. There isn't much signal here so I think it will be early night.
5 August 2017
Not much to add on this leg. It was raining when I woke so I wasn't in a rush. We got off about 9 with no breakfast our second mistake. We got to Son Lo just fine and found a cafe that didn't have a food menu so I just ordered coffee that's when it started to rain HEAVY. We sat around for about an hour before o think the staff felt sorry for us and made Pho with 2m noodles. They added egg and spring onion. It was drizzling when we left and it didn't stop. On the QL6 we didn't see much and got super wet. We stopped at around house and asked for a drink. They only had green tea. They were nice but we could only communicate through translate. We pulled into Mai Chau around 530 and went to a place we got recommended. Worth it. The food they put on and the style of bedding (futon on bamboo house) was superb.
4 August 2017
Sapa is a dingy town that is lucky to have beautiful surroundings valleys with diverse villages that supports its tourism. Neon lights and pot holes everywhere that are filled with dirty water. I was happy to leave. We got petrol on a busy station on Sapa and then boosted back up the QL4D and onto the QL32. It started to rain pretty hard so we stopped for an early lunch at 10. Mike as usual can't make up how mind on anything and confused the lady so he ate which was a good thing as he needed energy. Honestly teenagers. QL279 was the next road it started with a spectacular damn with water gushing out. We followed its lake around winding roads. Mikes bike has not been starting well and I ended up push starting him. Our goal was son Lo but we were short by about 2h at 4 and thought the next town will do. We struggled to find a bed but once I learnt the term nha nghi we found one immediately. We also found a mechanic to look at the bikes and change the oil.
3 August 2017
After we re woke. I had a work out hen showered and had banana pancakes with coffee and eggs. Again so much fooood. We set off again at 10 and went to the other side of the valley up to a waterfall. Entering the bamboo forest the track got a bit slippery and busy as well. There was a landslide that happens one year ago. We wondered around in the sunny weather and had a drink. We went back to Mais after sheltering from a sudden rain storm. After a massive lunch which included bamboo shoots. We packed and got back on the bikes. Carol got on mikes once his bike started. I feel nervous trying to start it every time. The night before in Sapa we both had trouble starting but I got mine going and mike had his spark plug replaced with the mechanics right next door. Everything seems to appear at our doorstep. We started looking for the route to one of the backpackers but then the other was across the road. Then at the square Mai came to us.
2 August 2017
We meet Mai at 9 on the bikes near the church. She is a local guide from the H'mong tribe. One of many tribes in the Sapa valleys of which don't speak each other's languages and have different culture. She lead is on our bikes 10km to her home it was wet terrible roads and a fair amount of traffic. We met Carole a German who would join us on our treks. We met maid family who do not speak English. We walked through the village through the terraces and past a couple happy flowers. We had much at a local and continued downto the river it was wet for the first part and then dried up. In the evening we helped make spring rolls and such then had a massive spread of rice noodles and other stuff. Mai broke out the happy water which was a rice wine but really tasted like vodka. Next she busted out the happy flower and passed around the bamboo bong. We planned on getting up early for sunrise but nothing happened as it was just cloud.
1 August 2017
After a few days absent from the workout I got up and did one. Trying not to go too hard just yet. Micheal and I split off from the two lads as they had already been to sapa. Google said 6.5h. Back on the QL32 finishing of on QL4D. Not sure what they mean. Again in the mountains and I saw the best rice terraces to date. We did see a spot of rain as we ascended a hill and it got cold. The last part was probably the best the final climb up to sapa around twisting roads and through thick clouds to burst out into beautiful valleys. We checked into a hostel. Walked around met a guide and booked a two day tour.
31 July 2017
Back in Hanoi I got a new Helmet as the the original wasn't sufficient. A painful start off as Micheal had to get his bike. Dreas a Dutch man didn't wake up till later. Also had to rent one. Once out of Hanoi I boosted west on the QL32. Highway farms villages and small hills. The further we ventured thoughts hill turned into valleys. Nhai Lo was our destination 180km. Dreas dropped his phone smashed screen. So we stopped for lunch. I was super thirsty on that hot wind. My bottle fell out in the midst crazy that is hanoi. We had Brahmin sandwiches. Funny people. Back on l, we arrived at 6pm pulled up to find a place. Found a place and then the owners rocked up on a scooter and offered a room. We followed them. An American who recently had an accident was cool we had dinner and a smoke 💨
30 July 2017
7am start. Meet mr Key our guide. Crazy Vietnamese with jokes. A bus took us east for 3h from there we got on a boat that took us to a boat which was our cruise through ha long bay. Descending dragons. Had a few beers. Didn't get burnt. Had some platters for lunch mix of dishes. Meet some nice people. Went kayaking doubled with Micheal. Through caves and bays. Races splashes and we tied our boat to another's saw a hawk. Back on the boat we went to a swimming spot. Did some mean manus. Key through beer in the water swam to a tiny beach and taught Annagre , a Dutch girl, how to skim. Back in the boat went to our 'private' island where there were friends of the owners or something. Swam chilled. Had dinner. Got fucked up on buckets with drinking games. Some ping pong and kings. Bon fire on the beach and then skinny dipping. Annagre and I stayed up till 4am. There were bioluminescent in the water. We found one of the bungalows open.
28 July 2017
Didn't do much yesterday. Tested two bikes one was shit the other ok. Both Honda wins. The streets of Hanoi are crazy and testing bikes is difficult hard to get up to speed and all of them are full manual so there's a learning curve to that. I booked a tour of ha long bay with the guys. A bit expensive but includes food and it works within my budget. We walked around for a bit to the lake (Rami and Micheal) I got some cheap headphones to use while riding. Later we wine to the Vietnam war museum. Lots of old guns jets and tanks. Highly propaganda. Heros and puppets. Had a few beers that night but fell asleep after dinner. Next morning I did my work out that I stated again 3 days ago. Looked at another bike. An Italian was super chill. It looks to be ok condition and from 2016 a Honda win! I've dubbed it Rhonda Sin. Hopefully no issues will come with it. I'm not sure on where to park it while I'm gone.
26 July 2017
Welcome to Hanoi
Got a bit early to the airport and could t check in for another 1h got a coffee and after checking went to the buffet. Coz what else am I gonna do with all this kip. It was 100k and had some good dishes and all the beer Lao you could drink which was not much. The airport only has 3 gates and is under construction funded by Japan I think. The flight took like 50m. When I landed split a cab with other backpackers and checked into the Hanoi rocks hostel which has free beer at certain times. Meet some dudes who I'll probably chill with for a bit.
25 July 2017
Woke up got breakfast. Figured out a plan and that was to do admin. Need to get $US25 print out and fill out my visa application. Book a place in Hanoi. Look into airport shuttle. Book flights back home which had gone up $30 and of course finally get a massage for $10
24 July 2017
The last day with the lads. We checked out at 12 and then walked to a barber shop so jonno could get a shave. I continued to the bus station and get a ticket to Vientiane. It took about 7h and I sat next to a Malaysian girl who worked on the UXO. The bus was full and people had to sit in the aisles with small plastic chairs. At the station we jumped into a taxi with 2 locals. The driver dropped them first. I don't think anyone knew how far they wanted to go. By the time we drove down the bumpiest road we had been in the car for about 40m at a puddle the driver said nah and dropped them off. By this time we were starving. I checked into a room at Ali's and we got curry. They only had private room available but he sold it to me for 50k the next day I went to extend it but had to pay double!
23 July 2017
An early start at 6am skipped breakfast and boosted through what could have been the most beautiful part of the whole trip. Early morning and nice cloud. It was a bit cold. Driving through the hills and karats was spectacular. The. We got on the 'highway' heading south back to thakhet. We had to get there befor 1030 which we did with about 15m to spare. Fortunately we didn't run into the cops coming into town. We had much at the local. The lad thai was. It enough do I got some rice after. We got a ride from a local just randomly who offered. Went to the bus station to sort out tickets but they just said come in the morning. Chilled for the arvo. After much protest from jonno we walked south to the local. I forgot my laundry at wang wangs. Had yellow curry the. 2 bits of chicken where we saw boner the dog Pete gave him a bit of chicken. Got a mango and grapes in the way home and just chilled for the last night together. It's been a blast.
22 July 2017
An 'early start' by the lads standard this morning at 8am I think we got in the road at about 9. Driving through the recently made resisivour from a dam initiative. We got to Lak Sao. Had a coffee there was an 'open' dentist across the road and a young guy you had obviously had UXO. We kept driving back into the limestone. Checked into a place had t Laos best fried chicken then went to konglor cave we hired a boat guide and went all 7km through a massive cave. There is a village on the other side and a track that goes over it. The long boat we took kept filling up but he kept bailing. They gave us head tourchs but went great. We got back in on the bikes and watched the sun go down on the way home. After the bugs came out not great. We had dinner beer sweet sour and choc brownie. We probably did close to 200km today. Peter left his camera in the locker which is a shame as it had some great pics from the trip.
21 July 2017
The thakhet loop is a well known route for tourists to rent bikes and typically do 500km over 3-4 days. We rented 3 Honda waves for 60k a day we chose to do it in 3. After the bikes were inspected and tested we set off avoiding police checkpoints informed by our host. But the last one we ran into. They wanted our licenses which mine was at hotel. Somehow they let us off. We went back and got mine Pete got his bike changed due to his front brake. And finally in typical lads trip fashion were off eventually. We just beat the weather and had a spectacular ride through limestone hills and rice paddies. Many trucks. We had much and saw other riders whom the cook asked to borrow her scooter to go get eggs! We stoped at an info site about the dam but missed the waterfall. Seeing dark clouds we donned our ponchos. Looking like picnic cloths we did so just in time as it rained heavily for about 10m. We found a place to stay and had a beer. Other riders turned up and we chatted to them.
20 July 2017
An early start and 2 coffees saw is get on a small bus for what could be 8-11h drive to thakhet. It was a real dinger with leaks and shit tints. Big pothole on a lot of the road but we did arrive little of over 8h. The pace we stayed at was near the station and pretty nice but expensive. We decided to move to wangs recommended spot where we could rent cheap bikes and the room was very cheap. The morning rained so hard and we had to wait to be picked up by wangs. We inspected some bikes but didn't try any. Found the local spot to eat and walked around. Later the market geared up and we found the only fried chicken in Laos so I got a couple pieces then got a red curry from the local. I got some passport photos hope they work! Found some mangos which seem scarce in Laos. I withdrew more cash don't think i got robbed by the ATM this time. Finally I bought a flight to Hanoi for the 26th out of Vientiane.
18 July 2017
Phonsavan is 1100m in elevation and is quite temperate. After a good sleep we awoke to pelting rain yet again. So we got some breakfast looked at the MAG centre which try's to sort out all the bombs the yanks left in the 70s about 30% didn't explode for 9 years there was a bomb 8min. About 2mill tones. Most bombed country per capita. The locals get blown up often and use scrap bombs to decorate their home. It was a proper right off day. We had dinner and saw some eventful Karaoke. The next day was much better. Got some bikes and went looking for the fields of jars. After maps.me took us the complete wrong way to a quarry we turned and headed to the first site. No one knows what they are for. Booze burial or something else. We saw 2/3 sites and a pumping waterfall. On the 2nd site we ran into the bullshit guyOn the return I ran out of petrol outside a station. Jonno got a puncture but fixed the tube. After getting my shoe dirty again I washed them in the shower hopefully they can dry.
16 July 2017
A note on Laos development in infrastructure. Assuming that Laos is one of the poorer SEA countries it is interesting to note the Chinese attributes to its development. Growing regions, especially notable in Luang Prabang and nong khwai, is more helped by external Chinese investments such as airports hydroelectric dams and tunnels where this point is roughly located.
15 July 2017
I woke at 5pm to see the sunrise but it was fairly cloudy still it was nice such a beautiful place nong khwai is. I stayed up and drank a couple coffees then the lads got up and we left in a mini bus back to Luang Prabang was a much nicer drive this time more room. We got in and had lunch chilled out then it rained got diner. Just chilled stuff really tomorrow south.
14 July 2017
My bed was not comfortable so I tried to sleep in a bit and get the most out of it. We went to Pha Tok cave 2.5km south. 500 people sheltered here 1975 from the American bombs. Laos proclaims that's the most bombed place on the world and this is one of the most. 10k kip enterance and a couple kids to guide us with a tip of course saw us within a massive cave unfortunately nothing to spectacular. We walked back got some amazing food. I had Laap traditional food basically minced bees with herbs and purple sticky rice washed down with a beer lao. The food in Laos is expensive and I'm trying to cut back but the fruit shakes are hard to ignore. The afternoon I really wants on the river but nobody seemed game. We decided to backtrack south as making the intended loop east is not possible. I'm looking forward to becoming solo again. I applied for hopefully a ligit Vietnam visa and will get it after the weekend. I will have to fly into Nam which really limits me in Laos and an expensive flight
13 July 2017
4 hours in a small cramped van along a poor road saw us get to Nong Khawai. It is a beautiful place in the mountains with a river cutting through. We got in about 1pm and checked in to a place right on the river. The boys seem quite lethargic and wanted to chill but I went out with the camera for what seems like the first time in Laos! It was a sunny day could be a the reason. The best thing to do here is climb to a view point which was about an hour up a slippery slope. Pete decided to wear jandals. Up for sunset the spot offered awesome views with little rain and a splash of clouds. We decided to head down a bit earlier than I wanted to because otherwise we night die. Through the jungle canopy we couldn't see much. So many bugs such as millipedes fire flys bats grasshopper frogs Beatles and who knows what else. We slipped and slide aloud way down and got very muddy. A well deserved shower followed and more deserved dinner. It's a small place with tourism almost about to pick up.
12 July 2017
The drive to luang prebang was an event. For one there was about 6 hours of scenery nice mountains. The driver was probably an ex laos pro rally driver. Blind over takes super speeds and hatches flying open realising cargo. Once in we checked in and got food across the road because yes it was raining.
We meet Paul the German and eventually home boy rocked up offered joints Paul purchased. The next day we got scooters and went to a waterfall. It rained once we took off. It was super nice
Best water fall in Asia. We went swimming and there was a swing. Nothing to change into and went home wet. We dried off in the bikes then it started raining. Luckily our Landry was done. We went up this hill with a shrine and spoke to young bucks trying English. We waited till late so no pay. We lost Pete. Got dinner meet Paul. Pete came. Smoked in the bar Figured out next port of call.
10 July 2017
Vang viene is a super nice place. It seems to have rained every day since we have arrived. The backpackers that we found is unreal however. The army barracks is dirt cheap but not dirty has free breakfast cheap decent food a good vibe and most importantly free whiskey. It's only been open a week so I guess they are trying to get good reviews. I think it will work. We did go for a walk to a cave which was sweet but a caves a cave. All I really want to do is tubing but with the rain it's not too flash. Tomorrow we will leave and maybe come back.
Last night we got drunk and ended up fighting jonno but as always he fucked me up and now my hips sore but how much fun is it!!!
7 July 2017
We made it to Vientiane with out my bags I may add. AirAsia lost them but they delivered it to the hostel the next day. We meet Pete at the airport stayed one night there was an Israel chick Pete meet at the airport and we checked into our private room for a little bit extra o think this is the way we will do it. The city itself doesn't have much to offer but once I had my bag which arrived at 3pm we are free the plan to head north to vang viene which we did so by bus. It's a cool little town surrounded by the classic straight out of the ground mountains. Hopefully we can get up one or two. And float down a river or check out some caves!
4 July 2017
The next day wasn't much and marked the first proper hangover of the trip. It was chill. At night I meet up with a local girl. We walked around got chicken and mango shakes. She want that interesting. Another soul unsatisfied with their job. The next day I wasn't sure if jonno would pick me up. I went for breakfast and got caught in rain. I stayed in a cafe for a couple hours then walked around a bit. Parings a nice place but it's strange in a lot of ways. A lot of Russians and middle eastern. There's many tiny outdoor bars with girls heckling. After speaking with jonno due to the rain we decided I'd get a cab. We went and got pitas and milk for the last of the protein shake. He showed me around the gym and then had dinner with his family and two friends mike and Runi. It was great the family kept poring whiskey and feeding us. Both friends were nice and both are training at tiger gym with jonno. The family mentioned how I was skinny and not strong so I quickly made it clear they insul
3 July 2017
Jonno pick me up from the bus and we went to chalong where he stays then onto Patong beach. Both of us checked in to the hostel and we set out on the town. Dinner a beer. One of the best yellow currys. The girls heckle every white man. Baling road. We had a bucket with girls dancing around us. Then 4 shots of tequila. Another bar saw jonno loosing connect 4 to a bar girl so he had to buy her a drink. They just grab you and are so aggressive and flirtatious. Back at the other bar another bucket and tequila and then I think we go to a ping pong show but never saw a ball. But we did see one write notes with a pen up her. One girl gave us bannas and then she shit them out. One dropped two fish into a bowl but that was about it. I think we got back at about 5.
1 July 2017
Am early start with yet again a big breakfast. I'm trying to eat more since I weighed in at 65kg. On the boat and we went back to twins for the deeper dive at 17m it doesn't seem much different. We saw a hawk beck turtle and a small yellow box fish. Everyone got barred up because the turtle is super rare. We did some skills navigation and mask removal which I thought o would dread more but had no issue. Next was white rock. Which was basically a fun dive. We all wrapped up before noon and meet back at the. At later to debrief and get photos for Padi cards. Got free t shirt too. That night we had a couple drinks at the bar. Next morning I got on a boat and bus and went back to Phuket.
30 June 2017
The next day were in the sea. We got up did the exam 46/50. Then got on the boat they did a roll call and we geared up. One of the Brits pulled out. Didn't like the pool. So James and jess were my buddies. Benno the instructor gave me a mask that didn't give me any issues. The dive site was twins due to 2 reefs that are similar in shape. In the water we descended by rope covered in barnacles. Equalising all the time and slowly descending. Once down to 12m we did some mask skills and then went for a Cruze. So many fish and healthy coral. We surfaced after 40m and went to the next site junkyard. An artificial reef with gyms cars and soon to be the boat that sits on the beach. Less interesting this place. We get back on the boat which had coffee and biscuits. On land we cleansed the gear and meet for a debrief at the bar. That night after a couple beers, James who pulled out offered benno and I a doob and we chilled out. I got the feeling benno loves a very hollow life.
27 June 2017
Right so I got to Koh Tao. Found crystal dive. Did some paper work with a couple French Canadian who also were doing the course. They have me my own bungalow. That night I took photos of a sweet green sky with a shipwreck at the beach. We had the morning off. I ate. got mangos and chilled reading. Trying to finish 3 books by August. Afternoon was watching videos and answering questions. I meet up with a Dutch girl from tinder. Trying to eat more I have been spending more on food which is easy this island is expensive. We got geared up and was in the pool all day. The other 2xoules from U.K. Are not that interesting one of the guys doesn't like it says he won't go in the boat. We practiced hovering swimming under water without masks. Using buddies secondary. I hope I can remember all this as there are tests.
From Chiang rai to Chiang mai by bus one day the next was a plane to Phuket. Jonno forgot to pick me up we got some food. He went to training and retuned for a few beers finishing with whiskey sours. The following day I got on a bus that took me to a boat to go to Koh Tao. I will start my open water PADI diving course tomorrow afternoon. Lots of miles witching a few days. Thailand has been rushed!
24 June 2017
Tebo and I rented a scooter and drove to the white temple. It is amazing. Not really a temple it's more of an artwork. On the inside there is a wall with pop culture from recent decades. We jumped back on the scooter and drove to a waterfall 70m we walked 1.5k through jungle and bugs. Driving back we were out running the storm clouds that dropped a bit of rain on us. Next was the blue temple which was spectacular I found 200b on the ground and donated it to the temple. Tebo laughed at me thinking it would be locked by someone. Not my money. We made it back to the hostel to chill and find out the next place. The lady Buddha was north west and was massive! You could use the elevator to go up it but couldn't use the stairs as it was still under construction. Went to the Saturday night market. They shut down some of the streets and stalls are everywhere as well as people. Too much! The food cheap, yum. We had chicken, noodles a skewer and mango!!!!
23 June 2017
On the bus for 3 hours to Chiang rai. Once there we were hungry. Found some pork and rice and then after a coffee at cat n a cup cafe. Yes there were cats everywhere!!! Using the wifi we found a cheap place around the corner. We wondered around and got our juice. We asked a tour company what to do to get ideas. We came home and chilled then went out to the mall for no reason really. The night bazaar was just around the corner from home so we went and ate a bunch of deep fried goodies. Well maybe that's not such a good phrase as it was too much.
Tomorrow, the white temple.
22 June 2017
4am came around quick. I had some pad Thai on the train station with the Californian girls. And left before the sun rose. There's a crazy amount of markets here and they wee open at dawn. One I got to the hostel it was locked and no one around so I waited for a bit. Meet a French guy and went and got 2nd breakfast. Later we went around a whole bunch of temples and had some of the best mango and orange juices. Dinner was at a crazy market that was also a fair or something. It had crazy music that was turned up! Had my first thai beer, Chang. Once you've seen a couple temples you get the idea but there is what is suppose to be a unique one in Chiang roi. So I decided to tag along with him the next day.
21 June 2017
Once checked in to the sabya club hostel I took some time to do some research. After I would walk to the MBK mall to get some pants and ended up with the classic white guy baggy pants and a shirt and singlet. This was the mall that we went to when I came with my folks. On my way home I partically took a tuk tuk then got out to get some food. The last 5m of the walk was spent in a downpour. That night I went out to Karl son road, the backpacking universe. There was so much food and going ons. The next morning I got up early, the chill in the room helped. I went out to Wot Po where the reclining Buddha resides. I was so early that they let me in for free but I still had to wait till 8 to see the Buddha. I wondered around a bit then came back and Di more research. I had booked a train to Chiang mai the night before, it would depart at 2pm. I grabbed a tuk tuk for 100b. On the train there were some lovely girls and when it came to put the beds down. There were bugs all over the sheets. 😁?
20 June 2017
Well well well. Bangkok. After two nights in Jakarta I jumped in an uber with 3 other dudes and went to CGK airport. Which is probably the worst international I've seen.
Flight was delayed so didn't get into Thailand until 9pm. I walked to the hostel which on the map wasn't far but a soul could not cross that road. The 'bish' was what I needed to find and walk over. On the way there were clear signs of the rainy season. I saw a big puddle with oncoming traffic. I raced ahead to beat the splash but on another occasion failed to notice the wet but did not get to wet. Another non avoidable pool saw me feet taking a dip. Crashed at the sleep owl and did some research. Morning came and it was cold in the hostel. After more research I went out for an amazing breakfast. First was white noodles with pork. I then smelt fried chicken probably the best I ever had. I packed my things and went back to airport. By a much quicker route I found a bus that would talk me to the democracy monument. 50ba
16 June 2017
So I took a long train (8h) to Bandung. I meet some Dutch and a Korean. We all wanted to go to kawah putih which is a Sulphur crater. The two girls hired a driver and Dan the other Dutch did also. Kim and I hired a scooter and followed them to the crater and then onto the tea fields the drivers decided to go back after this. Kim and I went on to another lake which passed my expectations. The traffic is so bad in this town I think we probably spent 5-6hours on the bikes. My thighs got burnt. Once back I meet yet another Dutch girl, Meyke. She was pretty. We went to find food on the way to the mosque, Masjid Raya. We found a place that just let you fill a plate. I was skeptical on the hygiene but had enough food for 14k would have had more of I k ew it to be cheap! The mosque was stunning on the evening light. Many family gathering kids playing awaiting to eat a security guy talked to us and showed us around very nice guy he tried to get us up the tower but was closed. Tomorrow Jakarta!!
14 June 2017
I planned on being pretty chill after recent events. The water palace was the only thing really worth doing. At midday I began walking south. Naturally a man stated talking to me. He was an English teacher and said he was going home. I believe this was an elaborate commission plot because he started telling about Batik a tradition wax art on cloth or silk. We went to a batik school where the teacher told me the method. It was really cool and even though some may not be authentic I still bout a small one for mum or grandma. It has cats on it. The cats scavenge for food and come together to eat like family. I ended up getting it for 150k. Apparently 60% goes to orphans 20 to the sultan and 20 to the artist. He seemed genuine and was not pushy so even if it's not authentic I still have something to take back. I think I will pick something up in each
water palace was ok no idea what it was about but some good photos came out in the end.
At 9:30pm we headed out on the scooters with Jenny and my bag on her back with Miguel on his own. This was the real mission. Driving in the city fine. But once off the main road it started to rain, slowing us down. We steadily gained elevation eventually teaching a stretch of mud which was not encouraging. Jenny got off and we intended on not knowing how long it would last. 200m. The road from there was not good. Potholes. Flashing street lights. The last stretch was so steep the scooters struggled. Miguel's did not make it all the way and I shuttled for the last 300m. At 1230 we began. It was steep. Wasn't sure if Jenny had the mentality to make it every so often we would pass a 'POS' which gave times. Mt Merapi is 2900m but at 2500 we stopped. Due to its activity local advise against going with a guide. It would be fine. One offers 100k to take us but the cloud was just as bad the view probably the same we stayed for a bit. It was cold. There was chicken. I was awake for about 34hs.
12 June 2017
We learning I had the scooter till the next morning I decided to get up at 5am and drive to pramban temple. It was easy to get to and close. I arrived before 6 and had to wait till they opened. Upon entry I had a coffee and had the whole place to myself bar a couple. I came home and had breakfast. Jenny was there and I convoher to climb Mt Merapi. She was not a hiker but I may have converted her. We got snacks for the hike And chilled. Upon chilling Miguel arrived whom I meet in banyuwangi. Immediately he was keen. Jeremy and I got dinner at an Italy. Then came back and began to leave.
11 June 2017
Today I woke up had breakfast meet a cute Canadian, Jenny, who agreed to hire a scooter with me and go to the Borobudur temple. It took about an hour to navigate the streets and we got there around midday. Not great for photos but still awesome. The history is amazing. I may add later. We meet the other Croatian couple and decided to have a late lunch with them at this mushroom restaurant that's highly rated on trip advisor. It was awesome. Not expensive and soooo many shrooms. We came back had a beer and chilled.
10 June 2017
The way up was crazy crowded with too many people and not much room to let people through. Around the west side of the crater we found an opening that would satisfy my small tripod. Close to 5:30am we started to see light. With our backs to the crater we noted the change of colour and eventually enough light, and limited smoke, allowed us to see down into the Sulphur lake a beautiful light green colour. With a required 7am return we headed down but continued to be awe struck with our surroundings that where hidden on the ascent. We made back the truck and found our driver asleep. We shock the truck for a laugh, I'm unsure if he reciprocated the joke. We had maya pancakes again and coffee so I wouldn't be sleeping. I tried again the internet to figure a plan. The surf south is too big. I decided to stay at the original homestay in banyuwangi and take the long train to yogajakata. Departing at 6:45 and arriving at 19:25 it will be a long day but there's lots to do there. And then to Thai
The others were concerned that we would not see anything especially when there was drizzle driving up. After paying 125k each for the ride and 100k for the entrance we took off. We gained serious elevation starting at sea level and reaching (@&&) we felt sorry for the French who rode scooters. A very busy track, that was well maintained, we passed many people. Ijen is a Sulphur volcano that emits 'blue flames' on the wee hours. The gas is ignited when in contact with oxygen and burns blue. Miners would carry baskets on their shoulders that apparently weigh up to 90kg?? And they would offer to pull people up in a makeshift wheelchair as the track was steep. They would sell trinkets for Sulphur some carved in animals some just natural. At the crater we donned our masks and descended to the blu flames. There was many people. It was slightly hard to breath but the mask helped. We timed it perfectly, after 20minutes we returned to the crater and navigated around for the sunrise.
I meet companions on the way back from Ceromo lawang. Again we had to wait for people to turn up so the bus can leave. We ended up paying 80k each for 5. By now we knew Tanya from Latvia/UK. We climes Bromo with so I found a friend to replace lilidh, though not permanent. The other two, Sandra and her bf, also joined. They are from Estonia but had lived in Aus for while. Tanya and I shared a bed in a shyt home stay while the others stayed in a nice place down he road. The next day we went to theirs for breakfast and checked in for the night. Maya's pancakes 👌🏼we chilled and I tried to use the Internet to research what's next but it was slow. We walked into town which wasn't far but for Tanya she complained, an omen for Ijen. I bought a bag for 240k and a mask. Had lunch and walked back. I watched game 3 and it was close till KD dropped a 3 towards the end and diminished The cave lead. 3-0 'NBA is broken. KD broke it' a quote from Pitty. Slept till 12:15am and got ready for Mt Ijen.
7 June 2017
Early morning. 3am. Half a cup of coffee. Head torch. Uphill. Dirt track. Mosque song. Made it for sunrise. Didn't make it for the stars. But still bloody awesome. Sun up about 5.30. Stayed for about 2h. Took a lot of photos using the tripod. Lots of people and some had a fire which blew smoke. Wasn't that cold. We saw a couple volcanoes mt bromo and one far in the distance that was puking smoke. We stood about 2600m. We walked down and got 40k buffet breakfast. I saw a walker, a Norwegian named Katrina who had just went to bromo. Small world. Then we walked down the back track towards bromo. This was illegal and we got picked up by 'boarder security' they took us to the ticket office and then got dropped back down the hill. Worth it. Walked through the black sand and up the steps to bromo. Billowing smoke. Got back to the shitty home stay and found a van back to probolinggo. Only 5 people so we had to pay 80k. Lilidh left at the train station. Her train was waiting.
6 June 2017
We left the pod hostel and went to Surabaya train station a 5 minute walk. Waited an hour for the train. Spoke to lovely man who was traveling with his son. Went to probolinggo where scammers are rife! Having done our research last night we were prepare and paid nothing than what we should have. A 'bemo' is a small van that could uncomfortably fit 6 people. 5k. Got to the bus station where we had to wait for the bus to fill which did not eventuate. 35k normally but we had to fill 5 more seats so 50k was agreed. It was still cramped. Half way it started to rain so we crammed more with the bags off the roof. We climbed about 2000m to cemoro lawang. A small town dedicated to mt bromo. It was extremely cloudy and we could not see much. All tried to find the cheapest room and 4 of us split 3 rooms for 350k lil and I shared. It's shit. Squat loo. Smelly sheets. Tiny couch. Have to turn on water every time. Will NOT use shower. The afternoon was spent with Tanya a Latvia girl we climb tomorow
5 June 2017
We left the home stay the next day. It was filled with interesting characters. The guy who picked us up reminded us of Kaz. His son was 21 who I played with guitar. Pretty sure he was banging with French girl who was staying there too Melissa. Yoanna was an interesting Austrian girl who was woofing strange is probably a better term. The train was easy to coordinate it took about 5.5h we saw a few volcanos as we passed. When we got to Surabaya we found a mall and I got a tripod for $25 then had dinner by the river. The cokes came with ice so we might get the shits. I ordered two and on the 2nd plate I asked for sky sauce and he thought I wanted another plate. At the hostel I watched game two of the finals. Warriors won by a bit. Both James and curry got triple doubles. This city seems to have a bit more money big new buildings and infrastructure. Yogajakata is an ancient city with lots of history concerning the Dutch. Hope that tomorrow travels will be as easy as today.
4 June 2017
A sad day indeed. Lilidh has informed me she is not where she wants to be and is unhappy. Not because of me but just does not want to travel. She will fly to Melbourne in a few days time. I convinced her to do one cool thing. For we have not done a great deal on these two weeks. My bromo is one of famous volcanoes in java and we will climb it in a few days time. We leave yogajakata by train tomorrow morning although we have not booked tickets or any sort. I am both sad nervous and excited to travel solo. For one it may be more expensive but I feel I will have more fun without her no offence to her. She has not what I expected to travel with but it has been ideal in almost every way. She has had times where she did not seem into anything and disappointed at every destination. This is for the best and we will both benefit from it. I may try to move my flight to Bangkok.
3 June 2017
We went on a walking mish up to the mangroves, not much there. Then headed south to the big yellow bridge that connects Lembongan and ceningan. Tried to get some photos but unsure if they turned out. Then following google maps we went hope. Missed a turn off coz it was a small walking trail I did think when passing it if it could be shorter. Chilled out drank more Balinese coffee and got picked up to get on the boat. Upon arriving lilidh did not like north sanur and wanted to go back to cafe locca. I just wanted to eat but she paid for a taxi. The dorm was just as much as the private room plus a taxi ride. I think she just wanted the yoga. This morning we went to a free yoga class. There were 3 trainees and it was pretty reasonable. Now we sit in the airport awaiting our flight to yogajakata. I am fighting temptation to get a coffee.
1 June 2017
Another lovely breakfast was enjoyed with coffee. We went to the snorkel place and jumped on the boat. We signed up for 3 spots for 3 hours but got like 5. The first spot was probably the best because they spotted a manta ray which was unreal so big and strange looking. The next was cool but crowded. Lots a tropical fish and coral. Some dead.. but still lots of colour. The others on the boat (4) were old and 1 lady didn't get on to see the manta coz it was too rough. Missed out love. The third spot was interesting it had Buddha statues all around they had been there for 5 years and already some coral growing. However lots of dead coral as well and some sandy bottoms. We saw a porcupine fish. The next was cool because the current pushed us along and there was less dead coral and still lots of little fish. The last was probably my fav they threw food in the water and the fish went nuts. Just sitting around with fish everywhere. We got so burnt on our backs. Cool island this is.
31 May 2017
Yesterday we got up and waited for a driver to take us to sanur where we would get a boat and head to the island of Lembongan. He was late and didn't know where we were. The drive was an hour and the boat also. We got dropped off at tropica shipwreck. Which is one of the surf breaks just 5m from us. We went for a swim and drunk beer ate a shit pizza and drunk more beer by the pool. The next day we got breakfast included. Went and rented surfboards and headed out Lil wasn't really much into it and I did ok. The water was beautiful clear and we could see the reef and some fish! Just a little step in the reef and I cut my foot. Went in to clean it and eat then went back out for a bit as the surf gets bigger in the arvo. Nice and slow left hand. We booked a snorkelling tour for the next day hope to be good for my first tropical one.
29 May 2017
Let's start from last night. Talking to a girl on tinder. Go over to her accommodation 30m and then can't find her room. Should asked before I left wifi. Woke up and got breakfast over priced waffles and some local coffee brewed in Bali and suliwasi. Time to figure out what we are doing. The rest of the day was unfortunately on the web looking at options. I feel like our first week coming to an end has gone surprisingly quick given the fact that we haven't done a whole lot. But hey it's been bloody great to just chill. Something that I may have left out on the last post but it's amazing how much construction is going on in the country. Seems like they just went through a natural disaster or everything has originally been done so cheap it requires constant maintenance. A quote I heard today. "Every saint has a past every sinner has a future.
28 May 2017
We went for a walk around the big block past the monkey forest and back through the busy streets. Got some fruit. Some papaya mango and naga or dragon fruit. Snake fruit is also o winner. We got our laundry and figured a little. It more about what we want to do. I tried to go see some rice terraces whole lilidh went to yoga but I could t find it and it rained. Turns out the access is now private property. In terms of what I think of indo. It's a busy place always scooters and car tooting. People on the street selling the same stuff. Guys yelling out taxi! Which is good when you actually need a ride. The foot paths are uneven if in exsistance. The shopping is either high end or low. The people are absolutely friendly never felt unsafe. Food is generally megoran and most places sale it for 30k and then a lot of western food. However portions could be bigger. Bali has adapted well to tourism. Temples are everywhere be they are small and limited access the structures are impressive.
26 May 2017
Right so changgu was just ok. The surf was a little ruff so we didn't go. Tried to go to yoga on the morning but the high tide meant the poo rivers flowing in the sea where up. We went out for dinner to a local spot and the guy was friendly. After we set out to find a driver we got one for 300k. Celebratory drinks in order. We found a live reggae band and they had good interaction with us so we went and talked to them on the their break. We smoke and drunk then they went on and played katchafire. Today we went to ubud and it's a much better place so far. We had trouble finding our b&b but it's such a sweet spot for the same cost as dorms. We met wieang who's a lovely local then walked around a temple and shops and a market place. We walked up to a campuhan ridge for sunset but bit too much cloud for photos. Had dinner and now about to have some snake fruit for dessert.
25 May 2017
So thought we might go for another surf in the morn but alas it was flat. Had brekkie and saw our first downpour didn't last. We packed up and then sorta screwed a driver we said would get a ride for 400k but the hostel said 350k first offer so we took that should have done it earlier coz our new driver wasn't ready till the other guy turned up. So i changed my name to Chris! Took about an hour and a half to get to changgu. Bali is bigger than once thought. We were not impressed with this hostel. We must put our bags in storage and everything else in plastic bags to keep bed bugs out... the padlock couldn't fit the locker so we bought a new one. Many people here I'm on the 3rd top bunk they use a cashless card system it's not great. We cancels our last night so we only have to spend two in total. Our plans are try and surf tomorrow and maybe meet with Shannon. Then off to ubud and maybe onto Lombok. My current thoughts are I will not have much money to do four months... 😔
Yesterday I went for my first surf. Rented a 9ft for $4 the waves where about 1.5ft at best but still was fun lots of people out but not really catching waves. Two locals were having the best time playing on shot boards. After we got some breakfast at a touristy place. We went to pura luhur Uluwatu temple it was good but no info on anything and there wasn't really a main part of the temple. We had some lunch and a beer after lilidh found putt there was no yoga at a place she researched. Then went to the beach and explored some caves. After stitching my bag together it broke again that's what you get for $5.40 we chilled on the beach with the same break that you could see from the single fin bar. Much smaller today. The women around here are gorgeous. We came back showers chilled and then went out for a cheap meal. There are two Germans who bought a dog and the local dog got I excited. I got excited coz none of them had bras and nips were slipped
23 May 2017
My first proper yoga class was today. It was hot, long and had amazing views 🍑after we packed our things and decided it was worth getting a driver instead of the bus to Uluwatu. We drove south through the busy streets and after a few jams we got to our place. This place we booked a double bed for $7 each a night. Unfortunately finding water is tough. We ate lunch. Noodles seafood. Then payed a $ to get to the beach? The water was delightful the place was crowded and the surf was pumping. Still trying to find the best way as well as getting a scooter to rent or buy. Lilidh wanted to get Pluto a bar called single fins. A majestic view stood out from the balcony down at the birds of surfers. So I went to get cocktails and misread the menu thinking it was 40k but it was 400k slight differences. We physically could not pay for two so reluctantly the guy took one back. We are a fantastic pizza and saw a monkey watched the sun set and took a heap of photos. Tomorrow pura Luhur Uluwatu temple
22 May 2017
First full day on the expedition. We had to sort out a plan. Finding no available space at our current accommodation, cafe locca, we simply walked down the same drive way to another spot. The slightest bit more expensive coming in at 125,000 or $12.50 so who's complaining (maybe myself in two months)
We flagged the idea or pit on hold of going Lombok or the other island and decided to head to the southern peninsula of Uluwatu. The biggest hurdle will be getting there. May bite the bullet at get a taxi for it's only $20. We headed to the beach for a look around and I spied my first ever reef break. It looked big for it was still maybe just under a kilo away. We had our first meal at a not so touristy spot fried rice or mei gorang. A large bitong beer. This place is a cheap trap... after a swim back at the hostel another few street were explored I bought a bag and haggled it down 70% we were chased by dogs after looking for a stone pillar found on google maps. Night market. Blues guitar
After about 24 hours we landed in Denpasar.
Had a good stop off on Sydney where Jeremy picked us up and we went out for breakfast with Emily and young harry. We went down to the beach where harry proceeded to get starkars and play in the water. Next I learnt that the flight to Bali would take about 6 hours. Not what I thought but I had done longer.
When we landed there was no trouble at the border. Free entry as lildh promised and we got a taxi to our backpackers. Now we just need to figure out what to do next. I bought a new lens duty free. Worked out to be about $40 cheaper. Not a great lens but 'I needed it'
20 May 2017
Lildh arrived. I was late to pick her up.
Went at hot coffee at the one and only dose.
Looked at more lenses, if I was to buy one in NZ I would spend I lot of money! Hopefully can pick one up cheap o seas.
We bought flights from Jakarta to Bangkok for just over $100 each. So we will spend a month in Indonesia then aim to meet up with Jono in Thailand.
Currently have half packed.
Now waiting for lildh to finish at the bank. She has no phone while I wait in the car, it has been about 45m the bank will close in 10m. Hurry up.
We will go to the watershed for dinner tonight with the parentals then fly early morning to Sydney.
Kieran came around today.
Got pills for maleria
Have yet to pack
Lil D arrives tomorrow
Thinking about going for a surf in the morning