Asia · 88 Days · 97 Moments · April 2017

Short shorts, big adventures in SE Asia

30 June 2017

Day 88- leaving Bali; time to say goodbye. We did some last shopping bits after breakfast and it was pretty much just waiting around for transport to the airport. Uber has been hit and miss and the driver cancelled, but we eventually managed to arrive in plenty of time but of course my flight was hugely delayed!! Anyway, michael is safely on his was to New Zealand. And that is pretty much it! The best five months of my life!

28 June 2017

Day 87: Kuta- last day!!! Had to be a nice relaxing one. We had a chilled morning and headed to the beach to catch some last hours of sun. The waves were huge at high tide! After lunch we stayed another hour on the beach then went back to the hotel to watch the sunset on the rooftop in the pool which was gorgeous. We are sad to leave but looking forward to 'westernisms'!

27 June 2017

Day 86: Kuta: we had a relaxed day again today. We went and got michael a warm jacket for New Zealand in Kuta then had some lunch before beach time! Michael surfed for a few hours before he dislocated his shoulder! Luckily when I was trying to get him out of his wet suit I managed to pop it back in! Saved us a trip to the hospital at least- we bought a sling and pain killer form the chemist and chilled out at the hotel for the rest of the evening watching Netflix until a late dinner at a surprising good cheap little restaurant- goes art cafe. Accomodation: the spot- nice hotel, paid more for it as it's our last nights, cartoon themes in each room, comfy beds, well equipt, nice free goodie bag with note pad, hand gel etc. Good wifi, friendly staff

26 June 2017

Day 85: Kuta: today we did 'tat' shopping the whole day! We checked into our new accomodation early, then walked all the way into Kuta town. Michael bought lots of rugby merchandise, I got a new bag and some playsuits. The day just ran away with itself! We headed back just after 4 and got ready for sky garden (AGAIN)! It is our most favouite place. It was pizza and pasta night today and again we played cards and had some drinks and enjoyed eachother conpany- not long now until I fly home :(

25 June 2017

Day 84: Kuta. After some breakfast and another hotel change (availability has been really poor), we headed to the mall to find michael some clothes for NZ. We found a few t shirts but the clothes overall were quite expensive compared to the UK. We gave up at 11:30 and got some lunch. The afternoon consisted of surfing - the waves weren't as good as the last time we went but we still had fun and managed to catch several waves. We also got a little bit of video footage which was nice. We were exhausted by the evening so had another very quiet night. Accomodation: Ananta the Kuba Homestay - the cheapest place you can probably stay in Kuta and was really nice considering. Clean and good location

24 June 2017

Day 83: Kuta. After a relatively heavy night at sky garden, we tried out another room escape. It was a art gallery one and was pretty good - it had some nice concepts, like laser motion detectors. We finished 6 mins early which was best of the week. We then went to watch the lions vs all blacks game in a sports bar. I got bitten really badly by cane mites in one bar so we found another, cleaner bar. The game was fun, although michael gets pretty sweaty when he's watching. We were then planning to get a 4 hour taxi to the north of the island, but we couldn't be bothered so we found a hostel nearby and chilled out for the evening. Accomodation: Kayun Hostel - really nice, clean rooms with everything nearby. Big communal area and loads of TVs.

23 June 2017

Day 82: Jimbaran - Kuta: today was a very chilled day. We made our way to the beach but grabbed some breakfast at our favouite gourmet supermarket we had croissants and fruit, a nice change from Asian eggs! We relaxed and sunbathed on he beach, michael listened to his podcasts and we watched the world go by, including a lady going down to the water to pray and set down one of the banana leaf prayer offerings which we still find so bizzare because they attract so many birds/ rats/ animals as they have a good component. After a nice British lunch from our supermarket we headed to Kuta by uber. We checked into our guesthouse and went straight out to sky garden for BBQ chicken and ribs night- so so good! We played cards and got very merry! Accomodation: Komala Indah cottages- not great! Av beds and wifi but poor facilities- didn't provide toilet roll or towels! Staff seemed uninterested. Our fault as we didn't read reviews or rating properly!

22 June 2017

Day 81: 2/2- Bukit peninsular- the beach was rocky and a bit crowded and didn't look too inviting to stay so we left and visited Padang Padang and balangan beach, didn't stay long on pp just looked at it from a viewpoint as it's a huge decent onto it by stairs! We did have a drink at a cliff bar on balangan and then michael did a photoshoot in his speedos for his friends- crashing a wedding shoot in the process which was hilarious! Overall the beaches seemed rocky and sometimes a bit crowded on this west coast! We headed back after a long day and had dinner at Bate Bate, a Indonesian restaurant with 50% off food and 2 for 1 cheap beer 4-8pm so we were very happy! We played cards and bought some chocolate on the way home and again had some beers and played cards in bed- long but fun day!
Day 81: 1/2-Bukit peninsular- this morning we rented a bike and drove east to Nusa Dua, which is apparently a rich touristy area. We were a little underwhelmed as the area didn't seem that nice or have that much atmosphere however we walked through a light show set up which would have been cool to see in the evening and walked to a pretty sea viewpoint. We drove around a little more and drove down to a 'surprise' michael had pinned on the map. This was a huge plane just sat in the middle of a crater in the middle of no where! There is no information online or anywhere about why it is there but it's in good condition- very odd! We drove down to pandawa beach but decided not to pay to get in. We drove up and west to uluwaty temple which was quite cool to see as it was on a cliff side although we couldn't find the actual temple? Just the beautiful grounds and some naughty monkies! We had lunch at a nearby cafe and played cards before driving to uluwatu beach...

21 June 2017

2/2 Day 80: Lembongan -> Jimbaran. Immediately after our boat trip we got the hour long journey to Jimbaran on the Bali mainland. This journey was surprisingly civilised compared to others we'd had and we made it to Jimbaran at around 2. We had some very late lunch and found a nearby room escape. It was really cheap (£6 each) but only had one room suitable for 2 people. We went in anyway and did quite well, although we annoyingly didn't finish it as our 'advisor' gave us wrong information. We had some ice cream (sooo good) and stayed in the ice cream parlour for about an hour downloading Netflix shows! Dinner was in a pizzeria by the sea and we played cards, had beers and snacks in our room. Accomodation: shita Bali hotel- the name is funny hehe, bit of an odd place we seemed to be the only guests, staff not always present if you need something. Rooms big and clean and well equipt. Wifi only in communal areas.
1/2 Day 80: Lembongan -> Jimbaran. We'd booked an early morning snorkelling trip around Nusa Lembongan and nearby Nusa Penida; our way of seeing penida without staying on it. The first stop was Manta Point, to see Manta Rays. We arrived at a really choppy cliff area with deep caves and waves crashing - it was a bit scary to be honest. Our guide took us into the water and pretty near the cave entrances, but immediately we saw Manta Rays! We saw about 10 rays between 1.5-2m wide. They were so graceful in the way they moved and swam really close to us - just an incredible thing to see! We then stopped off at crystal bay: I sat on the beach due to seasickness and michael went snorkelling. The reef here was in amazing condition and so vibrant; michael saw lots of cool things there. Our last stop was Mangrove Forest, a reef just outside a mangrove forest! Some bits were amazing but some of the shallower reef was badly damaged, presumably due to tourism....

20 June 2017

Day 79: Lembongan- we had a great breakfast at the bungalow and then rented a bike to drive round the island. We first drove to the mangrove forest where there were a few optional activities and some nice beach bars but the forest didn't look that expansive so we left after a quick look and a few pics! We stopped at a nice viewpoint on our drive where you could see across over the west coast. After that we stoped at dream beach and visited the devils tears which are huge holes in the cliff where massive waves crash in and the water spray and power is incredible. We spend a while here amazed by how scary nature can be! We had some lunch at ginger moon which was a great Mexican restaurant- reasonable price and so good! For the afternoon we went across to Cenigan island which is an even smaller island over a bridge, not a lot happening here but some beautiful sites and beaches non the less. Some of the roads a bit scary! We had dinner at warung pancer down the road- a nasi goreng ayam!

19 June 2017

Day 78: Gili Air to Lembongan- we checked out and chilled out at a coffee shop this morning, waiting for our transfer to Lembongan which was delayed to 13.30. We had some lunch and boarded the boat, the journey was fine but I started to feel sea sick as the waves were huge and the boat was being chucked around- not to mention the heat on the boat! We then got transferred to our accomodation, we went out for a walk along the west beach to watch the sunset (which was a bit cloudy unfortunately!) we walked all the way to the end of the beach and treated ourselves to a really great dinner at ware ware surf cafe and rooftop bar, overlooking the sea and the beach. (Still only £12 for the both of us!) we bought some beers and wondered back to chill in the room. Accomodation: jiva bungalows: nice owners and great breakfast, clean comfy rooms, cold shower. Intermittent wifi.

18 June 2017

Day 77: Gili air: This morning we caught a transfer across to gili air which took around 15mins. We checked into our homestay and walked around the whole island which took around 1 and a half hours. We stopped at a cafe called 'munchies' for lunch which was so nice and cheap (£2 for good lunch and nice drink each). We continued walking around the island looking at all the restaurants with gorgeous views, amazing beaches and clear blue sea. We stopped at a little spot where the reef was huge and the waves were breaking right out at sea. Michael went to get icecream and I sat about to settle down with my music when a tiny Balinese girl jumped on my shoulders out of no where! She was so playful and curious we entertained her for a good hour until her mum called her home- so adorable! We then watched moana at an outdoor beach cinema with a few drinks and went back to munchies for dinner. Accomodation: limitless homestay- basic clean rooms, average wifi, close to pier, nice breakfast.

17 June 2017

Day 76: Gili Meno: As the island is so quiet, our day was very peaceful. A walk around the island to start with (1 hour), followed by lunch overlooking the sea and the (very small) harbour. The afternoon was spent sat on the beach soaking up the sun and watching very sedantry island life. We headed back to the west of the island for sunset and then had dinner at sasaks cafe - a really nice spot with a local band taking requests - apparently they could play almost anything you wanted! Accomodation: meno smile- gorgeous private buneglow, very cheap! Good but small breakfast, good ish wifi. Beware power cuts on island! Good location near pier. Staff not always present if you need something.

16 June 2017

Day 75: Gili T- today we had breakfast and headed to the pier to do our fishing trip. We spent (well mostly michael, I napped) 2 hours fishing for bottom in deep water. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful and even our crew on the boat didn't catch anything. We spent an hour snorkelling in two places and saw some amazing colourful fish, some of which were very friendly and got real close! We chilled and had lunch for a few hours when back on the island before getting the boat to gili meno. For a 1 mile journey it was pretty eventful, trying to change boats in very choppy water. We made it to meno for a chill out and dinner by the beach - the local restaurant made a romantic spot with coral strung up around, it was really pretty. Also, because the island is so quiet, we saw so many stars in the sky - one of the best skies you could imagine.

15 June 2017

Day 74: Gili T. Refreshed from a good nights sleep at our guesthouse, we headed to the beach for more snorkelling. We alternated sunbathing, eating and snorkelling. We were lucky enough to see 4-5 different turtles in the coral and loads of different types of fish. The only shame was the state of the reef - over 75% of the coral was dead, presumably from humans or boats. Nevertheless we enjoyed the afternoon and visited our favourite restaurant for dinner, juku marlin

14 June 2017

Day 73: Gili T. We woke up to gorgeous weather, both feeling a bit jaded from the night before. We rented some snorkels and went to try and find turtles. I felt a bit sick so we stopped for a while, but eventually found a turtle about 25m off the shore. It was eating something out of the coral and was fascinating to watch. We headed back for a quick power nap and made it over to the west side of the island for sunset. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets ever, with cloud covered Bali in the background and shallow rock pools in the foreground. Weheaded back over to west side for dinner, our favourite place - less than £2 for pasta, unlimited soup, potatoes, bread and salad. Accomodation: al maida 2: awesome little 'homestay' lovely family, far out from beach bht still only 10 min walk. Clean new rooms, good wifi and breakfast but only issue is cold showers only. Great beds!

13 June 2017

Day 72: Gili T. Bad weather on paradise. We had a late start to the day and moved hostel because of bed bugs, but eventually went out for a morning walk around the island. The island was beautiful even in bad weather, although the sea was very choppy! The rain got worse over the afternoon so we took refuge in an Irish bar to watch the lions rugby. We headed back to our guesthouse (via the turtle sanctuary) and had some Pre drinks and went for our own night out! The night out consisted of going to one bar and having a joss shot, and sitting watching the sky on the beach, but it was really fun and we met some nice locals to talk to. On the way home we snuck in a hotel and had a swim in the pool, and made it home at 4am Accomodation; gili fit hostel- booked to do some workouts but left after the first night and cancelled our other nights as cinema room infested with bed bugs, place is a building site and private rooms and tiny and hot, our bed had bird poo on from thatched roof

12 June 2017

Day 71: Ubud. The earliest start (2:15am) of the trip so far for the mount Batur sunrise hike. Despite some classic SE Asian disorganisation, we arrived at the mountain at 3:30am and met our friendly guide, Sami, who took us up. The hike took about 1:40 and was challenging in some places but overall not too difficult. When we got to the top we were greeted with thick cloud cover which we weren't too impressed about! Luckily, at sunrise the cloud mostly cleared and we got pretty good views of batur lake, the largest in Bali. We saw the inactive volcano crater and headed back down quickly to catch our transfer later in the morning. The journey to gili t was even more disorganised, there was about 200-300 people at the port not knowing which boat they were getting on! We arrived an hour late and got to our hostel (with gym). Michael did a workout and we went for a walk along the main strip with some stops for drinks. Lastly, we watched mulan in the hostel cinema room!

11 June 2017

Day 70: Ubud: today it was pouring down when we woke up so we wrote off the morning and had two breakfasts, one at the hotel and one in a cafe and watched the world go by! By 11 it had cleared up so we rented a bike and I bought some new contact lenses, then we drove to densapar to try and find michael and new go pro- not a successful trip! After that we drove back toward ubud and went to the rice tegallalang terraces and the Tirta Empul temple which had a water bath for worship and we watched locals and tourists dressing in special robes and bathe their heads in this water. We drove back and through some gorgeous balenise countryside which we preferred because there were no other tourists and did a small bit of tat shopping before getting some sleep- we have a very early start Monday morning!

10 June 2017

Day 69: Ubud. We started the morning by heading to monkey forest, a short walk from our hotel. The forest was full of amazing vines and overgrown trees, but most importantly, monkeys! The macaques were obviously used to being around humans and were very 'playful' in getting the food they wanted and rummaging in people's bags. They were generally unfazed by us although we kept our distance. Later in the forest, we got some bananas to feed them and the monkeys went beserk, although we enjoyed it and got some good pics. After that, we took a seat on the wall and the monkeys seemed to love climbing on top of us, which led to some very funny pictures! Once we were done in the forest, we went for lunch and for some walks along the rice terraces and campuhan ridge walk. It was really peaceful here and we got to see the lovely Balinese countryside. Later, we had some authentic Balinese food for dinner and did an ubud 'must do', a traditional dance show!

9 June 2017

Day 68: Seminyak+ ubud- today we did some shopping in the markets and then went to the police station to file the report for the lost go pro. We caught an über to seminyak and had lunch near the beach after walking along it for a while. The area seemed more peaceful then Kuta but still touristy. Also added a picture of what looks like lots of rubbish on the floor, but is actually some sort of religious offering including food, flowers, and banana leaf, accompanied with incense sticks but they just blow away or get run over all over the streets and attract rats! We headed back to hotel and caught and über to ubud at around 5pm, which took around 1.5 hours. We had some dinner and walked around the tat shops for a while. Accomodation: Purnama guest house- nice clean room and comfy bed. Average wifi, nice family who own it. Great location and good breakfast included.
Day 67: Legian. The infamous surfing day. With a lazy morning and an afternoon surfboard rental lined up, we made it to the beach for about 12 and rented some surfboards! It took us a while to get the hang of it again and just as we were getting into our stride, a ~5ft came down on us and ripped michael's GoPro off his head (hence the lack of pictures). We spent about an hour scouring the beach and water for it but it was completely gone 😓. After admitting defeat, we got back on our surfboards and had a really good few hours - we both caught quite a few waves (for varying periods of time) and really enjoyed it, although surfing is painful - we both had really bad rashes on our hands, stomachs and legs. We headed back, had some dinner I got my nails done! The day was finished off by brushing off our well rehearsed haggling skills for some clothes and souvenirs.

7 June 2017

Day 66: Legian- after an awesome nights sleep we had a late morning and big breakfast included at the hotel. We had a good few hours sunbathing and swimming in the pool, and then michael went off to a bar to watch some rugby whilst I caught a bit more sun. We met again around 5ish and went to a place called sky garden for dinner. It was incredible- all you can eat food and drink (including alcohol) for £7 from 5pm-9pm. We were so so full but had a fun evening, the theme was 'wings from around the world' so lots of chicken wings and other meats and a huge salad and side bar. We were so full and sleepy just after 9 that we headed back to watch some Tv and get some sleep- very indulgent day. Accomodation: Si Doi Hotel- good location just outside Kuta, away from the madness but just close enough, nice pool, slowish wifi, boiling shower!! Great beds and staff, nice and clean and huge delicious breakfast

6 June 2017

Day 65: today we got up and caught our flight to densepar in Bali. All went well and we were here by 2pm. Took some pics of an awesome display in Singapore airport which looks like tons of floating gold balls moving together. When we arrived we checked into our hotel and had some lunch, and straight after we were approached by a man who ( long story short) said we would win one of theee prizes if we sat through a hotels presentation, and told a few white lies. We were skeptical here but had a free afternoon so went along with it, anyway after a long presentation with an Aussie girl selling her heart out for this hotel chain membership timeshare thing, they gave us our prize which was 7 nights free accomodation in their 5* hotels in either Bali, Thailand, goa, Germany or Vietnam! We were so chuffed and still slightly skeptical but went to have dinner and got drunk and had a late night swim in the sea!

5 June 2017

Day 64: Singapore. Our last day in Singapore - we made our way slightly out of the city to the botanical gardens. They were incredibly well kept and we spent a couple of hours wandering round, feeding terrapins in the lake and spotting moniter lizards on the grass! We then headed back into the city to bugis - tat shop and souvenir central! The markets there were small but had so much stuff in them, it took a while just to take it all in. With the sun due to set, we headed back to where we started, gardens by the bay, to enjoy it one more time and buy a few more souvenirs! We had some more hawker food at 'satay by the bay' and got to see the supertrees at night once more. As we walked towards Marina bay sands, we found a lookout point where we could see all the trees, the flyer and the domes with lightning striking behind them, we were just too slow to get it on camera!

4 June 2017

Day 63: Singapore. Another crazy busy day in 'lion city'. We started off at suntec city, a shopping mall home to the largest fountain in the world! We then made our way to the F1 track as Michael really wanted to see it - we wandered around the paddock and saw the bits of the track that are permanent; it was pretty shabby but work was beginning to prep for the GP. We strolled along the harbour promenade and eventually found our way to Singapore Cricket Club. We watched cricket with some icecreams and enjoyed the sun - such a beautiful setting. We made our way further along, had lunchand eventually to Clarke/Robertson Quays. These are old colonial ports which have been renovated into nice bars and restaurants. After that we headed to Orchard Road, singapore's Oxford St! So many big malls and stores! We made our way back to the marina for a contemporary dance show at the esplanade- some of it was a bit strange but they were so talented! Dinner in Little India- felt like we were in Mumbai

3 June 2017

2/2: Day 62- after lunch at 'satay by the bay', we visited the flower dome which was also stunning, we loved the baobab trees! Then we stopped in at the art and science museum to do a 'into the wild' virtual reality walk which was quite fun and informative. Again we noticed how environmentally conscious Singapore is. After that we walked along the marina right the way to China town (where there wasn't much going on!) but we did pass the DBS regatta happening in the marina which was apparently a very huge international event! We decided to go back and watch the dragon boat racing which was a nice relaxing afternoon activity. They also had a 'pop up beach' there and we found a station where you could recycle something and grt a code to enter which gets you a free small bag of food- was all very exciting until some strange man started stealing everyone's 'code' and food so he was shooed off (there is always 1). We had some dinner and watched the light show for the 5th birthday of GBTB
1/2 Day 62: Singapore. We made our way straight for what we were most interested in - Gardens by the bay! We got the metro to bayfront and popped up right next to Marina Bay Sands hotel, with an awesome view of the metal framed trees. We bought a ticket for the skybridge ($8) and conservatories ($28), but both were well worth the money. We did the bridge first as it shut at 12pm; when we were up there we got the most amazing views of the CBD, MBS hotel, the Singapore flyer, the domes, the trees and the port, a little further away. The trees looked stunning, each with slightly different plants growing up them. After that, we went into the first dome, cloud forest. This was jungle themed and was just amazingly done, there was no empty space in the dome and it had a huge waterfall in there. We walked on the various platforms and in the 'mountain' in the middle, taking in our surroundings. We spent an hour in the dome, and afterwards managed to get some cheap street food nearby....

2 June 2017

Day 61: KL -> Singapore. We were due to travel to Singapore via bus at 2:30 so we had a laid back morning. We both desperately needed haircuts so went to a hair salon - somehow we both ended up with something we were relatively happy with! After that we went back to the central market to have a last ditch attempt at getting some souvenirs. We picked up some tea straining dishes and a handmade cushion cover. After that, we made our way to the bus station, waited for an hour to then find out our bus was cancelled. Having rebooked on the next available bus (a very nice bus) we travelled to SG. The journey was perfect until we got to the border and our driver decided not to wait for us on the other side! After franctically finding an ATM we luckily hopped on a local bus - it added an hour into our journey though which wasn't very pleasant. Chinese street food for a very late dinner

1 June 2017

Day 60: Kuala Lumpur- another awesome day in KL! We walked to the KL tower (menara tower) and bought tickets for the sky deck and observation deck. Views over the city were awesome and tickets included access to two glass boxes suspended out over the building for almost 360 views! We spent about 30 mins taking in the city; upon making our way down, we went to nearby eco-forest, a set of canopy walkways through an inner city forest. After messing about on the bridges (in photos), we strolled a couple of kms to the Petronas twin towers. We ventured in and around them to see what we could find, and found a huge shopping mall in the bottom of the towers, including an M&S! We found a fresh grocery store, got some snacks and sat in KLCC park, getting photos of the towers on the bridge. We went home to book bus tickets but made our way back to towers to get some photos at night. There was also a cool fountain show on, although not quite vegas!

31 May 2017

Day 59: Kuala Lumpur- we had such a good night sleep last night and a nice lay in and were so ready for our first jam packed day. First we headed to the national museum for a few hours, it was small but had some interesting stuff in it, then we had a walk around the planetarium, both of which were cheap/ free to get in to. Around 12 we headed to the orchid garden and hebiscus garden, both were quite deserted but pretty. We then wondered round the botanical gardens which were so beautiful and well kept! We walked down to the Merdeka square which boasts a huge Malaysian flag and an awesome cricket pitch which michael was v excited about! We had some tasty Malaysian lunch ( had no idea what we ordered off a menu but all turned out good- and seemed highly influenced by Indian dishes). After lunch we had a picture with the I love KL sign, walked through china town and then the central markets which were amazing! When we finally got back we had some street food and soaked up the night life.

30 May 2017

Day 58: Hanoi -> Kuala Lumpur. We woke up at 6am to head to the airport and did all the normal airport stuff. Michael was nursing a bad hangover but we survived the journey and got into KL late afternoon. We luckily spotted a Nando's on the way to our hotel so headed back there for a mammoth dinner. We ordered tonnes of food and it cost about £16, just what we needed after a boring day! First impressions of KL are really good though, looks modern, lots of multi-culturalism and clean Accomodation: gold brick hotel- small rooms but clean and comfy bed, Intermittent wifi, rooms advertised as sound proof but they are not, good location in bukit batang.

29 May 2017

Day 57: Halong Bay Day 2. After a night on the boat, we had some (very average) breakfast and went to Halong pearl farm. The whole operation was quite strange but interesting - we learnt about farming pearls and that 50% of oysters die in the process because they are artificially inpregnanted with small bits of mother of pearl. After that, we headed back to shore and had some lunch, followed by another long and boring journey back to Hanoi. When we got there, we met back up with Tom and Merry and enjoyed the rooftop bar at our hostel. I found out my bed had bedbugs so the hostel 'tried' to sort it out whilst we went for dinner. After that, we went back and I got some well deserved sleep and michael enjoyed a lively night in the hostel bar. Accomodation: 'golden bay cruise'- mid range accomodation, nice enough communal areas but toilet leakes in room, staff nice enough, quick turnover to clean rooms, some bugs in rooms

28 May 2017

Day 56: Halong bay. We woke up early and headed on the 4 hour bus journey to the famous bay. When we got there, there was 100s of tourist boats waiting and the whole operation was very busy. After 30 mins of waiting, we got on the boat and had some lunch. We cruised into the bay and spent a couple of hours watching the world go by and sunbathing. We then went to the surprising caves where our tour guide pointed out some very dubious lookalike rocks! After that, we got to the viewpoint at Titop island and saw out over the bay - sooo many tourists here we had to queue to climb it. We then watched the sunset on the boat and had dinner, getting to know the other people on the boat. We enjoyed the hours free beer and unsuccessfully had a go at squid fishing. It was fun to meet various people on the boat, particularly two American pilots, Aaron and Jaan.

27 May 2017

Day 55: Hanoi- today was very much an 'admin' day, we checked into a hostel and got their help to print off some advertisements to sell our bike. After breakfast we dropped these adverts in lots of hostels and drove around with a for sale sign. By 14.00 we really had no luck- seemed there were so many people selling and no one buying. We did want to sell to another backpacker as dealers were making low offers. In the end we sold the bike to a dealer as we ran out of time, thank god we only had one bike to sell. It was actually very emotional selling the bike cus it had done so well getting us up the country and had run reasonably well. After that we booked our ha long bay trip, and walked around the lake again, had some drinks in some quirky cafes too. We had an early night ready for our sail days! Accomodation: see you at lollies- nice hostel and staff, good location, clean

26 May 2017

Day 54: Hanoi- we arrived by train into Hanoi at around 12.30. We checked into our hotel and then went back to the station to try and collect our bike. It hadn't been unpacked yet so we had to go for lunch then go back to get it. Unfortunately the two front blinkers had been smashed and a rat had chewed through the starter cable on the train ride! The station staff were not very helpful and we had to do a a lot of waiting around. They eventually gave us a bit of money toward fixing the bike. At a bike shop the man 'fixed' the cable with black tape to stop the wires miss- connecting. We visited B52 lakes where part of an American war plane crashed during the war and was never removed from the lakes. We got an oil change and our clutch went at this point too so got that replaced! We walked around the night markers and around the beautiful lake before meeting tash and Paul for a quick drink. Exhausted after a trying day! Accomodation: Hanoi view 2 hotel- good wifi, small but nice rooms

25 May 2017

Day53: Hue- today we had breakfast at the hotel then biked to see some temples and tombs which were a little underwhelming but some parts were pretty cool! We then biked around the citadel and had a drink in one of the restaurants overlooking the walls and ponds within the old city. We walked to the giant flag but decided not to go inside. After that we went for some casual drinks and played cards with tom and Merry in a few different bars before dinner. It started absolutely chucking it down and me and michael had a night train to catch! We got drenched on the way but we were v impressed with the train! Comfy enough beds, clean with good air con and we got a reasonable nights sleep!

24 May 2017

Day 52 Hoi An -> Hue. Probably the easiest and best days riding we have had. We had 130km to cover over the day, including a stop off at the marble mountains (strange place) and Danang beach. Most importantly, we got to ride the 20km stretch of road that is the Hai Van pass. As local traffic can avoid it, the only vehicles on the road are tourists and can be enjoyed stress free. We weaved our way up and down the mountain, overlooking beaches and ridges - it was beautiful! We stopped off halfway for lunch at an old Vietnam war fort and made it to Hue at 5pm. We quickly headed back out to an abandoned water park; it was raining and getting dark which made for an awesome experience! It was eery and quiet, and the park was spread out in a forest around a lake, only reachable by biking round. We went back for dinner and had some dinner by the riverside. Accomodation: charming riverside hotel- nice new rooms, good showers, great location, wifi worked good in most places, nice inc breakfast!

23 May 2017

Day 51: Hoi An. Hungover. Late start to the day, rubbish breakfast, but we all perked up when we tried on our garments. The ladies in the tailors were so nice and super clever, most of the clothes fitted perfectly with a few alterations to be tried on later. After that, we headed to try and find some crab fishing (unsuccessfully) but instead made our way to the beach. We had a chilled hour or two at the beach playing cards, walking and collecting shells. We also found a parking attendant who sang a funny song about bikes and Hoi An, it cracked us up! Later on we collected our finished outfits, met up with tash and soaked up Hoi An at night, including the night market and a few bars. Hoi An is so beautiful and the lanterns at night are stunning. We bought some chopstick sets and perused the other stalls. Accomdoation: we stayed at Vinh Huy Hotel for theee nights in hoi an, good location, a bit outdated and breakfast wasn't great but good wifi and friendly staff, hot water, clean

22 May 2017

Day 50: Hoi An. After the mental scars of yesterday, today was shopping day! We had a lazy start but eventually found our way to Hoi An old town, not before a trip to the mechanic to patch up the bikes. The old town was filled with beautiful tailors, Chinese buildings and lots of tat shops, but we all indulged in a few nice bits of clothes considering it was so cheap! We had some lunch and found a nice tailors which were quite cheap. The boys both got snazzy jackets and michael got a proper suit, and Merry and I got some dressing gowns. They took our measurements and told us to come back tomorrow for fitting. Later in the evening, we had some dinner (the restaurant owner had the cutest son) and then soaked up Hoi ans nightlife! It was really good - we got free cocktails and loads of cheap drinks - it ended up being a pretty late night!

21 May 2017

2/2 Day 49: Nha Trang -> Hoi An..... and we had to tow her to the nearest town. After finding a mechanic, who was frankly a genius and getting the bike fixed (plus a new battery for us), we set our sights on still reaching Hoi An, despite only 30 mins of daylight left. In hindsight, it probably wasn't our brightest move as the single carriageways were lethal and slowed us down a lot, plus a few near misses. Our back brake broke and tom lost his clutch, so the final few hours were simply horrendous, made worse by the huuuge potholes on the final 8km into Hoi An. Fortunately we all made it in one piece at about 9pm, and had a bingey dinner to celebrate. See previous post of my legs with a burn from the exhaust plus tons of bug bites!
1/2 Day 49: Nha Trang -> Hoi An. The day of all days! As it was too expensive to put our bikes on the train, we had to ride 525km (equivalent of berkshire to the Scottish border) to Hoi an, and given our time constraints we had to do it in one day. We started riding at 6am to make the most of daylight and made good progress in the morning. We had a stop off for breakfast which is where things got interesting. We stopped in a remote town where no-one speaks English- we found a nice looking restaurant but the menu was all in Vietnamese. After a while using google translate, tom ordered 'chicken noodles', and promptly got shown a live chicken. Not wanting the chicken to die, we changed to veg noodles. 30 minutes later, we got chicken noodles, including a hacked up chicken and the chickens head! We got back on the bikes and rode solidly for 4-5 more hours, making good progress towards hoi an. About 130km to our destination, we had our first big breakdown - merrys Cam belt snapped...

20 May 2017

Day 48: today we had a huge lie in which was so needed! After some late breakfast we headed to 'long beach' which was about 15ks outside of central Nha Trang, very strange as we missed the small turning for the small part of the beach where the restaurants and water sports/ activities are and ended up on a huge length of beach with just rubbish and buildings happening as this area is clearly expanding into a huge tourist spot in upcoming years so lots of hotels being built. Had a cool afternoon at the beach playing with the ball and swimming and had a nice coastal drive back. We changed the oil and made sure our bikes were all set up for our long drive tomorrow. Off out for dinner. Accomodation: CR hotel- good location (cheap food and drinks around) smelt of sewage a bit, not great wifi, clean apart from smell, nice staff

19 May 2017

Day 47: Nha Trang- today we left just before 7 to go for a cable car ride over da lat, it was cloudy so the view was pretty cool as we were above the clouds. We also went on the alpine rollercoaster this morning which was so fun (a self breaking rollercoaster). We finally left for Nha Trang after breakfast. The drive was beautiful,especially through the mountains when we were again above the clouds. We had a bit of rain but was mostly a clear and easy ride, with some dodgy patches of road! When we got to Nha Trang we had a drive around and went to the local beach, which was pretty crowded and dirty, we had a drink and some dinner instead. This place is full of Russians and Russian money which is a bit odd, a lot more built up than we thought too!

18 May 2017

Day 46:DaLat-Today we left for a day of canyoning at the dantala waterfalls. We did three abseils 18m, 15m and a 16m final 'washing machine' abseil which resulted in dropping down into a crazy strong waterfall and being 'washed around' a bit before being taken to calmer waters by the current- was so fun! We also did cliff jumping from 7m, and had a few goes on the waterfall slide! Such a fun day and our guides were very good. We had delicious bahn mi for lunch before being dropped back. We changed clothes and headed to the cable car, unforgettable we were too late for a ride so we had ice cream and a drink in skyline restaurant before heading back to check into our next place. We had some dinner and a nice hot shower before a good nights sleep. Accomodation: Mr Peace Guesthouse- nicely kitted out, dorm beds were so creeky, good wifi, dorm of 16 wasn't too bad for noise, 'family dinner' nice idea and cheap! Da lat 24h guesthouse: hard pillows! Good wifi and nice rooms, good location

16 May 2017

Day 45: Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat- today we left at 7am for over 200ks of biking up to da lat. the roads were absolutely manic! People literally just drive wherever and there are very 'loose' rules of the road. After a few minor incidences we were finally out of Ho Chi Minh and on the road to da lat. we stopped to rest the bikes and grab some drinks and fuel a couple of times. The journey got better as it went on, but 9 hours on a bike takes its toll! We reached dalat mid afternoon and managed to have a bit of very late lunch and drinks to recover. Once we finished that, we had 'family dinner' at the hostel, with most people staying there, and chilled out in the hostel. The hostel was very sociable and we spent most of the time entertaining the owners little daughter - she was soooo cute!!
Day 44: Ho Chi minh: today merrys bag finally arrived to the hostel after being taken off her flight! We spent most of the day sorting out and test driving motorbikes for our journey up Vietnam and finally picked our baby. Had very chilled dinner and early night as we are setting off super early to miss all the scary Ho Chi Minh traffic!

15 May 2017

Day 43: Ho Chi Minh: today we went to Cu Chi Tunnels for a day trip. The bus ride was 2 hours there and two hours back to a region just outside the city. We learned about how the Vietnamese soldiers used these tunnels in the war to fight back at the Americans (ambushes, traps) and how they ensured they would not be followed into the tunnels or caught by sniffer dogs. Michael got to fire a gun! We saw many different types of vicious traps designed to would or kill the enemy using greenery to disguise it. Finally we got to make our way through the tiny tunnels (which have been widened for tourists!! But are still incredibly claustrophobic). we headed back and met with tom and Merry after lunch, they had just arrived! We all then spent another evening in the pool having drinks, had dinner and more drinks and cars games- such a fun evening!

14 May 2017

Day 42: today we met tash! We visited the independence palace, jade pagoda, the basilica, and the war museum. the war museum is a very moving place and very informative, we spent around 2 hours there. We had some dinner and went to tash's hostel and used the rooftop pool- and enjoyed 2-1 happy hour on beers and mixers! We ended up at Luca bar and finished the night with McDonalds! fun first day!

13 May 2017

Day 41: today we travelled all day from Kampot to Ho Chi min- we left and 10am and by the time we had transferred buses and waited around we arrived into the city and got to our hostel by 23.00. Not too much of an exciting day! Accomodation:Saigon Central Hostel- awesome breakfast included, comfy beds, clean hostel rooms and good lockers and wifi

12 May 2017

Day 40: Kampot. As we had an extra day to use before we were due to head to Vietnam, we made the stop off in Kampot. There are loads of things to do in Kampot, but with our only day we went to Bokor Hill station. We drove a moped up the mountain for an hour on beautiful deserted winding roads, stopping off at a big shrine on the way up. When we got to the top, we didn't know what to expect but found the weirdest place ever. There's an abandoned casino, huge new casino, a chapel, a deserted lake with swan boats on it and a waterfall, all linked by roads through empty tundra-like land. We visited all these places, but got caught in the afternoon monsoon in the process. After Bokor, we went to Phnom Chhork, an underground temple. We drove through the Cambodian countryside which was beautiful, however the temple was disappointing. We went back to Kampot and had a drive round the town. Accomodation: Monkey Republic Hostel - really good atmosphere and nice rooms, AMAZING food

11 May 2017

Day 39: Sihanoukville - with our final day in Sihanoukville, we wanted to see what some of the islands off the coast had to offer, so took the 3 islands boat trip ($15). The first island we went to was Koh Russei where we did some snorkelling. Visibility in the water wasn't great so we didn't spend too long with it. We then headed to Koh Ta Kiev, where we strolled along an empty beach, chilled in the hammocks and had lunch on the boat. After lunch, we headed round the other side of the island where we did some cliff jumping. The cliff was about ~6m high. After that, we went to our final Island, Koh Kteach. The snorkelling here was much better and we saw lots of sea urchins. Once we were back to land, we got a 2 hour bus to Kampot. Once in Kampot, we had a 500m walk to our hostel, although it was a monsoon so we got absolutely drenched! To make up for it, we had the BEST sausage and mash for dinner at our hostel - so delicious!

10 May 2017

Day 38: Sihanoukville. As we were staying a few kms outside of Sihanoukville. Today we decided to rent a bike and venture into the town itself. We found a few beaches, serependity beach (very touristy), independence beach (lots of rubbish) and few small others. We saw that Sihanoukville is undergoing huge redevelopment, with big casinos and resorts being built but not yet finished - it would definitely be an interesting place to visit in 10 years time! After meandering round the streets, we headed to the kbal chay waterfall. As with all the other waterfalls we've seen so far, it was slightly underwhelming as the dry season is just finishing, but was nice to see anyway. After that, we had some dinner and I got to try Barracuda - tasty! Accomodation: Palm Boutique - the BEST place we've stayed so far! $15 for a nearly new spacious bungalow, really friendly owners, very clean, well equipped and a massive comfy bed
Day 37: Sihanoukville. Write off day. As Michael wasn't feeling too well, we decided to have a really lazy day. We spent the morning in our room, watching suits and socialising with our Aussie friends, Sarah and lochlane, who we shared a room with to make it super cheap! In the afternoon, we got some time out on Otres beach, chilling with all the dogs which seem to belong to the bar owners. Accomodation: Vacation Bungalow. Outrageously cheap ($2.25 each per night), but possibly the most hastily built building I've ever been in. Holes in the floor, roof and walls and an owner who doesn't really speak English.

8 May 2017

Day 36: Sihanoukville - After a busy day in PP, we headed for some well needed beach time in Sihanoukville. We took the most dangerous minibus journey of our trip so far (we're still genuinely not sure how we didn't crash) and got here at about 3pm. After that, we caught the late afternoon rays at our resort, Otres Beach. The beach was stunning, with fine white sand. We chilled and had some fruit shakes and beers and watched the sunset. Very shortly after the sunset, we got caught in the biggest tropical storm ever! We had a 20 minute walk back to our hotel where we literally got drenched, with thunder and lightning right above our heads. We thankfully made it back to our room despite nearly losing our flip flops in the puddles, and sat under shelter watching the rest of the storm.

7 May 2017

Day 35: Phnom Penh: a whistlestop tour of Phnom Penh. We first headed to the riverfront and took a long walk through the city - we saw the independence tower, royal palace and wat phrom, as well as avoiding all the tuktuk driver scams! We finished this in good time so headed to Choueng Ek killing fields just outside the city. We spent 90 mins there wondering around the ex-genocidal site and mass burial pits. We had an audio tour and heard all the chilling stories about what happened there, and finally stopped off at the rememberance stupa, itself filled with 1000s of skulls of the victims. In order to get the full picture, we then visited the Tuol Sleng S21 prison, an old school which was converted into an interrogation and torture site by the Khmer Rouge for what would later be the victims at the killing fields. Walking around, they had tonnes of photos of the people detained there and were likely to have been massacred. A really haunting and sad day. Accom: Yamato- very average!

6 May 2017

Day 34: Siem Reap. Today we had a traditional Khmer cooking class! We started the class at 10am and we began by walking around the local market. We saw some weird and wacky groceries and some particularly unsanitary meat and fish, so we were glad not to buy anything as this was just to show us what sort of ingredients are used in Khmer food. We used ingredients from the restaurant! We chose what we wanted to make, we both made spring rolls to start and then different types of curries. The lady running it was a bit nutty but it was fun to prep everything - all the food it cut so small! We cooked our meals at various times and eventually got to sit down and eat them. My chicken amok was particularly nice but the spring rolls tasted weird! After the cooking class, we got a 6 hour bus to Phnom Penh where the aircon starting dropping on us and at one point, the bus filled with smoke from what looked like a small electrical fire - an interesting journey indeed!

5 May 2017

Day 33: Siem Reap- Temple day! Today we were up at 4.15 ready to leave for the Angkor Wat (biggest religious building and 8th wonder of the world) sunrise at 5.30. Unfortunately there was so much cloud we didn't get to see a sunrise! We walked around the temple for an hour or so and had some breakfast. We also paid for the big tour with our tuk tuk driver to make the most of our expensive entry ticket ($37!)- he drove us around the whole ancient city of Angkor... it's a big site so definitely worth getting a tuktuk. We did all the temples on the green and red loops on the map, around 10 in total. Some of the sites were stunning, we felt they would be better with more information about the site which was not provided. Such a tiring day but worth it. The best temples were Bayon (loads of faces) and Ta Phrom (trees wrapped around stone). Michael bought some beautiful art work from one of the stalls around the temples. After that we had a chilled afternoon at the hotel and an early dinner.

4 May 2017

1/2 Day 32: Siem Reap- after a well deserved lazy morning, we visited the Cambodia War Musuem, a few kms outside of Siem Reap. We didn't really know what to expect so on arrival we were stunned. Sitting in a field of mango trees, they have line upon line of military vehicles and artillery, most of which had been partially destroyed in combat. We had a guide for the visit, Moun Sinath (known as the cat), who began telling us all about the Khmer Rouge genocide and how he had fought in the army against them. He reeled off his injury list, shot three times, several pieces of schrapnel sat under his skin still and a missing leg. He then walked us round all the guns and vehicles, explaining how they were all used - he even pointed out 2 vehicles in which his friends died in. He then showed us the lower leg bones and shoes remaining in one of the tanks from where it had been hit by a mine. We also saw tonnes of pictures of the savagery that took place and some of the ongoing issues...
2/2 Day 32: Siem Reap - like people still stepping on the millions of mines that are still laid in the countryside. After the war museum we headed back to the city and took a walk along the river and through the park. We met a local guy teaching English to young people so had a nice chat with him and donated to his school. We then came back and chilled by the pool and played some pool. In the evening, we went out for a fish spa, where the fish nibble on your feet and met an Australian couple, Sarah and Lochlane. We got on well with them so sat in the fish spa for about an hour and then went to dinner, it was a really fun evening and we are hoping to meet up again with them soon. Accomodation: garden village guest house- so nice and social, pool table, tight rope, awesome cheap restaurant $2 value meals, reasonable wifi, hot fan room though!

3 May 2017

Day 31:Bangkok - Siem Reap. We arrived in Bangkok at 5:50am and francticly rushed to get our train out of Bangkok at 5:55 and avoid a 6 hour wait - luckily we made it! We headed to the border town of Aranyaprathet, and got there at around lunchtime. The border crossing was surprisingly easy (took about 30 mins) and we were soon on our way to Siem Reap. We reached our hostel at 4pm and had a well deserved couple of drinks by the pool. We then got ready and went to pub street for dinner and drinks. We had some $2.50 foot massages en route and then went to the famous Angkor What? Bar. We had some beers and cocktails and people watched and went to another bar and then absolutely crashed!

2 May 2017

Day 30- 2/2- Chaing mai- we got so muddy and wet but was so much fun to help the elephants bathe themselves and they looked like they were having such a good time! (Go pro pics of water activities to follow!) we then had a tasty lunch whilst watching the elephants wonder around the sanctuary. We caught the night train to bangkok at 15.30, we are due to get in a 05.25 tomorrow! Train seems pretty cool and beds are comfy! We had a nice dinner in the dining carriage and we are excited for Cambodia tomorrow! Accomodation: Thapae backpackers hostel- awesome early check in at 7am, good airconned dorms and good wifi. Clean bathrooms and nice social area
Day 30: 1/2- Chang Mai: We saved the best for last! We were picked up at 6.30 and taken to the elephant jungle sanctuary. We spent time researching the ethics of this tour and read a load of reviews and information about the way the elephants are treated and why and we were not disappointed! This sanctuary has 7 elephants rescued from tourist riding and performance shows. No hooks or chains are used. The elephants are at this stage unable to survive in the wild so this sanctuary and eco tourism is the next best thing. We first fed the elephants a ton of bananas which was amazing! We had to say 'Bon bon' really loudly to get them to open their mouths, or we just put the bananas near their trunks for them to take it themselves. There were several females, one of which was pregnant, a naughty teenager named Faat, and a 6 month baby named Tula who was just gorgeous! We then bathed the elephants in water and finally helped them to have a mud bath which they enjoy as it protects their skin!

1 May 2017

Day 29: Chang mai- today was jungle trekking day! We were picked up at 7.30 and we were driven to the start of our trek with 4 other people. We trekked with a Californian couple who were lovely- Julia and Victor. The trek was around 6 hours in total and luckily we were all of similar fitness levels. Some steep parts and some slidey parts, and some parts that Invovled thin paths along the side of hills! We saw some beautiful scenery and the waterfalls were a highlight where we could cool off and we slide down the rocks under the water spray. Our guide Cam (pronounced 'come') was really nice, he made us Peter Pan hats from leaves! We also stoped at a local village and saw all sorts of farm animals, dogs, and spent a bit of time with the local people. We also saw the lost giant spider I have ever seen- seen picture! It appears to be hanging from nothing in the middle of the trees! We we're exhausted by the end of the day after a good days hike, we treated ourselves pizza before bed!

30 April 2017

Day 28: Chiang Mai. Feeling drowsy, we checked into our hostel at 7am and they had our beds available, so managed to catch up on the sleep we missed earlier. Once we got going, we wandered around chiang mai old town, sorting out some excursions and travel for the coming days as we went around. We visited the park (fed some huuuuge pond fish), saw a few temples and saw the still-standing city walk and moat, although there wasn't too much else to do in the old town itself. We had a nice walk to the train station and went to our first Thai supermarket for some well needed western food (a bread roll and some real milk...we really were desperate!). After that, we headed out for some dinner at CM night markets. The markets were packed and spread all across the old town, but we were a bit market-ed out so headed back for some tea and an early night.

29 April 2017

Day 27: Bangkok. As we we due to have a long night bus, we decided to have a chilled out day and went to chatuchak weekend market. This market was enormous, and filled with all the usual juice bars, street food and tat shops, but also had loads of boutique stalls selling some really nice clothes - if only we had a bigger budget (and suitcase)! Highly recommend visiting this place if you ever go to bangkok. After the market, we got the local bus back and had some dinner, and then got on the bus journey from hell. We headed to Chiangmai but the bus wasn't exactly a 'sleeper' bus, it just had some reclining seats, so the overnight journey felt pretty horrendous indeed and we only got a couple of hours sleep.

28 April 2017

Day 26: Bangkok- today was a weird day! First of all when walking down the street at least three men today stopped michael to tell him 'you so strong' which I found hilarious. Then we had some breakfast and met a 'friendly local'. He told us that today was 'government day' and 'Buddha day', which means loads of things are free/discounted. We managed to get a mini tour for a couple of hours by tuktuk for £1, during which we saw some nice temples and the royal palace, but they also took us to commission ran travel agencies and suit shops to try to get us to buy things. The whole experience was weird but we saw some cool stuff! We then had lunch and got about a 30 second ferry to wat Arun. After that, we meandered back to khao san road and soaked up Bangkoks busiest tourist street. I got my hair braided and michael ate a scorpion, and also had to buy some tacky clothes. We headed back to the hostel and then had a little date night; we went to see beauty and the beast at the cinema.

27 April 2017

Day 25: Bangkok- after a very uncomfortable night sleep we arrived into Chumpon at 6am and then caught connecting mini bus to Bangkok, arriving at 3pm. So much travelling!! We had a shower and went straight out to Lumphini Park- worth a visit as it's so pretty and some good city sky line views among the greenery! Also spotted the resident monitor lizards and a terripin! It's a cool place where the locals exercise and do outdoor classes. We then went to look around terminal 21- a huge mall with different themed floors and picked up some dinner here. We walked through soi cowboy, an 'entertainment' street with lady boys, dancers, cheap drinks, ping pong shows and everything in between! Michael managed to figure out the local bus system and we went back to our hostel for a proper shower- so exhausted!

26 April 2017

Day 24: Koh Tao- diving day with big blue! We arrived for our briefing at 10am where our instructor went over some diving signals and the rough plan for the day, plus a safety and equipment talk. We had a smoothie before boarding the boat with around 20 other people, some doing their padi course, some on single day dives like us. We did two hour long dives for 3000b including gear rental which wasn't too bad. It was awesome! Second dive was lots better as we were both more relaxed and got to grips with the gear. Marine life was amazing we saw so many tropical fish and the water was so clear. We did the dive in a spot called Japanese gardens which is just a short boat ride north west of koh tao where three small islands are joint by white sand beach and amazing coral reefs. We weren't allowed the go pro down with us and didn't get many pics- these pics don't do the place any justice! We caught the night ferry to chumpon on the mainland 23.00-05.30.

25 April 2017

Day 23: Koh Tao- we caught a ferry over from samui to koh tao and arrived around 3pm. We booked open water diving tomorrow with big blue divers, a large company out of the many on the island. The guy there was great and also tipped us off for some cheap guest houses rather than other accomodation that is in association with the dive trip you book. We had some dinner and walked round some of the streets- we loved koh tao, it seems a bit more upmarket than the other islands but still lots of fun happening and lots of backpackers. We watched a glow in the dark show at lotus bar which hosted fire dancers who were very impressive and we had some drinks watching the sunset before- beautiful! Accomodation: We can't remember the name! But it's next to wandee guesthouse which is also nice and cheap! Nice room for 400b, no aircom but good windows, wifi and bathroom, great location.

24 April 2017

Day 22: Feeling a bit shaky but better today! Didn't have too much energy so we walked around the Main Street and along lamai beach where we were staying. We spent most of the day relaxing by the pool and people watching out onto the beach. We had some dinner and I had another early night- we leave for koh tao tomorrow as we found out it's more cost effective to get a room on the island and scuba dive from there rather than do a day trip from samui. Accomodation:rich resort and samui beach hostel- both nice- private room was nice good aircon and wifi, hard bed though, and the dorm pods were well equipt, nice enough bathrooms, good wifi but Loud music as we were right above a bar!

23 April 2017

Day 21: today we had breakfast and started a long journey from Ao nang to koh samui. We had to catch several mini bus transfers and a 2.5 hour ferry then another mini bus, unfortunately on the ferry I came down with food poisoning ( we think from yogurt or fruit at breakfast) and the rest of the journey was so unpleasant! We changed our dorm room to a private for the night in koh samui when we finally arrived around 20.30-21.00, michael bought some supplies and looked after me, the worst of it was over within 5 ish hours.
2/2 Day 20: Railay - we climbed up this near vertical slope using the rocks for grip and some ropes attached to trees. It wasn't too difficult until we got to the top and realised there was a lagoon to visit that involved dropping down the other side. The drop was muddy and slippery, and we also had to use some bamboo ladders to get down. The lagoon was ok (probably not worth the effort). We then headed back up and to the viewpoint which overlooks Railay. This viewpoint route seems so dangerous I'm Sure people must have some nasty accidents doing it especially after rainfall! After that we headed back and had some dinner then a snack night in bed. Accomodation: three bees guesthouse- nice cheap spot, nice private rooms, good wifi and good location

22 April 2017

1/2 Day 20: Railay. As we hadn't killed ourselves enough from the day before, we decided to go rock climbing! We got a longtail boat to Railay, a beach town on the mainland which is not accessible by car. When we arrived we paid £25 for half a day rock climbing. We had three climbs, I only managed one a half- my upper body strength is terrible! Michael did his three and our guide was really good, advising where to place our legs and arms and when to get more chalk for grip or when to rest. After climbing, we had some well needed lunch (we were exhausted) and then headed to Phra Nang Beach. The beach was unbelievably touristy so we didn't stay long, however we did make sure we visited the penis caves, filled with tonnes of wooden penises that people had carved and left there! After that, we embarked on our final bit of exertion, climbing up to Railay viewpoint. This climb was like a crossover between walking and rock climbing, except without any safety ropes...

21 April 2017

Day 19: Ao Nang- Today was awesome but absolutely exhausting. We rented a ped after breakfast and went to hang back mountain which is a national park. We did a 4 hour trek up to the viewpoint and a small water fall and back. Amazing views but such a hard walk. We saw a huge lizard on the way back down! We had some lunch then went to wat thum sua and tiger cave temple, which was a 1236 stair hike up to the temple to watch the sunset. There were monkeys all at bottom playing in a water feature and the view at the top was breathtaking. Finally we stop in krabi at the night markets for dinner, small market but good cheap food. We were more than ready for bed at this point when we got home!

20 April 2017

Day 18: Lanta- Ao Nang (Krabi)- pretty quiet day, it was so hot today so we stayed in the shade most of the day after a late breakfast and then we caught a shuttle to Ao Nang this afternoon and checked into our hostel. Had a cheap dinner and walked along the Muslim street for a little while, headed back for an early night- lots of activities planned tomorrow!

19 April 2017

Day 17: Lanta. Today we decided to explore the beautiful and peaceful island that is Ko Lanta. We rented bikes with Sophie and Matt and made our first stop at the animal welfare centre, where they take in stray dogs and cats, care for them and attempt to get them adopted, whilst also trying to sterilise the animal population on the island to avoid the issue of strays in the first instance. We were lucky enough to take four ex stray dogs for a walk and had a tour of the kennels. After this, we drove down the coast and stopped off at Lanta two best beaches, Kantiang bay and Bamboo beach. We had some lunch by the beach in Kantiang and then made our way to old town. When we got there, the place looked like an old western town and was completely empty, so it felt a bit eery! We had some icecreams and made our way back to long beach for dinner.

18 April 2017

Day 16: Koh Lanta- today we caught a ferry from phi phi across to lanta at around 11.30, this took about 2 hours. When we arrived we checked into our hostel and then went straight out for some lunch, and then walked up most of long beach and spotted loads of crabs, jelly fish, beautiful shells and a dead cuttlefish! This place is so beautiful and peaceful, definitely more 'upmarket' then the other places we have been but no more expensive really. We stopped for an obligatory ice cream and then got hour long Thai massages on the way back for about £6 which were lovely. We then met Sophie and Matt for dinner at Thai cat and had some drinks to celebrate their engagement! Headed back to our gorgeously airconed dorm to watch some suits- busy day tomorrow! They have really beautiful beach bars and restaurants here with lots of choice! Accomodation- metallic hostel- awesome! Clean and spacious dorms, good wifi,great air con and helpful knowledgeable staff, can rent bikes from here too!

17 April 2017

Day 15: Koh Phi Phi- 24 hours in Ko Phi Phi. Having got the morning ferry from Phuket (including a detour to Maya bay), we found somewhere to stay on PP, got some well needed lunch. This was one of the hottest days we had, trying to walk anywhere was so hard! After lunch we visited both main beaches on the island to do some sunbathing, not lasting long on the first one as it was sooo hot and there was no shade whatsoever. We had a snooze in some shade, had some icecreams and enjoyed PP. We thought the island was nice enough, but there are better beaches elsewhere and cheaper day activities. Just before sunset, we walked up to the viewpoint, a ~120m climb to overlook the island. It nearly killed us but the views at the top were beautiful. Afterwards we headed back to our hotel and out for dinner - we were still sweating over dinner as we had no aircon in our room! Accomodation: Harmony House. Room was ok but no AC nearly melted us.

16 April 2017

Day 14: Patong, Phuket- we had a late start to the day, and headed to patong by bus, in order to soak up the atmosphere. When we got to Patong, our hotel had overbooked so we frantically sorted out some other accomodation, and got on with our day. In the afternoon, we rented another moped for 150B and went to explore the north of Phuket. We eventually made it to the national park and saw a waterfall (a little underwhelming) and a gibbon rehab centre- adorable orangutan like monkies. When we got back to Patong, we went out for dinner and then went to the infamous Bangla St. This place was so weird, there are girls dancing on the tables everywhere and almost anything goes! We went to see a ping pong show (a Thailand must- google it if you dare!) and had a few drinks. It was shocking how many girls worked in the sex industry here and how many old white men were here. Accomodation: Sea Princess Hotel - clean and nicely finished, no wifi, no windows. Didn't spend much time there though!

15 April 2017

2/2 Day 13: Phuket - They are so cheeky, one even started kissing and gnawingmy leg! We even saw some newborn monkeys with their mothers, but we didn't want to get too close to them! We had dinner at the hotel and got an early night. Also attached some pics of our quirky little hotel!
1/2 Day 13: Phuket - We had some breakfast and rented a moped to explore the southern part of Phuket island. We headed to Wat chalong first, one of the many beautiful buddhist temples. It was really touristy but nice to see, especially because of the Thai new year. We then went to Big Buddha, which sits on top of a huge hill. There, we soaked up the views of the island, awed in the size of the Buddha (it's 45m tall) and hung up a golden leaf to support finishing the building project there. We then detoured round the Phuket countryside, spotting several stunning beaches, until we got to Patong. We had some lunch on patong and went a bit crazy bartering with locals at the markets. After a couple of hours there, we headed to monkey hill...aptly named as there's hundreds of monkeys there! It was like a normal park with outdoor gym equipment, although the monkeys seemed to have no fear of humans and were being fed and played with...

14 April 2017

Day 12- pretty uneventful day today but Michael is feeling better wahoo! We got a flight from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, who's airport is humungous!!, and then had a long lay over and our flight was delayed by an hour before we could fly to Phuket. The photos are because we were bored at the airport 😝 we did have some nice dinner and FaceTimed home- so happy to arrive in Phuket and we shared a taxi to Phuket town with two Indonesian guys, cost us 200baht each (approx £5) Accomodation: quip B and B- comfy beds and nice room, free big bottles of water, good wifi and nice room top bar- really quirky! Breakfast is not included so bit of confusion when advertising bht not too bad for £10 a night!

13 April 2017

Day 11: Puerto Princessa to Manila- Today we had a little lie in after a hugely busy few days then we grabbed some breakfast- had to be McDonalds as everywhere else seemed to be closed early for Easter weekend! We chilled back at the hotel for a bit then checked out and went to Palawan wildlife and conservation park which is primarily a crocodile park. We saw fresh and salt water crocs and one huge huge spider living above their enclosures! We also saw a Philipino bear cat, and a leopard cat. Michael started to feel poorly so we took a tricycle back and then headed to the airport and got some food and drink. We flew to Manila and checked into our hotel, early night for us and off to Thailand tomorrow! Accomodation: your space, PP- free family room upgrade, awesome wifi, gross bathroom, room wasn't the cleanest or comfiest Isabelle garden villas- Manila- bad wifi in lobby none in rooms, good size and clean rooms but loft style bed, so hot up there so we moved the mattress down!
2/2 Day 10 El Nido - we saw so many weird, wonderful and tropical fish! We stayed there for about 45 minutes swimming in between the coral. Our last stop on the tour was commando beach on the mainland. It was a bit touristy but managed to get a cold fruitshake and enjoy some late afternoon sun. We stayed here for an hour and then headed back to el Nido. What an amazing day- 1200 pesos for the tour each plus 200 each environmental fee plus 100 to rent snorkel gear, so in total around £23 each with lunch included for a whole day tour. We changed into some Comfy clothes and had some food and bought snacks before our 5 hour transfer back to Puerto princessa, very sad to leave el Nido! Accomodation: aqua travel lodge- good wifi but did stop working at one point, great central location, stunning breakfast views ( break inc), nice clean rooms, expensive- £20 per night per person.
1/2 Day 10: El Nido - Today was Island hopping day in El Nido. There a four tours available (A-D) and we chose tour A. We got on the boat at about 8:45 after renting some snorkelling gear and navigated our way out of El Nido bay and headed towards our first location, small lagoon. When we got there, we had to swim the final 150m as the entrance was really small, however the lagoon was beautiful and we swam around and spotted a jelly fish! After this, we headed to big lagoon...we didn't swim here but was cool nonetheless. Outside the lagoon, we stopped at a small Reef and got a chance to do some proper snorkelling - it looked like an aquarium as we saw soooo many tropical fish. We then stopped off at the secret lagoon for lunch - this was unbelievably touristy and a bit of an anticlimax but lunch was really good, we had fish, beef skewers, rice, pasta, salad and fruit. After lunch we headed to shimizu island and did some of the best snorkelling you could ever wish to do! ....

12 April 2017

Day 9- El Nido- This morning we rented a sea kayak for half a day after breakfast for 400 pesos (£7). We paddled to cadlao island which took around 45 minutes and we were just about the only ones in this beautiful beach! We spotted crabs and jelly fish and other fish in the shallow waters near the beach. We paddled to Ipil beach which was a another half an hour and again enjoyed the peace and quiet and looked at the gorgeous scenery. We saw some flying fish too and incredible Coral around here. We were exhausted by the time we paddled back! This afternoon after lunch we rented a moped (350pesos for afternoon or £6) and Michael drove us to Nacpan beach (another part of el Nido) this beach was picturesque and a short walk down the other end there are no tourists, just the sound of the waves. Beautiful shells here too and we sunbathed and relaxed here for a few hours. Road was bumpy to get here! Such a great day we had a quiet dinner at a nice restaurant and an early night.

10 April 2017

Day 8: El Nido- we caught the 7am shuttle bus to el Nido this morning and arrived around 12.30. We had an amazing tasty lunch at the art cafe where the views were incredible and we are so lucky with the weather! We booked some things to do for the next few days but for today we just wondered along the Main Street and relaxed with icecreams on the beach. We spotted hundreds of crabs on the beach (didn't manage to get pictures they are so fast!) had a good dinner at a beach restaurant followed by cocktails and a fire thrower display with live music- dreamy day!

9 April 2017

Day 7: Today we caught a flight from Cebu to Puerto Princessa at 11am to start the next leg of our trip. We arrived around midday and dropped our bags at our accomodation, we wanted to do a tour of either the under ground river or wildlife park this afternoon but we found out all the tours offered are only full day tours. We grabbed some lunch at a food court and walked along waterfront which was deserted but pretty. We did some shopping in the markets too and visited plaza cuartel which is a historic site where the Japanese held and killed 150 American prisoners of war. This evening we were picked up at 7 for the Iwahig River fire fly watching tour and dinner. It was so relaxing and beautiful! And the star gazing was pretty cool too. Accomodation: Fanta Lodge- not the greatest, but felt like we were living in a Filipino home. bad shower and toilet- cold water and the shower was basically on the toilet! Dodge wifi and not a great room but cheap!

8 April 2017

Day 6: Tagbilaran city > Cebu city. We woke up early and got our fourth ferry in as many days back to Cebu city to squeeze in some last minute activities on this leg of our journey. Because of how long it takes to get anywhere, we opted to go to Papa Kitts Marina, an activity centre 15km north of Cebu (it still took 90 mins to get there by sweaty but cheap public bus). Once there, we got on with doing some ziplining across a beautiful lake - suspect safety measures but we lived! We then did some fishing on their mini lake, which was so much fun! We think the fish got put back when we finished too. Thanks to some help from a local, we got a party jeepney (an hour ride cost 30p) back to the city for another dinner at the mall

7 April 2017

Day 5: Manjuyud sandbar, Dumagete: We arrived at the Ceres bus terminal just in time to catch a bus heading to Bais where we would get a boat to the sandbar. the journey was 1.5 hours costing 55pesos, less than a pound each. We took a tricycle to a make shift 'dock', and the owners said the price was 3500pesos (around £55) for us to get a 15 minute boat to sandbar. We said we weren't going to pay this and in the end paid about £15 each to be taken over- still a rip off as we realised we weren't taken to the main pier area, where there would have been more choice and cheaper. Anyway- this place is stunning! We arrived just after low tide which was a shame but it was beautiful. So much potential to have food services, places to sunbathe etc but was very basic and beautiful in the Filipino way! We came back by bus and boarded a 17.30 ferry back to Tagbilaran, Bohol, for the night.

6 April 2017

Day 4: Panglao- we went to the ferry port ready to head to dumagete at around 10am, but found the ferry wasn't until 3! We decided to make the most of the afternoon and we hired a tricycle to take us to Panglao, Alona beach for a couple of hours. It only cost us around £4 return, around 40 minutes there and back. The ride was bumpy though! The beach was gorgeous! We had some late breakfast in one of the beach bars and walked down the beach checking out the boats and tons of stray doggies- they get a bit fiesty if you feed them! We spotted a tiny hermit crab too. We travelled back to the pier and caught the ferry to dumagete, a pricey p850 approx £12 with terminal and baggage fees too. Ferries are quite pleasant, airconned, fast with basic seats. We checked into our hotel and had some food at a local Thai restaurant. Accomodation: Optimum pensions: basic but clean, cold showers! Nb: don't rely on online/ printed timetables- ask the day before!

5 April 2017

Day 3: Bohol. We woke up early and got the 8:20am ferry to Tagbilaran City on Bohol island! We checked into our guesthouse in the morning and went to mall no.3 (BQ mall) to find a tour around the island. We eventually found a man on a motorised tricycle who offered to take us out all afternoon for ~£25. He earned his money as we travelled about 50km into the Bohol rainforest, up some steep climbs and the tricycle was bumpy to say the least. Our first stop was man-made forest, and then carried on to the chocolate hills which were incredible! On the way back we requested to go to the ethical tarsier conservation sanctuary instead of the one on the main route. We wandered into the forest there and our guide spotted out the tarsiers for us...a good job we had her as the tarsiers are only about 10cm long and really hard to find! The tarsiers are nocturnal and frighten really easily so we had to wander round in silence. Accomodation: Tr3ats guesthouse - basic but cleanish, met a cute dog!

4 April 2017

Day 2: Cebu City seesighting. Today we had a lie in to recover from the jet lag and had breakfast at the hotel. Then we ventured into Uptown and through to downtown Cebu. We walked 3km to the Pier, and had such an interesting walk. The traffic has no rules, and there is a lot of poverty over the city such as run down buildings and powercables. We then walked around Fort San Pedro, built by the Spanish during the colonisation of the Philippines. We found a cheap lunch and donated some of our sweets to the boy in the picture who was sodden from the rain with no shoes 😓. We checked into our next hostel and went to the Ayala Centre for arcade games and dinner - another enormous mall with everything you can think of inside!! Accomodation: Tropicana Hostel - pretty basic but clean and got free aircon 🙂

3 April 2017

Day 1: Today I met Michael at Manila Aiport at around 3pm. Our connection to Cebu wasn't until 9:30pm so we grabbed a cab to the Mall of Asia for the afternoon. I don't think I've ever seen a mall so huge!! We grabbed some lunch and caught up and walked along the seafront & fairground. The weather was gorgeous and hot and it was a shame to leave Manila so soon! We got our flight to Cebu and eventually our hotel at 11:30pm. Accomodation: Pillows Hotel - huge comfy bed, central but no windows!