Europe, Asia · 27 Days · 40 Moments · March 2018

Around Asia in 4 weeks

18 April 2018

Last two days were very quiet and relaxing, as planned. Up eh this point the only sun burn I had was in the back of my hands when we spent the day on scooters in Phuket. Blew that in the Monday as we spent all day in the sun and then both looked like lobsters afterwards. We weren't alone though and if seems there was a who had the most sunburn competition that evening (it was eventually won by a French guy in thy plane to Abu Dhabi. He must have been sore as his face was being used as a nightlight once it went dark!) in the restaurant. Last day was spent keeping it of the sun. Had a small swim, wander around the beach and played cards before catching a flight out to Abu Dhabi and then a connecting flight to Heathrow. As we left Male the heavens opened and the airport flooded. For a minute I did wonder if they might cancel the flight but unfortunately it died down 😔

16 April 2018

Considering there's not much to do on a desert island we seem to have filled our day pretty well. The day before we saw a shark in the waters around the hut and this should have deterred us from going in again. But this morning I found myself hiring some snorkeling equipment (we were going to buy some but £70 for two sets was over the top, even here!) we went out in the sea and then came back to the lagoon around our hut. Jumped off the steps and went in search of brightly coloured fish. We found some and then Jo found something else. A shark swam past her and as we both came to the surface I was about to ask if that was a shark but she beat me to it '' Shark!'' She shouted through her snorkel. I ducked back under, confirmed that it definitely was a shark and got the hell out of the water. Close shave but a cool experience. In the evening we found a new sport that we rock at, Crab racing. Three races were set up and The Payten/Cundy stable managed a 1st and 3rd. We may go professional.

15 April 2018

Maldives. I'll not mention that the taxi to Bangkok Airport was an Isuzu pick up truck. Seriously! I'll just mention that the place we're staying at is beautiful. It's a tiny island that we walked around, very slowly, in about ten minutes. We're staying in a room on stilts that sits in the ocean and it's lovely. The sound of waves under your feet is weird, yet very relaxing. There's a lagoon that you can swim in and we did. Later, on the way to dinner, we saw some big fish in the lagoon that we'd previously been swimming in. Whilst watching them we saw a huge fish 🐠 that on closer inspection actually turned out to be a shark 🦈 😳 Found out that there are 26 different types of shark here. Got some snorkeling gear for another go later!! The other side of the island is all sandy beaches and we went there to see the sun go down. Even though it was cloudy it was still pretty stunning. After dinner we danced in the bar disco and then came back to play music on the steps outside. Perfect 👌

14 April 2018

One night in Bangkok! Considering the hotel we were stopping at for our overnight stay was only 3km away, you wouldn't have anticipated any issues. At this point the title of ''Bangkoks shittest taxi driver'' looked like it had been won by the last loony we had but this guy was up for the challenge. Setting off at incredible bursts of speed whilst still in bumper to bumper traffic got him off to a great start. Then winding his way through more heavy traffic, again at breakneck speed and not bothering with the clutch started to pull him into contention. However, he only had a short distance to travel but made up for that by completely ignoring our turn and driving the wrong way for several miles. Eventually we managed to tell him and he started laughing to himself and said that the phone call told him to go this way. He never took a phone call!! Managed to direct him the right way and he finished off with a quick burst of speed on the forecourt before wetting himself laughing. Lunatic!

13 April 2018

Took a trip to a floating village, wasn't much to see but gave some money to a local school which seemed to do a good job and came home. Spent a second day by the pool and may actually have a tan! 😊 In the evening we bought tickets to a local circus. It was brilliant. Its all youngsters brought through from local schools and was mainly acrobatics. However, the music was live and they all interacted to tell a story of Cambodian youth who come together in a rock bar. Really fantastic evening. We then went to town and after encouraging some Chinese who were playing drinking games we ventured out into the street. This was the start of the Khmer New Year and they were partying everywhere. Its called the water festival and everyone was soaked. Now Jo won't normally get wet at all but she grabbed my hand and off we went! A little later we headed back to the hotel, soaked and covered in talcum powder. Jumped into the pool and finished the night with beer and music on the terrace. Perfect

12 April 2018

Got up at 5am to go on a tour of the temples and see the sunrise. Took a tuk tuk to Sras Srang to see the sun come up. Everyone goes to Angkor Wat first and it gets packed so decided to do this. We then went to Tam Phrom. This was my favourite temple, it was peaceful, atmospheric, completely empty and had trees growing through the brickwork. I can't describe how stunning it was, the pictures can't do it justice. Next up was the superstar temple, Angkor Wat. It's huge. It was also really hot and my decision to climb to the top was soon full of regret as I thought I was going to die of heat exhaustion. I wasn't alone though and it was easy to spot the British as we all left a trail of sweat behind us! Last up was Bayon Temple. Very strange but still stunning as there are Buddhas carved into the stones and they're very imposing. They also had monkeys, everyone loves monkeys. Spent the afternoon by the pool, went for a walk, regretted it, met some locals, went for a meal, slept like a baby

11 April 2018

Took a bus to Siem Reap as thought we should try to do some ''proper'' backpacking. Followed the directions to the bus station and then waited an hour for a minibus to pick us up and take us to another bus station 10 minutes away. No idea why they didn't just give us that address but I guess this is all part and parcel of not getting a plane. The journey was actually really comfortable, so much so that the second driver fell asleep on one girl who Don her own and sharing the front seats with him. We all thought it was funny, well apart from the girl who less than impressed. Probably explains why she was traveling alone though! Had a break half way, Jo was happy because she found some cats! The second leg of the journey saw that same driver take over and he obviously had ambitions to go into Formula 1 as he drove ridiculously fast and narrowly avoided colliding with several cattle, a dog and more Tuk Tuks and scooters that I could count. Unfortunately we saw a bus that wasn't as lucky

10 April 2018

Next day we went to the Museum of Cambodia (hot) the Royal Palace (very hot) and then to a local Russian market (stupidly hot) afterwards we came back to cool off in our roof jacuzzi and even that was hot 🔥. There's no escaping the heat in this city so after a cold shower and half an hour in front of the air con we ventured out to the harbour and caught the sunset cruise along the Mekong River. The sun set and guess what? It was still bloody hot!! So much so that we were brought two Coronas, some peanuts and lime for the Coronas. Much to the delight of Jo and the waitress I squeezed the lime over the peanuts 😳 They were still laughing about this when we got off a couple of hours later, bullies. To finish off the day went and had some dinner on a lovely restaurant overlooking the River and not far from the local drug dealers (of course we didn't buy any but they all seemed very nice) Off to Siem Reap in the morning so headed back earlier the night before and collapsed from exhaustion!

9 April 2018

Tuol Sleng: The Khmer Rouge used this old school to imprison anyone that they believed to be traitors to the cause. People were locked up here for a variety of reasons including, eating rice not assigned to you, failing to carry out an order, wearing glasses and therefore being an intellectual, being suspected of being a CIA or KGB agent and just about any other reason you can think of. The prisoners were then shackled to each other and systematically tortured until they admitted the crimes they were accused of. As most were innocent, this would normally go on for months until completely broken they confessed to their so called crimes. Once a confession was made they would be sent to The Killing Fields to be executed. Its estimated that 18000 people were imprisoned here at some point, only 7 ever walked free. Even the staff weren't exempt. If they hadn't got the correct confession or carried out a torture properly they too would be locked up. A terrible place but very moving to see
The Killing Fields: I've read a lot about this place and the atrocities that were committed here in the late 1970s but it's not what I was expecting. The Khmer Rouge used it to kill political prisoners and their families from the S21 prison in Phnom Penh called Tuol Sleng. All of the buildings were pulled down not long after the Vietnamese liberated Cambodia by the locals who needed the tools and equipment. The place was/still is an orchard with a small lake and it's hard to grasp exactly what happened here as you wander around. However, when you see the mass graves and the clothes from the people that died it did start to bring it home. And then there was the magic tree. This huge tree was used to kill infants, often in front of the mothers before they were also murdered. It's a very sombre place and somewhere that everyone should visit just once to see what some people are capable of and how this should never be allowed to happen again

8 April 2018

Phnom Penh passport control: We had to take a passport sized photo, fill out three different forms and then get in line. Once at the top they took your documents looked us up and down and then got told to go and wait in a different line. I hadn't given the guy my photo but the head bloke there started shouting at me so I left rather quickly. Luckily there was an English guy who'd been here before and he told us they will hold your passport up and you've got to spot it and go get it. The passport gestapo eventually held ours up and once we'd paid 30 US dollars we were allowed to enter the country. Jolly decent of them! We decided to be proper backpackers and take the cheapest route from the airport into town (well, cheaper than a taxi) and got a tuk tuk. The one we got into sounded like it was about to break down, which sure enough it did! He eventually got it going and some time later we arrived. He then asked us if we wanted to do a tour of the city tomorrow with him... Er no!
Great news, we found the M&Ms 😊😊😊
Da Nang is going to be completely unrecognisable in 5 years. On the way to the airport the road between here and Hoi An was awash with building sites. Huge ones, small ones and some in between. Big resorts going up, glamorous apartments which the locals obviously can't afford, new roads being laid to connect them all and what looked like but hopefully wasn't, a shopping mall. Maybe the extra revenue from all the extra tourists will help all the locals, I'm just hoping that the inevitable boom that's coming doesn't ruin this place, force the locals out and take away it ambience. In other news, our taxi turned up on time and got us to the airport without any hiccups. Several people nearly died along the way of course but that's just another day on the roads in Vietnam. So we're at the airport now and we've found the bracelets we bought on the beach at about half the price! Oh well, at least we helped the local economy. Far more annoying though is there are no peanut M&Ms here 😔

7 April 2018

Last day in Hoi An and Vietnam. Weather forecast was that it was supposed to rain constantly since yesterday but nothing happened. We got up early to go on a bike ride through the country and it was a bit windy but dry as a bone, so off we went into the fields and estuaries where the locals live and grow their vegetables. We met some Buffalo and learnt a lot about what the locals do in the fields. At lunch we went to the market and we both did our best to blend in with locals. I bought a ''communist'' hat and Jo was wearing elephant trousers, people thought we were Vietnamese and looked surprised when they found out otherwise!! After a boat trip along the river we had lunch, got a final measurement for my suits and then it rained. And boy did it rain. We got drenched, found a cab and headed back to the hotel. When it rains here it really rains! Spent the rest of the day at the hotel. Jo went for a massage, I ordered room service and watched football. Reading won, great day, great place

6 April 2018

Spent the Friday soaking up the sun and largely getting burnt in the beach. My chest, Jo's legs and both our faces were particularly red afterwards but this was the first day we'd actually just chilled and spent the day on the beach. In the evening we went into the town and I got myself measured up for a couple of suits, all hand made and bespoke design - £120 each plus shipping. Hoi An Town is a really enchanting place, there's a pedestrian only area by the river that comes to life at night with, some lovely small bars and restaurants. Street lanterns at the lanes alight and once dark there's a street market that had the usual hussle and bustle that you seem to get at every market in Vietnam. Unfortunately everything seems to close at 10pm but after a long day we were happy to come back to the hotel and finish the evening with a wine and a beer by the pool. It was meant to rain from 4pm but by the time we retired it was still very dry and warm. Another great day, really loving Vietnam

5 April 2018

Ha Noi: We flew into Da Nang and waited for our pre booked taxi that didn't show up. Luckily the airport was full of very excitable men touting for your business and other successfully securing a good price (it might have been a terrible price, I've no idea) we headed through Da Nang and into Hoi An. Both places are light years away from Hanoi. Da Nang looks a lot less frantic and far more commercial. Restaurants and bars adourn the much wider streets and tourism is advertised everywhere. It's a much cleaner more welcoming environment than Hanoi and probably less dangerous. This should be a good thing but I'm not so sure. I've got such an affection for Hanoi now that It's hard to put it down in anyway even though I know it's flawed. At Hoi An we pulled into the Ally Beach Boutique Hotel and I was amazed at how nice it was - I obviously didn't look at the pics very hard! Across the road was the hotels beach bar and we sat on the beach, just yards from the sea and had dinner. Lovely!
A quiet night followed with Vietnamese Pizza and a couple of beers followed by a big sleep 😴 we visited Ho Chi Minh mausoleum in the morning before lunch (Vietnamese Chicken Salad and Mayo roll, Jo had similar but without the chicken) and then a short ride to the airport, which is where in writing this. Off to catch a flight to Da Nang and then a short trip to Hoi An where were staying until Sunday.

3 April 2018

Next day we packed our bags and got back on a bus for a 4 hour trip to Ha Lon Bay where we boarded a small cruise boat for a 2 day tour around the islands. There are 1800 of these islands and islets and they're all uninhabited. There's over 400 beaches, several caves and unless you go there you'll never see anything like it (ok, if you go to Tam Coc you will but whatever) this trip will stay with me for ever and was brilliant from start to finish. Apart from being waited on with food and drink we also got taken kayaking around a floating fishing village, took a trip to a cave where up until recently 300 people had lived and it wasn't very big. Overnight we got taught how to cook spring rolls - mine were perfect said the chef! We could have also gone squid fishing but instead we stayed on board, got very drunk and did karaoke with a couple from Derby, another from Costa Rica and 5 Belgians. We went off to a beach the next morning before a long 4 hour trip back nursing a hangover 🤢
In the afternoon we had lunch and then went to Tam Coc and took a boat tour along the river. The landscape here is beautiful and we took a trip in a small canoe type boat where the locals rowed at the back and we sat at the front and middle - me at the front as I'm braver than Jo 😉. The rowing was done with the feet and took a bit of getting used to looking at but actually seemed to work. The area itself is a bit like Ha Lon Bay but in land, there are hundreds of small and big limestone hills all around, which are pretty spectacular to look at. After an hour or so if relaxing we then got on some extremely knackered bicycles and took a small ride into the countryside around the main bay. It was far too hot to do this and my bike had a collapsed saddle and only one pedal that went in a straight line. Jo's was just wobbly (that might have been her riding ability though! 😊) Remarkably we got through it, came home and went for a real Vietnamese meal. Not sure what it was but it was lovely
Our first trip from Hanoi took us to the temple of King Dinh I (our first adventure though was the bus trip from our hotel out of Hanoi. The roads are ridiculously narrow, the pavements are chock full of parked scooters, the roads are full of pedestrians who can't walk on the Pavement, people selling goods, scooters - there are 5 million in Hanoi, cars, cyclists and buses) and the temple of the General Le Hanoi who succeeded him. The Dinh dynasty started here, Vietnam at the time was split into 12 different areas. Under his guidance he defeated the other 11 lords and united Vietnam as we know it today and stopped all the wars. Bit of history for you there! The temples are in the former capital Hoa Lu and are a world away from the current capital. Set amongst the rice fields it is a very simple setting and even though there are plenty of tourists the local people still go about there day like your not there. Except the women trying to sell you hats, they're relentless by very funny 👍

2 April 2018

Day 1: Got another dodgy taxi from the airport to the hotel, checked in and got sold two excursions before we'd even got the keys! These two were on our list so happily paid up to go to Tam Coc and the a 2 day cruise around Ha Lon Bay. Got settled in and went out exploring. Found an excellent Night Market and we both bought some ''genuine'' Ray Bans, with case for about £3. Bargain! I also bought some trainers and Jo got some perfume. It's pretty much all knock off stuff but it looks and smells like the real thing and the traders all insist it's real so who are we to argue. Went and found a restaurant on the side of if a lake and had dinner. Being in an adventurous mood I decided on Vietnamese chicken and chips, it's very much like the English version only it's served in Vietnam 👍 I did get more adventurous later but at the time I could still taste Scorpion so stayed safe. Beautiful night with a bright moon was finished off with neapolitan ice cream - Vietnamese style if course
Vietnam!! My first impression of Vietnam was the I wasn't going to like it. It's ridiculously fast paced and totally chaotic. Hanoi is full of what I believe are old colonial buildings from when the French ruled the roost. They vary in size and all are in need of TLC. In between the buildings, every conceivable spare inch had been used to make me room for shops, restaurants, garages, houses, more shopsand and it's not pretty. The traffic here is like nothing on earth you've ever seen. There are absolutely no rules and you need a degree to be able to cross the road. But the people are lovely and I'm loving the chaos because although scooter and car horns are constantly going off no one ever gets angry and no one crashes, they all know what they're doing. The food is great and we've seen some truly beautiful places. Go out of the city and everything calms down and you can see people working the rice fields and it feels so relaxed. Truly stunning place.....
Quick catch up : Last night in Bangkok was fab, found a square 20 yards from our apartment but hidden away in W quarter, that was full of all sorts of huts, selling every kind of food. Waitresses kept the beer flowing whilst you picked out what type of food you want from the vendors. Had a great night then stumbled back past the signs saying no Airbnb customers and up to our Airbnb apartment on the 31st floor. In the morning, unbelievably my shirts turned up and having packed them we sneaked out of past reception with our rucksacks. Jo went and dropped the key off and we made our way to the airport in a cab that had no boot due to an accident. So bags in seats in off we went to catch a flight to Vietnam. One small snag you can't enter Vietnam without either a visa of proof that you have a flight out within 14 days. Wet had neither and they wouldn't let us fly!! So, quick look on Skyscanner, booked a flight out of Da Nang and we were off to Hanoi, which is utterly mental! More later...

31 March 2018

Tuk Tuk. Don't ever make the mistake of looking lost near a tuk tuk driver, they'll swarm all over you. We got out near the Palace and had no idea where to go, seconds later a tuk tuk driver turns up with a map and tells us that he'll give us an hour tour for 100baht - about £3. Slightly suspicious but we did it and basically saw nothing but got enticed into a tailor shop where they tried to sell me a suit. Didn't need a suit but did get measured up for two shirts!! Yeah I know, proper mug but if they ever turn up they were cheap. If they don't then lesson learnt. Basically if your here then jump in a tuk tuk for the experience but otherwise they cost twice at much as the taxis and neither have any idea where anything is. We've had to show maps to just about all of them to show where we wanted to go. So if you go to Bangkok, take the train!! It's air conditioned and ultra reliable. 👍
So apart from the taxis and tuk tuks we've done all the usual tourist things, Buddhas, massive Saturday Market and went up and down the river. We also found a cat cafe and Jo was in her element! We've also found a really cool square full of bars and live music and we're off there tonight. Then tomorrow we fly to Hanoi....

30 March 2018

Bangkok - Taxis. We went for a walk on the first night and got a bit lost and ended up in a very dodgy looking area, so hailed a cab into town. This took ages as the traffic is awful. The traffic light system makes you wait around 5 minutes for a green light and then you've got to wait for the, army of scooters that have built up around you to move and they're all nutters. They have scooter taxi cabs, you get on the back and they take you anywhere quicker than a normal cab but at 100 times the danger. They're everywhere and cause chaos. We also got dropped off later on at the wrong place. No no he says, it's just through there and pointed to a hotel. Sceptical to say the least, we got out and discovered we had just spent 40 minutes in a cab to get dropped half a mile down the road and nowhere near our apartment. It then took us ages to find a cab who had any idea where we were staying and he spent the trip singing to himself. We also got a tuk tuk but that's a whole different story!

29 March 2018

We pre booked a tour of the phi phi Islands today and toured them on a large speedboat. We went to Maya Bay first, which I'm informed is where they shot the film The Beach, a film about a tranquil place that no one knows about. We'll, your secrets out guys because everyone knows about it now. It was rammed with other speedboats all doing the same thing, which was something to see. If you want peace though this isn't the place for you but it is beautiful. We continued and went swimming in a Lagoon, visited an apparently old Viking cave (they must have got spectacularly lost) saw some Monkeys, went snorkeling - even Jo! - stopped for lunch and then visited a tiny island 🏝 which was covered in coral and had the clearest water ice ever seen. I went for a swim with the fishes which came right up to the beach, then we both had a beer whilst I dried off, which didn't take long. Great day but can't help think that tourism may kill places like Maya Bay if its not regulated properly

28 March 2018

We went into Karon for our last night in Phuket for a quiet drink and a bite to eat and found a bar with live music. Well, we both love that sort of thing and checked it out. There was a couple on stage, both from Thailand and very good but neither were quite getting the words right. He then broke into a three song Elvis Presley set and it was just brilliant. They weren't taking themselves seriously and this was proved to be true as they heard me singing and invited me up on stage. Didn't have to ask me twice and Stairway to Heaven, Suspicious Minds and (weirdly) Roxette'a Must have been love were systematically ruined by yours truly. There was evidence of this but Jo Snapchatted all the videos she took to her kids - thanks! We also met a very funny guy from Norway called Pal, who along with his Dad danced and sang with me and Jo. Great night and ended up skinny dipping back home at 2am. Apologies to our neighbours and anyone who heard me (and I use the word loosely) 'sing' 😊🎶
Daytime: So much happened today, our first full day in Phuket and we made the most of it. We hired some scooters and took them on a slightly unnerving ride up to see the Big Buddha (we also saw the big but not at big as the Big Buddha, Buddha) on the way down we had lunch in the most amazing little place we found near the top of the hill, more stunning views and a symphony of noise from the tree crickets. Afterwards we got brave and went and explored the south side of the island on the bikes, neither of us died, which was a bonus and we spent ages riding around. We went to the beach, swam in the sea and tried to look like Daniel Craig (failed, he wears smaller trunks than I do) then went and had a Thai massage which was lovely but an odd experience as she pulled me about quite a lot and on more than one occasion, got a bit too close to my bits! We then went to watch the sunset on Karan beach and after a trip to Makro (yes, Makro) came back to get ready for a night out......

27 March 2018

Nighttime: OMG! We took a taxi into Patong beach and headed for Bangla Rd. This place is synonymous with seedy things and it didn't disappoint 😲 we had a bet in a sports bar where loads of bored looking girls danced on the bars then had dinner in the place next door and got escorted through to the back to this incredible restaurant, very out of context with where it was situated and had a really nice meal. Once finished we got back to the main drag and out of morbid curiosity we went to see a Ping Pong show, if you're not sure what this is, it's some girls on stage basically pulling things out of their front bottoms! Things such as Ping Pong balls which got fired around the front rows, razor blades, goldfish, scarves and weirdest of all, a Frog 🐸 strange night out and not sure I'd want to see it again but it was very funny. Got a tuk tuk home and passed out!

26 March 2018

We're in Phuket! It's not exactly Singapore, in fact probably the complete opposite. Gone are the clean streets and the organisied big city and in their place is just chaos but I love it. The streets are lined with tiny restaurants and the traffic is totally mental. Our cab drive was an experience, we pre booked him and he took us through a few dodgy side streets but once we arrived we made our way to the beach to see the sun go down whilst having a couple of beers, then had dinner and retired back to our apartment for a late night dip in the pool. Tomorrow, we're going to look death in the eyes again, as we're hiring scooters (previously I was made to go to edge of the roof on a skyscraper that wasn't safe and then had to walk across an unnecessarily high bridge in the large conservatories, which had holes in it!) Of course I say we but Jo has been stroking cats every five minutes, so I'm fully expecting her to have Rabies when she wakes up so may have to go alone!!
One final thing from Singapore..... The place is unbelievably clean but the toilets at the airport are spectacularly clean!!!
Last day in Singapore was very memorable. Quite a lazy morning with a late breakfast then turned into an early lunchtime drinking session with Jay and Nancy at a fantastic place down by Clarkes Quay on the Riverside. Nancy met up with an old friend from Mauritius, a funny guy called Johnny and it didn't take much to get us all a little drunk. Afterwards we went back to Garden by the Bay and wandered around the two massive greenhouses there which are quite amazing. Once it became dark we eventually got to see the magic garden outside all lit up, this was spectacular as was the little Chinese woman who sat down on the pavement behind me then tugged at my shirt and told me to 'si down' I told her to stand up! Afterwards we went into the Arab quarter and had dinner. The Arab part of town is very old world with a backdrop of modern high rise building's including an art deco 1930s building. We're off to the airport now to catch a flight to Phuket. I utterly loved Singapore though ♥️

25 March 2018

24 March 2018

Singapore is a mad place, in one day we saw a sprawling metropolis of modern High Rise buildings, a three tower 56 floor hotel with a ship on the top called Marina Sands, a rain forest, a completely bonkers man made garden, old colonial buildings, ultra modern shopping malls and a Chinatown that was chock full of incredibly tacky gift shops. It was ridiculously hot and then rained like I've rarely seen in Britain. The rain also came as we got on an open top bus, admittedly we could have gone downstairs (the girls were wise and did) but where's the fun in that! Very soon we had a mini Tsunami on the top deck and got a bit wet. At night we went up to the Gardens on the Bay which is a spectacular lit up garden, however it was earth hour when we got there and they turned the lights off! So we went up to the roof of the Marina Sands Hotel instead (I was particularly brave here as I was shitting myself!) and got some incredible views over this brilliant city

23 March 2018

I do believe I've found the solution to jet lag on long haul flights. Have two beers before boarding, another one on board the plane, wait for 90 minutes for everyone to settle, take two painkillers (shoulder is still killing me) and half a sleeping tablet! Sent me into a light enough sleep for around 5/6hours watched a film read my book and got off the plane feeling great 👍 Arrived in Singapore around 7pm and had an eventful first few hours. Got a taxi to the hotel but he got lost and had to ask directions, the hotel is lovely but when we went to meet my mate Jay in his room the lift wouldn't let us get out on his floor so we took the stairs and got locked in the stairwell as you can only get out on floor your staying! After a long walk to bottom we eventually got there and meet Jay and his partner Nancy. First time I've seen him in 7 years and he hasn't changed a bit (apart from his new found Australian accent) had a few beers and then bed. Great start to the trip 😁

22 March 2018

Gatwick Airport:Got here far too early but managed to bag ourselves a window seat 😊👍 having a drink and a bite to eat at Jamies and then hoping that a few pints will help me sleep on the plane!
Last day at work before we set off for Gatwick later and the worlds longest flight!! Got to put my incredibly painful shoulder behind me, fill myself up with painkillers, pick up my rucksack and get on that plane ✈ to Singapore to begin our 4 week adventure around Asia. First stop Singapore and a catch up with an old friend