Asia · 87 Days · 118 Moments · January 2019

17 April 2019

16 April 2019

Mai Châu, one of the greenest places I’ve ever been! I thoroughly enjoyed being out in the countryside, we cycled through rice paddies and local villages. Learnt how they made scarfs and chop sticks. We trekked through forests and had some incredible views despite the cloud. AND I learnt to ride a motor bike (which wasn’t as bad as I expected) which was very similar to the scooters out here just had to change gear using your foot which was weird but I did it and LOVED IT! However I wouldn’t try it at home hahaha. We rode to a waterfall then go a boat out on to the lake which was gorgeous and the sun decided to come out for a bit which made it even better. One of the evenings we got to watch the locals at our homestay perform their Vietnamese dance as well as have a go ourselves which was a laugh. Made a couple of friends on the trip so I wasn’t alone which was nice! The best way to finish my time in Vietnam!

15 April 2019

Spent the day on my own today, feeling very homesick so treated myself to get my nails done and FaceTimed mum which was lovely. Nice to hear about everything going on at home and how everyone is in Wales. Looking forward to getting out of the city for a while and heading to Mai Chau.

13 April 2019

Went to a cafe recommended to me called the Notes Cafe where the whole place is full of cute notes. It was lovely and then ran into the three Irish girls from hideaway, so I took them to train street as they hadn’t realised it was actually an active railway! So was lovely being with them and we had a nice relaxing afternoon. We had a few drinks and some food and then they left for Hue :(
I decided to walk to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum today and was going to go inside the museum however it was shut for lunch and I wasn’t waiting two hours to go inside. So I walked back and went to the note cafe I had been recommended where all the walls and tables are covered with notes from visitors, some with cute quotes, some with tips or messages of their love for Vietnam. It was super cute and I bumped into the theee Irish girls we met at Halong Bay! So I chatted to them and told them about train street which they just thought was an old train track they didn’t realise trains still passed through!! So I took them their to experience it and we chilled for a bit, then went to another place they had been recommended for food. I had a burger and chips and it was soooo nice to have english food, regardless of it still being fattening and I was so full after!! I’m so glad I bumped into them though as they are so lovely and cheered me up a little! I’m excited to get out of the city now!

12 April 2019

After not feeling too great last night I slept in till 12 o’clock so had a bit of a lazy day. I walked to train street, which is a train track that goes through a tiny row of houses which the locals have made loads of little cafes and bars on the side of it. So you can sit and relax, walk along the tracks and then they shout and move all the tables back behind the line and the train goes through. It’s absolutely incredible despite being pretty dangerous! I stayed there for about 5 hours just relaxed, read and chatted to those around me - the time went pretty fast and then at 7pm the first train went through. At the weekends in Hanoi they have a massive night market, pretty similar to everywhere else in Asia but it is wayyyy bigger. Nice for a wander and to by small momentous from Vietnam!

10 April 2019

Today we had breakfast made for us but it was pretty average I didn’t eat much, had a bit of a headache but that cleared once we got into the kayaks! We spent about an hour out on the water, the landscape is beautiful despite being overcast and the water was so calm. I really enjoyed it this time. We watching the locals, that live on the water in their huts, fish and empty their traps which was pretty cool. But they’re dogs were scary as they’re basically guard dogs but they swim and we were warned will bite you if they feel threatened! We stayed well away!!

9 April 2019

A long morning travelling but was so nice to see Vanessa again, we had a good old chat about her trip to Haigang and mine to Ninh Binh and Phong Nha, it’s a shame she’s only staying for 3 weeks holiday as I really do get on with her! We stopped off for swimming and jumping which was really refreshing once the sun came out and had some drinks and just relaxed and got to know the rest of the group. Lunch was soooo nice, we had fresh fish, the most amazing tofu, fresh vegetables and fruit! We arrived on the disk drive at around 4, we spent the night chatting and drinking and it was all so chilled, I’m so glad I picked to do this tour instead of the other one that’s a little bit more intense! We got to see the plankton that lights up in the water at night but it wasn’t as amazing as everyone made out it to be! Very glad Danny and I didn’t do the tour in Thailand now!!

8 April 2019

A chilled morning today, met Lucy for a coffee which was so nice but such a shame we didn’t have longer together!! Was giving her advice on south Vietnam, she seems to be loving it as much as I am here. Got the bus from Ninh Binh to Hanoi for 2 hours which was fine and then just had a wander round the city. It’s absolutely mental with traffic, not really that enjoyable! Excited to get to Halong Bay tomorrow!

7 April 2019

A chilled morning today to rest my foot, so I decided to do the Tam Coc river tour that goes through rice paddies. It was nice and refreshing but the scenery was so similar to yesterday that it wasn’t worth the money. But it saved me from walking in my foot all day and it was cloudy so not to hot either. This afternoon was the big hike up 480 steps to the dragon viewpoint and oh it was worth it!! They say Ninh Binh is the Halong Bay on land and I can see why!!! The view was unbelievable with the river running through the bright green rice paddies and the mountain range in the background!! The sun even decided to come out for the end of the day too. I have loved being in Phong Nha and Tam Coc (Ninh Binh) for the past few days, it has been so refreshing being back surrounded by nature, it’s reminded me so much of home. 💚

6 April 2019

The night bus wasn’t tooo bad but glad I wasn’t on my own! Slept for s but but not enough so was so glad that the homestay were awake and our beds weren’t being used!! Got a few hours before breakfast - which was so much food!! Two pancakes with homemade pineapple jam, two fried eggs with cheese and a baguette, half a pineapple, half a mango and a banana!! Safe to say I haven’t eaten much else today! Scooters were again the best way to get around Tam Coc, it’s a little bit more busy on the roads here but still felt safe. Headed to Bai Dinh Pagonda first which was okay but having work done to it so wasn’t as nice as it could have been. Next was the Hoa Lu ancient city, but again wasn’t anywhere near as beautiful as the one in Hue so I didn’t pay to go in this time. The next hour was spent scooting around backroads, seeing lots of locals and wild animals and occasionally getting lost. It was refreshing now that the temperature has dropped!
Unfortunate I’ve done something to my Achilles and it’s giving me a lot of grief so walking and hiking isn’t great. Got advice from Vicky on stretches and bandaged it up so hopefully that helps over the next few weeks. Finished the day on the Trang An river tour through multiple caves, beautiful landscapes and the calmest river! Even stopped off at one of the areas that was used for the King King Skull Island film. It was all so beautiful.

5 April 2019

Today we hired scooters and went out to the national park! It was stunning, I’m so glad there wasn’t a day bus now as I wouldn’t have been gutted to miss it. We stopped and hiked to a waterfall which was lovely. We spent the next 4 hours just driving the HCM trail through the NP. Phong Nha is what I expected Vietnam to be, mountains, greenery, lakes, rivers, small local villages, wild cows and water buffalo.... it was breath taking. I felt so free out there, away from the big cities, constant internet contact, busy traffic. Vietnam as been a real mix of environments and I absolutely love it.

4 April 2019

Today we went on the DMZ tour - we drove in the van many paths of the HCM trails which were used by the north to get troops, weapons and food to the south during the war. We visited the Rockpile which was used as an observation post by the Americans during the war and could only be reached by aircraft. Next we visited Khe Sanh Combat base, this was a marine corps base during the war and was attacked by the PAVN in January 1966 and fighting continued until 1968. Many aircrafts, bombs, shrapnel, clothing were found here and are now on show in the museum. As I was walking around the museum I over heard some Australians talking about the war and one was saying how he had ‘stood on one of those and it didn’t go off, I was very lucky.’ So I got chatting to one of them, himself and one other were vets from the war, they fought for the Americans just outside of HCM/Saigon. He said it brought back memories visiting the north but it was lovely to come back to peace and harmony.
After lunch we visited the Vinh Moc tunnels, these tunnels were built to protect people from bombing of Son Trang bear the DMZ. Americans thought that Vinh Moc was supplying food to the north Vietnamese soldiers so the thought the idea would encourage the Vietnamese villages move out of the area however they stayed put and built a village underground at 10m. However the American designed bombs to go down 10m, so the villagers continued to dig further down and created a tunnel system down to 30m. It including a kitchen, maternity room, bathroom, one room per family. About 60 families lived there, 600 people - 300 as soldiers. 17 babies were born in the tunnels and all villagers survived by living underground. The only ones killed were killed on land by the bombs. However they had serious health and mental issues when they rebuilt their village back on the land.

3 April 2019

A day of exploring today - started with the Imperial City which was pretty cool but all the old ruin sites are all starting to look the same. I needed to do it with a guide today as I didn’t really understand what I was looking at! The gardens were absolutely beautiful though. Weird coincidence though, I decided to grab a coffee and have a rest I walked into the same cafe that Jonathan from Siem Reap was sat in. So had a catch up with him and we walked the rest of if together. We both wanted to go see the abandoned water park so decided to grab a cab together which I was really happy about as I wouldn’t have gone on my own. We refused to pay the guards as it’s all a big scam to trick tourists, so because we refused to pay they kept trying and trying to stop us going in, saying it was too dangerous. Yet when we got there there was at least another 20 people! Was so funny how much of an act they had going! But the water park was so worth it, especially as the sun set, it was very eery

2 April 2019

Next we stopped for lunch at local face before heading to Elephant Springs! I didn’t have my costume with me as it was all packed in my bag on the back of the bike so I walked along the bridges, paddled my feet and relaxed a bit. The locals were trying to fix the elephant statue with rocks and cement. It was wonderful to watch them doing it by hand and the true teamwork that was involved! It was lovely to relax and would have been lovely to swim there but as we left Quang told me that a western guy (they think) had died there only 3 days before as he went right to the top waterfalls with no guide and where there were no locals and had either slipped and fallen or jumped and not realised how deep or what was beneath him. So so awful and sad as the Vietnamese were covering it and kept the place open so that they didn’t miss out on other tourists money!!!! So heartbreaking for the boys family.
Ahhhhhh another incredible day!!! Hai Van Pass on the back of a motorbike was insane! I got picked up by Quang at 9am and from here he drove me to Marble Mountains where I climbed to the top through the caves and to the viewpoints. One side was beautiful all the colourful tops of the houses and the beautiful sea and beach then the other side was full of construction work ready to build resorts! It ruined what should have been an amazing view! Next was Da Nang along the coast and even a bit on the beach which was interesting. Then to the HVP, the sun can come out and the views were incredible, we stopped many times along the way for pictures of the views as well as different points like the highest point. Quang was lovely and told me interesting facts along the way and his english was superb! I was apprehensive about being on a bike which a stranger, trusting them to get me back in one piece but I am so glad I did it. The feeling of the fresh air on your face was so exhilarating!

1 April 2019

Lantern making was good fun! We started with the basic bamboo on the metal which the man had done for us but we glued it all together and then glued the fabric and cut it to shape! I tried to match it to my bedroom colours but they didn’t have any plain purple fabric. I started with grey lining at the top and bottom and a grey tassel but changed it to purple to make it more bright! With the light the pale colours didn’t really show up so kind of wish I’d done a brighter colour now. But it’ll still work hung up in my room without the light! It was fun and the man was so lovely and showed us around their family workshop.
This evening me and Vanessa walked around the Night Market and watched the light show on the river it was so beautiful!! I’m going to miss this place, it’s so relaxed and has such lovely people! Think it’s going to be one of my favourite places in Vietnam for sure!

31 March 2019

Today was a lovely day I met Vanessa for a Coffee in the old town (I met her in HCM.) From here we desired which temples and old ancient houses we wanted to visit and then went to explore. I can’t remembered the names of them all but it was so lovely to see the old buildings that our used for visitors to see what families do there (made embroidery for example) and then at night they move back in the evening. The old town is so lovely and relaxing despite the amount of Chinese tourists everywhere 😂😂😂. It then started to rain which was so nice when you haven’t seen rain for 3 months but I did get soaked on the way back to the hostel. We were suppose to go the night market in the evening however Vanessa lost her purse on route to my hostel so after phone calls and team work we got it back!!!! She was so lucky, no one ever normally gets a purse back after waving down a taxi rather than booking one, just so happened her taxi driver went home for a nap after dropping her off!

30 March 2019

The food tour was really good and got to know the people from my room a little better, they’re both lovely! We tried 6 different types of Vietnamese food - all very different but all very nice! We tried 1,2,3, 8, 9 and 10! Some tasted a little strange and had an odd texture but all were eatable! We put money in and shared everything which was good as someone it I wouldn’t have had all to myself! My favourites sound have to be the Banh Mi which everyone I’ve met has gone on about - now I know why it had so much flavour for a baguette! The Cao Lau was also really tasty, a shame it’s traditional to Hoi An so I’ll have to get it again before I leave! Banh Bao was also really tasty and reminded me of a scotch egg inside a sweet bun! A lovely snack.
I LOVE Hoi An, it is very much an original Vietnamese old town! HCM and apparently Hanoi are becoming so developed with High rise buildings and hotels that it’s not as beautiful as it should be. Where as Hoi An still has that old town feel. There are shops everywhere willing to make you anything you want, from real leather bags and shoes to suits and dresses. The Lanterns are everywhere and make it so colourful. I walked around and have got a couple of things made so fingers crossed they come out as good as I want them too! I found a little coffee/tea shop called Reaching Out that employs those who have speech or language impediments and they use sign language and little blocks to communicate, its silent inside and so tranquil. Asia has been so full of enterprises helping those in the community, makes me feel like the UK has a long way to come. This evening I’m going to do the free food tour with my hostel through the food market.

29 March 2019

Today I went on the Cu Chi Tunnels with Sophie and a few of her friends and I’m so glad we did. Our tour guides english was very good which meant we learnt far more than many of the others I had met who’d done it. He was so good at explaining the stories and really gave a feel for what the Vietnamese went through! We got to go inside an actual America Army Tanker as well as go through the Tunnels that they made in order to hide and survive the Americans. They were so clever and inventive with the tunnels and the traps in which they made throughout the jungle in order to kill the Americans! Our tour also stopped at a workshop where those who were affected or born with disabilities due to (the agent orange used in the war) made and painted the most incredible things using so many different techniques. One of those was using egg shells and designing patterns with them! I’m absolutely loving Vietnam and all the things I am learning about the war here, I can’t wait to get to Hoi An now.

28 March 2019

It was a cloudy start but the sun finally did rise between the two clouds and the view was good enough but not the best I’ve seen. The white and red sand dunes were good and it was so much fun being kids again and playing around on them! We then went to the fairy stream and walked through it but the waterfall at the end wasn’t really worth it. We were back at the hostel by 9am. Breakfast and a chill before the bus at 12.30 back to HCM, Sophie’s decided to come with me to HCM so be nice to have someone to chill with tonight and to do the tunnels tour with tomorrow!

27 March 2019

So a change of plan today because Sophie from home is going to be in Mui Ne and then will leave as I arrive I decided to go a day early so that I don’t miss seeing a manxie!! I got the bus at 9am and it was a night bus so you were lay down the whole time which was nice but a bit cramped, obviously people were staying on all the way to Hanoi so was a 12 hour journey for them. I’ve started watching a documentary series about the Vietnamese war and so far it’s very interesting and I’m really enjoying it. Arrived at the hostel and was so lovely to see Sophie, we had a really good catch up and her friends she’s made are so so nice. We went for a good half an hour walk then stopped for a while grabbed some food and a drink a had a good chat about lots of different things, the time just flew. We then watched the sunset and played a few card game and now it’s bed time before the 4.30am start for the sunrise sand dunes tour tomorrrow. Hopefully I don’t get bitten alive tonight!!!!

26 March 2019

Agent Orange destroyed not only the land and plants but killed. It also caused deformities and defects to children born by those alive during the war. It’s now still causing these in the 4th generation of families and many believe it was the start of the development of deformities such as those who are born without and arm or causing people to be born blind or dead but also believe its capable of causing damage to genes that lead to Cerebral Palsy and Parkinson’s. Children who have suffered due to the effects of agent orange have draw lm pictures as way of explaining how it makes them feel and how it effects their life that are put up in the museum.
Another day exploring today, I walked for an hour to go to Tan Dinh church and it was shut so could only look from outside the gates which was a bit annoying. From there I walked back on myself to the War Museum - spent about 2 and a half hours there. So many different levels explaining the truths behind the war, pictures taken by different photographers from different countries some who lived and some who died all showing a different part of the war life for fighters and civilians. The effects Agent Orange had on people throughout the war as well as the imprisonment system and vast ways of torturing . There was so much information that I actually struggled to take it all in. The main things that have stuck are the images of those killed or injured by the explosions, guns and those who were brutally cut or decapitated by soldiers. All horrific. As well as the imagines of the children and families who have to live with the side effects of the agent orange.

25 March 2019

I arrived in Ho Chi Minh at about lunch time and went to grab some food before I could check in. When I finally got in the room I was absolutely exhausted so I chilled for a little bit. But I didn’t want to waste the day so off I went for a little explore. I walked for about half an hour to the Notre Dame cathedral which is pretty spectacular and then next door I ventured into Saigon Central Post Office. Inside it was full of the hustle and bustle of tourists admiring the French style and taking pictures while others were writing post cards to loved ones. I sat and people watched for a while before I wrote my own post card to Aunty Kath to try and cheer her up from her fall. I then ventured around the corner and came across a wonderful little street full of just book shops so as I went in and out and purchased a few more books I went back to the hostel and started chatting to the girls in my dorm. We went for dinner at the hostel and all got an early night.

24 March 2019

After a week on Koh Rong Samlon, I feel relaxed and ready to get going again! Despite the lack of sleep due to the people in my room over the week I loved being on the Island. The weather was beaut and I managed to top my tan back up! The company was great - catching up with Eva was lovely and meeting all her work friends who accepted me into their group was really nice. A few good nights out and some nights of relaxing was just what I needed.

19 March 2019

After I was over the shock of seeing an actual survivor, we had arrived at the killing fields. Not easy as a lot of the information was the same so you were reliving it in your mind for a second time. However here you can see the remains that have, over time due to weather, come to the top of the graves and are now on show in the Stupa as a memorial. It’s really difficult to go in an see with your own eyes, especially as they have stickers representing the different damages caused the the faces and skulls, or what they were hit with that eventually could have been what killed them. I felt very sad once I returned to the hostel and the Quotes such as ‘Better to kill an innocent by mistake than to spare an enemy by mistake’ or ‘To dig up the grass one must get rid of the roots’ makes me want to cry, as the millions of humans that died, died for nothing! A horrible day that I will never forget but makes me very grateful for the life I have.

17 March 2019

Today was an emotional day, I went to the S21 Prison and they give you an audio tour which was good as you got to experience it in your own time, in your own head. They told you the story of how the school became one of the main interrogation centres. They chose the people who were taken there, those who had professions: teachers, artists, craftsmen and brought there families too because they were likely to be cleaver enough to develop good professions too. You walked through the rooms in which they were tortured in, the prison rooms that were so small and cramped for the amount of people who we kept in there. They had a small container to do their business in and if it went on the floor they were made to kick it clean. They were shackled by the legs and beaten whenever they made a noise. There was still blood splatters on the floor. It really was a horrible experience to see where it all happened.
There are many pictures of the men, women and children as they were brought to S21, seeing their faces, how sad and scared they looked absolutely breaks your heart. How could human beings do this to other human beings? In one of the rooms there were four written pieces from four of the survivors. I didn’t think I could read them all as they were too sad but I chose to read Chum Mey (mainly because his was the only name I could pronounce) I was horrified by what he had been through and how he wanted to share his experience to stop it from her happening again in the world. A brave man. As I walked to the end of the tour there was a stall selling books. I soon realised the book they were selling was by the survivor I’d just chosen to read about and he was sat right there behind the stall. I could have cried, seeing him in the flesh, sat in the grounds of where he went through hell, watched his friends and family and many others die. I was full of respect for him so I had to buy the book

16 March 2019

Had a relaxing day today, first day I’ve felt normal again so had the coconut and peanut butter smoothie bowl with banana and granola for breakfast which was lovely. Then found s spot by the pool and sunbathed (even though I was covered by trees for most of the day) with Ruth the girl I met last night and then we met another girl on her own, Laura, and spent the day chatting together which was lovely. Early night tonight before 8.30 start tomorrow for the S21 and Genocide Museum tour.

15 March 2019

6am start when you’ve slept about 4 hours isn’t great but the bus thankfully had good Aircon and was big. So no travel sickness this time. 6 hours on the road so I’d downloaded some documentaries. One was called chasing coral and it’s all about the bleaching of coral worldwide due to global warming. A group of marine biologists did a time lapse and went down to the same point about 4 times a day for 4 months to show the effects on the Great Barrier Reef. It’s actually crazy how fast it deteriorated and eventually died. Made me realise that a lot of the coral reefs I’ve seen on my travels were actual dying too as they weren’t very colourful! It’s scary as the fish are leaving and eventually will die too with with have a major effect on the human race!! 30 years they think all the reefs will be dead if we don’t do anything about it.

14 March 2019

On our way to the Killing Caves we stopped off to learn how the Cambodians make bamboo sticky rice and banana chips which they sell to tourists on the side of the road, for something so small, it takes so long to make!! The bamboo is chopped into long poles and then put rice, salt, sugar and black beans inside. It’s then left on a covered fire for two days! They then strip the hard bamboo from the outside and then peal the soft bit like a banana and the sticky rice can be pulled out! The banana chips are sliced into tiny pieces and placed closely onto a bamboo slate. They then lay out in the sun until they are hard and then broken into pieces to eat! We also stopped at a temple but I was more interested in children’s development centre that I learnt had been set up my foreign volunteers to let the children go to school for free while their parents worked all day. They were outside in the yard having a mass water fight. They were all so happy despite the conditions they live in!
The killing caves were really heart breaking as they had statues outside showing you the many different ways the Cambodian people were tortured before they were thrown in the caves to die. Some were thrown into boiling hot water, others had their teeth pulled out, or tied up with no food or water. Others were made to climb up a tree that had spikes all the way up that pierced through their skin. It was so horrific. Our final stop was to watch the sunset at the bar caves of Phnom Sampov. Millions of bats leave the caves and fly miles over the banana trees. It was incredible to see.
We then visited the The killing fields which were an eye opener to what hell accorded in this country for over 4 years. We learnt the people of Battambang were ordered by Khmer Rouge to abandon their city to create a new village for rice harvest. They believed they would return after being forced to work from dusk to dawn every day with little food or water but instead their children were killed in front of them, they were forced to marry and be separated from their families and tortured until they were dead. It was really sad and devastating that human beings could do this to other human beings!
A quick pit stop in Battambang was spent on a tuk tuk visiting so many interesting places. First we went to the old bamboo train track which was a bit of a tourist trap but we met some lovely Cambodians that reminded us how hard it is to make a living there. The driver only got paid $1.75 all day and he’s constantly lifting it on and off the tracks, no water, his kids were selling bracelets up and down the trains while his wife sold drinks and clothes at the stop of point. So we bought drinks and I bought two bracelets as I just felt so bad for them! The wife then gave me an extra one that was white and red which means good luck in Cambodian. We had to stop to let another train pass and the driver spotted a bottle that must have been chucked and went to see if it still had water in it, when he realised it had it was celebrating and saying ‘wooohooo’ and drank the water. It was so sad so we gave him the rest of our water and made sure we gave him a tip at the end!

13 March 2019

I’d had a message for Marnix who I’d met via Lucy in Bali saying he was in Siem Reap if we wanted to meet. So as we were both doing Angkor wat with our groups we decided to meet that evening for food and drinks so there was 9 of us altogether. We found a local street food place but was slightly out of town as they’d also made it as a restaurant. We ate, laughed and drank, it was so lovely to see Marnix and hear about his adventures and tips especially for Vietnam as that’s where he’d met most of his group and they’d continued the next two weeks together which was so nice! They were all lovely and as those from my group went back to the hostel I stayed and played snooker and beer pong (without then beer for me) with them all. They were from Holland, Germany and Canada and it was a shame they were all going home in a few days as they’d have been great to stay with! Unfortunately I woke up with food pounding get symptoms again so s trip to the pharmacy and a bus ride was all I managed.

12 March 2019

Our final stop after nearly 12 hours, was Angkor Wat. We didn’t go inside after sunrise as it’s always so busy. As the biggest religious monument in the world we were excited, despite being exhausted, to get inside. The whole of Angkor Wat city was estimated to have been made from 5 million tons of sandstone which came from a quarry 25 miles away in time where there was no machinery. This blows my mind and makes me realise how hard working and determined those in history were and how it’s such a shame how lazy and dependant the human race has become. It makes you realise why so many people take things for granted now as they don’t really have to work as hard as those in the past. Another fact is that it was a Hindu site before is now a Buddhist place of worship - this is due to the country’s shift in religion. Inside there were so many unbelievable carvings all over the walls of them going to war on foot, on elephants and it was all still so clear to see.
We stopped for lunch then as we’d been walking around for hours with nothing other than water that our tuk tuk driver had given us and it was nearly 12. Bayon was next and I wanted to be ready to climb as it was the one I’d been most excited for. It’s known for the many faces that facing north, south, east and west on every tower - and there are sooooo many towers. It gave me a bit of a game of thrones feel and I loved it. Climbing up the stairs through the small compartments, as it was more confined that the others. Then when you reached the top it was like a maze with never ending faces watching you. There are 54 towers with 216 faces that are meant to show power and control of their leader. This was by far my favourite temple due to the unusual structure and appreciation of how difficult it must have been to build.
Neak Pean was the Temple we went to next due to the pictures we had seen of the magnificent walk down to the Temple which is surrounded by to massive lakes in either side. It’s very small in comparison to others and has a collection of 5 ponds surrounding it. Unfortunately due to it being the end of dry season there was no water in the ponds and the two lakes weren’t even touching the walk way and was showing the roots of the dead trees. It definitely wasn’t as picturesque but because it was so hidden it gave it a more magical feel.
Our next stop was Banteay Kdei which we had been made to believe was the monastery for women but we aren’t too sure if that’s true. However it is one of the only sites that is still in its original form and is full of exceptional details. There were carvings all over the gallery in the sandstone with a pink tone through it which was so different to all the other temples. My photos didn’t really do them justice.
The next stop was a smaller less popular temple that we suddenly decided to stop at. It was called Pre Reep/Rup. We stopped due to the massive staircase leading to the top which was just magnificent. It was worth the short stop for the views from the top, they were wonderful and you could see so much of the grounds. Apparently the temple's name means "turn the body" as the common belief among Cambodians was that funerals were conducted here, with the ashes of the body being ritually rotated in different directions as the service happened.
At around 7.30 when the sky was blue and the sun was beaming in the sky we decided to get some food before we explored. Our first stop was Ta Prohm, this became a big tourist attraction after the Lars Croft Tomb-raider film as it was filmed here. As nature has started to take back what was once it’s own as roots of trees have started to push walls down abs grow in between the structures. So it has a more jungle feel to it. Ta Prohm was actually used as the Buddhist Monastery and as a university. You could tell straight away as the structure was made up of lots of long corridors. So maybe the western society copied the layout from centuries before them. We walked through the corridors, over and under numerous dislodged stones and it was so much fun. We felt like we were part of the film. It is so marvellous to see the roots intertwined with the stone walls and see how powerful they can be.
4am tuk tuk ride for one of the most exciting days exploring temples. I wasn’t tired as I was really looking forward to watching the sunrise from Angkor Wat. We arrived with plenty of time and it was surprisingly not very busy, especially at the left lake which is where everyone goes to get ‘the perfect’ picture! We stood and waited as the sky started to change colour and the outline of the towers started to show up. Due to it being dry season there was only a little ‘lake’ (if you can call it that) on the left side but we stayed at the corner despite no water as we wanted to see all five towers. We watched for an hour an a half and thought the sun had risen as the colours had changed but no sun had arrived so we presumed it was just to cloudy so we decided to leave until a man trying to sell coffee told us to stay as it wouldn’t rise for another 20 mins! He was right of course and we were so glad we waited. It was absolutely breathtaking!!

11 March 2019

So today I spent exploring the city and the markets as there doesn’t seem to be much else to do here. There are loads of incredible things from clothes to bags, you could even get your hair cut! I then spent the afternoon chilling by the pool as I hadn’t really made many friends. The two guys from my dorm from Norway who have just started their trip and came andasked if I wanted to join their plan of getting a one day pass and s tuk tuk driver for the whole day and the evening before so we could watch the sunset so I agreed as it meant it was so much cheaper. I was sat on my own in the shade for a bit and s girl asked if she could join which obviously I said yes as I hadn’t met and girls really. She was called Melissa from Germany but had a Turkish mum so she looked more Indian! We got chatting and she’d only just arrived but also wanted to do Angkor wat so I asked her to join us. The sunset was pretty cloudy but it was nice to see one of the temples and have a little explore.

10 March 2019

First day in Siem Reap and I didn’t really get chatty with anyone in my dorm so I had a lie in, went for some food and wandered around the markets. By 1pm it was absolutely boiling so I headed back to chill by the bar/pool area at the hostel hoping I’d get chatting some one people. But no they all seem to be in there own little groups. I went back to the dorm to chill as it’s so cool and pretty comfy and some new people arrived. They all seem really nice two lads from Norway and a girl from Devon. However the girl leaves tomorrow to meet her friend so the guys were chatting about what they’re doing here and they haven’t done Angkor Wat yet so asked if I wanted to join them as it makes it cheaper. Which works for me as it was going to be very expensive trip if it was me on my own. Later on they asked if I wanted to go get food so we went to the street food place, they’re a bit younger than me so this is there big trip before they start uni. Oslo sounds decent - another trip maybe.

9 March 2019

The cooking class was pretty cool, we got to go to the market first and pick all the ingredients we needed for what we had chosen to make. We were the inky two on the half day then there was 5 people in the full day. The first thing we made was the curry paste. Which was so easy if you have all the ingredients in! Then we made our soup and stir fry! I made hot and sour prawn soup and Pad Thai, I loved the Pad Thai but the soup was far too spicy! We got to eat these and have a 20 minute break then we went on to cut up all our ingredients for the curry. The only bad side was they prepared an awful lot of the good so there wasn’t actually a lot of doing for us which was a bit of a shame! However I really enjoyed the stuff I made (the soup was lovely just too spicy) and I even enjoyed the butterfly sticky rice and mango as they went so nicely together. I hate mango on its own!
The also thought ya how to make spring rolls that are super easy too! I’d definitely do another one maybe in Vietnam. They also gave us a recipe book which I’ll definitely use when I’m home and we also got a pack of pieces (so you don’t have to make your own paste even though it’s easy) from the market. Despite the fact I don’t want to see Thai food for a very very long time 😂😂 I’m going to try make an effort to cook from scratch when I get home. Now for flight 1 of the day to Bangkok and a 2 hour wait before my flight to Cambodia!!

8 March 2019

Had a horrid nights sleep last night and then got woken up by the two girls leaving early at 6 for their trips and then the new girl arrived at 8am 😩 my skin felt incredible last night and I thought it had genuinely improved but this morning it’s all flared up again. Hopefully it gets worse before it gets better! I’m going to explore some of the temples close to the hostel today and have a mootch around, then tonight Shannon and I will probably go back to the night market and hopefully get (my last) Thai massage! Then Saturday morning we check out and go to a cooking class from 8am till 1pm, I’m so excited for that!

7 March 2019

A lie in was on the cards this morning and then a facial in the afternoon. I needed s bit of me time and to relax as I’ve been stressing when really I shouldn’t be. The facial was amazing - I was there for 2 hours and had an acne treatment and massage and I felt amazing after. Really hope it does help clear my skin. I also went to boots and got all my skin treatment that I use at home and also as a mini moisturiser too in the same brand of my face wash so bought that to see if it works better in my skin. This evening I went with Furji (not sure how you spell it) and Shannon to the Night Bazaar, it’s suppose to be the best in Asia and I can see why. I have never seen so many stalls!!! I got s few little presents for home as they were too cute and cheap to leave. We then found the food market - WOW! So many food stalls and bar stalls- they had everything covered I’ve never seen such a mix of cuisines I was in heaven! They also had the most gorgeous set up of lights and a live band.

6 March 2019

Early start this morning as we got picked up at 8am with all our bags to head to the Tham Lod Caves. It took an hour and half to get there and we were soooo tired we attempted to sleep but got picked up in basically a pick up truck so it wasn’t very comfortable! When we arrived we got a tour guide with their gas lantern and off we went. There are three caves: Columns Cave which is full of tall pillars. Doll Cave where all the stalagmites are made into different shapes including some that look like dolls. Wet creepy. Coffin Cave where there are millions of bats flying over head and they found ancient coffins. It’s very eery in there with it being so dark as well as the fact you travel through water on a bamboo raft! I wasn’t really bothered about going to the Caves but I’m glad I did, they were way more impressive as I had thought and I couldn’t believe how far in you could go and how high up you could climb. It was a fab way to end my time in Pai with the girls!

5 March 2019

Another day out on the scooters today, we visited the land split - which is a massive crack in the ground that you can walk down into due to the earthquake in 2008. It’s pretty cool and the people who own the farm are so lovely and gave you Rosaline juice that they’d produced there for a donation along with sweet potato’s, banana crisps and peanuts! We then went to Pembok waterfall which had more water this time, so we walked through it and it was so cold and refreshing! From here we continued on to the Bamboo Bridge - I didn’t think it was going to very good but went as the girls had heard good things about it and it was incredible! It’s about 1km long and weaves in and out of rice paddies, farm animals, it’s absolutely beautiful! I was gobsmacked at how long it was and how people had made it, they’re unbelievably talented here! The women in the shops we’ve noticed also make their own lampshades that are so colourful too.
Or last stop was the Hot Springs, these weren’t as good as I thought they’d be but they were nice to sit in and they may help sort my vile skin out! For dinner tonight we decided to do walking street and look at all the street food - it all looked incredible!! They had everything from pad Thai, to fried noodles, burritos and tacos, spring rolls and cheese balls and of course PANCAKES! We got to have pancakes in pancake day even if we did eat far too much food and felt horrendous the rest of the night! It was all very yummy! I’m feeling very bloated and conscious of the weight I’ve put on as clothes are starting to get tight and uncomfortable so I’m really going to have to try harder at not over eating and finding healthier options in Cambodia!

4 March 2019

I can see why everyone lives Pai so much, it’s such s lovely place with little stalls and cafes everywhere. We decided after a long lie in to get breakfast and then hire scooters and go and explore. I wasn’t keen at first so I went on the back of Megan’s but I didn’t feel comfortable and I don’t think she was having a passenger either. So I went back and got myself one and I LOVED IT!!! So so glad I did it, it’s so thrilling with the wind in your hair and being able to go and see the outskirts! We only managed to go to a waterfall but it didn’t have much water 😂😂 so we didn’t go in. We just drove around over and over! We made it to Pai Canyon but we’re a bit rushed so we’re going to head back tomorrow night!

3 March 2019

Met three lovely Irish girls in the taxi on the way to the hostel so we freshened up and went for dinner. They’re all travelling for a few months before they move to Australia! They’re all very excited! We chatted for ages and I’ve really enjoyed having some english people around hahaha. The hostel is so lovely and chilled out it’s wonderful. And the views are amazing! We ended up staying out, drinking and playing snooker - I’d drank a lot more than I planned so left at 2am and I was ready for bed!
Part one of the journey to Pai was grim, the bus was packed so I ended up sat at the back - not good when you get travel sick - and it was so hot. Aircon didn’t work at all so I could feel my skin getting drier and drier ( not what I need when it’s already stupidly dry, peeling and spotty) I was sweating a stupid amount, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t watch anything on my phone. Just a horrid journey. The thought of having another 3 and a half hours to go isn’t what I need 😫 Arrive at 13.40 in Chiang Mai bus station and just miss the next bus to Pai so have to wait an hour in the station! It’s gonna be a longggggg day today

2 March 2019

The last place I visited was the Baandam Museum, this translates to Black House Museum. Thawan Duchanee is the Thai artist who’s work is shown through 40 buildings that are such unique structures, made from wood, bricks, cement and filled with paintings, sculptures, animal bones and skins, silver, gold - the list is endless. It’s a wacky yet wonderful place to visit and rather eery.
I got the same bus back To the centre and took another local bus to Wat Rong Seur Ten (The Blue Temple) - the colour was again absolutely amazing and so bold. It’s a lot smaller than the White Temple but equally as beautiful. It translates to ‘the house of dancing Tigers’ and there are many of them throughout the temple.
So today was spent exploring, I checked the public buses and walked to the central bus station. The buses were very old and authentic and for 20 Baht so worth using. Within 20 minutes we were at Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple) and wow I wasn’t expecting it to be so stunning, you see pictures but when you are there (despite the 100000 Chinese taking pictures) it’s really astonishing. The temple is so different to any others I’ve seen, the white symbolises purity of the Buddha and the glass within the structure that sparkles with the reflection of the sun, symbolises the Buddha’s wisdom. It is absolutely spectacular. It’s so different as it’s a contemporary, unconventional, privately owned art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple and you can fully understand why it’s so popular!

1 March 2019

Today’s the day we say see you soon, our flights are not till 17.30 so we had our last breakfast (my last all you can eat with every choice possible for a while - I think I’ve eaten enough food to last me 3 months in the last 3 weeks!!) and checked out. We stayed at the hotel for two hours and played pool then headed to the airport. Unfortunately we were at different terminals so we had to part before our flight, I cried as per even though we’re over the hardest part, it’s just never easy to say bye again. We’ve had the best 3 weeks and have made so many amazing memories, and we’ve had our far share of fights too. But I think it’s all been needed and it has made us so much stronger, a couple more places to tick off my list and I know when I’m home we can concentrate on our future together ❤️ Next stop Chiang Rai and north Thailand for 9 days before my month in Thailand is over - where has that time gone?

28 February 2019

The incredible thing about the Sanctuary was that they are trying to teach those who abuse elephants so that they give them the best life that they can. So the men who bought the elephants also ‘buy’ the man who looks after the elephant and teaches them what they should be doing to look after the elephant. The men actually then live with his whole family in the same grounds as the elephant as if they were their own child which I think is incredible. Some of the elephants at the sanctuary only trust the man that they’ve spent they’re life with and it takes them a very long time to trust other humans because of the abuse which is so sad. The whole experience was up there with the best things I’ve done on this trip, Danny felt the same. He wasn’t as keen to do it as I was but is so glad he did and that we did it together, we laughed and smiled all afternoon. We fed them fruit, played in the mud with them and then showered and cleaned them all after. I think I have a new favourite animal
BEST DAY EVER!! The elephant sanctuary was absolutely incredible, I can’t even put into words how happy I was from the minute we arrived. The staff were amazing, showing us where the elephants live, what they’re fed, where they were saved from. The founders of the green elephant sanctuary is Swiss and had always wanted to help the Thai elephants from the continuous harm they are put through, whether that is for tourism being ridden and trekking through jungles or for work to pull logs and being hit with axes and chained up at night. It honestly breaks my heart that people still think it’s okay to use animals to make money, they’re such beautiful animals and should be able to live as they please.

27 February 2019

Our last day sunbathing today, this is place is incredible and has been the most amazing place to finish. We staff are attentive, the food is lovely and it’s surprisingly quiet which is really nice. Got a bit emotional after messaging mum, knowing how proud she is of me and what I’ve done just makes me so emotional. Had s big cry to Danny as it’s all hit me again that I’m going to be back on my own and he leaves so soon. I miss everyone at home so much!! When I’d finally got myself back together we decided to go to the Thai restaurant as I wasn’t overly hungry but wanted to try real Thai after the mess of the food poisoning. Danny got cashew chicken and I got the chicken Thai green curry. The flavours were delicious but I’m still cautious of the chicken as it’s so much fattier here, I should have said vegetarian really but the sauce and rice was still really enjoyable.

26 February 2019

Today we had a sunbathing day by the infinity pool, it was so hot we spent most of the day in the pool reading or Danny was in the games room playing snooker with the other men in there! We’re thinking of going to the elephant sanctuary on Thursday as our last proper day together so hopefully that’ll be amazing !! We decided to stay in the pool till sunset which was beautiful too and then had a late dinner, Danny had seen the steak offer so we decided to go for that. It was incredible - cooked perfectly so much flavour and the roasted vegetables that came with it were delicious!! Worth spending that extra bit of money!

25 February 2019

It was a very hungover day today and we both felt awful so we decided to get the later boat at 2.30 and sleep most of the morning, grab some food then head for the boat. Luckily it wasn’t the one we came on and this one had Aircon so we slept the two hours. We arrived at our final hotel in Phuket at 5ish, it’s absolutely beautiful and we’ve definitely saved the best till last. Starting to get emotional again as I can’t believe Danny leaves so soon 😭we’ve made so many amazing memories!

24 February 2019

Today we had a lie in and then went for breakfast in the bakery down the road (the one in our hotel isn’t very nice at all) I had an almond croissant and Danny got scrambled eggs. It is so hot today so we went back to check out prices for boats and see where we wanted to go. We decided to just go to monkey beach and then a bit of snorkelling. So we hired a taxi boat and off we went. Monkey beach wasn’t anywhere near as bad as everyone says it is, there is maybe 20 monkeys if that on the beach and mostly just playing which each other, then only interact when morons bring food or bananas as it was in our case and then they get aggressive. The man who brought them deserved to get bitten as he was teasing them and had another two bags full. His tour guide got to the point when we shouted at him and told him to stop feeding them! E stayed for about 40 minutes then headed for snorkelling in another new spot which the snorkels we bought and they were actually pretty decent!

23 February 2019

After we’d finished snorkelling at Maya Bay cove we continued to sea to watch the sunset from the boat so that was pretty spectacular. We were both starving as we hadn’t eaten the food on the boat (still wary after the FP) so we went straight for food at an Italian place which was really yummy and we’re going to go back to shower and freshen up and then go back out. We never made it out, we’re both shattered so and early night and a lie in before another day exploring tomorrow!
What a busy day we had today, we decided to have a lie in so when we got up we planned on having a chill day at the pool and look at tours and the cost of hiring a taxi boat and see what we wanted to do. However we missed all the sun beds and breakfast was horrid, so we went for a walk to see all our options and decided to book a tour so we didn’t waste the day. So a half day exploring Viking cave, Pe-Leh Lagoon, Loh Sa Mah Bay and Maya Bay. We had three snorkel spots and the water was so clear but all we saw were fishies! The Lagoon was incredible the water was so blue and so clean, it was so refreshing jumping in from the boat. We then got to Maya Bay which is famous because of the Leonardo DiCaprio film ‘The Beach’ but due to the amount of tourist visiting it’s now been shut so you can only see it from a far you can no longer go on the beach. It was a shame as I was very much looking forward to going there but it was actually really nice to see it natural and untouched

22 February 2019

Finally got to enjoy breakfast for the first time in over a week 🙌🏼 The buffet here was incredible from eggs however you want to cereal and any yogurt and fruit you could think of, a mini bakery and cakes galore. French toast, pancakes and waffles. It was a dream so I went all out - today they had a brownie cake that was to die for, I just had to have two!! Next stop is Phi Phi and after yesterday’s trip I am so excited to get there and explore some more of the breathtaking islands! We arrived at about 3 and I wanted to do the viewpoint today so we didn’t waste time as we aren’t here for long! So off we went and it was hot, so so hot, within minutes we were both dripping with sweat and Danny was moaning ‘how far is left’ I didn’t know and so we kept following the signs till we got to viewpoint 3, however it wasn’t the one I though so we ventured back down and found viewpoint 1 and 2. The view of the bay was pretty cool and we’d just missed the crowd so we could actually enjoy it!

21 February 2019

After we’d snorkelled and had food (Danny and I avoided it) we had some free time so we swam in the sea, laughed and messed around and literally felt like heaven. The water was so blue and clear, the view was incredible. It was paradise. After an hour we got back on the boat and headed to the second snorkel spot, it wasn’t as clear but there were more fish in groups that swam up close to you so the videos were pretty cool however I could feel the little stings of jelly fish and narrowly missed a big ish one that I managed to get on video so we all jumped out pretty soon after getting in. Our last stop was a different island where we had free time to sunbath have a drink, ice cream, roti what ever we wanted. Every place I go I’m in awe at how beautiful it is and then I go to another place that is just as beautiful, it really does blow your mind what a world we live in. Danny said it was probably the most beautiful beaches and clearest water he’d ever seen. The most incredible day
Today has been the best day yet. We spent the day exploring the 4 islands: we visiting the Emerald Cave on Koh Mook, snorkelling with lots of different fishies at Koh Chuck, avoiding the jelly fish at Koh Ngai and relaxed on the beautiful Koh Kradan! The emerald cave was pretty mesmerising you literally swam through it in the pitch black until you came to the opening and was blue sea surrounded by a mini beach and trees, it was incredible how someone found it! Only downside was trying to avoid all the other swimmers and I managed to hit my foot on the rock cutting it and getting something stuck in it - my feet really aren’t having the best time. It was pretty painful but I managed to get it out and the guide cleaned it. We then Danny took a while to get used to the snorkel so I went off for a bit on my own, the water was so warm and relaxing! Danny then came to join me and we spent a good half hour pointing out different fish to each other and diving down to the coral.

19 February 2019

We walked to the end of the platform the hotel has that goes into the sea and watched the sunset which was pretty epic! Then went back and showered and chilled before having a late dinner. We both went for the masaaman curry but I’m definitely still not ready to eat a full meal as I could only eat a few mouthfuls and I felt full. So I’ll be sticking to starters from now on! Diarrhea has stopped finally and hadn’t bothered me at all today until dinner, starting to get me really down 😰 just want to be back to normal!

18 February 2019

Last night we went to the Muay Thai boxing match I didn’t think I’d enjoy it but it was actually such a laugh. The warm up dances were pretty funny and the fighting wasn’t too violent and was a good way to take mind of the stomach ache that was slowly fading. We got picked up at 9.30 and were on our way by 10.30 the boat was actually pleasant and you didn’t feel like you were on a boat at all and by 12.30 we had arrived in Koh Lanta. Our hotel was suppose to have a pick up waiting for us but after 10 minutes we still couldn’t see them so we got a local van, on arrival they were apologetic about the misunderstanding about the pick up and that our room wasn’t quite ready yet so they took ya to their bakery and cake ya complementary coffee and cake. When we got to put it was worth the wait and is probably one of the nicest so far. We managed to get beds by the pool and sunbathed for the rest of the afternoon. We had a little snack and will wait to watch the sunset before food.
So the morning started badly my stomach was awful and I spent most of the morning sat on the toilet. I thought about whether to go to the tiger cave temple or not but when we went I felt slightly better so decided to go for it since we’d done nothing else in Krabi! 1,237 steps, 34 degree heat, sooo many stops, buckets full of sweat and a very shaky, exhausted Alice later we made it to the top. I was absolutely ruined, not eating anything and the heat really took its toll but the view from the top was pretty amazing, it’s surrounded by forests on one side and little villages on the other. The Tiger apparently took residence in the temple cave to shelter from the heat and to sleep and people started to call it the Tiger Cave. So that’s where the name came from, the monks discovered the cave and used it for meditation. The tiger apparently left the cave and retreated to the tropical rain forest that surrounds the temple and was never seen again.
After about 15 minutes at the top I felt my tummy flip again and had to rush down about 500 steps to the nearest toilet. Never have I been so nervous that I was going to have the most embarrassing moment of my life, however I made it. The toilet however was basically a whole in the floor so that was NOT fun. I made it down another 500 steps and had to go to the toilet again, so by the time we made it to the bottom I thought I was going to need to go straight back but I felt better. So we went into the tiger cave that wasn’t as amazing as we thought it would be but still cool to go inside. We didn’t bother waiting for the return minivan and just got a taxi. I went straight to the pharmacy and got given something else for my diarrhea so fingers crossed that helps.

17 February 2019

Today we had a lie in and went for breakfast at cafe 8.98, the food was okay but I’m still not feeling 100%, my belly is still so swollen and I’ve still got diarrhea, it’s really getting me down as it’s so painful. We chilled by the pool for a few hours and read our books which was nice and took my mind off it a bit. For dinner we went back to the same place we went for breakfast as Danny wanted a burger and then we went to a bar to play pool and so Danny could have a few drinks. We met a couple from America who were actually Canadian and played a few games against them and chatted about lots of different things, what we were all doing, work, studies, home, brexit, Donald trump the list goes on but it was nice. We’re going to the tiger temple cave tomorrow so just praying I feel better!

16 February 2019

Boring day today literally spent all day travelling - 1 boat, 2 coaches and a taxi but we finally arrived in Ao Nong (just outside of Krabi) at 7pm. Quick freshen up and then we went for a walk to wonder round the town and find some food. We came across a place called echo that was really full so we thought we’d trust the crowds. I had sweet and sour chicken noodles which was really nice! Danny went for sautéed chilli and basil with rice and it came and he wasn’t enjoying it so he ordered the same as me and said he’d play it safe from now on 😂 we sat and had a few more glasses of wine and beer which was nice to just sit and chill rather than rush dinner.
Early start today for our tour, so I decided to get up a little earlier and start my birthday with a sunrise! And it was so worth it, started cloudy but they lifted and the sky was full of orange, yellow and reds! Best way to start the day 🧡❤️💛 The boat was a bit choppy so we lay on the sun loungers on the top deck and slept until it was time to get into the kayaks! We kayaked around the edge of the marine park through the crystal clear waters which was so peaceful! After the bad experiences of kayaking with Jess I wasn’t sure I’d like it but it was actually really nice this time - the views were incredible and I’d say it was the best part of the day! Definitely try and do another kayak trip somewhere else before Danny leaves. When we arrived at the fourth beach it went hike number one to the Emerald Lake was next, the steps were ridiculously steep which gaps in between so in the heat was such hard work but the view of the lake was insane. It was so green!

15 February 2019

The afternoon was spent in the actual national park. We decided to go for the hike to the top which was only 500m but the steps were huge and more like rocks than steps and in the heat it was tough but the view was incredible! We attempted snorkelling but they told us we had to wear life jackets so that made it pretty impossible 😂 The journey back wasn’t very nice so we slept most of the way. The restaurant was really nice but our bellies still aren’t 100% and I was so full after a starter and main and didn’t feel too great. And neither of us were in the best mood after we’d had an argument over something small. So I came back and FaceTimed everyone at home then went to sleep ready for the long travel day tomorrow. And some how I managed to get bitten my a mosquito on the cheek 🙃 so not only are my spots horrendous my cheek is so itchy and swollen!

14 February 2019

Feeling much better today - however Danny now has it too! So a 3am wake up and a good few hours of vomiting was on the cards. Let’s just say we have done nothing today. I stayed out of the sun and watched a film on the balcony while Danny tried to sleep it off. By 3 o’clock he felt much better and we managed to exchange valentines cards (not that I was expecting one as Danny thinks they’re a waste of money) but he surprised me and got me a pretty cute one ! However feeling good never lasts and he’s back feeling rotten again. We cancelled our valentines meal reservation and I just got some plain pasta. Praying it goes by tomorrow as I’m really excited to spend my birthday visiting the Angthong Marine Park tomorrow. We’re getting picked up at 7.15 so I’ve set an alarm for 6.30 and I’m hopefully going to catch the sunrise - be a nice way to start my birthday 🥳

13 February 2019

Not feeling well at all today, got the worst stomach cramps, been sick and diarrhoea! Felt better after a sleep so went to golf with Danny but had to come back to the club house as thought I was going to be sick again. Pretty sure I’ve got food poisoning but not great when we’re suppose to be going in a tour tomorrow 😭😭 why does this happen! Literally ate the exact same as Danny did - so frustrating! Forgotten how painful the stomach cramps are and my god I hate being sick! Fingers crossed the tablets Danny got from the pharmacy and a long sleep will help ! Danny however loved the golf course, he said it was one of the hardest he’s played on but for the views and the quality it was so worth it!

12 February 2019

The weather was very much against us today! Rained most of the night then cleared and started again at lunch time. So we walked to the town but they’re wasn’t much there. We booked our trip for Thursday to Angthong Marine Park for Thursday so looking forward to that. This evening the hotel had a BBQ themed night despite the very windy conditions. Started with a cocktail party at 6.30 with then appetisers, starters, salads, meats and puddings. Then a live band too. Food was good just not kept warm which is annoying so had to keep asking for fresh meat. The band were very very good and was set on the beach so the view was lovely even if it was grey.

11 February 2019

A day of sunbathing today, Danny still very confused over the time so was very sleepy and wanted a sleep day which was fine by me. The hotel is so nice and has plenty of beds - either by the pool or with a sea view on the sand. I finished my book so started one that Danny’s mum had given him (he’s got three with him) so see how I get on with that. We had s few drinks in happy hour at the hotel and then we’re going to get food elsewhere but I was so hungry and so tired we ate here. I had the Thai green chicken curry that was very tasty and Danny had the spicy chicken with egg friend rice, very nice but too hot for me!! I was sleep by 8.30 and slept right through till 9am so definitely needed it. Hopefully I feel better for it!

10 February 2019

First flight was absolutely fine and KL airport is pretty clean, not many places to sleep but found another couple from England that we’re doing the same so managed to get about 4 hours sleep then grabbed coffee (I now drink lattes and mochas-taste buds are definitely changing) and sat and red my book until my flight was called. On arrival at Koh Samui airport I went through passport control and was constantly looking around to see if I could see Danny’s flight come in, his was slightly delayed so I grabbed my bag and waited near the exit. After about 20 minutes he finally found his bag and he appeared. I cried like a baby 🙈 but it was the best feeling having him by my side, having him in my arms again. I have missed him so much!! Our hotel wasn’t far from the airport so we chilled in the restaurant chatting and catching up and everything was exactly the same. Obviously we still discussed the rest of my trip and how it is difficult but I’m hoping that it will all work out okay. ❤️

9 February 2019

Had a better sleep last night, feel a bit less tired today. The girls are doing a jet-ski tour this afternoon so we are going for goodbye breakfast the! I booked to me get my nails done at 1 for some pamper time, wish I found somewhere around here that did facials as my skin is so discussing it’s getting me down again 😞 so much for the sun suppose to help it !! I will probably just chill in the hostel till I need to leave as I don’t want to get all hot and sweaty again - hope it’s a cooler today! Can’t actually believe in 24 hours I will see Danny 😁😁😁😁😁😁

8 February 2019

After we got food we headed back in the scooters to find the seven wells Waterfall. We were tired and hot so a swim in some cold water was just what we wanted. It wasn’t the biggest waterfall due to it being dry season but there was enough to get in. We spent an hour there just chilling before we set off on the journey back. Despite the waiting and the lack of things done, all in all it was a good last day - would recommend to anyone to just go an explore on a scooter find the private beaches and waterfall hunt over the bridge as it really isn’t worth it!
Today was such a mixed day, we sorted the scooters and off we went- it felt so nice having the wind in your hair, watching the world go by! I was on the back of Eva’s and she was actually really good I was a bit nervous at first but you can tell she’s driven them loads before. We made it to the sky bridge for 10.30 and oh my god the people. We stood for an hour in line for a ticket then got to the best slot was 12.45. Great! Our pass got us into the 3D museum and sky dome so we messed around in there for a bit to pas some time. Eventually it was out then and we were on the cable car by 1.30. Got to the top cable terrace, and the views were good but nothing amazing, the bridge was a lot smaller than we thought it would be and we then got told you have to buy another ticket to actually get on the bridge. It was all a farce and a massive tourist scam so we were pretty annoyed as we would have had to queue again for another ticket. We decided to go back down and leave.

7 February 2019

Looking forward to an adventure day tomorrow, my last full day in Malaysia! I’ll be sad to say bye to the girls as we have had such a laugh over the past few weeks and I hope we do stay in touch. I know I’ll catch Eva again in Cambodia but Stephanie goes home after her trip to Vietnam with her boyfriend. So maybe a trip to the Netherlands will be on the cards after I’m home as it just so happens they’re from the exact same city but had never met (Eva now lives the same block of flats Stephanie lived in😂 - small world hey) I could not be more excited to see Danny!!! I can’t believe he’s here in 2 days 🥰 I hope the next 3 weeks go super slow.
A bit of misjudgment this morning meant we missed the chance to rent scooters to get to the sky bridge/waterfalls so we decided it would be best to get up early and go tomorrow. So I decided to have a day to myself. Two days spent on the beach I felt a bit lazy, so I walked for half an hour/45 minutes along the promenade to the smaller beach and sat in the shade reading my book for a few hours. It was nice to have some time to myself in piece, I the did the same walk back and spent some time relaxing the room. Around 7 I met Stephane and Eva for dinner - we shared pizza, enchiladas, quinellas and nachos which was nice but not the most filling.

6 February 2019

Another chill day today, we found a fab place for breakfast that does homemade yogurt with fresh fruit and cornflakes or muesli which is sooooo nice! So think we’ll be going there every morning, refreshing to have fresh clean food again! We then went to the beach and Eva brought Breanna (American girl who is working in China) that she met on the boat with her. So we sunbathed and chatted which was lovely, and I’ve definitely topped my tan back up! We decided we would give ourselves plenty of time to catch the sunset today so after freshening up we met at the beach with a few drinks and watched the sunset. It was another beauty! For dinner we decided to go back to the Chinese Stephanie and I went to yesterday and it was delicious. I had the same fried noodles and garlic broccoli but with the mixed vegetable scallops which were lovely. So nice to have fresh fish again with so many veggies!!! Still not the healthiest but at least we’re back having protein and greens 😋

5 February 2019

We met Eva for a drink (as it’s duty free on Langkawi island so everything is so much cheaper) and she met a girl from America on the boat who is working in China as a english teacher so she joined us too. Chatted about so many different topics which was really nice. We’re meeting them tomorrow for another chill day at the beach. Hoping my blister (that has improved loads with the ointment the hostel man gave me) will be healed enough to do the skybridge on Thursday!

4 February 2019

Only managed 4 hours sleep tonight, was wide awake for some reason. So a day at the beach was just what I needed, we had homemade yogurt and fruit for breakfast which was so refreshing. And they finally had beds you could rent for the day so no more sand getting stuck to everything!! I forgot my book though so it was a longgggg 4 hours in the sun, I will make sure I take one tomorrow. We decided to go to the Chinese restaurant that was packed with people the night before for CNY (we found out that no celebrations happen on Langkawi and we probably should have stayed in Georgetown for it but hey ho). We shared cashew chicken, sweet and sour king prawns, fried noodles, plain rice and garlic broccoli and it was all so nice, can see why all the Chinese go there and was very reasonably priced. We’ll definitely go back even just for the fresh vegetables that don’t come drenched in oily sauce!!

3 February 2019

Feeling a bit low today, mixture of being tired, my skin being bad and the burst blister on the side of my foot causing me agony every time I walk is probably why. As much as I am enjoying every day, doing different things, meeting different people, I do feel this big sadness in regards to home. My friends haven’t really chatted much since I left, they haven’t even really checked in on me since Jess left - I guess maybe I’m expecting too much as their day to day life is the same - so why would they feel the need to see how I am? I don’t know. 1 more week and Danny will be here - I’m so excited but actually really apprehensive. I’m scared things are going to be different as I know the frequency of our chats and the conversations we have have changed. He’s not really chatty at all, he’s not overly bothered about FaceTiming and he doesn’t really ask how my days been. I know it’s hard and I know it’s probably harder for him but I just wish he was a little glad that I’m enjoying myself 😭

2 February 2019

What a long day, a 5 hour sleep due to massive mozzy bites keeping me awake I’ve been so lazy today. Stephanie and I went for brunch at like 12 as we both didn’t want to get up this morning I had pancakes in hope the sugar would give me some energy. I decided to nip to the mall as I broke my sunglasses and hate squinting when the sun does come out here and the blister I gained after the walk yesterday is in the most awkward place on my foot that my plasters don’t stay stuff so had to hunt for some others. After an hour of wandering I went back to the hostel to find Eva had arrived (the other girl we met from Holland in KL) so we sat and caught up, swapped stories of Singapore and Cameron Highlands. All agreeing we loved them both. We decided at 4 to grab some food as Eva hadn’t eaten so we took her to the Mexican place we’d been to before - I went for the chicken enchiladas this time and they did not disappoint! Definitely need to make these at home.
However the heavens opened as soon as we decided to leave and we were about a 10 minute walk away from the hostel so we went next door for tea and cake while we waiting for it too pass. The cake was nice and it was good to have a decent brew but we all felt deflated and lazy after spending the day eating. We decided to skip the tower tonight get an early night and see how we all feel in the morning. Hopefully the weather is better since we are planning on getting the bus to the beach! However I did learn that I’d been confusing both Stephanie and Eva in the way I was saying times. I didn’t know that in Holland when they say ‘meet you at half seven’ they actually mean 6.30 as it’s half to 7 😂 very weird and confusing hahaha

1 February 2019

So we were suppose to get up at 7.30 to get up to Penang Hill but we slept in 😇 so we went for brunch in another new cafe which was really nice - whole meal toast, avocado, tomatoes, feta and poached eggs 🤤 I also had my first ‘hot coffee’ (instead of iced coffee that Jess had managed to get me too like in Aus) and went for a mocha - it was actually quite nice with the bit of chocolatey taste! Maybe I will be a coffee drinker by the time I get home hahaha Any way we eventually got the train go Penang Hill and the clouds had lifted a little making the via alright! You don’t realise how big Georgetown is until you’re up there! We then walked down which took about an hour and we sweated ALOT but we saw no body else on the route down so it was so peaceful! We talked about our families and how different eras of parenting has changed so much, how children now a days are so rude to their elders etc (England and Holland are the same on this)
It was so enjoyable to actually talk about things we cared about!! We talked about our siblings and parents, our grandparents, our futures (getting married/having kids) the time just flew by! When we got back to the hotel we were absolutely shattered, so a shower, an hour rest then the hunger hit us since we hadn’t had lunch or an afternoon cake snack today🙈 We were recommended a vegetarian Indian restaurant so we decided that’s where we would head tonight - I went for the biriyani with garlic naan and Stephanie had the Indian cheese and spinach curry - both were so enjoyable and full of flavour however I wish I’d got a curry as I was s but dehydrated so having a rice based meal didn’t help! Think we will head back there tomorrow with Eva to try some more! A chilled night which considered of me booking my flight to and from North Thailand after Danny goes so I know I’ll be getting to Cambodia now on the 9th March! Also looked at some possibilities of places to go with Mum and Dad?

31 January 2019

Had the best sleep in ages and had a proper lie in which was really nice! We got up late so went for brunch (had the nicest homemade granola, fruit and yogurt) and stayed chatting for a few hours which was lovely, talking about life at home and the difference rather than the same travel conversations you have with everyone you meet. We then decided to go to the upside down house everyone kept recommending to us and it was the weirdest place 😂 people told you where to stand and took the picture then you flipped it upside down & it looked like you were upside down - very touristy but hilarious! After we decided to go for a wander around little India and stumbled across this quirky little coffee shop that sold the most incredible cakes - I had the chocolate passion fruit meringue and it was incredible! We decided to try some street food for dinner and after walking for ages we picked a noodle soup with beef dumplings, celery and duck in it! I was bit unsure at first but It tasted fab?

30 January 2019

only 5 hours sleep and an 8am start - when can I have a lie in please? On the coach I attempted to nap using my towel and coat for comfort but it just wasn’t happening so I ended up watching a few episodes on Netflix. The journey went surprisingly fast and by 11.30 we were at the station ready to get the ferry across to Georgetown. Luckily I didn’t have to wait for the boat as it hadn’t left yet, so after a quick 20minute journey onto the free local bus I jumped and I was at the hostel by 1. As I walked through the door Stephanie was sitting reading so after I’d dropped my things in the dorm I went down to catch up with her. We decided to go have a wander around the town and see if we could find some of the street art everyone talks about being so good in Georgetown. We were successful and very very sweaty - but it was worth it. They were very quirky and it was good fun having to hunt them out. For dinner - Mexican! and what a treat it was, a chicken burrito and corn on the cob🤤

29 January 2019

Ahhhhh best day in Malaysia so far, was soooo nice to be out in the fresh air exploring !! We visited soooo many places, but the tea plantation was beautiful and so green! I had the passion fruit tea which was lovely but after learning about the different tea leaves I’m going to try the proper tea here at the hostel now I know it’s meant to taste nicer black! Picked fresh strawberries as a little snack and trekked through the mossy forest which was cool and enchanting but very very muddy!! We then stopped for lunch and went to this Chinese restaurant which was the nicest food I’ve had so far in Malaysia - shared with the Scottish couple I made friends with - we got sweet and sour chicken, salt and pepper chicken, pork ribs, egg fried rice and vegetable noodles mmmmmm ! In the afternoon we visited a butterfly farm and they were all so colourful, I’ve never seen any like it! We took a trip to the local market where we saw the purple Cameron apple and tried mangosteens - very yummy!

28 January 2019

So after yet another bad nights sleep I woke up so unimpressed this morning. The generators were on the floor of my private room so they were so loud all night!! But I made it to the bus - the journey on the metro was super easy! I slept for a good two hours on the bus which made me feel a little better and as we started to twist and turn up through the highlands my spirits had lifted and I was so glad to be away from the city and see some greenery! The trip looked like it would only be 3 and a bit hours as we were nearly there but then the coach started to play up meaning the driver could only go at about 10mph, so the last little but ended to taking about an hour - never mind. So by the time I got to the hostel and settled in I was starving so went to one of the Indian restaurants around the corner for a naan and vegetable curry! Realising that I’m only here for 1 full day, I decided to book a tour for tomorrow so I can visit the places I wanted to see with lots of added extras.

27 January 2019

Last day in KL, and after another awful sleep I decided to book a private room in hope I could sleep! So I had a chilled day after having breakfast with Eva I decided to get the metro into central and just have a wander around the shops, cup of tea and chill out. I was meeting Georgie and her friend in the evening at the Heli Lounge Bar which is a helicopter landing pad in the day and a bar at night. It had 360-degree views of the city and was absolutely beautiful! Could see the petronas towers on one side and the KL tower on the other. Was pretty spectacular! Was lovely catching up with Georgie and she gave me some tips for Vietnam which was good! Ready to say bye to the cities and go out into the countryside 🍃 On arrival back at the hostel into my private room I still struggled to sleep due to people on the roof terrace and the generators going off all night. So hopefully I can sleep on the coach tomorrow!!!

26 January 2019

Last night we went to the Indian Local around the corner from our hostel and had Masala Dosa which I really enjoyed, was like a vegetable filled pancake with different curry sauces to dip in. However on returning to the room I had a new Chinese women under my bunk who thought it was acceptable to be sat in her nickers, groaning and burping - vile was the only way I could describe it. I started to watch the last few episodes of Designated Survivor and she stated to snore, so loudly 😩 another rubbish nights sleep had by me. So after a relaxed morning, Stephanie had left to go to Cameron Highlands, Eva and I decided to chill at the hostel till the mid day sun passed then we made our way to Batu Caves. We arrived at the station to soooo many people but majority not tourists for a change, it was full of locals buying food and clothing at what looked like a little market around the front of the Caves. We walked the steps into the cave and admired the peacefulness inside - it was lovely!

25 January 2019

Today we all had a lie in, the beds were okay but no snoring so 9 hours sleep felt great. I’d researched some breakfast places so Stephanie, Eva and I headed on the metro to grab some food! Poached eggs and avocado on toast was just what I needed! From here we walked for an hour to Thean Hou Temple which was massive and full of beautiful red lanterns for the Chinese New Year. When we got back in was about 4 o’clock and Eva asked if I’d mind going to the hospital with her as he’s got a rash around her torso when she was in Vietnam and none of the things she been given had helped so she wanted to get it looked at again and she said she’d be grateful for some english help. The hospital was only a 10 minute walk front than hostel so we went and she got checked over but they’re still unsure what it was so gave her some more tablets and creams to try. Hopefully it clears up for her as it must be very uncomfortable in this heat!! Good deed done for the day.

24 January 2019

An early start today to get to the pick up point for my coach trip which all in all was easy to find. When the coach pulled up I expected - normal, single decker, cramped seats, sweaty bus. Oh how I was wrong, first of all it had two decks, the staff were like air hostesses, we had our own personal reclining chairs, TVs, free meal and hot drink. The journey went fast with a few stops on ten way for restrooms and food. 6 episodes of Designated Survivor and I had arrived in KL. The Metro was easy to find from the drop of point and very easy to find the route to the hostel, the heat was just unbearable! When I arrived in my room I just chilled and said hi to the girls already there, within the hour they’d asked if I wanted to join them for dinner and then to go visit the Petronas Twin Towers! It was so nice to have people make an effort after the silence of the Singapore hostel so I went. The girls were all from Holland and had only met today too so I felt at ease and I really enjoyed

23 January 2019

After another terrible sleep, I tried to have a lie in and have an easy day today. So I headed to Raffles hotel bar just after 1pm to have a proper Singapore Sling (can’t go all the way to Singapore and not have one) so I stayed enjoying the atmosphere of tourists, eating the peanuts and reading my book for a few hours. Two poor nights sleep, I decided a nap was in order as I didn’t want it to ruin my evening at Marina Bay Sands. I was so excited on the way there as it’s what everyone thinks of when they think of Singapore. So I went to Ce la Vie bar at the top, got myself a drink - WOW what a view it was, the infinity pool was huge with all the guests swimming and taking pictures, the skyline was grey as it was very cloudy and the sun hadn’t set yet. When it did though, the skyline was incredible. After I nursed my one drink for a few hours I walked across the bridge to the Gardens by the Bay for the light show - I had goosebumps from start to finish!

22 January 2019

Today I decided to use the metro as my legs were exhausted from the walking yesterday. So I ventured down to Sentosa Island where I got the cable car up to Mt Faber. It was a lovely green park that had many different routes but I chose to venture to Henderson Bridge (the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore) then loop back to the cable cars. From the cable car station I walked down through all the water parks, universal studios etc down to the beach and walked to the bridge that lead to the Southernmost point of Continental Asia. The beaches were so clean and the water was so blue, so I decided to stay there and sunbath with my book for a few hours. It had been a long few days and with the help of the girls in my room (THREE OF THEM SNORING ALL NIGHT) I had hardly slept so an early night was on the cards!

21 January 2019

So day 1 in Singapore, I decided not to bother with metro and explore on foot, so I ventured to Little India that was close to my hostel. There were so many people and beautiful colours everywhere, I think some sort of festival was happening but unsure what it was for. From here I walked and fell across Orchard Road which Id heard was the best place to shop in Singapore so I wandered through all the shops, from little boutiques to high street shops to the posh end! It was lovely to see all the different people and even managed to get myself some colourful shorts and a top in the sales! I continued my walk to the Botanical Gardens and it was absolutely beautiful, so many colours and what a relaxing place, I absolutely love it there. After a few hours in the sun I decided to head to the harbour, grab some food and read my book as the sun set. 35,000 steps meant for a very tired Alice but it was worth it for the wonderful places I visited.

20 January 2019

So the solo travelling starts now, after Jess left yesterday I was at a bit of loss. I was sad to see her go and the nerves hit me like a tone of bricks. But after a good nights sleep (in the last decent bed for 3 weeks) I am excited and ready to give this a go. With my coach booked to KL, I’ve got 3 full days to explore this beautiful city and I’m going to appreciate every minute!