Location: KL, Malaysia
Well here we are in KL we are heading to Singapore tomorrow for the final 3 days of the trip. We will bring you up to speed on what we have been up to so far
We left you in Redang where we chilled for a few more days before hopping down the coast again to an island called Kapas. Here we stayed in a traditional Borneo Long house which was really cool and we got to meet a lot of nice people, mainly French but you cant win them all! We got taken one afternoon on a random walk through the jungle by the owner of the place to collect ingredients for the dinner we had that night, these included coconuts that we peeled if that is the right word ourselves, he taught us how to make coconut rice too, which we will hopefully be able to remember when we get back.
We passed 4 or 5 days on Kapas just chilling out and soaking up the last of the beach living, then we hot footed it through to KL and civilisation again and we have spent most of our time shopping here, the mega malls are awesome and in between feeling human again doing some shopping we have enjoyed being able to go bowling/to the cinema and do practically anything in these malls! They are massive!
We have found time for some sightseeing and went up the KL tower to get a good view of the city and the more famous PETRONAS towers but more than anything we have been getting stuff sorted for getting back to the UK.
Well we have 3 days in Singapore then a midnight flight home on my birthday and we cant wait might not get on the net in Spore so next update will be from home with lots of pictures for everyone!
Rach & Andy
Location: Palau Redang, Malaysia
One of our last blog entries no doubt here as we are home in a little over 2 weeks and have not alot planned except relaxing for the entire time.
We have been in Malaysia for 11 days now and we have to say we love it! We started in Kuala Lumpur (KL) where we came to the end of 2 full days of travelling and had just enough time to relax for 5 minutes and wander around the city center before the next day we boarded a bus up to the Cameron Highlands.
The Cameron Highlands are basically a massive tea plantation and the road up to is steep and very winding, but this didn't stop our bus driver flinging the bus round the corners at high speed and lorries doing the same heading down. Sitting at the front of the bus was a bit nerve racking but we made it in one piece!
Here was where we spent Rachel'd Birthday and to mark the occasion we headed out on a day trip to see a plantation, a strawberry farm and butterfly farm, all very nice places but the most amazing thing were the views all around, breathtaking sells it short!
We also found time for a curry at a small restaurant and were constantly told by the owner how to eat it to make it taste better - he was right too - all for the princely sum of 2 pounds! not bad at all!
After a day or two we headed North for the last time of our trip up to the luxury islands of the Perenthians off the NE coast, this was part of Rachel's birthday present from her parents and they put us up in a beautiful resort and we spent most of our time snorkelling. On one of these trips we went swimming with a turtle, and had a magical experience as we were swimming along he came up from the bottom to take a breath right between me and Rachel, Rachel had to stop swimming or she would've headbutted him and we both decided this was the best idea, don't think turtles appreciate head butts much! Not to play it down it was an amazing experience and one we will remember forever, to celebrate we chased a small shark around for a bit!
We spent another 2 days on the islands as they were so nice and now we are on ANOTHER island 50km south called Redang, again lots of lounging in hammocks beneath coconut trees and snorkelling, the end of this trip is a true beach bum adventure, yesterday on a snorkelling trip i saw a MASSIVE shark as he was swimming away, it was this big ................................... massive!
Tomorrow we head south to another set of islands and then another beach or two before we head back to KL to do the sightseeing and some final shopping before we visit Singapore for a couple of days then home.
Very excited to be heading back but not so excited to be leaving these beautiful beaches!
Rachel & Andy xx
Location: Luang Prabang, Laos
Hello one and all from Laos
First off we have to say that we love it over here, complete culture change from Vietnam, quieter, breathtaking scenery, just a much more relaxed pace of life, all a welcome change from Vietnam.
I will start by updating you on our trip around Halong Bay, this was a 3 day trip spent on a boat and on an island, the boat we were on is called a junk (google it) which is a traditional Vietnamese boat which there are 100s in the bay. Our group was small and like minded so we got along fine, the first place we visited was a small floating village literally houses on barrels and planks that we spent some time kayaking around and seeing the locals pull fish out of a fish farm that went straight onto a junk for their dinner fresh local produce there we then went into these 3 spectacular caves that got more and more amazing unfortunately our camera is ancient and cant handle low light so you have to take our word for it!
The next activity was where the fun began, basically it was to throw yourself off the boat as high as you dare into the bay, sounds simple enough, but these boat were pretty high when you were on the 3rd floor! Dinner that night was lovely and then there was an option for Karaoke which was a choice between 3 or 4 Westlife songs so we all decided to skip that!
The next day we went onto a small island to get taken to an even smaller one where we would spend the next night. In the middle of this was a hill that we were invited to climb, it was only an hour and a half return trip but being practically vertical in 35 degrees and 80% humidity made it a bit of a challenge, when we made it to the top the views were well worth it but it was one of the most harrowing climbs and descents of my life!!
When we finally made it to the island we saw were staying in some beautiful beach front bungalows and for that afternoon had the beach all to ourselves so we soaked up the sun and did a bit of snorkelling. That night a whole army of local tourists turned up so we retreated to our bungalow and relaxed.
After getting back onto a junk and heading to shore we went back to Ha Noi and got ready to come to Laos.
And here we are now. Our first stop was the capital Vientiane which has a large French influence and we treated ourselves to a fillet mingon for 5 pounds! Very nice indeed. We visited a few temples here and did some souvenir shopping and generally soaked up the calm!
The next town we went to was 3 hours up the road and was called Vang Veng this town is famous for a phenomenon called tubing basically you sit in a big rubber ring and go down a river stopping off at bars to drink and try to kill yourself on the various road swings and slides, this was an awesome day and we had lots of fun acting like children on the zip lines and slides. Also it has to be said the views of the mountains from the river were breathtaking we splurged on a hotel with a river view (costing 10 pounds a night!) and it was so worth it and the photos we got were awesome.
After resting for the evening we had to go on a 7 hour bus ride (which took nearly 8) through the mountains to Luang Prabang where we are now I did not enjoy one minute of this but Rachel has told me the views were incredible (I was huddled in my seat feeling green!). The town is very chilled and a really nice place to take in some temples and we are going for a massage tomorrow to round off a really nice week in Laos before 2 full on days of flying to get to Kuala Lumpur (KL)
1 month exactly as I am writing this we land in Heathrow and we already have a long list of things we are going to do (read eating food we know on a sofa in our pyjamas) when we get back!
Hope everyone is well and not too upset about England again being rubbish at football!
Rachel & Andy
Location: Ha Noi , Vietnam
Hello one and all
Getting more frequent by the post!
We are in Ha Noi at the moment, Viet Nam's capital and are treating ourselves to a day or two of doing NOTHING! Since we left you we got a night bus (always fun) up to Hoi An which is famous in Vietnam for having tailor made clothes done, we indulged ourselves but had to show restraint or we would be heading home early but with bulging suitcases!
Not to waste any time we also fitted in a cooking class, which involved going to a local market by river boat and picking the food up ourselves (with a guide who turned out to be the chef!) - we saw lots of fruit and veg and also life food buying prepared in front of us, fish, crabs, pork, chicken the works, and also 4 ducks that looked very hot away from the water, not a sight we are used to but normal for out here.
We got taught to make a typical Vietnamese lunch, involving spring rolls, squid salad and Eggplant in a clay pot - all made by ourselves We had a top floor restaurant all to ourselves with views over the whole town, the river on one side and the beach on another separated by rice paddies, couldn't really have been any better - plus we are top chefs it turned out!
The next town we visited after picking up our tailoring was called Hue which is where the old emperors used to live, we spent one afternoon walking around the old palace or Citadel as it is called. This has been left pretty much as it was but did sustain some damage in the war so some buildings are a little less grand and masonry was everywhere, but it was nice to poke around and see where the emperor would relax with one or more of his 300 concubines!
The next day we went out of a river tour to see some of the emperor tombs and a pagoda, this pagoda is significant as it was where the monk who set himself alight to protest the war used to preach so there was his old car and a little about him, it is also a working Pagoda as it where so saw a few monks pottering about, we rubbed Buddha's belly for luck and were on our way. A small side note - we are getting used to the head for the most part, but that day was 42 degrees and 85% humidity so when we made it to the tombs which were not air conditioned or had any real fans and we had to climb 127 steps to reach, we were pretty hot and bothered, but the scale of the buildings and the ornateness of the Murial was well worth it.
After seeing two of the tombs we headed back to the city and then got a night bus to where we are now. We are heading to a place called Halong Bay for a 2 night trip, one night is spent in private bungalows on a place called Monkey Island, and the other is spent sleeping on a traditional boat called a junk believe it or not!
Next week (5 days to be exact) we are off to Laos for a whistle stop week and then we fly back to Hanoi for a night before flying to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia we will try and get a post halong post up if not, dependent on internet when we get back from Laos.
Sorry there are no photos the internet in Vietnam and this site just dont see eye to eye so, sorry basically! Have no fear we have already filled up a 1gb memory card and well on the way to filling up a 2GB one!
Hope everyone is safe and sound back home
Rachel & Andy
Apologies for the spelling I know it is terrible but no spell checks work either!
Location: Nha Thrang, Vietnam
Well, apologies for the space between blogs, I will get straight into it.
We hade 3 lovely days on Magnetic island where we left you last which involved holding Koalas, Crocodiles, Lizards and Birds in the wildlife park that was adjacent to the hostel, very cool way to start the day, we also have some awesome snorkeling trips to some beaches that were totally secluded, white sand and crescent shaped - not a bad place at all!
After Magnetic island we got our last bus up to Cairns and hit the Barrier reef straight away - the day we went out was perfect, there was not a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind so visibility was amazing, we found ourselves a few more nemos and saw some rays swimming about so we chased them but they got away!
Next we headed up to the Daintree area on an overnight trip and stayed in the rainforest - we have a beautiful bungalow to ourselves which was a really nice treat, and being in the middle of nowhere was really cool, nice and quiet! The weather was a little off those days so we just pottered about before being picked up and taken to Mossman Gorge which we had a chance to swim in, it was pretty cold but really refreshing and well worth giving it a try.
After getting back to Cairns we got ourselves sorted for Asia (as well as you can expect to) and then we flew it Singapore - we only had an overnight stop but went into Little India and had the best curry we have had for the last 9 months!! The next day we have a flight booked for Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) but the travel agent that had booked it messed up and the flight didn't exist! Thanks to some lovely people at the airport we were sorted out and got on a flight half an hour later than planned.
When we arrived in HCMC first we were hit by the humidity, then the driving, both are unlike anything we have ever experienced, the humidity is something we are still getting used to but the traffic is easy, basically walk out into the road, and keep walking and all manner of buses, lorries and mopeds will avoid you! Who wont avoid you though are the hundreds of people offering you moped rides, cyclo rides (being cycled around sitting on a seat on the front wheel) and sunglasses, cigarettes and books - we are slowly learning to negotiate and getting some really good deals, but the 1st day we got severely ripped off for some t-shirts! ah well
We spend a couple of days acclimatizing to the place then went on a day trip on the Mekong delta, this involved a boat trip through a floating market, being taken to see coconut rice paper being made and then having lunch on an island where we could cycle round and risk it all on the roads! We were also paddled down the river on row boats wearing traditional Vietnamese hats - a fun day all round!
The next day we went to the Chu Chi tunnels and saw hot the Viet Cong fought the war, I went down the tunnels for 250m, and they were pretty intense places to be - the first time in my life I was glad to be short!! On the same tour you could also fire M16's at targets, we chose not to do this but the noise of those things is something else - also seeing the crater holes made by B-52 bombers showed how powerful they are.
Our final day in HCMC we went to the war museum and it did not pull any punches on showing the effects of the war of the resulting landmines. That night we went on an overnight bus up to where we are now. Nha Thrang
Nha Thrang has a 6km long white sand beach with water that is so warm to swim in it seems pretty close to paradise, the people here are really friendly and the shopping is a little too good! We dragged ourselves off the beach yesterday to go snorkeling for the day round 4 islands, this was hampered a little by me jumping in at the first place, looking around - and seeing I was surrounded by jellyfish that were pretty mad at me for jumping on them I made a quick exit - thankfully they were not poisonous just slightly irradiating - the Vietnamese hosts made out it wasnt that big a deal till we said they should jump in to show us how it was done - so we went to another bay!!
The day was really cool and the food was excellent on the boat - and we made some nice 5 minute friends who have pointed us to some good places to stay and trips to do up north.
Tomorrow we hit the beach again to top up the tans and then get another night bus to Hoi An where we are going to get some suits and dresses made so we can be all smart when we get back to the real world.
Hope everyone is keeping well
Dont be strangers!
Rachel & Andy