Matt Clarke

Fatmarkstravels

Matt Clarke

On a mission to see Indochina, become a divemaster, see orangutans, make lots of new friends and catch up with old friends around the world.



Oceania » New Zealand » South Island September 4th 2012

After the 3 hour flight from Sydney I landed in Christcurch for the last leg of my trip. Having last been in Christchurch 9 years ago I wasn’t sure what to expect as the bus carried me into the city. After the devastation caused by the earthquakes last year I thought I would see a lot of rubble and construction work ongoing. What I actually saw was somewhat surprising as many of the buildings affected were still standing, waiting to be safely demolished. This meant that a large part of the city centre was cordoned off for safety reasons, with the area feeling a ghost town, barely anybody walking around the streets on a Tuesday morning. After a long walk I found the guest house, which turned out to be a really nice little place, feeling ... read more
View from top of Queenstown Gondola
A well earned Guiness
Double Fergburger

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia August 7th 2012

After 4 months in Asia, I was ready to move onto somewhere different and catch up with friends in Australia but I barely registered arriving as we landed in Perth at 4 in the morning. I was soon wide eyed though as I saw the taxi meter ticking over as if it was a stopwatch as it made its way the few kilometers across town to Leederville, where Clem and Becky live. Somehow it made its way to $50 by the time we arrived, not a good start to this leg of the trip! Fortunately Clem and Becky were up for work when I arrived and after a little bit of catching up they headed off to work while I hit the sack to catch up on the sleep I had missed on the red eye ... read more
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Asia » Singapore July 19th 2012

It was great to finally arrive in Singapore after a long stint on the night train and, after some emailing in Starbucks, I managed to arrange to meet Tom and Emma for lunch.....its amazing how difficult it is to meet up with someone when you dont have a mobile, how did people used to manage on the move? A club sandwich in the financial district was very welcome after the dodgy KFC the night before and I was soon back at their apartment enjoying my first hot shower since KL and a catch up with everyone online using their broadband. Tom had football at the National Stadium that night so we headed to a restaurant close by for some food together before he went off to his match. It was nice to know I would be ... read more
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Asia » Malaysia July 4th 2012

The night train from Chumphon was pretty uneventful and I managed a reasonable sleep before we had to get off the train to go through customs into Malaysia around 8am. Good job I took all my stuff with me after an internal debate as when I emerged from passport control I found that most of the train had vanished, leaving only 2 cars to take the remaining passengers the rest of the way to Butterworth. After arriving in Butterworth I managed to find a coach to KL within 15 minutes and I was soon on the road again. The coach took around 5 hours to complete the journey into the city and it didnt take me long to find the hostel I had booked for the night by Chinatown. I wanted to stay up to watch ... read more
Batu Caves - 272 steps!
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Asia » Thailand June 24th 2012

So I have finally left Koh Tao after two months and 12 days on this beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand and am currently waiting for a train to take me south over the Malaysian border and on towards Kuala Lumpur. Life continued much as it had since my last blog for most of the time, with diving and nights out the norm. I began my Divemaster course early in May after first completing my EFR (first aid), Rescue, Deep, Wreck and Nitrox courses. The Divemaster course itself contains a number of elements ranging from practical skills through to theory and stamina tests. I managed to get the theory out of the way fairly quickly and nailed the two multiple choice exams. The stamina element consists of a 100m tired diver tow with both of ... read more
A, the shop girl
Sarah - Instructor
Verena - fellow DMT

Asia » Thailand May 10th 2012

So I realised today that I have already been on this beautiful island for a month and I thought I had better update everyone as to what I have been up to since Sangkran here. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get started on my diving straight away due to problems with my sinuses but this gave me the opportunity to settle into the island, find some long term accommodation and get to know everyone at the dive school. I moved into a block of rooms with 3 other DMT's from the school, in a room with 2 balconies, a fridge and a desk....it's the little luxuries that make the difference. I am about 50 yards back from the beach and can just about see the sea from the front balcony, though the view is far from ... read more
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Asia » Thailand April 15th 2012

So it was time to leave Cambodia and head off on an epic dash to Koh Tao to arrive before everything shut down for Songkran, the Thai new year. 6 of the Irish bunch and I got a morning bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok and were told it would take 8 hours, putting me at the train station with plenty of time to try and get an evening train down to the jumping off point for the islands. Unfortunately, as is usual here, the timings were somewhat off. The 8am bus set off at 9:30 but not before I had a mad panic after leaving my passport at the hotel when I left for the coach. Fortunately they sent a driver round on a motorbike to get it to me before we left, crisis averted ... read more

Asia » Cambodia April 12th 2012

I was please to be getting out of Saigon despite the short stay. I found the humidity in the city very oppressive and I didnt feel there was much more to see. It is a shame that I didnt get chance to go down to the delta or to do a trip to the VC tunnels at Chu Chi but these things will have to go on the list for the next trip to SE Asia, whenever that may be. The bus to Phnom Penh was pretty uneventful, with only a brief wait at the border to get passports stamped and to grab some lunch. We pulled into Phnom Penh around 4 and I waited for the free tuk tuk pick up I had been promised by the hostel. After waiting a while I was about ... read more
human remains filling the monument
bones still come to the surface
not pleasant!

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast April 7th 2012

The night bus from Hoi An to Nha Trang turned up early, which was first so far on this trip and even better, I was the first person on board which meant I had the pick of the seats in the bizarre arrangement that is the sleeper bus. I settled in for the trip, which meant jamming myself into the small space as best as I could. Once again I was cursing being 6ft 3. The seat next to me was soon taken by a South African girl, Derryn and we chatted away to pass the time and also to distract ourselves from the extremely scary view out the front window as our driver was intent on overtaking every vehicle he got up the arse of, regardless of whether there was a lorry coming the other ... read more
sunrise in Nha Trang
Nha Trang beach
Reunification palace, Saigon

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast April 3rd 2012

I found my carriage on the night bus to Hue, which turned out to be pretty small with 6 beds in, 3 to a side. I was in the middle bunk and somehow managed to squeeze myself up onto the bed. The locals I was sharing with all laughed at me and made gestures that I was too big. Being tall is not all its cracked up to be sometimes! I was sound asleep before the train even left though after the 3 days of partying in Ha Long Bay and I managed to sleep fairly soundly until about 6 in the morning. Some of the people in the cabin were just getting off at this point and the remainder soon got out their breakfaast, which they very kindly shared with me. There was a complete ... read more
Ceremonial Hall in Hue Citadel
Drum in the ceremonial hall
5 legged elephant?




Tot: 0.32s; Tpl: 0.013s; cc: 10; qc: 85; dbt: 0.0974s; 85; m:apollo w:www (50.28.60.10); sld: 2; ; mem: 6.6mb