I'm 44 years old, I live in Hull on Britains East Coast. I took voluntary redundancy in June and am now about to embark on my first serious backpacking trip around parts of SE Asia.
I am particularly interested in spending time trekking in the regions mountains, jungles and rainforests, meeting local peoples, and experiencing the flora and fauna.
Guess who wants to do an MA in Environmental Anthroplogy next year!
Map of Countries visited this tripVisited Countries Map
January 10th 2010
I decided to get the train from KL to Tampin then get a taxi to Malacca as strangely the railway does not extend to Malacca. I could have gone by bus which would have been a lot cheaper but I was curious to see what the railways were like here. Not up to much as it turned out - it cost 25 Ringits instead of 6 on the bus. This was first class seating with air-con on the express service to Singapore. The train arrived on time but inexplicably left 15 minutes late - this would not have happened in Vietnam where every train leaves and arrives bang on time. The seats were very large - almost like armchairs and tilted backwards and had a foot rest too. Shame the carriage was about 20 years overdue ... read more
January 9th 2010
Fianlly got acess to an internet machine for a few hours! Well what can i say about Kuala Lumpur(KL)? the taxis havce an interesting system at the airport - you have to buy a ticket for your destination from a kiosk and then queue up for a taxi - you give the guy the ticket and off you go - presumably this stops unlicensed cabbies from getting in on the action and stops bona fide ones ripping tourists off. Having said that 100 Malaysian ringits to go 20km was daylight robbery anyway. another English traveller I met who lived here as a girl in the 1950's thought it might be something the British left behind - you have to have a ticket for everything! She might be right as the Malaysians use some quite old expressions ... read more
January 7th 2010
For a place I was going to give a miss this turned out to be the culinary highlight of the trip so far. I met up with Dave and Anna from my local the Queens Pub in Hull - they were just starting their travels around SE Asia and I managed to give them some advice about Cambodia. It was good to see someone from home after 2 months away. Anyway a few beers and off round Chinatown in search of something to eat - you don't have to look very far at all as almost every pavement is covered with stalls cooking and frying all sorts. after trying some really nice deep fried unidentified frying objects (I think it was prawn) we managed to find a little place that had loads of large dishes displayed ... read more
January 6th 2010
First day here I went for the minibus tour as it covered Hellfire Pass and the Erewan Waterfall which is on 6 levels and takes an hour to walk up it. There were thousands and I mean thousands of Korean and Japanese tourists here. Most varrived after we did so walking back down was awkward as you were walking into a human tide walking up!! Waterfalls are worth seeing although due to my ongoing troubles with my leg/foot I didn't get very far up them at all and spent most of the time sat at the bottom watching the 'army' of people marching up. At lunch there was some catty remarks between a Dutch lady and a Korean lady about the 2 Russians on the trip - there was an obvious age gap of about 20+ ... read more
January 1st 2010
The train journey down here alone was worth the effort! Palm trees everywhere, warm and the aircon in the 3rd class wooden seated carriages is great - the large windows drop right down and they have ceiling fans. These so called 3rd class coaches are better than anything on Vietnam Railways but the service is not as punctual on this line - notorious for delays. The locals have a novel way of 'bagging' the seat they want if they aren't first in line at the door of the coach - they throw thier bag through one of the open windows onto the seat they want and then get on!!! There are food sellers on the train selling spatchcocked chicken - flatten chichen spread out on a bamboo stick then barbequed - lovely. You get little bags ... read more
December 29th 2009
My final day in Siem Riep and the tuktuk driver persaudes me to do the Floating Market trip despite my misgivings about the $30 fee for the boat - I did say to him I wanted to ride in it not buy the bloody thing! He assures me the price is only $30 because there is only 1 person and I get the boat to myself. So off we set and on the way pass some amazing rice fields - once the rice plants are established the whole field is a luminous light green - if bourganvillias had green flowers it would be this colour. There's no breeze today but I reckon if there was thie whole field would be shimmering too - awesome! This as it turns out was the highlight of the day. After ... read more
December 27th 2009
Got talked into doing the Temple bit on my fiirst full day by the tuktuk driver who took me to the hotel - $18 seemed reasonable with another $20 entrance fee to the Temple area - this pass covers the whole of the temple complex - about 100+ temples spread over 100 square km. What I thought was really cool was they take your photo with what looks like a webcam when you buy the pass and then they print the poass with your photo on it! The same technology is used at the airport in Phnom Penh by immigration and customs. Anyway, off we set and immediately I'm struck by the fact we are travelling along a very long and very straight road. This seems to be an ancient and worldwide device for making the ... read more
December 26th 2009
Had a reasonably pleasant 6 hour bus journey here with the same bus company that pissed me about getting to Ratanakiri. Apparently, they are usually the best in Cambodia - punctual, clean, toilet on board, stops every 2-3 hours, decent air con and their drivers dont stop everywhere and anywhere to pick up friends or to make extra money from spare seats! The hotel The River Garden will get a special mention (slagging) on TripAdviser hotel reviews and a stiff letter to Loneley Planet who recommend them as the mid price óur pick'in their 2008 edition. The staff are very nice but the rest of the experience is pretty awful and I suspect the white Ausssie guy who sits in the office at the back of reception is the ówner'and is more interested in his own ... read more
December 17th 2009
I'm already a little concerned that my fitness, or lack of it, may prove a problem and so this trek may need to be 'tailored' a little. No shit Sherlock as it turned out! Anyway, got picked up by my guide on a motorbike. This wqas interesting as I have a large rucksack weighing a mere 25lbs and he has a rice sack with improvised carrying loops tied to it to make a rucksack that weighs even more and 2 up on a 125 with no crash helmet on some of the worst dirt road I've seen in Cambodia so far! the road is the characteristic red laterite clay which gets badly churned up by tyres and cattle in the rainy season and then the ruts and cattle feet imprints set rock hard in the dry ... read more
December 16th 2009
Proper Bacon and fried eggs with fried cubes of potato and onion for brekkie then the moto chap turns up 30 minutes late - no surprise there, and off to the market. Banlung Market is a big one as Banlung is the provincial capitol. The 'minority peoples'as the khmers call them are here in force selling all sorts of herbs and plants gathered from the jungle where many of them live, vegetables like potatoes and green stick beans they've grown, papaya and bananas, tamarind still in the pod straight from the tree, wild ginger root, rows of small fish six to a bamboo skewer and then smoked over a fire, blocks of shredded tobacco. The ínority peoples'don't look khmer and speak their own languages. My moto driver can understand odd words and they seem to communicate ... read more