Back in 2008 we took 21 months off work, rented out the house, found a foster home for Stuart (cat!) and ventured out to the big wide world. We saw as many places as we could fit in in the time we were on the road and returned home in February 2010 after a truly life changing and eye opening journey.Our adventure lasted... 615 days!
After our return we fell into the routine of life back in the UK but have always planned to get back out there as soon as we could. It took a bit longer than we'd hoped but we did squeeze in getting married and a few holidays to fill the days so we can't complain.
So now it's 2013 and we are back on the road in SE Asia.. we have a vague idea of where we want to go but as always it's flexible so we'll see where we end up and hopefully have some more memorable and eye opening experiences along the way!Yes please we'll take these things back home...
No thanks we'll leave these things out here...
- Food from Argentina (steak!), Thailand (hot & sour soup & green curry), Indonesia (gado-gado & ikan goreng) and Vietnam (hot pot)
- Hammocks - super comfy for any time of day
- Bemos, ojeks, minibuses, tricycles, jeepneys - great transport, they are super cheap (if you get the right price), take you anywhere and you don't have to wait for the right one
- The weather - from SE Asia... sun sun and more sun
- Warungs, hawker stands, market stalls - super cheap and super yummy food any time of the day.. H&S regulations would not approve!
- Fresh Fruit & Fruit Shakes - Tesco's you have a lot to live up to! Rambutans, custard apples, mangosteens, chirimoya and dragonfruit are all our favourites
- Beaches from Indonesia, Philippines & Thailand & solitude of NZ
- Indigenous & tribal handicrafts & clothing
- Bartering - sometimes we love it
- Amazing flaura & fauna - orangutans, whales, dolphins, komodo dragons, matra rays, turtles, gekkos, walking trees, bougainvillea, penguins all our favouries
- Stepping out your hut onto the beach
- Markets - where you can buy anything & everything from soap to swimming fish and watermelon to washing up bowls
- Make do and mend - roadside stalls to fix your shoes, glasses, watch, bag.. if it can be fixed there's someone out there to do it for you
- Sarongs - multipurpose garment that even men can wear!
- Flip flops (Thongs!) - and being able to wear them day in day out
- Asian driving - we love the 'he who is biggest wins' attitude.. it's scary sometimes but in a funny way seems to work!
- Argentinian buses - they just don't get better than that!
- Food from Bolivia & Laos - indistinguishable meat is not ok!
- Asian Queuing - we were in line for a reason not for the fun of it!
- Handwashing - we will love our washing machine with hot water when we get back!
- Cold showers in cold countries - Bolivia wins this hands down.. if you want it hot then you get electrocuted the choice is yours!
- Transport drivers - the devil's children made to make your life a misery
- 9+ hour bus rides - with chickens under your seat, sick swilling on the floor, flying round bends at 100mph 1000m up a cliff face with the driver smoking, texting and spitting out cocoa leaves simultanously while terrible tinny music blares out full blast!
- Excess body things - spitting, long nails on men, long mole hairs and nose cleaning with no tissue IS NOT OK!
- Littering - out windows or on the floor to the sea, river, road or jungle every time
- Open sewers - and getting a mouthful of the fumes as you pass
- Hole in the floor toilets - leading to the railway tracks, river or sea, especially when people are doing their washing further downstream
- Bartering - most of the time we hate it
- Hawkers - especially in Vietnam when you are trying to enjoy dinner
- Sandflies & Mosquitos - no explanation needed!
- Short term mentality - why fix it properly when you can do a botch job!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
May 27th 2013
The next destination on our Andaman tour was the city of Trang, the main port of call for those heading to the aptly named Trang Islands. We’d read that this group of Thai islands are both reasonably undeveloped and, to an extent undiscovered so had gone through our guidebook highlighting the ones we’d like to visit to map out a rough route taking in 2 or 3 of the islands depending on how we got on. We stopped a night in Trang so we could pay a visit to the raved about night market. As it was a Sunday we got to visit both the main daily market and also the second market which sets up outside the train station and more conveniently our hotel! The first main market did not disappoint and we tried a ... read more
May 11th 2013
When we were originally planning our trip we’d always wanted Thailand to be our final country. Having loved it here on previous visits and with Bangkok being a premier shopping destination we thought it would be the best place to fly out of once our time was up. Sophie pushed to have as much time as we could here as although we’d spent near on 3 months during previous visits, here we’d only travelled a relatively small part of the country. After forgoing our return to the Philippines we entered a few weeks before we had originally planned and would have just short of 2 months to spend here. We were coming in on the Andaman side at the start of May, just as it went from high to low season, although we knew that it ... read more
May 3rd 2013
Our final destination for Malaysia was another on the British colonial trail with Penang being the one more favoured by the Brits because of its strategic Northerly position. It’s an island but is firmly connected to the mainland by one of the longest bridges in the world with another under construction which will stretch to the South of the island and will be even longer still! KL to Penang is a 6 hour bus ride and as usual the bus fares are very reasonable at just 35RM (£7.64) each. Our ticket was due to drop us at the Sungai Nibong bus terminal, the main one for the island but the passenger behind us told us that he and a few others had paid extra to get dropped off right in the centre of Georgetown at the ... read more
April 28th 2013
Our return to the UK was a little like leaving for a trip but in reverse. Although we were going back in the worst of circumstances we couldn’t help but be excited that we were going to see our family and friends albeit for a very short stopover. We’d opted for just 4 days in the UK, just long enough to say hi and to attend the funeral but not so long that we’d get settled back into life in the UK. As we were both sat back at Heathrow Terminal waiting to return to Asia we couldn’t help but feel a little sad that we were leaving, we didn’t get those butterflies you have when you are going on holiday or setting out for a trip and we could only hope that being back in ... read more
April 17th 2013
The next part of our journey was meant to be a quick stopover in Kuala Lumpur then a flight back to the Philippines to enjoy a further 3 weeks there. Sadly while we were in KL we received news that Sophie’s grandfather had passed away at the great age of 98 so plans were quickly adjusted in order to fly home for the funeral. This would mean that we would have to forego our time in the Philippines but it will always be there and we can return at a later date to enjoy more of what this country has to offer. We’ve been lucky enough to pass through KL on a number of occasions and of all the cities we have been to this would rate as one of our favourites. It’s such an easy ... read more
March 31st 2013
As we pulled up in the boat we had high hopes of this place being a tropical island retreat but it can’t really be described as that, which is a shame because it does have the potential to be up there. On first glance it is stunning with clear turquoise waters as you pull into the beach but you can’t help but notice the huge cruisy party boats moored just off shore and wonder if this isn’t quite the quiet hidden gem that people say it is. With that all said the island is very nice but there are a few things we couldn’t quite figure out as the development here seems to be heading in a very random direction. First is that the main and probably prettiest swimming beach is the one you pull up ... read more
March 25th 2013
Ubud was always somewhere we’d planned to go and were really looking forward to even before we left the UK, on our last visit it was one of the places we really enjoyed spending our time. It’s rich in culture and we found the people here a lot more welcoming & friendlier than those in Kuta. Thankfully we were not disappointed this time around and spent over a week here soaking it all up and left feeling more than a little sad that we had to move on and could have easily spent our remaining week in Bali right here. We knew that accommodation here in Ubud was of a high standard so spent a good hour traipsing around the back streets trying to find something we really liked, we were probably being a little too ... read more
March 17th 2013
Our previous memories of Bali were, to put it mildly, not great. We found the people unwelcoming and the prices off-putting but we weren’t sure if we’d really given it the chance it probably deserved so a few months back we’d booked flights to return here after our time in the Philippines. We were determined to try and see a different side to this island but our guard would be well and truly up. It’s a shame because last time around our experiences in Indonesia were some of our highlights and indeed our ultimate destination is found in this country so why did we leave Bali vowing never to return again? Hopefully this time around we might leave with a more positive outlook but lets wait until our 3.5 weeks are up until we make that ... read more
March 2nd 2013
We were down to our final few weeks in the Philippines and after reading about a certain area during our travels, Dale was very keen to go and explore. It was a little out of our way to get to and would involve a long journey, it was also a bit of a gamble as information is fairly limited but we decided to wager all our remaining time that it would be worth it so set about working out the best way to travel halfway across the country to get there. The area we are talking about is the Caramoan Peninsula found in Southeast Luzon in the Bicol area. It’s not really an undiscovered area as it’s already been picked up by a the Survivor TV series with countless countries having gone there to film in ... read more
February 18th 2013
Our next island to visit was one we’d seen back in 2009. At that time we were sat on Anda Beach, Bohol and thought how nice it looked with it’s own personal volcano stuck out there in the middle of the sea.. we never thought we’d be visiting it 3 years later and had been looking forward to it since we arrived in the Philippines, we hadn’t anticipated we’d be so delayed in getting here but we were finally on our way. With the camera’s arrival now unknown we didn’t want to hang around Dumaguete for another few days so reluctantly headed over to Camiguin. We say reluctantly because it would mean we would have to make a return journey to Dumaguete for the 4th time and ditch the plans to go to Mindanao but part ... read more