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Published: March 29th 2014
As I wrote this as I was on the plane on the way to Oz. Rewind a week and I’ll recap.
I finished my last blog by saying Emma, Katie and I had arrived in Phuket, we were waiting for our room to be ready and the girls were chilling in the pool. I left the girls to chill out and went for a walk down the beach to get my baring’s. Patong was exactly how I remembered it from when me and Kyle went in 2010. It was busy, full of hustle and bustle of shops and locals trying to sell you the earth “DVD Mate”….. But on the other side of the road was the beautiful beach and relatively clear sea. It was so hot, 36 degrees and not any breeze. After I was happy that I knew my bearings I headed back to the hotel to chill with then girls. Time was getting on so we went back to the room and I sat on the balcony catching some rays while Emma had a little knap #standard, and Katie chilled out. We couldn’t get WIFI in the room without paying a stupid amount of money to the
hotel which we were not too happy about so we decided we wouldn’t bother and would just go to the hotel lobby to use the free WIFI. It soon became apparent that when in the lobby you are guests to the resident mosquitos and needless to say we all got bitten quite a lot but especially Katie. We went to the shops earlier in the day and bought some munch that we could cook in our hotel room, mainly breakfast… It wasn’t until we got back to the room that we remembered we had breakfast included in the price of the room. I decided that I would make use of the food though and make us all Egg and Mayo sandwiches, perfect munch! We went out in the evening and found an Irish bar, Emma had Pork Chop and Mash, I had sausage and mash and Katie had Chicken and mash. This was a right treat as I had been craving proper home food and they served proper pints too rather than small glasses/cans
Next day we were straight on it at the beach. We went and had breakfast and headed to the beach for around 11am.
Man it was hot! The sand was scalding hot as well as the beach loungers. Emma was not feeling the heat so we chilled on the beach for about an hour and a half. After then we went back to the hotel and sunbathed around the pool which was a little more comfortable for a dip in the pool when we got too hot. The food and drink was mega expensive at the pool bar so I would use the shop outside the complex for beer and munch. The rest of that day was spent around the pool and the hotel. I did a few walks up and down the beach as normal, to keep me occupied and to get an equal tan J. We went out to the night market where Katie was frothing with excitement about spending more money. We ended up in an Indian restaurant. We all ordered different foods but they all tasted and looked the same.
The following morning was pretty much the same, a beach and pool day. Emma managed longer on the beach today and even though she was sat in the shade she still got a good bit of
tannage. Me and Katie were hardcoring it with the coconut oil #amazingstuff! We went back to the Irish bar and had some good home cooked food once again. We attempted to go to few different places but the service was rubbish so we left.
Today was the last day – We had to check out at 12. In the afternoon we hired a driver to take us to Tiger Kingdom, to see some elephants, to the big Buddha and to see the coast lines of Kata and Karon beach. This was a cool afternoon, although I wasn’t too sure about Tiger Kingdom to start with as the tigers had clearly been doped in order for the public to get close. It was quite sad to see but also quite exciting. We all opted to see the “Small and Smallest” tigers. The smallest tiger was really young and really naughty, it kept biting the keeper but it was really cute and bashful. The baby elephant was really cool too. Emma and Katie fed it bananas and once they had ran out the keeper would say “Thank you” and the Elephant would squeak really loud to also say thank
you. We headed back to the hotel at 3.30pm and waited for our bus to collect us and take us to the airport. The bus arrived at 5pm and we headed off. Emma and Katie were late to check in due to the bus taking forever to get to the airport but they managed to get on the flight in time thankfully. They flew back to Bangkok, stayed a night in a hotel (dive) by the airport ready for their flight early the next morning which was subsequently delayed. My flight from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur was also delayed by 1 hour. This departure marked the end of the 3 weeks with the girls. It felt really odd being back on my own and I also wanted to go home rather than be on my own again.
I boarded my flight and headed to KL. I got into the airport at 12 midnight and got a taxi to the city. The city is MILES from the airport. It took 50 minutes to get to my hotel, this was with no traffic on the roads and the driver doing about 90 all the way. While driving to the
city, although it was dark I could see that the infrastructure of KL was far more advanced than what I had become accustomed to in Thailand. The roads were better, the buildings were nicer, everything flowed better and was consistent regardless of how far we drove unlike Thailand were the city was nice but as soon as you leave it it soon became old, dirty and run down. I checked into my hotel room, Grid9 Hotel. I was in a 4 bed dorm. There was only 1 person in the dorm until about 2.30am when two more other people checked in. They were nosey and it took them an hour to get into bed, morons! In the morning I was woken up by their alarm clocks going off every 10 mins for 1 hour. After the 4th
time I shouted “shut your F***ing alarms up or get up”.. Idiots! They got up and checked out 1 hour later.
When I got up I decided I would go for a walk and see what’s around. I walked to China Town which was full of food stalls and bustling markets which turned out to be quite expensive. I walked
and walked and saw this massive tower in the distance. I was quite fascinated by it so I walked to it and asked if I could go up it. It cost me £8 to go to the viewing platform of the KL Menara Tower and the views were epic. It was a relatively clear day so I did get to see quite a lot. I noticed the PETRONAS Towers just down the street from the KL Tower so I walked to them next. These towers are MASSIVE. I think they are the 7th
tallest towers in the world. I dint bother going up them as I had already seen the views from the KL Tower. Inside the PETRONAS is a huge shopping mall, I have never been to a mall so big with so many floors and so many amazing shops. I did have to refrain from spending… Oh no I never because Lloyds had blocked my card which was annoying as I had to call them to get it sorted. After I had solved that issue I decided I would start my walk back. I only had flip flops on and as they are cheap Prada ones my feet
were hurting. It took me an hour to get back. I was soaked as it was sooooo hot and humid, never have I experienced heat like it. When I got back to the hotel I popped to the 7/11 shop, got a few beers and sat and watched some movies in the lounge area. The following day I walked to the Bird Park, the largest open flight bird park in Asia and it was massive. There were loads of tropical birds and I was lucky enough to see two wild komodo dragons fighting outside part of the enclosure as well as wild monkeys. It took me about an hour and a half to walk around the park. Once done I left and headed for the deer park. In the centre of KL is a massive green area where all this is based. The deer park is brand new, It was free to get in and I was the only one there. Not much to see other than a few deer’s in captivity. I didn’t hang around here long and headed back to my hotel. This walk also took me about 1 hour. That evening I met up with Sarah, Emily,
Lou, Rhian and Jo. I went to their hostel, Reggae Mansion, and we stayed at their roof top bar and had far too much to drink. Whiskey and Lemonade buckets…. I got in at about 4am after being kicked out of their hostel as Sarah and I were causing chaos.
The next day, post drinks, was a total write off. I was in bed all day. There was a new guy in the dorm called Robbin. He has been all over Asia and Oz on his motorbike and some of the videos were awesome! Robbin was cool and kept me entertained while I was hanging. It was supposed to be an early night but due to me not moving from my bed all day I couldn’t sleep, took me AGES to nod off.
The plan for the next day was to go and meet the girls again. It was Sarah’s birthday today. We met at the KL tower and went to the Aquarium and back up the tower. The girls were gutted though as it was really hazy and we couldn’t see hardly anything from the viewing platform, 285 meters up. We left there
and walked down to the PETRONAS towers. The girls, especially Rhian loved it. We had a mooch around the shops in the mall and caught the Monorail back to the girls hostel. We were all supposed to be going out that evening but as I was flying to Oz the following morning at 9.10am I decided to stay in.
That evening I realised I had forgot to apply for my Oz Visa. I quickly filled it out and went to sleep. Got up stupidly early to get the monorail to the airport. Upon arriving at the airport I noticed my departure ticket stated I was flying from a place called LCCT and not KLIA… I was a little confused and worried that I had gone to the wrong place. It turns out LCCT is a 20 min bus shuttle from KLIA and is where all the low cost airlines fly from. I trekked to the bus station and hopped on the bus. Got to LCCT in time and went to the counter to check in. When I got to the check-in desk the lady asked about my visa as there was nothing showing up on their system.
I explained I applied last night and she called through to Oz to try and get the visa approved. I waited anxiously. She came back and said I cannot fly as Oz have not and wont process my VISA application over the phone and that I would have to wait up to 10 days… I was gutted. She took me to one side and explained that once its approved I need to go back to the airport to buy a new ticket and I would only have to pay any differences in fair plus an admin fee. I acknowledged this and went and sat in the corner and beat myself up for being such a prick. Rather than stay in KL for god knows how many days while I wait for visa acceptance I decided I would fly to Medan in Sumatra and go to the jungles and volcanoes. I booked a flight with Malaysia Airways which was due to fly out at 3.50pm. I sat waiting, having a coffee and I got an email from Oz saying my visa was complete and had been approved. Man I was pissed now because I had just booked to fly out to
Sumatra which cost me £84 plus my hotel which was £34. I bit the bullet and flew.
When I landed in Sumatra I was instantly annoyed. I had to pay $25 for a visa but there were no cash machines. They let me walk out through passport control into arrivals, alone, to go to a cash machine… Great security there… Not! I got my visa and was soon jumped on by the local taxi drivers. £10 to get into the city.. WTF.. I had only flown into the new airport as the old one where I thought I was flying into was now closed. This in turn meant I had no choice and had get a taxi as the train had just left and there were no buses. The driver, Samuel tried to sell me everything, I was really grumpy and quite rude as I just couldn’t be bothered with all the small talk BS! I got to my hotel and checked in, the hotel was nice, nice room and free spa. I spent two hours in the spa deciding on what to do. I went back to my room and explored the options of doing a
jungle tour. It turns out that there is a 2 week lead time for all tours so I couldn’t do one and at that point I decided I would book a flight and get the hell out of Medan the next morning. I booked a flight back for the next afternoon.
I slept so good that night, woke up at 10am, I thought it was 11am though as my phone hadn’t gone back an hour. This meant that I checked out an hour earlier than I needed too and also I thought my taxi ride back to the airport was also an hour late so I phoned them twice “were are you, rhah rhah rhah”… When the taxi arrived I got in it and looked at the clock and it said 12.30 – This was the time it was due to collect me… I was really confused… I asked if that time was correct and then sank into my seat. I hadn’t realised until now that I was still 1 hour ahead so I had to apologise profusely to the driver for hassling him about where he was etc. I got to the airport, checked in and
they wanted £4 airport tax… Are you shitting me I thought… Can this island squeeze any more money out of me??? I paid it reluctantly and headed for a coffee. I walked to the gate and 20 mins before I was due to fly out they announced the flight was delayed by an hour. Man I could have cried with anger. All I wanted to do was get off this island and head back to Kuala Lumpur and sort my flight to Oz. The plane finally arrived and I hopped on. 55 mins in the air and I was back in KL thankfully.
The next part of this journey was to get my ticket to Oz sorted. As per my earlier mention I had to do this at the low cost airport, LCCT so this meant I had to get the bus from the main airport I had just flown into, this took 30 mins. I then had to go to departure’s and book my flight with Air Asia. I then had to get the bus back to the main airport, then the train back to the city. I got on the transit train which meant it stopped 3 times rather than the express train which goes all the way from the airport to the city with no stops so this added an extra 15 mins to my never ending journey. I then had to walk 10 mins to the MONO Rail station to catch another small train to the station opposite my hotel. By the time I had done all this and checked in it was 10pm. It had taken me nearly 12 hours to complete a 4 hour journey due to red tape and spread out locations.
Back at Grid 9 I had a queen room for two nights. I slept so good as I was exhausted. When I woke up I decided I would head to Bukit Bintang on the Monorail, which was only 3 stops down the track. There were some amazing shopping malls here. I wanted to buy a compression bag for my clothes rather than a plastic laundry bag which I had been using. I managed to find one after looking for hours. Once purchased I headed back and chilled out for a few hours. Later I went and met Sarah who was with David and Zoe who I hadn’t met before. We had dinner at Reggae Mansion and I left at 9pm to head back and pack. Again I slept really well and woke up at 5.10am ready for my mission to Oz. The travel and check in all went smoothly and here we are, 37,000 feet in the air.
I arrived at Oz at 20.20. The security to get into this place is insane. At Kuala Lumpur the check in staff were looking at my passport through a microscope, and when I got to Oz they interrogated me. UK residents definitely have it easier when coming into Oz than most other countries though. I left the airport and got on a double decker train which as awesome. I needed to go to Bondi which meant I had to change at Central station for Bondi Junction. The train took only 20 mins and cost me $17, £10. When I got to Central Station I didn’t know what train I needed to get. Two ozzies came up to me and asked me if I was ok and whether I needed any help which I thought was nice. In the end they didn’t know where to send me either so I asked a member of staff who pointed me to the Illawala Line which would go to Bondi Junction Bus Station. Once I got to the bus station I figured what bus I needed and used Sat Nav on my phone to pin point where I should get off although the bus was going faster than my Sat Nav was so when I got to the stop and stood up and sat back down the bus driver shouted in his ozzie accent “Come on mate”……. Easy tiger! The bus stop was a 2 minute walk away from my hostel, Lamrock Lodge on Bondi Beach.
I checked into the Hostel at 10.30pm. When I got to my room I was greeted by Jodie from Essex and Mishek from the Netherlands. Both of them were really cool and placid people which was perfect after my trip from KL. There was also another guy in the room called Ben but I only met him once. We chatted for a few hours and Jodie and I popped out to McDonalds, came back and went to bed.
The next morning I had arranged to meet Newy at the gym at Bondi Junction. This was the first time I had seen him for 3 and a half years. It was just like the old days! He got off the bus and gave me a big gay hug, he says he’s straight…… ha! We went to Fitness First in the Westfield shopping centre, it was full of beautiful people. We did a chest work out and then got the bus down to the beach where Lauren and Jamie were waiting for us. Lauren is Newys sister and Jamie is her BF. They had been over here for 3 weeks visiting him with their dad and his GF as well. We chilled on the beach until 4.30 when we left to go for a cocktail at Bucket List bar which is behind the Bondi Rescue Life Guard Centre. It was cool to see some of the life guards off TV too and we watched some filming on the beach too. I was going to go out for drinks with them in the evening but I decided against it as it was money I didn’t need to spend so instead I hopped on the bus and went down to Circular Quay which is where the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge is. It was cool, smaller than I expected and also a different colour. I thought it would be black and white but it’s actually brown and beige. The bus took 40 mins to get there from Campbell Parade, which is the main road that my Hostel leads onto. I didn’t do anything else that evening other than sleep.
The next day Jodie and I went to Hyde Park, The Royal Botanic Gardens, The Sydney Opera House, Milsons Quay which is on the other side of the harbour, Darling Harbour and back to Circular Quay. We both wanted to see the sights in daylight and we got some amazing photos. It was great to go out on the ferry through the harbour, the bridge is epic and is fits so well within the city skyline. We got the 555 bus which is a free bus in the city from circular quay to Central, to Newys work, where I booked and paid for my camper van. His work mates are cool and also call him big dog. I wouldn’t mind his job! All 3 of us left together and went back to his apartment in Bondi and then walked down to Bondi RSL Club and had steak for $9 which is a bargin! Jodie and I were with his family and Muggsy, Newys house mate also came so there was a good group of us. It was also the first time Jodie had met Newy and he was definitely working his big dog charm… After RSL we went to Bikini Café, a little bar just across the road from my hostel. We got kicked out at 10 as it was closing, a great night had.
After last night’s good times and good catch up it was time for Jodie to go home. Such a shame because we got on so well, she also didn’t want to go home. She was flying from Sydney to Hong Kong and then 1 long ass flight to the UK.
When she left I decided that I would walk the coastal path from Bondi to Coogee Beach. I did this in flip flops which probably wasn’t the best idea. The walk was long, 2 hours, and more difficult than I was expecting. It was so worth it though. There was a massive storm brewing out over the ocean but luckily it didn’t make land otherwise I would have got soaked. I grabbed some food in Café Coogee and decided I would also walk back, another 2 hours. I reached Bondi two hours later and carried on walking further towards the far end of Bondi Beach where I sat on a grass mound and people watched for a few hours. I left here and went to IGA (MINI MART) and bought some supplies, spaghetti Bolognese ingredients and fruit and yogurt etc.. I also bought chicken and some wraps so I could make my lunches for the next 3 days. I cooked up a right storm, did my laundry and went and sat on the beach and watched the lightning in the far distance out over the ocean. It was perfect, nice and fresh and quiet and such a great sight to see. A new guy checked into the room called Ben, only spoke to him for 5 mins. Oh I forgot about the crazy loud Emma who also checked in, luckily she was only in the room for two nights as she was loud as &*@#! She checked out at 5am this morning. I slept good last night thankfully without any disturbances.
Today I went to Manly. Got the 333 direct bus from Bondi to Circular Quay and then the ferry to Manly. Manly isn’t an island but it’s the quickest way to get there, north of Sydney Harbour. The ferry cost $14 return. When I got off at Manly it didn’t meet my expectations… I was expecting big waves, pure blue sea, surfers etc. but that was nowhere in sight. I googled “what to do in Manly” which did help. I established I could rent a bike but it would cost £30 so I gave that a miss. I established there is a free bus but I decided I would walk rather than get that. I’m glad I did as the beach which I was expecting was a 5 minute walk away. There were two beaches, Shelly Beach was the nice little beach tucked away in an alcove that faces the sun and behind there is a wild life conservation area on top of the cliffs which you can walk along and walk right up to the cliff edges. I saw my first wild cockatoo and big wild lizards too. Also saw a floating dead seal which had got caught up in nets, not pretty but massive! Every Friday in Manly they have a World Food event which consists of about 10-15 food stands and they have a live band rocking out too. I was lucky enough to be there when this was going on, it’s a shame we don’t have this kind of free thing in England. I chilled out there for a few hours, went to Coles which is the local supermarket, grabbed some dinner and headed back to Circular Quay on the ferry. The pics on the way back were epic due to the sun set behind the Harbour Bridge which was being blocked by a massive, single storm cloud. Check out the pic. I got on the 333 bus and headed back to Bondi. I had great intentions to cook some food but after a cup of tea and some Wonka Chocolate I didn’t fancy anything so I typed this up instead.
Tomorrow I plan to meet Newy and have a few days chilling on the beach before I go to pick up my camper van on Monday and start my journey north along the east coast of Oz and I cannot wait!
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