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December 20th 2007
Published: May 14th 2008
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Our escapade and side trip to Borneo over, we could now concentrate on the business of getting home.

Originally when we first started organising our trip, we were looking at ways to get from Indonesia or East Timor to Australia. Looking at this it became quickly apparent that this is a tricky option. A google search for 'ferry Indonesia Australia' came back with articles about sinking ferries and illegal immigrant boats, nothing useful about making this trip. After a bit more research we came across accounts of other people attempting this UK to Australasia trip, and their sometimes unsuccessful attempts to cross the Timor sea.

One chap made it all the way to Timor but then had to fly the last bit. We found the story of one guy who did manage it by chartering a small boat in Indonesia. However they got hit by a storm and had to be rescued by the Australian Coast Guard. All in all the options were slim and sometimes dangerous, especially when considering the rainy season and pirates (yes they not only still exist in Asia, it is a thriving business).

So if small boats are out, then it would have to be a big boat. Freighters was our next option, but with dismay we found that the few that actually take passengers were already booked out. Nearing desperation we found a charter cruise ship that would be heading from Singapore to Perth. This was actually quite reasonable in price, so we booked and paid for it before leaving the UK.

Problem solved right? Wrong. We were contacted while in Russia to say that the cruise had been cancelled due to lack of interest. Disheartened we started looking at our options again but managed to find yet another cruise, this one leaving Bangkok and heading to Sydney. In a rush we booked this and received our confirmation. Instead of the charter cruise ship we were originally going to be on, this one was very plush. So it looked like we had a plan at last. We would travel in class!!

However this was still two weeks away, and we were in Malaysia. So we started backtracking up the Malaysian Peninsula towards Thailand. We figured what would be nice to spend some quality time bumming around on a beautiful Thai beach.

We headed to Krabi, where we were just over a month earlier, but this time we went to Koh Lanta, a largish island close to the mainland. Koh Lanta was nice, we spent the days swimming and relaxing, with the occasional bit of activity thrown in, like an elephant ride.

It was with some surprise that we discovered an old friend Aaron and his fiancé, whom we had last seen in London, had thrown in the towel and left the UK, and were on the island one over from us. After a few frantic emails and calls, we met up and headed to Koh Phi Phi together.

We spent a few days on the island enjoying the food, drinks and company, but with the departure from Bangkok looming we had to move on, so we took an overnight bus to Bangkok. We had a really important reason to get to Bangkok a couple of days early. We needed to do some shopping. Old traveller rags were not good enough for the ship, we had to posh up!! But Bangkok is a shoppers dream, with things for every budget.

Now laboured down with extra bags we found a local bus that would take us to the port and climbed on. We were guessing that we would probably be the only passengers to arrive by local services and we were right. While everyone else arrived on organised transfers or taxi, we negotiated the last bit to the port on the back of motorbike taxis. Climbing down from our bikes and carrying our huge packs, we shouldered old people aside and boarded the Sapphire Princess.

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