Page 3 of AfricaBound Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Burma » Western Burma » Mrauk U July 26th 2011

Mrauk U is an ancient city similar to Myanmar’s most popular attraction, Bagan. The former capital of the powerful Arakanese Kingdom was once compared in wealth to the cities of London and Amsterdam. The area is scattered with hundreds of temples and pagodas, but the real beauty of Mrauk U versus Bagan is that there is still active village life surrounding the temples. We met a farmer who proudly announced that we were walking through his garden. Our initial thoughts were, “wow your garden has an amazing ancient temple!” Since Mrauk U is fairly remote and a bit challenging to go there, not many tourists take the time and effort to visit. Even more challenging were the monsoon rains which meant we had to be very flexible with dates of travel. We initially flew in to ... read more
sunday market
helping hand
kothaung temple

Asia » Burma » Yangon Region » Yangon July 19th 2011

Since leaving Borneo we flew to Bangkok with the sole purpose of applying for our Myanmar visas. We do plan to explore Thailand as well, but this time around we were focused on getting to Myanmar where we plan to spend 4 weeks. We had a short but fun stay in Bangkok, especially when it came to tasting some real Thai food. We actually didn’t do much of the touristy stuff since the hotel we chose was near the embassies, but we did head down to the backpacker mecca of Khao San road to pick up a copy of the Myanmar guide book. The visa process was smooth and within a couple of days we had our passports back in hand. When booking our flights to Yangon, we found that if we delayed our departure by ... read more
Old bus
Local cafe
Shwedagon 2

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching July 4th 2011

Since arriving in Kota Kinabalu we have taken no less than five internal flights over the past three weeks and none of the flights have been longer than 1.5 hours. We found that flying in Borneo is relatively cheap and maybe we're getting a bit soft, but at this point we'd take an hour's flight over a bumpy 6 to 9 hour bus ride any day. Before our diversion to Brunei, we completed our time in Sabah by visiting the Sepilok Orang-utan rehabilitation centre. Having seen them in the wild, this was a chance to get a better appreciation for these primates up close. Yes, it's busy, full of camera-weilding tourists, but it's quite well done and here we could see more than simply an orange furry blob high up in the trees. Not quite the ... read more
Pit viper
Baby silver leaf monkey

Asia » Brunei » Bandar Seri Begawan June 30th 2011

In the middle of Malaysian Borneo, sandwiched between Sabah and Sarawak is the small, oil-rich nation of Brunei Darussalam. Being that we were so close, we just couldn't pass up the opportunity to check out its riches for ourselves (not to mention another stamp in the passport and a new country to add to the list). We took the 3-hour ferry from Kota Kinabalu to the island of Labuan where we transferred to another ferry which took an additional hour and a half to reach Brunei. We can't say that it was the most comfortable ferry as we were breathing diesel fumes the whole way and the en-route entertainment consisted of cheezy karaoke music or gory films. Brunei is kind of a quirky place but outside of a few extravagant sites it's actually quite ordinary. We ... read more
Dinner at Empire
Reflection in marble

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Kinabatangan June 23rd 2011

The idea of going to Borneo first came up when we realized that our first wedding anniversary was fast approaching. Our original plans had us in Australia at the time and we decided we wanted to go someplace exotic where we could get a little better value for our dollar. Kind of funny, because what we’ve found is that Borneo is actually pretty expensive compared to the rest of Asia and it’s quickly become a splurge-fest that is costing us about the same per day as Australia. We didn’t really know much about Borneo except that we wanted to see Orang-utans, but the more we read about it, the more we got excited about going. We thought about a beach holiday on a secluded island resort, but instead decided to do something that would be unique ... read more
Green lizzard
Proboscis Monkey
Male orang-utan

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Kota Kinabalu June 17th 2011

Borneo! After four and a half months of roughing it in New Zealand and Australia we're finally back in Asia where we no longer have to camp or cook for ourselves (unless we really want to). The novelty of quick, tasty and cheap food has returned and we're taking every opportunity we can to try something new. Our first stop after checking into our hotel in Kota Kinabalu was a small local restaurant where we had delicious seafood laksa (soup) for lunch. In the evening we headed down to the night market to sample the various street food (fried noodles, satay, fried bananas, mmmm). In Central Asia and China we had great fun taking photos of the different food that we ate along the way. Somehow, cooking for ourselves on a budget in NZ and Oz ... read more
Night market
Tarik tea
Now that's the stuff

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia » Coral Bay June 11th 2011

Snorkelling with whale sharks, the largest fish on the planet, was the ultimate highlight and a nice way to end our Australia trip. After spending a couple days at Coral Bay to get our fins wet and do some snorkelling off the beach, we made our way to Exmouth where we emptied out our wallet and signed up for the whale shark tour. It was a bit of a rough start to the tour as we got absolutely drenched by a storm and there was concern that the tour companies might not be able to get their spotter planes in the air (that's how they find the whale sharks). Things cleared up though, and the visibility in the water was incredible. Even in deep water we could see right to the ocean floor from the surface. ... read more
monkey mia
pinnacles rainbow
leaning tree

One of the great things about visiting Australia is that we’ve had friends in each major city that we’ve visited. It’s great because it gets you out doing things that the locals do rather than just the touristy stuff. In Perth, we started off with a nice walk in Kings Park, assisted at hockey practice (field hockey, that is), and went for dinner at a nice micro-brewery in Freemantle. We were also treated to a game of Aussie Rules football which was very entertaining, and were recruited for the HBF Run for a Reason where we walked 4.5km raising funds for various charities. It was a lot of fun and they had about 14,000 people turn out for the run. True local experience! Next we headed south to the Margaret River area. We had full intentions ... read more
sugar loaf at sunset
cape leeuwin

After flying into Alice Springs we picked up our campervan rental and were pleasantly surprised to learn that we’d been upgraded for free from the older cheaper campervan that we’d booked to a brand new much nicer campervan. Some friends of friends in the area were kind enough to let us camp in their drive way for our first night in Alice Springs and they took us to a place where the locals feed the resident rock wallabies. They also warned us that there might be a problem with mice due to all the rain that they had this year, but things seemed fine in town so we just crossed our fingers that all would be okay. How bad could it be, right? Surely they can’t get into our fancy new campervan? The next day we ... read more
road leading to olgas
rim of kings canyon

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Apollo Bay May 10th 2011

So, on to Part 2 of our Oz experience… After flying into Melbourne, we hired a Spaceship and we were off! Our campervan was basically a converted minivan which was nice and cosy for 2 people. We had all the modern conveniences like a fridge and a DVD player. It was the perfect way to explore the Great Ocean Road. It wasn’t exactly beach weather as our daytime highs were somewhere between 10C and 15C, and the nights were quite chilly so we had to break out the sleeping bags and toques. In lieu of the beach we went to some nice waterfalls and saw loads of koalas in the wild (some even right at our campsite one night). The coastal scenery is simply spectacular. The Great Ocean Road is only about 250km, but we managed ... read more
12 apostles
Hopetown Falls

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