Andrea Kenyon and Paul Matthews

Andi and Paul

Andrea Kenyon and Paul Matthews

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Asia » Macau » Macau June 14th 2017

There have been times on our trip where we have felt that Lady Luck has been working against us, for example our stressful 33 hour delayed exit from Xi'an. And then there's been times it's felt like she has been very much on our side. This was one of those times. We left Hong Kong on a beautifully sunny Sunday morning, perhaps the most beautiful day so far, and enjoyed the picturesque catamaran journey across to Macau blissfully unaware of Typhoon Merbok. That evening the first level of Hong Kong's 5 stage Typhoon warning was issued in both Hong Kong and Macau and all Hong Kong / Macau ferries were suspended. We were totally unaware of this until the following morning when Paul stumbled across it on the internet. It was Monday, three days before our ... read more
Arriving in beautiful sunshine
The view from our hotel room
Nighttime view from our hotel room

Asia » Hong Kong June 11th 2017

Leaving behind the beaches of Indonesia was so hard and we were expecting the change of pace of Hong Kong to be tough, especially as we were visiting in rainy season. But we both fell in love with one of the most beautiful cities we've ever visited. We arrived late at night and managed to get a painless taxi to the hotel, paying the extortionate, but expected amount of £40. We'd had good intentions of using the train but we were so tired and a little grumpy that our beach time had ended that we decided 'to hell with the budget' - that turned out to be the mantra for the last week of our trip. We stayed in a very interesting hotel, called the T Hotel, which is run by students training for a career ... read more
Room service breakfast
Hong Kong Island skyline from the Star Ferry
On the Star Ferry

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Bunaken National Park June 5th 2017

A few blogs ago I explained that Paul and I are self declared cocktail divers. This means we like to do very relaxed diving in warm, clear water with no currents. So far in Indonesia all our diving could be described as cocktail diving. But all that changed on Bunaken Island. Getting to Bunaken from the Togean Islands involved another two days of travel. You'll probably not be surprised to hear that it got off to a shaky start! Our boat trip back to Ampana was far from pleasant. We had the pleasure of sitting on the baking hot boat for an hour before it set off. We're not sure why it was delayed so much but by the time we left it was totally overloaded - with at least double the number of passengers (and ... read more
Drying our rucksacks on the side of the road
Manado hotel
Catching 40 winks on the way to Bunaken

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Togean Islands May 29th 2017

Could you survive with no mobile, no internet, no hot water and limited electricity? These are some of the 'compromises' you have to make on a visit to the Togeans. We did it for a week and we've had a wonderful time. Kadidiri island is one of the more developed Togean islands, and is home to four 'resorts'. Kadidiri Paradise, our home for a week, was chosen simply because I'd fallen in love with the pictures of their water bungalows. With a little creative accounting we'd convinced ourselves we could afford it. Since the price included all meals our only additional costs would be for diving and Bintang. I think most people associate water bungalows with the Maldives and instantly have an image of some super glamorous five star resort. This was a little different. I ... read more
Our deck complete with glamorous sun loungers (Pauls was the pink one - I kid you not!)
The view to the left from our deck - back to the beach
The view to the right from our deck - towards the open ocean

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Ampana May 29th 2017

A couple of blogs back I mentioned that we had a nine night period where we would be staying in eight different hotels. This was down to three things; wanting to visit Borobudur overnight, having to do a visa run to KL and travelling to the Togean Islands. You really have to be keen to travel to the Togeans, especially when there are some many other beautiful islands in Indonesia with far better transport links. But, we like a challenge! Our journey started with a flight from KL to Makassar with an over night stay in Makassar. The next day we had another flight, this time from Makassar to Luwuk followed by a six hour car journey to Ampana. We then had one night in Ampana. The final leg of our journey was via two boats. ... read more
Interesting take on child safety!
The mantra for the journey to the Togeans
Almost missing our flight to Luwuk

Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur May 20th 2017

You know you're travelling when you totally lose track of what day of the week it is. Another tell tale sign is out staying your welcome in a country, facilitating the need for a visa run. We wanted to stay in Indonesia for six weeks, so around 42 days. But the standard visa only allows 30 day visits. You totally take for granted that you will be allowed to enter a country for as long as you need (within reason of course). I mean, even in America, with its notoriously tough policies, you can stay for 90 days simply by applying online for a visa waiver. Had we know we were visiting Indonesia before we left the UK we could have applied for a 60 day visa at the embassy in London. But when we left ... read more
The obligatory selfie!
Enjoying a 'coke' and draft beer
Taking a break from chores

Asia » Indonesia May 16th 2017

The Buddhist Temple of Borobudur is Indonesian's top tourist attraction and with that brings noisy crowds and large groups of school kids. Most visitors are from far flung corners of Java and have never seen foreigners before, so we were expecting to get some requests for pictures. It sounded like our celebrity status was back. If only we knew what was in store! Built more than 1200 years ago Borobudur temple is made up of more than two million stone blocks. Built around a hill it takes the shape of a massive stupa (bell) and is made up of nine terraces; six square ones at the bottom and three circular ones at the top. It is quite unlike anything we'd seen in Ankor Wat. The walls of the square terraces are covered in delicate sculptural work, ... read more
The calm before the afternoon of madness
The quiet west (exit) entrance
One of the 432 Buddhas

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Yogyakarta May 15th 2017

We left the beaches for a few days of culture in Yogyakarta (pronounced and also spelt Jogjakarta) or Yogya (Jogja). The main tourist attractions in the area are the temples which are said to be on a par with Angkor Wat, in Cambodia. The great thing about leaving the beaches behind is you find accommodation, food and drink are much cheaper. This meant we were able to stay in a lovely hotel (with a pool!) on a street that ran parallel to the main backpacker hub. The not so good thing about being in a city is the stiflingly heat, and gridlocked roads. We had three nights in Yogyakarta, which basically gave us two days of sightseeing. Our first stop on day one were the temples at Prambanan, just 17km away. Unfortunately due to traffic it ... read more
Candi Shiva
No shame!
View of Merapi volcano (still active!)

Asia » Indonesia » Komodo May 13th 2017

Our Komodo National Park trip was a pain to find, but the hours of going through TripAdvisor reviews more than paid off. It turned out to be one of those amazingly perfect days, one that will make it into the top five highlights of our trip (along with the Great Wall). Komodo National Park is the only place in the world where you can see Komodo Dragons and we'd heard that it was easily done in a day. We had two options; a visit to Rinca Island, where the chance of seeing the dragons was better due to the islands smaller size, or Komodo Island which had the most spectacular scenery. We'd got it into our heads that we wanted to go to Komodo Island, that was until we found out it was a four hour ... read more
Sailing out from Labuan Bajo
Manta Point
Batu Balong

Asia » Indonesia » Flores » Labuanbajo May 11th 2017

Labuan Bajo is a harbour town which the Lonely Planet describes as gorgeous but ramshackled - erm, well, I'm not sure our expectations were very well managed! Walking into the town on our first evening (in the rain!) was definitely a low point of our trip. As we turned onto the main drag we were greeted with traffic speeding by, horns beeping and the lovely smell of diesel. There was no footpath so it was a case of walking single file on the side of the road and hoping the scouters didn't clip you as they whisked past. It was a far cry from meandering down the sandy paths on Gili Air, where there are no motorised vehicles, just push bikes and the odd horse. We found refuge in the first half decent restaurant we saw ... read more
A room with a view
Watching the sunset from Treetop bar
Boat trip!

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