Chris Male


Chris Male

This is a Travel Blog for my planned overland trip to Oz from the UK beginning 17th March 2008

On June 21st, me and my Brother-in-law, Geoff, set out on the mammoth journey from John O'Groats (at the North-Eastern-most tip of mainland Scotland) to Land's End (the South-Western-most point of mainland England), travelling only under our own steam - hopefully fuelled by some of the British Isles' best ale. Cycling, on average, 75 miles a day we'll hopefully make the entire 860 mile journey in only 12 days, travelling through the Highlands of Scotland, the slums of the North-West and the cider-making regions of the West country. My charity of choice is the NSPCC, who do great work protecting those who can't protect themselves. Geoff will be collecting for the British Heart Foundation, another extremely worthy cause, who pioneer research, prevention activity and giving care and support to those living with heart disease. read more

Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur September 25th 2008

I only stayed in KL for three days, I should have planned to stay longer. It's a lot like Hong Kong, only much friendlier. It's mainly Muslim, yet cosmopolitan, it has a bustling city centre, but also a great Chinatown and Little India - plus almost everyone speaks English! I visited the KL Tower for great views of the city, and take the Sky-bridge tour at the twin Petronas Towers - the latter looks incredible lit up after dusk. I was in KL during Ramadan and found it strangely amusing watching the locals break their fast in McDonalds...... read more
Petronas during the day
Detail of tower
Token Malaysian Flag

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap September 25th 2008

I flew from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap on a twin-propellered plane. It was a turblulent flight. I'd been really looking forward to this part of the trip, as I'd so many pictures of Angkor Wat and loved the Khmer architecture. I wasn't disappointed. I watched the sun rise over the huge temple and strolled around the complex. The next day I visited a lot more temples in the area, including the one used in 'Tomb Raider', with tree-roots intermingling with carved brickwork - the place had a real ethereal quality to it! I headed back to Thailand and Bangkok, on a terrible road in appalling weather - well it was the rainy season. From there I fly to Kuala Lumpur.... read more
Tomb Raider
Angkor Wat at sunrise
Detail from carving

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh September 25th 2008

I cross the Vietnam-Cambodia border by bus and head straight for the Capital, Phnom Penh. I only knew a little of Cambodian history - of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields. I was in for a shock. We visited S-21. It used to be a school. In 1975 Pol Pot's army 'liberated' Phnom Penh, the people cheered and waved. Within hours the entire population were ordered to leave the city, being told it was only for three days. Over the following four years, an estimated 3 million, yes, you heard me, three million Cambodians were tortured and murdered in the name of cultural revolution - this from a population of seven million. S-21 became the HQ for torturing citizens for information to find and kill academics, professionals, pretty much anyone with an IQ ... read more
Monument to those who died

Asia » Vietnam September 25th 2008

I travel North again from Bangkok, and headto Chiang Kong, take a long-tail boat boat across the Mekong and I'm in Laos! I spend one night on Houay Sai, a sleepy little village on the banks of the Mekong, and sample my first Beer Lao. It's not bad. It's noticably more humid in Laos than Thailand. I board a riverboat for a two day cruise down the Mekong, the scenery is tropical jungle and the river is muddy - just as you'd imagine it to be. We stop at Pac Beng the first night - another sleepy fishing village - before heading to Luang Prabang the second night. I do very little in Luang Prabang, other than explore the town and get a bug caught in my eye. I fly on to Vientiane, the capital, and ... read more
Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum
The Big man himself
One pillar pagoda

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Samui September 25th 2008

I have my Birthday celebrations back in Bangkok and get riotously drunk on Chang Beer - you're only 34 once you know... I travel South and spend two glorious days on a raft-house in Khao Sok NP - just chilling out, sun-bathing and swimming in the reservoir. The place was so beautiful I forgot to take any photographs! From Khao Sok I go to Ko Pha-Ngan, just North of Ko Samui. We stay in beach huts on one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. On the first night I go to the Half-Moon party, in a jungle clearing near the middle of the island. I drink 2 buckets of Sangsom (rum) and coke, get covered in fluorescent paint and dance my butt off til 4am. At 5am I decide to go for dip ... read more
Ko Samui
Ko Pha-Ngan
Enjoying the sea at sunset

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai September 25th 2008

I love Chiang Mai. It's the old capital of Northern Thailand, but it's got much more of a small city feel to it than sprawling Bangkok. On my first day there I take an elephant trek through part of the jungle, and get to sit on the elephant's head, feeding it bananas. In the afternoon I pole a bamboo raft (literally 10 bamboo poles lashed together) down a river and over rapids. Everyone gets completely soaked, and the ride culminates with most of us rafters throwing ourselves of a 10m high rock inot the river. In the evening, I eat out in the huge open air night-market and then go to a local stadium to watch Muai Thai boxing. It's kick-ass! The next day I take a Thai-cookery class, beginning in a local market - the ... read more
View from Doi Suthep
View from Doi Suthep
View from Doi Suthep

Asia » Thailand » Western Thailand » Kanchanaburi September 25th 2008

I took a public bus to Kanchanaburi, site of the infamous and tragic 'Bridge over the River Kwae', walking across the bridge at sunset. It was frighteningly picturesque! The next day I went to Erawan National Park, and hiked up the seven tiered waterfalls, swimming in some of the pools, climbing on the rocks under the falls themselves, and getting nibbled at by fish. In the afternoon I take a kayak trip six or seven kilometres down the river, passing locals fishing and washing in the sewage-filled water. As I paddle under the bridge, a train crosses it, heading for the Burmese border. I catch another bus to Ayutthaya to visit some very old temples in the Khmer style - a testament to the centuries of conflict between Thailand and what is now Cambodia - and ... read more
Large seated Buddha
The hand of God

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok September 25th 2008

I took to Thailand almost as soon as I entered Bangkok. They call it 'The Land of Smiles', and for good reason. After the relative unfriendliness of the Chinese, the Thai people's attitude came as a breath of fresh air. The fact that most people spoke at least a little English and Thailand had some kind of tourist infrastructure also helped! I spent 6 days in Bangkok, looking around the Wats (temples) - including the very impressive 45m long reclining Buddha at Wat Pho - taking longtail boat tours of the khlongs (canal streets) and buying 'funny' t-shirts and getting drunk on Khao San Road (read 'The Beach').... read more
Wat Pho
Buddha tree
Walls of the Grand Palace

Asia » Hong Kong » Kowloon September 25th 2008

I take the overnight train to Nanjing, but still have no joy renewing my VISA, so book a flight to Hong Kong for the following day - my first flight of the trip! What can I say about Hong Kong? It's kind of 'New York meets Beijing'. All the affluence of a large Western city, with all the hubbub, street vendors and fake rolexes of East Asia. I liked it. The onyl problem was that, unless you're making or spending loads of money, there's not loads to do. I explored Nathan Road in all its neon splendour and took the Star ferry across Victoria Harbour, taking in the amazing sky-scraper-lined sky-line of Hong Kong Island. I wandered around both the very exclusive boutique shopping malls of IFC1 and the back-street markets, marvelling at the disparity of ... read more
Neon Heaven/Hell
Sculpture by Henry Moore
More art

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