Don and Shelley

Don and Shelley

Don and Shelley

Asia » Philippines » Negros » Dumaguete December 19th 2018

Following on from MoalBoal our next scheduled destination was a few days away for Xmas. To fill in the time I planned a side trip down to an island called Siquijor. I had read that it had some of the best snorkelling around the area. To get there was a bit of a mission. Step 1. Take a tricycle to the main road. These tricycles are a smallish bike, our first one was a Honda 125, with a side car which could squeeze 4 people in so just enough room for Shelley and I. Step 2. Catch a bus to a bus station close to the port at the south of the island. Our first bus journey the previous day was a disaster. We had chosen seats at the front which I physically couldn’t fit in ... read more
Old School Fire Engine and Wiley’s Jeep
Alice in Wonderland
Multi Purpose toilet and rubbing bin

Asia » Philippines » Cebu » Moalboal December 17th 2018

After a couple of nights in Manilla our next goal was one of the top 10 must do activities in The Philippines. The MoalBoal sardine run was described as a world unique experience to see vast shoals of sardines in an easily accessible location. It sounded like a Tourist Brochure advertisement which often let you down however in this case it was extremely accurate. An hour long flight from Manilla, a 2 hour bus ride and a 10 minute tricycle ride had us outside the beach side room we had booked. Our balcony overlooked a very tatty beach covered in dog crap and a host of various local boats blotting the view. Not a good start we thought. We needed snorkels to accompany the masks we had bought in Singapore so wandered down the alley that ... read more
The Sardine Run
Bus stop
Two for 1

Asia » Philippines » Manila December 15th 2018

When planning this trip most advice was to avoid Manila, it being a highly populated, traffic jam dominated city with not much appeal. However I figured if we can find some fun here then the rest of the trip will be enlightened by the experience. The first hour after landing sitting in a snail like queue waiting for a cab followed by another hour snaking our way through traffic certainly didn’t seem that much fun. Shelley made the taxi queue enjoyable by trying to work out exactly how many cabs were needed by trying to group the people ahead of us in the queue who would be sharing a taxi. She almost lost the plot when she found out their was a priority line that allowed pregnant, senior, or disabled people into the front. Next trip ... read more
War Memorial
War Memorial

Asia » Singapore » Little India December 12th 2018

Boracay, a name of a island a good friend told me about back in the 80’s. Supposedly the most beautiful white sand beach on the planet. Since hearing of it I have always wanted to visit but The Philippines really isn’t on the way to anywhere when it comes to cheap airfares so it never popped up on any previous trips as an option. Over the years I have watched and seen the number of hotels, bars and associated environmental impacts make it look less appealing to the point it hasnt been a drawcard. Then this happened. In April the new President of The Philipines, famously known for his war on drugs by literally exterminating the dealers, announced Boracay was shutting so it could be clean... read more
Chop Houses
Little India
Ferrar Peak

Asia » India » Kerala » Bekal January 16th 2017

Getting off a train at 6.00am at the correct station was a challenge but thankfully google maps helped find the right station. We were in Bekel Beach which is at the very north of Kerala. There are only a few resorts developed along this stretch of beach which makes it a quite and pleasant place to spend our last few days. We visited the local fort which was impressive and well restored. We departed for our flights home via an unusual airport. Mangalore airport is on top of a plateau and was described by our taxi driver as a table top airport. Seemed very odd driving up a steep hill to get to the departure langue. All our connections worked so we managed to touch down in Singapore back on to original planned schedule coming via ... read more
Shelleys beach
Bekel Fort

Asia » India » Kerala » Kochi January 14th 2017

With a train booked for late at night we had another day on Fort Kochi. It's a great place to wander around and decided we would go to another suburb called Mattancherry. There is the old Royal Palace here. It tells an interesting story of how a Monachy over many centuries gets replaced and absorbed into a society. The Palace is now a museum and stores many of the Royal artifacts. The descendants of the monachy are now lacking in title and living as 'normal' citizens. Very thought provoking given an impending change of monarch in the Windsor family. We spent a while wandering around the many antique shops in the area. We found a massive shop/warehouse where you could probably put together a whole house made up of old doors, portals, statues, furniture etc. It ... read more
Local river traffic
Local cricket

Asia » India » Kerala » Kochi January 14th 2017

On our second day in Fort Kochi we had a few logistics to organise. With only a week left and no beach time so far we decided to head to northern Kerala. I had read that the beaches here were as good as any of the ones further south but considerably less developed with only a few major resorts set up on them. We had to be back in Chennai to meet up with our return flight so after a bit digging around managed to find an airport in Mangalore, a city at the south end of the state north of Kerala, Karnataka, that had daily flights to Chennai. Got a ticket on Jet Asia, a subsidiary of Ethihad airlines, which got us back to Chennai 12 hours before our onward connection, I hope they don't ... read more
Stained glass
Travel agent plus server room

Asia » India » Kerala » Alleppey January 13th 2017

Black Friday started for us with a bit of a surprise and a few laughs. Upon waking up Shelley noticed that the small bottom compartment of our pack was empty. This place is used to hold my undies and shirts. We had been robbed!!! Looking back over the 24 hours since it had last been looked in we guessed it must have been on the ferry trip. When we boarded all the luggage was stored in a forward cabin and had been out of sight for the whole trip. We had got lax in security and hadn't bothered to padlock the zips ( to be fair in the years of travelling round Asia we seldom did) and I guess someone downstairs got a few seconds alone with them. The laughing started when I calculated the loss. ... read more
Hindustan Ambassador
Key stone 1779
Vas o da Gama

Asia » India » Kerala » Alleppey January 12th 2017

We weren't sure how to tackle exploring the Kerala backwaters. The western side of the state is a maze of waterways. We had already seen some of this on our canoe trip the prévious day and it seemed lots of people hired a houseboat to explore a part of the large area. The center of the houseboat business was a town a bit further north called Alleppay. We opted to take the 6 hour ferry trip to this town which would give us a taste for the area. As expected the ferry was 'rustic' with minimal facilities but proved to be bearable. There was an option of sitting inside the cabin below decks or find space on the roof where there were a few chairs which had already been grabbed by those foreign tourists clever enough ... read more
Chinese fishing nets
Church on the water ways

Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam January 12th 2017

Early morning breakfast saw us on the road to Kollum (sounds like Gollum - a complete other story) which was just up the road from Varkala. We asked our taxi to stop at any ATM's that looked open. I had read in the Times of India whilst down in Sri Lanka that the government had changed the rules and increased the amount that could be withdrawn from ATM's to 4,500 rupees (about $90) due to a higher availability of cash and the new $500 notes being introduced. During our 90 minute trip we stopped 4 times and checked 8 machines (5 were in one place in the biggest bank in Kollum) and none had cash. Our spirits sunk a bit because we were hopeing the daily drudgery of getting or changing cash had disappeared because what ... read more
Individual offerings being blessed
Onion merchant

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