Doug Rattray


Doug Rattray

on a six month trip round North, Central and South America.

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver November 9th 2015

My flight arrived in Vancouver at around 10 pm. I found the skytrain pretty easily (take note Toronto) and took it to the downtown area. I felt distinctly underdressed as more and more people got on the train dressed up to party while I was sat there with two backpacks and my sweaty combats and t-shirt. I walked down Granville St. which is full of trendy bars and takeaways and was a little worried to find that the hostel was also a busy bar. I checked in, went straight up to bed and tried to sleep through the noise from the streets below. I'd lost a couple of hours on the flight so I was fairly tired plus I'm used to noisy rooms now so it didn't take long to get to sleep. My alarm went ... read more
Halloween Parade
I loved listening to these guys having a conversation
Skyline from Stanley Park

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago October 27th 2015

I'd been listening to the audiobook of The Martian for the last two days whilst wondering around and was desperate to see it. So after arriving in Chicago on a seven hour bus ride from Detroit (which included being held up a couple of times by marching bands taking part in the Columbus day parade), I dumped my stuff in the hostel and wandered up through the city in search of a movie theatre. I was expecting the uncomfortable cinema seats you get in UK cinemas but was presently surprised to see the whole place was filled with big, comfy Lazyboy style chairs. I have to admit that I nearly fell asleep, not because the movie was bad, just that I'd spent the whole day squashed on a sweaty bus. Afterwards I tried (but didn't succeed) ... read more
The lakeside trail
Best cinema seats I've ever used

North America » United States » Michigan » Livonia October 19th 2015

it was a long bus ride that brought me to Detroit (with at least an hour being spent at the US border). I arrived at about 9pm and after all the horror stories I'd heard, I decided to take an Uber cab to the hostel. As we drove up towards the hostel I started to feel a bit worried. There were more empty plots than buildings and of the few buildings still standing, quite a few had been abandoned. I was dropped off outside the hostel and quickly got inside. I hadn't really eaten much so asked about getting food, the only option seemed to be a 10 minute walk to Michigan Ave where I was told there's a few bars and fast food restaurants. I admit I was absolutely terrified as there was very little ... read more
Detroit in the magic hour
Who wouldn't want to live here
The awesome Kim who saved my life and gave me a lift 20 miles back to the hostel

North America » Canada » Ontario » Toronto October 10th 2015

It took me 14 hours to get from the hostel in Reykjavik to The Planet Traveler hostel in Toronto. As I was checking in I was invited out for a drink with the guys checking in behind me. This sort of set the scene for my stay in Toronto. Firstly I can't recommend the Planet Traveler hostel enough. It's only £16/night and that includes a huge breakfast and as much popcorn, rice and hot drinks as you like. The layout of the place seems to intentionally make people sit together so you inevitably end up talking with each other. It wasn't long before I was sat on the roof terrace bar drinking cider and playing giant jenga with a German named Matthew and a Portuguese guy called Nuna. Despite the jetlag kicking in I managed to ... read more
Niagra Town
Toronto Running Club
Amazing breakfast at the Planet Traveler Hostel

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík October 4th 2015

I’ve really been getting into the solo-travel hostel life. It's nice to just park your backside in the hostel cafe and chat to whoever about their travels, it often ends up with the whole cafe involved. It didn’t take long for me to realise that Iceland is just too expensive for my budget and anything other than eating, sleeping and walking is pretty much out the window. I spent all day Monday walking along the waterfront and back through the city. The mountains on the other side of the bay are stunning and quite a few Icelanders have said to me that once the mountains turn white, summer is over. Well, in the time I’ve been here they've certainly become white. I stopped off for lunch at a cheap but tasty Vietnamese place and found a ... read more
IR Skokk running club
Laugardalur Swimming Pool
Hallgrímskirkja Church

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík October 2nd 2015

Things didn't start well, I'd had a bad night's sleep but Lou was coming down with something and feeling really bad. Everything felt a bit surreal (especially saying goodbye to Lou), sort of like it wasn't really happening. Soon I was waiting for a bus to take me to Rugby where I could jump on a train to Birmingham International. Whilst waiting for the bus an old boy with a dog on a string and a can of special brew (it was 9am) came over for a chat which turned out to be quite fun. He told me about his travels in the Middle East and just how important it is that I get some good boots. For some reason talking to the most stereotypical drunk hobo you could imagine made it hit home. This is ... read more
Braunston local hobo
Couch surfing meet up

Asia » Malaysia February 4th 2009

The first day of Chines New Year started well, We said goodbye to Mr Stephen from the KL Chinatown2 hotel and loaded our hungover heads into the minivans that would take us to Port Dickson which should only be 2 hours away, but because Port Dickson is the nearest beach resort to KL the Chinese new year tourist traffic put us back by another few hours. The hotel we stayed in was quite full of people celebrating the New Year, although it was all very strange to see the pool and beach full of fully clothed people. I'm not sure if it's because I'd been spoilt by the beaches of Thailand, but the beaches of Port Dickson seemed really bad with large areas of what I assume was coal and you have to go out about ... read more
Monkey on a string
Kat, Stephen and Maria on our own little beach

Asia » Malaysia » Penang » George Town January 30th 2009

After 3 days on the beach in Krabi it was time to get back to city life with two nights on the Island of Penang and another two in Kuala Lumpar (or KL as the locals like to call it). Penang is a fairly small island of the Northwest coast of Malaysia. The population of Malaysia is mainly Muslim and because of that the cost of Alcohol is roughly 3 times that of Thailand (actually about the same price as in the UK but I’ve been getting used to cheep booze over the past few months. Next door to our hotel in Penang was a mosque. Normally I’m quite happy to go along with most local customs and respect people’s religious beliefs but the 05:50 call to prayer was pushing my tolerance levels a little. We ... read more
Food Court
Food Court
Fish Heads

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Krabi January 27th 2009

Due to the tour I booked down to Singapore being cancelled, I booked another one with Intrepid that was very similar although it did mean that I would go Back to Kao Sok National Park for a couple of nights (see previous blog). So my last tour started with another overnight train down to Surat Thani then a minibus over to the park. Since I had so much fun last time, I convinced everyone we should go tubing down the river again. Didn't see many snakes this time but we did stop off at the monkey temple again. We found a little cool bar that was ran by English guy selling large 750ml beers for 50 baht (£1) so spent the evening there getting a little tipsy with the Irish couple Steve & Maria. I decided ... read more
Alex and her Friend

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok January 16th 2009

We arrived back in Bangkok bus station without any real plans on what we were going to do for the last few nights before Pam flew back. We decided on the Patpong area because someone had recommended it and it was close to the skytrain route. Patpong is quite a touristy area famous for it's night market, pole dancing bars and ping pong shows. Since we only had a couple of days before Pam flew home we opted for a more upmarket hotel (one with hot water, AC and a slightly smaller mosquito count), which compared to the accommodation we'd had during our previous few weeks was real luxury. Pam was quite keen on seeing more tigers so we booked a one day tour up to Kanchanaburi; home to famous bridge on the River Kwai and ... read more
Terrible models in the war museum
Mural showing the bombing of the Bride on the River Kwai
Bridge on the River Kwai

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