Page 4 of Forget 9 to 5 Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Malaysia September 18th 2010

I have found paradise. This puts me in a slight quandary now, I enjoy writing my travel blogs and telling you guys about all the amazing things I get to see and do on this extended-for-life holiday of mine, but do I want to give away where paradise is and see it ruined? Ok, I'll try to tell you all about it while still keeping it secret. If you can work out where I'm talking about then your hard work will be rewarded, but it better not be teeming with drunk Brits and topless tanners when I come back next year! Paradise is officially on the east coast of Malaysia. It's a tiny island, just six kilometres from the mainland, and totally overshadowed by its hyped up neighbours. It only gets busy when hoards of cavorting ... read more
paradise is...a powder white beach
paradise is a dry place to sleep, a hammock to relax in and a good restaurant
Looking across to the neighboring island

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang August 21st 2010

I love Laos! There is something about this small landlocked country that is magical and captivating. I have only spent nine totally inadequate days here, and I can't for the life of me think what I actually did with those days, but I know for certain that I want to come back here again and for a lot longer next time. If I'm to be factually accurate I suppose what I should really say is 'I love Luang Prabang' as that is where I spent almost all my time. I arrived from Vietnam with one night booked and stayed for seven. I could have stayed for twice as long and not been ready to leave. Instead I realised that I had stupidly booked myself a flight from Vientiane thinking it would be too expensive to ... read more
Child for sale?
On top of Phousi Hill
At the waterfalls

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay August 12th 2010

Another 20 hour combined trip of normal sitting bus to Hue and then an overnight sleeper bus got us to Hanoi, this time in relative comfort and safety (at least compared to the hell that was the journey from Nha Trang to Hoi An). Our first bus from Hoi An to Hue was only half full so I could get a window seat and watch the coastline unravel below me as we climbed twisting roads clinging to the cliffs and mountains on this stretch of the journey. It was extremely picturesque, just a shame we missed the very best of it by cutting through massive tunnels in the mountains. We stopped in Hue long enough for a Laughing Cow baguette, and again later for a bowl of Pho (delicious staple out here, it's only noodle soup, ... read more
Hanoi Cathedral
Water puppet theatre
Toasting surviving Vietnam with a glass of Dalat wine

Asia » Vietnam August 5th 2010

That's not a fact, it's probably a hell of a lot more than that. It actually feels like there's about that many honing in on you every time you step off the kerb to cross the road. Such a simple procedure back home: press a button, wait for a little green man to flash and beep at you and then happily saunter across safe in the knowledge that law and order in the universe is on your side. Here it is another story completely. I thought we'd had good practice in Cambodia but the traffic there has nothing on Vietnam. The first few days we stood with trepidation, hovering on the edge of the pavement waiting for a break of more than a couple of metres between speeding bikes and honking taxis. Eventually we learned that ... read more
Making friends waiting for the bus
The road to Dalat
Sleeper Bus Blues

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City July 25th 2010

The past few days have been rather harrowing. I have seen more evidence of torture: photographs, implements, paintings, descriptions, personal tales and victims bones than I ever thought was possible. It is impossible to comprehend the incredible evil of a small minority of human beings, even when faced with the full horror and facts of genocide and war in such graphic ways. South East Asia has suffered a traumatic and bloody past. I don't pretend for one moment to understand the complexities and horrors of the past few decades but the brief overview I have had from three very important museums/memorials is enough to make you weep and certainly puts life into perspective. In Phnom Penh - the capital of Cambodia - we visited the Tuol Sleng Museum and the Choeung Ek Killing Fields for ... read more
A torture cell at S-21
playground equipment/torture implement
photos of thousands of victims that passed through S-21

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap July 19th 2010

Not many things will get me out of bed at four in the morning. A raging fire, acute diarrhoea, possibly the advances of Ewan McGregor. But apparently the opportunity to see the largest religious structure in the world is also a winner if you're looking for an alarm call for me in the future. And so I found myself rushing ahead of the crowds to secure a spot by an atmospheric, perfectly reflecting, and mosquito laden lake at 5am. I sat there peering into the dark and waited as, like magic, the iconic towers of Angkor Wat became sillohetted against the lightening sky. It's one of those cliched moments on the well worn backpacker trail through South East Asia, and rightly so, it was really exciting to see this ancient monument emerge from the darkness ... read more
Angkor Wat and a bit more sunrise!
Hoards of people watching the sun come up
Inside Angkor Wat

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok July 18th 2010

...and one hundred and one other scams to learn between Bangkok and Cambodia: 1. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. This is the number one scam I've learnt to look out for and avoid, very difficult for penny pinching backpackers to resist though. Only $2 you say? Wow that's so cheap I have to do it! Hmm, no actually I don't. 2. The temple/palace/hotel/whatever that you wish to go to is open and welcoming paying visitors, but your guide/tuk tuk driver/random stranger on the street won't be benefiting from a healthy commission so will do everything they can to convince you that it's a public holiday/only open to locals this morning/closed down/owned by bad people/too far etc etc in a bid to get you to go to their temple/travel agents/hotel/gem shop. ... read more
my bed for the night on the train
Khosan Road, Bangkok
Just one of the weird and wonderful sights on the Khosan Road

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai July 15th 2010

After just a day in Chiang Mai we were so in love with the laid back atmosphere of this town that we booked ourselves a whole week here. Thanks to Jacqui's recommendation we have been staying in a fantastic hotel: private twin room, crisp white linen, airconditioning, buffet breakfast, 25m pool, sun loungers, free wifi, beautiful gardens all for £4 a night! Paradise is not without its troubles though; it would seem the gods think we have had too much of a good thing and so for our last two days they have cursed the pool, turning it a slurry brown and installing a grumbling, slurping machine to suck at the murky waters. This is not a good thing for a girl intent on eating her way through the menu of every restaurant, cafe and street ... read more
Our beutiful pool at Imm Eco Hotel
The cake fridge at Love at First Bite...
Ooooh cakes!

Asia » Singapore July 7th 2010

For someone who is not the biggest fan of huge settlements, giant skyscrapers, shopping malls and the bright lights, I seem to have spent a lot of time in exactly these sort of places during the first two weeks of this trip. It's not been all bad, cities are damn useful places to get fast internet, reliable pharmaceuticals and a decent cocktail. However I definitely had more fun stepping away from the bustling streets and kicking back on a tropical island for five days - this girl is definitely made for days lounging on the beach, evenings sunset and stargazing, and nights strolling to the bar for another cold beer! From Dubai we flew direct to Kuala Lumpur. No surprises that we needed another good lie in after an 8 hour flight, but eventually we dragged ... read more
Kuala Lumpur
Photo 4
Chinatown, KL

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai June 26th 2010

In the summer time when it's too hot to go outside; When you go for a stroll, sweat runs down you like a tide. In the summer, you need AC in Dubai, AC on the bus and in the Malls in Dubai. Figuring that you shouldn't judge a place without visiting it we decided to turn a 2 hour transfer into a 3 day layover in Dubai on our way out to the Far East. In my mind before I even got here Dubai stood for everything I find obnoxious about this World of ours. Gross commercialism and opulence. The turning of a desert wilderness into a land of plenty without a thought for the environmental impact of all that concrete, water and electricity. The mass migration of millions of people from distant lands hoping to ... read more
The view from our hotel!
The Burj - bottom half
The Burj - top half

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