John Birch

John from Totnes

John Birch

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Ko Samet January 27th 2015

Lynne and I have returned to Ko Samet, an island south of Bankok, for a week of rest and relaxation before moving on to Myanmar, formerly Burma, for some sightseeing. Great place for chilling out and catching up on all those books you have not had time to read. The temperature is the comfortable side of hot and the sea is how it should be - warm and inviting.... read more

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Mandalay February 23rd 2014

This is the country to visit before it starts to feature more on the tourist trail. The country is unspoilt with the majority of the people using small motorcycles as their main means of transport. The people are really friendly and welcome the visitors to their country with open arms. Our trip included a 3 day stay in Mandalay, a two day trip down the Irrawaddy River, 3 days in Bagan, 1 day in Kalaw and finally 3 days by Lake Inle. I was intending to do a blog at each stop but this proved impossible as the IT facilities were just not capable of performing. Rather than bore the readers with a day to day blow of my visit I have decided to post a selection of my best photographs as they are much more ... read more
Painting the Stuppas
Young monks
More young monks

Asia » Maldives » Male Atoll February 5th 2014

Have just spent a week on Kurumba in The Maldives. A very special place for lots of R and R. I will just let the pictures do the talking. My idea of a desert island.... read more
Near to our spot on the beach
Coconut trees abound

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Dambulla February 4th 2014

After Kandy we headed to for Dambulla which is at the heart of the Cultural Triangle. After dusting ourselves down we headed for Minneriya National Park where we went on a safari by jeep through the jungle and by a large lake were the elephants were gathering. Lots to see including crocodiles, wild peacocks, many varies of different birds, monkeys and of course the elephants. The next morning was to be the ascent of Sigiriya Rock Fortress and is Sri Lanka's Ayres Rock. Lynne decided to opt out of thirds trip and spent a day round the pool. The rock is very impressive but quite a challenge in the heat. On top of the rock there are the remains of a 13th century palace. On our final morning in Dambulla we visited the very popular cave ... read more
Help required in crossing river
John on Safari
Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Kandy January 26th 2014

We have spent a few days visiting the sights in and around Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka. We travelled down to Kandy from the hills through miles of tea plantations on a rather old and rickety train service which took over 4 hours. The scenery was amazing and I must say it has to be one of the best train journeys I have been on. Yesterday we went to see the elephants at Pinnawala. What a sight and they are such loveable creatures. Lynne had the time of her life feeding one of those huge beasts as you will see from the photos. We had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the river where the elephants come to bathe and managed to get a ring side seat to see the mass bathe in! Today ... read more
Tea plantation near Nanu Oya
Tea pickers
More tea plantations

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Nuwara Eliya January 23rd 2014

Started our stay in Sri Lanka with a week of resting and relaxation in a small town called Wadduwa which is on the coast about seventy km south of Colombo. The week was dominated by the crashing of the waves from the Indian Ocean on to the beach in front of our hotel. A never ending sound as our hotel was just up from the beach. Then on Wednesday we headed for the hills and the tea plantations near to Nuwara Eliya. There the tree bushes stretch for mile upon mile and it is not hard to see why tea is such an important part of the economy with most of the tea ending up in the UK. Quite obviously part of our visit included a trip round a tea factory to see the transformation from ... read more

Middle East » Cyprus » Paphos » Polis June 20th 2013

Lynne and I have spent a couple of weeks resting and relaxing on this wonderful island where the weather has been perfect, although it is now hotting up, and the people are so friendly and helpful. We have been staying at a villa near the coastal town of Latchi which is on the North West point of West Cyprus. Both Latchi and the nearby town of Polis have a fair selection of decent restaurants and I must say Trip Advisor has been very helpful in locating the best. Most of the time has been spent relaxing around the pool at the villa and I am now on my 5th book. A swim between chapters is most refreshing.However we have not been completely lazy and we have had a few trips out in the car (which is ... read more
The beach at Agios Georgios
Harbour at Cape Drepano
Villa Mandola Rosa

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Khao Lak February 6th 2013

We have spent the last week of our trip relaxing at the Ramada Hotel in Khao Lak and tomorrow we set off for the long trip home. This past week has been free of temples, palaces and river trips and in their place we have had plenty of sea, sand and Singha beer. As such there is not much to "write home about" although there are a few snippets you might be interested in. The West Europeans (excluding Brits) and the sunbeds. I would say that there are probably more West Europeans, and in particular Germans, here at the hotel than any other nationality and as you can imagine with their presence there could be a problem with the "bagging" of sunbeds especially as the hotel is next to the beach. The hotel has sought to ... read more
The beach at Khao Lak
Ramada Hotel
Pool, sea and sunbeds

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Ayutthaya January 30th 2013

Arrived back in Thailand after our family get together in Perth and started our trip around Central Thailand. Our first stop was in the garden province of Samut Songhkhram which included visits to a unique country market along the railway tracks, several floating markets, a paddleboat journey through the canals and of course a Buddhist temple. The next stop was in the district of Kanchanaburi and here we spent lots of time visiting the various memorials dedicated to the those who worked and lost their lives in the construction of the Thailand to Burma Railway during WW2. We walked the bridge over the River Kwai which has now been restored after the original bridge was destroyed by Allied bombers. Particularly moving was the Hellfire Pass Memorial which included a well laid out museum and a trail ... read more
Train at market
Boatman taking a nap
Lynne and our guide Oui

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia » Perth January 23rd 2013

We travelled to Perth from Thailand to be at Thomas and Angie's wedding which was a great success and a most enjoyable occasion. Thomas is my brother Brian and his wife Cherryll's son and last Saturday he married Angie, who was a model bride. The marriage service was at the chapel of Santa Maria College in Attadale, close to where Brian and Cherryll live. Later in the day the reception was held at this wonderful venue overlooking the Swan River and known as Acqua Viva on the Swan. The reception was great fun with plenty of eating, drinking and dancing. The wedding also gave Lynne and me the opportunity to meet up with one of our oldest friends, Bill, who now lives in Perth. Bill was the best man at our wedding way back in 1970. ... read more
Henry Moore in Art Gallery
Perth City fom King's Park

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