Page 2 of KatieBrooks Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Philippines » Sagada February 25th 2011

Sagada was a bit of a last minute decision. We had originally wanted to head straight to Baguio for the Flower Festival, but as we found out Sagada was only 3 hours away, we decided to go there for a day on the way as it is apparently beautiful. As we were soon to realise though it is true to say that jeepneys do not leave until they are full. As in really full. We were meant to leave around 8am, and naively we thought we might do. However, it was gone 10am when locals were still turning up with boxes and buckets to make their way to Bontoc- knowing that the stupid bus wouldn't be gone. On the other hand us tourists had been waiting around on the pavement since 7.30! Our journey required us ... read more
local beer cheap as chips
very green
Kate on the bus

Asia » Philippines » Banaue February 22nd 2011

First of all sorry that we have got a bit far behind with the blogs, internet access has been somewhat sparse here in the Philippine Islands. We have nearly completed our 3 week visas and are about to embark on our journey to Indonesia tomorrow. The Philippines is so very different to anywhere else that we have been so far, so we have decided to note some of our observations. Jeepneys The face of the Philippines; these colourful souped up American trucks are used as a form of public transport. You can bring along any luggage you like for a price, as the driver has no qualms about strapping barrels on the roof, chickens to the back, or wrestling a boat engine between the benches. Jeepneys run both short routes within cities and long distance routes ... read more
flowers at viewpoint
nice lookout
scary guy

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Kota Kinabalu February 19th 2011

Kota Kinabalu was not as we had expected, although in retrospect, we weren't really sure what we had expected. We knew that Malaysian Borneo was mostly Muslim, we knew that Sabah was home to was the highest peak in Asia; Mount Kinabalu, and we knew about the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park Islands. Knowing that KK is the gateway both to the attractions listed above, as well as others such as the world famous Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, AND one of the worlds best dive sites; Sipidan, we had expected something, well, more. We had booked into Borneo Global Backpackers for a steal of a deal at 12 ringgit each per night (about £2.50) thinking that location wasn't all that important. We arrived into KK airport in the early evening (the Air Asia flight was fine ... read more
telephone boxes
lanterns again
pretty island

Asia » Malaysia » Kuala Lumpur February 15th 2011

Street kids, beggars, hagglers, hawkers and rip-off merchants shaped our entrance into Kuala Lumpar. 'It is how it is', we were told, and so we tried instead to see the charm hiding behind the poverty, but you cannot completely ignore and not be affected by it. We had opted for taking the local bus from Singapore across the border- the tourist bus cost 30 SGD direct to Kuala Lumpar, but the local bus only 2.40 SGD to get to the border town in Malaysia where we could apparently get another bus onwards to the capital. We were informed by the helpful lady in our hostel that we should take the local bus if we 'fancied an adventure' which of course we did. As it turned out the local bus was completely adequate; an air conditioned carriage ... read more
Bintang by night
nice pool
common area in the apartment block

Asia » Singapore February 12th 2011

'Singapore is not Asia', a French woman had boldly announced over an Indian breakfast. She had been living in Asia for over 20 years and had reached her conclusion spending the last 2 in this modern, organised and litter free city. Singapore is what every city should be; well planned and easy to navigate. If you want to get from the far east to far west, you can probably take the whole journey without even seeing the sunlight, through a variety of interlinked malls and underground passages which are lined with the likes of Rolex stores amongst numerous 7/11s. We had arrived into Singapore from Sydney, on the 'short' flight of just under 8 hours, we were informed by our sales assistant back in STA Sydney. Qantas airlines were a real treat for us, and we ... read more
another lookout
Universal, Sentosa

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney February 9th 2011

As we entered into Australian air space we immediately realised that it was very unlikely we were going to see the sun during our trip. And we had been so excited; February is supposed to be summer in Sydney, and we had been informed by some friends that it was nearly 45 degrees the previous week. The cloud cover was worse than back in the UK- layers and layers of it that sent reverberations through the plane as we ricocheted down towards the runway. We had flown with Aerolineas Argentinas, and to give them their due they weren't half as bad as we had been told. An Aussie behind up kept piping up, whinging to us about not being fed in 11 hours blah blah, but then saying 'well I would have flown Qantas, but they're ... read more
Luke and the opera house
walking around the harbour in the sun
boarding our plane out of Sydney

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires February 4th 2011

Before coming to Buenos Aires we had signed up to an online community called couch surfing. The aim of the project is to bring travellers from all over the world together; people create profiles and allow other travellers to stay with them at their place when they are travelling to that location. A lot of travellers that we met use the site regularly, and have raved about it, so we decided to give it a go. We had met Eric through couch surfing, and he had offered to host us throughout the duration of our stay in the city. Eric is a similar age to us, and although Argentinian, is a fluent English speaker. He owns his own software company with his brother, who, incidentally, was out of the country travelling South East Asia with his ... read more
street art
mate cups
heading to the microcentre

South America » Argentina » Chubut » Puerto Madryn February 1st 2011

We had booked our stay ay El Retorno Hostel over the phone with the aid of Skype, which has been proving very useful throughout the course of our trip. Therefore we had been able to secure a ride from the bus terminal when we arrived at just gone 7 in the morning. We were dropped to our hostel where we were met by the couple who ran the place. We were sat down in the cafe area and were bombarded with tour information, when we just wanted to go to bed. Puerto Madryn is primarily visited for the Peninsula Valdes which is nearby, and where you are able to view the southern right whale at the right time of year. Unfortunately this was not the right time of year, but our hosts were willing to sell ... read more
about to take the tour
beach on Peninsula Valdes

South America » Argentina » Río Negro January 30th 2011

We arrived into Bariloche along with the rain. Instantly we were glad that we had made the decision to extend our stay in El Bolson, as this town was nowhere near as charming for us. Bariloche is a resort town set on the side of a lake, it is known for its famous Swiss architecture which can be found around the town square, but unfortunately not really throughout the extent of the main town. There were a few choice streets which were made up of pretty shop fronts and boutique cafes and bars, but as you walked a few streets back you found yourself surrounded by run down buildings. Our bus drove through the centre of town to get to the terminal. We had to then get off the bus and buy another bus ticket back ... read more
beautiful flowers
arriving in Colonia Suiza

South America » Argentina » Río Negro » El Bolsón January 22nd 2011

We spent eight nights in El Bolson, the longest that we have remained in one place so far on our trip. The place was simply beautiful, and it was difficult to tear ourselves away. El Bolson a small hippie town just two hours south of the more famous Bariloche in the Rio Negro province. It is surrounded by mountains and small waterfalls, and is really close to the popular Lago Puelo. The resort was a destination visited mostly by Argentinian tourists, we only met about 4 english speaking people in our whole time there, which was really great as we were able to use our Spanish. We felt we were in the real Argentina. We arrived in the town after a 27 hour bus ride which fortunately had no break downs. We were a little later ... read more
horses crossing the stream
an audience
El  Bolson by night

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