Jools & Steve


Jools & Steve

Welcome to the travel journals of Jools & Steve from Cardiff, Wales, UK....

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok July 27th 2008

We're at the end of our trip! We can't believe that 10 weeks have passed since we left Oz, and that our final leg of the trip in Thailand is ending. We sadly left Samui on Friday for Bangkok after a totally chilled time there. We'll greatly miss the safe haven of Shambala with the owners', Jess & Julz, friendly welcome (and appreciate their tolerance of us turning our bungalow into a cats' home!), Pom & Pun's lovely cooking, and Em's endless smiles and kind heart. We'll miss the calming sound of the sea on our doorstep and the revitalizing sea breeze blowing across our balcony. And we'll miss the 4 kittens and mum who 'stayed' with us at Shambala for the last few weeks, all demanding breakfast at 7 in the morning and a free ... read more
Em at Shambala
Zzzeds Time

Asia » Malaysia » Penang » George Town June 21st 2008

After almost a month of beach-life on Koh Samui, we finally moved our backsides and flew out of Samui to Penang at the beginning of this week. Principally because we had to leave Thailand or face hefty charges for overstaying our visa, otherwise we'd have stayed. But a change is as good as a rest, and we've spent almost a week here in Penang, staying at 'G Hotel' in George Town, the main city of Penang. The hotel's quite a designer statement in Penang, with its minimalist style; a bit too minimalist perhaps, with its cavernous reception-cum-lounge area, white walls and black furniture. We're enjoying our room however, with all its mod-cons. And room-service breakfast is a treat! There's a huge shopping mall right next to the hotel, with umpteen eateries, cafes and shops. So we've ... read more
G Hotel
View From Our Room at G Hotel
Our Room at G Hotel

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Samui June 4th 2008

Sawadee Ka! That's Thai for hello, spoken by a female; men say 'khrub' at the end of phrases in stead of 'ka'. But in some phrase books it's 'khrap'! And I've heard some blokes say 'kup'. It's a bit confusing but we're trying... We also know the Thai for thank you - khorb koon ka/khrab (or khrap, depending on which book), and custard apple - noi naa, which has proved very useful during the Lich's quest to feed his custard apple habit; he keeps going up to staff in supermarkets and street markets asking, 'Noi naa??!' in desperation. But typically we're here in Thailand during the off-season for custard apples, and even the Tesco Lotus has stopped importing them from Oz or wherever. So the Lich has resorted to sampling lots of other strange looking asian ... read more
Step 2: Wrap Around...
Step 3: Tie...
Step 4: Fold Over...

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Samui May 26th 2008

Seriously, it's taken a whole week to muster the energy to open the laptop and compose this blog entry. That's not through not wanting to write; the intense heat and humidity here makes even the simplest of activities a major operation. Completing all the tasks to get showered and dressed in the morning feels like having climbed Everest with an elephant on my back. So, it's full-on relaxation mode here, whether we like it or not. The flight from Singapore last Monday was OK, although I wasn't at all reassured that the tiny doll-like girl and boy stewards on this Bangkok Airways flight would be able to execute emergency procedures in the event of incident. Fortunately, we safely arrived at Koh Samui airport. The new privately owned airport is reputed to be the most beautiful airport ... read more
Our Beach Bungalow, Big Buddha Beach
Shelter & Wheels
Evel Kinevel

Asia » Singapore May 19th 2008

Panorama: View From Balcony At Novotel, Clarke Quay It was a bittersweet moment when we arrived at the Wicked depot in Cairns to drop off the van. 007 Shaken was washed and vacuumed (as much as is possible without actually hoovering up the holey bits of carpet that remain in the cab). And the woman in reception didn't even check the van, just gave us our bond back no question, with an element of surprise in her voice that 007 Shaken had actually made it all the way up the coast. She didn't think Wicked have any vans over 10 years old - 007 Shaken is 20! So, in this light, perhaps this was 007's final walkabout?? For a moment, it felt like we were taking faithful old Neddy to the knacker's yard for the chop... ... read more
Novotel Clarke Quay
Very Pikey Pants
View From Novotel Balcony

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns » Cairns City May 14th 2008

Well, we've actually made it, all the way from Sydney to Cairns (and beyond, if you include Port Douglas!). Our trusty 007 Wicked van didn't let us down once, and although the ride has been a bit of a bone-shaker, it's been fun - an education! We've been chilling out here in Cairns for the past few days, staying at the pleasant Lake Placid Tourist Park. Cairns is a really nice city, with a superb huge lido overlooking the beach, where everyone gathers to sunbathe and swim. And you can get an almost tidy ice-cream in town. We've done the touristy bit here in Cairns, with a trip up to Kuranda village on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, and back down on Skyrail, a rainforest cableway. The railway line up to Kuranda is an amazing feat of ... read more
Wicked Van
Wicked Van, Other Side
Cairns Esplanade & Boardwalk

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Port Douglas May 7th 2008

Leaving Airlie Beach and the lovely Whitsundays, we headed up the coast to Mission Beach, staying overnight at the posh but remote Rollingstone Beach Caravan Resort. We spent a few days hiding away at the quiet Mission Beach Hideaway Holiday Village before heading further north, bypassing Cairns and arriving in Port Douglas. Port Douglas is quite posh with its 5 star resort accommodations and boutique shops, and it seems to have been visited at least a couple of times by Bill Clinton, judging by the photos of him displayed in the windows of various eateries. Amazingly there's still a van park in town and apparently a council one to boot (Tropical Breeze Van Village - compact sites but a very well managed park), sandwiched between a street full of expensive 'resort' buildings. Actually, there are 2 ... read more
Wicked Van

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Whitsundays April 28th 2008

We faced the possibility of being herded, and booked a day trip on Reef Jet to get to see the Whitsunday Islands and do some snorkelling on the reef. And we had a lush day, didn't feel like cattle being moved here and there en masse, in fact it was very chilled and pleasant. We spent an hour or so snorkelling just off Border Island, where the coral is fantastic. It's amazing to see this whole different world under the water. We wore stinger suits, as advised, as those pesky marine jellyfish are still at large, although we didn't see any. We then cruised over to Whitsunday Island and took a short walk through the bush to the Hill Inlet lookout to view the Whitsunday Passage with the amazing pure silica white sand banks, with Whitehaven ... read more
Life On The Ocean Wave...
Getting Ready To Dive
Stinger Suits You Sir!

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Airlie Beach April 27th 2008

We left the Town of 1770 campsite and drove about 300 km north up to Yeppoon, near Rockhampton, staying a night at the Beachside Caravan Park in Yeppoon before doing the next 350 km stretch up to Mackay. The road from Rockhampton to Mackay is long and lonely, with only a few small townships dotted along. And as we feel every bump we go over in our Bond-mobile, the past few days of long drives have been a bit testing. We counted teens of road-kill roos along these long stretches of road; it's illegal to swerve to avoid an animal on the roads here, so it's coco pops for umpteen poor roos each night on the roads of Oz... We spent a couple of nights communing with nature at a remote wilderness camp at Cape Hillsborough, ... read more
Wicked Van
Long Road From Rockhampton to Mackay
Roo on Beach at Cape Hillsborough

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » 1770 April 22nd 2008

We left Rainbow Beach, and motored on up the coast, arriving at a very laid back and thankfully rain-free little coastal hamlet with the bizarre name of 'Town of 1770', a bit north of Bundaberg. Apparently, it was renamed in 1936 in honour of James Cook's landing there on 24th May 1770, on 'Bustard Beach' so named by Cook after he and his crew feasted on a Bustard caught there (Steve had a history lesson from the very enthusiastic campsite manager every time he went to the kiosk...) This is the first 'real' stylie campsite we've had the good fortune to find. It's pretty basic, none of the bells and whistles of the Big 4 parks with the prices to match, but it's got that 'back to nature' feel about it - the sound of the ... read more
Wicked Van
Early Doors at 1770

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