Page 3 of MikeandHelen Travel Blog Posts

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh September 20th 2010

Arriving in Delhi We hit Delhi on a Friday evening after the fairly short flight from Bangkok. We had our first taste onboard of the Indian mischief and disregard for rules that can lead to the famous chaos, when the Cathay Pacific air stewardess had an incredibly hard time trying to convince an economy cabin full of Indian males to sit down and do up their seat belts. People were sneaking off all through the final descent for toilet breaks or essential conversations with others a few rows away. As we landed and taxied across the runway, the captain continually relayed very emphatic orders that people sit down until we had stopped, only for everyone to stand up as soon as he had finished speaking, in spite of the hostesses standing all around them, almost begging ... read more
Sunset colours over McLeod Ganj
The crazy "autos" of Delhi
A typically chaotic road scene in India

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand September 4th 2010

Hitting Southern Thailand Crossing the border into southern Thailand from Malaysia was a breeze after some of our recent border experiences on trains. About 5 minutes in total took us from leaving Malaysia to entering Thailand and being greeted by a smiling border official, followed by an exhilirating 2 minute ride, backpack and all, riding pillion on a motorbike-taxi, to get us to the bus stop where we could push on straight up to Krabi, on the Thai west coast. Our first impressions of travelling through southern Thailand were of the large numbers of army checkpoints dotted along the roads, which became less common as we moved further north. Although we had been advised there can be some trouble with Muslim anti-Thai groups in the area, this large army presence did reassure us that things are ... read more
"Did I turn the gas off on the hob?"
Koh Phi Phi from above
Boats lined up on Koh Phi Phi

Asia » Malaysia » Terengganu » Perhentian Kecil August 20th 2010

The Cameron Highlands After having spent the last few weeks in the real heat of southern China and Malaysia, we decided we needed a bit of cool relief. To that end, we headed inland onto Peninsular Malaysia from Penang, and up into the mountains of the Cameron Highlands. Located at between 1,300 - 1,800m, in just a couple of hours drive the weather changed from 30+ Deg sunshine to 15 Deg and rain as we arrived. Helen was instantly thinking "this is more like it". We kept hearing how the Cameron Highlands are just like Scotland - which has a grain of truth to it. On arrival, you are greeted with lush green hills and mock tudor guesthouses offering tea and scones and homemade strawberry jam. Due to being located within the tropics, the mild climate ... read more
The forest dwellers come out for the camera
Tea plantation in Cameron Highalnds
Enjoy the final product overlooking the tea plantation

Asia » Malaysia » Penang August 12th 2010

Langkawi We left China excited to experience somewhere different, and looking forward to relaxing for a few days. We flew out of Guilin to Kuala Lumpur and straight on to the island of Langkawi, off Malaysia's west coast, near the border with Thailand. We had chosen to start our time in Malaysia on Langkawi, in part to coincide with meeting Dean and Kat for a night on their honeymoon (congratulations you 2 by the way!). However, sadly for them, Kat's eleventh-hour apendicitis put paid to their visit (though, incredibly, not the wedding - Kat you are a trouper!) and they never made it to Malaysia. So we did the chilling out for the team ;-) On arrival in Malaysia, our first impression was just how much easier things are for travelling. Almost everybody speaks at least ... read more
Sunset over Pantai Cenang, Langkawi
Helen taking the quick route up
Mike sailing over Pantai Cenang

Asia » China » Guangxi » Yangshuo July 20th 2010

Kangding, Sichuan Province Sichuan province is primarily known for one particular reason within China and elsewhere - very spicy food. A typical local dish is a "hotpot". This is where a pot of incredibly spicy broth (containing lots of Sichuan peppers) is set in the middle of the table over a gas burner and allowed to boil. You then pick out skewers of raw meat, fish, vegetables or even eggs from a whole selection at one side of the restaurant, and plunge them into the hotpot to cook in the spicy broth. Essentially a very spicy version of a meat fondue. As we were in Kangding, a fairly large town in the province, we decided to head out one night with our new travelling companions to take on the hotpot. I have to report back that ... read more
Tagong lady enjoying the monks getting down
Dancing Tibetan Monks
Spinning prayer wheels around Tagong monastery

Asia » China » Yunnan July 15th 2010

Yunnan Province.......higher, wetter, cooler After the heat and chaos of the big city, we were at a bit of a loss as to where to go next in China. It's such a big country and the options are endless. However, to escape the heat, we figured going up in altitude should cool things down. With that, we booked a flight down to Kunming in the Yunnan province of south west China, home to mountains and fabulous hiking and biking. On arrival in Kunming, we moved straight on to the bus station and the 5 hour journey west to Dali. This probably still stands out as one of the most hair-raising journeys either of us has been on. The pre-requisite when building a bus in China (as in many parts of the world) seems to be ... read more
Narrow Lijiang Streets
Working the rice fields around Dali
Tiger Leaping Gorge

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty July 1st 2010

Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan Our next stop on our rail odyssey (via attempted bribery by a border official), was Kazakhstan. We stayed in the city of Almaty, which was the capital until 1998, and still remains the biggest city in the country. We went from the sandy-toned romance and steamy, mysterious atmosphere of the Silk Route citadels of Uzbekistan to the cool, sleek affluence of one of Central Asia's biggest cities. It was drizzly on arrival, which was a welcome break from the relentless sun we'd had up until then. Almaty is a strange city, in that it is virtually impossible to pinpoint a centre to it - we saw the new 'Independence Square', which consists of some space for some symbolic statues by the side of one of the main roads, rather than a square ... read more
Saying Goodbye in Almaty
Dr. Evil's hideout found in Kazakhstan
Babuskhas on the train platform - Kazakhstan

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow June 24th 2010

St. Petersburg We left a very wet and cold London on 7th June to arrive in St. Petersburg which guessed it, wet and cold. So much for trying to escape the unpredictable British summer then! Luckily it cleared up later the first day for our trawl across town to our first hostel of the trip. We stayed in a hostel called Friends and i have to say it was just like staying in a Russian version of the TV show. The show was on loop (dubbed to Russian obviously) in the reception, pictures from the show were on the walls and they even had that picture frame thing on the back of the main door. Sadly the staff didn't look like Jennifer Anniston! The first thing we noticed about St. Petersburg was how late it ... read more
Summer Palace St. Petersburg
St. Basil's Cathedral & Red Square
Moscow Underground Station

North America » United States » Florida » Miami Beach March 27th 2008

First Up - The Eagle Eyed among you may have actually seen me in various places around London in the last week or so. Well, you are not mistaken and I am in fact (Delighted to be?) back home and back at work. It's not as much fun writing these blogs from my office in Uxbridge as in various internet cafes around South America I can tell you. And it snowed here at the weekend - In April! Miami - enjoying the trip up to the bitter end Miami was the final 2 day stopover of the whole adventure then. The idea was just to take it very easy, adjust back to normal life a little (Well, as normal as life is in Miami) and go shopping too i think. And all of these we pretty ... read more
The UK is 4,000km that way
The only good thing about coming home?
We didn't see this in Ecuador

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Quilotoa March 25th 2008

On to the final country of the trip then and into Ecuador the hard way. From Trujillo, it was 3 separate bus trips, totalling 24 hours, to get the city of Cuenca on the Central highlands route through Ecuador. Unfortunately, bus comfort deterioates into Ecuador so it was no comfortable bus seats to sleep on for us. Instead pretty hard seats, that didn´t recline much, accompanied by that much loved South American synthesiser music and 1970´s Mexican musicals on the TV at full volume. Although all of this was interrupted by a 12:45am border crossing at a mosquito infested river with border guards who really would rather not have been there at 12:45am! Still, we made it in the end to Cuenca, our first stop in Ecuador. Cuenca Cuenca is another beautiful colonial city (Do i ... read more
Cotopaxi Volcano
Zumbahua Saturday market
Quilotoa crater in the morning

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