Stephen Smith

No i do not want a motorcycle

Stephen Smith

Travelling in indonesia for wildlife and adventure

South America » Ecuador » East » Napo August 26th 2012

I've been volunteering in the Amazon for over 2 months now. I've got my fair share of bites, stings and blisters, I'm exhausted from the lack of sleep, early mornings and strenuous treks, starved of any meat/cheese and generally any food that has taste or isn't beans! So, my weekend off that I returned from a few days back couldn't have come any sooner! Despite the hardships it's all been worth it though, what I've experienced in 2 months will be hard to top in my last month. Anyway, a bit about what I'm actually doing here.... The organisation I've been volunteering with are called GVI and they have projects running in most continents, normally focusing on education and development in third world countries. This one however, is different to most (although there is still the ... read more
Dog at Puerto Rico
Henry in the hide

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito June 29th 2012

Quito 24th - 29th July Bienvenidos! After arriving in Quito early evening from what seemd like the longest flight in the world with the most irritating toddler in front of me, I got a taxi to what would be my place of residence for the next week. I did arrange to be picked up from the airport by my Hostel but for whatever reason they didn't (the taxi worked out cheaper than if I'd have got the Hostel pick up anyway). The Hostel is a nice friendly place, although no-one speaks English what so ever, despite the many reviews I read saying how good thier English was. I don't expect everyone to know English but it just would have been helpfull arriving in a strange place with some advice I can understand. So, it's pretty tricky ... read more
View over the Andies
Boa Constrictor

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Kinabatangan August 11th 2010

16th day - Sakua, Kinabatangan River On the bus journey in the morning we drove right by Mt Kinabalu which stands over 4000metres high, it's quite an impressive lump of rock! Shortly after passing Mt Kinabalu, the lanscape changed from nice dense forest to mile after mile of palm oil plantations. Palm oil is used in shampoo products, foods, bio-fuel and lots more things I can't think of right now. It's the first time I've seen it here in Borneo, which is surprising because it's everywhere and it's the main reason for the decline in rain forest and endangered species! What people get from 1 palm oil tree is really quite minimal, that's why they have rows and rows of them stretching long distances, to get enough to actually do something with. About 70% of the ... read more
Family of Macaques
Proboscis Monkeys

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah August 11th 2010

15th day - Kota Kinabalu After our flight to Kota Kinabalu we immediately headed out of town to get.....yes, you guessed correctly, another night bus! We were out of luck this time however, all night buses were full. After getting accomodation for a night we headed out for food and beers. Walking around looking for food, it became clear to me that we were in the less developed area of Kota Kinabalu i.e. rats in the stairwell to our motel, dark dingey bars and maybe a few prostitutes (or maybe they just liked to dress provocatively, I don't know). I knew Malaysia was a safe place though, so no worries there. Following our unlucky bus situation, which gave us less time to do the things we'd planned, the new plan was to skip the orangutan sanctuary ... read more

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak August 6th 2010

14th day - Mulu National Park We arrived at Mulu airport and walked for 30mins to the National Park HQ to find out where we could pitch our tent. The Lonely Planet guide says you can camp inside the National Park but when we asked, the park warden said different. Luckily we'd previously noticed a bodge-job homestay and camp site set up by a local family on the road to the NP. It was probably a much better place to be than inside the NP, we kind of felt like we were living with the locals in a way, well we weren't eating with them etc but just living on the grounds of a typical malay longhouse felt really traditional. Thier large house was on stilts and had planks of wood leading to the steps to ... read more
Blow pipe ammunition...

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak August 3rd 2010

13th day - Borneo Okay, so it took me 2 flights and a lot of hanging about in Kuala Lumpur Airport (not a bad place to waste time though) to get to Borneo. We are staying in a town called Miri, which is the main hub for backpackers wanting to visit Borneo's famous cave system. We have a short flight booked early tomorrow morning to take us to the National Park - It's not very far away but there just aren't any roads so we have no choice but to take a flight. There's a major shortage of roads all over Borneo actually, so the preferred method of travel is by boat or plane. We found a nights accommodation not far from the airport - a place packed full of travelers with the same idea. The ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Flores August 2nd 2010

9th day - Flores I'm not particularly happy about domestic flights, had a few rough one's in Ethiopia and have developed a bit of a fear for them, this one however was smooth as! I arrived in Flores at kimodo airport in the small coastal town of Labuan Bajo with the plan of getting an official taxi (one with a metre). There were no official taxi's to be seen however. I got in any old taxi, another chap invited himself too, he obviously knew the taxi driver and wanted my business. I said where i needed dropping off (my chosen travel agent, to organise my trip to see the dragons) but they dropped me at what was obviously the guys own travel agency. I like to plan things myself so I know exactly whats going on, ... read more
View on way to Rinca
Komodo Dragon

Asia » Indonesia » Bali July 31st 2010

8th day - Bali It's not very easy to plan ahead in Indonesia, half of the hostels don't have websites and if they do they don't work or aren't in English. Still haven't worked out how to phone within Indonesia, you need some kind of area code that people don't seem to know. So, it's pretty much just turn up at places and hope they have room. This approach didn't work when we arrived in the beach side town of Sanur - the alternative to the over crowded touristy town of Kuta. Every place was full, i wanted to put my heavy bag down and get a shower so badly. A man seemed to appear out of no where and said he knew of vacancies at a nearby hotel with air con, shower, very cheap price ... read more

Asia » Indonesia July 31st 2010

6th day - Probalingo Arriving at 6:30 meant that we couldn't check into any hostels and get some sleeping action in until 12. One place did let us keep luggage in the hostel though, it was starting to warm up and I didn't want to carry my stuff in the heat, I already felt like curling into a ball and dying. This is what proper travelers do though, they go copious amounts of time without sleep, food or showering, getting lost in the middle of nowhere etc, I'm just not used to it yet, probably will be by the time i finish my trip though. Got 3hrs of deep sleep in the afternoon but had to get up and walk down town to sort out a lift to the edge of Bromo. Bromo is a group ... read more
Walking down the mountain

Asia » Indonesia » Java July 31st 2010

4th day - Jogjakarta Once i arrived in Jogjakarta i noticed 2 guys looking through the trusty old lonely planet guide, I asked them what they're plans were and we decided to go off and search out a place to stay. After 5 or so failed attempts we came across a good one, i say good but i saw 2 rats outside the hostel the size of cats, maybe not the size of cats but still. Because we'd arrived at 4am we weren't allowed into our room yet so decided to go and see a huge Buddhist temple, these are relatively rare in Indonesia due to being the most populated Muslim country in the world. I found that hard to believe at first, you'd think the Middle East would be. Bogden and florent are french, they ... read more
Orb weaving spider
Florent,Bogden & our guides

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