Page 2 of Travelling Fraggles Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Philippines » Siquijor December 27th 2018

Tagibilaran port was busy and you have to queue 3 times, if like us you’ve bought tickets in advance; once to change your online confirmation into a ticket, once to pay a small port charge and once to check your luggage in (which also costs extra). Usefully at this port each is next to the other and we’d arrived when the queues were short. We had open class tickets, the same price as economy we prefer to be outside, this turned out to be on top, we had a roof and plastic drop down sides but it was a beautifully calm day. The waters were crystal clear and there was not a ripple it was had to believe this was the ocean. Definitely the flattest calmest waters we have ever sailed. With a journey time of ... read more

Asia » Philippines » Bohol December 25th 2018

The dog sleeping on the runway didn’t seem to mind our jet landing, and the pilot and the airport didn’t mind either. We’d read Bohol airport was moving but in a couple of months to Panglao Island from Tagbilaran City so were surprised to find we landed in Panglao. The terminal isn’t quite finished, but apparently they switched last month. This was a bugger for us as it was farther away from where we were heading so meant a more expensive fare. Taxi touts wanted 800 pesos. We always play it cool and act with no urgency, as the more passengers come through and they haven’t got a fare the price usually goes down sharply. We’d got one down to 400 pesos and were about to accept when a tuk-tuk arrived to drop someone off and ... read more
Accommodation you could stay at forever

Asia » Philippines » Mt Pinatubo December 21st 2018

By 10am we were on the road out of Sagada heading to Mt Pulag. We stopped for lunch in Banaue. Alfredo knew a good place and we had a fantastic vegetable curry between us out in the balcony with a view over the town. It was a little boring going partially back the way we’d come but that all changed in the next town of Lagawe when a tuk-tuk drove into the side of the car, it hit the back as Alfredo swerved. They both pulled over, clearly no deal could be done (payment) as a few minutes later they were both off to the police station as Alfredo needed a police report to claim on the insurance. He was calm but pissed, the car wasn’t his it was his boss’. It was better we didn’t ... read more

Asia » Philippines » Sagada December 19th 2018

Our shortest travel day, it only took 2 hours to drive the 60km of hill bends to Sagada. On the way Alfredo asked if we wanted to go to Bontoc Museum. We didn’t know what was there but said yes anyway. It turned out to be a cool little museum about local culture including old photos of head hunters and burial rights. Bizarrely it also turned out to be in a school yard. We parked in the middle as the children were lined up doing singing practice of Christmas carols. We arrived at our homestay in Sagada in the late afternoon. A big wooden house on 2 levels a couple of kilometres out of town, it was lovely and quiet and the family very friendly. With sunset being early we wanted to head out for a ... read more

Asia » Philippines » Banaue December 17th 2018

Before leaving NZ we’d found a driver to take us on a 5 day loop trip into the mountains. Being short on time we’d quickly realised we wouldn’t be able to fit in as much as we wanted if we went by public transport. Our first destination was Banaue in the heart of the region that is home to the Philippines infamous rice terraces. Its a 9-10 hour drive, so our driver had asked if we would be ok to leave at 4am to miss Manila’s traffic gridlock. Thankfully our bodies are still partly on NZ time and while we hadn’t got to bed any near as early as we should getting up at 3:30am didn’t feel too bad. We were surprised at how much life there was when we left, Manila clearly doesn’t sleep. Even ... read more

Asia » Philippines » Manila December 15th 2018

Manila is known as the Pearl of the Orient but ask a Filipino and almost all will tell you to not to waste time there and to get out of the city at the first opportunity. It has a reputation for being a sprawling metropolis where modern clashes with poverty, and city traffic that is so congested it crawls if it moves at all. The Lonely Planet is kinder saying the name is apt because ‘its unappealing shell reveals its jewel only to those resolute enough to pry’. We’d decided instead of bouncing straight through we’d give it a day and a half. We’ve come to experience something of the country and see what life is like, not just see the highlights. On arrival we didn’t feel too bad, despite flight delays on our first 2 ... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Northern Areas » Gilgit-Baltistan August 19th 2018

Kashgar marks the end of the 1,300km Karakoram Highway and the end of our journey. We've completed one of the classic travel journeys, following in the footsteps of the many traders, warriors, pilgrims and poets that have gone before us on this remote branch of the ancient Silk Road, through the Himalayas, Hindu Kush and Karakorum mountains. Depending on your perspective we’ve survived one of the world’s most dangerous roads or travelled one of the world’s most spectacular. Either way we mustn’t forget the heavy toll on the workers who built the modern day road in the 1960’s and 70’s. 810 Pakistanis and 200 Chinese lost their lives due to the high elevation and inhospitable terrain. Most from the landslides which continue to be a regular feature of the Highway, and the scars from which – ... read more
Route 2018

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Kashgar August 17th 2018

The last stage of the journey had all the hallmarks that define the Karakoram Highway – it required patience, involved the unexpected and had spectacular scenery. After leaving the hostel and walking to the bus station, we passed through the security scanner at the gate and saw Calvin. An Indonesian he has just finished doing a Masters degree in Beijing and is travelling around China for a couple of months before finding his next job or going home. We’d spend much of the evening before talking to him at the hostel and knew he was also planning to take the bus to Kashgar. We were pointed towards where 4 shared taxis were parked on an empty lot. We wanted the bus but weren’t concerned as it was parked just past us. Marie was left with the ... read more

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Kashgar August 16th 2018

Tashkurgan is totally different to Pakistan. Dominated by big concrete buildings, many behind barricades, and while only a small town it’s main road is a big 4 lane highway. There was barely anything on it as we walked down the side, we wondered where all the life was. The only other foreigner on the border bus was a Korean woman, also heading to K2 hostel (which is where all the travellers in Tashkurgan go), we had said we could head there together. There was no sign of any form of transport we could take and everything we had read said the town was walkable. The map we had didn’t extend as far as the immigration office so we asked a couple of young Pakistani guys on our bus, who are studying in China to become doctors ... read more

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Kashgar August 15th 2018

Crossing the Pakistan/China border is a long and interesting process. We arrived at the bus ticket office 9am sharp as instructed. After a 10 minute wait one of the bus guys walked us down to Pakistan’s customs/immigration. There we waited outside a small hall for 20 minutes before being invited in to take a seat. We watched for another 10 minutes as 2 guys exporting carpets unpacked them 1 by 1 and the customs guys poked a huge number of holes in them before they were placed individually on the floor and had a sniffer dog ran over them. Finally they were painstakingly allowed to repack them in their original bags. When we were invited to the counter our bags got a cursory glance and our passports checked. We were then told to leave our bags ... read more

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