Page 4 of Travelling Fraggles Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Pakistan » Islamabad August 1st 2018

Just before we left NZ the people we’d organised our border pick up and trip to Islamabad with had contacted us to say they had 2 Dutch guys taking a car with driver on a 2 day journey up to Gilgit (the main city on the Karakoram Highway in the mountains) and did we want to share the cost. We’d been talking to them about hiring a 4WD and driver for a side trip from Gilgit so they knew on our rough thinking on dates were close to aligning. It’s a long journey up, even broken into 2 and the heat was going to make it tougher, so we accepted. The original plan was to depart the day after we got to Islamabad but the Dutch guys needed to delay a day and while keen to ... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Punjab » Gujranwala July 30th 2018

Monday morning meant shops were open. Before moving on from Lahore we wanted to clear a couple of practicalities. Firstly we’d discovered that we need exact change for lots of things – auto-rickshaws, small shops, even the hotel didn’t have change for our big notes. There was a bank on the corner of our street so at 9am Emma took some big notes and got lots of change. The second was asking our driver to Islamabad to take us to get a SIM card. It took him a bit of asking around to find a franchise that could sell us one and when he did for some reason he had to give his details in what looked on the paper like some kind of sponsor. But we didn’t care about the hows or whys, we’d got ... read more
Shared daal lunch
Rohtas Fort
Our 'tour guide'

Asia » Pakistan » Lahore July 30th 2018

Every evening since 1959 (except for a brief period when they were at war) India and Pakistan have undertaken a nightly border closing ceremony at the Wagah crossing. It has become infamous for being a strange spectacle of overt nationalism, and involving very tall men from the Border Security Force on the Indian side and the Pakistan Rangers on the other, doing some serious goose stepping. It was wickedly hot as we left the hotel and negotiated with an auto-rickshaw driver to take us on the 50 minutes journey. When we arrived at 3:30pm the queues were massive. Everything we’d read said there are thousands that attend on the India side but only hundreds on the Pakistani side. We’d gone on a Sunday, and this definitely wasn’t the case. We joined the women’s queue and made ... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Lahore July 29th 2018

Lahore is the capital of Punjab state. Home to 11m people it’s Pakistan’s second largest city and its cultural hub. It's a vibrant place full of chaos and contrast, with squalor and splendour, wide green boulevards and chaotic small streets. The locals have a saying “If you haven’t seen Lahore you haven’t been born yet.” Legend has it that Prince Loh, son of the Hindu Lord Rama set up camp on the banks of the River Ravi and gave his name to the settlement. Historians estimate Lahore dates back at least 4,000 years. The Mughals made it an important city, but much of its beautiful architecture came at the end of the Mughal period. Since independence, Lahore has seen communal disturbances and has suffered a spate of bombings, the most recent being in February 2017, but ... read more

Asia » Pakistan » Lahore July 28th 2018

Border crossing days aka clean top days (it always helps to look half presentable when asking to enter a country) are always a mix of excitement and nerves about the unknown. We love crossing borders, nothing beats walking into a new country with the locals. Despite having a lot in common, India and Pakistan’s relations have been difficult since partition. When the two divided they did so along religious lines; Hindus went to India and Muslims to Pakistan. It was one of the largest human migrations ever seen, and sparked riots and violence across the region. This was followed by the Kashmir conflict and numerous other military conflicts fought between the two. They still regularly take pot shots at each other over the border. Overall their relationship has been plagued by hostility and suspicion. Since their ... read more

Asia » India » Punjab » Amritsar July 27th 2018

A 5:40am flight sounded ok when we booked it. When it actually came to it and we worked out the alarm had to be set for 2:30am… Not sure how we’ve managed to do this to ourselves twice but it sums up this trip so far perfectly – early mornings and packed days. With all that what we want to fit in over the next 3 weeks that doesn’t really look like changing. There is just so much to see and experience. The check in queue for our flight to Mumbai was the slowest we have ever encountered… anywhere… It took an hour to process about a dozen people in front of us and we watched some tourists point out their bag had just been sent down the belt with no bag tag, followed by a ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Colombo July 26th 2018

Having opted for the 6:40am train to again fit the most possible into the day again we were up at 5:30. Sassi had found another tuk tuk driver willing to take us to the station. Just a short hop it wasn’t worth getting out of bed for, so it was a job for an early riser. We’d met the guy, he seemed nice but when he said he’d pick us at 6am we weren’t entirely convinced he’d show. We waited until 6:05am then not prepared to miss the train and to have got up that early for nothing, we started walking to the road. A 5 minute walk up the dirt road proved our gut feel right as he still hadn’t passed us. The main road was pretty quiet but it still only took a few ... read more

For the first time we had some proper flexibility to determine our schedule as the plan was to catch the bus down to Dambulla, a large town 30 minutes away, and then pick up a bus to Anuradhapura. Buses are frequent and all up the journey should only take about 2 hours. With lots to see in Anuradhapura and still wanting to avoid travelling in the heat of the day where possible we chose to catch the 7:30am bus out of Sigiriya. The bus drives slowly through the village so people can flag it, which meant we only had to go just outside our guesthouse to get it. We had barely been sat on our rucksacks for 2 minutes when it arrived. We got prime seats behind the bus driver when all the school kids got ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Sigiriya July 23rd 2018

The key part of our Sri Lanka plan was to visit the ancient cities in the centre of the island. Polonnaruwa was the capital in the 11th to 13th centuries. The ruins are now part of an archaeological park which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Our plan for the day was to see the park and then head out of town to Sigiriya. This meant another early start, both to fit everything in and to beat the forecast 36C heat. A lot of people hire bicycles as the park is free from cars but it’s only a few kilometres in length so we agreed on our guest house’s recommendation to be dropped by tuk-tuk at the far end and walk back through it. We had breakfast at 7am and then headed out when the ticket ... read more
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We left Kandy not feeling like we were short changing it with our limited time there. The only thing we would have added would have been to get out into a tea plantation, though if we’d been more planned it turned out we could have fit that in too. It was Sunday, and we were heading up to the ancient cities. Our hotel said the first bus to Polonnaruwa on Sunday didn’t go until 9am. We didn’t believe this we thought they'd start earlier but not wanting to take the chance of losing sleep for nothing we decided we’d be at the bus station for 8:30am. We whizzed there in a tuk tuk and had no problem finding the right bus. Ours was somewhere down the back of the station but Sri Lankans are really helpful ... read more
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