A Travellerspoint blog

Sanur and Beautiful Gili Isles

The flight to Bali was a little delayed but otherwise fine. We arrived in the late afternoon and made a last minuet decision to go to Sanur rather than Ubud. The traffic was a nightmare! We arrived in Sanur, walked to the closest homestay, dumped our bags and got some grub. Our first impressions were that the small town was extremely touristy, there were many Australian families on holiday and very few backpackers. We liked Sanur though, the beach wasn’t very nice but we were in a cool room with a pool outside. There was only one main, and very long street where all the shops and eateries were.

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One night we sat in a bar and watched the British F1 and then watched the Wimbledon final – gutted Murray lost! After 3 days in Sanur we decided to make our way over to the Gili Isles in Lombok, we arranged our transport and were off! We have found so far that Indonesia is a nightmare for travelling, the transport is fine but every few hours you stop to either switch bus or wait somewhere for something. Our trip from Sanur to Padangbai, should have taken just over an hour but it took over 3 hours, and most of that we were out of the van waiting for something!
We arrived in the port town of Padangbai in the afternoon, booked our tickets and had a wonder. The place is tiny and the beach is very unimpressive so we were glad we were only staying one night.

The next morning we rose early. Had breakfast and headed to the port to get the slow ferry over to Lombok. We could have opted to get the fast boat directly to Gilli Air but the price was five times as much. This way we had to take a 4 hour ferry to Lombok, then drive in a minivan for 3 hours to take us to the north of Lombok, for us then to take a small boat over to Gili Air.

It was worth the whole day travel! Gili Air is amazing, the Gili Isles are 3 small islands off the north-west of Lombok. We arrived in the late afternoon so found somewhere to stay close to the port, got some lovely food and crashed out.

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The next day we walked around the island trying to find a better cheaper place to stay, to walk around the whole island only takes 1 hour but can be quite difficult in parts due to the deep long stretches of sand.

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We stayed a whole week in Gili Air, we really needed some relaxing time as travelling all the time and sleeping in different beds every other night can get tiring. There was plenty to do. We snorkelled off the beach, sunbathed, went on a day trip which took us to the other 2 islands where we snorkelled and saw sea turtles and many tropical fish.

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The food was also amazing! 3 nights in total we had freshly caught bbq fish with rice and veggies. It was so cheap and delicious.

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While we were relaxing we decided to book a trip to climb Lombok’s highest peak, and the second highest volcano in Indonesia called Mount Rinjani, as a bit of a challenge.

Posted by LeahPaul 20:54 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Kuala Lumpur

After a very windy trip down the highlands and on some large motorways we arrived in the China Town district of Kuala Lumpur. Driving into the city was an eye opener, some of the buildings are enormous.

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China Town was like most of the China Towns around the world, selling cheap noodles and knock off designer bags, we found a great and very cheap hostel called The Birds Nest, dropped our stuff off and started to explore the capitol city.
We caught the monorail to the centre where we spent hours and hours walking around the hundreds of gigantic shopping malls. If I had any money to spare I would have been in shopping heaven!!
In the afternoon we got talking with some other travellers in our hostel, went for some dinner with them and they convinced us to come out with them to an amazing hotel with a roof top bar. We are so glad we went, the views were incredible. Either side of us were the lit up buildings of the Petronas Twin Towers and the Kuala Lumpar Tower, which is a revolving needle. The bar was so cool and there was a wicked pool. We talked and danced all night, and after a few drinks and our inhibitions lost a few of us jumped into the pool, and got thrown out, he he.

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We spent a few more days in KL visiting the Colonial Buildings, the Central Market and generally exploring the city on foot.

We had a great time but after a few days the city gets a bit chaotic, so off to Bali next!

Posted by LeahPaul 03:51 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Perhentian Islands and Cameron Highlands

We needed to get the Perhentian Islands as early as possible to make sure we could find a place to stay as accommodation is limited in high season. So we got up early and headed to the bus station in Kota Bharu. On the way we got accosted by a taxi driver who said he could get us there in half the time for the same price. So we jumped in and off we went, an hour later we arrived at Kuala Besut to get a speedboat to the islands. We managed to get on the first boat of the day at 8:30am and with the wind in our hair we sped off. It only takes just over half an hour to get there and just before we reached the island we transferred onto a smaller water taxi boat that could drop us off right on the beach.
We dumped our bags at a local shop and went off to find somewhere to stay. After a brief look around we found a small group of bungalows 2 minutes walk from the main beach. So after sorting out our stuff we were ready to hit the beach, and wow what a beach it is. White sand, clear blue water and not too many people around. It was absolutely amazing, so relaxing we just chilled out enjoying the sun, snorkelling and our daily exercise of bat and ball on the beach.

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Our days seemed to end up with us doing much of the same, not really wanting to get up to much and just enjoying the beach. In the evenings there were beach parties that when on all night, and we had a couple of good nights meeting some great people, drinking, dancing and having late night swim to cool off.

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5 days was far to short to stay here and we should have explored the island more but we had to move on. Our next destination was Cameron Highlands, we got an early morning speedboat to the mainland then transferred onto a mini bus for the 5 hour trip up the windy roads to the town of Tanah Rata. This place is totally different from the islands we’ve just left and reminded us more of England, with the green rolling hills and cold wet weather!
First time I’ve had to wear a jumper since we got to SE Asia!
We checked into a cool hostel and booked our trekking trip for the next day. The town it self is a lot more built up than it should be so its charms were initially lost on me and I was glad the next day when we went on our trip to the jungle.

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A small group of us got picked up in a 4 x 4 from the hostel and headed an hour out of town where we embarked on our jungle trek. The weather being quite cool made this trek enjoyable and we were soon in thick vegetation searching for the massive Rafflesia flower. Well actually now I’ve learnt its not a proper flower as it grows from the roots of trees like mushrooms do, so it’s a cross between a flower and fungi! Anyway we managed to find one and it stinks, also its pretty ugly as well. So we got some pic’s and then trekked back out of the jungle via a couple of waterfalls and a local Aboriginal village. Here we were taught how to shoot a blow pipe, Leah doesn’t believe me but I hit the bulls eye with my first shot!

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Next it was time for lunch so we stopped at our driver’s choice of curry restaurant. After lunch we drove to a tea plantation, the third biggest in Malaysia. It was amazing to see the rolling hills covered in tea bushes, that probably makes me sound really old but check out the photo’s and you’ll see! We also leant how tea is made from the picked leaf to the end product of a tea bag, unfortunately no free tea tasting but Leah did get to lye flat out on one of the 85 year old tea bushes.

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We also visited a butterfly farm where we saw some massive beautiful butterflies and then went to a strawberry farm where we sample the local produce and had some fantastic cakes with tea!

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That evening was freezing so we spent the night around the fire in the bar next door chatting to other travellers.
Next stop we’re off to Kuala Lumpur!

Posted by LeahPaul 02:18 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

First few days in Malaysia...

After a very enjoyable train journey and a great sleep, well for me anyway, we jumped off the train in Butterworth and onto the next ferry to the Island of Penang.
This only took 10 minutes and before long we were walking along the strangely old and run down streets of Georgetown.
It had been a long morning on the train and boat so far so we decided to hold off looking for a place to stay and instead find somewhere to eat.
After 5 minutes of walking our noses lead us forward to a curry house on the main street running through town. The smells were amazing and not long later we were each tucking into a lovely curry.
Next we had to try and find somewhere to stay, this is usually easy as we normally have lots of locals trying to persuade us to come the their hotel but here no one seemed that interested. We checked out a few and the options weren’t great for our budget so we ended up in what we thought was the best of a bad bunch and so far probably our worst place in SE Asia.

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First impressions of Georgetown weren’t good but soon after looking around we loved how diverse it was. It has a massive Chinese and Indian influence and a lot of the buildings look European. We spent the evening looking around little India, with the fantastic smells coming from the shops and eateries, and the music blaring out into the street. It’s a great place to just walk around and take in everything that’s going on.
We didn’t end up staying out late and went back to our lovely hotel in Chinatown.

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We only had one more full day on Penang so we decided to get a local bus across the Island to Penang National Park. The bus journey sweeps along the north shore of the Island and you pass huge hotels overlooking lovely beaches. Half an hour past this the hotels suddenly stop and we reached the little village of Teluk Behang. 5 minutes walk from here we got to the start of the national Park and after a quick chat with a local guide we decided to take a walk towards monkey beach. The temperature in Malaysia is a lot hotter than what we’ve experienced so far and the humidity also was having an effect on us both. We were walking for only about half and hour when we reached a secluded beach with a few monkeys around. I was feeling not great being completely out of shape so decided this was monkey beach knowing full well it wasn’t as it should take another hour from here. Anyway the heat was a little too much for me on this occasion so we decided to leisurely head back.
After wringing out my soaking wet sweaty t-shirt we got a drink then headed back to Georgetown.

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In the evening I decided that I fancied another curry so persuaded Leah into going back to little India to try somewhere new for dinner. Again we both had really tasty curry full of garlic that would be great for the long bus journey the next day!!

An early start to the day began with a short stroll to the local bus station to catch a bus to the bus terminal. After a brief wait we got onto our bus to Kota Bharu, 7 hours east of Penang Island. The bus was amazing, the seats were massive and more leg room than you can imagine. I know it’s sad to get excited about such things but some of the bus journeys we’ve had have been cramped to say the least, so this was heaven!
Unfortunately this didn’t last long and they kicked us off onto a smaller and less comfortable bus after only a couple of hours. Ah well, the time soon passed and we arrived in Kota Bharu around 5 in the afternoon.
We managed to find a place to stay, although again not great, and then headed out to explore the town. We didn’t get up to much, but I got myself a really hot curry from a street vendor and Leah in her culinary wisdom ended up at Mc D’s as I don’t think she could handle another curry!

Tomorrow we’re off early to the Perhentian Islands for just under a week, can’t wait!!!

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Posted by LeahPaul 06:50 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Ko Pha-Ngan

The flight from Ubon was ok, it took about 1 and a half hours to fly down to Phuket. We originally wanted to go to Ko Phi Phi which is an island on the Andaman coast but as it is the rainy season there, and a little expensive we decided to head straight to Ko Pha-Ngan, an island off the Gulf of Thailand where it is cheaper and not the rainy season.

We sorted our bus tickets out at the airport and got totally ripped off. A taxi took us to the bus stop and we were told the bus would pick us up at 2.15pm. So at 2.15pm a bus stopped going to Surat Thani, the port town where we were headed so naturally we got on the bus. About half an hour later we were kicked off the bus for not having the correct ticket. I was fuming. Luckily the bus dropped us off at a checkpoint and some people helped us find the correct bus when it came through the checkpoint. I just cannot believe the kindness of the majority of local people we have met on our Asia trip, it is very refreshing!

So, after we were put on the correct bus we started to relax and forgot our ordeal earlier. The Thai music was on full volume in the bus so we put our mp3 player headphones on and tried to sleep. We arrived in Surat Thani in the evening and sorted our bus and boat ticket for the next day to Ko Pha-Nang.

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The bus and boat trip to Ko Pha-Nang was a breeze. The boat trip was quite rough at times and I was worried the boat would not be able to take some of the high waves as we bounced around. Thankfully we arrived safely and were transported to our bungalow on the beach.

Our bungalow at Haad Gruad was ok and the place had a pool but the small beach was mainly just small rocks so after lunch we walked down the road to Haad Salad to check out the bungalows and beach there. Still we weren’t too impressed to decided to stay where we were for the time. The evening was very nice, the tide had come up so you couldn’t see many of the rocks at our beach and it was so relaxing hearing the waves.

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The next day we relaxed by the pool and went to check out a beach the other side called Haad Yao, I automatically preferred this beach so we found a place to stay and booked it for the next night.

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After a chilled out day we decided to check out the ‘Black Moon Party’ over on the other side of the island. Ko Pha-Nang is famous for it’s Full Moon Party but as we were there the wrong time of the month we had to make do with this one. We took a taxi with several others from our resort and stepped into a world of trance, glow paint and fire shows. It was actually a rather good night, from what I can remember anyway ☺ Paul came stumbling home with someone else’s flip flops so it must have been good.

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We moved into our new room on the better beach the day after the party, then just slept most of the day. In the evening we explored our new residence and got a bite to eat.

The next few days we just chilled out on the beach or on our porch, and read, paddled and slept. We had a delicious meal one evening of freshly caught and BBQ cooked Sea bass and Red Snapper, I even treated myself to a few glasses of wine.

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The island was lovely and the weather was hot, but after a few days we thought we had better move on to Malaysia, it will be nice to be able to swim in the sea. We booked our boat, bus and train ticket for the next day and were off!

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We arrived at the port and got on the busy boat back to the mainland. Thankfully the ride wasn’t as rough, good job as we had only just eaten. When the boat docked we all hopped on a bus and headed for the little town where the train station was. We arrived at 5pm, unfortunately the only train going from Surat Thani, where we were, to Butterworth in Malaysia was 1.30am! So we knew we had a long wait. We dropped our bags at the station and had a walk around, which took about 10 mins. We then got some food, had another walk around and then had a few drinks. We arrived back at the train station at about 9.30pm ready for our 4 hours wait. The first few hours were ok, but then we started to get tired, and I started to get hungry but we didn’t have any Thai money left, then the train was delayed by 10 mins, then 20 mins, then 30 mins, then it got to about 2am and it arrived! Just in time as a lovely but rather awake and annoying old Canadian guy who was trying his best to strike up a conversation about our economy!! When our train arrived we headed straight to our top bunk beds and to a very restless night sleep.

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Posted by LeahPaul 05:57 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

4 Thousand Islands & Pakse

While leaving Kratie in the morning 20 other people and us were crammed into a 14 seater mini bus, with all our luggage! Sufficed to say it wasn’t the most comfortable of trips! After a short time we realised I had a little friend under the seat in front of me who was trying to peck my leg off. At first we thought it was a duck but then realised it was rather larger so must have been a goose. It was actually very well behaved and didn’t give me much trouble after I moved my legs from harms way. After a few hours we arrived at the Laos border, paid the extremely expensive visa costs and were on our way to the port to head to 4 Thousand Islands.
We did not originally plan on going back to Laos and visiting the islands but everyone we have met who has been there says it’s a must see, so we worked it out and decided to go.

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When we arrived at the port we got onto a ‘ferry’, a little wooden boat that took us over to Don Khon. We were very surprised when we got of the boat as there were no tuk-tuks or people trying to persuade us to stay in their guesthouse. So we walked down the dirt track which is the main road and found a very basic bungalow to stay in which over looked the river. After some lunch we walked up and down the main street, which took about 10 mins and then just relaxed in our hammocks for the rest of the day.

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The next day we thought we would rent bikes to explore the islands. We went over the bridge to Don Det, a slightly bigger and more built up island. Then we headed back to Don Khon and went to Khone Phapheng waterfalls that are considered the largest in South East Asia by volume, next we visited the beach but weren’t that impressed so we didn’t hang about.
While having lunch we came to the conclusion that spending a whole week here was unrealistic as there was not a lot to do, except nothing, so we booked our boat & bus ticket to Pakse for the next day.

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The Boat & bus journey up to Pakse was quite enjoyable; we arrived early in Pakse, which is a first! We found a nice place to stay and had a walk around the town. I have to say, we found Pakse to be quite pleasant, we found a gorgeous Indian restaurant, which served the best Chicken Tikka Masala.

One day we took a day tour to Bolaven Plateau, Laos’ principal coffee growing region. It was a lot cooler here as we were 1500m above the Mekong valley. Firstly we visited a tea plantation, then a coffee plantation. It was interesting to see how the plants grow.
We then visited several waterfalls and some local villages where we were followed around by loads of kids. The tour was very interesting and it was a nice day out.

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Next we had to cross the boarder into Thailand, we stayed in Ubon Ratchathani, which is not a pleasant town. We got chased and growled at a few times by dogs and that was the most interesting part of the few days we were there. Unfortunately we had to stay here as we had a flight booked to Phuket from here.

So, next to the Thai Islands!

Posted by LeahPaul 01:32 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Siem Reap, The Temples of Angkor & Dolphin watching in Krati

The boat from Battambang to Siem Reap was long, uncomfortable & hot! But, the views were amazing and unlike any boat trip we had taken so far. The land in Cambodia is much flatter than we realised and you can see miles around. We passed through many floating villages with people going about their daily lives of fishing and looking after their pet crocodiles, well not pets more for eating and handbags. As it is only the start of the wet season we did get stuck crossing Tonle Sap Lake as the water wasn’t deep enough for our boat, a few of the boys on the boat had to get out and push us to deeper waters.

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We arrived in Siem Reap to be picked up by a tuk-tuk our tuk-tuk driver in Battambang had arranged for us. We drove the half an hour through local villages to Siem Reap town and checked into our nice hotel.

After saying I wouldn’t bother with another sunrise, Paul insisted this would be the last and begged me to get up at 4am the next morning to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat…we got up at 4am, got our tuk-tuk and tickets and arrived at Angkor Wat (the main Wat of the temples) at about 5am and watched the sun rise BEHIND THE CLOUDS! Needless to say this wasn’t the best sunrise we had seen, more of a ‘lighting up’ of the temple. We spent the next 6 hours being taken to various amazing old temples in the area including Angkor Thom and Bayon. By mid-day we had had enough and went back to the hotel for a sleep. In the evening we had a walk around one of the markets, got some food and went to bed.

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The next morning we got up a bit later to meet out tuk-tuk driver Tom, the first temple we went to was Banteay Srei which was one of our favourites and was quite far out. We went around a few more, I got harassed and shouted at by a local shop owner for looking but not buying in her shop. The last temple we went to was a local kids ‘hang out’, it was up a small hill which was an effort to get to due to the 35 degree heat but the views were amazing! We loved the temples and the surrounding areas but were a bit templed out so thought we would take a break the next day.

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On our day off we just walked around the town and had a relaxing day, I had a wicked local BBQ and Paul had a nice lasagne. Now we are ready for our bike ride to the temples the next day.
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We rented bikes at 7am the next morning, in the mornings it is a little cooler and not much chance of rain. We cycled the 13km from Siem Reap to the temples and were drenched in sweat. Paul then decided he wanted to cycle to Western Mebon. We followed the rubbish map we had and came to a cross roads and were a bit stuck for directions, a local lad asked to help and offered to take us there. After about an hour of cycling along dirt roads through local villages and farmland on our very old single gear bikes we came to the rice fields that surrounded the temple. Looking on to the temple from a distance we realised there was no way we could get up close unless we removed our shoes and waded through waist high, snake infested rice paddies, NO WAY thanks.
We then started the long journey back stopping off at our new friends house where he tried but failed to cut us down a coconut, ah well I don’t like them anyway! He was a good lad so we donated $10 towards his college funds as he was studying to teach English.

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We were knackered by this point so got some grub and then cycled the slightly uphill road back. I’m not sure if it was slightly uphill but on a one gear bike it certainly felt like it was uphill!
We chilled out the rest of the day trying to recover from the loss of water and salt, met up with a Polish couple we had previously met in Laos to swap travel advice and had yet another early night for yet another early start.

The bus trip to Kratie early the next morning wasn’t too bad, except for the fact we were told it would take 7-8 hours when actually it took 12! Ah well, it is Asia!

In Kratie we got up early, again, and took a tuk-tuk about 15km up the road to Kampi to go fresh water Irrawaddy dolphins watching. There are only about 80 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in this area but we saw many! They were shy buggers but we managed to get about 15m close at one point, it was amazing!

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Tomorrow we are off to Laos again to go to 4 thousand islands.

Posted by LeahPaul 06:38 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville & Battambang

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We arrived in Phnom Penh in the early afternoon to be greeted with thousands of tuk tuk drivers offering to take us to hotels for free. We eventually chose one and he took us to a cheap hotel. We arranged for him to pick us up the next day to take us to the Killing Fields and to S21, an old school that was made into a prison when the Khmer Rouge were in power. We had a walk around Phnom Penh and found it very different to what we had expected and to what we had experienced in Vietnam. There were a lot more tourists and what seemed to be expats. Almost everyone spoke English and there was a lot more Western eateries.

In the morning we were picked up around 8am, and took a lovely but very dusty tuk tuk ride to the Killing Fields just outside of Phnom Penh city. We arrived and it was packed! Our driver informed as it was the 20th May it was the Day Of Remembrance. We paid to get in and picked up audio tour headphones. We walked around the fields as instructed and were overwhelmed by what we heard and saw. The Khmer Rouge were an extreme communist government led by Pol Pot who after taking control of Phnom Penh in 1975 implemented a radical reconstruction of Cambodian society. Their main goal was to make Cambodia totally self reliant, this meant forcing the entire city people out into the fields to work in the countryside to work a 15 – 24 hour day. It was estimated that they killed 3 million of their own people when the population was only 8 million, killing anyone of intellect, religion or disability, this included teachers, and even people who wore glasses!
The killing fields was a area where the Khmer Rouge would take whole families to be executed, not by bullets as they were too expensive, but by any means necessary. It was horrifying hearing what the amazing audio tape was saying, but it was very informative.

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After an emotional few hours at the Killing Fields we were taken to S21, an old school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a torture chamber and prison for all suspects. Again, it was very traumatic walking along and into the classrooms that were transformed into hundreds of small cells. The Khmer Rouge were like the Nazi’s and recorded every person who entered the prison with photos and personal details which were shown in various rooms.

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We were quite exhausted after these experiences so were then dropped off in the town and had a walk around.

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The next day we caught a bus to Sihanoukville. The journey was not too bad, we arrived and got a tuk tuk to Otres Beach, had a walk around and found a wicked place called Mushroom Beach where we rented a mushroom shaped beach bungalow. After a few wonderful days on Otres Beach we decided to stay for a week instead of 2 days. The beach was amazing, and the sea was as warm as bath and I even got my legs and bikini threaded by a local for a few dollars – be warned, it is not for the faint hearted! The 4-7th day the weather was not great but we still had a fab time. The staff were amazing and the food over the road, Mushroom Point was immense!

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After a week of relaxation we headed back to Phnom Penh for a night and then went to Battambang the next day.

We arrived in Battambang in the afternoon, got some food and looked around. The next day we headed out of town to the Bamboo Train, a tourist attraction where you sit on a bamboo made rack with an engine that went aprox 20mph, it felt like a rollercoaster going over the broken tracks, and with millions of miggies going on our face!

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After an hour we had a pit stop where we were given refreshments and were entertained by some very cute local kids who showed us around a brick factory. We haven’t mentioned much about the kids in Asia but they are soooo cute, and most of them speak better English than when we did at their age!
After our 20 min break it was back the way we came on the bamboo train and ate our lunch in miggies again, yum!

Our tuk tuk driver then took us to Phnom Sampeau, which is a limestone hill with amazing views at the top but was also used by the Khmer Rouge as a prison and a killing point where they would throw people down a cave to slowly die, another example of the dark recent history of Cambodia.

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Next we are off to Siem Reap, the Kingdom of Temples. We decided to take a boat instead of a bus which is twice as expensive and twice as long but apparently has amazing view, we will let you know if it is worth it…

Posted by LeahPaul 06:48 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Mekong Delta to Cambodia

We left Saigon early in the morning to head to the Mekong Delta for a three day tour before we went to Cambodia.

Our first stop on the bus was a small village called My Tho, where we tried some local fruits like Dragon fruit, bananas, watermelon and a strange fruit that tasted like it was fermenting! We also enjoyed traditional live music.

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After we filled up on fruit and walked around the fruit farm we were sang to by some local folk and then paddled down the river in a kayak to our next stop.
We stopped at a coconut candy-making factory, which was just a small hut with the equipment to cut the flesh, mix the caramel and chop in to bite sized pieces. This didn’t really set my world a light but next they brought out a massive snake and some bees, which we were given to hold. I think the snake was given a sedative, as it didn’t move around much! After getting some lunch locally just off the river we headed to our first nights stop in Can Tho, the biggest city in the Mekong Delta. We were expecting it to be fairly small but it was massive! We were quite tired from the early morning so had a stroll down the waterfront, ate dinner on a jetty and headed for bed.

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The next morning we had a 5am wake up call. We all headed to the riverfront at 5.30am and watched the sunrise sitting on a boat eating the ‘enormous’ breakfast of a small banana and a small baguette. The view was lovely, but we have seen enough sunrises to last a lifetime. As the sun was rising we headed over to a floating market upstream. Most of the fruit and veg is picked and prepared for the market in the early hours of the morning and people on their boats come from all over to stock up on their fresh food. We got a fresh pineapple each for about 30p as we were so hungry, but started to regret it after we had finished one half each, they are very acidic and our mouths started to tingle.
We were then brought back on land to be shown how rice paper and noodles are made and then went to a rice factory where we were shown the process from the original freshly picked rice grain, to what we buy in our supermarkets, it was all extremely interesting.
After lunch we visited a crocodile farm, I have never seen so many croc’s! It was a bit sad as most of them would be bags or shoes one day.
Then we headed to Chau Doc which is next to the Cambodian boarder, but not before stopping at another Pagoda! This one did pay off though as it was on the side of a large hill and the views were amazing.
Food then bed again ready for another early start.

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We were woken a little later the next morning, 5.30! We had breakfast and went on a boat to an ethnic minority village where we were shown how they weave scarfs and shawls. As Leah left her 2nd scarf on a bus she bought yet another one.
We then literally hopped from one boat to another and headed off to the water Vietnam exit boarder and onto the Cambodian entry boarder and then off to Phnom Phen. The boat was very comfortable compared to the ones we had recently been in, I don’t think I could have sat on another wooden plank for 6 hours again.

Posted by LeahPaul 23:21 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

The bus journey from Mui Ne to Saigon was a nightmare. We were told it should take about 3 hours, or maybe a bit more if the traffic in Saigon was bad, 6 hours it took! We arrived in the evening got a cheap room, and headed out for some food. Instantly we both liked this city much better than Hanoi. It seems more modern and slightly more catered for tourism.

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In the morning we arranged our tickets for the Mekong Delta trip, which would have us ending in Cambodia. And in the afternoon we walked around the ‘The Reunification Palace’, which was the old South Vietnamese Presidential Palace, the building and the inside has barely been touched since Saigon surrendered to the North in April 1975.

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After, we visited the War Remnants Museum, which has a lot of American weapons outside and a lot of one sided photos and captions inside. I wish I could say it was good, but it was obvious we were only going to hear their side of the story. Paul said I shouldn’t write my political views on the blog so I will leave it at that.

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Early the next morning we headed over to the Ch Chi Tunnels. Aprox 30km from Saigon are preserved Guerrilla underground tunnels which were used in the American war. These tunnels were used as living quarters, as well as hide-outs. It was very interesting, and we even went inside one and walked/crawled the 15 meters. I hated every minuet of it, I thought the guide said 15 feet, when I got inside and couldn’t see the other end I freaked in the middle, where there was no going back as people were behind me. I exited alive though! Phew!

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Next we are off to the Mekong Delta for a few days, before we get the boat up to Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

Posted by LeahPaul 08:15 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

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