I have a new project whilst on home soil: www.abbeycarr.co.uk/blog that you may be interested in if you liked what you saw here. Thank you.
Thank you for visiting my blog and even more so to those of you who found it entertaining enough to return to see what we’ve been up to. If I had it my way I would continue updating it in more wonderful places but unfortunately reality called and we were forced to answer.
With mixed emotions I say goodbye to this part of my life and say hello to adult life (eek)
To be continued … hopefully.
I’ve not been taking as many photos as I normally do because I’ve been spending my time sunbathing (which is fine by me!) but today we travelled to somewhere new, Gili Trawagan, and so there’s lots of things to photograph. From first impressions, Gili T is where all the backpackers that we haven’t met have been hiding! We’ve found ourselves some modest accommodation with air con (which is a treat) and we’re planning to spend four days here, which gives me even more time to top up my tan!
Today we were planning to go to Sanur, but as is the case 99% of the time in Asia, someone was convinced they knew somewhere better (or more expensive) and so we ended up in Nusa Dua. Today’s activity was sea walking! We were taken out on a speed boat to a pontoon where three (Rich couldn’t join in because of his epilepsy and had to be the designated belongings-watcher) 35kg oxygen helmets waited for us. Once the helmets were on, we climbed down a ladder to the bottom of the ocean to watch some fish close up and to have a wander around - a very surreal experience!
After a couple of days in Ubud, we spent two nights in Seminyak to visit the beach, do some bodyboarding and have a wander around the vast array of clothing stalls, and then had a day in Kuta to do much of the same (so I don’t have many photos to share.)
We took a trip to Tanah Lot spontaneously, meaning the taxi driver had to race to get us there before the sunset. It is a beautiful place, but it was very hard to get a nice picture with how populated the small area was!
It is time for the final leg of our trip - Bali with Angus and Rich. Our first couple of days were spent back in Ubud which meant cheap mie goreng and monkeys.
Our last day in Singapore was spent at the aquarium. We knew beforehand that these five days would be more expensive than our usual budget, but it really was so much more. Our accommodation cost double each night than the most expensive places we’ve been paying for anywhere else in South East Asia, because of this, it meant we didn’t have much expendable money to go out for meals or even grab a coffee and limited ourselves to two trips (the zoo and aquarium) then scrimped on all meals (our last day’s diet consisted of a loaf of bread and jam) and I think that’s partly responsible for our apathetic opinion of the country.
That being said, the aquarium was a-m-a-z-i-n-g and its two tickets for the price of one deal on a Wednesday meant we could visit guilt free!
Today we took a trip to the Singapore Zoo, we’d read online that it is one of the best in the world for its ethical treatment of animals and whilst I may not agree wholeheartedly, it was still nice to see some animals with some level of free will. We spotted that opposing enclosures are situated next to one another, such as lions opposite zebras, snakes next to rodents and so on. The enclosures themselves didn’t seem so secure, although kept in with electric fences, the wooden fences separating the animals from the public footpath was only waist high and I’m glad today wasn’t the day that one of the big cats decided to make a break for it to reach a fresh meal on the other side!
We have spent almost three months of our travels in Thailand but today we said goodbye to the country for the final time, and as my family flew home to London, we flew to Singapore. Our first impressions were good, it has its similarities to Kuala Lumpur (that I loved) but in the few hours we spent exploring on our first day, we took a bus to - what we thought - was Downtown and it was deserted! I love the modern architecture and how it sits alongside plant life. On the way back to our hotel, we missed our bus stop which ended up being a good thing as we found ourselves at a cheap local buffet restaurant.
12/05/15 - 22/05/15
The longest absence in posts on my blog is due to 1: us not doing much other than sunbathing and 2: my Dad and little sister flying out to meet us to do the same! I’ve had such a lovely time being able to spend ten days with them both, something I haven’t done for years since moving away to university. I’ve topped up my tan, drank a lot of tequila and watched my boyfriend take on (and lose) a wrestling match with my father.
Our three weeks in the Philippines has come to an end. I really enjoyed parts of the country, El Nido was my favourite, but it did feel like we were waiting around in Manila lot for our next excursion as we didn’t plans anything ahead (we chose to go as it was the cheapest place from Bali - a last minute decision when we changed our plans to leave Nepal early) and I was disappointed with the variety of food so we ate so much McDonalds!!
We’re back in Thailand after a day of travelling on various modes of transport and have arrived at a beachside resort with a pool (and a really nice breakfast included) so we’re feeling like flashpackers rather than backpackers, even though it’s still cheap at £11 a night! Will has had the Thai green curry he’s been craving and I’ve had some much needed vegetables courtesy of a Caesar salad, not a typical Thai meal I admit. We have a few days of tanning time before my dad and my little sister come out for their holiday, I’m can’t wait to see them but anxious at the same time as their coming marks the month countdown to our flight home!
After what seemed like a lifetime of waiting around in Manila and miles on the road, we were checked in to a nice room with a sea view and a plan to get on a boat at 7am the next day in an effort to see the whale sharks. All suited and booted with fins and a mask (rented, I dread to think of the mouths it had previously been in) we were on the boat for a couple of minutes before our guide called out for us to leap off the left side and look down - but it was swimming in the murky depths of the water and may as well have been a plastic bag for all we saw. However, the next time we jumped in (and our guide pulled me along as I was too slow with my newly aquatinted flippers to keep up) we were swimming right above one and could see it perfectly, which was incredible and terrifying at the same time. We were kicking ourselves for not buying a waterproof camera that we’ve been umming and ahhing about for a while as we have no images of them!
The last time we jumped in, Will and I were the last to get off the boat - my fault - and were quite far away from the group who were chasing one, but in a turn of luck, the whale shark they had in their sights changed direction and swam right next to us! It was enormous and for a moment I thought I was going to be sucked into its mouth, but it peacefully swam past us (until its fin smacked Will) I’d never done anything like it before and it was amazing, I can’t believe its size and how close we were able to get.
We’ve ended up spending a long time in Manila (mainly in its shopping mall…) We were hoping to visit Boracay whilst in the Philippines, but unfortunately the ferry timetable didn’t match up with the days we had left so after a lot of looking online, we decided to take an overnight bus to Legaspi, to then go to Donsol to (hopefully) swim with some whale sharks - the largest fish in the world! I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see Boracay as it is supposed to be so beautiful, but not bitter because we were lucky enough to stay in El Nido for a week which was satisfying enough for my eyes!!
We’ve not done an awful lot for the last couple of days, on Saturday we had an eight hour bus journey back down to Puerto Princesa where we spent the night then flew to Manila the following evening. From there we decided to take a trip to the rice terraces in Banaue (via another eight hour bus, this time from 10pm-6am!)
We trekked for a gruelling six hours amongst impressive views and I learned how rice is grown and harvested, which is good as I’m pretty sure I’m now made up of 80% rice.
Today was our last day in El Nido and we spent the evening at Las Cabanas beach (again) sitting in the shallow water and watching the sun set (again) AND I came across lots of puppies to play with. Goodbye Palawan, love ya!
I wish I could bring these views home with me!
Today we took a boat tour to five different beaches and lagoons, “Tour A” cost us 1000 pesos each (about £15) and lasted six hours. It has been one of the best days we’ve had so far, the locations were unbelievably beautiful and we spent the day swimming (/dodging jellyfish), snorkelling and kayaking in the clear, turquoise water and had a really tasty barbecue on a secluded beach. As far as picturesque scenes go, the Philippines may have won the top spot for me.
Today we went on a tour to see the Underground River, the site is supposed to be “one of the new seven wonders of the world” and we were looking forward to seeing some natural beauty. The minibus picked us up at 6.30am and arrived at Sabang four hours later, after stopping off at the permit office to “make a personal appearance” which meant standing in a small room with around sixty other clueless people and their guides. When we asked our guide what was going on and where we were supposed to queue, we were asked to “cooperate” which I can only assume means “wait, I don’t really know what’s going on even though I do this every day as a career.” Once at our destination, we were asked again to “cooperate” for a few more hours until it was our turn to get on a boat to take us to the opening of the caves (from there you get into another boat and someone paddles on the back down the river.) All in all, we waited nine hours to see the underground river, and although it was interesting, lots of things could have been improved: we could have been picked up at midday and still seen the river at the same time and we could have been given a better functioning lamp to see inside the pitch black cave? Will and I had the pleasure of sitting at the back of the boat, which meant we heard our paddler’s voice at a booming volume with his incredible wisdom about the cave: for instance, some of the natural rock formations look like (in his exact words) “half of a sexy lady … broken carrots … the Virgin Mary in a cage … an upside down chicken breast.” Unfortunately I haven’t got the photos to show these images as like I mentioned, the tiny lamp we were supplied didn’t illuminate them well enough.
Thankfully, Sabang (where the cave is situated) is really beautiful so even though I spent my day queuing, I was queuing - sorry, cooperating - with a view.