A Travellerspoint blog

Australia

Darwin to Airlie Beach

We landed in Darwin in Australias Northern Territory roughly three weeks ago . Using Darwin as our base we were able to explore the national parks.

First we went on a group safari tour of the mighty Kakadu! This mainly included bush walking, swimming in waterholes and eating barbecued food.... Kangaroo tastes amazing! Our guide on the bush walks was an aborigine called Johnny who took us around the various rock art sites in the park. It's so hot at this time of year due to the humidity. It usually rains once a day for a short while after which the heat intensifies and it's possible to feel the steam around your feet as you walk!

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The "Incredible Jumping Croc Show"!

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We were fortunate to have a great group of people on the tour - all Europeans! The nights were spent playing didgeredoo, sitting round the bonfire or "hunting for snakes" which turned into walking in fear after we saw some fresh wild buffalo tracks meaning the local brute was close by in the darkness, apparently they charge towards light so the torch was no comfort at all!

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The landscape is vast with Eucalyptus forests and termite mounds reaching all the way to the horizon. Plunge pools are formed underneath the waterfalls that can be found around the park where the rock has been forced up along fault lines. We found a new passtime while there - river snorkelling! The waters so clear that you can see loads of fish plus Han could keep an eye out for crocodiles!

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Again starting from Darwin we hired a car for three day's to journey down the Stuart Highway to Katherine Gorge spending the day at Litchfield National Park on the way there and going for a dip at Edith Falls on the way back.

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Han next to a "cathedral' termite mound

Katherine Gorge is made up of thirteen seperate gorges that run for 18km through a massive faultline in the middle of the bush. We had originally intended to hire a kayak however the fact that it is wet season means that the current is too strong, instead we were able to take a boat trip into the first two gorges.

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Inside the gorge

We stayed a slightly longer in Darwin than intended as it's a welcoming town, plus there is a pub that serves free food and cheap beer to backpackers! It was also good to spend some time with the people we had met.

The wet season makes many of the routes through the Northern Territory impossible to drive without a very sturdy 4WD, so we decided to fly from Darwin to Cairns which we did on Easter Sunday.

We spent five nights in Cairns, while there we hired another car to make a day trip to Cape Tribulation on the North East Coast. The road passes through Daintree National Park which encompasses the most ancient areas of rainforest in Australlia. The weather wasn't great for the beach but it was great for wandering through the forest where we came face to face with a very rare Cassowary bird, which is basically a jungle emu. They are potentially aggressive so Hannah ran off while I cautiously took pictures of the beast. It did have a menacing stare (see pic)!

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On the way back we stopped at Mossman Gorge - another one of many astounding areas out that the ozzies have on their doorstep! More river snorkelling and wandering wide eyed through the forest here.

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Our first Greyhound bus trip took us down the coast to Airlie beach where we are currently staying having just returned from our three day cruise through the Whitsunday islands and the Great Barrier Reef!

We had a superb time snorkelling, sunbathing, visiting Whitehaven Beach and finally getting to grips with scuba diving. The catamaran we were on was able to get a long way out into the reef. On the second day we were diving out of sight of the main land with only a few of the islands on the horizon. It was surreal as the journey to get out there was pretty rough but once there, there are no big waves as the reef provides shelter. Relief for Han who was feeling grim the whole way!

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Us on Whitehaven

The crew were very professional so the scuba diving was a good introduction for us novices. We did two dives down to around 12m. The only slight hitch on the second being that Hannah had a problem with actually being able to sink! I acted as balast and held on to her for the rest of the dive. The coral out in this part is beautiful as it's completely undamaged with so many different species cluttered together. We saw loads of fish and a small shark too!

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Our boat!

Tonight we leave on a night bus for Hervey Bay to camp on Fraser Island.

The Bones xx

Posted by TheBones 23:58 Comments (3)

Goodbye S.E. Asia

KL and the Perhentian Islands

A pretty laid back week......

Safely ensconsed in Kuala Lumpur with Hans mate Jo, we could set about getting clean and having a bit of a rest after a mammoth journey from the far side of Borneo.

From Jo's Balcony overlooking the city we could watch the lightning storms that began on our arrival!

It was great to see her, we went for some cracking meals including 'Champagne Brunch' at one of the cities hotels (Jo's Treat)!!!!

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Bottoms Up!

On Monday we said goodbye and took a coach North East to Kuala Besut in order to catch a boat to the Perhentian Islands.

We've spent the last week snorkelling and knocking about on the beach (tough eh?).

......Oh and celebrating our first wedding anniversary (!?!!)

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Here's us doing our anniversary pose

We are currently in Kuala Besut waiting for an overnight coach to Singapore in order to fly to Darwin tomorrow night.

So this is goodbye Sarf East Asia:

A place where things just ain't done how they're done in Blighty. All the better for this most of the time. An ideal place to do all sorts of things: explore, relax, party, worship all safe in the knowledge there are no health and safety regulations to stand in the way!

On to Oz then...........

Loads'a Love, Us xx

Posted by TheBones 22:52 Archived in Malaysia Comments (2)

Koh Phangan - Singapore - Malaysia - Borneo

From Northern Thailand we headed south via two overnight trains spending the day in Bangkok (again) on the way. From Surat Thani we took a ferry to the infamous island of Koh Phangan.

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Easy

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Leela Beach - (Where we stayed)

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Koh Mah- Great for snorkelling!

We spent a laid back eight days (!) here sunbathing, snorkelling and spending time with sis, new buddies and even a bit of djing for Jim! Thailand is introduced to dubstep ;-). We would love to return here someday!

From there we headed to Phuket to catch our flight to Singapore to stay with Vic and Rich for a few days. It was nice to be spoilt and stay in a real house for a while!

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A singapore sling at Raffles (it's got to be done!)

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There's always time for a curry

From Singapore we headed to Kuala Lumpur to catch our flight to Borneo(!!!)

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Patrick at Sepilok Orang utan rehabilitation Centre

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Kinabatangan river safari

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Proboscis Monkey - The head of the pack!

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Danum Valley Rainforest Reserve

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Asian elephants in the undergrowth!!

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To be amongst the rainforest and the wildlife here was mindblowing.

From Borneo we flew back to mainland Malaysia to stay with Hannahs friend Jo for the weekend and that is where we write this! We plan to head North to the Perhentian Islands tomorrow.

H + J XX

Posted by TheBones 06:06 Archived in Malaysia Comments (4)

Cambodia - N. Thailand

Temples, huts and a brush with Burma!

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We really should update this a bit more often as it's been a busy couple of weeks...but you know what they say, a picture speaks a thousand words so... read on....

Cambodia: After Phnom Penh we moved North West to the town of Siem Reap from which we could visit the temples of Angkor Wat over the course of two days...At the first temple a certain torch bearer of the Hallybone name promptly lost his $40 ticket thus having to journey back in our hired tuk tuk to buy another one! Tickets are for wives!!

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The entrance to our favourite temple. Overtaken by the gigantic roots of the forest trees, this is the place we had pictured in our minds...

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Roots and Culture!

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One of the faces on the side of the Bayon temple

After leaving Siem Reap we all travelled to the Thai border in an old beast of a bus along the busiest and worst maintained roads in Cambodia. Conspiracy theorists claim that the airlines pay the government to keep it in this state so that more people choose to fly. Nice.

Back in "The Land of Smiles" the going was a lot smoother back to Bangkok.

We spent two days here with Kate and Rich..during this time we went to the Red Cross Snake farm...one of only two in the world trivia buffs! (The second being in Peru)

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In Thailand to be wrapped in a python for a while will bring good luck upon a marriage!

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Street Cuisine!

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At the bottom of street cuisine. My little cockroach friend lying dead on his stir fried back!

To Chang Mai! (North)

A painful nightbus from Bangkok took us to Thailands second largest city. The inviting Chang Mai. Here we decided to take a cookery course that was recommended by my sister...

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The master at work!

After a brief stay, we decided to move North again to Pai. We had a great journey, meeting some interesting new buddies along the way! Pai is a very laidback town that attracts a crowd not disimilar from the kind that can be found in the healing fields at Glastonbury....(hippies!)

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Dinner at a thai "buffet" with some of the people we met.

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Home is where the hut is ;-D

We decided to stay here longer than planned. During this time we hired a moped to explore the surrounding area, visiting hot springs, a canyon and an elephant called Me! We rode this magnificent beast for an hour bare back ending with a dip in the river!

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Han gets a hosing down

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I'm in a river in the woods but it feels like a bath! (A well needed one after the elephant).

The following day we embarked on a two day trek up to the Burmese border with a guide and two others. This was of the main reasons we came to Pai. Needless to say, we loved it and our guide Mr Somsuk was spot on and very funny!

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The Burmese border in the next valley. At night we heard explosions coming from a battle between the government and the rebels!

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A swim with Mr Somsuk!

Love to all. We'll try to update a bit sooner next time!

Posted by TheBones 15:49 Archived in Thailand Comments (4)

Into Cambodia....

Journeys with siblings and co......

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We left Trat on Saturday morning very early!. A Taxi picked us up at 5.30 am and took us to the bus station to catch a bus to the boarder at Hat Lek in time to catch our bus the other side at 8.30. We had heard alot of stories about scams at the boarder so were quite wary but we got through relatively unscathed and boarded our bus which we presumed would take us all the way to Sihanoukville (SW cambodia) in order to meet kate and Rich. The bus we had booked actually turned out to be 6 different busses and two river ferry crossings (standing in planks of wood attached across two longboats!!) we eventually got to our destination about 2.20 and thankfully kate and rich had got there first and booked us a bungalow.

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We explored the local beach but it was very busy and dirty, full of tourists,hawkers and beggars so the next day we ventured further round the coast to Otres Beach which was deserted so we spent the day in the sun and sea.
thankfully in cambodia you can get really good English and western food which i had been craving like you wouldnt believe so we have been eating lots of it!!

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We left Sihanoukiville on Monday morning and took a taxi to Kampot which took a couple of hours. Kampot is a sleepy post colonial town in a region famous for its pepper. We spent the night in a guesthouse and were hoping to visit Bokor Mountain National Park but after finding out that the road was to be closed we headed for a coastal town called Kep in order to catch a boat over to a little island we had heard about called Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island - because of its shape not cause there are rabbits on it!).

As soon as we arrived we realised this was the most beautiful and unspoilt place we had ever been to. We spent the night here after walking the coast of the whole island which seemed like a good idea at the start but we had no idea how big it was and it was a bit of a race to get round before the dark and mosquitos descended!! We made it eventually after being directed by the really friendly fishing families we discovered on the way round. Jim and Kate manged to walk through a red ants nest with at least five locking their jaws into Jims foot!

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We were awoken by the sound of mooing coming from below our cabin along side cocks crowing and goats bleating! After another day by the sea, we caught our return longboat back to Kep and embarked on the longest tuktuk ride ever, some 20 miles back to Kampot! We attempted to arrange another trip to Bokor but to no avail... The guides didnt seem too confident of getting back again so cancelled!

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We are now in Phnom Penh (Cambodias capital) staying at a very backpackery guesthouse recommended by Kn R. We visited a museum that was once the site of Khmer Rouge interrogation centre yesterday which we found to be a sobering experience but very interesting. Our guide actually lived through the regimes reign and lost nearly all of her family. Before coming here neither of us knew much about what went on here only 30 years ago.

Tomorrow we will catch a coach to Siem Reap, the base from which we will visit the temples of Angkor. After this we will say farewell to Kate and Rich and head back into Thailand. We will definitely miss them!

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H and J XX

Posted by TheBones 02:31 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

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