A Travellerspoint blog

Redang

Lazing around on a tropical beach

sunny 32 °C
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The flight to Redang was via Kuala Lumpur and so we had another stop over. The flight seemed to be full of diseased people. Everyone around us was hacking up or caughing, it was pretty disgusting but hilariously funny to us. Now I know why these people need signs in public places reminding them not to spit!

Anyhow, Redang was as gorgeous as I hoped. We stayed in a lovely resort with a seaview room.............

The food was interesting, not a great veggie selection.........had some healthy looking green beans, steve assuring me it was just cripsy onions that they had sprinkled ontop. Convinced that onions don't have eyes I spat it out..........seems dried fish heads are a favourite here.

3 days of sun, sea, sand, sex and cocktails :-) well one must rest with a mountain climb to come!

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Posted by GSensible 02:03 Archived in Malaysia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Mulu caves

The strangest smelling shit

sunny 32 °C
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After a bit of a bad start in KK, illness, smelly hotel room etc we went to find out about the main event that we were there for, Mount Kinabalu. We were gutted to find out that it was fully booked until the 11th October unless we wanted to freeze our arses off in an unheated shack the next night. We therefore decided to use KK as a base and re do all of our plans. Eventually we booked ourselves on a trip to Sarawak to see Mulu national park.

We flew to Miri in Sarawak and then got a connection on a litle foker 50 to the national park. We flew over loads of rivers and not much other than rain forest. It was pretty stunning when we arrived :-)

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We seemed to have a problem with our itinerary and Steve spent most of the next few hours wound up and on the phone disagreeing with out tour operator (never again did we or will we ever use one!)

In the afternoon we took a short boat trip and then walked 3k's to the Caves. Deer cave was massive, an incredible sight. All the bat were on the ceiling, squeeking away and the smell of bat shit was overwhelming!
After this one we went to Langs cave, full of stalagmites and stalagtites etc.

I was good feed for the mosquito's so I was pretty glad I took my anti malarial tablets but the million bat exodus at sunset was worth being eaten alive. Our guide seemed quite impressed at the footage that BBC film crew had managed to gain while filming this for David Attenborough. This was the closet that we managed to get:

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We had an evening meal inclued in the trip at the hotel. There was a totally random show on by the locals during dinner, it was cringe worthy especially when they dragged Steve up and then came around everyones tables to shakes hands :-0

Up really early the next day (due to our tour operator booking the wrong flights for us) for our trip to clearwater cave. There was a hell of alot of steps to get to the caves and we were so early the lights weren't on. I washed my face in the water which is supposed to give me eternal youth so watch out girls!

A quick boat ride and we were off to the airport for a 11.25 flight back to KK after the obligatory stop at a longhouse to buy a souvenir (which lasted about 5 minutes!). It was short and sweet but we saw-)everything that we came for........... :-)

Posted by GSensible 05:27 Archived in Malaysia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Mount Kinabalu

Dove Explosion and sunrise at 13,000ft

all seasons in one day 1 °C
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We arrived back from Redang and spent the morning of the following day shopping at the Phillipino market before catching a taxi up to the Kinabalu National Park.

After a cold night (sleeping in our clothes!) staying at Rhina Ria lodge just outside the Kinabalu national park we were up early for a hearty breakfast. We made it to park headquarters and Steve introduced me to our guide. We took the transfer bus to the Timpohon gate saving us a couple of k's walk (I absolutely recommend this!)

Armed with god knows how many calories full of sugary food, minimal overnight stuff, thermal clothes and loads of water, off we trotted.
We started out at 8.20am with the aim of reaching Laban Rata after a 6km walk uphill at 11,000 ft. When I first looked at doing this climb I heard it was a relatively easy climb.... well for a mountain anyway and I was actually quite prepared thanks to Greggers. He summed it up perfectly for me, one giant stairmaster!

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Given that I had only used my walking boots once for half an hour and I only been swimming 3 times I week before I left, I was convinced that I was going to be fucked doing this!
So we started off so slow, the first 2.5k was relatively easy and people overtook us pretty soon but I plodded along at the same pace the entire time and was surprised that I actually found it ok.

We were lucky to have really good weather, it seemed to go on for ages and every corner you couldn't believe what you were facing next but it was great. The entire time we were overtaken my Malay's carrying food, water and supplies up to Laban Rata for us. They probably do it in about 2 hours and carry up to 30kg and they only get paid 3 ringgits per kilo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It certainly made me appreciate my dinner!

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Steve suffered from the altitude for a while but we happily made it up to Laban Rata in 6 hours (not the fastest but we all know about the hare and the tortoise)

We had booked a dorm room and headed straight for the showers and the bed for a lie down. Our room mates Sylvie and Neil are superfit and had made it up in 4 hours...... shame on us!
After my shower which was amazingly hot given where we were, I broke the ice in our dorm by shaking my deodorant which exploded all over us like some dodgey porn movie...... guess we were high up then.

I was pleased to see a bit of a sunset amoung the clouds before making it into bed by 7.30pm (really liked my bunkbed). There was no chance of any sleep with the cheeky girls in the room next door but we got a few hours in before waking to the sound of pouring rain at 1.30am. It did cross my mind to just turn over and forget about it but there was no way we were going to risk missing out.

Thankfull that we had bought a head torch we joined the procession for the 2.8km walk to the summit. I found this ok as well, it really helped being only 8 degrees but I was really panicking when we started climbing up the ropes in the dark. They seemed so much steeper because it was dark and being scared of heights made me think I was not going to enjoy the way down.

We were up to the summit in 3 hours, on my part greatly assisted by our guide. On day one we were wondering why you needed one and moaning about it being a waste of money, he certainly earned his money in the morning when I was slipping all over the place!
It was amazing, sunrise was incredible and the view......you could see all the way to the coast, the town through the clouds and the landscape of the mountain was something else. If you go to Borneo, you have to do this :-)

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The way down was an eye opener since we had done it blind and yes now was starting to understand people who say that going down is the worst!

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We had a big breakfast at Laban Rata on the way down and in pain every step made it down to the bottom in an incredibly slow 4 hours. By then it was pouring with rain and the last few km's were soooooooo hard.

Food and a hot bath called....... then we dropped and didn't move again.

Here is a link to the summit trail if anyone wants to do this:
http://www.mysabah.com/mount-kinabalu/

Posted by GSensible 04:33 Archived in Malaysia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Siem Reap

Loving the temples

all seasons in one day 32 °C
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We got a bargain on a hotel on Asia rooms so checked into a hotel with a swimming pool :-)

We decided on a 3 day pass as temple fever kicks in well before lunch and I really wanted to do sunrise and sunset.
There were some random policemen selling fake police badges (not sure why they thought we might want one) instead of enforcing the rules

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We went for a swim and headed off to Angkor just in time for the afternoon rain. Angkor is supposed to be at it's best in the lush rainy season and it was pouring. We were really prepared with our waterproof's so made the most of it and while everyone else waited inside for the rain to clear we wandered around on our own.

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The food here was amazing, we took the advice of our tuk tuk driver and went to the Khymer Kitchen. For less than 3 quid we had two of the best curries I have ever had :-)

We managed to get a really good Tuk Tuk driver who we ended up using for the entire time we were there. He arranged to pick us up at 5am the next morning (ouch) to take us for the sunrise.

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Being up early meant that there was no one else around at the other temples and it was a bearable temperature. We also got to avoid the coach loads of annoying Japanese/Korean scary sun visor crowd!
We visited quite a few temples and I have forgotten most of them by the time I have got round to updating this. Our favourite were Preah Khan
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and Ta Prom which I think featured quite a bit in Tomb Raider so Steve paused for a few moments visioning Angelina Jolie running around in tight shorts

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Back to the pool to cool off and laze on my arse..... hard life this travelling with no work.

We made it for sunset at Phnom Bakeng, everyone climbs to the top of the temple and watches the sunset over the river, it was pretty busy up there but Steve found us a little spot in the corner and the sunset was beautiful
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Another gorgeous curry followed and a welcome massage, Steve really enjoyed being beaten up by the lady!

We also made the 1 hour trip to see Banteay Srei, this was well worth doing, the inscriptions are well preserved here and it was a really nice journey out into the countryside

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All in all, the poverty and the child sellers was hard work but well worth it, I loved Cambodia, the food was amazing and the temples awesome but off to Borneo we must go :-)

Posted by GSensible 20:31 Archived in Cambodia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Phnom Penh

The incredible tipper and the cutest beggar

sunny 32 °C
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Bit of a hangover started the day........

We flew from Bangkok to Phnom Penh, pretty good flight but neither of us had realised to what an extent the Tonle Sap floods in rainy season, the pilot had the landing gear down, we were getting lower and lower and all there was was water....... just like media footage of Bangladesh after severe flooding.

We got a taxi direct into the "city" for $7 and Steve gave the guy $10 dollars and told him to keep the change. The guy's face lit up like a christmas tree and off he trotted to tell all his friends. I'm sure this is why we had what seemed like the entire population staked outside offering us tuk tuk's and taxi's for the 2 days we were there!

We seemed to be staying well out of the main backpacker area so just headed to a local restaurant 5 minutes walk from our hotel. Steve was starving so over ordered on the food and with the entire restaurant staff staring at us felt obliged to eat the lot. I felt like I was going to chunder and I really wanted to invite the beggar in off the street who was looking straight at me through the window, to help me out.

We visited the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, the children sellers outside were really hard work :-( and we were glad to be in the solitute of a tourist sight.

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The Royal Palace was very different to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, although just as bloody hot in the midday sun!

Randomly people started clapping while we were in the temple as the former King had just arrived in residence and was coming out to wave at everyone.

We went for a walk along the river, the poverty was pretty evident with people washing in the river and this little boy came up to me as we were walking along. All he wanted was some water so I gave him mine and some money I had in my pocket. His little sister and mother were so grateful, it made my day :-)

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We went to visit central market, well worth a look around even though it was hard work getting there being hastled. Steve bought himself a t-shirt which didn't seem to impress some of the locals as it refered to Angkor beer being "My beer, my country"

In the afternoon we headed to the genocide museum Tuol Sleng S21. Soooooooo depressing, appropriately there was a thunder storm and heavy rain!

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To cheer ourselves up we made it in time for happy hour and a really nice dinner.... off to Siem Reap tomorrow :-)

Posted by GSensible 05:31 Archived in Cambodia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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