Kuala Lumpur, Koh Tao and then……. back home!

Well after we left the Philippines we flew into KL and first thing you notice here is the civilisation of the place. Queue’s for bus tickets and everything. We hopped on a brilliant coach that dropped us at the train station shortly after and then we soared into KL city in relative luxury! In true Malaysia style it was sweltering and bright when we landed at the airport, but things changed quickly! Sunny Peeing down... We spent a night at a lovely 4* in KL called the Vivatel. But they weren’t fully open and after 1 night they moved all guests to the Ibis Styles down the road which thankfully was just as nice! We technically didn’t do a lot besides walk around shopping centers and visit a brilliant indoor climbing place called “camp5” which is the best indoor climbing facility that I’ve ever been to (www.camp5.com) as it was too wet to climb at the Batu Caves as planned.

Out and about in KL…

Brightly clothed Malaysian women

Petronas Towers

Airasia

Sarah is my best friend from home, since high school and came to visit on our trip to Thailand 4 years ago. This time Sarah came again and brought her lovely cousin Laura too. I have only met Laura once previously and it was nice to get to know her properly over the next week. Sarah and Laura had spent a couple of nights in Bangkok, Koh Lanta and Phi Phi before we met up for a week starting in Ao Nang. We got the bus straight to Ao Nang from Krabi airport after the flight from KL, and met the girls for a laze and a Chang (or 2) on the beach! We had a crazy night out dancing at a live band place and playing connect 4 (sarah beat everybody, everytime).

Everybody else Vs Sarah (and everybody else loses!!)

We spent the next day on Pranang beach and apart from walking to a moored longtail for a BBQ we stayed til sunset doing nothing. It’s possibly the most relaxing day of the trip so far…

Me and Sarah in the sea

Boat food

Beautiful views on Pranang beach

Moneys like bbq corn too!

Sunset kicks in and everything gets even more beautiful

Strange looking shrine!

Sarah and Laura

Pranang Bay

Famous limestone

Sunset Pranang Beach

Going away travelling just wouldn’t be the same without a trip to a tattoo shop for Sarah!

Sarah gets a tattoo

Sarah gets a tattoo

We moved on to Koh Tao after 2 nights in Ao Nang, we set off at 8am, 2/3 buses and a ferry and we arrived on the island at around 7pm, checked into the hotel and went out to the Castle party with Craig and Doerthe. Samsong buckets all round, free shots etc and things get messy!

DSC09213There were some adventures to be had on Koh Tao. With 2 rented scooters, Taz, Sarah, Laura and myself explored many beaches. The roads were mostly concrete but around the edges as you approached most beaches they were dirt and steep. VERY steep… A bike’s the best way to get around in our opinion, beats haggling a taxi every time you want to go anywhere. 4 quid per bike per day and the island’s your own! I saw approximately 10 people with motorbike accident related injuries though whilst I was there. Many people rent bikes that don’t have much or any experience (like me) and crash on the dirt roads, steep hills or fall off when going really slow through crowded narrow streets where really, bikes shouldn’t be going! Met people that think it’s funny that they can rent a bike here with no experience. But they keep your passport as a deposit, and their charges for damage are extreme.

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Taz and Laura

There was the best night out I’ve had in a long time on this Island. It was random and unplanned. It involved two for one Vodka red bull buckets, limbo’ing a fire pole on the beach, Sarah doing herself some injuries trying to do handstands, Sarah abusing someone’s swimming pool and then the 4 of us walking about 3-4 miles back to the hotel but stopping at every shop along the way for various things including more alcohol, sausages with mustard on and dishes of pork noodle soup.

The night after was a little bit more gentle but an eye opener for Laura who’d never been to a lady boy show before. Click here for a short video of it. We headed down to Queen’s lady boy place, had a drink and have a relatively early one, after a couple more from the 7/11 on the deserted beach near our hotel. 

After I think 3 nights, Sarah and Laura caught the ferry to Chumphon and bussed it up to Bangkok for their flight to Dubai for a couple of nights of luxury before flying home.

Pimped tuk tuk

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Me and Taz

Taz and Adam (from London) snorkelling

We had a great time being with a big group of other people. Meeting groups of other travellers doesn’t always happen, all the time, so it was nice to have new company and also be with friends we knew from back home!

Our scoot for the week

Craig and Doerthe behind Adam and Isabelle

Ha ha

I think we spent 7 nights on Koh Tao and everyday was ridiculously relaxing. The vibe is so different to the South of Thailand. Nice. Koh Tao is exactly the way a trip should end.

When your sat on your ass all day not doing a lot you start to get a bit stiff!!

Taz and... me!

Koh Tao is one of those places that restores faith in you that you don’t hate Thailand, after the crap that happens to you in Southern Thailand. There’s such a big difference in the way people treat you. The south is saturated with tourists and the service is shit. On Koh Tao it was nice, Chiang Mai was nice and Ranong is still just a lovely hideaway. And I think we’ll always love Bangkok. We’ll be avoiding the South as and when we return to this part of the world (as I’ve mentioned many times!)

We said our good bye’s to Craig and Doerthe and hopped on the ferry to Chumphon 10.30 Thursday morning. We got on a bus to Hua Hin and arrived there, checked in and got seafood noodle soup. It was just as amazing as last time and I hope I can make soup like this at home because I’m going to miss it! We went briefly down the night market, to a few bars and had a relatively early night, 2am?

The following day we headed around to the minibus place that we used last time, hopped on the 12.30 bus to Bangkok and were at monument square in the centre by 3.30pm! Smooth.

When we were travelling in 2009 and Taz got a tattoo I didn’t get on because I thought I’d regret it. So after nearly 4 years I had firmly made up my mind that I wanted a tattoo from this trip. I chose something that describes me well so it’s ok that it’s stuck on my foot forever…

The tattoo shop's pet stole the show!

“Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world”

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And then of course what would your last night on Koh San Road be like without eating scorpions, drinking Chang by the jug, watching men with no legs shuffle past, playing thumb war, eating great food and getting on the shishas…

Hey mum, I got a tattoo!!

Thumb war

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Ooooh no!

Ooooh no!

Video of Taz eating the scorpion, with a lovely message for my sister: http://youtu.be/3QKNYpnlHyM

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Front loaded bike used for carting about boxes of drinks

The women I can't always say no to with all their great bracelets!

And then we do a bit of shopping the morning after, gifts, and check out late from the hotel. At 4pm we hop in a taxi and that’s that. 80 days. Over…   😦

But it’s amazing to be home. My super organised wonderful sister in law makes sure the house is beautifully clean for our return so all we have to do is get home and hop in the bath with a brew 🙂 Thanks Sueanne! There’s even milk, bacon and eggs in the fridge. Eek, yummy!

It’s lovely to be home. Last night my sister and baby niece Lily was round, and my brother Harry. Taz’s brother Tom came round too for a catchup and a beer in our local pub (nothings changed) and today Taz’s friend Rick’s round with his 2 kids. It’s so nice to have the people around you that you’ve missed. And I’ve already knocked up a roast chicken dinner, a lambs liver lunch and a fish pie. I’ve missed my kitchen! It’s nice to be home 🙂

This morning I woke up and it was silent and peaceful. No thai high pitched voices or slamming doors or cockerels or realising their’s no electric and it’s boiling. Just silence. And it was ace. And what’s even better – it’s snowing and it actually feels like the Christmas that didn’t really happen in the Philippines.

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I hope you enjoyed the blog of our 80 day adventures.

Back to work on Monday, so until next time, goodbye 🙂

Jem and Taz x

Thailand with a side trip to KL… and 6 months comes to an end

Thursday 21st May 2009

Hello everyone. Just a quick one!
We’re currently in Ubon, a town in NE Thailand, we arrived yesterday and we’re leaving in an hour or so on the night bus to Bangkok. It has been very very hot today and yesterday too. I was worried that the weather might have cooled down since we were last in Thailand but Sarah will be happy to know that it hasn’t so there will be maximum tanning opportunity 😉
It’s been nice to be back in a more developed area after 18 days in Laos. We’re really looking forward to seeing Bangkok again and we’ll be treating ourselves to a night at the cinema in the paragon shopping center tomorrow night to see Angels and Demons 🙂 We’re already treated ourselves to some amazing Thai food – always good, always cheap!
Bye bye! Jemma and Taz

Friday 22nd May 2009

We’re back in Bangkok a last, the night bus last night was uneventful apart from Taz getting bitten on his face by mosquito’s in his sleep, poor thing.
This morning when we arrived at 6pm, got in a metered taxi for 20 mins (massive 2 quid) to Khaosan Road and had a McDonald’s breakfast. We ate in with all our bags in tow, watching the rats run around outside eating left over sausages/kebabs/spring rolls etc on the street…
We have checked into the Happy House hotel early today but for a cheaper price, it’s now low season now in Thailand. The weather is hot today, but overcast so you sweat buckets and it does nothing for your tan in return!
Tonight we’re going to the cinema as planned at the amazing Paragon complex in a Tuk Tuk (because we love them) and then an early night with no beer 😉 I’m getting a 6am minibus tomorrow to the airport to collect Sarah from the airport while Taz sleeps in and gets the 12noon minibus to collect Anneka. Then the party really begins!!

Sunday 24th May 2009

Incredibly hungover yesterday, ended up on KkaoSan until god knows what time. I was asleep when Sarah called to see which part of the airport I was meeting her in. Guilty!! So good news is, Sarah and Anneka are here! Yesterday when Sarah arrived we made a special effort to go to the Paragon shopping center before she jet lag kicked in. We took her for some god damn amazing Thai food and then she slept for ages! We got a coconut drink too which she loved, you just chop the top off and put a straw in it. Anneka arrived at 1pm and we took her for some great food too. Both were amazed that food for 2/3 people costs about 2 quid at our favorite stall and it’s alwyas brilliant. While we were sat waiting for our food a HUGE durian fruit fell out of the tree and whizzed past Taz’s head before smashing on the floor – Taz could have been a gonner if it was a couple more inches in his direction!!! Ha ha.
Last night we drank enough beer / cocktails to last a lifetime and then got some more brilliant food on the way back to the hotel. Best bit about Thailand for me – FOOD!
I think today after breakfast we’ll take the girls up the river on the river taxi to take in some of the sights and we’re planning on watching a night at the museum 2 at the cinema while we’re in the city so we might do that tonight and save the lady boy shows for tomorrow…!
So far Anneka and Sarah seem to love Bangkok as much as we do and they haven’t been here 24 hours yet 🙂

Tasting Bugs

Wednesday 27th May 2009

Before leaving Bangkok for our 4 day KL shopping and sight seeing trip we managed to squeeze in quite a lot. We went to the huge Imax cinema to watch “a night at the museum 2” which was good, scouted around the China town where you could buy all sorts of junk and we went to the red light district to visit the lady boy clubs. Sarah volunteered for the ping pong competition – don’t worry, she was the one with the bat. It was minging!
Yesterday the 4 of us arrived in KL. We spent last night wandering the streets in China town doing some bargain hunting. There’s loads of stuff I fancied – handbags, sunglasses, shoes and suitcases but what the hell would i do with them all while we’ve still got a month backpacking?!
Unfortunately last night Sarah started to feel quite ill and we think she might have caught something from food because she’s spent the last 12 hours in bed recovering. However we will be getting her up for the Petronas towers tonight (we have tickets for the 5.30 viewing) and the football in the early hours of the morning. It’s the Champions league final and Taz and Sarah wouldn’t miss it for the world by the sounds of it! I’m going for the atmosphere but Anneka’s going for the much more sensible option and will be going to bed well before the 2.30am kick off 🙂
Over the next couple of days before we return to Thailand for the islands and beaches, we’re planning of visiting the remaining jungle in KL, a very large aviary and lots of shopping malls/theme parks/bowling alley/cinema type things! We might also be including a doctors trip if Sarah isn’t feeling any better today. A couple of antibiotics have sorted Taz right out as he was feeling a similar way for a couple of days and after a trip to the airport doctor while he was waiting for Anneka’s flight to land he’s right as rain. He got prescribed the same as what I did in Bali we think. So Sarah may have picked it up after a very short time of being here.

Sunday 31st May 2009

The last few days since I last updated the log have been pretty eventful…
In Kuala Lumpur the morning after Sarah started to feel really ill we took her to a little clinic over the road from the hotel and the doctor there suspected appendicitis and advised us to rush over to a hospital and get it checked out. So a couple of hours later Sarah was actually having it removed in Sentosa hospital!! Thank god for travel insurance though – the op cost a thousand pounds which would have made this a very expensive holiday for her! While Sarah was in hospital for 2 nights we managed to take full advantage of the cheapest beer we could find which isn’t cheap at all compared to much of Asia. But it was fun 🙂 We managed to whiz around the best of the shopping centers and visit the aviary which was really good and a really really hot and humid day!
Sarah was released from hospital on Saturday afternoon and after a quick shower and a subway we were returning to Bangkok for the night. We arrived late and intended to go to bed early as we were heading to the beach the following day but a recovering Sarah was the only one that went to bed sober and early 😉 The Chang’s are just too tempting on a Saturday night in Bangkok!
There was a frantic rush this morning when I thought we had 10 minutes to check out and get in a taxi when actually we had an hour, we just hadn’t changed out phones/watches back to Thai time from Malaysian time! So we got a nice eggs breakfast and rammed all our bags into the boot of a taxi which he had to tie wrap down because 4 big bags in one boot was a bit of an issue. The 3 hour journey to Cha Am where we arrived this afternoon was very smooth apart from the monsoon half way through which forced us to buy bin bags from the patrol station, wrap our luggage in them in the rain and then carry on… so much fun!! It cost us 8 quid each for the taxi which is reasonable considering the bus takes much longer and isn’t too much cheaper when there’s 4 of you.
We arrived in Cha-Am and found a room really quickly. 10 quid and it has air-con, a TV, hot water and a really cosy feel to it. Probably one of the nicest rooms we’ve found for the money which will hopefully be a recurring theme as it’s low season and I think we’re the only tourists here, ha ha. We all had dinner at a cheap little place round the corner and Anneka who really likes crabs invested in a plate of them and wasn’t disappointed. This evening while sarah was resting we took a quick dip in the sea at sunset and enjoyed the beach.
The nicest part about being here is the chance to relax after a hectic week in 2 of Asia’s busiest cities. Tomorrow will be a chance to chill and sunbath in a the peace and quiet, bobbing around in the sea doing nothing 🙂

Tuesday 2nd June 2009

Today we’re leaving Cha Am after 2 nights here. Yesterday me and Taz had a much needed huge lie in. After some food we all headed out to the beach where we lazed about for an hour before it started to shower. We sheltered under some sun umbrellas for a while during the rain and afterwards we got some good pictures of a double rainbow over the sea!
We rented some scooters in the evening and rode out for tea, finding some very cheap but very nice seafood noodle soup. We returned to the hotel with a bottle of vodka between us and lots of pink fizzy fanta 🙂
Today we were up pretty early to catch some rays. We took our scooters to a quieter stretch of sand and chilled out for most of the day. sarah had a little dip in the sea too because she’s feeling much better and is healing well! I’ve noticed that there appear to be more jellyfish and they’re not confined to the deeper water! Taz remembers reading somewhere that in June, July and August there are loads of jellies in the sea in these parts so I think we have more of that to look forward to!
Tonight we’re getting a train to Surat Thani. I think I’m the only one that’s falling over with excitement about it, particularly as we’re traveling the approximately 8 hour journey in 3rd class… We’re planning on getting the boat to Ko Samui where Anneka’s flying home from on Saturday. can’t wait to get to more nice sandy beaches!!

Friday 5th June 2009

As everybody knows from the last blog we took the train on Wednesday night to Surat Thani. If all had gone as planned we’d have been on the train at 7.45pm and in Surat Thani by 3am Thursday morning. All didn’t go to plan though, we arrived at the station and the guard told us the train would be an hour late, an hour and a half later and it rolled up, by which time Sarah had been eaten alive by mosquitos. Being backpackers we had bought the cheapest available ticket – the cheapest was 3 quid each in 3rd class. So we sat in our seats in the bolt upright position for a looooooong time. All part of the fun!! In the middle of the night the train stopped for 2 hours and we still aren’t sure why. You looked out of the window and it was complete darkness all around the train. Very spooky! At this point me and Taz went outside to stretch our legs and let the other 2 stretch out and sleep a bit. When the train got going again me and Taz were still up, standing at the open doors as the sun came up. Very romantic! It was like being in an old film on our old train, chugging along at sunrise! I loved it. But the delays meant that we only arrived at Surat Thani at 8am. By 10am we were on a 2 hour ferry to Ko Samui. At 12noon we were on Samui in the raging heat and after a little looking around we’d found 3 beach huts constructed on the sand about 10 meters from the lovely blue sea on Lamai beach. The best part is that they’re 8 quid each as it’s low season. Sarah absolutely loves that she’s in a beach hut and that when you open the door in the morning you’re blinded by the bright sun, white sand and bright blue sea. We had a look around and went to bed. Taz and I didn’t actually have any sleep all night (too busy filming the sunrise) and I don’t think Sarah or Anneka got much either so it was nice to have a seep before going out for a nice seafood tea at about half 9.
Yesterday everybody was up and about early to make the most of the sunbathing opportunity right on our doorstep. We chilled out all day but I couldn’t help spending more time in the shade or in the sea (no jellies!) than baking in the sun because it was so intense. We all went really brown but unfortunately I was the only one not to go red. Taz had a little redness on his shoulders – nothing major, I’d been plastering him in factor 30 all day. Sarah has a rosy face and even Anneka with her factor 50 on went a little rosy in the sun. Last night we went out for tea at the neightbouring beach, Chaweng. When we got back we sat outside out beach bungalows on this pagoda type wooden construction that the massage women use during the day. It was very relaxing sat right infront of the sea with a few 7 eleven beverages…
Today Taz and I are the only ones out of bed at dinner time so we’ve been for some tasty noodle soup from a stall. I believe Sarah’s having a lovely peaceful lie in and unfortunately Anneka’s feeling a little bit dodgy so she’s sticking to her hut for a while. It suits us as sunbathing all day after we did yesterday just feels like way too much for your skin. So we’re wandering around the small town instead 🙂
Tonight is Anneka’s last night and we’re planning to go out for tea in style for the occassion. Tomorrow is Taz’s birthday so I have to work on pamering him all day. The day after is the full moon party. 3 busy days and then hopefully a few more blissfull weeks of relaxation before we find our way home 🙂

Saturday 6th June 2009

Last night everyone was feeling little tired after tea. I think it’s all the heat! So we went back to our usual spot on the beach with a beer and after Anneka and Sarah went to bed we went on a mini adventure on the scooters for another beer and didn’t end up going to bed until about 3am, we were having too much fun relaxing 🙂 I think everybody was a little bit on edge last night before going to bed because the bungalows a little further down the beach from us were broken into and one girl was crying because her laptop had been nicked and the police weren’t helping so she can’t even claim on her insurance…
This morning everyone was up bright and early. We did a little bit of sightseeing on the scooter and then sat in the warm water in the blazing heat to top our tans up in a really nice little bay. Taz did some snorkelling too. It was postcard perfect!
This afternoon Anneka left to catch her flight to Bangkok to make her midnight flight home. Can’t believe our visitors have been here 2 weeks already. Time flies!! Lucky Sarah has another 10 days to explore more of Thailands white sandy beaches! Me and Sarah went ofr some food while Taz ran up and down the beach with a very fluffy bouncy puppy that he borrowed from a local!
Tonight as it’s Taz’s birthday we’re taking him out for a meal and some cocktails. We’re going to try and get an earlyish night though because we’re catching a morning boat to Phangan, checking into the Seaboard hotel and making our way down to the full moon party a couple of miles away.
I don’t think that any of us want to part with our brilliant little beach huts (wish bungalows I think they’re called) right on the beach here on Samui but we have to leave them behind at some point! We have a brilliant view all day and it’s so quiet at night sat with drinks in our little wooden pagoda thingy! But I’m sure we’ll find some ace quiet spots in Phangan aswell. Haad Yao beach is meant to be the nicest looking on the island and it’s far enough away from the party to limit the chance of a break in and reduce noise! It’s all very excitiing – new island, 10,000 party people…

Tuesday 9th June 2009

Lots has happened since the last update, but I’ll start where we finished off on Saturday…
Saturday
We took Taz out for a lovely meal, we wandered about looking for the best seafood selection we could find and settled on a mixed plate which included a fish fillet, huge prawns, a blue crab, a whole squid etc… Al served up from the BBQ with a big baked potato! Sarah absolutely loved it, I didn’t know she was such a massive fan of seafood. Later we found a bar whos happy hour ran until 1a so we crashed in there for a few drink offers and staggered our way back to the beach huts for a peice of Taz’s birthday cake!
Sunday (full moon)
We were up bright and early for some breakfast before jumping in a minibus to the port. At 1am we set sail on a ferry rammed with holidayers all raring to get started at the full moon party. On arrival we realised its cost 1200 baht between us for a return taxi ride to the full moon or rent a jeep instead for 700 between us. So that’s what we did!! It was so much fun, it even had air conditioning. The only problem we had was that the engine was a bit rusty and it kept cutting out and rolling backwards on the massive hills – thank god Taz was driving!! We ended up staying at a place called Phangan Cabana, 500 a room for aircon, sky TV and the place has a pool. Our huts are about 100 meters from the beach, if that. We were going to stay at a place with a fan only and all in 1 room for 600 between the 3 of us but we decided on the comfort of aircon instead.. After a power nap we were all back in the jeep again racing round the winding roads to Haad Rin. We gave te guy his jeep back and took a look around. There we looooooads of people everywhere – I don’t think we’ve seen as many ravers in one area before and everyone was covered in glow up things or in fancy dress (saw a guy in a borat thong). We participated by buying a paint brush and 2 pots of illiminus paint. We stayed until 4am, dancing to all sorts of music (mainly dance I think) on the silky sand and drining cocktail buckets and changs! I haven’t been to a party with more people than this before. The guide book says around 8000 on the beach – I think there were more!!! Brilliant atmosphere. We’ll be scheduling in another one next time we’re in Thailand 😉


Monday
Shockingly me and Taz didn’t rise until 2pm. Sarah had been sunbathing in front of our bungalows since 11. We rented scooters and used them for nothing more than to find food and nosy around. Way too hung over for anything else!! We had an early night for an action packed day Tuesday…
Tuesday
This morning we all left our Phangan Cabana bungalows for brekfast on the scooter. It wasn’t long before we discovered a really nice beach which had a sand footpath to Ko Ma, a very tiny island. Taz and Sarah did some snorkelling 🙂 We visited an elephant sanctury this afternoon which we stumbled upon by accident. When we went in the guy said they also had snakes that we could have a look at. The one the man had out was a boa and about 1 meter long and pretty slim. Me and Sarah had a picture taken with it around our necks. Taz wouldn’t go near it! Then he said I could old his mother so he popped open a big box and out slithers his 3 meter long, definately not slim mother! I was the only one who’d hold this one, it was very docileand the man had me led flat on the floor while it slithered round me andit was right in my face at one point! Sooooo heavy! I didn’t realise that boa snakes were this harmless when they weren’t hungry. I don’t understand why I’m scared of a tiny spider yet enjoy playing with 3 meter boas! They’re fascinating!! Next wasn’t so fn though. Without wrning the guy popped open another box and a king cobra shot out. It moved completely differently, it was really aggressive, incredibly quickly and was lunging for the guy before we’d even managed to get out of the pen!! There was no way I was letting this one lick my face!
Tonight after a long day we almost ran over a little black puppy. We picked him up as there was no sign of people and when wepulled up at a pet shop the guy there agreed to keep him until someboy wanted him. We bought him a collar, a sack of puppy food and we called him Borris!
Mum & dad – sorry we haven’t spoken in ages!! Taz says thank you very much for his prezzy and he’s getting a tattoo with it in the morning – I’ve triedto talk him out of it!!!!! Ring you when we can 🙂

Saturday 13th June 2009

Well the 3 of us are in Southern Thailand again. I feel very at home here in Krabi – Taz and I are already buzzing about being back in the climbing capital and we’re making plans for our next visit, hopefully next year. It’d be great to bring all our climbing friends over for a couple of weeks, and Harry 🙂
We left Ko Phangan yesterday morning on a ferry at 11am which took 2 and a half hours. before we left Taz got a tattoo and then Sarah got one! I almost feel left out, ha ha. We got a bus and then a minibus to Krabi town when we were back on dry land, and a sawanthaw type vehicle thing into Ao Nang. We found the Ao Nang Grand Inn for 400 baht a night (8 pound) and went out for a fish and chips tea. You can tell there’s lots of tourists in Krabi with the food selection out there! We got a cocktail in a little raving bar but the view wasn’t brilliant, little Thai hookers prancing around isn’t really my scene!! We ended up going to bed late and shattered.
This morning we’re having a McDonalds breakfast as I’m typing. It’s just across from the hotel. We’re getting a little long tail boat round to Railey. Over the next couple of days we’re doing 2 full day tours – one to Phi Phi and one to 4 other nearby islands including chicken island where we’ve been before and it’s still the most beautiful beach we’ve come across. Fun times! Sarah has 5 days left and we’re going to make sure she goes home with a golden tan so there’ll be lots of hanging around in the sun going on 😉 I’m very excited about Phi Phi now, we weren’t going to go but the price has dropped to get there because it’s low season, so we’re treating ourselves. It’s the island everyone says is like paradise and we wouldn’t mind a bit of that!
See you all soon! Jem and Taz x

Tuesday 16th June 2009

Since we arrived on Saturday it’s been idea sunbathing weather so all has been well. Sarah loved her first longtail boat ride over here and the scenery coming into the bay is just stunning. We took more pictures (hard to resist) even though we already have loads from last time we were here. We found a room for 8 quid night, buy two nights and get one free so it works out at about a fiver a night. Me and Taz went for a jog and I tipped over my own feet running down a steep hill and decked it, scraping off a nice bit of tanned skin from my leg! At the hotel we were staying at we got a really tasty sea bream each off the BBQ with salad and potatoes. Even the food’s much cheaper in low season. We couldn’t afford fish in high season! We had a few beverages at the “Drop Inn” bar next to the hotel.
On Sunday Sarah spent the day sunbathing but I couldn’t face the heat with a hang over so we went for a walk to a lagoon and the viewpoint. The walk up took about 45 minutes, it was really steep and really hard work. The lagoon’s really isolated and once you walk up the hill you have to walk down the other side and that’s even worse. We met a group (in flipflops!) that turned around, but it wasn’t too bad for us rock climbers 😉 We had a paddle about in the lagoon, it was really peaceful because we were the only people that had dared climb down to it. Then once back up the hill we did an extra 10 minutes up hill to reach the viewpoint – photo’s coming soon!
Yesterday we paid for a speed boat trip to Phi Phi and its surrounding islands. I’d never been on a speed boat before and it was a back breaking experience! It was pretty good though, we got to snorkel loads (Taz LOVES snorkeling) in water that’s really clear and full of fish that don’t seem afraid of you. I’m glad we saw Phi Phi but I think it’s very over rated just because “The Beach” was filmed there. We’ve seen much nicer places in Thailand than Phi Phi. On the way back it started peeing it down so we got really wet on the speed boat. Funny but ironic that the day we do the tour it rains loads! It rained all night so we stayed in the same bar stretching out 2 beers until 1am playing cards 🙂
Today it’s still raining believe it or not. A local guy predicted this a few days ago and he said it’ll last 3 days when it comes. Hopefully it’ll be gone so we can have a few days of sun before we come home. No big deal if it doesn’t, 6 months of sun is enough to last us a life time!! We’ve booked a cheap Air Asia flight back to Bangkok for Monday 22nd where we’ll stay for a few days before looking for a cheap flight home…

Sunday 21st June 2009

Taz and I have spent the last few nights relaxing on Tonsai Bay. It’s funny that we’re nearly at the end of our trip and we ended up in exactly the same bungalow that we stayed in last time we were here. When we checked out this morning it was nice to pay 20 quid for our entire stay 🙂 It has been really hot and not rained the whole 4 days so it was a great opportunity to tan ourselves to death. I think all the entertaining we’ve done over the last couple of weeks has caught up with us too, by the time 9pm comes round we’ve usually been asleep or sat in the Small World Bar (our favourite) trying to keep our eyes open! The other day an American guy checked out opposit us and gave us a 30 quid bottle of wine that he hadn’t got round to drinking. So we drank it and were asleep just after 8pm, he he.
We spent yesterday climbing and it was all good apart from a bit of rope burn for me! I did a climb that was pretty hard for me, I only just managed to do it last time so I’m chuffed that I managed it this time after months of no climbing whatsoever. It feels like the end of an era. We’ve been free as 2 little birds, doing whatever the hell we want for a whole 6 months, climbing whenever and wherever the hell we want. No timescale. No commitments. We’ll miss that I tell you!!! It all feels very emotional!
Last night after climbing we were sat outside of our room on the balcony when we heard a huge bang. Turns out the monkeys from the forest behind us had come to raid the nearby trees for fruit. They were massive dark grey monkeys with bright white fur around their eyes and mouth, very strange looking things! We videoed them playing around and swinging in the trees, they mustn’t have known we were watching because when the cleaner appeared they bolted and flicked off some roof tiles of the opposit bungalow. We also hav a big lizard in our garden 🙂 and a massive spider 😦 There’s also loads of squirels who I’m sure are responsible for knocking the coconuts out of trees, you’ll be sat there minding your own business and the next thing you know there’s a massive THUD and a cocounut lands beside you. Scary! Sitting outside our bungalow’s like a nature show – the noises the bugs make are also unbelievable, soooo loud at night!
Late last night we donated some Sangsom (Thai Rum) to the staff at the Small World who were very pleased and drank it after they performed their fire show. Very sensible! I got a picture with one of them who’s a spitting image of my little brother, Harry. Photo coming soon… I can’t wait to come back and see them all again, they’re so friendly, and we’ve only been away 5 minutes! We discovered last night that they only get paid 6000 baht which is 120 quid a month. And they all sleep on the floor in there at night under a mozzy net. Little soldiers!
It was sad to get a longtail over here this morning to Ao Nang but we can’t live in paradise forever! So we’ve spoilt outselves with a very nice room for the night. It has a lovely pool with nice plants and palm trees around it that we’ve been relaxing in today. It’s not every day that we get a room with an actual kettle in it! And we’ve had our first hot shower for well over a week. Tomorrow we fly to Bangkok (after abusing the breakfast buffet at our nice hotel) which will probably be our last destination before we come home. We’re going to do some spoil yourself type stuff, like massages, dates at the cinema, nice seafood teas before we have to come back to the real world. We’re also going to get some last minute prezzies and have all our washing done for the nice little woman that does it for peanuts, so our mums don’t go mad when we tip our baggage out!
Happy Fathers Day Dad!xxxxxx
Oooooh and before I forget, I promised Sarah that I wouldn’t tell anyone that she fell in the mud on the way to the airport… 😉 It’s icing on the “appendix removal” cake! I think it’s Thailands way of getting you back for calling it Blackpool!!! I just can’t believe I didn’t get a picture, he he he…

Wednesday 1st July 2009

Well it’s happened, 6 months after leaving we made our way back to England. We had actually booked our flight home while in Vietnam a few months ago but didn’t tell our parents so that we could surprise them. So after a 2 hour delay, a 2 hour flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, a 2 hour wait, a 1 hour delay and a 14 hour flight to Stansted we had a 4 hour drive to Preston to do our surprising at about 4am Friday morning. Over 48 hours after getting up to go to the airport in Thailand we somehow managed to sleep!
Our last 3 days in Bangkok were taken up with shopping – lots and lots of souvenir shopping! We also drank a decent amount of Chang. We ate sushi – lots and lots of sushi for 3 days. We even had it for breakfast at Bangkok airport to make the delay easier 😉 it was a very good 3 days. I’m glad we had a little bit of time after the beaches to hang out in Backpacker heaven – we kinda feel at home there now. But there’s no place like home here in Preston… we even brought the weather.
Since we got home we have been considering our options for the present and future. The priority is to get a job, save up and do something similar when I finish university in a year. We’re not ready for the mortgage, marriage and kids just now 🙂 Taz has some electrical jobs to do and I’m volunteering at the local leisure center as a climbing instructor so that I can get my qualifications and do it myself somewhere a bit more adventurous over summer. I can also use it to get a job in America if I take my last opportunity to get a USA summer visa when I finish my degree next summer. But as the aim is to make money asap I am applying for jobs in the travel industry for work experience too.
The world is our oyster, we’re not depressed to be home, it has opened loads of doors and we’ve seen the opportunities that are out there. The massive variety of travelers that we’ve met since we arrived in Asia are inspirational and everybody seems to do different things while they’re out there. We met a couple who have been working seasonal/temp jobs for years and for about 4 months of the year they travel to wherever they fancy. We met a Russian girl that was in her 4th year of working her way around the world. We met a couple that were about 70 years old at the full moon party. The point I’m trying to get at, is this is not a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s just an eye opener.
On the plane on the way home we were thinking about all the places we want to see now we know how possible it is when you have no house and no kids to just up and leave for as long as you want. I would like to do “work america” again but in New York this time rather than Colorado. We’d both like to island hop in the Phillipines, spend some time in Canada and maybe go to South America for a while so Taz can do nothing but fishing and teach me. I can’t wait…

Experiencing Malaysia

24th January 2009

So we left Bali on Thursday. Our flight with AsiaAir was 3 hours long and really good. But we arrived in Malaysia at night, and the bus to the center of Kuala Lumpur was an hour. Then we hopped on the monorail thingy to near our hostel. We arrived really dehydrated! 

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After some much needed water we spent hours wandering through China Town. You can buy anything you want – fake and cheap!! We got some lovely chinese food for peanuts and went to bed. Our very uncomfortable bed! The “Westover Lodge” was a little bit on the rough side. Ideal for back packers but we were glad we’d only booked one night!

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Yesterday we had to move out of our little hostel. We looked for another hotel but they were either booked up or really pricey because of the chinese New Year this weekend. So we found one in downtown Kuala Lumpur, the Tune hotel for 20 quid a night. It was like luxury! Compared to the hostel the night before. The shower was a dream, the bed was soooo comfortable. And the curtains were blackouts, so at 9.30 this morning when we finally got up, we felt like we’d had a proper sleep for a change! We saw the Petronas towers last night, they were so cool looking at night, like 2 big diamonds!

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Today we unfortunately have to leave the Tune Hotel, but we managed to find “D’oriental” so we’re going to find that after some brekky – and a brew in Starbucks! REAL milky brew!!!!!!!!

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26th January 2009

We have loved KL so far. It’s brilliant. There’s only 1 part we haven’t liked, and that’s the attitude and the stupidness of the staff at “D’oriental” where we spent the last 2 nights. In a nut shell you didn’t get what was advertised, booked and paid for. Including breakfast! The daytime however has been a completely different story! Amazing…

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It all started as we found the KLCC. Shopping heaven. Neither of us are overly keen spending the entire day shopping, but this was different! The KLCC is huge. Thre are about 14 floors and the floors are larger than the trafford center. You can buy anything! There were about 100 different places to eat, maybe more. We spent a bit of time chilling in starbucks again with toasted banana and chocolate muffins, and wandered about the whole day. We were going to see a film (all in english) but there wasn’t anything that interested us. I can’t believe we didn’t lose interest – there was just so much to see and do in there. Another bonus is that the whole thing is air conditioned so you can escape the heat of the day. That was Saturday day.

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Saturday night was pretty good too. We managed to get ourselves very drunk in a posh (expensive) bar over the road from the beach club. We didn’t go in the beach club because they wanted 7 quid entry each. It was just a simple normal bar. And the beer was about 6 pound a pint as well, so we thought NAH. Over the road we got in before 10 so for free, and stayed until the early hours, dancing away! Legless…

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Yesterday we fell upon another shopping mall – 2 actually. The first we found was “Low yat” with 10 floors of nothing but electrical gear. Any computer geeks idea of paradise. We ended up buying a laptop. Couldn’t resist. We figured all the money we spend in internet cafe’s will make up for the purchase 😉 You can get free wifi all ver the place. Over the road was another mall – a bit like the KLCC we found the previous day and probably just as big. This one had a 50 lane bowling alley in it which we had a go in, and a rollercoaster. It’s a bit strange when you’re not expecting a rollercoasted to go screaming past you overhead!

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This morning we had another do at “D’Orienal” idiots when they tried to tell me I hadn’t paid for the previous 2 nights. Soon cleared that up and headed back to the lovely Tune hotel in a much better part of town. Same price, 10 times better! Also we can get all our clothes washed and dried for a quid – D’oriental wanted a quid for each item and we had about 30. ARGH!

All in all – we’re having a fantastic time. Neither of us are even considering where to go next we like it that much. maybe we’ll only be able to stay for the 4 days we have here at the Tune Hotel and then we’ll have to move on. We definately want to visit the water park – Sunway lagoon I think it’s called. They have a hot spring which opens up at night too. So we’re planning to spend a whole day there.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUEANNE!!!!!! Sorry that we didnt get to speak to you!! I callled your house 3 or 4 times and just got your machine.. Hope all you three are doing fine though? Hows Lowan?? Me and jem are having a wicked time though so dont worry about us and will speak soon xx

29th January 2009

Hi everyone it’s Jemma. Me and Taz are trying to find somewhere new in malaysia to travel to tomorrow. Somewhere nice and cheap to make up for over a week of very decent hotels and endless trips to starbucks 🙂 We’re looking at the cameron Highlands, a little cooler, cheaper and much greener! Lots of jungle trekking and waterfall trails to be done. We found a ten quid hotel called “fathers hotel” or something like that. Very popular with backpackers apparently so we have booked 2 nights. Still waiting to hear back from the hotel though because they don’t have instant confimation. Hopefully they’re not full.

The last few days have been blissfully lazy. We keep getting up at after 11am and yesterday we spent the afternoon in a great big outdoor pool and then went up the petronas towers that night. The pool was lovely and warm, they don’t have to heat them over here it was roasting as usual. The weird thing was a bunch of women came in with the families in head to toe muslim gear. That must be so annoying to have to keep it on!

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Today we spent the day in the gym in the majul tower over the road. It was 6 quid but we spent hours in there just to escape the heat of the day. A really good gym and a great sauna and steam. Again though – the womens sauna and steam were seperate from the guys because most people are muslims here. Weird customs. I’ll be paying for the gym visit tomorrow when I try and get my backpack on. One thing I will miss about the city is the lack of mozzies – we havn’t been bitten once in about 8 days so we have no random red lumps all over us which is nice.

There’s some serious rain going on right now so we’re debating whether to call the McDonalds free 24 hour delivery service for tea 😉 There’s no mcDonalds in the jungle we’ll be sleeping in tomorrow night…

Also – Congrats to Rick and Katy who have just found out that baby number 2 is a boy!

30th January 2009

We reluctantly checked out of the brilliant Tune hotel in KL this morning at 10am. We forced ourselves to get up at half 9. As we weren’t getting the bus until the afternoon we stopped by the sogo mall round the corner for all the essentials. Back at the hotel collecting our bags, we got chatting to a young couple from the isle of man in the reception area who are on a round the world tour. They just flew out 2 weeks ago to Singapore but they’ve traveled before and they were a good source of information. The annoying thing was that as they knew they’d be in KL on these dates, they booked the hotel in advance and only paid half what we paid. Which would have made it more affordable for us to stay a bit longer. Never mind.

Buying a ticket at Puduraya Bus station wasn’t a problem. We were 45 minutes early for the 1.30pm bus. Finding the bus was a big issue! In the heat of the day the buses line up outside and inside the bus terminal and there were literally hundreds! We got on the ricketty looking bus just in time. Or so we thought – it didn’t leave til 2pm. Typical. The journey was interesting. It was that bouncy that you couldn’t read or play Sudoku!

On arrival, about 4 and a half hours later the guy from the guesthouse was exactly where he said he’d be. He whisked us straight up to the place. By this time the air was so cool. It was like England on a rare warm summers night. So lovely. The guest house is amazing. It’s filled with back packers and everyone’s really friendly. The room’s nice and big and has everything we need. Much cleaner and nicer than we expected. It’s 13 quid on the weekends, 9 quid week days. The wifi is only 1 pound for your entire stay and they rent movies for 1 pound that you can play in the movie room. They even have sex and the city the movie – which Taz says I am definately not allowed to rent. Yeah right 😉 We can’t recommend the guesthouse enough though so if anyone’s planning on a visit to Malaysia’s highlands check it out. Fantastic value for money. http://www.fathers.cameronhighlands.com

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We headed out for food. A bag of monkey nuts all day isn’t enough to keep you going! We found the “travellers bistro” just down the hill. We got a coffee and a lovely cup of tea and ordered some food which to be honest wasn’t brill but it was cheap. The beer was relatively cheap for malaysia, 2 pound for a tiger beer, so we had a few. At the bar we got chatting to a British guy from Shrewsbury on a round the world ticket that had just reached Malaysia from Thailand. He’s a rock climber too, yey!! He showed us lots of photo’s on his camera of a place to climb over the sea in Krabi, Thailand. You climb until your hands can’t take anymore and then you let go and fall into the warm crystal clear sea. Ace! He rented a hut in Krabi on the beach for 6 quid. He stayed the entire 16 days he was in Thailand and said he found it was really hard to leave. He said it was the best view he could have asked for when he woke up – he’d open his hut door and there was the sand and the sea… sounds good to us. Brilliant to hear of some climbing places, because we haven’t even unpacked our climbing shoes in the 5 weeks we’ve been in Asia which is a shame. So we know where w’re going soon!! The best bit is we can stay as long as we want, because we didn’t buy a round the world ticket. We love the freedom of travelling on a whim and to where we’ve heard from other travellers that it’s good. I think Thailand will be amazing. Before we knew it, it was 11pm.

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So tonight after tea and beers we came back to fathers guesthouse and we’re chilling out in our cool little room. We haven’t even got the fan on it’s that cool. After our journey we’re looking forward to a relaxing few days here. The whole atmosphere’s so different and we keep saying “god we love it here” and we haven’t been here a day yet. We’re hoping to do a trip to the caves the day after tomorrow. It’s a 2 hour bus journey and you spend the day there and get dinner. Sounds brill. I think there’s white water rafting too, yey!!

So bye for now – and all you non-travelers out there don’t know what you’re missing 😉 Today has been a really great day.

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31st January 2009

Today has been one of those days where you can’t help saying to yourself – god we love travelling! This morning was fine fine example. We woke up around half 10 and went down for brekkie at 11. It was good – a nice hot brew that was steaming away outside in the cool mountain air, and bacon, eggs, beans and toast. Everyone was friendly and chatting and talking about the trails they were heading out on that afternoon.

Taking advice from a guide in the office, we headed out at about 12.30 staright onto a jungle trail. We took loads of pictures. The whole thing was really hard work but it was so interesting. We walked up to the peak of a mountain and it rained all the way back down, serious monsoon style! It was great! The round trip took about 4 hours and by the time we landed back in Tanah Rata we were starving and incredibly wet. At one point we were a bit worried because we took a couple of guesses at forks and junctions and we couldn’t help thining ahhhhhhhh what if it goes dark and we’re still looking for the road!! I think our walking shoes will need a few days to dry out anyway. It was just a brill trek. The air was so fresh. Compared to everything we’ve done so far, villages, towns, cities, beaches, islands – the jungle has been the most amazing experience.

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Back at fathers guesthouse we got a much appreciated warm shower. Mum and Laura, and Taz’s dad saw us on the webcam tucked up in our sleeping bags being lazy in the late afternoon, ha ha.

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Down in the lounge the BBC world news was on so we chilled out with a nice hot brew and caught up on what’s going on. It’s always nice to catch a bit of BBC every now and then. The plan was to head out for food at about 8 but someone rented “What women want” so I was glued to the TV until it was over. In fact, there were about 20 other knackered travellers curled up on the sofas watching it too! So cosy. But poor Taz. He was starving and so bored by the time 10pm rolled round. We got a lovely Indian in the village, again our tea only cost us about 6 pounds including a lovely milky hot chocolate for me and freshly squeezed fruit juice for Taz. I can never eat all the food, no matter how hard I try!

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It’s getting late now. Taz is already flat out asleep. We’ll probably be sore tomorrow. He he. We are planning on going to some farms in the morning that have been set up for tourists. Apparently you can go strawberry picking or something, mmmmm. God, we love travelling.
Ta ta for now! Jemma and (asleep) Taz x

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Monday 2nd February 2009

Good evening world Taz here for a change, Jemmas lost her typing fingers so I’ve taken over the reins………

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Anyway day 36 and today we been visiting strawberry hydoponic farms. One in particular called Big reds, had a bit of a nightmare just getting there as the was told that the bus left the bus station at 1.30pm, ok so we arrived back for 1.10pm to be told that the bus had already left, even know there was a massive sign with times of when they do leave and it clearly said 1.30pm. So after we missed our very cheap 20pence/1rm bus journey we had to get a frickin taxi, fortunatly I negotiated a very reasonable £1.60/8rm taxi up to the farm instead. Upon arival we jumped out of the taxi only for jemma to of left her camera on the back seat but lucky for jem he was a nice man and he blasted his horn and gave it us back…This place as well as selling and growing ridiculous amounts of strawberrys it also grew 5 different types of lettuce and mahousive cacti!!

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Managed to get some real good pics. The only downsite was that the strawberrys where quite expensive for very few and half of the strawberry products that they sold were made in Bangkok… All in all it was ok, glad it was free tho or we would of been disapointed.

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We set off back down the mountain road to our advantage we swindled a free cab ride back down to town…. Score. By this time it was 6pm ish and in the guest house (fathers) in the tv room, they was playing some new films but we didnt get chance to watch them as their was no seats…. Comfy ones anyway.. So we got showered and went out to the local towns Indian restaurant purely because we’ve got sort of sick of eating tandori chicken, even know its cooked in clay ovens and its most delicious, you do get sick of it. Now this little place, didnt quite catch the name of it but I had the best veg currie I can remember eating, had roti(Bread) with it to and popadoms too…. All washed down with a coffee… And the best part about for all the food I ate and for Jemmas to it only cost 2quid!!!!!!!! The best 2quid indian I ever eaten…..Good and god bless the full tummy…

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Friday 6th February 2009

Hello it’s Jemma 🙂

A couple of days ago we left the cool highlands for the super hot beach…

We have spent the last couple of nights in a tourist resort called Batu Feringgi. Getting here was a fun but epic 6 hour journey. We ended up getting a little bit lost, and arrived via 3 buses and a taxi when we could have just got 1 direct bus… Anyway now we’re here we really like it! We found a room with aircon on the outskirts of the resort and explored the place. We found a nice guesthouse to move into the next night, right on the beach. Baba’s. Free wifi again, yey! We had a couple of beers at a beachside bar and the sunset was perfect 😉

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Yesterday was an amazing day. We moved guesthouses and had brekkie at a beachside cafe. We took some beach mats and sat on the beach in the blazing heat. The best bit was that the beach wasn’t very busy, we were one of about 6 sunbathers the whole day. The seas brilliant and so warm. I was a little shocked at first by the sucker fish because I didn’t know what the hell was having a go at my legs, but once Taz told me they were actually quite cute, sucking on your feet and stuff! We sat about, ate and swam all day until about an hour before the sun completely disappeared. I’ve never really liked sitting on a beach all day but this was peaceful (apart from the odd jet ski flying past) and we just chilled the whole day.

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At around 7 we went for a run up the beach. It was still really warm so the sweat was poring but it was very rewarding. By the time we reached the end of the bay on the beach the sun had set. We ran back along the road after a breather on the rocks. Running on the concrete was a walk in the park compared to the soft sand!! Carole – you’d love it!!

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For the last couple of nights I’ve had really good teas – the night before last night Taz got some noddles and oysters and I had the best chicken corma ever. Last night I got grilled fish, Taz got rice and prawns. The meals are max 2-3 quid each. There are so many people eating at these places, locals and tourists. There’s a horseshoe of around 10 different food stalls and a cluster of tables in the middle, so you can wander round and decide what you want. There’s everything – Indian, Thai, seafood, western. Western’s always the worst looking and in my experience worst tasting. If you want western food that’s good, eat it in the west! The local food is definately better. I’m always really full!

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Today we went into Georgetown to get Taz a new book – he’s on a reading frenzy! He’s gone out for a run now again. Hes’ on a mission! We’re both looking forward to another night watching the sunset eating more yummy salted corn on the cob. Mmmmmmmmm…….. wish you were here?

Monday 9th February 2009

Hey everyone it’s Jemma! I think we may have been the hottest we’ve ever been these last few days. Here in Batu Feringgi between the hours of 11 and 6 it’s just way too hot. My bottle of water feels kettle warm and you just can’t shower enough. It’s blissful but irritating at the same time! I wouldn’t change a thing apart from the heat, if we could I think we’d turn it down just a notch. Batu Feringgi’s great and I can see why lots and lots of travelers come here. The beach is nice, it’s very very sunny for the sunbathers and there are some incredibly cheap brilliant food. Just the simplest 80p rice dishes are great.

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So this morning after breakfast and a trip to the chemist for antihistamine tablets, anti-itch cream and pain killers I sat inside and chilled. The woman chemist was shocked at the sight of me and waved the guy chemist over to check my legs out. He felt sorry for me, told me it was the worst mosquito damage he’d ever seen in his life and gave me a freebie to try and help me! Bless ’em. I thought the woman was going to try and hug me or sumat! They also told us to watch out because apparently dengue fever has been kicking around the area recently. Mum, you were right, antihistamine was the first thing they handed me 🙂

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I’m back at the room and Taz is on the beach entertaining himself. All drugged up and away from the burning sun my legs have calmed down and all is good 🙂 Looking forward to being able to roam around when the bites have stopped itching profusely. I’ve found that sunlight, heat and sweat is just the worst thing to annoy them. Practically burning them under a very hot shower has seemed a little effective against the itching but nothing has worked as well as the strong cream the chemist gave me this morning… just in case you ever get eaten alive in Malaysia.

On a positive note we had a brilliant time last night, treating ourselves to a nice juicy steak each in a restaurant called the ship because we realised my credit card was 17 quid in credit for some reason 😉 Not many places accept cards for food so it was nice to sit in the air-con while “sailors” served us the nicest food. The credit didn’t quite cover it, but you only live once!! It was nice to go out (with long trousers on of course) after being sat in the shade inside all day.

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Roll on sunset!! bring me some lovely shade!! I’d love nothing more than a jog as the sun’s setting but that’ll have to wait until I can fit my feet in my trainers again…

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Ooh and just in case anybody’s curious about the Tsunami damage here, it managed to kill over 50 people on this island (Penang) and destroy hundreds of homes. I googled it. 22 people died here in the resort of Batu Feringgi, most were Malays. In my opinion they have recovered really well. You’d never know.

Wednesday 11th February 2009

This morning we got up at 5.30am and checked out of Baba’s early. After a bus, a ferry, a bus and another ferry we arrived at the island of Pangkor… where we got a taxi to the Suria beach resort. The place is quite nice. We spent the heat for the day chilling out because our room has air-con and a TV with movie channels AND hot water. Bliss!

This afternoon when we managed to pull ourselves away from our “fridge” of a room as went for a walk down the beach. Locals were cleaning it all up which is nice to see. The beach is really nice and the sea’s clear. There are even nicer beaches up the island which we’ll walk to tomorrow. We bumped into some people who were staying at Baba’s while we were there, they’re from Finland and left Penang a couple of days before us. Small world.

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But bye for now – we’re back in our room after a nice fish tea and we’re watching a film with a milo (hot choc stuff) 🙂

Saturday 14th February 2009

Happy valentines day everybody! It’s Jemma here. We have a little room party going on right now with our Finnish friend Sammi. This involves coca cola and a big bottle of Thai song. Which is now nearly empty 😉 We’re moving onto the beach soon after another hunt for alcohol… Not so easy in a little muslim beach town. We hear there’s only one place…

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Today has been very relaxing. We spent the morning on the beach, bobbing around in the sea which takes about 30 seconds to get to from the hotel. I’ve never been a big lover of deep water but the sea here has changed my mind. Apart from the odd prickly jelly fish (SCARY!) the water is amazing. Last night we went swimming at about 5 o’clock and didn’t get out until around 9pm when we got a quick shower before getting food. There’s quite a few people in the water around sunset and the atmosphere’s so nice and relaxing. I’ve learned a few things and let go of a few inhibitions – I’m much better at climbing a rope (ME!!)and climbing trees than I would have thought – see facebook videos for tree climbing evidence, he he. I feel like a tomboy for the very first time! I’m better than the little weak Chinese men in their Lycra shorts! Good practice for the rock climbing in Thailand. This is probably my favorite place so far. And today has definitely been the best valentines day. Who’d want to be anywhere else?!

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We have been debating where to go next. Yesterday we booked a flight to Bangkok for the 21st February (Emily’s Birthday). We booked 3 nights at the “New road guest house” or something like that, and our plan is to make our way down the coast of Thailand. We are going to try and extend our 30 day visa at the embassy first though in Bangkok. Apparently you can get 90 days if you show up and ask. We’ll try our luck. This is because I think once we get to Krabi and get on the rocks we won’t want to leave Thailand within the 30 days.

We’ll possibly stay here until the 20th and spend a night in Kuala Lumpur again the night before our flight to Thailand. This little island is so much more fun than the last one, Penang. I think it has a lot to do with our room. Same price (ten quid) but the air con has made an unbelievable difference. You can relax during the day, whereas in Penang when the heat of the day set in there was absolutely no escape. You couldn’t even sit in restaurant to cool down, because they were all open air. The only thing you could do was shower every time you reheated!

I’m glad that our experiences have inspired a few other friends to take the plunge – even my little brother is planning to visit Thailand after his GCSE’s to join us for some of the best rock climbing available in the world. And I hope so much that Sarah comes to South East Asia while we’re still here on her way to Australia for the summer. And Sarah – you know me, we’ll defo’ be going to see Juan in in New York next Christmas now you’ve mentioned it 🙂 I want to go there the summer 2010 after graduation. We could do work America again if you fancy?! And visit the ranch on vacation 😉
Thank you for the valentines present little sis. x x Well I’ll love you and leave you. We’re having the time of our lives 🙂 Take care and happy valentines day.

Sunday 15th February 2009

I’m sure if Taz has written this update it’d be called “Uno Champion” and not “uno Cheater” ha ha. At around 3pm we went for our usual swim in the sea. I impressed the local boy kids with my rope climbing. Still can’t believe I can do it. They can’t! Some of them don’t even attempt. Big girls blouses.

At 7 we went for a run, probably 3 miles, just to the top of the island and back. Very nice warm run. But hilly. Sammie knocked on our door at about 8 to remind us about the drinking going on next door. We waited until the end of “The apocalypse” film before venturing our for tea at 10, and then to Sammie’s at about 11. For tea we got typical cheap Malaysia food. I got rice, Taz got noodle. The noddles Taz gave me to try I ended up shoveling to the very skinny, very pregnant cat purring at my feet. There must have been at least 5 or 6 little kittens in that belly!!

There were 5 Finnish versus 2 English in the Uno game. If Taz hasn’t cheated I think England may have won. He had to help me with the first few rounds because I didn’t know the rules. I repaid him by making him jump out of his skin with a big “BOOOOOOOOOOOO” on our way back. Ha ha. Apparently if we take the trans-siberian railway home, we’re more than welcome to stop off in Finland on our way for a couple of weeks. We’ll bear that in mind… Hmmmmmm…

Today has been excellent. Tomorrow will be a hangover! The day after is Helli’s (our boy Finnish mates girls) birthday. Her friends have hired a beach bar and ordered a cake. We’ll be there!! Any mention of cake 😉 I thought she was younger than me, maybe 20. She’s actually 30 in a few days!! Sammie is a toy boy. She’s a whole 7 years older than me!
God bless Malaysia!!!!!!!!!!

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Saturday 21st February 2009

Well its an early start for us today, to make sure we catch the 8:15 ferry from Pangkor back to the mainland. (Malaysia) We met our friends from Finland to travel back to Kuala Lumpur with them. Always fun in a group.

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After we arrived back at the port of Lumut, we had our last Malaysian breakfast of egg roti and rice which was delicious as usual. After our hearty breakie we boarded our coach to KL which would take 4hrs. As the driver set off at 10am he managed to collide with a parked bus and scraped all one side of our bus so that set us back half an hour. Finally we arrived in KL for which a lot of the journey Jemma managed to sleep for. Nothing new there. Said our good byes and farewell to Sami and Heli as they were staying in KL for a few days to catch up on decent western treats which is something that I never thought we would ever crave, but after weeks of rice and peas and noodles etc you cant wait for pizza or something. Headed to the airport on the sky train and then a bus. Finally we arrived at 5pm ish only to have weight issues when we was checking in, to be honest it was 1.8kg overall between us so we had to go away and take stuff out then take them back to put them through. The last thing you want when you have been on the go all day and we were sweaty and just wanted a shower. Couple of hours to kill then we finally boarded and was on our way to Thailand.