Tag Archives: wanderlust

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Whale Watching at Hervey Bay

21st February 2016

 

One of my first memories as a child was walking into the National History Museum in London, looking up and seeing the giant statue of the blue whale that use to hang from the roof. When I looked up with my tiny eyes it was all that occupied my vision and I was enthralled. In fact, remember when Pinocchio  gets eaten by the whale? Most people were terrified of this as kids. I on the other hand thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen. I use to sit cross legged in front of the TV thinking ‘lucky puppet’.

disney ocean whale pinocchio monstro

As i’ve got older and become enamored with all animals , whales have always been on the list of ‘things to see’. But as is the case with all animal experiences…there had to be strict rules:

. They have to be in the wild

. The company must be safe and environmentally friendly

Luckily in Australia it’s quite easy to find a whale watching company that fits the bill. We arrived in Brisbane with only three weeks left of the whale season (the whale season in Queensland is August to October) so we set off as soon as we could, crossed our fingers and hoped we’d spot the incredible creature that is the humpback whale.

The humpback whales stop off here for a few months before heading to colder climates, normally with lots of mini humpbacks in tow. In fact it’s thought up to 7,000 whales can be here at any one time during the season.

We decided on Hervey Bay since it is always listed as ‘the number one spot in Queensland to spot whales’ on every blog we searched. Hervey Bay is about 3 hours outside of Brisbane so we hired a car for the day and took the beautiful drive to the bay. whalewatching_13

whalewatching_12  Hervery Bay is beautiful ! The drive from Brisbane takes you past mountains, the bush and signs hinting that Koala’s are near. The bay itself has the bluest seas, a lovely harbor and as you are sailing you go past white sandy beach islands that look like every postcard you’ve ever been sent by boasting friends. All of this is before you even see a whale.

whalewatching_09 We used the Quick Cat 2 boat , which you can book here. The company was one of the first to set out on the high seas to see these animals and they were great. We left on time, there was plenty of room, they gave us facts about the animals and area and even provided lots of snacks and drinks.

whalewatching_11 If I’m honest I held no hope that we would even see a whale . There was 2 days left of the season when we stepped on the boat and our hopes had been lowered by the staff. If we hadn’t seen one on the trip we’d have been given a free trip by the company so I wasn’t too worried, but I was sending well wishes to all the Nordic gods that we’d see the fins of some creatures of the deep.

An hour into the journey we’d still not glimpsed a fin when suddenly as if from no where a large mother and her calf appeared along side the boat. We could just see the sheen of her back as she arched back into the ocean , but it was thrilling. We saw her little calf beside her and it was so strange to be that close to a creature that had chosen to come and see what this boat in the ocean was.  Lee and I lost our minds!

whalewatching_01 We only had a few minutes to stare in wonder before we noticed in the distance a huge cloud of water. We raced across the water and got lucky enough to see a male whale displaying his powerful skills. He jumped out doing barrel rolls and dives for about 15 minutes. Even our guide was in shock . Unfortunately I was so enthralled by the show that I didn’t have my camera out. I was a little too obsessed with seeing it with my own eyeballs.

whalewatching_04 whalewatching_05 whalewatching_03 We got to see another handful of whales showing off as the day went on, which meant I got to capture a few token shots (phew) and even got a surprise visit from an angry lethal sea snake that wanted us dead. Luckily the boat was very high so we didn’t have to actually meet the most deadliest snake on the planet (the olive sea snake – in-case you were wondering) . whalewatching_07

The day went so quickly and our faces hurt from smiling. I would recommend it to anyone. I think we will definitely be doing it again. Lee’s mission is to see a Blue Whale and I’d love to see Orca’s in the wild so once again ‘whale watching’ has not been knocked off the bucket list…it’s just been crossed off and added back to the bottom of the list. whalewatching_06 whalewatching_02 whalewatching_08

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Nusa Ceningan – Wrinkly Fingers and Scooters.

11th October 2015

banner After relaxing in the tiny town of Ubud we did what any smart person would do and instantly went somewhere to relax even more…oh it’s a hard life.

We settled on the tiny island of Nusa Ceningan. While still officially Bali , this tiny island that is attached to Nusa Lembongan is a little off the coast of the main tourist area of Kuta. It is a forgotten island by most tourists so it is extremely untouched. No atms*, no real roads and beautiful untouched scenery are what you’ll find on this tiny island. There are some roads but they look like a blind giant got drunk and laid them.

nusacennigan17 The only problem with wanting to go to a tiny remote area is that getting there is a pain in the arse. There were quite a few boats but they basically wanted you to donate your kidneys to buy a seat. We decided to take the risk and take the local boat. After 3 months of travel we liked the word ‘local’. It normally translated to ‘cheap’. This local boat was A LOT cheaper, which should have been a sign. We soon discovered that we should have just paid through the nose for the other boat. At least there was a chance our nose would still be attached to our face after that trip…on this rickety, packed to the rafters boat…we would be lucky to be alive.

In the 5 foot waves we waded out with our bags to the floating shack. At one point a wave hit me that was so strong it took my feet from under me. We finally boarded the boat, soaking wet and ready to hit the (very) high seas. This is when we were told in broken English that some more cargo needed to arrive. We were already sitting on and among an array of boxes of all shapes and sizes so I dreaded to think what was on its way. What came aboard was two hundred ,ten foot planks of wood, a fridge freezer and of course, a motorcycle. Watching 4 men try to move a heavy bike onto a tiny boat while getting battered by waves was extremely entertaining and improved the trip immensely.

nusacennigan03 We were finally on our way and woozy from the petrol fumes. We pulled up to a beach covered in men screaming ‘TAXI’ at us. We knew we had a pick up from our hotel waiting so started looking for our people. They were nowhere to be found until finally one of the taxi men got excited and everyone started pointing at some people walking away from the beach. We ran up to these two and had to convince them that we were in fact the people staying at their hotel. They were having none of it. A recurring problem we’ve discovered while traveling on this trip is:

  1. Lee is an Asian name
  2. We booked our flights and hotels from Korea.

 

Everyone thought that Lee and I we would be Korean on arrival, most didn’t seem to mind but I could tell that some people had been brushing up on their ‘hangul’ for our arrival and were slightly disappointed in the pastie faced Westerners arriving on their doorstep .

 

nusacennigan02 nusacennigan01 We jumped on board their tiny scooters, covered in bags and started the ride to Nusa Ceningan and our hotel. About half way on our journey along the bumpiest roads I’ve ever experienced, I turned around slightly and couldn’t see Lee and his driver anywhere. I started to worry so shouted in the ear of the young girl driving that we’d lost them. I now knew her extremely well since I was clinging on to her for dear life. She paused for a while and waited but there was still no sign of them. She made the executive decision to carry on and hope they were just taking in the sights. What had actually happened was Lee’s guides bike couldn’t handle the weight of two grown men and three suitcases, so had given out. Lee had to get off and walk up any hill that lay ahead of their path. This is probably a good time to note that even mountain goats would come to Nusa Ceningan and think it was too ‘hilly.’

Finally Lee and his guide arrived at the hotel and we were given our beautiful room. It over looked our ‘private’ pool. It wasn’t meant to be private, but the two other villas were empty so for all intensive purposes we decided that it was our pool for the week.

nusacennigan05 nusacennigan06 nusacennigan11 We stayed at the ‘Da Fish’ Hotel and I’d recommend it to anyone. Great views, fantastic food brought straight to your balcony, lovely people and great location for seeing the blue lagoon.

We did nothing for the week apart from ride our scooter around the island and **prune our fingers. Hiring a scooter is something we never thought we’d do. Scooters are always part of peoples horrible travel stories. But without a scooter it’s impossible to get around Nusa Ceningan or Nusa Lembongan. We drove around, saw the island, ate at tiny restaurants and watched the sun set, but most 50% of the time was spent in the ‘private’ pool. We were definitely those smug annoying tourists for a few days.

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best part of travel? All the puppies and kittens

nusacennigan12 nusacennigan09 nusacennigan08 Nusa Ceningan is a tiny place but perfect for a couple. If you are travelling on your own or with your friends then I’d say Nusa Lembongan is better. More restaurants, music bars and even a local outdoor cinema. A bit more life to it and more places to drink, but for us Nusa Ceningan was where we belonged. Everyone needs to find a place they can pretend to be fancy tourists in once and a while. nusacennigan16

Lee throwing all the moves

Lee throwing all the moves

This is definitely the forgotten island and I’d recommend it.

*there is one atm but it is rarely filled. I think that it probably empties before the money delivery guy is even back on his boat. You can get money out from the money exchanges for a fee in an emergency, such as a ‘we need more pina colada’s’ emergency like we had.

** Pruning fingers is when your fingers have been wet for a long time and they get wrinkly. Lee laughed a lot when I used this term and I discovered it wasn’t a universal or even a local phrase.

Let’s Go To Asia – Travel Video

27th September 2015

So as the astute among you may have noticed, we are already finished with our trip. We are in lovely Australia. I still have a few posts about our trip to come, but I recently finished editing this little video together and couldn’t wait to share it.

So here is just a few of the best parts of our trip:

Yogyakarta – Asia’s Hidden Gem

20th August 2015

banner When we were planning our Indonesian route Lee stumbled on a little city in Java that peaked his interest. As a History buff Lee saw the words ‘largest Hindu temple in Southeast Asia’ and his eyes lit up.

yogya09 yogya13 The most important thing to know about Yogyakarta is how to pronounce the darn place. I was calling it yogi-o-karta until I arrived at the airport. Indonesians  pronounce it ‘Jog-ja-karta’ but the locals call it ‘Jog-ja’. This is what everyone calls it and it’s much easier to get by once you know that.

We were only in the town for 3 days and we spoiled ourselves with a nice place. There was a roof top pool and large comfy beds. Unfortunately the hotel is also where local school kids stay over night on school trips. Our room was surrounded all night by loud teenagers running up and down the halls. Its safe to say, as two ex-middle school teachers ……we weren’t impressed.

yogya06 yogya08 The kids weren’t the only down side of our first day on the trip. I also received some horrible news from home and spent my night curled up with Lee feeling horrible and very very far from home. Luckily I didn’t have time to think about everything too much since we had already planned a trip that started at 4am. I didn’t have time to think. I just had time to try and close my eyes before the alarm went off and we were on our way to Yogyakarta’s famous temples – Prambanan and Borobudur.

yogya02 yogya03 yogya07 yogya10 We took a tour to Prambanan organised by our hotel. We had a lovely driver and arrived at the temple complex just as the sun was rising. When you arrive at the temples you are given some water, a snack and a stylish sarong to wear. We leisurely wandered around the temple. Taking in the intricate carvings depicting Buddha’s pilgrimage and lifeline, beautiful surroundings and miles of jungle all around us.

The only thing to disturb the peaceful surroundings was the hundreds of kids that are taken there on trips. Schools take kids there to practice their English. We found it quite endearing because they were so cute and lovely shouting ‘mister , Mrs picture, picture’. We must have posed for at least 12 photos and managed to grab a few of our own.  It did take away from the beautiful sights a little especially since the concentration of kids was on the iconic roof of Borobudur where we wanted to take the most photos but couldn’t. But it was another welcome distraction on a sad day.

My favourite part of the day was when Lee and I went off the beaten track and climbed the hill over looking the Borobudur complex. We sat and watched the mist roll over the mountains in the distance and literally had time to smell the roses…and frangipans (at least that’s what I’m told they are called). Being so far up above the clouds was beautiful and I just wanted to stay there forever with Lee.

yogya04 yogya05 Since it was a tour , we didn’t have time to stop for too long. Our next stop was Prambanan. It was built in the 9th century and has a number of temples, each dedicated to different gods, The Creator (Brahma), the Preserver (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva). There was also a temple for Ganesha which is one of my favourite of the gods since it is half Elephant and half god. He is the god known for removing obstacles. He is seen as a patron of the arts and Hindus ask him for help during writing sessions almost like a godly muse. I’m not Hindu but I love the idea of a god that inspires imagination. It seems very fitting for a blogger to like him I suppose. He is also the god of beginnings. I had just discovered I had lost someone extremely important to me and it was nice to think of it as a beginning rather than a sad end. I am lucky to have known my aunty well enough to feel she was with me at every step of our journey.

yogya01 yogya12 yogya15 yogya16 Lots of things end but sometimes its nicer to think of them as changing. Maybe not always for the better but change opens us all up for new experiences and we also carry with us the things we learnt in the past. These temples were hidden from the world for so long and now they are there for everyone to see, even before that , in another life time they were strong central pillars to a community and a civilisation . People came to these stones for hope. It’s a wonder to be able to travel and see these sights that have been viewed by so many others.

A lot of people hate the idea of tourists or other people discovering something before them but I like it. I find it kind of satisfying to share these sights and incredible places with people I would never meet or even live in the same century as. It’s a privilege that I hope I never take for granted.

I am sorry for this reflective and slightly sad post but I don’t mean it to be . It was an uplifting trip and one I think we will both hold dear. Lee actually says he prefers these temples to Angkor Wat. I love them both equally but I also think it’s such a huge shame that Prambanan and Yogykarta itself is so over looked.

I’m really glad we stopped off in this nice little city as our first port of call in Indonesia. It was cheap  and a little grimy but the temples alone were worth the visit.

Our first impressions of Indonesia are high. I can’t wait to see what else we find.

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We’re going to INDONESIA!

7th August 2015

banner INDONESIA!!!

Yes I am shouting that. I was so stupidly excited to visit this place. I realise that this is quite a normal location for travel bloggers but for me it’s really exciting and completely new.

I am going to confess something to you all now and please don’t judge me but I LOVE THE BOOK EAT, PRAY, LOVE! I read it at a hard time and it inspired me to:

  1. Run around the world
  2. Leave behind me a very toxic part of my life

It was a very important book to me and I will always be grateful for each and every page of it. For those of you that have lived in a cave, this is a biographical travel book about a woman who gives up everything to travel the world. 3 months in Italy, 3 months in India and 3 months in Bali – Indonesia.

The second I read about the beautiful Ubud I knew I had to go. I am a massive cliché but I’m not ashamed. Any reason that makes you travel has to be a good one.

indo7 indo6 indo4 Lee on the other hand was a little wary of Indonesia. He is a Historian and had only heard about the conflicts and darker side of Indonesia, he hadn’t seen the beautiful photos and heard the wonderful stories from friends that I had. There are many dangerous areas in Indonesia but it is a big place. If you are worried it is important to check on your embassies website to see what they advise. Even after my constant sales pitch he still was quite reluctant.

So I did the thing any sane person does when being confronted with someone who doesn’t want to visit a country; you make them go for 3 weeks.

indo3 indo2 indo We started in Yogyakarta for the temples, then to Ubud for food and yoga, Nusa Cenigan for a quiet isolated island without roads, Gili Air for deserted island paradise, Gili Meno for an even more deserted paradise and lastly Lombok for expensive looking hotels at stupidly cheap prices. indo5

Our last stop on this trip is going to be nothing but relaxing and food. A holiday from the holiday. That’s a thing right? signature

IT'S SO CUTE and FLUFFY ..I'M GONNA DIE!!!!!

Big Kids in Universal Stuidos – Singapore

2nd August 2015

banner My background is not as a writer (as you may have gathered from my awful grammar and spelling). I am by trade an Animator. I love animation and everything that goes with it, which is normally films and television. Luckily for me Lee is also a huge geek and we have lost hours if not days to our Netflix marathons. The only thing we love more than films is a good theme park so combine those two together and Universal Studios was the obvious place for us to visit during our Singapore stay.

universalstudios13 We were jumping around like kids before we even arrived at the park. We took the subway to Sentosa subway station that is linked to the VivoCity mall and tried to track down the monorail that takes you to the island. What we later discovered was that you can just walk over the new bridge for free which takes about 5 minutes and is a really pretty walk so I’d definitely recommend it. Seeing the island that the Universal Studios is based in, called Sentosa, made us wish we’d left time to explore more during our stay but it’s a definite must for next time.

We arrived at the gate and bought our tickets, which was a bit of a splurge on our budget but once we were inside and saw all of the park we weren’t disappointed.

I’m an advocate for the phrase ‘if somethings worth doing, it’s worth doing right’ so the second we were in those gates I was wearing my park swag and even more excited.

universalstudios17 universalstudios11 If I could have bought this teddy (which was also a bag!) I would have but our budget and carry-on bags wouldn’t allow.

IT'S SO CUTE and FLUFFY ..I'M GONNA DIE!!!!!

IT’S SO CUTE and FLUFFY ..I’M GONNA DIE!!!!!

We spent the rest of the day getting soaked on the Jurassic Park rafts, surprisingly loving the Transformers 3d ride and generally enjoying everything the park had to offer. I’d recommend trying to make the Water World show but be aware that the splash zone is in the middle, the SOAK zone is at the front. We arrived slightly late and I can tell you that the soak zone lives up to its name.

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Lee got to be surrounded by his childhood heroes.

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We were a little surprised by the prices of snack foods but the restaurants were well priced. We ate before we went in after our trip to a Theme park in Hong Kong left our pockets empty just after buying a bottle of water. universalstudios18

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universalstudios4 universalstudios3 universalstudios2 We loved the day and I really want to visit the rest of the Universal world’s studios now.

universalstudios17 universalstudios19 universalstudios15 universalstudios14 universalstudios9 universalstudios1 It’s great fun being big kids and I am so happy that my partner in crime is as childish silly as I am.

I made Lee pose by the star of Jimmy Stewart who is his second cousin. Can you see the likeness???

I made Lee pose by the star of Jimmy Stewart who is his second cousin. Can you see the likeness???

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Lee and I with the one and only Miss Monroe

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Serious faces for  these 3d glasses

Serious faces for these 3d glasses

Singapore – A City of Lights

30th July 2015

banner When we tell most people that we are heading to Singapore on our 4 month Grand Asia Tour they look at us like we are mad. Not because Singapore is a horrible place, but the opposite, because it is beautiful and VERY expensive.

We have to be honest that we probably wouldn’t have gone here, even though we really wanted to, if it wasn’t for our fantastic friend Miss Carly ‘mother of dragons’ Pearlman and her boyfriend the lovely Connor. Carly had just moved to Singapore (and by ‘just’ I mean 5 days ago) so it was extremely rude of us to just rock up at her new home but we love her and weren’t going to miss this opportunity to hug her face off.

We arrived in Singapore and were instantly excited as we walked passed the 7-11 to see every chocolate and drink we had missed during our two years in Korea but there isn’t many joys in life as exciting as seeing an old friend , especially at an airport. I may have cried!

singapore12 singapore6 We are slightly embarrassed to say that we spent our 5 days in Singapore mostly catching up instead of exploring. We did manage to see the incredible ‘Gardens by the Bay’. This was incredible and one of the highlights of the 4 month trip. The trees were pretty on their own but if you head down to these giant electric trees at night there is a huge light show to music. We lay on the floor with the trees up above us and listened to the movie soundtrack montage as the lights danced around us. It was beautiful. While we watched I thought about all the other beautiful moments on our trip and how lucky we have been to experience so much…once again I may have cried. Just when we thought our evening couldn’t get any better it was made even better with our trip to ‘Satay by the Bay’, which as you might guess is a fantastic ‘Hawkers centre’ specialising in satay.

singapore10 singapore4 ‘So what is a Hawkers Centre?’ Is the question I finally got the nerve up to ask since everyone in the world seemed to know what one was. I thought it was just one place in Singapore that you went for a meal but no. A Hawker Centre is the name for a food court full of deliciousness. They are really popular in Singapore and for an expensive city they are a really cheap and delicious place for travellers to head. Your mainly problem will be what the hell to choose.

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This is the famous Singapore ice cream sandwich, which is actually just ice cream in sweet bread. DELICIOUS!

This is the famous Singapore ice cream sandwich, which is actually just ice cream in sweet bread. DELICIOUS!

The other big bucket list item for me was to see a Singapore ‘Merlion’. The ‘Merlions’ are the iconic image of Singapore. These half lion, half fish statues stand all around Singapore Island and guard it from evil. I’m a sucker for stories like that so I was really happy to see them.

singapore9 singapore02 One of our days was spent being big kids in Universal Studios, but I’ll share that in another post.

The best way to sum up this city would be: A rich person’s playground. So much thought and detail has gone into every shopping mall and building. The light shows (Gardens by the Bay and on the river) were the best I’ve ever seen. We were extra impressed after looking forward to Hong Kong’s light show and being VERY disappointed. This city is just very polished and although I love a place with rougher edges like Hong Kong I did love visiting and I’d love to go back…but maybe for a long indulgent weekend.

singapore3 singapore1 The biggest regret of the trip was that I didn’t have a Singapore Sling. I KNOW!!!! For a cocktail lover like me it was almost painfully to not visit Raffles (where the drink was created) and have a tasty sip. I’d love to say it was the $24 price tag that stopped us but really it was the fact us scummy travellers had no shoes or trousers that were appropriate. Ahh well it’s the perfect excuse to go back and then I can give this lovely girl another hug.

Love you Miss P xxx

Love you Miss P xxx

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Happy People at the Happy Elephant Home

27th July 2015

banner When I was young I use to have VHS tapes that I would watch over and over again (ask your parents what a VHS is kiddies). One of these was Dumbo. I loved the beginning when all the baby animals were brought by the stalks and would land in their little homes. But, like most children the thing I loved the most about the film was the elephants. I loved Dumbo. His big ears and his little trunk. I am not the only kid that was traumatised when he’s separated from him mum, and has to hug her through the bars. Even hearing the ‘baby mine’ song makes my eyes fill up. Since then I’ve always been fascinated by these huge, gentle creatures, and passionate that they shouldn’t be locked up. I learnt a lot about them as a kid and loved how smart they seemed. It was a huge item on the bucket list to see one.

When we went to Thailand two years ago we both knew that seeing elephants something we wanted to do. But once we started researching how horrible most Elephant excursions were we were heart broken. We didn’t want to give money to anyone who would treat these incredible animals badly. After a hell of a lot of research we found the incredible Elephant Hills in Surat Thani national park and the experience blew us away. As is the way with most travellers bucket lists we crossed off ‘seeing an elephant’ and replaced it with ‘see elephants again’.

elephants6 When we added Thailand to our itinerary this time around it was the perfect opportunity to have another heffa related experience. Unfortunately with us traveling constantly for 4 months our budget didn’t allow us to fly the length of Thailand to go back to ‘elephant hills’ so we crossed our fingers and hoped we’d find a place in Chiang Mai that we could catch a glimpse of the gentle grey giants.

elephants7 Our requirements for our elephant experiences:

. We do not want to ride them – they are not made to bare weight and their backs aren’t able to carry humans let alone a huge chair.

. We do not want them to be chained – enough said.

. We do not want them to do tricks – They have to be ‘broken’ when young to be trained and its impossible to achieve this without pain.

. If we can’t touch them but they are happy then we don’t mind – we’d rather see a happy dot in the distance than a sad animal up close.

I would honestly recommend that most people should stick to these rules when booking an elephant experience. Call the place, read reviews on trip advisor and ask around in your hostel or hotel. Just being the word ‘humane’ or ‘eco’ is on the leaflet doesn’t mean they are actually these things.

Our friend Kaleena , wrote a great piece about her time in an elephant home that you should all read. And as she points out, it’s incredible to be near these creatures but we are aware that it is only because of the past abuse they’ve experienced. If tomorrow there was no more elephant attractions but we could see them with binoculars in the wild, we would be happy. Anyway rant over…

 

elephants9 elephants14 We researched and researched, ignoring the many places in Chiang Mai. The only place that seemed reasonable was The Elephant Sanctuary. It was much more expensive than the others but we were happy to pay it. Unfortunately due to our awful planning (mine, not Lee’s. He is a jedi at planning) it was fully booked , but we were sent to another place they recommended , and it was also recommended by some friends of ours. We were pretty confident it would be humane and the elephants were actually being saved from horrible ‘eco-friendly’ excursions.

elephants12 Happy Elephant Home is where we went.

And we LOVED it.

We spent the entire day at the park. We prepped food and medicine for the animals (also dogs and cats), cleaned out their sheds, travelled to a local sugar cane farm and cut down the food for the elephants, watched them have a mud bath, got muddy ourselves, and watched them bathe in the river. It was a great day from start to finish. The elephants seemed happy and content. Playing with each other and enjoying their food and treats.

elephants16 elephants10 elephants8 elephants11 elephants5 elephants1 Being next to these creatures is very humbling. They tower above you and even though they aren’t aggressive in any way you are aware you are next to a wild animal and we were in awe of their intelligence. The only issue we had with the park was that they had a new baby who was tied to his mum with a rope. We asked about the rope and the onsite mahout who lives with the animals told us that the baby was a few months old (and he was adorable). Unlike most baby elephants who are taken from the mother straight away he was allowed to stay with his mum but since they only have 4 elephants it’s a lot smaller than the natural herd in the wild. The baby would normally be looked after by everyone. The elephants had acres and acres of space and the baby (when it wasn’t tied to mum) tried to see every inch of the grounds. This was upsetting the mum because she couldn’t keep up with him (due to her injuries after years of being abused) so they tied them together to keep the mum calm and to stop the baby getting into trouble or falling into the river when no one was looking. The relationship between the mum and baby was beautiful and it is a shame that they can’t both be free but it’s nice to see how happy they are in this new home. I hope that this place can keep growing and growing.

We felt extremely privileged to be near these incredible animals and as you can see from the photos, it was the happiest day of the holiday.

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The Best Way To See Angkor Wat

27th June 2015

banner We were a little overwhelmed with information when were planning our trip to Siem Reap. Every one had different ideas about what to do , when to go, what to skip. It was too difficult to digest all of the information so we did what all good traveller’s do and moaned to our friends until they told us what they did.

This was the fantastic message I received from the one and only, the legend Tom Jones…no not that Tom Jones, a even better one that we met while living in Korea. Him and his fantastic girlfriend Lynsey are the kind of people you’d pay to be your friend if you weren’t lucky enough to know them.

1 Here was his advice:

Hi T.

As far as I remember (it was 2 and a bit years ago) we only got a one day pass. The one day pass is valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase. SO what we did (what the hostel told us to do) was this:

5/6 pm cruise down to the ticket office with your Tuk Tuk driver, get out buy your day pass (I think you need passport) jump back in the tuk tuk and he’ll take you to the main Angkor wat super famous temple. It’s f*&^ing magnificent btw. You MUST see the main temple area in the evening if you are to avoid the crowds. The tuk tuk guy will wait for you in the car park, when your done/it’s too dark go home.

Then the same guy picks you up at like 4am the next day. (Take torches) He’ll take you back to the main site in total darkness and you can find a good spot and take pics as the sun rises over the main part of Angkor Wat. F*&^ing nice.

THEN….and this is the best part as most people (idiots) start to arrive at the main part you do one (because you’ve already done the main site the previous night) and go to the some of the other temples. They’re pretty much deserted/really quiet so you can enjoy them to the max. We did about 5 all before 9am. We weren’t rushing but were conscious of time and was really glad because as it gets closer to 9 it gets busier and busier.

One day pass was more than enough we didn’t feel short changed and saved money. We could have stayed longer or gone back too so it’s flexible but so good to avoid the crowds.

Also tried the minced chicken dish in Siem reap. I know it sounds rank but it’s wicked.

 

And there you have it. We followed these instructions to the word and had almost all the temples to ourselves. Plus he’s right, the minced chicken is fantastic.

To see more from Tom follow his instagram here: https://instagram.com/tomfalcojones/

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Angkor Wat – Temples , Temples Everywhere

23rd June 2015

angkorwatsunrise When people say they are going to Cambodia it’s normally an un-said assumption that they are also going to Siem Reap to see the beautiful ruins of Angkor Wat.

We were really excited to go to the ruins but at the same time we were a little worried that we had heard and seen so much of it online and in people photos that it would be a little under whelming.

We had been given the perfect plan of attack for this big complex by our friend (which i’ll post for you guys soon). We decided that because we have been traveling so much that just the one day would be the perfect amount of time for us in the complex…we were also warned from many people that unless you are a History graduate studying the building , you will probably be ok just doing the one day.

angkorwat3 We payed our tuk tuk driver to take us to pick up our tickets the evening before from the Angkor Wat offices. This allowed us to see Angkor Wat while it was quiet (with the added bonus of the beautiful dusk light as the sun set).

The next day we woke up at early o’clock…4am…urrrrr and headed to see the rest of the temples. I am no expert what so ever on the history of the temples but I will say that my favourites were the temple of faces named ‘Bayon’ and the temple made famous from the movies ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Tomb Raider’ called Tah Phrom. Tah Phrom is recognizable because of the tree’s that have been left to grow out and around the buildings making the stone structures more jungle and artifact.

Pictures can’t do this place justice but here are a select few.

bayonwheelpose bayon2 angkorwatsunrise2 angkorwat2 angkorwat1 angkorwat 1 spiderweb tahphrom2 tahphrom3

The town of Siem Reap itself is like an adult Pleasure Island from Pinocchio. We really liked it and it was a shame we didn’t have more time to spend there. I got to have a drink in ‘Angkor WHAT?’ and drink a Costa coffee (the british style starbucks) so I was a happy camper.

I don't care what anyone says...this is a dinosaur carved into tha phrom

I don’t care what anyone says…this is a dinosaur carved into tha phrom

A great lightning storm in the sky's of Siem Reap

A great lightning storm in the sky’s of Siem Reap

Small and Tall do Angkor Wat

Small and Tall do Angkor Wat