A Travellerspoint blog

Whitsunday isands

sunny 34 °C
View Rob and Jo's Adventures on rob_harvs's travel map.

So after a day at Mossman gorge and another day of R+R in port douglas we headed back down to cairns for a few hours while jo got he hair cut nice and cheap at the hairdressing academy! She was lucky though and it turned out well unlike the girl next to her who was screaming at the woman for ruining her hair haha. I parked up at the stinger free lagoon they have built in the middle of the city and had a swim for a couple of hours. We left cairns late afternoon and made it to a little village called Babinda just before dusk and the suicidal kangaroos that like to ruin your car in the process! Babinda…interesting little place, it consisted of a derelict factory a hotel/pub and a Spa mini mart that closed at 5pm…we arrived at 5.15. we managed a rubbish meal in the rubbish free campsiteSDC10011.jpg and went to bed so we could escape early doors!

A five hour drive and we arrived in the capital of north queensland, Townsville. If we thought that heading further south would mean it was cooler we were wrong! It was BOILING! We spent 2 nights and 1 day there and during the heat of the day we went to the reef HQ aquarium SDC10054.jpgSDC10060.jpg and imax cinema which was a good laugh!

The day after and another 4 hour drive brought us to Airlie beach, the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. We got straight on and booked a 2 day 2 night adventure sailing trip to the islands from the 22 to 24th. The boat was called the British Defender, a 84ft racing yacht with a 115ft mast.SDC10228.jpg The British Army raced it round the world in 1990 and now the old bird is retired up here. 28 of us were packed in but it wasn’t that bad in terms of space!SDC10237.jpg The 1st day the wind was the strongest its been for months and we were almost perpendicular to the water!SDC10091.jpgSDC10120.jpg Jo looked very unsure what I had got her into but the wind died down and it was nice and relaxed and much easier for us grinding up the main sail!!SDC10258.jpg After a bbq and a night on the boat we woke early for a sail and breakfast in tonge bay while green sea turtles surfaced all around the boat.SDC10151.jpg We then jetted over to the shore and walked up to the Whitehaven beach lookout!SDC10155.jpg The beach is recognized as 1 of the top 10 beaches in the world with it being 99% silica sand!SDC10173.jpgSDC10166.jpgSDC10189.jpg We got a few hours on the beach before getting back on the boat for lunch.SDC10182.jpgSDC10184.jpg (the food was excellent by the way haha). After eating and more sailing we arrived at one of the reefs for snorkeling for as long as you wanted really.SDC10194.jpgSDC10223.jpg We then went for more sailing and afternoon nibbles on 3foot spit (3 foot out of the water at high tide) and watched the sunset with a few beers/wines.SDC10239.jpg We did more snorkeling in the morning and then sailed back to port for lunchtime!

Christmas Day was good! Up far too early to open a few little prezzies and in the afternoon we had the typical aussie barbecue with some irish people and a couple of aussie boys we met on the camp site!SDC10291.jpgSDC10292.jpgSDC10293.jpg A good day was had by all but of course we missed you all at home!

Thank you for all your presents and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!!

Love Rob and Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 18:36 Archived in Australia Tagged boating Comments (0)

Islands onwards...

sunny 34 °C

Well guys I believe we left you in Langkawi!

So as most of you know early morning flights are not mine and Jo’s strong point so maybe booking on to the 9.30am flight to KL from langkawi was never a great idea. We decided (only because we didn’t want to leave our friends on the island without a send off) to go out in style the night before the flight…brilliant I know! We did have a really good night and made it back to the room around 5am. With promises to meet Jackie and Awie for breakfast at 7. HA! We woke up at 8.30 with 15mins to pack, flag a taxi and make it to the airport! (Jo, in true Jo fashion, had decided to turn off the alarm when it went off because it was too noisy! I didn’t even hear it!!) Anyway we MADE IT!! God knows how! As soon as we got on that plane the hangover kicked in hahah…good old karma again!

The first impressions of KL were pretty daunting…It is HUGE and it took us about 2hrs on the bus from the airport to get to the hostel we had booked! We got in to the room and spent a good hour checking the beds for the notorius bed bugs that are everywhere in KL apparently…even though we couldn’t find any we still felt like things were crawling on us…but maybe they were?! Haha. We then got directions to the malls that Jackie had kindly recommended to Jo (thanks Jackie) and had a walk around the Pavillion.100_2068.jpg100_2042.jpg It was a pretty amazing place…think of medowhall x 2 in size and x 100 in class! I think aside from all the designer shops overall the food court was the best bit!! Actually 1 of the cheapest places to eat in KL! We also booked tickets for the cinema a went to see the new 1 with Russell Crowe and Di caprio, can’t remember the name, in English!

I think the next day we went back to the mall for “real shopping” this time not just looking! So Jo bought a few things while I didn’t haha. The day after we thought we should actually get up early for the first time in a week or so and go down to the Patronas towers. You have to go early because they have limited tickets for the day so you have to que to get your ticket for the time slots available. We got 2.45 but that was ok because guess what…theres a big mall right underneath the towers!! Haha.100_2050.jpg There is also a really nice park outside of the mall with some pretty good views of the towers! We went back at our time and had a short film about the buildings and then a ride up to the sky bridge between the two towers in a lift that goes 42 floors in 40 seconds…ear popping stuff. The view of KL was brilliant.100_2060.jpg100_2066.jpg

After KL we headed right to the very bottom of south east asia and our last stop…Singapore! The Bus we got was 1st class haha!!100_2069.jpg We decided only 1 night was needed there because it is SO expensive. Theres not a whole lot to do there either. We even had to book dorm rooms to save on the cost so Jo was in the female and me in the male dorm.100_2079.jpg The evening we got there we headed straight out the highly rated night safari which is a zoo full of nocturnal animals (no cages) just natural barriers like water etc. We went round on a safari tram seeing everything from hyenas and rhinos to lots of different deer. We got home around midnight to go to our separate dorms where I nearly got in to bed with an indian man who while I was out had decided my bed was better than his and moved all my stuff to a different bed. Needless to say I didn’t apologise for my hand squashing his face in the dark!

The day after we were up early because of the noise in the dorms and headed out to the city to see various parts, using the handy MTR underground!100_2087.jpg And that night we boarded our 8hour EASY JET flight to Cairns! Infact I’d say it was worse than easy jet, Jet star is the airline.

We arrived in Cairns at 8am local time and had a full on MARE trying to get the camper van…with bonds they hadn’t told us about that we couldn’t afford…resulting in us waking respective parents who had access to a scanner in the middle of the night (Sorry guys and Thanks!) So after a couple of hours and still no sleep we got the van and headed to find a camp site with showers ASAP. We just crashed out after that in our BOILING HOT tin can! 100_2094.jpg100_2095.jpg

We made the trip up here to Port Douglas the day after100_2098.jpg and organised our trip out to the reef! We went out on quite a big boat but with only 40 people on, some of which were diving. It took an hour to get us to the Agincourt outer reef site where we snorkelled 3 different reefs. It was AMAZING!! We both rated it as the best thing we have done so far!! F1000001.jpgF1000010.jpgF1000011.jpgF1000021.jpgF1000023.jpgF1000025.jpg

Yesterday we drove further up the coast to Daintree to go croc spotting…and we were successful!! Look hard on the pic haha!100_2102.jpg And further still to cape tribulation where rainforest meets the reef!100_2109.jpg100_2114.jpg100_2118.jpg

That’s pretty much everything up to now!

Keep watching for more updates! Love Rob and Jo!!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 17:54 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Sun, Sea and Sand!!

sunny 30 °C

Now then!! i hear its cold at home :( thats rubbish for you guys! on the other hand here it is SUNNY!!! haha :D

We ditched Krabi as the weather was a no go and we headed further south still to Satun in Thailand where we jumped on a ferry across the border to Malaysia to an island called Langkawi! it feels good to have been in one spot for longer than two days after all the travelling we have done in the last 2 weeks!! the weather here is brilliant...sun, sea and sand is top notch!100_2009.jpg100_2022.jpg Our friends Jackie and Awie are here too (they tipped us off on the weather) and we met up with them for a beach party on the first night haha100_1999.jpg100_1997.jpg. Awie has alot of friends from his island on the east coast who are here to avoid the monsoons and work, so we are all good friends with the local guys who are running a bar on the beach....100_2014.jpgNo alcohol tho its muslim in malaysia and muslim malays who go anywhere near alcohol can face prison...on the spot urine checks by the religious police are common! We can buy it ourselves though and Langkawi is a duty free island!! 1 litre of smirnoff is about 5 pounds!!

So we have been hanging out down at the beach with everyone pretty much every day! we even made them a new sign for the bar with my expert graffiti haha well it turned out better than i thought!!100_2021.jpg it was a good team effort tho with Jo and Jackie doing the colours and small writing! and they are going to use it as the header for the new menus.

Anyways there isn't much more to report!! heading to KL on saturday on a cheap flight (Jo's idea!!!!)

Speak soon! Love Rob + Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 03:33 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Welcome to Paradise...(cough)

sunny 32 °C

well hello everyone! it seems like a VERY long time since we last updated but only because we have travelled trough 3 countries and covered about 1000 miles!! I think we left you after our first day in Luang Pra-bang in Laos so here are the updates...

After we saw the monks and went back to bed we got our lazy selves out of bed to meet Jackie and Awie (our american/malaysian couple friends we met up by the border in Laos) and headed out to the waterfall 1100_1762.jpg this was the final of 7 tiers!! it was pretty spectacular! the water was a great blue colour and VERY cold haha...we did plenty of swimming though 100_1772.jpg (jo and jackie braving the cold) and there was an over tempting tree overhanging the pool which had to be jumped off!!

We left Luang Pra-bang the next day and headed on a 200km journey to Vang Vieng further south. the 200km though took 6hrs in a mini van on one of the WORST journeys i have ever experienced! Laos' roads are not in good condition to begin with but when you shoot past a whole section, 1 mile high up a mountain, where half of the road has fallen away in a landslide it starts to make you think! it was just up and down the mountains all the way on semi paved roads...the scenery though was up to a very high Laos standard!

Vang Vieng is a backpackers town!! this is all down to one thing...TUBING!! you get your inner tube from a tractor wheel at the shop and take a packed tuk tuk up the river and jump in! 100_1781.jpg along the river are 7 or 8 different bars packed with other backpackers! 100_1780.jpg where the drinks are SO cheap...the drink of choice for most is the "bucket" consisting of half a bottle of Laos vodka/rice whiskey (about 50% haha) and then a ridiculously small amount of mixer...this costs about 2pounds!!! 100_1782.jpg (jo, jackie and awie) each of the different bars had swings and slides and mud wrestling etc haha GREAT FUN!! needless to say everyone was a little worse for where!

The day after we took another mini bus (3hrs on unpaved roads) further south again to the capital of Laos, Vientiane! and wow...easily the Worst place we have been! expensive, no atmosphere, nothing to see...we had heard bad things but thought we should see for ourselves! we decided we needed out asap...so we went to the travel agents to see about getting to cambodia! well it turned out it would be a 30hr bus of more of the same that we had had in Laos or a 1hr flight to the capital of cambodia, Pnom penh. well for those who dont know Jo HATES flying with a passion...so i booked the flight :D haha. Vietnam airlines was then looked up by jo on the net and 3 pictures of crashes came up 1st - brilliant! 100_1788.jpg it actually turned out to be a decent flight and we arrived in pnom penh at 10am with a full day planned!

we got ourselves a guest house by the lake (shortly to be filled in by the koreans that cambodia have sold it to) and headed straight to the S21 school house that Pol Pot turned into a prison/torture/murder base for the genocide carried out by the khmer rouge in Cambodia in the 70's 100_1790.jpg it was very heavy! what they did to the people there was a full on disgrace most of the time for little more than wearing glasses, they were referred to as parasites! i didnt take many pictures...i couldnt work out the morals of it but i did take a few that showed enough, there was so much blood spilt in the cells that after years of scrubbing the tiles are still blood stained 100_1793.jpg. there are rooms and rooms filled with thousands of Polaroid pictures taken by the khmer rouge (they photographed EVERYTHING they did!) of each of the people held prisoner in the school, they range from month old babies to the very old. the worst thing about those photos is the knowledge that not one person held there survived! we left the museum and headed out to the "killing fields" where most of the people were taken to be massacred. there are mass graves everywhere 100_1801.jpg and bones and clothes still stick out of the ground. Most of them have been fully excavated though and a monument has been erected containing the skulls of all the bodies found there 100_1799.jpg you need to read more about it to fully understand what they did to these people...click this link when you finish reading the blog. after a heavy day we headed back to the lake for a well earned beer and a sunset view of the lake! 100_1813.jpg

We left Pnom Penh the day after since there really isn't anything else to do and we were dying to see Angkor Wat...(Read up) it took us 6hrs to reach Siem Reap and we collapsed in to a much nicer place than in Pnom penh! We arranged with a tuk tuk man to take us to angkor wat for Sunrise the next morning- meaning a 4am wake up call! well i thought it was pretty amazing 100_1839.jpg jo wasnt impressed and asked why we got out of bed haha! the whole complex is HUGE over 100 temples angkor wat is just 1! we went round quite a few 100_1858.jpg
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Jo was finally impressed with the temple tomb raider was filmed in! :) after about 6 hours of temples and ruins we were all templed out and headed back to the hostel!

We decided not to hang around too long and arranged a bus back to bangkok the next day! once again the journey was terrible, they even over booked the bus and instead of arranging another one some unlucky people were sat on plastic seats in the aisle!!! along with all the baggage! when we arrived in Bangkok we though why hang around (with the imminent protests) and literally got straight on another bus to take us south to the islands for some paradise beaches!!! after ANOTHER 12hrs we got to the port 100_1926.jpg and it was raining...not a good start! then came the sea!! 10m waves! it was horrible we were probably the only ones who didnt throw up! no exaggeration! we arrived white knuckled after 2hrs on Ko pha-ngan to a full monsoon, and nothing changed. we checked the weather and it was forcast to stay the same for the next 10 days! in hindsight.....hahaha ah well! we decided to bail out and head over to Krabi on the west coast instead to see if the weather was better over here! so here we are and no the weather is not much better...not as much rain though! instead of the beach then we went for a river cruise 100_1935.jpg to some caves 100_1943.jpg and then to a fish farm! 100_1969.jpg oh and yes i did get a terrible hair cut before we went!! haha got to learn more Thai!!!!

Anyway jo is so hungry im about to be stabbed so enough writing!

Hope everyone is well

Love Rob and Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 04:55 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Been a while!

overcast 20 °C

Hello everyone! Sorry its been so long!! We’ve been too busy having fun and hopping borders to get enough time on the internet to upload all the photos and write all this haha sorry to rub it in…
So we made it to chiang mai from Bangkok on the 2nd class sleeper overnight which was way more comfortable than the Chinese version! You have two big seats facing each other and when you decide you want to go to sleep the guy comes round and musters up a bottom and top bunk from nowhere…we got a good guesthouse with a nice pool so just chilled out there for the day after exploring the local area for restaurants and bars. The day after we booked on to a Thai food cooking course for the afternoon/evening! It was awesome!! The guy picked us up from the guest house and took us straight to the market to teach us about all the different Thai ingredients and he bought up what we needed for the cooking…it has to be said me and jo are amazing cooks ha-ha the food we made was SO good! We got a recipe book as well so I’m sure we can give it a good shot when we get home!
After a good nights sleep on a very full stomach we got up early to go off to the most famous temple in north Thailand, Doi Suthet100_1474.jpg100_1488.jpg which was pretty impressive and gave a view of all of chiang mai!100_1483.jpg after we headed down to chiang mai zoo which was a good afternoon!100_1519.jpg
the big day was the following one!...a days trek/all sorts of other things in the jungle south west of chiang mai. First of all we stopped off at a Thai orchid and butterfly farm…for you butterfly lovers there are hundreds of huge/amazing ones in Thailand! From there we headed in to the foothills of the mountains to visit some of the hill tribes, most notable were the long neck tribe!100_1537.jpg The women of the tribe get bronze rings round their necks each year from the age of 5 until 45!!100_1554.jpg The more rings means the more beautiful the woman…Jo had a go with a half ring thingy and the weight of even that was madness!100_1552.jpg After looking round the villages we headed in to the forest on an ox cart100_1564.jpg for a trek to a big waterfall2100_1537.jpg and close by was the elephant camp! Elephants are brilliant! We both loved the trek on the elephants100_1622.jpg…Jo sat in the saddle while I was the mahout for the day!! So I was sat just behind the elephants head with my legs behind its ears100_1618.jpg, luckily I didn’t have to do much driving as she followed the herd pretty well, not that I could have stopped her from doing anything, even for the smaller Asian species they are MASSIVE!! After the elephants we jumped in to the “bus” (bus meaning Toyota pickup with benches in the back) and headed for the river for an hour of white water rafting!! After 30seconds of instructions we were off with some crazy looking thai guy steering the boat through some pretty decent size rapids! They gradually got smaller and the white water turned in to a more comfortable ride than the “bus” to the start!!
So we got back that night and decided it was time to get a move on so I went off on the back of some kids motorbike to the bus station and booked us two tickets to chiang kong (the thai border town with Laos) the journey was horrible from the start when the bus broke down and turned our 7 hour bus into 9! The ride was the worst bit about it, it was so bumpy we were almost thrown from our seats every 5mins…naturally Jo slept for pretty much the WHOLE journey! We got there just in time to hop the border before it closed for the night and after I envisaged huge queues we were in Laos and watching the sun set over Thailand across the river from the rooftop bar of our 1.50 per night hostel!100_1637.jpg That night we booked our luxury *cough* two day cruise down the Mekong river to Luang Prabang (Laos’ second city)100_1644.jpg we could have taken a speed boat and done it in 6hours but the fatality record spoke for itself on that one!! So the first day we did 7hrs on the river and stayed the night in Pak Beng- a little village of 200 people that gets as many tourists in every night…strange place! The whole thing was totally organized to Laos standards = Ridiculous!! I spent almost an hour searching for my bag off the boat and it turned out some local guy had snuck past me with it and took it to the top of the gangway…then wanted money for taking it for me! Obviously being a tight arsed Yorkshire man I flat refused and wrestled my bag from the bloke! So then after another 7hours on the river yesterday, which has to be said, although it’s a long time the scenery is AMAZING for 100% of the time100_1700.jpg, we arrived in france with palm trees! Its very strange…baguettes, la vache qui rit cheese (cow cheese), coffee shops and French signage after traveling two days through nothing but mountains and jungle!100_1712.jpg But it’s a really nice place, a lot of up market stuff for you guys with some spare cash. They do however have a bowling alley!! So after tea on sunday with a few from the group of 20 we met on the boat we headed down to see if we matched up to the locals!100_1707.jpg Yesterday we just walked around the town and the peninsula and today we’re planning on heading to a 7 tier waterfall just south of the town…we can hire a tuk tuk to take us and wait then bring us back for $2.50 each…brilliant! tomorrow we have our bus tickets booked to take us south to a little backpacker town called Vang Vieng to do some tubing on the river (a river lined with bars!!! Haha)
Anyway hope that filled a gap in whats been happening! But its time for breakfast after getting up at half 5 to see the monks walking around to collect their donations of food...300 of them!100_1739.jpg
Hope you’re all going good back home
Lots of love Rob and Jojo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 20:10 Archived in Laos Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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