A Travellerspoint blog

Bali

Surf's up.....but not in our pool!!!

sunny 32 °C

We left for Medan airport with hopes that our tight schedule (4 hours between a connecting flight in Asia is a risk) would work out. We got there really early as Anna doesn't like to rush, and found out that our flight had been delayed by 2 1/2 HOURS!!!!! Well I'm not much of a "Traveller" at the best of times, but i was panicking and getting in a right old hump. I calmed myself down by having a Dunkin Doughnuts (Anna's always telling me im too skinny) and when we left we found that it was now down to a 2 hour wait. We ended up landing with not a lot of time to spare, got something to eat and then went to check in. And for that we had another 2 and a half hour delay. Great. Now this Airport was tiny and was in the middle of nowhere so we had little choice but to sit on these uncomfortable chairs and wait. We ended up landing in Bali about 8pm, having left Medan at 6am, and was very tired. Anna had wanted to be a proper "Traveller" and look for local transport in the form of a Bemo bus. I on the other hand was more willing to hail a cab. Anna won and we set of looking for the bus. But alas, the buses had finished for the night and we got a cab. We found a room for the night, but paid more than we wanted so the next morning we went on the search of somewhere cheaper. Not only did we find somewhere cheaper, but we found a place which had a large outside swimming pool, 4520332572_41ca9a4f26.jpgfree breakfast and a nice room for about 8 quid a night. We checked in and basically spent the next few days relaxing by the pool. Whilst having lunch one of these days a girl handed us one of many fliers that we got for the many nightclubs that litter Kuta. One of the promotions was free drinks and free food for an hour between 10pm and 11pm. Too good to be true right.......well wrong. We turned up expecting there to be a catch, but walked in for free, ate and drank for an hour and left. Result!!!
It was more of the same for about 4 days as we soaked up the sun and ate like kings. We had a very big meal with starters, mains, drinks all for 5 quid. So far Bali was looking like a great place to relax, just what we needed after all the trekking we had done. However our next stop was Ubud, which is about an hour and a half inland. It was much colder than Kuta as it was in the hills and it rainned most nights. Anna had wanted to see the volcano's close by, which i presummed was a nice bus ride up there walk around and back down. But no, it was a wake up at 2am, catch a bus to the bottom, walk 2 1/2 hours uphill for the sunrise at the top. Up and down it was around 10Km, but very steep and at a ridiculous time of day. To be fair it was amazing up there and the views were some of the best we have seen. 4522385849_4be20e7f72.jpgUnfortunately on our way down we found out that at the spot we where 5 minutes before at the top of the volcano, a Swedish guy had just fallen in. We later found out he had died, so was a very scary feeling as we had just been standing where he slipped in.
The day after we went white water rafting, which is something i have always wanted to do. It was fantastic, albeit a little tame (will be doing a more advanced one in NZ). Anna seemed to love it too, although spent most of her time sitting in the bottom of the boat and not paddling. All good fun. After all the hard work of the past few days we wanted more relaxing sun, so headed back to Kuta and the same guest house to chill by the pool.
We also wanted to explore Bali a bit more so decided to hire a Scooter. It was all going very well and we got to see some temples (we had to carry sticks in case the monkeys attacked us!!!) and a nice beach with bigger waves than we had seen.....so far!!!. However on the second day it all went wrong when we got to some traffic lights. I basically had to move over to let a bike and taxi run through a red light. This in turn made my front tyre stop on the lines at the lights. Little did i know that there was a police officer watching and as the light turned green he summoned me over. Oh s**t, what did he want i thought. We had heard that they were notorious for fining tourists on bikes and thats exactly what he did. I got ushered over to his office and he explained what i had done wrong, pointed out i didnt have an internation driving licence and explained i owed him 400,000 rupiah (40 quid, 2 days budget money). I think not i thought, and explained i only had 100,000, which he was happy to accept (guess he was just hungry and wanted lunch). At least he was then kind enough to escort me back to the bike. Cheers.
With this we decided to give the bike back a day early and spend the remander of the week surfing and relaxing. 4522480509_c0799e0f47.jpgSurfing was good fun although neither of us managed to stand up very long. Plus the dirty water and the many Indonesian men who all seemed to want to have there picture taken with Anna and another other western woman made us head back to our pool. Off too Singapore next for a weekend with Simon and Emily.

Posted by palmer830 17:30 Archived in Indonesia Tagged luxury_travel Comments (2)

Sumatra

The final frontier...

rain 25 °C

We got to KL airport at about 11.30 at night and quickly set up a place to kip for the night. I was a little nervous about Sumatra after Kim had said it was 'due a tsunami'...(did he mean it had earned it?!) KL airports meant to be really nice but unfortunately for us we were flying with Air Asia so were stuck in the 'low cost carrier terminal' where they basically stick the scum. We spent a bit of time sorting our bags out to make sure they weren't overweight where I discovered a stash of dvds that Adam had stolen from our guesthouse in KL, (including 'new moon'). We met a nice Australian girl who was also spending the night there. She whipped out some banana cake and was forced to share it with Adam who was salivating at the sight of it due to severe food shortages in the Palmer/Hayward camp. We've decided to make it our mission to get Adam free food from now on in our 'feed the world/Adam' campaign. 4480919380_24bcc1a60e.jpg

We arrived in Medan and then needed to get a bus to Bukit Lawang - the village we were gonna stay to see the orang-utans. After being severely ripped off and touted up to our eyeballs we arrived in Bukit Lawang and picked a nice room overlooking the river. That night we booked our trek with some guy who calls himself 'Jungle Edie' (apparently he's on facebook). He's notorious for stripping off once he gets in the jungle and covering himself in war paint, we'll see how that goes...
The first day we went to the Orang-utan rehabilitation centre where we got to watch them getting fed, we were surprised how many we saw and it was amazing to see them so close. 4480987256_bb7b5800d6.jpgThe next day we started our trek with the infamous 'Jungle Eddie'. There were 4 of us in the group, we were all a little nervous cos we'd heard the stories about 'Jungle Eddie', and when he disappeared to go to the toilet in the jungle we were relieved when he came back fully clothed. The trek was pretty strenous, especially for poor Adam who had to carry 2 extra pairs of shoes I'd bought for the trek because I couldnt decide which ones to wear (a girl can never have too many shoes!). We got to see some wild orang-utans, and even saw 'Mena' a semi-wild orang-utan notorious for attacking tourists, so we stayed well clear of her! After a long hard trek we got to raft back down the river to our guest house, it was a great day!

That night we had dinner in our guest house and a guy who works there started telling us about some woman who claims to be able to 'talk' to orang-utans and calls herself an 'animal communicator' (or Dr Doolittle, whichever you prefer). She was pretty bizarre looking, quite short with bright orange hair...sound familiar?! Yes I'm pretty sure she'd started to deliberately look like an orang-utan. She was alright though, just a bit crazy, she very kindly gave us some photos of her posing with various monkeys which will take pride of place on our mantelpiece!

The next day we walked to a cave then decided to play a leisurely game of ping pong with some locals. Their idea of 'leisurely' was pretty different to ours however and i came away bruised and in pain...

After 3 great nights here we headed back to Medan to stay for a night before our flight to Bali to chill out on the beach for 2 weeks!

Posted by palmer830 19:32 Archived in Indonesia Tagged animal Comments (0)

Kuala Lumpar

Back to the city....

sunny 32 °C
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We left Taman Negara early the next day, and thanks to my worrying about missing the bus we got there early to find the bus was nearly full and ready to go. This bus was old school, and making some funny loud noises, to the point where the driver let it coast most of the way only accelerating up hills. I was sure it was gonna be another bus disaster. So our original plan was to head to the Elephant Sanctuary and then head to KL, however we decided not to bother as there wouldn't have been any accommodation for us to sleep and instead got another local bus (by the way i say local but it had to be the nicest bus we have traveled on for the whole of Asia) all the way to KL.
When we arrived it was the usual search for the nicest/cheapest guest house we could find, which took forever, with Anna and I settling for a place with free dinner, and Kim going for Monkey Inn (which we later moved too as it had a cool TV room and free breakfast). We headed out for our free dinner on the roof top of another guest house, with Kim joining us, as they didn't seem to check who we were. I found some mash potato and had about 4 helpings. Greedy i know but with Anna rationing for the whole of Malaysia i didn't know when i was gonna eat next. We met a nice couple there from Canada, whom Kim knew from Cameron Highlands, called Ellie and Shane and we all went for a drink after dinner at a weird food hall that plays old country music. Quite funny. It also does a good BBQ pork noddle dish!!
Now me and Anna are quite lazy compared to most travelers, with us happy to spend the days pottering around. Kim however is a doer. So fairly early the next day we checked into Monkey Inn and headed out to see the sights. We had intended on heading straight for the KL Museum, however we got side tracked by the Biggest Mosque in South East Asia. We had to dress in these funny purple dress things,4474884535_0c5c54b7c6.jpg with Anna having to wear the hood up. We just wanted to have a look around, however these two old guys started chatting to us about the Muslim faiths and beliefs. In the end we couldn't get away and had about an hour discussion with them. It was quite interesting but we only popped in for a look and were all very hungry!!!! We all got given a free Koran to read also. Not quite sure where we left them though..........With our belly's rumbling we headed to the museum cafe for a re-fill and then a mosey at the history of Malaysia. It was interesting but i get bored of museums quickly and rushed Anna though (she likes to read every last inch of information going!!) In the evening we met with Ellie and Shane and headed to little India (we are staying in China town.....again!!) to see the evening market. It wasn't too bad, Anna was constantly worrying about our belongings, as usual!! But none of us spent any money and eventually headed back to China town for food.
The following day we went to the Petrona towers, which were very cool.4474849759_3f8ac2836d.jpg They are absolutely massive and the view you get from the sky bridge is amazing. However they are even better at night time when they are all lit up. As you can see its an amazing sight. We also finally had a TGI Fridays in the evening (we had meant to have one the day we left England, but couldn't find it in Heathrow Airport. It was ok, but not as good as the Chilli's we had 2 nights later. Anna will agree that it was the best burger we have ever had!! Her first words after her first bite were, "Oh My God your gonna love it" I think it was just that Malaysian food isn't that great and we were happy to have a good meal. We spent the next few days shopping (we spent quite a bit...ooops) watching movies in the TV lounge and uploading photos. The last night in KL was spent in the Airport, with our flight at 7:30 we thought we would try and save some money and kip on some benches. Let's see how it goes...

Posted by palmer830 22:13 Archived in Malaysia Tagged shopping Comments (1)

Taman Negara

It's a jungle out there...

sunny 28 °C
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Yep, it's a jungle out there, somewhere, but nowhere near where we were staying! We were told tales of elephants and tigers roaming a 130 million year forest but in reality it was filled with rats, bats and a pet pheasant. It is, however, 4343 sq km (seven times the size of Singapore) and we only really did the outskirts so I'm sure those elephants and tigers are in there somewhere. The first day was pretty action packed, starting with a stroll along the canopy walk, said to be the longest and highest in the world. I have a fear of heights (not sure why I didn't remember this before I signed up) so ran the across the thing in record time in order to get it over and done with, while Adam took a leisurely stroll across. 4442743498_6015089be5.jpgIn the evening we headed to a market, it was pretty far out of town but we managed to get a lift there. We weren't really sure how we were gonna get back but Kim (a lovely guy we'd met from Singapore) assured us we could HITCHHIKE back. HITCHHIKE. The word conjures up images of kidnapping, murder and Wolf Creek (to me anyway), but we soon got a lift with a friendly family. Turns out hitchhiking is pretty normal in Southeast Asia and people are more than happy to give you lifts anywhere you wanna go!
The next morning we woke up with a cricket staring us out from the other side of the mosquito net. This is the one time on our travels where that damn blow-pipe would of come in handy but unfortunately it was not within reach. Adam and I figured we weren't really made out for the jungle if we were scared by a cricket so decided to only spend a couple of days here. However, after a day settling in we grew to really like it, it was a really nice chilled out place and there's loads of adventurous stuff to do if you're into that kind of thing. The next day we trekked to a bat cave (insert embarrassing picture of Adam scared of a bat here!) 4457175620_4f2d8bf308.jpgand went for a swim in the river. After 3 nights here we left for the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur!

Posted by palmer830 22:05 Archived in Malaysia Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Cameron Highlands

More Tea Vicar

sunny 30 °C
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Our next stop after Penang was the Cameron Highlands. This place is famous for tea plantations, strawberry farms, and tea and scones! Very British! The guesthouse we found had rooms/cells for a mere 5 pounds a night, but after spending the night feeling like extras on 'banged up abroad' we decided to check in somewhere a little more civilised. 4407650081_62c7af5cfb.jpg
The food options in the Cameron Highlands are pretty limited, with Chinese and Indian being pretty much the only options. We tried a local dish called a 'steamboat' which basically involved the waiter dumping a gas stove in front of you so you cook your own food for the night, that's not what I go to a restaurant for! And a 'banana leaf' with cold Indian food, my worst nightmare! However, we found a nice cheap restaurant run by a cute old couple so we ate there pretty much everyday.
The next day we signed up for an 'Adventure Trek' which involved finding a 'Rafflesia', the biggest flower in the world, the guide assured us we'd have a 4x4 vehicle to help us out along the way. We set off in search of this damn flower and after two hours of uphill trekking (no 4x4 in sight) we finally found it. Not sure how excited you can get over a flower but it was pretty damn big.4416005281_a631315321.jpg The guide encouraged us all to have a look at the flower and then gathered us all for a chat. The chat basically involved telling us that this flower we'd just spent two hours trekking to find wasn't actually a flower but a fungus, and it wasn't even the biggest fungus! Bit of a letdown! On the way back we visited an Orang-Asli village where they showed us how to use a blow pipe. I'm happy to say I got a bullseye! At the end they offered us the chance to own our very own blow pipe for a mere 5 pounds. It is with regret that I have to inform you that Adam is a shopaholic, so the prospect of owning his own blow-pipe was something he couldn't let pass by. Not sure we'll have much use of a blow-pipe, and I'm pretty certain its journey will end at Australian customs. Next stop was a tea plantation where Adam continued his Where's Wally joke and I was too tight to buy a cup of tea.4440158784_b0faedfc84.jpg Then a strawberry farm where I was too tight to let Adam have his own milkshake. Then a butterfly farm, that involved an entrance fee which I was too tight to pay. A good day had by all!
After a couple more days of walking and generally stuffing our faces we headed to Taman Negara for some hardcore jungle trekking.

Posted by palmer830 21:53 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

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