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Kav & Sara


20 Blog Entries
1 Trip
290 Photos

Trips:

Round the world trip!!

Shorthand link:

http://blogabond.com/Kav


Wasssuuupp!
Our Phileas Fogg expedition is coming to an end!! Arrgghh! So we've decided to extend our stay in America to 2 months, so we'll be back in July! Just kidding!
We've travelled to the centre of the earth and back. Our beards are now grey and longer than ever, and in 6 weeks we'll be heading back to British shores to release our newfound wisdom! So prepare yourselves! We look forward to seeing you all so free up your diaries and get ready for us!!

Much Love, Kav & Sara x


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South Island... done!

Christchurch, New Zealand


Hello!

We're back in Christchurch, where our tour of the south island started!
After leaving Lake Tekapo (reluctantly), we headed to Wanaka. Wanaka was a nice place to chill out, but we only used the place as a brief stop to break up the journey to the Fiordlands. We left Wanaka to head to Te Anau, which was to be our base for our trip through the moutains and into the fiordlands. It took about two hours to get to Milford Sound, which lies at the very northern part of the Fiordlands. The drive was spectacular as we meandered through the windy roads up and over huge mountains.
We arrived at Milford Sound early in the afternoon with a plan to take in the sights, then take a cruise the following day. However, being the spontaneous duo that we are, and given that the sun was beaming down, we decided to seize the moment and do the cruise straight away. As soon as we set off, the sun disappeared, and it turned exceptionaly cold. Nevertheless, the views of the mountains that suddenly rose from the waters edge were magnificent. Now and again, huge waterfalls cascaded from the mountain tops, some of which travelled Miles and Miles before falling into the water hundreds of metres below. We also saw our first fur seal colony of the trip, a group of about 10 lying on a rock, aptly named seal rock (genius). Once back on land, we headed back to Te Anau, where we stayed the night before heading further up the west coast to see the glaciers.
We arrived at Haast late in the afternoon on the 15th, and it felt deserted (and slightly creepy)! Not keen on the place, we ate our fush and chups and headed further north to Fox Glacier. It was already late, so we parked up beside a lake and slept in the little Diahatsu. By 'sleeping' we mean lying horizontally listening to the rain bounce off our little red tin, whilst the wind rocked us side to side. With the rain beating down, we decided to go a little further north to Franz Josef, where we checked into a hostel and waited for the rain to stop. Two days later, we were still stuck in the hostel, partly due to the fact that it hadn't stopped raining, and partly due to the road north being washed away (there was ALOT of rain). On the morning of the 18th, we woke up to clear skies. Knowing it wouldn't last long, we jumped up and headed for the glacier. With one of us being slightly impaired with a knee injury, we took a short scenic walk to view the glacier from a distance. It was impressive to see after only being able to read about it for the last two days.
With the glacier being ticked off our never ending list, we headed north to Abel Tasman, the most northerly national park on the south island. We arrived late at night, and after nearly taking the car off a cliff, we decided to find a place to sleep. We 'slept' down a little country road in the car, which was great. The weather was getting better now, and we decided to head to the beach for the day. We underestimated the distance to the beach, and we drove for hours before finding out that the last 10km were on an unsealed road. The Dihatsu wasn't scared though, so we persevered. When we reached the openings in the trees, we realised it was well worth it. The colour of the water was reminiscent of Thailand, and the sand was bright orange. We walked up the beach before having a picnic on a huge piece of driftwood.
Surviving the drive back to the city, we headed straight to Kaikoura, the place to do the whale watching. It was a long drive, and like most long drives, it ended with us sleeping in the car again. It was a night of rain, and first thing in the morning we checked into a backpackers hostel, which was run by a couple from Manchester. We had to put the whale watch on hold as the weather was awful, making the sea rough as a badgers backside. We kept ourselves busy by driving to the Peninsula to see a large colony of fur seals. We visited them a few times a day, so often in fact we started to name them all. They were local wildlife that were vicious if you got too close, but amazing to admire from a distance. Another past time was visiting the local winery, where we sampled some fine wine with amazing views of the coast.
The following morning, we rose before dawn. This was the big day, we had booked the whale watching trip in hope that the weather would be ok. There wasn't a cloud in sight, and as we arrived at the whaleway station, the sunrise was beautiful. We were told that the day before, no whales were spotted, and we were reminded of our tiger safari in India. We set off and after an hour, we hadn't seen any whales. The captain was using some sonar equipment which we thought was just for show. But, to our surprise, he used the underwater signals to locate the sperm whale as it appeared on the surface from its deep water dive. It was on the surface for just short of 10 minutes, and it was remarkable and stunning. Its size and presence was overwhelming, and everyone on the boat was in silence in awe of such a huge but graceful creature. We took our photos, and before heading to land, we also saw the dusky dolphins!
After leaving Kaikura, we got back to Christchurch to return the car. We spent two days couchsurfing before checking into a hostel near the city centre. Tomorrow we're heading to the north island, where the next stage of our trip starts!!

Much love,

Kav & Sara

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on April 24, 2009 from Christchurch, New Zealand
from the travel blog: Round the world trip!!
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New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand


Hey!!!

Its been a while since our last blog entry and we've been pretty busy! We spent the last few days of Australia on the coast near Brisbane which was really quiet and chilled out. We looked at all our pictures from Australia and realised how fun its been here!
On our final night before our flight we had our first couchsurfing experience. Couchsurfing as basically a community that let people stay at their house for free in return for good stories etc. Anyway, the only place that accepted our request in Brisbane were a bunch of students. Keen on experiencing the much missed student lifestyle, we accepted the invite. However, when we arrived, the house, nicknamed 'the forest', only insulted every forest we'd ever been. There were about 10 people who lived in the house permanantly and another 10 couchsurfers, all wasted on drugs and booze. To cut a long story short, we were both freaked out and after about 2 hours sleep (inbetween the heavy drum and bass till 4am and the wierd psychadelic funk at 6am) we left without saying bye! We laughed all the way down the street at how surreal the experience was, knowing that it would only do us good to go into something like that and come out the other end alive! Although it was the end of an awesome time in Australia, we were really excited about New Zealand. We hadn't heard one bad thing about 'the newest country in the world', and we were ready to check it out!
We arrived in Aukland on the 5th, and we were exhausted! We had booked a hostel online and hoped it would be half decent. When we arrived, we were over the moon to see huge rooms with comfy beds and a really quiet atmosphere. We had a hot shower and treat ourselves to an Indian which made us reminisce about our first adventure. We spoke to the waiter for a while about where he was from, and felt like real weathered travellers being able to talk about someone elses country and tell them about places they should visit.
After an awesome sleep, we headed back to the airport for our flight to Christchurch and the beginning of our travels of the south island. We had another couchsurf booked, and we prayed it wouldn't be another 'surreal experience'.
After catching the bus from the airport to the city, we headed to an address where we'd have our second couchsurfing experience. Verna's house was a pleasant change. It was close to the hills and had a country house feel to it, yet it was only 5 minutes from Christchurch city centre. We were made to feel welcome by Verna immediately, and felt surprisingly comfortable in a strangers home. We talked for hours about everything, including our travels, their travels, dancing, and all thats in between. We spent all afternoon planning our route with the help of Verna's travel books and experience. Verna had lived in NZ all her life, so we got some great tips about where to go and what to do. Later that evening, Verna's partner, Ian, arrived home and was equally friendly and had a whole load more must sees around NZ for us.
We spent the next day shopping in the city for thermals as the weather was the coldest we'd experienced so far! We also took a trip to the local park which was right behind Verna's house, and reminded us of Autumn in England, although the colours were so much more vibrant.
We left Verna's the following day after a refreshing break, feeling relaxed and ready to take on a new counrty. We rented a little car for two weeks to travel around at our own pace, and we were soon on our way to our first destination, Governors Bay. This spot was meant to be a quick one just for photos as it was raining quite heavily, but even in the rain, the bay looked awesome. We both agreed that the landscape was far from anywhere we'd been before, and we knew we were going to really like NZ, The only drawback being the temprature, something which we were to soon experience to the extreme!
After leaving Governors Bay, we headed to Lake Tekapo. The roads were fine until the rain began to bounce of the car, making visibility poor. As it we drove higher, it became much colder, and as the bouncing rain stopped, we realised it had began to snow. A blizzard soon whipped up, and we found ourselves driving through 5 inch snow in a tiny Diahatsu, an extreme sport for any adrenaline junky!
We arrived at a carpark near Lake Tekapo at around 10pm, and decided we'd be fine to sleep in the back of the car. We soon realised why eskimos build igloo's instead of cars. We had all our clothes on and were tucked inside our sleeping bags, but the heat disappeared faster than the money from our bank accounts! We woke up every 2 hours or so shivering, and had to drive around to get the heaters working. After doing this 3 times, it started to get light, and as we stepped outside the car, we soon forgot about how cold it was, and were overwhelmed with the breathtaking views of Lake Tekapo. Every piece of land surrounding the lake was white, and it felt like christmas. The last time we were in a place full of snow was when we were skiing just before christmas last year, and for the first time Sara and I said how much we missed home and how it reminded us of our families. After taking photos of every angle, we soon realised there wasn't much point. The photos didn't do the panoramic views any justice (nothing to do with the photographer!) and we decided to just stand in the cold and take a mental image of such a beautiful place. It felt slightly magical, as if we were going to stumble upon santas grotto at any point. But we didn't (still no presents this year :-P)
We decided it would be a good idea to stay at a hostel tonight, until we completely thaw. So were going to get some fush & chups and get some well deserved sleep!

Merry Christmas,

Mary and Jesus x
P.S. Pics are coming v soon, we promise, they're ready, the computer just wasn't ready for us!

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on April 6, 2009 from Christchurch, New Zealand
from the travel blog: Round the world trip!!
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A break from the road!!

Bundaberg, Australia


Hey guys and girls!

We've been driving up the coast for the last week or so, reaching as far as Yeppoon near Rockhampton. We didn't stay long as it was a pretty dull place! Although we did manage to visit a wildlife sanctuary and get close to some roo's, koalas, snakes and loads more. Before we reached Yeppoon, we spent a few days in Noosa, a really chilled place famous for its surfing! We spent our days bodybooarding and fishing, and in the evening we ate whatever we caught- which ticks a box!!
After leaving Yeppoon, we came straight to Bundaberg, home of the worlds finest Ginger Beer and Rum- allegedly. We visited a glass blowing and crafts centre which was pretty neat, and as the weather is just like a typical day in England, were just passing the time playing cards and watching movies. Very cultural!! Hopefully the sun will come back out in the next few days and we'll get back on the beaches and have some fun!!

Sorry about the lack of pics, the internet access is scarce and expensive, so you'll have to contain your excitement and wait for us to get back!!

Much love

The travellers x

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on March 18, 2009 from Bundaberg, Australia
from the travel blog: Round the world trip!!
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Australia!

Surfers Paradise, Australia


Hey all!!

Since we arrived in Australia we've been so busy! We've been shown around Sydney by Kavs family and its been pretty eventful! After 3 months of junk food (mostly noodles, rice, and chilli!) we were treat to some awesome healthy food, which our bodies greatly appreciated!
After a week of trying to get a camper, we finally got a bright green and purple Jucy camper for 30 days! So, as of the 7th of March we've been on the road! We left Sydney and headed straight to Byron-Bay, which took just short of 10 hours. The scenery was fantastic, and we even saw a kangaroo jump in front of the van!
Our first night in the camper was spent right next to the beach in Byron-Bay, which was great until we were woken up by an Aussie official who threatened to fine us if we didn't go to a campground. Still half asleep, we drove round the corner and slept for a few more hours hoping the big green machine wouldn't be spotted again!
Our second night was spent just outside of Byron-Bay down a small street. With no disruptions we got a good nights sleep!
The following day we set off to Surfers Paradise, where we are now. We don't have a clue what to do here and the weathers a bit pants! But we'll cruise around in our Jucy camper and keep ourselves entertained!!

Kav & Sara

P.S. Sorry to be brief! Time is money in this upside down world!!!

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on March 9, 2009 from Surfers Paradise, Australia
from the travel blog: Round the world trip!!
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End of Borneo

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia


We've finally arrived back to where we started our Borneo trip, in Kota Kinabalu. The last week has been predominatly relaxing and exhilerating. We left Semporna on a small boat headed for the tiny island of Mabul. When we arrived we were slightly disappointed by the facilities! The accomodation stood on stilts in the sea and looked half finished. We were also told that we had a private room with en-suite, but we were soon sharing a bathroom with half the resort. But the beaches made up for the disappointing accomodation and its lack of style. Prepared with a mask and snorkel, we both snorkelled around the small piers that lined the island. The coral gardens were lush, and there was a huge range of colourful marine life (far too many too list!).

We took snorkelling a bit further after a few days and headed further out to a drop off, where the depth was around 10-12 metres. Here we saw our first turtles, which were unbelievable! They were so placid in the presence of humans and didn't show any signs of fear. We got within a foot of them and even swam along with them, mimicking their movements. We were also fortunate enough to see some spotted eagle rays with a wing span of about 1.5-2metres. They glided under us in a smooth and effortless manner, which was a little scary albeit exhilerating!
We spent the evenings with a couple we met from England called Ali (who's brother is Ray Mears) & Liz.
We got on extremely well with the help of some imported Phillipino Rhum, and we wasted away the nights listening to an awful live band whilst playing card games and quoting some legendary movie lines! (such as zoolander, anchorman, super troopers, old school....)
On our final full day was spent off the island of Sipidan, which, due to its recent restrictions for conservation purposes, allows only 120 people to dive here per day. As this island is rated one of the top 5 dive spots in the world, we hoped the five day wait for the permit would be worth it. By George it was!! On our first dive, as soon as we started our descent, we were greeted by the rare sight of two turtles mating. Over the next forty minutes we came within a metre of white tip reef sharks, giant trevally, a massive school of bumphead parrotfish, green turtles, huge trigger fish and a Nepoleon Wrasse (which are gigantic fish, google it).

Our second and third dives were just as amazing, visiting a turtle graveyard inside a cave, seeing loads more sharks and turtles, and also a huge school of baracuda were just some of the highlights.
We spent our last day chilling in the communal area at the resort, whilst doing a spot of fishing (which was a regular activity!) and playing more cards.
We left Mabul Island yesterday and as soon as we arrived in Semporna, we headed straight to KK on a night bus.
The next couple of days are going to be spent preparing for Australia, which is going to give our budget a good run for its money!! We're looking forward to catching our own dinner with our newfound sea fishing skills.

Next time we write, we'll be upside down :-)

Take it easy peeps, lots of love as always xxx


permalink written by  Kav & Sara on February 23, 2009 from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
from the travel blog: Round the world trip!!
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Kinabatangan and beyond

Semporna, Malaysia


Hi guys and dolls!

Sorry we haven't put the pics on of Mount Kinabalu or the orang utan sanctuary, the internet went down in Sepilok!
The last few days have been possibly the most amazing dats of our trip! We've been living in a hut on stilts on the Kinabatangan River for the past two nights, which, although scary, has been well worth the money we paid!
We arrived on the 14th with a Canadian couple called Bob and Jan, who were so down to earth, who spoke about travels and where they had been for 3 hours until our first boat cruise on the river. We set off at 4pm, and cruised along the river looking out for wildlife. The absence of a 'zoo-like' environment was amazing, and all the things we had seen on TV and only dreamed about seeing were either flying over us or swinging through the trees alongside our boat. The list of species we saw is almost endless, but to name our favourites, we saw:
Birds: Stork Billed and Sacred Kingfisher, various Hornbills, Red and black broadbill, White chested Sea Eagle, various Storks, and hundreds of other smaller birds.
Primates: Long tailed & Pig tailed macaques, Red lipped Langur, Silver Langur, The indiginous Proboscis monkey, and.... WILD ORANG UTANS!!! This was by far the best part of the boat trips. To see them in the wild was spectacular, and to see a mother and baby was reassuring for the future of this beautiful endangered species. We can't put it into words how gracefull and aesthetically pleasing these animals are. On our last boat trip shortly after sunrise, we spotted a group of three orang utans, a mother, baby, and dominant male. Its so rare to see all three at once as the male usually leaves during pregnancy to find another mate. We trekked through the trees with our fantastic guide, Nelson, who took us to the bottom of the tree that the orang utans were in. The dominant male was fine with us being there, he just chilled out and carried on sleeping. However, the mother became quite territorial and protective of her baby. As a result, she snapped off huge branches and threw them at us, along with peices of fruit! The longer we watched, the louder she shouted, and the bigger the branches became, until we backed off a small distance. At this point she became more curious than concerned, and watched us as we headed back to the boat.
Not too far behind the orang utan experience was when the painstaking search for the Proboscis monkey finally paid off. On the way back to camp on the last evening cruise before sunset, we spotted monkeys on the opposite side of the river. Expecting more macaques, we weren't overly excited, until we heard the unique grunting of the most perculiar looking primate in the world. A troop of around 10 of them were swinging through the trees, then stared at us as if just as fascinated with us as we were of them. Their gracefull movements made them look lethargic, as well as their huge pot belly's making them look like beer monsters! They were so amusing, the males sustain their 'excitement' in the downstairs department for 24 hours! Lucky fellas! The females have the cutest pokey noses in world, where the males noses are large and droop down, the females stick straight out! In this part of the jungle, the bigger the males nose, the more females he gets!
We saw numerous insects and reptiles, including many monitor lizards, and Sara's least favourite, the scorpions that were staying at the same lodge as us!
The Malaysian people are by far the most welcoming people we have ever met! Our guides were so friendly and had a real passion for both nature and the protection of all the animals that live among the people. Last night, one of our guides, Alloi, took us to his family home where there was a huge wedding ceremony for his younger brother. We were welcomed by everyone, and offered us their food, drink, and thoughts about the world. Everyone was so happy, and all the children were so open to us as outsiders, and their curiosity made them extremely likeable and we played with them in between dancing for the bride and groom. The whole village had come to celebrate the occasion, and everyone danced and laughed until the early hours. We were only meant to be there for an hour, but 4 hours later (after talking to half the village), our guides took us back across the river to our lodge.
We had so much fun, and it was the first time we really experienced such a genuine interaction with another culture. The combination of amazing wildlife and equally amazing people made these last few days a truly unforgettable experience.

After our last river cruise this morning, we planned to go back to Sepilok. However, being the spontaneous duo we are, we decided to do a Tony Blair and follow some Americans. It led us to Semporna, where we are now. The reefs of Sipidian Islands is rated in the top five dive sites in the world, so with a fine disregard for our budget, were gonna do it! Due to it being fully booked at the moment, we could only book the dive for the 22nd. So unfortunately, we've decided to spend the next 5 days on a remote island, where the resort is actually in the sea rather than on land, connected by a long jetty. We bumped into Bob and Jan today (the Canadian couple), who said its like paradise. We are promised to see turtles and possibly sharks, which is gonna be awesome!!

So we hope all is well back home and your having as much fun as us,
Missing you all,

Kayvon and Sara

P.S we got married Malay style

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on February 16, 2009 from Semporna, Malaysia
from the travel blog: Round the world trip!!
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Kinabatangan and beyond

Semporna, Malaysia


Hi guys and dolls!

Sorry we haven't put the pics on of Mount Kinabalu or the orang utan sanctuary, the internet went down in Sepilok!
The last few days have been possibly the most amazing dats of our trip! We've been living in a hut on stilts on the Kinabatangan River for the past two nights, which, although scary, has been well worth the money we paid!
We arrived on the 14th with a Canadian couple called Bob and Jan, who were so down to earth, who spoke about travels and where they had been for 3 hours until our first boat cruise on the river. We set off at 4pm, and cruised along the river looking out for wildlife. The absence of a 'zoo-like' environment was amazing, and all the things we had seen on TV and only dreamed about seeing were either flying over us or swinging through the trees alongside our boat. The list of species we saw is almost endless, but to name our favourites, we saw:
Birds: Stork Billed and Sacred Kingfisher, various Hornbills, Red and black broadbill, White chested Sea Eagle, various Storks, and hundreds of other smaller birds.
Primates: Long tailed & Pig tailed macaques, Red lipped Langur, Silver Langur, The indiginous Proboscis monkey, and.... WILD ORANG UTANS!!! This was by far the best part of the boat trips. To see them in the wild was spectacular, and to see a mother and baby was reassuring for the future of this beautiful endangered species. We can't put it into words how gracefull and aesthetically pleasing these animals are. On our last boat trip shortly after sunrise, we spotted a group of three orang utans, a mother, baby, and dominant male. Its so rare to see all three at once as the male usually leaves during pregnancy to find another mate. We trekked through the trees with our fantastic guide, Nelson, who took us to the bottom of the tree that the orang utans were in. The dominant male was fine with us being there, he just chilled out and carried on sleeping. However, the mother became quite territorial and protective of her baby. As a result, she snapped off huge branches and threw them at us, along with peices of fruit! The longer we watched, the louder she shouted, and the bigger the branches became, until we backed off a small distance. At this point she became more curious than concerned, and watched us as we headed back to the boat.
Not too far behind the orang utan experience was when the painstaking search for the Proboscis monkey finally paid off. On the way back to camp on the last evening cruise before sunset, we spotted monkeys on the opposite side of the river. Expecting more macaques, we weren't overly excited, until we heard the unique grunting of the most perculiar looking primate in the world. A troop of around 10 of them were swinging through the trees, then stared at us as if just as fascinated with us as we were of them. Their gracefull movements made them look lethargic, as well as their huge pot belly's making them look like beer monsters! They were so amusing, the males sustain their 'excitement' in the downstairs department for 24 hours! Lucky fellas! The females have the cutest pokey noses in world, where the males noses are large and droop down, the females stick straight out! In this part of the jungle, the bigger the males nose, the more females he gets!
We saw numerous insects and reptiles, including many monitor lizards, and Sara's least favourite, the scorpions that were staying at the same lodge as us!
The Malaysian people are by far the most welcoming people we have ever met! Our guides were so friendly and had a real passion for both nature and the protection of all the animals that live among the people. Last night, one of our guides, Alloi, took us to his family home where there was a huge wedding ceremony for his younger brother. We were welcomed by everyone, and offered us their food, drink, and thoughts about the world. Everyone was so happy, and all the children were so open to us as outsiders, and their curiosity made them extremely likeable and we played with them in between dancing for the bride and groom. The whole village had come to celebrate the occasion, and everyone danced and laughed until the early hours. We were only meant to be there for an hour, but 4 hours later (after talking to half the village), our guides took us back across the river to our lodge.
We had so much fun, and it was the first time we really experienced such a genuine interaction with another culture. The combination of amazing wildlife and equally amazing people made these last few days a truly unforgettable experience.

After our last river cruise this morning, we planned to go back to Sepilok. However, being the spontaneous duo we are, we decided to do a Tony Blair and follow some Americans. It led us to Semporna, where we are now. The reefs of Sipidian Islands is rated in the top five dive sites in the world, so with a fine disregard for our budget, were gonna do it! Due to it being fully booked at the moment, we could only book the dive for the 22nd. So unfortunately, we've decided to spend the next 5 days on a remote island, where the resort is actually in the sea rather than on land, connected by a long jetty. We bumped into Bob and Jan today (the Canadian couple), who said its like paradise. We are promised to see turtles and possibly sharks, which is gonna be awesome!!

So we hope all is well back home and your having as much fun as us,
Missing you all,

Mr & Mrs Azadi

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on February 16, 2009 from Semporna, Malaysia
from the travel blog: Round the world trip!!
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Mountains and Monkeys

Sepilok, Malaysia


It may come as a surprise to some, but we've actually survived to tell the tale of Mount Kinabalu, so here it is!
We arrived at the foot of the mountain on the 7th Feb, and after a day of acclimatising and getting used to the bitter temperatures we thought we'd left behind in England, we hit the mountain. On the 9th, we met our guide at the park headquarters and got a bus to Timphon Gate (the start point) ready to begin the climb. It was 7.20am and the cold air, along with nerves woke us up. Although the mountain didn't look half the size of Everest, a valley circled the mountain which meant we had to go down before coming up. The first few kilometres were tough as the terrain was constantly changing which made it difficult to reach a steady state. The psychological impact of this was that we felt a bit out of our depth and soon realised that we may have bitten off more than we could chew. Although it was tough on the legs and lungs, every now and again there was a break in the dense foliage which revealed a fantastic panoramic view of the surrounding hills. These brief stops provided us with a much needed break, and as we ascended further, they became more and more frequent. At the 4km point, we felt the air becoming thinner, and our lungs were working overtime to try and compensate for the lack of oxygen. As we were attempting to climb the mountain in a day, we had been warned that we had to reach the 6km point within 4 hours or else we would have to come back. We kept an eye on the time, averaging about half a kilometre every 15 minutes. With the gradient ranging from around 40 to 70 degrees, we knew we were doing awesome. The hard work was beginning to pay off, and we reached the 6km point of Laban Rata in 3 hours, an hour ahead of schedule. Tihs gave us a massive increase in confidence, and although our legs were feelng extremely weak, for the first time we started to believe that we were actually going to make the summit. After a quick bite to eat to replenish our energy stores, we set off again with only 2.7km between us and the summit. However, the trail of steps we had followed this far soon stopped, and were replaced by sheer rock with a safety rope lining the ground, should we slip or fall. As the trail became steeper, the air became thinner, and although we dropped down to only covering 500m in 20 minutes, we were doing fantastic for time.
Then, our guide, Arnold, dropped a bombshell. He said that the times had been changed and that we only had until 1pm to reach the summit and get back to the 6km rest point. This meant we had less than an hour to cover about 2km of the steepest part of the mountain. He then said that we didn't have time to reach the summit but we would go a little further before turning back. We were devestated. We had climbed to arounnd 3,500m above sea level, and covered nearly 7km of terrain, only to be told we wouldn't make it. We were defeated by time rather than our physical ability, which added insult to injury. Nevertheless, we had come this far, so we decided to get as far as possible. We scrambled up the rock faces with what little energy we had left. We had been climbing for over 5 hours now, with breaks of about 15 seconds every 10 minutes. As we reached the 7.5km checkpoint, before the ascent to the summit, Sara's body couldn't take her any further. She was breathing heavily and her legs began to shake with fatique. I was ready to stop as well, but Sara encouraged me to go furter. I was sucking as much air as I could, the concentration of oxygen at this height was less than I'd ever experienced, and every muscle hurt. The guide stood about 20m ahead, and I put my bag down and, equipped with only a bottle of water and a Guvners shirt, I headed for the top. The pace was fast, and the guide navigated up the rocks with ease. I found myself counting 20 steps, then resting for a few seconds, then taking another 20 steps. Everytime I saw the mountain level off, I pushed through to reach it, only to find that it disappeared as soon as I got to it. I soon reached the 8km point, 700m from the summit, and was 4971m above sea level. A small dip seperated me and the summit, and it gave me a massive boost. But it wasn't to be. The guide said we were out of time, and had time only for a few pictures. I came back down to meet Sara, and we both felt defeated and frustrated, to have come so close only to run out of time. We realised we should have done it over two days, but we had given it our all and didn't regret trying to reach the summit in a day. We had climbed higher than we had ever climbed before, and this was enough to make us proud of ourselves and each other.
The decent was the same as the ascent but in reverse! However, we made it down in 3 hours, even though it seemed to last forever, and the torrentail downpour didn't help. It seemed as though the way down was twice as long as what we covered on the ascent, and we couldn't believe that we had walked so far uphill. By the time we reached the bottom, our knees and thighs were in agony, and we just wanted to sleep. Unfortunately we had to walk another 500m back to our resort! Drenched, freezing, and completely shattered, we had tea and hit the sack.
The following day we picked out broken bodies up and headed to Sepilok, home of one of only a few Orang utan rehabiliton sancturies in the world. After checking into Sepilok Jungle Resort (which is amazing and has a swimming pool, jacuzzi, gym, and a spot for fishing!!!)
The sanctuary was 5 minutes walk from the resort, and yesterday we spent the day there. The pictures we took do far more justice than writing would, so we'll put some pictures on instead! It was amazing to see these apes in a semi-wild habitat. We saw three females, two of whom had newborns clinging to them! It was a once in a lifetime experience that we thoroughly enjoyed, and we hope you like the pictures!
Were hoping to take a river boat down the Sungai Kinabatangan River, where we've been told that were garaunteed to see an abundance of wildlife, including the rare Proboscis monkey, crocs, elephants, snakes, and hundreds of bird species, maybe even a wild orang utan!

Sorry to those of you who have been worrying whether we're alive or not, inernet cafes are as rare as wild orang utans over here! So don't worry! No news is good news!!

Lots of monkey love,

Kayvon & Sara x x

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on February 11, 2009 from Sepilok, Malaysia
from the travel blog: Round the world trip!!
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Borneo

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia


The last few days have been dominated by travelling from Thailand to Kota Kinabalu in Borneo.
After spending the last few days of Thailand at the stunning beach of Phra Nang Cave and also re-visiting the night market in Krabi, we packed up our stuff and boarded a mini bus to begin our journey to Borneo. After a 6 hour ride in the tiny mini-van, we then boarded a luxury coach to pass through the Thailand-Malaysia border and on to Singapore. It was a tiring 24 hour ride to Singapore, and when we arrived at 11am on Wednesday morning, we were pooped. Nevertheless, we had to waste some time as our flight wasn't until 5am the following day. We spent the day wandering around a small area of Singapore, and we couldn't believe how amazing it was. It was by far the cleanest city we had ever been to, and even though things seemed to run at such a fast pace, everything appeared to run smoothly. The buildings towered above us in every direction, and the architecture was sharp and contemporary, yet it somehow managed to maintain a traditional oriental vibe. The day was spent window shopping and going to see a movie, which passed the time well. As the day ended and darkness fell, the city lit up, with buildings competing to stand out. We spent an hour or so at the Fountain of Wealth, the worlds largest fountain. We circled the inner fountain 3 times with our right hand touching the water whilst making a wish, as this was said to bring happiness and good fortune. It wasn't long after we done this that a laser show began, which to our delight was free :-) The colours were awesome, and although we ended up soaking wet, it was well worth it!

By 8pm, we had exhausted the small patch of Singapore, and jumped on a public bus to the airport for $1.80 each, bargain! Its so easy to do everything in Singapore, we were amazed how everything worked so efficiently.
Once we arrived at the airport at 9pm, we still had 10 hours to kill till our flight left, and with no money for food or drink, we decided it would be best to whip out the sleeping bags and find a quiet patch of the airport to catch up on some much needed beauty sleep. We both slept pretty solid and woke up with 30 minutes to spare before our 2 hour flight to Kota Kinabalu, which was short and sweet.
We landed in Borneo just before 11am yesterday, and first impressions were pretty good, very similar to Thailand, although the weather sucked! One thing we noticed was that room rates are more than double what they are inThailand. This meant that we have been forced to stay in dorm rooms!!! Argh!! Its not too bad though, if you've seen the movie 'Hostel' then you'll understand how scary this is! But its all part of the experience, and at least you meet more people this way. So after a good nights sleep in the dorm, and all our limbs still in tact, we had a walk around the small city to familarise ourselves with the new country and plan our next 3 weeks. The food is awesome and pretty cheap, which makes us both very happy. Our plans over the next few days are to get prepared for the biggest trek so far. Were hoping to climb Mount Kinabalu in a day. Most people do it in two days and pay for a room halfway up, but in a bid to save some pennies, were goona start early in the morning and hope to get back down at around sunset, or shortly after. Considering Mount Kinabalu stands over 4000m high and is half the size of Everest, we hope that we'll live to tell the tale!!

Stay sexy,

Kayvon & Sara x x

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on February 6, 2009 from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
from the travel blog: Round the world trip!!
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Ko Phi Phi & Ko Lanta

Ko Lanta, Thailand


We arrived in Ko Phi Phi on the 25th Jan to the clearest waters we've seen so far. As soon as we got to the pier, we were the first off the ferry in order to get first dibs on a room as the place was swarming with tourists! We managed to find a room for twice what we normally pay on mainland, but it was still the cheapest on the island. We found that this was the case with everything including food and drink. The landscapes were second to none but the ever present building sites that lined the beaches scarred what would be a perfect island. Although we've realised that tourism is most peoples only income in Thailand, it goes beyond a joke in Phi Phi. Because there is such a demand for people to come here, the locals know they can charge what they want and people will pay it. Furthermore, foreigners have also tried to cash in on tourists by opening their own Irish Bars and German diving centres. We spent most of our time at the beach about 1.5 km east of the pier, where there was far less construction work and fewer tourists. The weather was scorching which made staying out of the sea very difficult, nothing to do with the fact that it was so tropical and enticing! The snorkelling was immense, and there was some spectacular coral only a 30m swim from the shore. Although dodging the speed boats and longtails to get to it was a challenge to say the least. We didn't do anything but frolic in the sea, which made the day fly by. This has been the norm for Thailand in general since we arrived. With things being so relaxed the days just disappear, and although we know we've been here a while, in comparison to India it feels like we've only just got here.
We spent the evenings sitting on the beach watching fire dancers entertain crowds of people which was pretty cool.
We expected Ko Phi Phi to be a very chilled out place, but we soon realised that it was a party central, and was even more party orientated than Ko Pha Ngan. This meant that we were going to bed as everyone else was going out, meaning that we were woken by ravers at 5am. Its obvious that they don't have a neighbourhood watch here. After collecting our pensions we decided to leave the island before our bank accounts dried up, but we thought that the two days we spent here were enough to sea all that Phi Phi had to offer.
From Phi Phi we headed to Ko Lanta, a larger island with far fewer tourists. Ko Lanta has a much more jolly feel about the place, and the high rise resorts have been replaced by small bungalows and bamboo huts that are no higher than the palm trees. We thought the beaches were a little dull when we arrived yesterday, but when we got there today the presence of the sun transformed the beach, making it look just as tropical as the ones in Phi Phi.
Our walks along the beach consist mainly of Cowrie hunting, and this place is Cowrie heaven. In just under 2 hours, we had scooped over 250 of the beauties, some big, some small, some bright, and some sexy little numbers! We'll be shipping them home sometime soon to stop us from being busted by customs, so look out!

Thats all for now, pics are coming soon once we find a computer that works properly!

Hope your all doing fantastically well,

Speak soon,

Lots of love, Kav & Sara x x

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on January 28, 2009 from Ko Lanta, Thailand
from the travel blog: Round the world trip!!
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