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H - Seeing the world...

a travel blog by H

Here's how it will go (if all goes to plan that is):

India (Delhi) --> Nepal --> India (Bombay/Goa) --> Thailand (maybe Cambodia) --> Singapore --> Australia --> New Zealand --> Fiji --> L.A.

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Ko Phangan, Thailand

permalink written by  H on November 18, 2007 from Ko Phangan, Thailand
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From Goa beach to Thai Island beach

Ko Phangan, Thailand

Alreeeet?! Just put a load more pics on here with captions which hopefully tell the story of the past week-or-so fairly well. Not sure they came on as a logical order though!

Feels like I'm going back ages but it's only been just over a week since we were there..! Palolem beach, Goa was mostly spent relaxing really. (Except for a spot of bodyboarding which i absolutely Loved!). Becky was really ill for 4 out of the 5 days with what was apparently severe Delhi Belly! Was really great to just be on a beach and get into my new book (Da Vinci Code) and eat fresh pinapple and coconut (which you can break open yourself if you're lucky enough to see a ripe one fall off right by your cocohut...!).

Back in Mumbai we headed to the Gateway of India and went into the reeeeally posh hotel opposite it. In the Evening we went to see "Om Shanti Om", a big Bollywood blockbuster which was the number one film over Divali. Was hilariously cheesy and even though it was mainly Hindi, we totally got what was going on (with a little help from the random English they threw in) and we were singing the songs from it all evening/the next day when they came on the radio in our taxi to the airport!

Got to Bangkok on 17th Nov and spent just one night there at a Hippie-ish place just off and away from the bustling, tourist-infested, Ko San Road. Didn't get to see much of the attractions of Bangkok (despite trying/turning up too late for the Grand Palace) but plan to do more when we get back before heading to Cambodia! However, my first impressions of the city were all good! Its a really busy place and a nice change for us to be around so many backpackers! Also, I just cant get over how good and how cheap the food is! Street vendors RULE and I'm addicted to the pancakes, pat thai, masamam curry and even loving the seafood, mainly shrimp! (which is a big thing for a gal not fond of fish).

Overnight bus down to mainland near Ko Pha Ngan was interesting. The service with cake, coffee, blankets and hot towels was amazing but didnt get much sleep as stretching out was difficult.. Arrived on Ko Pha Ngan Island on 19th Nov and its so crazily pretty! Despite the rain on arrival! (needs to be kept that lovely green colour somehow i guess). Have met lots of people here already and dancing on the beach is loads of fun! They have buckets of alcohol here which are the big thing, so rum and coke shall be flowing aplenty on the full moon party on 24th!

Yesterday (21st Nov) we decided to hire Mopeds to explore more of the island. Met 4 Canadian guys doing the same thing at the moped place so we stuck together for the day in convoy! So funny that there was such a long line of us! I was pretty apprehensive and also pretty shite at controlling the thing to start with, but after a while i really enjoyed riding! Went to a waterfall and then on to Hat Yao on the NW of the island which was a lovely beach so did some swimming with the fishes. Snorkelling is yet to come though..

On the ride back from this place...something kinda mega happened! Becks skidded and fell off her moped! Promtly followed by Hannah copying her move to avoid running over her! I didnt see it happen but it was due to a dusty groud + a getting-confident/cocky-with-her-bike-becky. So we went to the nearest medical centre for the wounds to be cleaned and Becks had 10 stiches for the deep wound on her forearm!! All very crazy but lucky they weren't going any faster and they have nothing more than a lot of cuts and sexy bandages/dressings! Sure is a story for them to tell!

In other crazy news...just bumped into Jen, a friend from Uni! Knew she was travelling but had no idea she was in Thailand! Had a sureal time swapping storys!, and will no doubt be bumping into each other again, on this island and also in Oz!

Hope all you crazy people that actually read this far are doing well! Will try and send more personal e-mails next time i get to an internet place. Much love, H xx

permalink written by  H on November 22, 2007 from Ko Phangan, Thailand
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Ko Tao, Thailand

permalink written by  H on November 26, 2007 from Ko Tao, Thailand
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Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

permalink written by  H on December 1, 2007 from Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
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Krabi, Thailand

permalink written by  H on December 4, 2007 from Krabi, Thailand
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The rest of the wonders of Thailand

Ko Tao, Thailand

Wehey! It's really good stuff that this entry is still here! I saved it as draft by accident (actually wrote it on the 11th)....

Following on from Koh Phangan then.. (man this blog is getting a bit too

official and boring and making me realise I'd never make a career in journalism)! 24th Nov saw a full moon. This + being on Ko Phangan = one hell of a huuuge beach party! Buckets of alcohol (cheap Sang som rum, which actually tastes like whisky, and bacardi predominated our evening), along with applying neon paint to show up in UV at our Canadian friends place (the guys we met while riding round on mopeds), and combined with dancing on the sand, oh and table which buckled under my weight and gave me yet another lovely sratch to add to my collection. Was a manic night, with a lot of pissed up, if not drugged up with mushroom shakes, people around.. but generally was a really fun night, followed by a sureal sunrise =) (and a very messy looking beach)

From there, we went to Koh Tao, where we stayed at Buddha View (thanks for the recommendation Sis). Me and Hannah "buddied up" to do our open water PADI scuba diving course (while Becks stormed ahead with her advanced). Had to study a bit and the early mornings were tiring, but managed a good barbie and beer every evening, chilling at Buddha Bar. Aweeeeesome! Really getting into barbequed fish! The people on our course with us became good pals and it was such a social, chilled and happy atmosphere there! Oh and there was a hell of a lot of fish to be seen in that ocean! Highlight for me so far me thinks.

That took 5 days, then we headed to the infamous Koh Phi Phi Don...bumped into Jen again (travelling world is a small one as everyone seems to go to the same places!). It wasn't as tranquil on this Island as I had imagined, and when we did the Island tour (with really good, clear snorkelling) I actually thought Bamboo Island was far nicer than Maya Bay of Koh Phi Phi Lay (where they filmed The Beach). Got up really early one morning to go snorkelling with black-tip Reef Sharks which was class! Only 1-2 metres long but seeing sharks circling you about 3 metres away was kinda surreal. I've definately become an ocean lover! Can't wait to get to the great barrier reef!

Last stop on Thailand (other than Bangkok again) was Railay. It's mainly a climbing place but I didn't actually do the whole official ropes thing. Still, absolutely loved the surrounding cliffs and the fact that our beach Ton Sai cannot be reached by land. Instead of doing the proper climbing thing, me and Becks went clambering up the very steep hill to a view point over the bay with the South African friends we'd met. The plan was to see the Lagoon just round the corner, but unfortunately time got the better of us, and planning ahead (by booking a bus ticket out of Railay) prevented us from getting there =( Got a glimpse of it through the trees though, and it looked pretty cool. Ah well, shall have to buy the postcard and pretend! Or go back someday....heh, any excuse right?!

Am actually in Cambodia writing this but shall update on that some other time! Thinking of you all back home in the run up till Christmas. Shall miss the snow and Christmas spirit! And it will certainly feel weird not being with you all for Christmas! xx

permalink written by  H on December 18, 2007 from Ko Tao, Thailand
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Whistle Stop Tour of Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

After deciding it WAS worth the long travel to make it there (rather than visit somewhere else in Thailand), we had just 2/3 days in Cambodia. Some of the things I noticed about the country:

- how crazily bumpy the road from the Thai border was (because they apparently bribe the council not to change this so that tourists will fly across instead)
- how dusty it is, kinda like India but they actually wear surgeon-type masks here to save their lungs. We actually saw a girl come off her bike (recreated Becky's stunt, not surprising really with all that slidey dust)
- how green the country is - there were really well kept, pretty gardens especially around Siem Reap
- roads are packed with motorcyclists and bicycles...the cars have no chance against them!
- most of all though, I thought the people were very friendly, and although like India they are desperate for your custom, they were very welcoming and humorous in their approach to us.

The day we spent seeing the Angkor temples in Siem Reap was awesome. Didn't actually realise at the time that they are one of the 7 wonders of the world, but I can see why! The architecture was so detailed and the way it appears to be falling apart just makes it really atmospheric. We got up early to see sunrise at the Angkor Wat which is the main, biggest one. Lots of tourists there, just like at the Taj Mahal but was still quite peaceful watching the sun come up. Visited 6 of the many temples. Ta Prohm, where part of Tomb Raider was filmed, was a favorite because it's almost been left to its own devices, with a characteristic life of it's own (the trees sprout out of it all over the place!).

That evening we had some Amok (really nice Cambodian food) then watched some traditional Cambodian Aspera dancing.

From there we went to the capital, Phnom Pehn. Watched the film, The

Killing Fields before heading out the next day. However, this film did not even slightly prepare me for what we learnt and saw there! Firstly we went to Tuol Sleng Museum which was a school that got converted into a prison by the communist group of people called the Kymer Rouge (who took over the government, erased religion, healthcare, money etc). They imprisoned and killed anyone who was "educated", with a total of around 3 million deaths over the period 1975-9. So this museum had horrific photos and our guide didn't hold back on the details..

A natural progression for us tourists from there was to the "Killing Fields" where everyone from the prison was taken to be killed and thrown into mass graves. It really is indescribable. I just found all that had happened there just 30 years ago both inhumane and unbelievable! The 3 of us were very quite the whole day, not really knowing what to say, and it certainly makes you think twice before complaining about anything! Ended the day with a (insignificant) trip to the Royal Palace and a few drinks and a game of pool by the river.

Overall, was really glad we took those days to visit Cambodia and shall be reading Becky's book about the Kymer Rouge when shes finished.

permalink written by  H on December 20, 2007 from Phnom Penh, Cambodia
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Singapore, Singapore

Felt really crazy to get to such a developed country! As you can see from the photo it's got a pretty cool skyline! The highlights of our 2 days there were a bumboat trip along the river, a "Sigapore Sling" at Raffles hotel (yummy fruity cocktail at the place it was beautifully designed, and that provides free peanuts whose shells you chuck on the floor as irony at how clean the city is), and a trip to Sentosa Island to Underwater World and to see the Pink Dolphin show, where I got picked to go up to the front and meet one of the cute, intelligent animals! Chuffed!

permalink written by  H on December 20, 2007 from Singapore, Singapore
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Oz-tralia, begins!

Melbourne, Australia

Really excited to be here in Australia! Arrived on the 18th and have been treated like royalty by my parents friends, Howard and Pam who have put us up for 4 nights. They have been showing off the amazing area as our personal tour guides!

On the evening we arrived we went to The Dandenong range for an amazing view over Melbourne followed by an Ozzie BARBIE (my fave) with sausages and really tender beef steak

The next day we went to Healsville Sanctuary to see all the typical aussie animals. Much more open than a zoo and saw the birds of prey show and got a talk from the Koala Bear keeper. Although they have some really cool animals, I couldn't help but think those Ibis birds were a little cheeky as it stole cake from my hand as I was eating it! Really great day out though. That evening the 3 of us wanted to see Victoria night market so we got a train into town and were amazed by the choice of food available. I settled for Ethiopian fodda which was a nice change.

Yesterday was a long day which included a lot of driving for Howard. We started by visiting Arthur's Seat which overlooks Mornington Penninsula, stopped at Sorrento for lunch then briefly visited Portsea back beach. After an incident with the cars windscreen wipers (they broke in the middle of a thunderstorm) we headed to Philip Island to see the Penguin Parade. Here, every evening at dusk you can go to watch the "little penguins" (smallest type in the world) come in from sea and go to find their burrows. We got to see them really up close and could hear (and got a little show of) them mating when they got back to their nests! I was giggling at how the waves swept them back into the sea, how they waddle, preen themselves and look lost. Funny little things, defo one of my fave animals i reckon!

Anyways, I'll take this opportunity to say HAPPY CHRISTMAS to you all! Hope you all enjoy the festivities xxxxx

permalink written by  H on December 20, 2007 from Melbourne, Australia
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Sydney, Australia

permalink written by  H on December 23, 2007 from Sydney, Australia
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