A Travellerspoint blog

September 2012

Tawau to Tarakan to Jakarta

Chillin' for a few days

semi-overcast 34 °C

Tawau to Tarakan to Jakarta

We were on a mission here in Tawau to get our visa for Indoneisa and going by our LP bible we had to get it here or else face being turned away on arrival.  Unfortunately we arrived on a Friday evening after the office had closed for the weekend which meant only one thing.....a whole three days with jack to do...being Tawau.    We decided to hunt around for our accommodation and treated ourselves to a top hotel which really was fab costing us only £22 a night, which is very expensive over here.  We loved it though especially the movie channel!  It's nice sometimes just to relax especially after long journeys.

Come Monday we had to find a place to get our photos for our visa which proved difficult, no one told us you can get them done next to the visa office!  It was a simple process but took ages because it was full of others, not Westerners, doing the same as us.   We were given a 60 day visa which was good because usually you only get 30 days.  

We flew out to Tarakan which was the shortest flight ever of 45 mins, there is nothing to do there but we had a connecting flight to Jakarta 4.5hrs later so we decided to pop to the town.  It was chaos....scooters in 5 unmarked lanes, buses, cars....horns blowing and the smog....crazy!  It was so difficult to even cross the road because they don't stop for the red lights, you've just got to step out in front of the traffic and hope they slow down.

In our boredom we thought it would be a brilliant idea to get our hair cut, Chloe opted for a colour....really cheap £18 for both of us....it was needed.  I sat in the chair with my wet hair after having the best hair wash in a hairdressers....no neck wrenching sinks but a lovely slanted soft sofa style chair which made it easy.  I watched a guy chopping at a girls short bob haircut with razor scissors leaving chunks of uneven layers sweeping her neck, I just wanted to get the scissors and straighten it out.  I was hoping he wasn't going to cut my hair but guess what.....yep ....I was his next victim!  I told him not to cut my hair with the razor scissors, after a disaster with the ladyboy hairdresser in Thailand, and to only use normal scissors....I went in his bag and showed him.  As he started to cut I noticed he was actually Edward Scissorhands and had taken about 3 inches off so I told him to stop cutting.  He evened it off to what he considered even, even though I doubt it is at all.....god knows what Kelly is going to think when I get home for her to sort my hair out.  He blow dryer it with the hardest brush ever with a style from 1970!  I waited for Chloe and laughed when I saw they had dried her hair into a middle parting......nice colour though....but seriously it didn't look right at all.  Another lesson learnt!

At Tarakan airport we were the highlight of he day for the staff being Westerners and were invited into the staff back office for them to practice their English and ask lots of questions and the same on the flight.  We were told that Prince William and Katie were coming to the airport in the next few days, i wondered if they would go and sit out the back with the staff but I doubt it.   If it was Prince Harry I think I would have stayed behind and waited for him to arrive....he's a legend....after his naked photos....brilliant!

Anyway...arriving in Jakarta it reminded me of an updated India, being that the vehicles were newer but the chaos and smog was definately the same.   We went exploring the next day and were stopped by a guy;....this is a regular thing if you travel they are inquisitive and want to know everything about you....they are just being friendly but you still need to air abit of caution just in case.  So this guy....he told us his name was Fiji and the opening gambit is usually "Hello, where are you going?"  Can you imagine saying that to someone in the street? You would get ignored or told to bugger off!  Fiji was trying to get us to go on his scooter so he could take us back to our hotel....for a fee.  We're used to this now and told him we had friends here etc, etc.   Then he said the oddest thing, which he seriously believed...."You eat too much spaghetti because your nose is thin."  He then noticed Chloe's blue eyes and asked if they were plastic!  We asked if he meant contact lenses but no he had not seen blue eyes before and thought they were plastic!

We took a train to where we thought we needed to go but ended up on the outskirts of Jakarta, it was a great journey though because it was the low class train with the locals and there was a constant stream of people pushing trolleys up and down the aisle selling stuff from toys, cigarettes, fruit, papers and necklaces to a three man band with a cello, drums and guitar!  Brilliant!  Getting off the train there were people sat on the roof, fare dodging!  

There are so many huge shopping malls in Jakarta which are a far cry from the   stalls at the side of the road.    It's such a busy place, I don't think I would like to go there again.  

The only good thing about Jakarta for me was when we saw a very handsome Westerner, tall blonde guy weaving his way through the road, we were in our tuk tuk and I waved frantically at him....dunno what came over me....yes he waved back!

We left Jakarta behind to get a 9 hr bus to Paragandaran, what I didn't leave behind was a bug I picked up which stayed with me for ....so far a week and still going.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 05:19 Archived in Indonesia Tagged jakarta travel scooters journey mother_daughter blog world_trip chloe_bailey edward_scissorhands hairdressers tarakan tawau Comments (0)

Tawau to Tarakan to Jakarta

A few days chillin'

semi-overcast 34 °C

Tawau to Tarakan to Jakarta

We were on a mission here in Tawau to get our visa for Indoneisa and going by our LP bible we had to get it here or else face being turned away on arrival.  Unfortunately we arrived on a Friday evening after the office had closed for the weekend which meant only one thing.....a whole three days with jack to do...being Tawau.    We decided to hunt around for our accommodation and treated ourselves to a top hotel which really was fab costing us only £22 a night, which is very expensive over here.  We loved it though especially the movie channel!  It's nice sometimes just to relax especially after long journeys.

Come Monday we had to find a place to get our photos for our visa which proved difficult, no one told us you can get them done next to the visa office!  It was a simple process but took ages because it was full of others, not Westerners, doing the same as us.   We were given a 60 day visa which was good because usually you only get 30 days.  

We flew out to Tarakan which was the shortest flight ever of 45 mins, there is nothing to do there but we had a connecting flight to Jakarta 4.5hrs later so we decided to pop to the town.  It was chaos....scooters in 5 unmarked lanes, buses, cars....horns blowing and the smog....crazy!  It was so difficult to even cross the road because they don't stop for the red lights, you've just got to step out in front of the traffic and hope they slow down.

In our boredom we thought it would be a brilliant idea to get our hair cut, Chloe opted for a colour....really cheap £18 for both of us....it was needed.  I sat in the chair with my wet hair after having the best hair wash in a hairdressers....no neck wrenching sinks but a lovely slanted soft sofa style chair which made it easy.  I watched a guy chopping at a girls short bob haircut with razor scissors leaving chunks of uneven layers sweeping her neck, I just wanted to get the scissors and straighten it out.  I was hoping he wasn't going to cut my hair but guess what.....yep ....I was his next victim!  I told him not to cut my hair with the razor scissors, after a disaster with the ladyboy hairdresser in Thailand, and to only use normal scissors....I went in his bag and showed him.  As he started to cut I noticed he was actually Edward Scissorhands and had taken about 3 inches off so I told him to stop cutting.  He evened it off to what he considered even, even though I doubt it is at all.....god knows what Kelly is going to think when I get home for her to sort my hair out.  He blow dryed it with the hardest brush ever with a style from 1970!  I waited for Chloe and laughed when I saw they had dried her hair into a middle parting......nice colour though....but seriously it didn't look right at all.  Another lesson learnt!

At Tarakan airport we were the highlight of he day for the staff being Westerners and were invited into the staff back office for them to practice their English and ask lots of questions and the same on the flight.  We were told that Prince William and Katie were coming to the airport in the next few days, i wondered if they would go and sit out the back with the staff but I doubt it.   If it was Prince Harry I think I would have stayed behind and waited for him to arrive....he's a legend....after his naked photos....brilliant!

Anyway...arriving in Jakarta it reminded me of an updated India, being that the vehicles were newer but the chaos and smog was definately the same.   We went exploring the next day and were stopped by a guy;....this is a regular thing if you travel they are inquisitive and want to know everything about you....they are just being friendly but you still need to air abit of caution just in case.  So this guy....he told us his name was Fiji and the opening gambit is usually "Hello, where are you going?"  Can you imagine saying that to someone in the street? You would get ignored or told to bugger off!  Fiji was trying to get us to go on his scooter so he could take us back to our hotel....for a fee.  We're used to this now and told him we had friends here etc, etc.   Then he said the oddest thing, which he seriously believed...."You eat too much spaghetti because your nose is thin."  He then noticed Chloe's blue eyes and asked if they were plastic!  We asked if he meant contact lenses but no he had not seen blue eyes before and thought they were plastic!

We took a train to where we thought we needed to go but ended up on the outskirts of Jakarta, it was a great journey though because it was the low class train with the locals and there was a constant stream of people pushing trolleys up and down the aisle selling stuff from toys, cigarettes, fruit, papers and necklaces to a three man band with a cello, drums and guitar!  Brilliant!  Getting off the train there were people sat on the roof, fare dodging!  

There are so many huge shopping malls in Jakarta which are a far cry from the   stalls at the side of the road.    It's such a busy place, I don't think I would like to go there again.  

The only good thing about Jakarta for me was when we saw a very handsome Westerner, tall blonde guy weaving his way through the road, we were in our tuk tuk and I waved frantically at him....dunno what came over me....yes he waved back!

We left Jakarta behind to get a 9 hr bus to Paragandaran, what I didn't leave behind was a bug I picked up which stayed with me for ....so far a week and still going.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 05:19 Archived in Indonesia Tagged accommodation jakarta indonesia haircut scooter mother_daughter back_packing tarakan tawau sickness_bug edward_scissor_hands Comments (0)

Tioman - Mersing - Singapore - Kota Kinabalu

Back on the road

sunny 30 °C

Tioman to Mersing to Singapore to Kota Kinabalu

We had left the lovely Tioman Island to make our way to Mersing which was a nightmare of a journey.  A recommendation is to book your boat and bus tickets on the island, a lesson which we had learnt in Perhentian Island.  The bus only had a few tickets left which meant we were tied to only one departure time....meaning we had to get the 6am ferry.   We were advised the ferry may be a little late  but we certainly didn't expect it to arrive at 830!  We were just sat on the jetty all that time, no toilets, no cafe, nothing but a few cats craving attention and a view of the fish in the water.

Relieved we might be on our way but concerned we may now miss our 1130 bus , given the boat is a 2 hr journey, we thought we would have an hour spare.....wrong!   Being first on we found the best seats and being plenty of room took up extra seats laying across them with our super fleece blankets (one of our best buys!) as they wack the air con on to freeze you and tried to drift off to sleep.  I felt a tap on my toes with a girl telling me we had to get off the boat-we hadn't even been sailing half an hour.  We got off to be transferred onto a jam packed boat, now we were last on.....so not many seats.  They played a movie and luckily I had sat infront of me the tallest man with the biggest head.....as per usual ....so I wasn't surprised at all.  We didn't leave for another hour which meant we arrived at Mersing at 1120hrs so we had ten minutes to get to the bus stop.  In Asia time is irrelevant, ten minutes can be an hour, or a fifteen minute walk is actually only two minutes so fortunately for us the bus didn't come at 1130 it came about 1215 so we made it to Singapore after an immigration nightmare of exiting Malaysia.  We had to change bus about four times!  

Singapore.....I like this place, it's  clean has a good transport package and the food in Little India is awesome.  We were craving something different and being vegetarian have had the benefit of a tofu based dish which has the texture of meat....so why don't we eat meat?...well that's a different subject but you know we too like to have a good chew on something instead of veg so when we found Gokuv, a restaurant chain, we had fake chicken tikka, fake buttered chicken masala and deep fried paneer .....we were in heaven.....the best food ever!

There is so much to do in Singapore and a brilliant place to shop.  I had to visit the doctor, a chinese surgery, to get some medication which I was running low on and they charged me £50 for two minutes and a months worth of tablets!  I asked if he could give me more to see me to the end of the trip and he just laughed and told me to come back when they had run out....yeah right...another £50 from the Mat zali!   I know the medication is dirt cheap.....so I was way overcharged considering in Langkawi I could see the doctor and get medication for £3.

The last time we were in Singapore airport we missed our flight and it wasn't going to happen again.  Arriving in Kota Kinabalu we were using this as a stop over before our flight to Sandakan.  We stayed in the Crown Borneo Hotel...for a bit of luxury, it wasn't too bad. We had a laugh with the sink which was more like a bath tub!  The best bit was the TV!  We spent far too long led in bed just watching film after film, drinking complimentary tea and coffee only to get up to eat the breakfast.  We went out the following day to explore and it was like many other towns, lots of shop and restaurants.  We stopped to see the harbour and it was soo hot we had two sprites..... 40 ringgit later.......shocking.....don't eat or drink at the jetty!  A can of sprite in the shop is 2 ringgit at the most so you can see what a farce this was!

We decided to watch a film and went to see the remake of Jurassic Park, I think it was called the  Dinosaur project.  You actually book a seat....like a plane....the chairs were really comfortable.  The best experience ever though as there were a few jumpy moments....although I'd say it was a very mild film....but the locals gasping and screaming really tickled me.  The guy sat next to me had his knees upto his chest and was biting his fingernails and occasionally hiding his face.....ha ha ha.   Brilliant.....there's innocence for you....such wonderful people.

The backpack feels like its getting heavier although I really don't have many clothes in there now.  I'm down to a tacky pair of flip flops, a pair of proper decent walking shoes that I never seem to wear because they look square...lol....and a pair of trainers I don't wear because it's too hot!  Clothing wise....I now have 5 dresses, 2 of which I don't wear, 3 pairs of shorts, 4 sleeveless tops, 2 t shirts, 1 jeans, 1 hoody and 2  3/4 length shorts...which I don't tend to wear and a waterproof.  I've got a fleecy blanket that has been my best buy and I use it all the time on buses, planes and boats and a sarong/scarf affectionately called Geta....named after the lady in India that sold it to me....Chloe has a Geta as well.   We have given away  so much stuff and now it's quite easy for me to detach my self from the material things.  

The worst thing is for Chloe....lugging around the guitar we bought in New Zealand!  She thought she would have time to learn it but has come to a stand still with too many questions about learning and the books don't help very much.   

The mosquito scars are healing up better now from Laos but still look like bullet wounds, I don't think they are going to get any better so might have to see a professional about these scars when I get back as they look awful....luckily they are only on one leg and not on my face!

I've never drank so much water in my life than on is trip, at the moment I'm going though 3 to 4 litres a day and that's just water.....thats goto be good for the body!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 05:19 Archived in Malaysia Tagged tioman singapore travel mersing journey mother_daughter kota_kinabalu vegetarian blog world_trip chloe_bailey Comments (0)

Tioman - Mersing - Singapore - Kota Kinabalu

Back on the road

sunny 30 °C

Tioman to Mersing to Singapore to Kota Kinabalu

We had left the lovely Tioman Island to make our way to Mersing which was a nightmare of a journey.  A recommendation is to book your boat and bus tickets on the island, a lesson which we had learnt in Perhentian Island.  The bus only had a few tickets left which meant we were tied to only one departure time....meaning we had to get the 6am ferry.   We were advised the ferry may be a little late  but we certainly didn't expect it to arrive at 830!  We were just sat on the jetty all that time, no toilets, no cafe, nothing but a few cats craving attention and a view of the fish in the water.

Relieved we might be on our way but concerned we may now miss our 1130 bus , given the boat is a 2 hr journey, we thought we would have an hour spare.....wrong!   Being first on we found the best seats and being plenty of room took up extra seats laying across them with our super fleece blankets (one of our best buys!) as they wack the air con on to freeze you and tried to drift off to sleep.  I felt a tap on my toes with a girl telling me we had to get off the boat-we hadn't even been sailing half an hour.  We got off to be transferred onto a jam packed boat, now we were last on.....so not many seats.  They played a movie and luckily I had sat infront of me the tallest man with the biggest head.....as per usual ....so I wasn't surprised at all.  We didn't leave for another hour which meant we arrived at Mersing at 1120hrs so we had ten minutes to get to the bus stop.  In Asia time is irrelevant, ten minutes can be an hour, or a fifteen minute walk is actually only two minutes so fortunately for us the bus didn't come at 1130 it came about 1215 so we made it to Singapore after an immigration nightmare of exiting Malaysia.  We had to change bus about four times!  

Singapore.....I like this place, it's  clean has a good transport package and the food in Little India is awesome.  We were craving something different and being vegetarian have had the benefit of a tofu based dish which has the texture of meat....so why don't we eat meat?...well that's a different subject but you know we too like to have a good chew on something instead of veg so when we found Gokuv, a restaurant chain, we had fake chicken tikka, fake buttered chicken masala and deep fried paneer .....we were in heaven.....the best food ever!

There is so much to do in Singapore and a brilliant place to shop.  I had to visit the doctor, a chinese surgery, to get some medication which I was running low on and they charged me £50 for two minutes and a months worth of tablets!  I asked if he could give me more to see me to the end of the trip and he just laughed and told me to come back when they had run out....yeah right...another £50 from the Mat zali!   I know the medication is dirt cheap.....so I was way overcharged considering in Langkawi I could see the doctor and get medication for £3.

The last time we were in Singapore airport we missed our flight and it wasn't going to happen again.  Arriving in Kota Kinabalu we were using this as a stop over before our flight to Sandakan.  We stayed in the Crown Borneo Hotel...for a bit of luxury, it wasn't too bad. We had a laugh with the sink which was more like a bath tub!  The best bit was the TV!  We spent far too long led in bed just watching film after film, drinking complimentary tea and coffee only to get up to eat the breakfast.  We went out the following day to explore and it was like many other towns, lots of shop and restaurants.  We stopped to see the harbour and it was soo hot we had two sprites..... 40 ringgit later.......shocking.....don't eat or drink at the jetty!  A can of sprite in the shop is 2 ringgit at the most so you can see what a farce this was!

We decided to watch a film and went to see the remake of Jurassic Park, I think it was called the  Dinosaur project.  You actually book a seat....like a plane....the chairs were really comfortable.  The best experience ever though as there were a few jumpy moments....although I'd say it was a very mild film....but the locals gasping and screaming really tickled me.  The guy sat next to me had his knees upto his chest and was biting his fingernails and occasionally hiding his face.....ha ha ha.   Brilliant.....there's innocence for you....such wonderful people.

The backpack feels like its getting heavier although I really don't have many clothes in there now.  I'm down to a tacky pair of flip flops, a pair of proper decent walking shoes that I never seem to wear because they look square...lol....and a pair of trainers I don't wear because it's too hot!  Clothing wise....I now have 5 dresses, 2 of which I don't wear, 3 pairs of shorts, 4 sleeveless tops, 2 t shirts, 1 jeans, 1 hoody and 2  3/4 length shorts...which I don't tend to wear and a waterproof.  I've got a fleecy blanket that has been my best buy and I use it all the time on buses, planes and boats and a sarong/scarf affectionately called Geta....named after the lady in India that sold it to me....Chloe has a Geta as well.   We have given away  so much stuff and now it's quite easy for me to detach my self from the material things.  

The worst thing is for Chloe....lugging around the guitar we bought in New Zealand!  She thought she would have time to learn it but has come to a stand still with too many questions about learning and the books don't help very much.   

The mosquito scars are healing up better now from Laos but still look like bullet wounds, I don't think they are going to get any better so might have to see a professional about these scars when I get back as they look awful....luckily they are only on one leg and not on my face!

I've never drank so much water in my life than on is trip, at the moment I'm going though 3 to 4 litres a day and that's just water.....thats goto be good for the body!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 05:19 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Tioman - Mersing - Singapore - Kota Kinabalu

Back on the road

sunny 30 °C

Tioman to Mersing to Singapore to Kota Kinabalu

We had left the lovely Tioman Island to make our way to Mersing which was a nightmare of a journey.  A recommendation is to book your boat and bus tickets on the island, a lesson which we had learnt in Perhentian Island.  The bus only had a few tickets left which meant we were tied to only one departure time....meaning we had to get the 6am ferry.   We were advised the ferry may be a little late  but we certainly didn't expect it to arrive at 830!  We were just sat on the jetty all that time, no toilets, no cafe, nothing but a few cats craving attention and a view of the fish in the water.

Relieved we might be on our way but concerned we may now miss our 1130 bus , given the boat is a 2 hr journey, we thought we would have an hour spare.....wrong!   Being first on we found the best seats and being plenty of room took up extra seats laying across them with our super fleece blankets (one of our best buys!) as they wack the air con on to freeze you and tried to drift off to sleep.  I felt a tap on my toes with a girl telling me we had to get off the boat-we hadn't even been sailing half an hour.  We got off to be transferred onto a jam packed boat, now we were last on.....so not many seats.  They played a movie and luckily I had sat infront of me the tallest man with the biggest head.....as per usual ....so I wasn't surprised at all.  We didn't leave for another hour which meant we arrived at Mersing at 1120hrs so we had ten minutes to get to the bus stop.  In Asia time is irrelevant, ten minutes can be an hour, or a fifteen minute walk is actually only two minutes so fortunately for us the bus didn't come at 1130 it came about 1215 so we made it to Singapore after an immigration nightmare of exiting Malaysia.  We had to change bus about four times!  

Singapore.....I like this place, it's  clean has a good transport package and the food in Little India is awesome.  We were craving something different and being vegetarian have had the benefit of a tofu based dish which has the texture of meat....so why don't we eat meat?...well that's a different subject but you know we too like to have a good chew on something instead of veg so when we found Gokuv, a restaurant chain, we had fake chicken tikka, fake buttered chicken masala and deep fried paneer .....we were in heaven.....the best food ever!

There is so much to do in Singapore and a brilliant place to shop.  I had to visit the doctor, a chinese surgery, to get some medication which I was running low on and they charged me £50 for two minutes and a months worth of tablets!  I asked if he could give me more to see me to the end of the trip and he just laughed and told me to come back when they had run out....yeah right...another £50 from the Mat zali!   I know the medication is dirt cheap.....so I was way overcharged considering in Langkawi I could see the doctor and get medication for £3.

The last time we were in Singapore airport we missed our flight and it wasn't going to happen again.  Arriving in Kota Kinabalu we were using this as a stop over before our flight to Sandakan.  We stayed in the Crown Borneo Hotel...for a bit of luxury, it wasn't too bad. We had a laugh with the sink which was more like a bath tub!  The best bit was the TV!  We spent far too long led in bed just watching film after film, drinking complimentary tea and coffee only to get up to eat the breakfast.  We went out the following day to explore and it was like many other towns, lots of shop and restaurants.  We stopped to see the harbour and it was soo hot we had two sprites..... 40 ringgit later.......shocking.....don't eat or drink at the jetty!  A can of sprite in the shop is 2 ringgit at the most so you can see what a farce this was!

We decided to watch a film and went to see the remake of Jurassic Park, I think it was called the  Dinosaur project.  You actually book a seat....like a plane....the chairs were really comfortable.  The best experience ever though as there were a few jumpy moments....although I'd say it was a very mild film....but the locals gasping and screaming really tickled me.  The guy sat next to me had his knees upto his chest and was biting his fingernails and occasionally hiding his face.....ha ha ha.   Brilliant.....there's innocence for you....such wonderful people.

The backpack feels like its getting heavier although I really don't have many clothes in there now.  I'm down to a tacky pair of flip flops, a pair of proper decent walking shoes that I never seem to wear because they look square...lol....and a pair of trainers I don't wear because it's too hot!  Clothing wise....I now have 5 dresses, 2 of which I don't wear, 3 pairs of shorts, 4 sleeveless tops, 2 t shirts, 1 jeans, 1 hoody and 2  3/4 length shorts...which I don't tend to wear and a waterproof.  I've got a fleecy blanket that has been my best buy and I use it all the time on buses, planes and boats and a sarong/scarf affectionately called Geta....named after the lady in India that sold it to me....Chloe has a Geta as well.   We have given away  so much stuff and now it's quite easy for me to detach my self from the material things.  

The worst thing is for Chloe....lugging around the guitar we bought in New Zealand!  She thought she would have time to learn it but has come to a stand still with too many questions about learning and the books don't help very much.   

The mosquito scars are healing up better now from Laos but still look like bullet wounds, I don't think they are going to get any better so might have to see a professional about these scars when I get back as they look awful....luckily they are only on one leg and not on my face!

I've never drank so much water in my life than on is trip, at the moment I'm going though 3 to 4 litres a day and that's just water.....thats goto be good for the body!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 05:19 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

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