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Sandakan Borneo

Australian war memorial, Sepilok Orangutang Sanctuary,

overcast 26 °C


Another smooth flight which is always rewarding, no one sat behind us dragging on our head rest and no one infront leaning right back onto our laps.

When the stewards do the emergency run through, which we've seen far too many times now, they should give advice on flying etiquette........................

"Please do not grab the persons seat in front of you as they may be holding a hot drink.

Please do not kick the seat in front, it is extremely annoying.

Please do not lie back into the person behind you whilst they are trying to eat, remember their tray is on the back of your seat.

If you need to sneeze/cough/ burp please be seated with your hand over your mouth not stood up leaning over the person infront.
Please also be aware that your arm rest is to the left of you so do not elbow your way to claim space which isn't yours.

Most of all please be aware that as interesting you may feel your conversation is ......not everyone wants to hear it, so be quiet.

Should you wish to play on your games console ie Angry Birds, please turn the volume off or else there will be more angry birds on the plane aside your game.

Please do not play your tasteless music aloud not everyone appreciates 80's songs in fact you might be the only person.

Lastly, please do not stand in the aisle like an idiot when everyone else wants to get off.

Thank you for listening. Anyone that ignores this information will be banned from all future flights and immediately ejected via the emergency exit on the left."

I would enjoy every flight then.

Sandakan is a fair sized city with plenty of shops and restaurants. It seemed a bit dodgy to me as there were people sat randomly outside our hotel and there was permanently a porter at the door unlocking it for guests so no locals could get in. We went to a travel agent to book a trip and it was the same, you had to ring the bell outside before they pressed a buzzer to let you in. It was the first time in Malaysia that we have seen people sleeping rough. There were kids on street corners selling cigarettes, local lads shouting "beautiful....I love you.....hello where are you from?" Obviously to Chloe! One evening I saw a group of seven kids aged from 4-6 just wandering around the streets. Nothing happened to us but I got the feeling that it wasn't a safe place to be.

We took a bus to the war memorial which commemorates the 2200 oz and UK soldiers captured by the Japanese in WW2. They suffered horrendous treatment and only 6 of them survived...because they managed to escape. The locals tried to help as much as they could but if the Japanese found out they executed them. It's another sad truth of history that wasn't that long ago that I didn't even know about. There's more too....21,037 killed in Mandor, Kalimantan in Indonesia by the Japanese during their 3 year occupation...another killing field. Seeing the memorials and reading what the men, women and children went through makes me wonder how anyone can do this to another person....war or no war.

We visited Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary which was a cheap bus ride of 5 ringgit....about a quid....taxi wanted 30 ringgit. It's out in the jungle and we sat on the large decked viewing platform waiting for them to come out. Soon enough we saw them and it was great, have to say Monkey World is better, but these at Sepilok are in their natural environment. After about ten minutes Chloe said "Ouch!!! I've been stung or bitten." I looked at her and her face was pale and beads of sweat appearing all over her face. After a minute she felt sick so we decided to leave, after standing she lost her vision and nearly collapsed but managed to hold onto me as I sat her down and got help. Staff came over and were really helpful, taking us to the air con office and giving water. Still don't know what it was but Chloe said it was painful and it looked it to.

We also managed to blow the electrics in our room after the first night so we got upgraded, the third night the electrics went, not my fault this time, and yes upgraded again. In three nights, three different rooms!

We thought we deserved abit of flash packing but didn't expect having to use our torch to get around the room!

We've been living on veg and rice or egg and rice. Tea tarik which is tea but instead of milk you have carnation milk....don't knock it til you've tried it! It's lovely!!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 10:14 Archived in Malaysia Tagged sandakan flights war journey monkies world_trip back_packing orangutang insect_bite chloe_bailey flash_packing flight_etiquette sandankan_war_memorial mother_daughter_blog sepilok_orangutan_sanctuary teh_tarik Comments (1)

The Full Moon Party Koh Phangnan

Pink Buckets and Neon Paint = no sleep

rain 28 °C

There is so much hype about this party and yes we have been to it before but being on our last leg of our trip Chloe wanted to go one more time to party it out.

We thought it would also be a good opportunity to grab some rays to top the tan up, actually to get a tan as we hadn't been beaching it for some time now.  Unfortunately, it rained the entire time we were there, being rainy season of course it did.  But it's still hot and if you go at the right time you can get an amazing tan on one of the many beautiful beaches. It's not all about the Full Moon there is a lot to see on the island....it really is lovely.

We made our way from Langkawi taking the ferry to Satun apx 23 ringgit, a taxi to the bus station apx 20baht, a bus to Surit Thani (5hrs) 123 baht, another taxi to the ferry 20 baht and finally the night ferry to Koh Phagnan 400 baht.  Far cheaper than going via an organised tour, ours cost about 16 quid each, the tour would have been 40 quid.  On the overnight ferry is a long line of foam mattresses pushed together as beds with your allocated number on, believe me it's very cozy...you could be sleeping next to anyone!  Not really my thing but it had to be done and I knew I wouldn't be getting any sleep so it didn't matter too much.    We spoke to a few people who were literally weeks into their trip which made me feel sooo envious.....because I knew what was ahead of them.....ahead off me.....9 days before we went home.

When we got in it started to pour down with rain and it was 6am, we hadn't booked anywhere and everywhere was shut.   Rushing through the rain we bumbed into two guys from Switzerland making their way back from a party, there's a party every night in this place.  They kindly invited to 'house' us until everything opened  but we decided to get some food instead of sleep so thanked them and ventured into the rain again.  We made our way to Mama Schnitzels....a restaurant open 24 hrs that has a menu like a book....Gordon Ramsey would have a fit if he saw the amount of dishes each restaurant offers in this place....seriously what ever you want they have it.....even during power cuts, they just flick on the generator and kitchen is open.  We struggled finishing our food because of the large portions and made our way to Haad Rin bungalows which have good rooms near to the beach at decent prices, we opted for tv and air con which was abit more but a blessing later in the stay!  1200 baht but you can get a fan room for 400.  To get this place go to the 7/11 on the corner opposite the clinic and pharmacy.....it's very central.

"Open at 10" one local told us and invited us into his bar, we had to go in because of the rain.  Our rucksacks were wet through and later the smell of our clothes.....awful....the joys of back packing!  Inside the bar were left overs from the night before....one guy asleep on a ledge and another sprawled across aload of cushions!

At about 8am we got our room and went to sleep...bliss.  The evening was to go to the beach bar Cactus which is where everyone goes, we bumbed into the Swiss guys again so it was nice to talk to someone.  Infact, I ended up spending a few evenings with them until they left, very good company so thank you guys, especially Patrick.

Now back to the full moon....practically everyone wears neon stuff, tops, shorts, paint, jewellery etc you name it, it can be painted on you in neon colours.  You've got to be careful not to get it on the bedding or else they will fine you!    I painted flowers down Chloe's arm and I was lazy so just puts pink dots on my legs....simple.    The streets are full of venders selling all sorts of food which can be out on their stall for hours.....and hours.  The party is much the same as the other nights except on the full moon .....it is packed!!!  People come over from the other islands especially.  

There is a lot of talk about drugs, fights and even deaths, luckily we didn't see anything like this....considering the amount of people there its controlled well....by the people there....this time I didn't see any police.  A guy staying near us was hit in the face and needed stitches to his cheek....he had a huge black eye!

The thing to buy are buckets....like a bucket you would make a sandcastle from, they are filled with vodka or whiskey and topped us with coke, lychee, sprite etc  all for 150 baht (3quid)  all you see around is people wearing neon and carrying pink buckets.

Being as busy as it was I lost Chloe and so I stayed in one spot .....as discussed....but she never came back for me (ummmmm) ....as unbeknown to me she was at the medical centre helping the guy get his cheek stitched up.  So I ended up chatting to a stall vender who made jewellery, very interesting but I did wonder if he was mistaking my 'chat' for 'interest' so when he asked if I wanted to go to the party with him....I lied.....yes....I told him I was tired.  My plan was to go back to my room, wait abit, then go out, but he insisted on walking me back to my room, so I was quite relieved to see Patrick knocking on our door when I got there.

So I did the best thing and went off to the party with Patrick and found Chloe.  It was a crazy evening as we decided to go sit on our porch instead of going to the after party, which starts at about 6 am.  In the end everyone left and it was me....wide awake and Chloe sound asleep.  Later I was woken to moaning.....Chloe....in pain...unfortunately she had a slice of pizza from one of the stalls and now she was paying for it, she was so sick and had stomach cramps for the following two days/nights which meant I was stuck in the room being nurse, which is where the TV came into play.  Not what either of us had in mind.

We had to stay an extra day because she was ill, I went to the chemist and they told me many had been in for the same meds....clearly the street food at 3/4/5/6 am....which is put out at 7pm.  So a revisit to Koh Tao was cancelled and now we were making our way to Bangkok for the grand finalle which is going to be grand ....as we are going to stay in a 5 star hotel by the river just for some plush.  But first we have to do an overnight train and a ferry.......I'm thinking we will look like riff raff going into the lovely hotel....it's times like this I wish I had my heels, perfume, hair dryer, clothes.......my stuff, but there's going to be plenty of time for that in a few days time......yikes.....where has the time gone?

Tips for the full moon:  don't wear anything you really like...it'll get ruined by the paint.

Watch your money.... 1000 baht looks like 100 baht in the dark

Careful with the buckets, they are quite strong

Look upto the sky, when we were there there was a perfect ring around the moon....never seen anything like it.

Don't swim in the sea at the party....it's more wee than sea!

Have fun!

Heres a link to the ferry times to help with transfers to Koh Tao, Surit Thani and Koh Samui


Posted by Vicky Bailey 17:46 Archived in Thailand Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beach travel ferry langkawi journey mother_daughter blog buckets world_trip full_moon_party surit_thani chloe_bailey Comments (0)

Perfect Pai


It took days to get here from Labuan Bajo which included a boat trip, 2 flights, 3 days on a train and an afternoon in a minibus. After all this I was seriously hoping Pai would live up to the hype.

The minibus ride from Chiang Mai is something else, sat bolt upright for 3.5hrs cause the chairs don't reclined you are shoved left to right as the 'grand prix' wannabee driver spins the bus around hundreds of bends. But for £3 ....who's complaining!

We arrived and there's an unspoken relaxed atmosphere here, you feel it immediately! We started the room search and there was accommodation opposite the bus station for 100 bht, that's £2 per room....seriously! Unfortunately looking at the padded bed it was clear if I slept on that I would be disabled the following day, so the hunt continued. We ended up in the centre with hot water ensuite and twin beds with excellent wifi....£6pn.

The awesome thing about Pai, for us, is the food. You would not believe the culinary delights on offer here not only in the cafe/ restaurants but also on the streets. In the streets after sunset the stall holders set up, some have microwaves, blenders, waffle makers, bbqs...all sorts of stuff and its all cheap! My favourite are the lassee and smoothie stall....banana and mango lassee for £1. Then there's the burritos stall....vegetarian too.....£1.20 not yet tried the grilled banana and omelette stall.....oh and there's s baked potato and grilled mushroom stall. Ummmmmm! The food here is to die for....having spent 5 weeks starving in Indonesia....this is a vegetarians heaven!

We hired a scooter to look around and visit a few of the many waterfalls. Pai is surrounded by huge rolling green mountainous terrain which against the bluest of skies, with a touch of white fluffy cloud here and there, it all looks so idealic and postcardy.....its breathtaking.

The night life is pretty good too, not crazy techno blab everywhere but a more relaxed vibe where you can sit around an open fire and talk or put the world to right. It's all about relaxing here!

We met the most tempermental or maybe mental girl, who was actually a boy. Her name is Sarah and apparently she runs a guesthouse. She can be really nice and then turn into an aggressive monster in a nano second, you really have to be careful around her. I witnessed her flirting around a guy playing pool and the suddenly she threw the cue down and was shouting " we're supposed to be a team" I think he took her shot. Later we were waiting to play pool and she went mad again telling me she was going to punch the girl playing...."no you're not....that's my daughter" I told her. "Ok..I hit you then!" Needless to say she didn't hit anyone, she likes to throw a tantrum.

Another lovely thing about Pai are the dogs that roam around from big shaggy benjies to a dalmation. They are soo cute and are always checking out what you've bought from the stalls hoping for abit.

We walked upto Darling guesthouse to watch the sunset and were followed by ten dogs, turned out one was female and must have been in season cause the rest were males and wouldn't leave her alone. Later she was rescued by a guy on a bike, she just jumped onto the scooter.

So Pai thank you for a great time and please don't open any chains like MacDOnald's, Starbucks, pizza hut etc.it will ruin your beautiful town.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 04:17 Archived in Thailand Tagged waterfalls mountains food travel green scenery scooters community pai journey mother_daughter blog world_trip chaing_mai chloe_bailey dalmation_dog Comments (0)

Gilli Trawangan

Gilli T the party island

overcast 31 °C

Gilli T

We left Lombok by taking the fast boat which appeared much safer than the over loaded slow boat, the bonus for us was being able to get a room before the others.

It was boiling hot carrying our bags so the breeze and splashing of the waves were welcome. We were looking forward to Gilli Islands as we were quite bored in 'quiet Lombok'.

As soon as we stepped into the main street we were approached by young lads "looking for room? I have....good price." We were dragged around the place being shown room after room. We told them we wanted aircon, but still they showed us fan rooms one after the other. I was getting annoyed, I get fed up of getting pestered, I know what we are looking for and yet despite the promises of "yes we have aircon" we get there and suprise suprise there is none! In the end I politely tell them we will find our own room. Which we did and it was perfect ....big bathroom albeit with crazy magic eye tiles, large flatscreen tv and a dvd player plus aircon all for about £12 pn.

Now Gilli T is the party island so at night it comes into its own. There isn't much to do aside swim, scuba and party. Soo many people....mostly drunk but again.....no fights or problems like there is in the UK. Could be the type of people that travel? I'm not sure but it makes you think.

As females, not sure if the guys had this, but you can't walk ANYWHERE without the local lads shouting at you "Hey beautiful hair" "I love you" "Hey sexy" I could go on and on....all directed at Chloe of course....I got "mama hello" It got really tiresome after a day plus the rest of Indonesia. Having spent time in Thailand and Malaysia we've found the Indonesian lads to be very forward, suggestive and too pervy....they've definitely got some front, far too much!

The guy running our room was a character, he was about 5'2 and as skinny as a rake constantly telling us how many hours sleep he had "I sleep 1 hr last night, I work too much, I have no money." I found this hard to believe as he had a shop which was UK prices plus he always had enough for beer and fags!

We went to a bar one night and we spotted a local old guy who was a miniature version of Morgan Freeman, he followed us around like a body guard getting rid of any overkeen local lads. Unfortunately and shockingly he ended up going up to Chloe and licking her face followed by exposing himself. I went nuts (so to speak) and sent him packing.....seriously what is wrong with these guys!

We were in the street food market and two guys from Peru came and asked where we were from...UK we told them, "where in the UK?"

"oh a small town very south" we replied
"Nr Southampton?" They asked."Weymouth?"

Can you believe that....they were part of the Olympic Sailing Team and knew all about our Town! They invited us to go to an open night in a new bar so we tagged along.

Funny night it was because I then spotted Chloe chatting to a guy, I went over and after explaining I was her mother, always an interesting response, the guy...Mark... had an odd look on his face. "Do you write a blog?" He asked me. Turns out he read one of our blogs after trying to find a route in Malaysia. That was a first for us, so we aptly named him Bloggers! We met his friend James too, both legends. We had a great evening, mainly watching Mark who fell asleep at the bar....then fell asleep at the restaurant ha ha ha.

I had a heated debate with a guy called Teddy, who repeatedly told us he had been in Gilli for 4 months. In the end he refused to speak to me! Completely blanking me. So what was the debate ....compressed air being used as fuel.....his view was that it would be free, my view was it could never be free as there would be compression stations etc where you would have to buy the 'free air' bla bla bla....... Anyways....the night turned to day so quick! Cheers for a great night guys....including you Teddy....jerk....if you can't take the heat don't debate!

We took cycles out to tour the island which is a half possibility as the other half of the island path is sand. Ever cycled in sand? It's impossible!

We rented masks and snorkles but were disappointed in the marine life....scarce....in comparison to Perhentians, Tioman and Borneo.

I went on a protest in Gilli as the entire street is full of bars/restaurants.....90% of which will charge an additional between 10 to 21% of the bill in Government tax. The other 10% not including the street market don't charge a penny. I asked about it and no one could give me an explanation. How can one place charge 10% and another charge 21%? It makes a difference to the bill! We went to eat at Scallywags, which is highly recommended with a 21% tax charge and one of the most expensive places to eat. We wanted an egg roll...simple yeah? They had sausage, chicken and egg but would not make us an egg roll. What? I said just leave out the meat and bring the egg....."Sorry can not the chef say no." So we left after trying to get them to understand for 15 minutes....classic case of computer says no!

We had a great time on Gilli T the time flew and we met some great people. Also a hello to Bonny who despite telling us they had work early the nxt day.....stayed out till gone 5am.....ha ha ha!

Our next route was to be a huge mistake.....Labuan Bajo.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 03:19 Archived in Indonesia Tagged travel restaurants ferry lombok journey mother_daughter blog world_trip slow_boat gilli labuan_bajo chloe_bailey gilli_t government_tax snorkles island_trip Comments (0)


Sun, sand, sea and inappropriate sexual behaviour! Green Canyon

semi-overcast 27 °C


Try saying that after you've had a few, most places in Indonesia are difficult to pronounce.  After a long bus journey here it was good to be away from city life again and back on a coastal beach resort.  I always miss the sea and when I'm away from it I seem to be less tolerable of things, its either that or inland people are more uptight!    In Paragandaran the coast line is the biggest I've ever seen.....miles and miles of sea crashing upon the sand, it's beautiful.   It's a good place to surf but mainly in the morning as the currents are strong so it's quite dangerous.

We stayed in a guesthouse highly recommended by the LP and it was a cute little place with a beautiful courtyard to relax in which was just as well considering I had brought a bug from Jakarta with me and couldn't really do very much as I felt really rough, weak and dizzy.

The only problem with the accommodation is that hawkers would just wander in trying to sell you stuff, initially I didn't mind so much as they are just trying to earn a living but then something happened which made me rethink so we moved.  

We had a massage on our second day, I thought it might help my bug.  The lady was very humble and started to talk to me about when the 2006 Tsunami came, not the boxing day 04 one...not much is heard about the 06 one but she lost her mum and her 11 month old baby.....so sad.  600 people died that day and it took years to recover especially for the poorer people before who ended up living under blue tarpaulin.   They had no electricity or clean water, it was devastating for them.  The people here are so wonderful and kind, you wouldn't even guess what they have been through.  She told me about her husband leaving her for another woman which she was most upset about because the 'other woman' was much older than her!  We had a giggle together and she told me she had just got herself a new boyfriend who was 24... Something that gave the Kampon abit of gossip!

The following day, still feeling poorly I sat in the courtyard on my own typing out a message on my phone when a young lad came in, he was only about 19 and as skinny as a rake.  He asked me if I had any water, in Indonesian so I said "tidak Ada" meaning don't have.  He started to pull at his belt and I was wondering what he was doing, I thought maybe he was trying to show me how thin he was!  With that he stated to take his clothes off until he was completely NAKED!  Now my reaction was not good because I was so shocked I wondered what he was doing!  He went in to a room opposite me, where a member of staff usually sleeps, and led down on the bed beckoning me to go into the room whilst he masterbated!  Seriously!  I sat looking down at my phone thinking to myself 'is he actually doing that? Have you seen properly?'  I  didn't want to look again but I could still see him out f the corner of my eye waving with one hand and .....with the other.  I got up and walked inside and saw two guests, boyfriend and girlfriend and told them what I had seen.  The guy confirmed it after challenging the lad who came out of the room starkers again!  I got the owner who tried to get rid of him but he wouldn't go so the guest ended up chasing him out....he left his trousers behind....not the guest....the naked guy!

With that I thought it would be best to move, considering he just went into someone's room and it could have been worse.

We moved to Ali Beach....owned by Ali himself....a great guy who has portraits of himself in his restaurant.  Really good food here and the accommodation is much better for the same price.  

We hired a scooter from Ali and visited the Green Canyon, which is a green river leading upto a cave, well arch of rock.  Our boat drivers took us swimming and showed us abit further down the river so again we were treated.  It was great being back on the bike, the roads were bumpy and we had lots of toots and waves from the locals.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 00:56 Archived in Indonesia Tagged beaches beach indonesia travel sunsets surfing sunrises naked journey mother_daughter blog pangandaran world_trip sickness green_canyon guest_house chloe_bailey masterbate local_ naked-man Comments (0)

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