Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sydney, Australia 20th-28th May 2009

The flight to Sydney was GREAT! There was hardly anyone on the plane so me and Sara enjoyed having a row each! They even bought round ben and jerry's ice cream which i took advantage of and ended up feeling a bit sick but was fine once we landed in drizzly Sydney!
After getting on the metro, we found our hostel, WAKE UP! which was as far as hostels go, pretty amazing. Every one in the room was really nice and we ended up going out with them on the first night. We didn't do heaps of sightseeing whilst we were in Sydney, obviously went to see the Opera House and The Harbour Bridge. We were lucky to see Vivid Sydney as well which began on the last night we were there. It was basically a music and light festival and we saw the Opera House and the Museum of Contemporary Art lit up with amazing projections! Whilst we were in Sydney we also met up for dinner with my sisters and my friend's James and Tim and James' girlfriend Diana. It was so nice to go somewhere different in the city instead of the usual touristy places. We ended up in a lovely pub and had such a fun evening.
One day we decided to do the Coogee to Bondi beach walk with a couple of girls from our room, Nishma and Laura. We picked such a sunny day for it but when we got 5 minutes into the walk, there was a big road block up and the path had been closed for maintenence. We did manage to get to Bondi in the end and had a sunny but bit chilly afternoon lazing on the beach!!
We also visited the Museum one day with Nishma but we were all so tired from being out the night before i don't think we appreciated it enough!
Soon, the week was up and we were on another plane to Christchurch, NZ!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thai Islands-Samui, Ko Phangan, Ko Tao. 30th April-16th May 2009

Soooo, we have been terrible blogging. 1. because we are lazy and 2. internet is expensive! But it is our last night on Ko Phangan and EVERY bar is playing the football so i thought i'd come and update you as to what we've been upto! The Cambodia blogs are on there way, we promise!

Ok, so we landed on Ko Samui what feels like aaaages ago now and we just spent one night on Big Buddah beach. The next day we headed for Ko Phangan and to a really pretty beach in the north called Thong Nai Pan Noi. Is really cool, quite quiet but there are some good bars if you venture in land. We stayed here at Star Huts for about 3 nighst and went to the beach club next door at Baan Panburi practically every night for dinner and yummy cocktails!! We had one funny day when we bought a bat and ball, then the bat decided to break so we went back, exchanged it only to find that had no balls! We couldn't be bothered to go back again that day so the next morning we went to explain but the woman in the shop was convinced we had stolen the balls and just wanted to return the bats! After about 20 mins of conversation via a translator we managed to get 2 bats and 2 balls. We never actually used them and i left the bats in Koh Phangan in the end...wooops!
So, after Ko Phangan it was off to Ko Tao for 4 nights. Most people go there to do diving courses but we decided that wasn't for us and found other ways to entertain ourselves!! We went for a day out on a boat around the island and did some snorkelling! It didn't start well as Sara has such tiny feet, they couldn't find flippers for her but they did eventually and we were on our way! It was quite a challenge for Sara too as she has a bit of a fear of water (actually quite a big one, she doesn't even like putting her face under the water in the shallow end of a swimming pool!) but as soon as we got to our first snorkelling spot, in she went and sometimes without a lifejacket, i was very proud!! Having never been snorkelling before, it was so amazing! We saw lots of zebra-fish, the second spot was the best i think it was Ao leuk on the East coast of the island. We didn't see any sharks or turtles but at the end of the trip we stopped at Nang Nuan which is 3 small islands all joined by a sand bar, really pretty. One of our other days on Ko Tao, we went for a walk upto a viewpoint in the north. We should have really hired a bike for this as it was a bit hilly and we got VERY sweaty but it was so cool when we reached it. There's a resort with a restaurant that looks out over to Nang Nuan so we sat and sneakily ate sandwiches we bought. Later that night we met up with 2 german boys we had met on the boat over from Phangan and played some cards with them, but it decided to pour with rain so what else could we do except go to the ladyboy cabaret show!!! This was HILARIOUS!! Songs included Annie Lennox, Anastacia, Madonna, Tina Turner and these boys (ladies) had studied all their moves! Was so good, me and sara decided to go back the next night!!
For the last day on Ko Tao, we decided that Sara should go to Ko Phangan early and secure us a room as it was the day before the full moon party and places seem to fill up pretty quick. Was very handy that a friend of hers from school and some of her friends we already there. Was weird to spend 24 hrs apart but sara had people to meet up with and i went for dinner with the 2 germans we met earlier in the week.

Ok, this is costing me heaps, so will blog more about my birthday and full moon soon!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday 25th April 2009. Phnom Penh, Cambodia-Siem Reap, Cambodia

We had booked a bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap which left at 10 in the morning. There where some funny Americans on the bus who said "I just love Asian buses!" Her enthhusiams slowly wained after the 5 hour journey! The journey wasn't at all bad and was quicker than we expected. We got a Tuk Tuk to our hotel called Jasmine Lodge which seemed really nice. A room with air-con and two beds, which we defiantly appreciate!
After settling in we got a Tuk Tuk into town and looked round the markets. We went to there night market which was nice but each stall selled the same stuff. We had a drink at this lovely bar while it was raining loads. Then we headed to Bar street where all the restaurants are and went to a place called The Red Piano. Most famous for Angelina Jolie eating there, and there is a cocktail named after her. I ate an amazing prawn dish and Caroline had this beef dish called Lok Lac which was also amazing!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Monday 13th-Wednesday 15th April 2009. Bangkok, Thailand

Well, we awoke in our super squishy bed and ventured out for breakfast. We soon learnt that Songkran was in full flow and would stay that way for the next 3 days! We got in a rikshaw to try and find the S.T.A offices (which we later discovered were in the Pingpong show area!) We wanted to go and try and sort a visa out for Vietnam which we had planned to go to on the 15th but the offices were shut. It was pretty much impossible to get anything done in the city without getting soaked and as we wanted to do some (dry) sightseeing, we decided to stay a few extra days, miss out Vietnam and spend longer in Cambodia. There was one good thing about venturing all the way to the STA office and that was that there was a Boots accross the road which made us very happy. Dripping wet, we entered the shop and stocked up on facewipes, suncream and insect repellent-all vital for the travellers backpack!

The next couple of days were also spent pretty soaked and/or covered in talcum powder (which formed a lovely paste!) We went to china town one night and had some AMAZING food at this seaood restaurant on a street corner. Was so yummy. On the Khoasan one night there was also some beauty pageant/contest thing happening so we stopped to watch that for a bit and a white girl one it, which was weird considering all the other contestants were thai!
After 3 nights in our hotel, we decided to move, so on the wedesday we packed our stuff and went about 200metres down the street to a place called 'D and D' which had been reccommended to me by a friend. It was so much nicer than the other place, had a pool, breakfast included and the bed was HUGE! We had a room looking right onto the Khaosan road which was great during the day to watch all the Songkran action without getting wet, but not so great at night when the music went on till 4am....we're such old ladies who need our sleep!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday 12th April 2009. Mumbai, India-Bangkok, Thailand

Up early to catch our flight to Thailand with Thai Air who were very nice. We pre-ordered meals as a joke but they actually turned out to be quite yummy! I got a nice steamed fish dish and Sara had a stirfry pork with egg fried rice. Much nicer than any food i've had on BA!

Once we arrived in Bangkok it was around 6pm so we hopped in a taxi to our hotel on the Khaosan Road. We were aware that Songkran (thai new year) was due to start the following day, however it had already begun in some areas including the Khaosan so we had to walk to our hotel as the road was shut! Luckily we avoided the water and the talcum powder that was being chucked around! We saw some poor people later on who didn't quite manage to avoid it though!!
We made our way to our teeeeeny tiny room (literally the smallest room ever) with a super squishy bed which meant me and Sara would probably role into one another in the night and decided to venture into the madness of the Khaosan. We bought a water pistol right away but it was a bit crappy. Some people had shelled out about a tenner for theirs, mainly the men who thought it'd be funny to zap you right in the face with water! We got soaked, had a few beers and then headed to bed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday 11th April 2009. Mumbai, India

Well today was Sara's 23rd birthday and we couldn't have been waking up in a ranker place! After a little gift giving, we packed our stuff and were out the door by about 8.30am in search of a new place to stay. After a few hotels that were full, we came across Hotel White Pearl which was in Colaba near the market so that was handy!
Once we got to the room, we both had much needed showers and set out to explore Mumbai. First stop was a cafe called 'Leopolds' which was on the main Colaba market road, it served good toast so we were happy! Next we headed to India Gate via taxi which was silly as it was only a few mins walk away but we didn't realise this till after!! It wasn't the most impressive monument we've seen plus it was covered in scaffolding. Opposite was the Taj Mahal hotel but this also had scaffolding on it, most likely where the terrorist attack damaged the building. I had read there was a good market not too far away so we hopped in another taxi and went there, the traffic was so bad but we were glad when we arrived...that was until the taxi driver told us the market was shut. Er, HELLO why did you take us there then you wally! After a few more attempts to find good markets and alot of walking in the hot hot heat we decided we had tried hard enough with no luck and headed home :(
We went back to Leopolds where it was MUCH busier and hotter for some spring rolls, naan and beer. After that it was to bed, ready for our flight to Bangkok the next day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday 10th April 2009 Goa-Mumbai, India

Last day in Goa-we were up about 7am to get a taxi to Madgaon train station for our 12hr train to Mumbai. When we got onto the train there was an Indian couple who were about 50 sharing our 1st class compartment. They were very sweet-the man was very funny and kept doing voice exercises in hindu, literally for like 12 hours! As it was a day train we didn't sleep loads, but did manage to get a few hours kip. Lots of men kept coming by with chai, samosas, chicken lollipops (?), coffee and all sorts of other treats but announced it very loudly so that was a bit annoying!
Other than do some reading and sleeping we didn't do much on the train, but surprisingly it went quite quickly!
Once we arrived at Mumbai CST, we hopped in a taxi to our accommodation-The Salvation Army Red Shield Hostel. BIG MISTAKE! This place was horrid! Seriosuly gross, no bed sheets, sandy matress, sickly people in the beds next to us, no loo role, shower/taps didn't work. Most rank place i have ever stayed! We just about managed to get a few hours sleep....