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I catch the to the jetty for 1. There was a 20 minute wait for the E to the airport, this bus costs 2. This is me, waiting in a shop to pay, the owner nowhere to be seen, Mom you will be pleased to know that travelling has changed me as 6 months ago I would have robbed this place blind to fund my massive crack cocaine addiction…………no wait, thats the plot of trainspotting……………. Maybe the kids escaped, I suppose I can forgive them. Needless to say i left the money on the counter and left! So basically today I found the x-men hideout.

If Malaysia is the food mekkah of south east asia then Penang is the food mekkah of Malaysia. I stayed in Georgetown which is still part of the state of Penang but it is an island connected by one bridge to the mainland.

Anyone I had met so far on my trip recommended that I stay in one of the red inn guesthouses, especially the one on love lane which seems to be the road built for backpackers. But I decided to go against the grain and stay in Muntri House, basically because I am a rogue bad ass, but also because red inn was full, but mainly the bad ass thing. When I say extremely drunk, I mean like English drunk, yeah that drunk.

Penang was my detox! Having said that, Penang is a world heritage site so the museum, which cost 1 ringgit, is worth a trip round and the wat buppurham is also worth a visit along with the many temples dotted around the city. If you do come to Georgetown then you HAVE to go to the beach at Batu Ferenghi and stick around in the evening for the night market, which again, is just heaven for a food lover. There are regular buses running all day from little india in georgetown which is near all of the hostels.

I had to smile as I can only imagine what would happen in England if a bus driver stopped to run a personal errand. I was unfortunately ever so slightly underwhelmed by CH if I am honest. CH offers some amazing views but it feels like I am having de ja vu everytime I look out over the landscape.

I guess if I am completely honest some of my negativity comes from the nightmare experience I had of getting to CH. There will be a 15ringgit taxi ride to the local bus station and then I had to wait for 90 minutes for the 6PM bus which cost 16 ringgit.

I finally reached CH at 8. Having made a reservation 5 days earlier I was, for want of a better phrase, seriously pissed that the owner had gone and filled up his hostel anyway despite my reservation then had the cheek to ask if I wanted to stay on the sofas outside for half price, no thanks 8 mentigi guesthouse! The point of me making the early reservation was that places in CH get full up fairly quickly………..

Today is the day I have finally realised that I look better without a moustache than with. My time in Melakka consisted of evading the Malaysian Mafia, taking a night time tour of the streets on the back of a truck from a driver that I am almost certain was drunk, I got riddled with mosquito bites and some Australian bites too!

Oh and between all that I managed to see some of the more cultural side that Melakka has to offer…….. She also recommended the hostel I stayed in as well, Jalan Jalan- which in Malays means to take a walk, but they had bikes you could rent so why bother? Jalan Jalan is split into 2 buildings no more than yards from each other. One is slightly more modernised than the other but both are great places to stay and are run by a local guy called sammy who is possibly the nicest guy I have ever met, never have I seen anyone so quick to help out and not want anything in return.

Melakka contains some fantastic little food spots, you can eat from a differrent country for every meal of the day and never be disappointed, ou can even turn vegetarian for a few days, not that that is a trend I shall be continuing with! Also if you get the current manager WILKO- you had to be there, of Jalan Jalan drunk then he will take you on a 5AM bike ride too mcdonalds which is just as good in Malaysia as it has ever been……….

Okay I will stop with the inside jokes now………. If you do plan an excursion to Melakka make sure you visit there over a weekend and be sure to check out the night market that runs along Jonkers street. Again the food is the main highlight, you can pick up some battered ice cream, some cendol or a Laksa which a lot of people tell me is very refreshing, I however felt lied to as I found it repulsive, thanks Eva!

The streets at night are a veritable feast for your eyes too as the buildings are lit up by all the red lights, I was lucky to have been there around chinese new year too and the streets were filled with lanterns making it a really nice place to just go take a stroll after dark. My time in Melakka was only marred slightly by one incident whereby between me and an Australian we managed to break a chair at a local bar that just so happened to be owned by an active member of the Malaysian Mafia yeah I know it sounds ridiculous.

But after a few days of negotiating we were finally able to leave all parties happy. Apart from the godfather I met some genuinely great people there and to them all I can say is I will see you in Kuala Lumpur for the reunion! Oh and on the walk from the bus station to the hostel I got lost and was saved by a French Canadian, I am forever in his debt because I was the closest to death that I have been so far on the trip at that point.

So today I officially crowned myself the sweatiest man in Malaysia. You go up the tower, take a few pictures, you come back down, the air conditioning is none existent and this is a luxury you look forward to when you step inside a plush building and part with ringgits. Above- KL tower, below- view from the tower. The rich and poor in KL are constant neighbours, the booming metropolis you see in this picture is surrounded by poverty. You can eat for 5 ringgits then 5 minutes down the road buy a bag from the Louis Vuitton shop, surreal.

This is where me and Jan parted ways, unfortunately this is the last time I saw Jan as he was murder………only joking, he went shopping for souveniers, I met him alive and well back at the hostel. Next stop Petronas towers by night :. Regardless of your feelings on architecture this is a must see, the darker the night sky gets the more beautiful these towers become. The towers dominate the city and all eyes are on them come 8PM when the decorative lights are turned on and the water fountains at the foot of the towers create quite a spectacle, if you are in KL then this is a must see.

I mapped out a route earlier to walk to the train station in the morning and it sent me up a ramp to join a dual carriageway, thanks Malaysian google, you nearly killed me. Okay so before I start I just have to say today was totally awesometastic and amaze balls and all of those things that are over the top!

We were given an hour to walk around and case the joint, er, sorry I mean check it out. I saw the locals lighting incense sticks and kneeling before they entered the temple on prayer mats, there were three entrances to the temple, each one represented a different form of their god. You would only light odd numbers of incense sticks so 1,3,5, so on and so on, the more you lit the more help you needed:.

I say march, I was in a minibus, but for those of you that have ever been in a vehicle on the roads in Malaysia they will know it is definitely safer to march! On the journey I decided to get to know the man next to me, this man was Roy and he was Australian to the core.

The statue on the right of the picture is Lord Murugan, brother of Ganesh the elephanty one. Any man who wishes to worship Murugan has to come to one of his temples and all of his temples must be above ground level, hence the steps………. The reason for this is that one day Murugan and his brother Ganesh were given a task by their parents to show them the world. Murugan took this literally and used his spirit animal, the peacock, to fly around the world and collect souvenirs in order to present them to his parents upon his return.

Ganesh, whose spirit animal was a mouse, told his parents to stand together while he and the mouse walked around them and expressed to his parents that they were his world. Once you reach the top of the stairs and you get inside the cave, you are rewarded with………. Did I mention it was hot? I am so going to rub the underside of his belly…………. I think the rat had a pair of vibrams on……….. Email Address:. Stories and Photographs of my travels, Tales of friends, family, animals and my life.

Home Travel Thanking you!! Getting started Urgent help needed!!! Because I have purchased Vibrams? About Life in general VertiGO away………….. The last supper………. So this is Christmas and what have YOU done? Posted by globetrottingblogger on November 7, Posted in: travel. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Done with Vietnam!

Posted by globetrottingblogger on July 1, Posted in: humour , travel. Leave a comment. Thanking you!! Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 27, So south east asia is done and this is my small thanks to all of this who have made it the trip of a lifetime, if i leave anyone out, well, i meant to cos i didnt like u as much as the other people:.

Jan Schlindwein, the first person who responded to one of my shy introductions, cheers for a good couple of days in KL, hope all is well buddy. Jayzon Matthieu, thanks for saving me man, another 5 minutes and i may have ended up as a puddle on the floor and u will be happy to know ur book has found a happy home with a fellow traveller in, guess where? Yeah melakka! Michael nobleor, i still dont believe you r a doctor but your a decent bloke…….

Dani Villar………. I like you cos u like my top cat wallet, no one else has appreciated it like you. I hope I get to see half of the places that you 2 crazy cats have been. Howard Nielsen that picture of you on that chopper bike at the ATM acting so nonchalant is seared into my memory forever.

Hope your trip is going well x. Riccard Kahts Winje like I said the other day, you better have a big sofa in your new apartment cos im gona need somewhere to pass out when we go drinking! Yannick Heni I am still not going to apologise for sending you to see the waterfall in Cameron Highlands, yeah it was slippy and dangerous but you had a good time right? Hope your both doin alright though back in sunny england! Bronte waissen and joe lapping, you are both far too young to be doin anything as exciting as you are and im way too jealous, so basically sod you both!

Hopefully catch you in adelaide x. Emma brattle, without whom there would have been no one to laugh at my dance moves at the half moon party, cheers for the attention! Laura Keeley, without whom I would have had no one to laugh at at the half moon party, honestly, I remember when I had my first beer. I hope you are having fun back home on your horse riding through all of those cacti whilst you chew on your tobacco x.

Reese Mckee we shared one of those rare sober nights and it was a pleasure, the mutual hatred for stupid English girls brought us together. Will T Gaunt, lets just sit at a table, tell some baby jokes and do some terrible Australian accents, for old times sake. Anna Gade, im still not gona apologise for picking u up and carrying you round the bowling alley multiple times, we both know you enjoyed it.

Wouter Melis it was good to catch up with you in siem reap and teach you how to drink properly, even though you never really learned. Sven Leisten it was also good to catch up with you as well mate, we should wait for beerfest 2 to come out and watch the premier together. Cheers for the laughs fatty x and just remember, if you ever feel down, you have the video of me dancing to drum n bass to turn to! Matt Kelly, forever a legend in my book, so maybe we did skim a few beers off the top at the rooftop bar, dont leave drunk people in charge I say.

Vietnam wouldnt have been the same without you mate! Love you bro! Alex Godfrey, I have to apologise once again for the knee! Genuinely still feel bad about it, hope its not giving you too much jip back in ur homeland, but you did start the rugby tackling thing….. Vickie Redmond and Alexandra Theobald, thanks for making all the bouncers in Saigon think that I had just pimp slapped you both when you fell to the floor after I announced I was going home!

Dennis lee, Ben Currin and Michael Hardesty, the last of the TRDG group, Dennis I hope home is treating you well, you know if I come knocking on your door then you have to invite me in cos we are practically brothers. Ben and Michael my fellow dolphin trainers I hope vietnam is going well, take the lessons i have taught you and use them wisely, TRDG forever. Alex Rajkid, okay so you were a pretty good hostel owner too! I hope you get to make your trip one day x. If i have left anyone out then i apologise, sort of…………elo australia lets Av a look at ya then!!!

Hue Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 24, Nha Trang Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 17, But I was armed with the information that you could walk from the bus station and find a hostel. Along the way we met a French girl who pointed us in the right direction-I know, a helpful French person, who knew? The prices had recently gone up as there was some sort of vietnamese festival happening and people had flocked from miles around to come see it.

I did my classic ask the price and walk away trick and we got it knocked down a few dollars, our room was awesome! Hoi San hotel we stayed in, 12 dollars for 2 double beds with air con. Nha Trang is a small beach town that has been super westernised, the backpacker district is all centralised and Russians seem to enjoy the place a lot. Now this may only mean something to other backpackers but Russian travellers tend to be amongst the rudest most arrogant people, they make no effort to communicate with anyone but their own, which really vexes me.

Why come travelling with all of your friends back home then get home having made no other friends, for me making friends is a massive part of travelling. There are a couple of nice places to eat around this area, Lantern restaurant is definitely worth checking out, its more expensive than other places but good for one night. Probably the best hostel to stay in is Mojzo inn, its around 6 dollars for a dorm which is maybe a bit more than I would usually pay but the staff are amazing, they learn everyones names and they are always on the desk ready and willing to give any advice you might need, recommending places to eat both local and western, giving directions.

As for nightlife there is a few places to go, the bar and grill place on the corner is always packed and the staff are good fun, although the english guy will always try and sell you an ipod which gets annoying quickly. They have a Why Not bar like every town and oasis bar is a great place to go as well.

But the best trick is always to visit the bottle shop, get a cheap bottle of rum, smash it in your room then hit the bars, classic english pre drinking! This way you can have your mates get drunk and want you to show them how to rugby tackle, then the more drunk you get the more violent it gets then eventually you might dislocate your Australian mates knee…….. Da Lat Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 15, Having made friends with an Aussie and an English lad on the bus we jumped in a taxi when we arrived at the bus station for a dollar each and got taken to the centre of town where they have a giant market with amazing cheap food.

You are a sitting duck with all of your possessions on you and the town was very busy at this point. They are too expensive for me but I would love to spend a few days with them, they have a choice of bike from scooter all the way up to…….. But the way my friends and I did it was a cheaper alternative, get a scooter and just go razzing around in the mountains, I actually ended up spotting a western girl on the back of a bike of a local and figured she might be on a tour so we decided to follow her and ended up at a load of really nice places, winning!

We saw some waterfalls, found an adventure park, saw some pagodas, ate some amazing food at a little shack in the middle of nowhere and got some really good info from a girl that used to work for a tourism company. It was a really nice day…….. There was a couple of other people there but it was mainly Vietnamese.

This was the only real bar we found but there was another place called roofs that is supposed to be good but I never visited. Ho Chi Minh Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 5, We had an Australian couple with us who held us up at the border…….. Why would you think you could mess with the vietnamese? Needless to say after a long deliberation they were turned away and the 2 of us left boarded the van having paid our dollar to the happy fat man at the border.

We were dropped at a travel agents just the other side where our tickets were exchanged to vietnamese ones and i was given the daunting task of trying to buy lunch in yet another currency! The one and only time i will hold 2,, of any currency in my hand!

We were transferred to the bus station and then onto a vietnamese sleeper bus and let me tell you, these bad boys are seriously swanky! From previous experience i know it is going to be hard to get what I want. An elderly english couple offers me a space in their taxi as we have been chatting on the bus a bit and even pay for me to be dropped off in the backpacker district after they get of at their nice hotel the other side of town, these were seriously nice people and if i ever see them again a beer i shall by them!

The room they offer me already has a vietnamese woman sleeping in the double bed, i am told to jump in next to her………. The owner was really helpful too as were his staff, he had a discount for his guests with the restaurant across the road and with the laundry lady next door, i highly recommend it.

The next day i woke up fresh at 7. I was feeling productive, i booked myself in at a tattoo parlour recommended to me by a tattoo artist in pnomh penh as he didnt have time to fit me in whilst i was there, then i got myself a scooter and went exploring. City driving on a scooter in south east asia is the most fun you can have for 5 dollars anywhere, the traffic is insane, fast and furious, but if you just stick with your chosen line and go with the flow you will make it through unscathed.

On the second day i wanted to see the sites and so secured myself a map, saw the war museum which is a real eye opener and a must do in Saigon. I saw various temples and pagodas all of which amaze me with their intricacy in detail, they are pieces of art in building form. This is obviously a ridiculous amount! That night i fell foul to another form of trickery, the oldest one in the book, the pickpocket! Walking home on my own when a scooter pulls up along side of me, it was around 4 in the morning and the guys prey on lone people when the streets are quiet.

A woman masquerading as a prostitute grabbed my crotch with such vigour in nearly buckled there and then, offering me various services as i wrestled her vice like grip from me i didnt notice the left hand going into my pocket and taking my ipod, only to realise 2 seconds later that this could have been the case, having checked my pockets i realised what she had done, i had to crack a smile, it felt like a rite of passage.

Tr best thing was realising the next day that on my ipad i had the ability to track my ipod and it was only down the road!!! They must have been checking twitter………. It was not to be, i was confronted by 7 or 8 mean looking men who obviously wanted my ipod more than i did, i tucked my tail between my legs and left sharpish! Note to self, if a hooker comes near you in Ho Chi Minh, punch her hard and steal her ipod! Besides the architecture in Ho Chi Minh there are various other things to look at and go see, tours along the Mekong delta and the Vietcong tunnels.

I feel like i have seen enough of the Mekong and the tunnels are just a conveyor belt of tourists so i decided to miss these things out. The tunnels have apparently been widened a lot in order to be able to accommodate the westerners, there are more authentic ones further up the coast so i will visit these when i have worked my way up. As for night life, there is basically one street where backpackers go, plastic chairs line the road and pavements and everyone squeezes in and mixes with the locals.

Besides these places there is a small smattering of surrounding bars to visit with 2 nightclubs at the top of the road, the crazy buffalo and another place across the road, both really good fun but very expensive, with the staff getting very angry if you finish your beer and dont fancy buying another one at an extortionate price.

I met some great people here and as is typical with most people travelling vietnam, will meet them along the way time and time again as there is basically one route everyone takes up the east coast. As with most big cities i am not that impressed with Saigon, it offers very little at night besides drinking, which is all good and fun but the general vibe of the place is not one i enjoy.

With someone at every corner looking to rip you off in one way or another, i am looking forward to the mountains of da lat where the air is chilled and so are the people! Kampot revisited Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 5, Nothing was really achieved on my second trip to Kampot other than meeting a decent bloke and sharing a good few beers for the next 2 evenings with him.

But I would definitely recommend the guesthouse as, like i said its the cheapest in town, the owners are great people and if you work behind the bar then you get a bed for free, a free meal and half price drinks. And of course, being Cambodia, you can drink while you work, winning surely!

Kep Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 5, The food in general was over priced as was the accommodation-although remember I am a backpacker travelling on a budget and have been spoilt by certain places in terms of price, so my opinion may be slightly jaded! The French owner is just, for want of a better word, an arsehole, even though that word describes him perfectly. From then on in he just would not leave us alone, all we wanted to do was sit and chill downstairs at his place that actually had a really nice view out to the ocean but he insisted on walking around in skin tight pants and pestering us.

If I had my time again I would have biked from Kampot to Kep, done the national park and come home having packed a lunch from Kampot. Kampot Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 5, Sihanoukville Posted by globetrottingblogger on May 31, It was here I deployed my new tactic for bartering…….

However, on the way the driver have me am alternative as they always do, -GBT1……now how it works is, they take you to their friends guesthouse, they get a small cut of whatever you pay for the accommodation but under no circumstances do you pay them for their taxi services! They also had this gem which was amazing! On my first day I decided to take a walk around, I was right on serendipity beach, which is one of the worst beaches I have seen, very much like ko phangan, dirty sand, nuclear looking water and full of idiots- in this case I mean guys with 6 packs, no personality and apparently they own very few clothes.

Oh and then there are the girls, the average mental age must have been around 9, conversation with these people was hard work, I promptly left the beach……. I found a nice little market just out of town past the roundabout with the golden lions and the ATM outside of the casino is free for withdrawals unlike the ones in town.

On my way back I decided to find a quiet spot to have a beer, I chose the purple midget bar across from utopia guesthouse. English owned by a guy called Andy, great bloke and because he is from Somerset his accent is hilarious! He had been there 3 weeks and was still trying to work everything out but we had a good chat and he invited me to a party they were having the next day for all of the ex pat bar owners and during low season they try and boost each others profits by taking turns in hosting a day of drinking at their bar.

I did however take a day trip out to the island of koh rong, we left at 8. Although I did my best to stay away from the beach front where the young crowd congregated, I did end up chatting to and being convinced to work in dolphin bar for a night. The guys down there are a great laugh, the owner is Irish and possibly insane, plus you get drunk for free. Pnomh Penh Posted by globetrottingblogger on May 21, Little did we know that the next 2 nights would be the weirdest experiences of our respective trips so far!

So there is a story that accompanies the last sentence of that paragraph, for those of you that have me on facebook you may have gathered the bare essentials of the story but for those that want to know more and all you bloggers out there here is the full story! And I just want to point out that it was by far the most messed up situation I have been in on this trip so far:.

As we enter the dorm room for the first time there is only one person there, he is lay on his back with his hands cupped over his stomach and his little reading light on over his head, he looks like a corpse, white as a sheet a white sheet, and with a glaze of sweat over him. At first we thought nothing of it, just a man trying to get some rest………..

The language was unrecognisable, he seemed to be speaking in tongues, over the next 24 hours his actions got weirder, he would walk around the room naked, go to the toilet, then forget which one his bed was, he clambered into empty beds, got in next to people while they slept, I think he wanted to be the big spoon! As a group we discussed possibilities for this mans actions, a fever, a mental retardation, or being a funny bugger!

None of these turned out to be true………. I had got back from a day out when one of the girls from the dorm informed me that the man had been going through my bag and throwing clothes everywhere, I had a look and realised my bag of chargers had gone missing………now I never put these in a locker because what use does someone have for a bag of chargers without the things to charge? As I continue to look I realise he has stolen some clothes as well.

It turns out that the hostel manager has thrown the man out, packed up all of the things he thought were his and put him in a tuk tuk. It is now my job to track down the tuk tuk driver and find out where he has taken him. An hour later he strolls in, he knows the man and the place he has dropped him off at but is worried I will beat the man up, I explain to him that all I want is my bag of chargers as it contains a memory card with photos on!

An arrangement is put in place, I am to take the scariest motorbike ride across the busy streets of Pnomh Penh of my life to meet the owner of the new guesthouse, he will then escort me to where the man is staying. There are giant gangster looking men staring at me asking if I want weed while 2 security guards escort me upstairs, a guesthouse with security guards? After 15 minutes of knocking the man answers the door, naked in nothing but one of my t shirts!!

I am greeted by a small round of applause by my peers back at the guesthouse and soon word gets round of my almighty quest, I regale them with a tale of triumph and I settle my nerves with a beer! My apologies for the essay. So other than having your things borrowed by a heroin addict what else is there to do in Pnomh Penh. All educational centres were shut down as pol pot or brother number 1 feared that anyone with an education would question his regime and so anyone with an education was also to be gotten rid of.

Back in those days bullets were expensive so many of these people were killed one on one, with any object that could be used to get the job done. There is even a killing tree that was used by soldiers to bash babies heads in and right next to it the pit where the bodies were thrown. Visiting these places was a very somber experience indeed, having read a couple of books about what took place I definitely found that it gave the situation more gravitas. At the killing fields you are given an audio tape to listen to and stop at various stations to have things explained.

As you walk round the lake where it is said that there are thousands of unmarked graves you can listen to a piece of music that was written in response to the Khmer Rouge regime, it is the most beautiful, harrowing piece of music I have ever listened to, I think I spent an hour just sat at the lake listening to some of the stories of the people involved. It was very hard to comprehend, I am never likely to experience a situation of this magnitude in my lifetime, the stories are so graphic and disgusting that it really is hard to imagine that it ever took place, that anyone could come up with such an idea is scary.

Even more annoying was the groups of people sat down with sandwiches having a good old laugh, save that for the ride back and show the place a bit of respect. Siem Reap Posted by globetrottingblogger on May 18, Siem Reap. I am always dubious about handing it to a man on a scooter…….. After a short walk to the bus station we sat and we waited, this bit is always fun because everyone studies their bus tickets and tries to work out just what is going on, then a bus turns up and everyone stops, they wait with baited breath to find out if their vessel has arrived, I call it bus lottery!

Like handing me some wafer thin ham that says ham hock on the side, trickery of the highest order! We finally get going and a short time later we are at the border where we have to perform the unusual task of walking across the border and collecting our passports at a make shift desk just before we enter. I presume it is so they can check the bus for extra passengers and what not! It definitely does work in your favour to have a little bit of a clue as to where you are going as you will almost definitely end up paying that little bit extra otherwise.

I think it was 10 dollars for a twin bed room so this is where me and my new travel buddy laid our heads for the night, knowing full well that we were moving in the morning. Anywhoo we tried mad monkeys which was another place recommended to me, that was full, so we ended up in Naga guesthouse.

What to do in Siem Reap? This afforded us the drivers company for the day and he dropped us at various temples. As everyone watches the sunrise over Angkor Wat we thought we would be a bit different and head up to the temple on the hill, which, due to clouds, turned out to not be a great choice! But the view was amazing once the sun was up and I was thankful to have done the hill at a slightly cooler temperature rather than trying to get up there fighting the crowds in the hottest part of the day.

Then you basically get dumped in the middle of a big crowd of kids all of whom want to be picked up, spun around, put in the tree, play volleyball, draw and be generally mischievous! Not that this should deter you, I was grateful for the exercise and the children really were amazing, their English is of a fairly high standard so much so that you can converse with most of them over small things and have everything be fine. Sok might even plonk a beer down on your table, although I must say that on the second day I have never wanted a beer less-hungover!

I had a great 3 days though and I would go back in a heartbeat. If you are ever in the neighbourhood then here are the details- chinsokhaguide yahoo. Onto the nightlife-pub street! Full of cool little bars, I guess everyone has their own opinion on this side of things but I spent most nights in temple bar playing pool with the locals then throwing out some disgustingly funky shapes on the dancefloor. The best night was definitely our surreal live reggae session at why not bar after an amazing pasta dish you have got to love the local knowledge-cheers Pia, , then to temple bar to lose several times to the locals and have a blast in the process.

The night markets are definitely worth a visit too, some bargains to be had! Wow have I got a story for you……………. So, I met this guy from Leeds in Luang Prabang, a good night was had by all. We book a ticket to islands together, , Kip each, pick up from the travel agents down the road at Stuff like this happens when you travel, there is no accounting for it, sometimes, shit just gets real! The transfer to the bus station goes smoothly. It always seems that the vehicle you get a lift to the bus station in is almost always better than the vehicle you clamber into for the long haul trip!

The set up of the sleeper bus is as follows, the bus has no seats, just beds, all just about bigger than a normal single bed. Now I experienced what many in the business would call-bad karma! Being as I am never in any rush I took my time and found myself in a hellish situation, there were no beds left!

So it looks like the aisle is to be my bed for the night and being quite a broad person it was impossible for me to lie flat on my back, so I rode side saddle, lying on my side, so much so that throughout the night I managed to trap a nerve in my shoulder.

I cracked the side door and duly washed my feet with some drinking water. Having been up every 20 minutes to let someone go to the toilet I finally get my break and catch 40 winks………but not before we rounded a corner too quickly and I smashed my nose into the wall resulting in a nose bleed! There goes the rest of my water! I will be done soon but just keep with me for a second!

A Laos man took pity on me and gave me his blanket, along with some conversation which I was grateful for! Now, you remember my friend from Leeds who missed the bus? Well guess who pulled into the station at Pakse on the next bus? Don Khong is the biggest but most backpackers will head to Don Khon or Don Det where the sites are just as good and the accommodation is cheaper.

You get dropped at Don Det pier and as ever you have to fend for yourself. To your left is a taxi rank, or a tuk tuk rank and one or two more guesthouses. After such a torrid journey everyone went left and chose the first guesthouse, a small collection of riverside bungalows at 40, kip a room, a shared price of 20,kip a night. I definitely feel like the owner lied to us, selling herself as the nicest guesthouse on the island but I have the feeling they are all much of a muchness and her and her husband were very helpful over the next few days, food there was cheap too- coffee and an omelette were under 10,kip.

Days were spent renting a bicycle from the hostel for 10, kip and just going exploring. The bridge to Don Khoung held a toll of 5,kip and allowed you entrance to the waterfalls and the beach. The Mekong river in that area also plays host to the very rare Irawaddy dolphins. The dolphins do dive in and out of the water but it is a long ways away. But for 20,kip the views were spectacular with or without the dolphins.

Go as close to sunset as you can, take some beer and just take it all in. As the sun comes down you can find yourself a nice river side bar and catch the sunset over a nice cold beer, or do like the Americans did and get yourself a happy shake, whatever floats your boat! Plus, riding in the dark along the pitch black dusty lanes complete with death holes is hella fun!

All in all islands is a great place to go get lost for a few days, the locals are friendly, the food is cheap and the sunsets are amazing. If you are lucky enough to have a dutch card game enthusiast with you, you might even get to play a few games while you watch a storm batter the riverside as well!

And if you stay at my guesthouse do say hello to the mouse that spent 2 nights running in and out of my shower whilst I washed! Vang Vieng Posted by globetrottingblogger on May 11, Head to lala bar for free shots most nights if the owners like you and fire shows out the back.

Oh and as always, go fuck yourselves x Where next? Phongsavan Posted by globetrottingblogger on May 7, Site 1 of the field of jars is an interesting place, to see it is only part of the interest though, okay, so there is a load of concrete jars in a field, big deal: And you can take hilarious pictures like this: But when I asked the guide about the history of the jars he said there seemed to be a bit of confusion as to the actual truth behind their being.

Phongsaly Posted by globetrottingblogger on May 6, Nong Khiaw Posted by globetrottingblogger on May 2, This lead to this situation: It was only a matter of time! But it does seem that the further north you go in Laos, the further away from civilisation, the more you get charged for your food, especially when you see a local pay half the price for the same food you just had. The locals see westerners and think of money. Either way this small town is well worth a visit if you want to get away from it all for a while and almost get back to normality.

Our nights were spent with a couple of beers and usually ended up back at the dorm by 10 to watch a film on a friends laptop, finally getting a good nights sleep too down to the air con. For my first bit of exercise in a month I chose a 12k round trip to a historic cave in the next village, the walk was made harder by the heat but this is south east Asia and being out of the heat only happens when you are back in your room!

But obviously someone went to business college as there was a 5,kip donation to be made to the village in order for us to see the cave, I paid 10, purely because I am a great person………:. Yeah it was hot and I sweat a lot, get over it!!!! Whilst it was a really nice place there was still more westerners there than we had bargained for, I guess after songkran and the mass exodus from chang mai this wasnt a great surprise but still it felt like we wanted to be even more secluded……..

Bowling and, er………. Posted by globetrottingblogger on April 28, As i said in the last blog we stayed at spicy laos hostel in Luang Prabang as recommended by a woman from Chang Mai. If you are going to stay there I suggest you use the lockers provided upstairs as even though I was only there for a short while there were a few stories of possessions going walkies.

The social area outside was a good place to sit in the evening and share drinks and stories with other travellers, most people seemed in the mood to be social which suited me just fine. When the time came everyone migrated to the main bar in town-Utopia.

The night market does offer some good food but again at a price. So if you fancy some budget food you actually need to go down to the road that runs parallel with the market along the river and there are a few cheaper options down there, one in particular with a nice veranda overlooking the river, remember your deet! Your only option in Luang Prabang after there is to either sit at the hostel OR you can head to the bowling alley? I know, I was as surprised as you to know that the most happening place here was the bowling alley.

And I know it stays open till at least 4am because when I left at 4am it was still open! My team and I also managed to record some of the worst bowling scores ever, they went something like this:. The people of Luang Prabang seemed nice which was a welcome change after feeling a little ripped off along the slow boat ride. There is also plenty to do there as well, the hostel we were at organised a free tour of the city starting at 5.

I regret not going to see the waterfalls and volunteering at the local school but the reason for this was that we wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities for a bit and also the other westerners so we only really did a fly by visit of Luang Prabang.

On the advice of some friends I had met along the way I decided to head north to a small village called Nong Kwaih. My bank account and my liver needed a rest and I wanted to get to know the side of Laos that not many others get to see, it was adventure time! So we booked a bus through the hostel for , kip, this included a pick up from the hostel in an air conditioned minivan a novelty in Laos, and a 4 hour journey up north.

Later that night the hostel put on a BBQ for everyone for 20, kip, noodles, meat on skewers and home made spring rolls. The resident DJ also took my ipod and turned the place into party central. And boy did they mean slow! The trip cost Baht and included a pick up from the hostel in a minibus. There were 2 options for the slow boat, you could either do 2 days or 3 days, the 3 day package included a few stop offs in the north of Thailand including the famous White wat in Chang Rai and as this was always on my list of things to do whilst I was in Thailand I decided to go with the 3 day option and it was so worth it, the white wat really is something to behold.

We were dropped off near the border of Laos and bungled into a hostel that was included in the price for the night, this stop also included free dinner which was very basic but it did the job and a free breakfast which was inedible. In small groups we were taken by tuk tuk to the Thai border where we had our passports checked and anyone who had overstayed had to pay the fine of baht for every day over stayed, luckily I had timed it to perfection as my visa ran out that day so no fine, WINNING!

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The police are increasingly using facial recognition cameras in public to spy on us. In order to click the hyperlinks in the explainer below, please download the pdf version at the bottom of the page. PI calls for urgent action following UK Parliament 'fake news' report.

Beyond our control, companies and political parties have banded together to exploit our data. The police can use IMSI catchers to track your phone, and even intercept your calls and messages. The questions the new company vying for border dominance in the US needs to answer. One such company is Anduril Industries, named after a sword in Lord. How you can contact your Police and Crime Commissioner about your local police force's use of surveillance tech. EBPB reminds national data protection authorities to exercise their powers proportionally and in respect of fundamental rights.

At the beginning of November , the first GDPR-related privacy and freedom of expression case arose in Romania in connection to the publication by the RISE Project of several articles about a corruption investigation. The articles reported a close relationship between a road construction company. This is a deal that has serious consequences for the privacy and security of the million-plus recipients of WFP aid.

PI joins open letter to Facebook regarding ads transparency. Read Mozilla's statement about the response here. On 11 February , Privacy International joined Mozilla and 36 organisations in an open letter to Facebook call on Facebook to make good on its commitments. Commentary on new partnership. Dear will. At PI we expose government and corporate bad behaviours, we disrupt their plans, and identify a hopeful path forward.

Wrapping Up Data Privacy Week Over the past year, the Privacy International Network has uncovered, campaigned, and advocated on how trends in surveillance and data exploitation are increasingly affecting our right to privacy. To celebrate Data Privacy Day on 28 January, we shared a full week of stories and research, exploring.

Join the conversation on Twitter using dataprivacyweek. Since , the Privacy International Network. This is the third part of Understanding Identity Systems. Read Part 1: Why ID? Biometrics Biometrics are the physiological and behavioural characteristics of individuals. This could be fingerprints, voice, face, retina and iris patterns, hand geometry, gait.

This is the second part of Understanding Identity Systems. European leaders met last week in Brussels to discuss what is supposed to be two separate issues, the next trillion euro-plus budget and migration. In truth, no such separation exists: driven by nationalists and a political mainstream unable to offer any alternative but to implement their ideas, the.

Have companies deleted your data? Over one month ago, Privacy International filed complaints concerning seven data brokers, ad-tech companies, and credit referencing agencies with data protection authorities across Europe. Case Study. Long Read. Exclusion and identity: life without ID.

Photo credit: Francisco Javier Argel Questions of identification and ID, with their associated privacy risks, are only increasing. There are multiple dimensions to understanding the impact of ID and identification; a key one is to understand how it can exclude. This is why Privacy International is. The EU's next budget is a huge threat to privacy - here's what must be done.

Image source The EU extensively bolsters the surveillance and border control capabilities of governments around the world — and is set to dramatically increase such support. Blank Space: Why Taylor Swift doing facial recognition is a bad idea. Taylor Swift may be tracking you, particularly if you were at her Rose Bowl show in May. At the same time — and without their knowledge -.

Why is a privacy organisation working with the humanitarian sector, and why does it matter? We may seem like strange bedfellows, but today's ever-growing digital world means that, more and more, people who receive humanitarian assistance are being exposed to unexpected threats. According to the Press release. New technologies continue to present great risks and opportunities for humanitarian action. To ensure that their use does not result in any harm, humanitarian organisations must develop and implement appropriate data protection standards, including robust risk assessments.

However, this requires a. Key Resources. Exposing Surveillance in Humanitarian and Development Initiatives. Development and Humanitarian Sector. Podcast: Fighting for Abortion in the 21st Century. Creative Commons Photo Credit: Source In September , a month after Argentina lawmakers voted against the legalisation of abortion, we spoke to Eduardo Ferreyra from the Buenos Aires-based Asociacion por los Derechos Civiles about the role of privacy in the abortion debate.

Also joining us in. Photo Credit: Marion S.

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Jaylen Brown went off -- both on and off the court -- Tuesday night in Utah. After dropping 33 points in a losing effort, J. Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard actually sat on the floor and mimicked an opposing player during a ridiculous on-court meltdown. Read full article. More content below. Latest Stories.

NBC Sports Philadelphia. NBC Sports Boston. Steelers Wire. Yahoo Sports. The Independent. Wazzu Watch. National Review. NBC Sports. Bears Wire. Raiders Wire. Having had a nice few days in Phongsaly it was time to move on, as ever we had not really made any plans for the next move-the less plans the better! The slight hitch was that there was no direct bus from Phongsaly to Phongsavan………..

Our mission should we choose to accept it was a 16 hour bus to Luang Prabang where we would arrive at 2AM, get our heads down for 5 hours then get picked up at 8AM from the hostel for a tuk tuk transfer to the bus station where we would take a 6 hour minibus journey to Phongsavan………..

Again we were on a bus that looked like a fred flinstone mobile whereby the driver would actually just put his legs through the floor and push rather than having an actual engine power it. But alas, within an hour or two the bus had filled up, the plastic garden furniture came out and the aisle was filled with people too, again I was lucky enough to have my western friend next to me though.

And so we began our epic trip south, the roads were dusty, there was almost always someone being sick and I was even lucky enough to be passed a few bags to splat out of the window. Yet again we had completed an epic journey, well, the 16 hour bit anyway! We were back in Luang Prabang and got a tuk tuk to old faithful, Spicy Laos hostel but it was booked!!! We trudged up the street and at 2. Breakfast was a scrambled egg baguette which seems to be the norm here in Laos, it fills you up and gets you mentally prepared for another long haul trip.

Back at the bus station and we are bundled into a minivan, where 3 would normally sit now there was 4 and 1 of them was me……….. Finally Phongsavan! If they try and charge you for a tuk tuk from the bus station to town tell them to take a run because you can get a free transfer to town. I mean just look how much fun my friend is having watching my other friend sleep!

We actually booked a tour through the hotel with a guide who spoke pretty good english and seemed happy enough to answer questions and such. The tour included:. I will also say that there were 4 other options for tours and if I could have swapped the hot springs, which smelt worse than anything I smelt during my time working on the canals back home then I would have.

Also the silk sewing place was semi interesting but took 5 minutes to see and if I could have gone to the whisky village instead then I definitely would have. Site 1 of the field of jars is an interesting place, to see it is only part of the interest though, okay, so there is a load of concrete jars in a field, big deal:. And you can take hilarious pictures like this:. But when I asked the guide about the history of the jars he said there seemed to be a bit of confusion as to the actual truth behind their being.

Now while this sounds fun he said that the story he believes is that the jars were used to cremate people in the village and they are basically tombstones. Site 1 has the biggest collection of jars and the biggest actual jars and so his explanation that the bigger the jar the more important a person would have been cremated there seemed to fit in my eyes! I hope some of the proceeds of the tour went to the village! Yet again Laos wi fi is just killing my chances of putting any more pics on here so u will have to imagine how great the cave was purely by my amazing describing skills, so I was in this cave………..

There was a nice little power walk up to the cave that made you get a bit of a sweat on and once inside the cave, unlike any others I have been in, it was very muggy and dusty, the lower down you got the harder it was to breathe, whereas normally the caves are quite cool!

Go into the museum before you go into the cave and it gives you much more of an understanding. The cheapest place to eat in town that I found was right across the street from the guesthouse, they did a great breakfast.

But the nicest, most expensive place to eat……and drink, was Bamboozled, owned by a really nice Irish guy, apparently my friend and I are free to come and have a drink with him anytime……. Well that was my time in Phongsavan! Even getting onto the bus was fun, there were no cargo bays to speak of and the roof was full so it looked like our backpacks were coming inside with us………. In the end after a quick game of human tetras we were seated together and no locals were harmed in the making of this bus trip!

We pulled out of the bus station, yards down the road we stopped as it was obviously time for dinner? This really does beg the question though, why do they make the trip if it affects them so badly? We were turned away by quite a few places as apparently they were full when clearly no one had stayed there for quite some time.

Even the place that accepted us had a sign in book for foreigners with around 30 names on there, the top one being from ! The staff were actually very friendly. Eating in Phongsaly again proved to be a bit of a problem as we were grossly overcharged in comparison to the locals.

I suppose you just have to laugh it off………or write an angry blog, grrrrr…….! Some speaking too broken English to understand and others just not wanting to communicate. But it was nice to go searching either way. Laos is easily the most scenic country I have ever been too and Phongsaly had some of the nicest views.

This small town had a great backdrop and if you fancy a bit of a challenge then walk up the steep steps up to Phoufa hill to see the temple and this is what you get at the top. We booked our ticket to nong Khiaw through the hostel in Luang Prabang, as far as we could see it was the cheapest place or at least on par with everywhere else.

It was an early start at 8. This lead to this situation:. It was only a matter of time! But after 4 hours-which was a lot shorter than I thought the trip would be-we arrived at the bus depot, yet again it was just outside of town so the idea is that you jump in a taxi, or the Asian version, a tuk tuk and pay to get into town.

It only took 20 minutes to walk through the town and across the bridge which is where all the cheaper guesthouses are. Plus there are a lot of opportunities for trekking and such. Billed as the biggest water fight in the world, time to let my inner child out and boy did it live up to my expectations! Songkran is the buddhist new year and is celebrated in many of the south East Asian countries, the dates used to be based on astrological formations but are now fixed and if it falls on a weekend then the days are taken off during the week.

The th of April are the fixed dates but in Chang Mai in the north of Thailand they are notorious for making the celebrations last anything up to two weeks. So to Chang Mai we went! From Bangkok this was simply an overnight train, around a 14 hour ride from Hualumpalong station in 2nd class on the sleeper train, definitely the best way to travel at night if you actually want any sleep………. We stayed at the little bird hostel, ran by the Lovely Nok Moonhead- a legend and a pest when near water and she had a bucket in hand!

I feel like I got my own back plenty of times by firemans lifting her and many others into the paddling pool for my own brand of Songkran Justice! We arrived on the 11th of April and with Songkran yet to start we headed too the streets to get armed to the teeth with out water weapons for the nexxt few days.

By 6PM there were 30 soaking people all with smiles on their faces as I personally tried to introduce every one of them to the paddling pool:. My one piece of advice to anyone who is in a Buddhist country from the 10th till the 20th of April-expect to get soaked at all times!!! Having done a bit of research I definitely decided I wanted to see some elephants at some stage but that most places treated their animals like a Russian zoo treats a bear!

The sanctuary however is a place that rescues and rehabilitates elephants and the moment you listen to woody speak you can tell he loves these animals more than he will ever love any human. He is also an ex Muay Thai fighter and if you harmed any of his animals then I get the feeling he would end you! I paid baht for a day at the sanctuary and it was the best decision I have made so far on this trip.

We fed them, bathed and washed them, the even got to ride them for a short while but Woody was adamant that we not spend long on them as they tire very quickly in the heat and get agitated which for an animal that size is not a good thing. Neither were there any seats strapped to the animals as this too is very painful for them so we got to actually ride on their necks and backs:.

A truly memorable experience and one that I will treasure forever, swimming with these animals was indescribable, their power and intelligence is truly something to behold. By the 13th April the streets of Chang Mai were truly alive and kicking, we were awoken at 8 in the morning by the sound of locals drinking and singing, they were obviously going to show us all up over the next few days!

I have never seen anything like it! Cars beeping their horns as they try and push through the hords of people with their water pistols and buckets in hand, trucks filled with children and water containers just splashing everything that moves, the pavements lined with bins full of ice cold water, people waiting for the unsuspecting victim, this was almost too much fun!

I drank, I danced, I soaked people, I got soaked myself and I had the most fun I have had in a long time! Met some great people too and I hope to see some of you fellow Songkranners in the not so distant future! I would perhaps instead spend it in Pai a bit more out the way, hopefully see more of the traditional side of the festival. It is the most ugly, corrupt, scheming, amazingly beautiful country I have been to yet. If you have your wits about you and are prepared to jump through a few hoops in order to get what you want out of the place then Thailand can be the greatest adventure you will ever have.

To Laos we go!!!! I went with Songserm because they were cheap like the budgie. The transfer from the hostel to the jetty was arranged by the hostel and I shared the cost with a few people. The 3 hour ferry ride from there to Surat Thani was no problem really, as per usual everyone just crams their way on in a no holes barred contest!

There was a serious lack of space and so for an hour I had to sit in a position that I can only liken to something that you would see in a professional yoga class. Rigid 90 degree leather specials awaited us. I also saw the driver tap the boot when we stopped for food and open the luggage door, presumably to let his friend have some air…………They only stole my clippers so I got off lightly!

And so I arrived in Bangkok after 14 hours of fun on the fun bus from funtown. It was too early to check into my hostel so I decided to take a look around, we had been dropped on Ko san road which is the famous backpacker drinking hole, full of seedy bars and westerners doing what they do best when under the influence, being idiots, I was glad that the friends I was meeting shared the same opinion of this place and had decided to book a hostel across the other side of town, away from the mayhem.

It took me 2 hours to get to Huamlumpalong train station with my bags on my back and stopping at a few of the temples on the way. I walked through to the MRT, my favourite mode of transport in Asia so far, air conditioned, easy to figure your way around, probably the best train ride you will ever have, besides singapore maybe.

The Hard Road Cafe it was called. The main purpose of going to Koh phangan was to relax a little before I met up with some friends in Bangkok, but to also go to the famous half moon party! It is understandable that the locals act the way they do around you as their once, im sure, beautiful island has been turned into a bit of a wasteland. The beaches are littered with rubbish as are the streets, a westerner will always pay more in a restaurant than a local despite what the menu says and you will be lucky to get served before a local despite ordering before them.

From then on in the night just got better and better. Back to the hostel to share buckets with everyone and get painted up with glow in the dark stuff to truly embrace the night! I highly recommend this party but if I ever did it again I would stay on Koh Samui and just get the ferry over for the party which is what many people did for the full moon party while I was on Samui.

Leaving the islands of south east Thailand behind now to go to the main land and to Bangkok to meet up with some friends I met in Malaysia. I feel like if I had my time again in Thailand I would definitely visit the islands on the west coast, Lanta, phi phi and krabi are definitely on my hit list for the future.

The combination of these 2 factors made my first day on Koh Tao fairly uneventful, which i was grateful for. The furthest I got was the first bar I came across for some well earned grub and of course, a chang-my new favourite lager……….. This was the ceiling above my head and everytime a rat walked across I would get a tasty bit of plaster come my way.

In the heat of Asia however I find it hard to eat more than 2 meals a day as my body craves water instead of sustenance. This leaves me tired as I am not eating 6 times a day like I was back home-yeah I said 6 times a day, boom! Tao is one of the smaller islands on the east coast of Thailand, this makes it easy to get around, if you have a bit of gumption about you and get up early enough to avoid the mid afternoon super heat then you can walk round it in a day.

So this is what I did! A friend back home told me about a good view point for the island so I headed into the hills to soiree view resort. One of the activities I did take advantage of was the Koh Tao bar crawl……..

It was a waste of money, in true magallufian style there were just idiots being idiots everywhere I looked. I am not really sure why I signed up for it as I have never been a fan of organised drinking, suffice to say I ended up leaving the group to hang out with some normal people and from there on in I had a great night. The fire show down on the beach which is included in the price of the ticket yet is in actual fact free…… was pretty awesome and definitely recommended.

The free t-shirt included has already been ear marked as a DIY top for back home………. This blog is seriously belated but what with all my hopping around this is the first time I have had the time…………so just cut me some slack! Transport between Penang and Langkawi is regular and easy to organise, I booked a return ticket for ringgit, 5 nights on the island, truth be told that is plenty of time to see what you need to see and then spend some time relaxing.

Swettenham pier is a 10 minute walk from little india in georgetown although with all your bags you may just want to pay 1 ringgit and catch the air conditioned bus. I had not booked any accommodation on Langkawi so I caught the early ferry in order to give myself time to find a bed for at least the night. The engine is extremely loud however, so loud that there is no chance of hearing the film that they are playing on the t. As soon as you step off the boat you are greeted by waves of taxi drivers and agency workers trying to hire out cars and scooters to you.

The main place for backpackers hostels and bars etc, is on the other side of the island to where the jetty is. For 24 ringgit a taxi will take you to where you need to go, on the way over just try and get chatting to some people or just jump in a taxi and split the cost, not that 24 ringgit is a lot but, well, I am a backpacker, pennies make pounds people! If you are only there for days then I think a scooter is the best way to go, you can ride round the island in a day but you will actually see everything so you may find your scooter just sitting there for a few days and not paying for itself if you stay for longer.

Needless to say I latched onto a small group and hitched a ride to the hostels. They had scooters to hire and you could book tickets to all over Asia and any excursions you wanted all from the hostel reception which doubled up as the bar area and was a really good place to meet people in the evening after a few bevvies! Cheap bevvies at that! From any hostel on this dusty road you can head down to the main road which is 5 minutes walk away and have a slew of bars and restaurants right on your doorstep.

Orkid Ria seafood restaurant is also absolutely amazing but one of the most expensive places on the island………. One tip I was given was not to eat anything unless it was cooked in front of you as it has probably been sat there for a few hours but I ate quite a range of things and felt fine but I just figured I would pass on the info!

Here is a guy making me my roti pasang which is basically a pancake stuffed with banana:. The 2 islands I went to were very picturesque, but made less so with the other tourists that were being ferried around on the various boats, good fun none the less and I met some really nice people on the trip so overall it was worth a go.

And to be honest the boats are really small and fast and awesome and I loved them and stuff! The main attraction on Langkawi- besides the cheap booze- are the cable cars. The other attraction to the island IS the cheap booze, there is a noticeable difference between this island and the mainland of Malaysia, obviously as the island is duty free, but still………..

Even heading down on your own you ended up quickly making friends. Babylon bar is easily the best place on the strip, the music was great, not so loud as to stop you making conversation but loud enough to bust some serious moves to………yeah I just used that phrase! Like so many places in Malaysia though it claimed to be a reggae bar and there was a distinct lack of reggae on their playlist, I never worked that out either.

There is always somewhere to head after the last place has closed down for the night, grab a taxi and head to san bar and you can do the same for various other places around the island or simply grab a few beers and go sit on the beach. There is something for everyone at night time on Langkawi. Having been backpacking through Malaysia for the past 4 weeks with every day seeming pretty hectic it was nice to come to Langkawi and have some time to chill out before I rushed back into the melee.

So ensued a nice little trek around Koh Tao trying to find somewhere that sold this magical potion. After 2 hours of shop hopping I gave up and went to the supermarket and picked up some stuff that seemed to be my best option:. Suffice to say my left foot now looks like a dot to dot:. When I get home I am going to set up a test centre for possible backpackers and they will undergo a series of tests to analyse whether or not they are ready for this experience. Here you will learn valuable lessons in:.

The driver will then wait till you are asleep, harshly wake you up and order you off the bus. You are in Wales, all the signs are foreign, none of the locals can understand you and the feeling is mutual. This is where I come in, I will give you the tools to deal with such a situation, being a seasoned travelling pro now and all………….

Test 3: Aussie avoidance- you need to be able to spot the Australian male, he is put on this earth to drink constantly and they want nothing more than the opportunity to show their drinking prowess on the international stage. They will eat away at your budget and leave you feeling less intelligent…….. From here you have 2 options, you can sign up for the Aussie avoidance course, you will be by the league of shadows from the Batman films, you will report to Liam Neeson and he will teach you stealth mode.

The other option is manning the hell up and just meeting these guys head on and playing them at their own game- see you on the 5th April in Bangkok you horrible people. So just what is up with this sign? I was completely unaware that swingers were usually unwelcome at mini golf. Is it just an unwritten rule in England? No wonder there has been a distinct lack of swingers at all of my mini golf themed parties. Next goal is followers before I leave Asia in June and views…….. I left the hostel with my 20kg of gear on my back at around Barely a quarter mile goes by and I am already melting, thankfully the buses are air conditioned, although, on travel days, I would swap an air conditioned country for an air conditioned bus!

I catch the to the jetty for 1. There was a 20 minute wait for the E to the airport, this bus costs 2. This is me, waiting in a shop to pay, the owner nowhere to be seen, Mom you will be pleased to know that travelling has changed me as 6 months ago I would have robbed this place blind to fund my massive crack cocaine addiction…………no wait, thats the plot of trainspotting…………….

Maybe the kids escaped, I suppose I can forgive them. Needless to say i left the money on the counter and left! So basically today I found the x-men hideout. If Malaysia is the food mekkah of south east asia then Penang is the food mekkah of Malaysia. I stayed in Georgetown which is still part of the state of Penang but it is an island connected by one bridge to the mainland.

Anyone I had met so far on my trip recommended that I stay in one of the red inn guesthouses, especially the one on love lane which seems to be the road built for backpackers. But I decided to go against the grain and stay in Muntri House, basically because I am a rogue bad ass, but also because red inn was full, but mainly the bad ass thing.

When I say extremely drunk, I mean like English drunk, yeah that drunk. Penang was my detox! Having said that, Penang is a world heritage site so the museum, which cost 1 ringgit, is worth a trip round and the wat buppurham is also worth a visit along with the many temples dotted around the city.

If you do come to Georgetown then you HAVE to go to the beach at Batu Ferenghi and stick around in the evening for the night market, which again, is just heaven for a food lover. There are regular buses running all day from little india in georgetown which is near all of the hostels. I had to smile as I can only imagine what would happen in England if a bus driver stopped to run a personal errand. I was unfortunately ever so slightly underwhelmed by CH if I am honest. CH offers some amazing views but it feels like I am having de ja vu everytime I look out over the landscape.

I guess if I am completely honest some of my negativity comes from the nightmare experience I had of getting to CH. There will be a 15ringgit taxi ride to the local bus station and then I had to wait for 90 minutes for the 6PM bus which cost 16 ringgit. I finally reached CH at 8. Having made a reservation 5 days earlier I was, for want of a better phrase, seriously pissed that the owner had gone and filled up his hostel anyway despite my reservation then had the cheek to ask if I wanted to stay on the sofas outside for half price, no thanks 8 mentigi guesthouse!

The point of me making the early reservation was that places in CH get full up fairly quickly……….. Today is the day I have finally realised that I look better without a moustache than with. My time in Melakka consisted of evading the Malaysian Mafia, taking a night time tour of the streets on the back of a truck from a driver that I am almost certain was drunk, I got riddled with mosquito bites and some Australian bites too!

Oh and between all that I managed to see some of the more cultural side that Melakka has to offer…….. She also recommended the hostel I stayed in as well, Jalan Jalan- which in Malays means to take a walk, but they had bikes you could rent so why bother?

Jalan Jalan is split into 2 buildings no more than yards from each other. One is slightly more modernised than the other but both are great places to stay and are run by a local guy called sammy who is possibly the nicest guy I have ever met, never have I seen anyone so quick to help out and not want anything in return. Melakka contains some fantastic little food spots, you can eat from a differrent country for every meal of the day and never be disappointed, ou can even turn vegetarian for a few days, not that that is a trend I shall be continuing with!

Also if you get the current manager WILKO- you had to be there, of Jalan Jalan drunk then he will take you on a 5AM bike ride too mcdonalds which is just as good in Malaysia as it has ever been………. Okay I will stop with the inside jokes now……….

If you do plan an excursion to Melakka make sure you visit there over a weekend and be sure to check out the night market that runs along Jonkers street. Again the food is the main highlight, you can pick up some battered ice cream, some cendol or a Laksa which a lot of people tell me is very refreshing, I however felt lied to as I found it repulsive, thanks Eva!

The streets at night are a veritable feast for your eyes too as the buildings are lit up by all the red lights, I was lucky to have been there around chinese new year too and the streets were filled with lanterns making it a really nice place to just go take a stroll after dark. My time in Melakka was only marred slightly by one incident whereby between me and an Australian we managed to break a chair at a local bar that just so happened to be owned by an active member of the Malaysian Mafia yeah I know it sounds ridiculous.

But after a few days of negotiating we were finally able to leave all parties happy. Apart from the godfather I met some genuinely great people there and to them all I can say is I will see you in Kuala Lumpur for the reunion! Oh and on the walk from the bus station to the hostel I got lost and was saved by a French Canadian, I am forever in his debt because I was the closest to death that I have been so far on the trip at that point.

So today I officially crowned myself the sweatiest man in Malaysia. You go up the tower, take a few pictures, you come back down, the air conditioning is none existent and this is a luxury you look forward to when you step inside a plush building and part with ringgits. Above- KL tower, below- view from the tower. The rich and poor in KL are constant neighbours, the booming metropolis you see in this picture is surrounded by poverty.

You can eat for 5 ringgits then 5 minutes down the road buy a bag from the Louis Vuitton shop, surreal. This is where me and Jan parted ways, unfortunately this is the last time I saw Jan as he was murder………only joking, he went shopping for souveniers, I met him alive and well back at the hostel. Next stop Petronas towers by night :.

Regardless of your feelings on architecture this is a must see, the darker the night sky gets the more beautiful these towers become. The towers dominate the city and all eyes are on them come 8PM when the decorative lights are turned on and the water fountains at the foot of the towers create quite a spectacle, if you are in KL then this is a must see.

I mapped out a route earlier to walk to the train station in the morning and it sent me up a ramp to join a dual carriageway, thanks Malaysian google, you nearly killed me. Okay so before I start I just have to say today was totally awesometastic and amaze balls and all of those things that are over the top! We were given an hour to walk around and case the joint, er, sorry I mean check it out. I saw the locals lighting incense sticks and kneeling before they entered the temple on prayer mats, there were three entrances to the temple, each one represented a different form of their god.

You would only light odd numbers of incense sticks so 1,3,5, so on and so on, the more you lit the more help you needed:. I say march, I was in a minibus, but for those of you that have ever been in a vehicle on the roads in Malaysia they will know it is definitely safer to march!

On the journey I decided to get to know the man next to me, this man was Roy and he was Australian to the core. The statue on the right of the picture is Lord Murugan, brother of Ganesh the elephanty one. Any man who wishes to worship Murugan has to come to one of his temples and all of his temples must be above ground level, hence the steps………. The reason for this is that one day Murugan and his brother Ganesh were given a task by their parents to show them the world.

Murugan took this literally and used his spirit animal, the peacock, to fly around the world and collect souvenirs in order to present them to his parents upon his return. Ganesh, whose spirit animal was a mouse, told his parents to stand together while he and the mouse walked around them and expressed to his parents that they were his world.

Once you reach the top of the stairs and you get inside the cave, you are rewarded with………. Did I mention it was hot? I am so going to rub the underside of his belly…………. I think the rat had a pair of vibrams on……….. Email Address:. Stories and Photographs of my travels, Tales of friends, family, animals and my life. Home Travel Thanking you!! Getting started Urgent help needed!!! Because I have purchased Vibrams? About Life in general VertiGO away………….. The last supper………. So this is Christmas and what have YOU done?

Posted by globetrottingblogger on November 7, Posted in: travel. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Done with Vietnam! Posted by globetrottingblogger on July 1, Posted in: humour , travel.

Leave a comment. Thanking you!! Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 27, So south east asia is done and this is my small thanks to all of this who have made it the trip of a lifetime, if i leave anyone out, well, i meant to cos i didnt like u as much as the other people:. Jan Schlindwein, the first person who responded to one of my shy introductions, cheers for a good couple of days in KL, hope all is well buddy.

Jayzon Matthieu, thanks for saving me man, another 5 minutes and i may have ended up as a puddle on the floor and u will be happy to know ur book has found a happy home with a fellow traveller in, guess where? Yeah melakka! Michael nobleor, i still dont believe you r a doctor but your a decent bloke…….

Dani Villar………. I like you cos u like my top cat wallet, no one else has appreciated it like you. I hope I get to see half of the places that you 2 crazy cats have been. Howard Nielsen that picture of you on that chopper bike at the ATM acting so nonchalant is seared into my memory forever. Hope your trip is going well x. Riccard Kahts Winje like I said the other day, you better have a big sofa in your new apartment cos im gona need somewhere to pass out when we go drinking!

Yannick Heni I am still not going to apologise for sending you to see the waterfall in Cameron Highlands, yeah it was slippy and dangerous but you had a good time right? Hope your both doin alright though back in sunny england! Bronte waissen and joe lapping, you are both far too young to be doin anything as exciting as you are and im way too jealous, so basically sod you both!

Hopefully catch you in adelaide x. Emma brattle, without whom there would have been no one to laugh at my dance moves at the half moon party, cheers for the attention! Laura Keeley, without whom I would have had no one to laugh at at the half moon party, honestly, I remember when I had my first beer. I hope you are having fun back home on your horse riding through all of those cacti whilst you chew on your tobacco x.

Reese Mckee we shared one of those rare sober nights and it was a pleasure, the mutual hatred for stupid English girls brought us together. Will T Gaunt, lets just sit at a table, tell some baby jokes and do some terrible Australian accents, for old times sake. Anna Gade, im still not gona apologise for picking u up and carrying you round the bowling alley multiple times, we both know you enjoyed it. Wouter Melis it was good to catch up with you in siem reap and teach you how to drink properly, even though you never really learned.

Sven Leisten it was also good to catch up with you as well mate, we should wait for beerfest 2 to come out and watch the premier together. Cheers for the laughs fatty x and just remember, if you ever feel down, you have the video of me dancing to drum n bass to turn to! Matt Kelly, forever a legend in my book, so maybe we did skim a few beers off the top at the rooftop bar, dont leave drunk people in charge I say.

Vietnam wouldnt have been the same without you mate! Love you bro! Alex Godfrey, I have to apologise once again for the knee! Genuinely still feel bad about it, hope its not giving you too much jip back in ur homeland, but you did start the rugby tackling thing….. Vickie Redmond and Alexandra Theobald, thanks for making all the bouncers in Saigon think that I had just pimp slapped you both when you fell to the floor after I announced I was going home! Dennis lee, Ben Currin and Michael Hardesty, the last of the TRDG group, Dennis I hope home is treating you well, you know if I come knocking on your door then you have to invite me in cos we are practically brothers.

Ben and Michael my fellow dolphin trainers I hope vietnam is going well, take the lessons i have taught you and use them wisely, TRDG forever. Alex Rajkid, okay so you were a pretty good hostel owner too! I hope you get to make your trip one day x. If i have left anyone out then i apologise, sort of…………elo australia lets Av a look at ya then!!! Hue Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 24, Nha Trang Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 17, But I was armed with the information that you could walk from the bus station and find a hostel.

Along the way we met a French girl who pointed us in the right direction-I know, a helpful French person, who knew? The prices had recently gone up as there was some sort of vietnamese festival happening and people had flocked from miles around to come see it.

I did my classic ask the price and walk away trick and we got it knocked down a few dollars, our room was awesome! Hoi San hotel we stayed in, 12 dollars for 2 double beds with air con. Nha Trang is a small beach town that has been super westernised, the backpacker district is all centralised and Russians seem to enjoy the place a lot.

Now this may only mean something to other backpackers but Russian travellers tend to be amongst the rudest most arrogant people, they make no effort to communicate with anyone but their own, which really vexes me. Why come travelling with all of your friends back home then get home having made no other friends, for me making friends is a massive part of travelling. There are a couple of nice places to eat around this area, Lantern restaurant is definitely worth checking out, its more expensive than other places but good for one night.

Probably the best hostel to stay in is Mojzo inn, its around 6 dollars for a dorm which is maybe a bit more than I would usually pay but the staff are amazing, they learn everyones names and they are always on the desk ready and willing to give any advice you might need, recommending places to eat both local and western, giving directions. As for nightlife there is a few places to go, the bar and grill place on the corner is always packed and the staff are good fun, although the english guy will always try and sell you an ipod which gets annoying quickly.

They have a Why Not bar like every town and oasis bar is a great place to go as well. But the best trick is always to visit the bottle shop, get a cheap bottle of rum, smash it in your room then hit the bars, classic english pre drinking! This way you can have your mates get drunk and want you to show them how to rugby tackle, then the more drunk you get the more violent it gets then eventually you might dislocate your Australian mates knee……..

Da Lat Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 15, Having made friends with an Aussie and an English lad on the bus we jumped in a taxi when we arrived at the bus station for a dollar each and got taken to the centre of town where they have a giant market with amazing cheap food.

You are a sitting duck with all of your possessions on you and the town was very busy at this point. They are too expensive for me but I would love to spend a few days with them, they have a choice of bike from scooter all the way up to…….. But the way my friends and I did it was a cheaper alternative, get a scooter and just go razzing around in the mountains, I actually ended up spotting a western girl on the back of a bike of a local and figured she might be on a tour so we decided to follow her and ended up at a load of really nice places, winning!

We saw some waterfalls, found an adventure park, saw some pagodas, ate some amazing food at a little shack in the middle of nowhere and got some really good info from a girl that used to work for a tourism company. It was a really nice day…….. There was a couple of other people there but it was mainly Vietnamese.

This was the only real bar we found but there was another place called roofs that is supposed to be good but I never visited. Ho Chi Minh Posted by globetrottingblogger on June 5, We had an Australian couple with us who held us up at the border…….. Why would you think you could mess with the vietnamese? Needless to say after a long deliberation they were turned away and the 2 of us left boarded the van having paid our dollar to the happy fat man at the border.

We were dropped at a travel agents just the other side where our tickets were exchanged to vietnamese ones and i was given the daunting task of trying to buy lunch in yet another currency! The one and only time i will hold 2,, of any currency in my hand! We were transferred to the bus station and then onto a vietnamese sleeper bus and let me tell you, these bad boys are seriously swanky! From previous experience i know it is going to be hard to get what I want.

An elderly english couple offers me a space in their taxi as we have been chatting on the bus a bit and even pay for me to be dropped off in the backpacker district after they get of at their nice hotel the other side of town, these were seriously nice people and if i ever see them again a beer i shall by them!

The room they offer me already has a vietnamese woman sleeping in the double bed, i am told to jump in next to her………. The owner was really helpful too as were his staff, he had a discount for his guests with the restaurant across the road and with the laundry lady next door, i highly recommend it. The next day i woke up fresh at 7.

I was feeling productive, i booked myself in at a tattoo parlour recommended to me by a tattoo artist in pnomh penh as he didnt have time to fit me in whilst i was there, then i got myself a scooter and went exploring. City driving on a scooter in south east asia is the most fun you can have for 5 dollars anywhere, the traffic is insane, fast and furious, but if you just stick with your chosen line and go with the flow you will make it through unscathed.

On the second day i wanted to see the sites and so secured myself a map, saw the war museum which is a real eye opener and a must do in Saigon. I saw various temples and pagodas all of which amaze me with their intricacy in detail, they are pieces of art in building form. This is obviously a ridiculous amount!

That night i fell foul to another form of trickery, the oldest one in the book, the pickpocket! Walking home on my own when a scooter pulls up along side of me, it was around 4 in the morning and the guys prey on lone people when the streets are quiet. A woman masquerading as a prostitute grabbed my crotch with such vigour in nearly buckled there and then, offering me various services as i wrestled her vice like grip from me i didnt notice the left hand going into my pocket and taking my ipod, only to realise 2 seconds later that this could have been the case, having checked my pockets i realised what she had done, i had to crack a smile, it felt like a rite of passage.

Tr best thing was realising the next day that on my ipad i had the ability to track my ipod and it was only down the road!!! They must have been checking twitter………. It was not to be, i was confronted by 7 or 8 mean looking men who obviously wanted my ipod more than i did, i tucked my tail between my legs and left sharpish!

Note to self, if a hooker comes near you in Ho Chi Minh, punch her hard and steal her ipod! Besides the architecture in Ho Chi Minh there are various other things to look at and go see, tours along the Mekong delta and the Vietcong tunnels. I feel like i have seen enough of the Mekong and the tunnels are just a conveyor belt of tourists so i decided to miss these things out.

The tunnels have apparently been widened a lot in order to be able to accommodate the westerners, there are more authentic ones further up the coast so i will visit these when i have worked my way up. As for night life, there is basically one street where backpackers go, plastic chairs line the road and pavements and everyone squeezes in and mixes with the locals.

Besides these places there is a small smattering of surrounding bars to visit with 2 nightclubs at the top of the road, the crazy buffalo and another place across the road, both really good fun but very expensive, with the staff getting very angry if you finish your beer and dont fancy buying another one at an extortionate price.