A Travellerspoint blog

Bali day 1&2

We arrived late at the airport and probably got ripped off for a taxi but we didn't care it was dark, late and we were hungry. The journey took around an hour as there was lots of traffic caused by yet another car accident! We arrived at our villa and were informed only one of the two bungalows we had booked were available. After 2 nights, two bungalows would be available. Sonya and Nigel were quick to bagsy the bungalow as they couldn't be bothered to move their stuff again (they aren't used to the traveller lifestyle like us younguns!)
We found that there was no restaurant and the villa seemed to be in the middle of no where so after a few snacks out of Sonya's bag, it was off to bed for all.

The next morning we woke up find the breakfast bar directly outside of our room... Perfect! And what made it even better was that they have banana pancakes which are made from rice flour. Anna soon ordered one of these and literally ate it in one go with some honey. Ben had some egg on toast. We had a little mooch around the property and it's amazing! There's 2 swimming pools, amazing views and quirky little bungalows dotted around the place.

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We went back to the room and scoured through all the leaflets we took from the airport so we could plan some trips/things to do for the week. We decided that a beach day would be a great first day... After a dip in the pool ofcourse! The beach is about a 5 min walk at the end of our road, perfect for the amount of surfing Ben plans to do! We arrived at the beach to discover the black sand. None of us have been on a black sand beach before so that was one for the bucket list! Ben and Anna soon rented some boards whilst Sonya and Nigel rented some sun beds and purchased a few cheeky beverages. It wasn't long until Anna got told off for being in the way by this very rude (apparently English) very cocky surfer dude. She was on a big foam board (so obviously a learner) trying to stand up on a big wave and BOOM out of no where this guy on a board completely takes her out! And afterwards he didn't even ask if she was OK despite almost losing her bikini bottoms... How rude! He then proceeded to tell her she was in the way and that she should know the 'number one rule of surfing'. This actually really put her off so she went and sat in a huff/state of shock and upset on the beach. The guy then apologised to Ben as he realised we were together (maybe he was scared of Ben after the evils he was giving). Ben caught a few waves before coming back to check on Anna. After the whole ordeal was over we went back out together and had a whale of a time :-)
We got some drinks and snacks after all that surfing and were pleasantly surprised with the price... It's really cheap here! It was only £5 to rent the boards too.
We decided to go back to the pool and spend the rest of the afternoon there. We were that relaxed after a swim and sunbathe that we decided instead of going out for dinner, we would order delivery! It didn't take long to arrive and it was delicious! We didn't last long sitting around the pool after sun set as we were getting bitten by mosquitos and bothered by both cats and dogs.
Back in the room we heard a noise at the door. We looked out and couldn't see much and then we saw a little tail wagging in the corner of our eye. Turns out one of the dogs wanted to play! We would of let him in but didn't want to catch any flees.
We attempted to watch a film but got that busy on FaceTime that we just fell asleep.

This morning we woke up early to catch some more waves. Anna decided not to bother as she had lovely conditioned hair and was aching like mad! Ben was determined and Anna didn't mind a photoshoot. They arrived at the beach and Ben rented a board and Anna found a comfy seat. Ben used a lot of energy and spent a lot of time getting out to the green water, and then all of a sudden Anna looked up, Ben was without board miles out at sea and board was washing up on the shore. Anna in panic stripped off and ran over to the board, picked it up and swam into the sea to save an exhausted Ben, resulting in sea water hair... Not ideal! Anna then decided to have a go at surfing since she already got her hair wet (she's not normally this girly it's just grown way too long). She didn't last long at all as her body was exhausted from the day before. She soon got out and Ben carried on...
By the way, Ben was totally fine and it turned out the leash had snapped, but after a quick fix it was good to go!
Here's a photo to prove it:

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A tired Ben returned to shore and we headed back to the hotel for breakfast. More banana pancakes! Mmm! We then decided to rent motorbikes for the day to explore Ubud. It was £2.50 per bike per day! Bargain! But first we found a gluten free bakery.. Reserved some bread and cake for Anna to pick up later, found an Italian for tea and got some much needed cash! It then took us about an hour and a half to get to Ubud. We found a suckeling pig restaurant that Sonya saw on tv. Ben and Sonya loved it but Anna and nige found it a bit too spicy!! We walked around the shops and bought more souvenirs. We also ventured into a few temples and took lots of photos of course. We then got back onto the bikes to head to the hanging gardens. Nigel attempted to do a uturn with Sonya on the back and ended up toppling themselves and the bike! Luckily there were no injuries but there were a few arguments. We drove through amazing scenery, past mountains/volcanoes, through the greenest jungle and on the skinniest roads. We arrived at the hanging gardens and booked our spa package for the last day of our trip. There will be photos to come to show what the hanging gardens actually are! It's basically two amazing infinity pools (the most famous pools in the world) looking over the jungles of Bali.
On our way back, in the dark, we passed ceremony's, villages, and all sorts of sights. We really like Bali, it's full of culture and atmosphere.
We arrived at the Italian at around 7.30pm. Well Anna and Ben did. We somehow managed to lose Sonya and nige! Ben got back on his bike in search of the pair and also to pick up the bakery goods whilst Anna got lost in what to order! After a few angry phone calls and text messages, Sonya and nige finally showed up! We ordered a gf pizza to start to share and it was the best pizza any of us had ever had! We then all ordered pasta dishes and they were just as scrumptious. We took their leaflet as we discovered they also do delivery... Pizza time!
After dinner we returned to the villa and went our separate ways to our rooms to get much needed showers. It was another hot and sweaty day for all!

Posted by Benannatravels 08:51 Comments (0)

Borneo

Make yourselves a brew and get comfortable. It's a long one folks...

We arrived at our hotel in Kota Kinabalu in the evening, ditched our bags and went to get some food. We headed over to Sonya and Nigel's hotel as they had some ideas for our stay in Borneo and they recommended their restaurant. Unfortunately by the time we arrived they must have been closing up as our meals were somewhat lacking. After we had eaten we decided to fly to the other side of the island the next day as Sandakan is the place to be if you want to see wildlife. Making the decision was easy, putting it into action was slightly harder, especially as Sonya and Nigel had had one too many and the hotels wifi, like its food (in our opinion) was lacking! However after some heated discussions and 4 attempted bookings we sorted out flights and accommodation for the next day. It was time for bed.

The next morning we woke up with extra time so we could have breakfast before heading for the airport. Our choices were grilled chicken with fried egg, grilled chicken with scrambled egg, grilled chicken with boiled egg or if you were feeling adventurous grilled chicken with plain omelette (so just egg). We got a taxi over to the N and S's hotel where we all crammed in, luckily for us Ben and the Driver somehow squeezed all the bags into the boot so after a cheeky hi 5 (which the driver wasn't to sure about) we were on our way.

When we got on the plane we were all sat separately (they could spot trouble a mile off when Nigel turned up) but the views from the plane where amazing! Meandering rivers through miles of lush green rainforest!

We squeezed into another taxi (no hi 5s this time :() and got to our new hotel. Travellers tip no. 76: checking in does not require any more than 2 people to be involved. Any more than this may lead to any or all of the following: incorrect amount of rooms, the wrong type of beds, extra payment, unintentional upgrades or car rental.

Once the palava of checking in was over we headed out in search of food. We came across a mall that had less and less shops each level higher we went until eventually we reached the "food hall" on the top floor which could have been a scene from the next post apocalyptic blockbuster from Hollywood. We left the mall and strolled along the river front past the more local eateries where we eventually came to one that appeared satisfactory. We had some lovely local food and Sonya finally got her Malaysian clay pot chicken.

Our next port of call was the jetty at which we were told the boats leave for Turtle Island. We didn't know where this jetty was, only that it existed somewhere in the town and was called crystal quest (premise for the next Indiana Jones movie?). We found the jetty with out much fuss in the end (I'm sure the Hollywood scriptwriters could jazz it up a bit). However it was closed. After standing around doing nothing much for a while (actually this would make a really dull movie, never mind) we managed to attract the attention of a "security guard" (an old man in flip flops and swim shorts) who assured us if we came back at 8am the next day we would be guaranteed a place on the boat and the island to stay the following night. After fighting with more Atm's it was an early night for all.

We woke early the next morning and even missed our FREE breakfast just to make sure we arrived at crystal quest on time! Which we did. Only to find that it actually opens at 8:30. So we could of had breakfast after all. While we were waiting Ben and Sonya decided to go and get some snacks and fruit for breakfast while Anna and Nigel carried on waiting. When someone finally turned up at 8:45 they were immediately bombarded by Anna and Nigel only to discover that today's trip was fully booked. Travellers tip no. 13: Old men wearing flip flops and swim shorts are neither security guards or reliable sources of information. They were told that unless someone cancelled we would be unable to go that day. So Anna and Nigel waited for Sonya and Ben to return. When they finally did, they were greeted with the news that there was a cancelation and we would be going to see some turtles!!! We quickly paid and boarded the speedboat. It was a bumpy ride but it was worth it as when we arrived it was like stepping into paradise!

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Turtle island is actually made up of 3 islands that are protected by the Malaysian and Philippine governments. A select amount of visitors are allowed to only one of the islands so there is no disruption to the nesting turtles.

Despite being latecomers we found our rooms were located in the best chalet so everything worked out ok. After finally washing our clothes in the sink and hanging them on the railings outside to dry we headed to the beach to snorkel and sunbathe. The beach was stunning, the best beach any of us have been on in our lives. When it came time for lunch we didn't want to leave, but hunger got the best of us and we headed to the canteen. The food was really good. Especially considering the limited facilities on the island and the small cost we paid. After lunch we saw the biggest monitor lizard yet (around 4-5 foot) who was completely unfazed by humans. Ben hurried back to get the camera and embarked on a mini photo shoot after some quick tuition from the pro. Then it was back to the beach to sunbathe, read, sleep and snorkel. We saw some amazing fish including clown fish but unfortunately no turtles.

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We did however find evidence of turtles all along the beach there were tracks in the sand leading to dug up nests, we even found some broken shells. We were starting to get very excited. We had a stroll around the island as we weren't allowed to after 5pm as this is when the turtle activity can begin. The beach on the other side of the island was deserted and there was almost no movement in the sea, we truly were in paradise.

We headed back to our chalet to get ready for dinner and the nights turtley events but had some time to kill so we played cards and relaxed on the porch while the sun set. We had such a laugh playing cards. One card game involved lying to win which Sonya was terrible at! At 7 it was time for an educational movie. We learnt some amazing things about the turtles we were about to see but also some terrible things about us humans. We really do take this planet and its other inhabitants for granted.
Did you know, male turtles latch on to the female turtles to mate, and other males get that jealous that they hold the couple down and sometimes drown the female!

We had our dinner and played some more cards to kill time. We had to wait for the first turtle to come ashore to lay eggs. This could of happened any time between 7pm and midnight. On some nights, no turtles come assure. We went to the nursery where we heard and saw some of the eggs hatching, until it was "Show Time". We followed the ranger very excitedly down to the beach we had been lying on just a couple of hours earlier where we saw 4 huge sea turtles. And I mean huge!!!! Like the size of a large coffee table! We were led down the beach some more where we gathered around a giant green sea turtle who was laying her eggs. When they lay there eggs they enter a kind of trance which was why we were able to get so close without bothering her. In this trance the turtle is oblivious to sound or movement. We remained quiet out of respect for the occasion and turned off all flash photography so as not to damage the delicate eggs. The ranger retrieved the eggs as she was laying them to transport them to the nursary away from predators. He then measured her and checked her tags. The Rangers apply tags to monitor the turtles to learn more about them which will improve conservation. We left before she came out of her trance so she never knew we were there. It was the most incredible experience. Words cannot describe. The next part of night was to bury the newly laid eggs in the nursery. There were 91 in all, %85 - 95% were expected to hatch but only 1% are expected to make it through to adulthood, this goes to show how important it is that the eggs are looked after and why the rules for the tourists on the island are so strict. We were then taken down to the other beach where we were going to let the freshly hatched baby turtles go. They are the cutest things you can imagine. It's hard to believe how such tiny babies, smaller than the palm of your hand, can grow to the gigantic size that they do. Sea turtles can travel hundreds and thousands of miles away from where they hatch but when the time comes they are able to find the beach they were born on, using a navigational organ in their head, to lay their own eggs. Watching the baby turtles scramble down the beach to the sea under the moon and stars is something we will never forget. It was amazing. Then someone farted. Seriously let rip. Way to spoil the mood 👍. We let 17 turtles begin their lives by running into the sea, but only one will survive all the predators... and we think life is hard!

We would just like to give Sonya an honourable mention here as although the turtles were undoubtably the stars of the show, watching Sonya march ahead of everyone else and get as close as humanly possible without touching was a sight to behold. Way to go Sonya, top turtle nerd!

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On the way back to our rooms we saw dozens of hermit crabs scuttling about, the biggest one had found his home in a bottle lid. Although very interesting hermit crabs and monitor lizards couldn't hold a candle to what we had seen so it was off to bed for an early start.

Breakfast was at half 6 and was not quite as good as the previous meals. Then we caught the speedboat back at 7. Another bumpy ride and we were back at crystal quest jetty where unfortunately their is little regard for the ocean and a lot of litter. This was a shame after the paradise we had just been in. We got a taxi back to the same hotel we stayed in 2 nights before. Our taxi driver was called Jad and he told us he runs a tour himself with a local fisherman who can do a river trip to spot wildlife for a lot cheaper than the organised trips. We told him we'd meet him in front of our hotel the next day.

We booked ourselves a Junior Suite which had 2 queen size beds to save on the cost. We all fell asleep. The excitement of turtle island had worn us out. We were apparently less worn out than the oldies as we woke a couple of hours later and ventured out while they continued to sleep. We went in search of some new trainers for Ben and some food. We found neither. Luckily McDonald's has successfully taken over the planet 👌so burger and chips it was. But not for Anna of course, large fries only. We returned back to the hotel where Nigel and Sonya were still asleep! We watched house of cards on the iPad and went through our expenditures. Turns out Anna has spent £400 less than she thought so Ben can finally stop paying for everything! Bloody dyslexic! We all went out for dinner at a lovely little rooftop bar and restaurant. On the way back we stopped at a 7/11 to get some water and snacks where we amused the cashier by taking pictures of the cigarette packets. They have images of "when smoking goes wrong" and are disgusting.

The next day we woke up with plenty of time to make the most of our complimentary breakfast. Anna had more omelette while Ben tried the local equivalent of a full English: noodles, rice, honey chicken and beef balls. Mmm the perfect way to start the day. At 10:30 our trusty driver Jad was ready and waiting out front to take us to some local caves and the river. Anna and her parents got nice and cosy in the back of the un air-conditioned car whilst Ben just about fit in the front seat. Despite the discomfort Jad was an excellent host. The journey took 2 hours, we passed a couple of crashes (nothing to serious) which Jad hilariously commentated. We arrived at the black cave named after the black birds nests here. The nests are edible and can be sold for thousands of pounds a kilo. Luckily they are protected from poachers and there are regulations in place for people collecting them. We trecked through the rainforest where we saw a red leaf monkey. The cave itself was very impressive. It was unspoilt by tourism and we were the only ones there! Along with the birds there were bats and thousands of cockroaches. So many that the floor appears to be alive! As we walked around with Jad leading the way Anna was pooed on 3 times. Along with the birds, the bats, the cockroaches and the poop we even saw a snake!

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Our next stop was a small village by the river to go see us some wildlife. But first. Lunch. Jad told us that he knew somewhere to eat but it was just someone's home. We got there and apparently it was closed. Still not sure how a home can be closed but we found a place to eat just next door. We all had chicken fried rice and 2 sprites each. It cost £1 per person.

We got to the jetty in the middle of nowhere. There were a few houses dotted around and a sign that said national geographic accommodation of interest. Or something like that. We went down to the river with Jad (who said he would only come if we wanted him too. Aaaw) and met our local guide for the afternoon, Mr Eddie. We got on board and headed into the jungle... Dun dun duuuuun.
It was awesome. For the majority of the time we were the only people. Immediately we saw a grey headed eagle. We went on to see loads of King fishers, long tail macaques, pig tail macaques, proboscis monkeys, monitor lizards, a white paradise flycatcher and for a while we stalked a crocodile up river. It was awesome, following the bubbles along and occasionally seeing it surface. By this time however our time was almost up and other boats had come along so it was good timing. As we headed back to the jetty eagle eyed Eddie spotted a baby crocodile sunning itself on a log. Anna's photography will hopefully give you a better idea of the day...

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After all the excitement it was time to cram back into the taxi for the 2 hour drive back to the hotel. We moved hotels for a cheaper rate and left Sonya and Nigel in the junior suite. It was time for bed as tomorrow we were off to find orang utans.

Again we had an early start and met Jad outside the hotel. He took us first to the sun bear sanctuary. Sun bears are the smallest bears in the world and are native to Borneo. Because of their size they are often kept illegally as pets. One man hated this and decided to set up the sanctuary with the aim of rescuing and rehabilitating the Cubs and setting them free back where they belong. We watched a rather moving video about the operation and realised that the man in the video, the founder, was the same man who came and told Ben all about the fish tank in the lobby. We went out to watch the bears and saw the Cubs playing and climbing trees. One even fell asleep on a branch.

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We really enjoyed the sun bear sanctuary, we would even like to come back and volunteer for longer, but it was time for our next stop. We arrived at the proboscis monkey sanctuary after about half an hours ride. We got there and were instantly distracted by the "David Beckham" silver monkeys (as named because of their hair dos) as they were very used to humans and very playful. One of the babies took a liking to Sonya and Anna and after trying to steal Anna's camera and climbing all over Sonya taking pictures of himself he threw up.

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We decided it was time to return our attention to the Proboscis monkeys. It seemed to us there were 4 families each with a dominant male and their own feeding platform. Jad informed us that these monkeys were wild and could come and go from the jungle as they pleased.

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We also watched a feeding of 2 hornbills which kept getting interrupted by a very cheeky monkey! Ben still managed to get some amazing photos of the birds with a little help from the 'pro'.

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Our next stop was the rainforest discovery trail and canopy walk. It was amazing to see the rainforest from such a height but it was very hot, very sweaty and we didn't see any wildlife! It was time for the thing we had been most looking forward too. The orang utans.

The orang utan sanctuary was back by the sun bears so after a short drive we arrived, very excited. Again these animals are wild and could come and go as they liked so it was possible we wouldn't see any. After a short while of following the boardwalks through the rainforest we encountered our first great ape. Walking along the handrail following a ranger with a watermelon. He stopped to look at the tourists that were obviously so enchanted by him. He wasn't quite as enchanted with us and continued on after the watermelon. We continued on to the nursery. The nursery is a small wooden play area designed for the baby orang utans. Again they can come and go as they please but they seemed to enjoy it there as we saw 5 playing and swinging and winding up the Rangers. The rangers have a strong no contact rule with the apes to stop any contamination of human colds and flu as it turns out apes are highly receptive.
It was now feeding time so we made our way back to the viewing platform and waited. Unfortunately only one turned up. According to the Rangers there are around 200 of the apes in that area of forest but due to the time of season there is plenty of food for them in the jungle so they don't feel the need to come and be fed by humans. After a while however another one joined the first. This, we were informed, was the naughty one. He put on a bit of a show for the tourists on the roof of the observation deck then disappeared back into the forest. We felt incredibly privileged to see the seven or so orang utans that we did. Especially in such an amazing sanctuary. Unfortunately though, like all good things, our time at there had come to an end and we were kicked out as the apes were making their nests and getting ready for bed.

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Jad took us back to the hotels after stopping at an ATM as we'd spent all our money and we arranged a ride to the airport for the next day. We had a simple dinner down on the harbour where we saw an amazing moonrise over the bay then dodged a weirdo down a back ally on the way home!

On our last day in Borneo we finally got a lie in! Our flight was at 2:30 and check out was 12 so the timing had worked out perfectly. We even managed to head back to the rooftop bar for breakfast. Trusty Jad came and picked us all up and ferried us to the airport, we arrived with plenty of time for our flight. Or so we thought. When we came to check in we found that our flight had actually been the day before. Seriously. We're not just saying this because we're running out of ways to make the blog more interesting. We actually booked flights on the wrong day. AGAIN! We managed to get another flight that was half an hour earlier so we rushed through security and made it to our plane on time. On the plane we had TVs in the back of the head rests so we were able to relax and watch a bit of tv... Ben the new star wars and Anna a girly chick flick. We touched down in Kota Kinabalu and waited at the airport for our flight to Bali. Luckily without incident.

Posted by Benannatravels 06:23 Comments (0)

Singapore

So where to begin with the traumatic border crossing...

We got off the train and followed the crowd upstairs. We were so confused where to go as there were no signs. We asked about 3 people before we queued up to get the next train as ours couldn't cross the border. After finally getting to the entrance we were turned away as we didn't have tickets. We were shown to the ticket office where we discovered the train was at 10pm. As it was 8pm we decided to get the bus instead. We then walked for what seemed like miles to immigration. We got our passports stamped for getting out of Malaysia and were then left in no mans land. After much more walking and confusion we eventually found where we got the bus from. We queued up again and almost got turned away as the bus didn't accept 10 notes and that's all we had. Luckily the driver helped us out. After piling up our bags on the rack and finding a seat ready to relax for a bit, we were ushered back off the bus. Yet again we followed the crowd as it was not clearly sign posted. We ended up in immigration to enter Singapore and queued up. Yet again we were turned away as we hadn't filled in the relevant documents which we had no idea we had to fill in. We did this very speedily so we could catch the bus back out. Our whole bus had gone through immigration whilst we were still filling out the forms. We finally got through and headed for security. Ben soon got interrogated for having e - cigarettes but it turned out to be his inhalers. We walked down to the sign posted area for the busses where no one was waiting. We panicked and asked a passing security guard how to get back on the bus. He showed us around the corner where there was a HUGE queue. We must have been waiting over half an hour. We would have been waiting longer if we waited for a bus with seats but we decided to stand. The bus driver had no sympathy for passengers who were standing as he liked to slam on at every set of traffic lights sending us wearing our backpacks flying! We arrived on queens street and flagged down a taxi.
When we arrived at our hotel, we checked in to stay for the following 4 nights. Turns out Anna's mum had booked us in for 5 and hadn't modified the reservation and so we ended up paying for the extra night! We got our room next to Anna's parents and decided to go and wake them up. They were delighted to see us but we didn't chat for long as we were all exhausted! After present exchanges we parted to our own rooms and went to bed.

The following morning after a much needed lie in, we all went for 'the best brunch in Singapore'. It also turned out to be the most expensive. But it was good! We had difficulty finding it as it was inside a massive posh mall. By the end of it we were all stuffed and were dreading spending the day walking around the city in the heat. We decided to walk to the tube station so we could get tourist metro passes for the next 3 days. This ended up being the best idea for travelling around the city and also saved us a lot of money. Buying the tickets was another story all together. Anna's mum decided to pay on card and we could give her the cash. The lady took her card and put it into the card reader. The lady then asked for Sonya's pin. In between Sonya and the lady was a massive sheet of glass with the tiniest gap at the bottom to post money underneath. The lady was expecting Sonya to put her hand through this to enter her pin. Sadly Sonya's hand was too large and so Anna had to take over. The lady had the card machine sideways against the glass, Sonya was whispering numbers into Anna's ears and Anna was straining to press the correct ones. Finally we purchased the tickets and Anna had a very red hand.
We then went to little India. Anna was most excited about this as she had found a gf bakery. This one actually existed and so she picked up some treats to take away. She planned to return as it also had gf pizza and pasta.
We then headed to Clarke Quay. We planned to get a boat trip from here to the marina bay sands. It was £12 pound each for a 5 min ride so we decided to take the metro instead since so much effort went into paying for these tickets.
When we got off the metro, we basically got off at the completely wrong stop and ended up waiting bloody ages for a shuttle bus which would take us near to where we wanted to be. We still ended up walking quite a way and so when we finally arrived we decided it was time for a much needed drink. We bought a Sprite to share and a stingy amount of sweet potato fries and just that came to about £7! It's very expensive here. We listened to some live music as it got dark and then we headed to the food court where the prices were more our budget. Anna's meal only cost £3!
After dinner we went over to the gardens by the bay. We wanted to go up on the bridge to walk around them but it was closed. It was £9 each to get up to the bar so we decided just to walk around on the ground! It's very easy to spend here.

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We were all tired and so headed back to the hotel via the metro.

The following morning we all awoke absolutely exhausted. At 4am the previous night, we were rudely awaken by loud, VERY LOUD, Asian people. They had just arrived with all of their cases and were screaming to each other down the corridor. Anna soon whipped off the blankets and slammed open the door ready to scream. To her fright they were all stood right outside her door and she was just stood there in her pjs and so politely quieted shouted 'shhhhhh people are sleeping!!'. They hushed down and so we tried to go back to sleep. 30 mins later they were all still shouting down the corridor. To this day we have no idea what they could have been talking about. Anna yet again got up and tried to explain that it's 4am and the whole hotel is sleeping. It's not ok that they are shouting and keeping everyone awake. She has no idea if they spoke English or not but the man backed away as Anna's mum banged on her door to back up her daughters words. (it turns out Nigel wouldn't let her go out the room incase we started a fight!) we all got back into bed and we could still hear them. We then decided to call reception to put in a complaint. They must have been really loud checking in too as the receptionist knew exactly who they were and the next minute we could hear all their phones ringing. We soon fell back asleep.
We planned to leave early to go to universal studios but due to the drama the night before, we left a little later. We stocked up for breakfast in the 7/11 but Anna couldn't find much wheat free food and so she had mini eggs for breakfast. Getting into the Easter spirit! We arrived at universal and purchased our tickets which were surprisingly only £35 each. Compared to what you pay for Alton towers we didn't find this too expensive. We had the best day ever and our favourite ride was the revenge of the mummy where the rollercoaster is in the dark. We ended up going on this ride twice!
During the Madagascar ride, the majority of the Asians had their phones out taking videos and photos even though the signs clearly stated you weren't allowed to do this. Mid ride, it all came to a halt and a lady came on the speaker phone instructing all phones to be put away. She even tried saying it in a different language and one girl still had her phone out. The lady soon gave up and the ride continued. Bens favourite ride was obviously Jurassic park. Little dinosaur boy :-)

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After universal we met Anna's mum and dad and we all headed to the Hard Rock Cafe. They had been at the beach all day relaxing. We accidentally ordered way too much food....

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We are finding Singapore exhausting and so yet again we got up late and went for breakfast in a mall near the ferry port. We then got a taxi to the ferry port and we all found the driver hilarious. He started off by calling his mum on speaker phone. Then he proceeded to tell us that he wouldn't rip us off as he is a fair guy. We then had the option of the scenic route around the airport or the quickest route. We asked for the cheapest one he had but he still ended up giving us a guided tour. We arrived at the port and got a bum boat to Puala Ubin. We had to jump tuck and roll to get off the boat as they crash it into the jetty and make you get off as fast as you can! When we arrived on land safe, we rented cycling bikes. We spent the day cycling around jungle. We saw lost of wildlife including monkeys, pigs, terrapins, lizards and birds. We even decided to walk up to a viewpoint where the map said a temple would be. After a sweaty steep hill... There was no temple.

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After a few hours we got the boat back and got the metro to go and meet Ben's friend Nevin. Ben and Anna spent the evening with him and his girlfriend as they showed us some hidden secrets no tourists would usually find.
We then returned back to the hotel to meet the parents to book accommodation for Borneo as we were leaving at different times the next day. The Internet was so slow and so it took us hours to book as we packed in between.

The next morning Anna's parents had already left early and so we had until 2pm to explore before our flight. Once we had checked out we got the metro to Lavender to return our tourists passes as you get money refunded. The office was closed and so we had to go all the way back and pay for another ride to another station. Thankfully this one was open and so we returned the parents tickets and extended ours for that day. By the time we had got this sorted we were starving and so we went to little India for gf pizza and mmm it was good!!!

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We then got the metro to marina bay sands where we went up to the sky park. It was around £10 each so Anna tried to pass as a 12 year old child but unfortunately this failed as the lady guessed Anna's age correctly and told her how beautiful she was.. What a cutie!
Before we knew it, it was time to return to the hotel to get our bags and a taxi to the airport.
Other things we wanted to do in Singapore were the zoo, china town, the beach and the Henderson waves bridge but we just didn't have enough time! On our way back from Australia we hope to stop here to finish off our tour of the city.

At Singapore airport we enjoyed mooching around the shops and having a foot massage! Then it was time to board for Borneo....

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Posted by Benannatravels 09:51 Comments (0)

Kuala Lumpur continued...

Kuala Lumpur continued..

(Things Ben forgot to put in the last post because he was tired.. And photos)

When we stored our backpacks in lockers, Anna's face was the lock. It took three photos of her and so she pulled funny faces. When we went back to return the bags, she had to try and redo these silly faces to unlock the locker. Luckily we got our bags back out!

At Batu caves, the monkeys were hilariously cheeky. Women were visiting the caves for religious purposes and carrying their food shopping up 200 stairs. They monkeys were running up to these women and they slashed their bags with their claws hoping that all the food would fall out.
There were also people enjoying their ice creams, but the monkeys confiscated those too!
One man had a water bottle and was giving all the monkeys a drink, this was nice to see as they all seemed extremely thirsty!

Also in the caves, an Asian lady asked for Anna's photo. Anna wasn't pleased with this after climbing 200 stairs in the searing heat. Sweaty and distraught, she posed for the photo with her best smile.

Here are some photos of our Kuala Lumpur trip:

The Petronas towers:

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The botanical gardens:

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The monkeys that the taxi man pulled over to feed:

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When it rained:

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Posted by Benannatravels 09:32 Comments (0)

Kuala Lumpur

We woke early to catch our ferry to Koh Samui. Especially early for Ben as the coconut episode had well and truly screwed up his body clock. We walked along the beach at around 8:30 with all of our bags (we are up to 3 each now!) and we waited in the shade for our boat to arrive. After a breakfast of grapes and mini cereals we had our antimalarials, Anna's fought with her and tried to make a reappearance through her nose (Urgh right?). Then the boat arrived. Well. Sort of. It stopped in the middle of the bay while the captain beckond us to wade through the water to the boat. We were fully dressed with all our luggage and had been told a number of times that this particular boat did not wait around so we either got wet or watched our ride disappear. We got wet. We waded into the water up to our waists (Bens thighs) with our bags on our backs and above our heads. We got on board with all luggage safely dry and handed over two soggy tickets (they had been in Ben's pocket), we took our seats and set off. We quickly encountered large waves that sent spray up over the sides as the small boat crashed through them head first. We got more wet. But it was fun. For a while. After the first stop, roughly half an hour into the 2 hour trip Anna was feeling sick and this time it wasn't because of a stubborn anti malarial. The boat was rising and falling, swaying from side to side. At this stop again the boat did not go to shore but unluckily for the new passengers they had to be ferried from the beach to our boat in a speed boat and then climb aboard in open water! We decided we had been lucky to have to wade through the tranquil waters of our bay.

We eventually got to the beach, this time we only had to jump into a few inches of water. We were immediatly bombarded with offers of taxis. We said we didn't know where we were going yet in order to get some time and space to sort ourselves out. An Austrslian did the same so we decided to team up to try and get a cheaper ride. After spending a while arguing over the price to the airport we found out we were bartering for rides on the back of bikes with all our luggage. We said no thank you and found a mini bus that would take us to the airport and drop the Oz at his hostel on the way. After hearing his story and route around SE Asia and some various other travellers we are very happy with the route we have taken.

We arrived at the airport which seemed to have no walls and was pretty much all outside! We were still wet from the boat ride so we stopped of at the toilets to change. We checked our bags in and went to our gate hoping we would find a shop where we could find some water. Instead we found a "courtesy corner"! For those of you who have never experienced a courtesy corner, as we hadn't, it's free food and drinks! We made the most of it, or at least Ben did. The problem with free food generally is you are limited to what's in front of you. When you have a wheat intolerance and are presented with sandwiches, sausage rolls, Danish pastries and muffins a curtesy corner isn't quite as exciting as originally thought! Needless to say, Ben enjoyed it. Anna still had some of her gluten free bread so at least she had something to eat. After wolfing down a jam sandwich we realised some ants crawling in and on the remainder of the bread. How or when the ants got there were a bit of a mystery. But Anna didn't eat any more!

On the flight we were offered even more food! Which again we gladly accepted! Even though it was fish!!! We got off the plane in Kuala Lumpur and the airport was huge, clean and very modern. We had to get a train from where we disembarked to the baggage carousel! We got a taxi which took around 45 minuets, when we finally arrived at the hotel we were informed that when we had booked online the day before there had been a problem with their system and we had been allowed to book a room that was already taken. The hotel offered us a room in their sister hotel a 10 minuets drive away. We finally got a room and set off quickly for some food. We were hassled by everyone to eat on their establishment. Literally every person we passed often 2 next to each other working at the same restaurant. While walking through Chinatown we saw a strange sight. A severely disabled man walking on his hands and one leg while the other leg was bent back with his foot resting on his shoulder, he was wearing a funny hat and pushing a speaker along on a board on wheels while singing karaoke. Again we fought with a number of ATM's and met one of the local rats.

The next morning we had a lie in as Ben still was waking early. Once we were showered and awake we set off in search of a gluten free bakery Anna had found online. We search high and low in a poorer part of the city but found no bakery's at all after an hour and a half. By this time we were starving and in an attempt to rescue the remainder of the day we headed for sentral station (yes sentral with an S) where we found... Nandos! It was quick and easy and filled is up and it was only £12 for a starter two mains and unlimited drinks!

Despite being a very modern capital city there are lots of areas of jungle remaining dotted around Kuala Lumpur. This inspired Ben who urged Anna to go see the botanical gardens that weren't far away. Despite being not far away it still took about an hour to get there! After having no luck with walking with iPhone maps we managed to hail a cab. The driver however seemed to have no clue as to where he was going and at one point even drove into an underground garage! He tried to act like he was looking for a short cut but "they" had changed the road layout! Yeah, ok mate 👍. We did however eventually make it to the gardens. When it promptly started to rain. And pour. Luckily we had an umbrella so we huddled together under the brolly under a tree. We still managed to get wet. We did however see another monitor Lizard! Not as big as the one in Bangkok but still big! When the rain eventually stopped and Anna had regained Ben's concentration from the lizards we strolled through the deer park and the orchid garden and even saw a lone monkey. We got a taxi back into the town to central market. It was a rip off, we even had to pay 2RM to get the taxi in the first place! Our driver was nice enough and even pulled over to feed some monkeys. We initially thought it was good of him to stop so we could see, even though monkeys are becoming commonplace now but after he'd thrown them his nuts he was off again. Maybe he didn't like those nuts but didn't want to simply throw them away. We didn't ask. And he didn't offer us any.

After a walk around central market and an ice cream we headed to the world famous patronas towers! We struggled to get some selfies with all the towers in but we persevered and through pure will and determination we managed to get 2 (See Anna's Instagram). We headed inside to see if we could get up on the sky bridge. It turns out we could, just not that day as it was closed for repairs. We didn't even wanna go anyway! It was time for dinner. So we found ourselves in a little place called Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur. It was so cool! It hard rock parafinalia all over the walls and cool music playing the whole time. Apparently they have them all over the world so if you see one be sure to check it out. We finally made it back to bed after a long day and boy were we tired! Finally Ben got a proper nights sleep.

Unfortunately though we had to be up early in order to get to Sentral station, find some lockers, stash our bags, buy our train tickets to Singapore, find the platform for The Singapore train, buy tickets to the Batu caves, get the train to Batu Caves, climb 200 steps up to the Batu caves while dodging/photographing monkeys, explore the Batu caves, get back to the train, get the train back to sentral station, have some lunch, get back to the lockers, reclaim our bags and get back to the station to catch the 1:30pm train to Singapore.

The plan was going smoothly and we had no hiccups until lunch. We found a Tony Roma's rib restaurant (one of the few options with gluten free choices) and ordered quickly. It was half 12 so we should of had plenty of time. At 1:05 however there was still no sign of our food. Eventually it came and after wolfing down half we asked for a doggy bag and the bill. The bill did not arrive so Ben got up to pay. It was now 1:15 and we had to make it across to the other side of the mall to collect the bags then up to the station on the 3rd floor. We ran like crazy and arrived at the gate dripping in sweat with stitches as we'd only just eaten, only to find that the train was delayed an hour 👌. We had a mooch around a found a book fair where we bought 6 books for £8. We got on the train and enjoyed first class with no idea the fun we'd have getting through the boarder. But that is for another blog post.

Posted by Benannatravels 09:59 Comments (0)

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