A Travellerspoint blog

Kuching - Malaysian Borneo

Kuching itself was a really nice city, great food, friendly people and some lovely views over the river at sunset. It did however, have a very strange love of cats, there were tacky cat statues all over the city - meow. Apparently the name Kuching has something to do with cat in Malay, but still, very odd.

On our first night we had an amazing meal at a riverside restaurant and watched the sunset - lush.
Our 2nd day in Kuching was one of my favourite days in the whole of our travels so far! We went to the Semmengogh nature reserve in search of some wild orangutans!
The orangutans all live in the jungle but everyday, the staff at the reserve put fruit in the same place in the hope it attracts them to where we can spot them. At the first feeding area we went to, there was already a mother & baby enjoying some lunch, but we were quickly told to proceed to the main feeding area where the big male (Ritchie) had been spotted!
This got Louie and I very, very excited!
And sure enough, there he was, Ritchie, in all his hairy ginger glory. He was the biggest most beautifullest *moon face* I have ever seen in my life!
I could barely contain my excitement as I watched Ritchie chomp on his bananas and swing through the trees.
Also in the feeding area was a mother with her 4-month old baby, the baby was so small we didn't even notice him at first.
After Ritchie and the mother disappeared into the forest we headed back to the first feeding zone. Another mother-baby duo were there and a couple more orangutans joined them later for a banana feast. AMAZING!!

The next day we headed to Bako National Park, it's basically a big rainforest where you can do lots of jungle trekking and see plenty of wildlife.
The first thing we noticed when we got to Bako was all of the 'beware of crocodile' signs littered everywhere and the huge crocodile skull in the waiting area - made me feel very comfortable!
We then had a 30min boat ride through crocodile infested water to get to the rainforest. When we arrived, we checked into our little dorm room and went on what we thought would be a quick walk through the jungle. The 'path' we chose to follow is supposedly one of the smaller trails, but took forever! Tree-root-ridden, stoney, muddy hills  with a serious gradient - Louie would NOT stop singing the Bear Grylls themetune!
When we finally arrived at the beach, we were greeted by an abandoned crocodile nest and a huge wild pumba!
On the second day at Bako we did a longer trek to a waterfall. The sun was out in full 40' force and the paths were even trickier to negotiate than the previous day's. This led to a very hot & sweaty Louie and Charles, eeewww.
The next day we caught the boat/bus back to Kuching and treated ourselves to a pizza hut - serious yummies.

Charlie's Glossary

  • Moon face - a large male orangutan with a big round face.

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Posted by charlieb22 21:32 Comments (0)

Kuala Lumpur

Stayed 2 nights at Reggae Mansion hostel.

First thing we noticed about Malaysia was that things were super cheap - we could eat properly again!! No more super noodles from a kettle for these kids!

Kuala Lumpur's a cool city, nice buzz about it and it's real easy to get from place to place thanks to its train network, which is really similar to London.
We didn't do too much when we were there - it's one of those places you can just wander round and be entertained by the street markets and hustle n bustle.
The new Avengers film was out at the cinema though, so I did drag Charlie to that - it was so worth it, you won't see Iron Man in any street market!

Highs: Chinatown street market
Petronas towers (giant shopping mall)
Batu caves
The Avengers!!!

Lows: The 35 degree heat/humidity that lasts 24hrs a day - sweaty!!


Posted by lwright11 21:44 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)


I'm only going to do Vanuatu as one post as we spent far too long talking about Fiji and are now VERY far behind on the whole blog front.

We stayed 6 nights in Vanuatu:
 - 1 in Port Vila
 - 2 at Hideaway Island (Mele Bay)
 - 1 on Tanna Island (Seeing the volcano)
 - 2 back in Port Vila

Vanuatu lies about 600 miles west of Fiji and isn't really on the backpacker trail so not many people have heard of it.
It's a really small country so Charlie and I were both suprised at the price of things when we were there - it's more expensive than England, it's mental. Petrol for example costs the equivalent of about £1.80 a litre and a small beer will set you back £4 (a good reason to have a bit of a detox after Fiji!)

We came to Vanuatu to see Mt Yasur - the worlds most accessible active volcano, which is only so accessible because there is absolutely zero concern when it comes to health n safety (spoken like a true Brit.)

To get to the Volcano you have to get a 40min flight to Tanna island, it's a small flight, but it was long enough for Air Vanuatu to lose Charlie's bag - gutted lolz.
The place we were staying (Tanna Evergreen Lodge) were really helpful and tracked down the lost luggage for us and we'd collect it when back on the mainland.

To get to the volcano we travelled about 1hr30mins in the back of a land rover and even the journey was a bit of an adventure. We drove across rivers, ash plains, down muddy cliffs (the locals call them roads) and also through a monsoon - made slightly more 'interesting' thanks to there being no glass where the windows should be!

When we arrived it was still quite light and after a 150metre walk up some steps, we were there, staring down into a volcanic crater as it randomly launched pieces of 'liquid hot magma' (said in a Dr Evil voice) above our heads.
The only form of safety we had was an old guy sat on a rock who would occasionally mumble "watch out, watch outt" if there was a piece of lava headed our way.
On this trip I've done a bungy jump, canyon swings and swam with sharks, but I tell you, nothing comes close to how scary the volcano was. It terrifies every one of the body's senses in a unique way. It was so, SO worth it though as that night we were treated to front row seats at the best fireworks display nature has to offer! 

Highs of Vanuatu:
- Trip to Volcano (potentially high of whole trip)
- Mele Cascades
- Friendly locals
- Snorkelling at Hideaway Island
- Chicken n chips dinner at seaview chicken

- Losing Charlie's luggage (we did find it again, it travelled to more islands of Vanuatu than we did!)
- Superhigh cost of living, thus eating supernoodles from a kettle for 6 days. Yum.

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Posted by lwright11 21:40 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (0)

Mantaray Island - Day 7

Final day, final dive.
We went to 'the Caves of Babylon' which was our cave dive speciality for our advanced qualification. It had great swim-throughs, lots of mooray eels, nudibranches and plenty of other cool things.
Was really fun swimming through all the underwater caverns n holes,  it offered a really different diving experience - not for the claustrophobic or hydrophobic though.

We spent the rest of the morning chilling on the beach /sulking that we were leaving. 
Joe kindly gave each of us a Mantaray Island dive top, which was a great souvenir, although the damage Justin and him had given our livers was more than enough! (see below picture for what I mean)
Joes mum, June gave Charlie a beautiful turtle bracelet (their mutual favourite animal), which was really sweet of her.

After some emotional goodbyes, we got on the boat and said farewell to Mantaray Island - one of the best weeks of Charlie and my lives. 
Thanks to everyone who made it so special. (Steven Hawkings and Mr Troll deserve a special mention!)

Back on the mainland we stayed at Smugglers cove and met up with Justin for a few beers and another emotional goodbye.
Then we were off to bed for our flight to Vanuatu in the morning.

Can't wait to get back to Manta, already saving my pennies!

Posted by lwright11 04:07 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

Mantaray Island - Day 6

Woke up feeling a little hungover, but not too bad, which was good seeing as we had to do 3 dives today!
We had our deep dive first - we had to go to 30metres, have a little swim around and then come back to the surface slowly.
There's no real difference from being at 20m to 30m, it feels pretty much the same. The only thing is, if something goes wrong at 30m, you're proper in the shitter... and that kind of weighs on your mind!
Your air runs out quicker at depth, so the dive wasn't too long and once the dive was done, we waited on the boat for the next one.

The second dive was at 'Joes Farm' named after Joe, by Joe as it's one of his favourite sites.
This dive was Charlies fave - awesome soft coral, great visibility, loads of life and we finally saw a turtle! He was sleeping on the coral bed, Charlie swam right over him and nearly didn't notice him, but as soon as she did, there were hand signals and underwater celebrations of pure delight!

We chilled out the rest of the day, played some beach volleyball and Charlie even gave paddle boarding a go - the phrase 'bambi on ice' comes to mind!

We had our night dive that evening, which was a really different experience - the reef completely changes at night. Parrotfish are asleep in their mucus-made sleeping bags, the crustacens are out in full force, sharks are feeding and the phosphorescence light up the black water like stars in the night sky!

After the dive we grabbed some late dinner before the final part of our Advanced Open Water Course - the snorkel test (Joe's addition, you wont find it in the manual!) Wearing fins, mask and customised funnel snorkel, the wearer must consume every drop of alcohol poured through the funnel and NO SPILLAGE!

Post snorkel test saw myself, Charlie, Joe and Ben foolishly try and introduce the troll game to some sober Canadians and Norweigans - they couldn't handle it.

The night ended with a sing-song and a healthy brainstorm about entrepreneurial business ventures that would allow us to stay in Fiji for longer, alas nothing yet, but stay posted.

Posted by lwright11 20:38 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

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