Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

The time has come..the time of my return from this indescribable year..that never seemed to be counted down  in less than a month..and’s the day.

But let’s not rush..I would like to write about this crazy country that I haven’t found similar to any of the previous countries visited..okey Sri Lanka might be the closest but still…India is a different story..

I remember meeting a girl from the UK in Chile who just arrived to South America after travelling a few months in Asia and starting her trip in India..she had to stay in her hotel for days to get over the culture shock as a first visited country..I was trained compared to her but still..I managed to start my trip with an incredible scam in Delhi..No regrets though..I had fabulous first 3 days..

So I ordered a pick up service from the hotel I booked which arrived a bit late and we didn’t specify where he would wait for me inside or after searching my name on a board inside without any success I rushed outside..there was nobody there either so I was going in again when 2 people put a gun on me saying NO ENTRY…huhh….I stopped immediately and tried to explain the situation but all I got were closed ears and negatively nodding heads that made me realise that I can say whatever I want I will not get in…i hate when people are not listening when there is an emergency..and for me this was one. So in my panic I raised my voice and shouted at them to worked..they understood the problem and send someone in to check if I have my name on any of the inside name boards but luckily I found my man outside..he took me to this Smiley Inn hotel..rather ugly and expensive. It was still early night so I walked around in the Main Bazaar area in Paharganj..and here we were ..people following me and trying to sell me stuff..dirt around me..crazy honks and stress..and poverty..I was frozen..

Delhi Delhi

I didn’t want to stay out too late so I bought my Rajhastan Lonely planet and the recommended White Tiger book and withdrawn myself to my room. The next day I visited the famous Red fort in the morning. It was nice but the hassle continued..I popped into a few travel agencies to book tickets for me and Scott (if you read my Sri Lanka blog you know who he is, we planned on travelling together for the first 3 days in India after meeting on my last days in Sri Lanka and turned out he was coming to the same direction), but unfortunately everywhere the same answer: no train ticket, why don’t you book a car?

So..I headed to the train station where I was told that I couldn’t buy a ticket there I should go to ‘government approved agencies’ to book train after the fort I went back to the hotel at 3pm to meet Scott and we straight away went to one of these agencies..

Somehow they sold us a tour saying no train ticket to Agra and anywhere else (I wanted to book it in advance so that I wouldn’t be in this situation again). The tour was Delhi-Agra-Ranthambhore-Jaipur-Delhi..3 days, Scott returned to Delhi, I stayed in Jaipur. it included all my train tickets which were about 30 quid for more than 2000 km..and the tour costed us around 380 quid total…what a rip off…never mind..I am not the only one who gets trapped, almost everyone does who arrives first time to Delhi in India’s not a big consolation but hey..we had a great time with Scott, so the money was well invested.

We left immediately to Agra that night and arrived around midnight. This hotel was included in the price:) The next day we went to the Taj Mahal for sunrise…now this was something spectecular..I was so so excited about the Taj Mahal..never listened to people saying on my trip not to go there it’s not worth it..everyone who is in North of India SHOULD go there and see this magnificent palace..

Taj Mahal With Scott at TM


Agra itself is not much of an attraction..there is a fort and some view points to the Taj Mahal…and poverty and colors..

Agra colors

Far view to TM

Oh I forgot to introduce our driver..Dalip. He is from the Himalaya and was a very sweet man..I did appreciate him right at the beginning but now at the end of my trip i do even more..he stopped in the countryside many times drinking Chai and showing us the life of the people there while travelling to Rajasthan from Agra.


These kind of things you won’t see from the train:)

Travelling in India

The car ride lasted about 6-7 hours from Agra to Ranthambhore..This place has not much to offer apart from the wild life we booked one for the day after we arrived and we were one of those lucky ones that got to see a tiger!!!!! So so happy..the chase was amazing..the drivers communicated with each other then a crazy drive followed the phone call ..we followed the footprints and other tracks of the tiger…then finally he appeared…and he was on the hunt..

Jeep safari Tiger

Next destination was Jaipur…good 6 hours again in the car with Chai breaks, mustard field breaks and all that.

selling woman mustard

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan with a few beautiful temples, an observatory (Jantar Mantar), City palace with a lot of history about the Rajasthani kingdom.

Jaipur City Palace View from City Palace

In India women are working as men..whether it comes to build a house or milk the cow, or working on road constructions women’s role is equal to a man’s role.

Women working on construction

We said bye to each other with Scott as he went back to Delhi and I stayed in Jaipur for a couple of days more, then I headed to Pushkar.

The first train journey was great. If you take a train it’s recommended to book it ahead, and the ideal class is 2nd class AC 2 or 3 tiers.

In Pushkar I found myself’s a holy place with a lake in the middle (watch out for scams, people take you to a ceremony there and they get you to pay 1000-2000 rupees (15-25 pounds) as a ‘donation’ )

I stayed in a great hotel with wonderful roof top and met Isa, Italian girl with whom I spent most of my evenings.

roof top on Hotel Kanhaia Haveliwarming up by the fire

Pushkar has one of the best shopping opportunities in have a couple of km long market where you can have some Chai with the sales people and have wonderful chats..Try to distinguish which one has good intension and which one tries to get you into a great deal to buy his whole shop:)

choice is endless DSC_0079

Indian seller Lake Pushkar

Temple on the hill  Pushkar

After 5 days in Pushkar I took the bus to Jodhpur. It’s the blue city. I forgot to mention that Jaipur is the pink city.

Jodhpur has an impressive fort but 1 days overall is enough to see everything.

Jodhpur Indian lady

Jodhpur fort

After Jodhpur I went to Jaisalmere (gold city). The night train arrived at 5am and as soon as I opened my eyes aggressive camel safari people surrounded me trying to sell me trips..I got so pissed off..I guess I was at the end of my trip so had no patience with locals the end a taxi driver managed to listen to where I wanted to go instead of taking me to a different hotel so I went to Hotel Peacock, and a few hours after I was already on top of the camel…I went with a mum and daughter from Taiwan, and a guy from Tibet.

The guides didn’t speak too much English but Anna the hotel owner came with us. On the way we stopped at little villages to see how people are living there..they have nothing. Literally nothing.

In the evening we killed a chicken, took out a bottle of rum and was looking at the stars by the fire..I knew these were my last days..I had very mixed emotions..

Camel safari Jaisalmere Village children

In the desert

Once I returned to Jaisalmere I visited the fort. The oldest one in Rajasthan and the only one in which people are still living.

In the fort Jian temples Jaisalmere

I also went to the desert with a local for a show…it was amazing riding a proper non automatic motorbike in the desert. I was free and happy! Basically on these shows you stay there for the night in beautiful tents. The inside of the tent looks like this:

Desert tent desert show

After Jaisalmere I went to the last and also most beautiful city in Rajasthan..Udaipur.

I had a great room here in Amar Villas..look at the little red house on top of the hotel. That was mine:)

Amar Villas

And the view was this:

View to Lake Pichola

I met 2 Swedish guys in the hotel and hung out with them for the rest 2 days. We did a boat cruise, went up to a view-point to see the sunset, tried on a few nice outfits, went to the Jagniwas island and had a drunky night with salsa dancing:)

The saint cow Udaipur by nightFun by Amar VillasBoat ride

J island Miss India


I took the train on the 2nd February to Mumbai…which was supposed to be the last city of my whole trip..On the train there were some cracking Indians with whom I had a banter..they reminden me that soon I would land straight into 2 big gaming conferences:)

Mumbai mafia

I have not much to say about Mumbai..I arrived, took a taxi, was in the taxi for 5 hours to look for accommodation within my budget but it was impossible..the funniest part in the miserable search was that the police tried to help me negotiating a good rate but with no success..They tried everything..said to the owners about the bad PR that I might bring back to my country etc. but their ears and hearts were closed. So in the end I told the taxi driver to take me to the airport and I was hoping I could blag myself into an earlier flight..But I couldn’t so I spent the night at the airport then waited a half day and took actually 1 earlier flight than I should have.

My heart was racing during the whole trip..I felt I was ready for the return..I was wondering how different my life would be in London after this trip..It might be still early to conclude anything but after having spent a week in London I feel nothing’s changed..Nothing at all..I got way more aware of things and got a broad picture on the lucky the western people are in comparison with people living in undeveloped countries..and it pisses me off that there are so many greedy people who don’t appreciate this. Whose most important question is money..who are living in their micro lives not caring about anything else but themselves..

And it will get only worse…Do I need to accept this in order to live a happy life? I don’t. Do I know what’s next? No..but what I know is that I am not scared to build up a life again..wether it’s in London, or in the Philippines or in Antarctica I feel I can do it.

It won’t be easy but I will make sure to surround myself with good people who are going to be there for me, who will listen to me and my crazy stories and won’t find me ‘too much’..

Thank you everyone for reading my blog..following this incredibly amazing year that I just had..thank you for genuinely being happy with me when I was and saying a few words to cheer me up when I wasn’t.

I wouldn’t say anything else to close this..only say goodbye with a quote:

“But that’s the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned. I don’t want to know what people are talking about. I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”
Bill Bryson, Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe

31st of December 2012..the last day of this wonderful year that filled my life with happiness, surprises, cultural versatility..that opened up that book called world, of what I have been reading only one page before..over and over again…

I think about a year ago I planned to celebrate NYE in Japan..and some of my friends were supposed to join in..well none of these happened but i don’t mind it at all.

So..I landed at Colombo airport..and made friends on the plane with a boy from Kazakhstan who spoke no English. Him being the only white person apart from me on the plane kinda forced us to talk, we took a taxi to Mount Lavinia (2 hours from airport)..arrived at the hostel I booked around 10.30 ready in 30 mins and went to the beach to join the crazy Sri Lankan crowd to celebrate the New Year.

NYE Sri Lanka NYE

Mount Lavinia is not a big deal…you need to be careful with the ‘helpful’ beach boys..Sri lanka is the first country I’ve been to where you cannot rely on the locals…because they say whatever they want. Otherwise tourists get some genuine attention from children an adults too..

Mt Lavinia Beach mt Lavinia

As I was walking on the beach on the 2nd day of my stay in Sri Lanka I happened to meet a lovely Aussie lady (Irene) and we connected fairly quickly. We had a tea on the beach and decided to do a sightseeing tour in Colombo with a tuk-tuk. Colombo is a busy city with a fort, beach and some nice shopping areas, markets cafes…Irene had a couple of days before the wedding she was in Sri Lanka for so we decided that the next day we would go to Bentota ..the next beach town down towards South.


Colombo Colombo Paradise road

Bentota is not designed for fact I could say this about the whole Sri Lanka..due to the civil war they are not used to least not as much as Thailand or the rest of South -East Asia..concept of dormitory doesn’t exist…only in few places as part of family stay. Accommodation is hard to find below $10 which was expensive for me..being at the end of my trip and being used to $2-5 ones in SE Asia…

We had a fine dining experience with Irene..being the farewell night was nice!

Bentota fine dining

After Bentota I headed down to Hikkaduwa  -previously known as a hippie hangout place. You can do all this route by train ..better travelling on 2nd class than still get the experience:)

Hikkaduwa was ok..overpriced though…locals are working with 200% profits…a tip, if you buy in the supermarket a bottle of water or anything else always check the suggested retail price on the package/bottle so you get an idea about what the locals pay..King coconut for locals is 25 rupees, foreigners 100:) Don’t get me wrong it is still cheap if you are not backpacking…

So Hikkaduwa was about partying for me..stayed 2 nights, partied 2 nights with a group of Aussies and Vindika (who got me the accommodation in Vibration hotel where he worked at). Good times. Hikkaduwa is great for wise I wasn’t too happy as although being high season it was raining most of the time..or was just simply overcast.

Hikkaduwa Hikkaduwa

Next destination was Galle/Unawatuna..Galle is a wonderful upmarket town with an impressive fort that offers little allies, narrow streets, lots of cafes with character and a few arty or castle looking accommodation. I have to say people are very helpful in helping to find place to stay or giving directions etc.

So that’s how I found this little gem called Peace and Plenty in the middle of the fort that offered an excellent room, staff and atmosphere. Sam, the owner was super friendly, unfortunately turned out later there it wasn’t 100% genuine..

So the guy who took me to Sam’s place happened to attend a wedding on the night when I arrived to Galle..and asked if I wanted to go. I was very tired after the Hikkaduwa party sessions but..a Sri Lankan wedding?? How could I skip it? In addition it wasn’t in Galle but in Colombo which is 160km a long car ride was waiting for me.

The wedding was very nice. I was the only foreigner..had a nice chat with people, they were interested in my story and wanted to see me on the dance floor. The music was excellent..Shakira, some funky hindi music, even Cocco Jumbo and Tarkan appeared and the folks went crazy. So did I ..and I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol.

Wedding wedding

The wedding finished at 11 pm..not like in Hungary where the last guest needed to be kicked out at 6am:)

Next day sightseeing in Galle. There is nothing else there but the fort however it’s well worth a walk around:


A kind older man working in the fort explained me a bit about the history..Sri Lanka being first Portuguese then Dutch and in the end British colony and how each nation influenced the architecture and culture.

Sam took me around a bit in Unawatuna, the fishermen’s sunset point and the turtle conservation..I tried the famous Sri Lankan curd and honey…well that’s something that I could get used to….

Sri Lankan fisherman curd and honey


Peace and Plenty:

Peace & Plenty

After Galle I visited the last beach town down on the coast Unawatuna..I met Judit, a Hungarian girl while doing the last 2 dives of my trip..we had a sudden click, she lives in Belgium and a big fan of travelling..and what’s more not package travelling:)

with Judit Beach Una

Now..diving..this was a one-off experience, as at the second dive I was a kind of  dive master 🙂 Pointing out all the marine life, then taking up the group a few minutes later than the ‘real dive master’ who went up with one of our group members earlier. I felt great..I felt this is what I want to do in my life..dive every day, meet people, give people a fantastic experience under the water just as I have been receiving it..

After Unawatuna I took the bus to Ella which  is inside the the so-called Hill Country where tea plantations, curvy hill ranges and eternal green scenery surround the train rails. This was a whopping 8 hour bus ride with 2 changes, but eventually I got there and found good accommodation. I was too lazy to do anything the rest of the afternoon, just chilled..shame as next day it was raining all day..I didn’t feel like staying in my room though, so I borrowed an umbrella and went trekking:) This is what I’ve seen:

Ella tea plantations

view from 98 acres

After Ella I took the train to Adam’s Peak..The famous holy place in the middle of Sri Lanka..where you start trekking at 2.30am to make the 7km uphill consisting of purely stairs by sunrise..I met Katherine (Germany) on the way to Dalehousie (starting point of the trek), we took a room together and started the night adventure together. It was challenging to go up but holy as well in the same time..I couldn’t hide my surprise to see the locals going up..from the 3-year-old to the 90 year old..they did it! Because they wanted to do it! Why on earth people in my country ‘close the doors’ at age of 50? Why do they say constantly..I’m’s not for me anymore..Bloody hell I have never seen in my life so many durable people as I did on this trip! Feet strong enough to walk on stones without shoes..constantly..backs strong enough to carry 10-15 kg of boxes or sacks..uphill..for hours..heads carrying 5-10 kg fruit baskets..hearts opening towards me and other people even in the most cruel circumstances and poorest situations..the humanity is just insane in the 3rd world countries..

Tired Adam's Peak

Sunrise Adam's Peak Team

After Adam’s Peak we travelled together to Kandy with Katherine. Arrived at 3pm, we hired a tuk tuk driver who took us to the ‘top’ places to visit..Kandy is nice but very quiet with a lake in the middle and a few temples around.

Kandy lake Buddha temple

Kandy city

After Kandy I took the 6am train to Colombo, then bus to Mt. Lavinia to collect my big backpack. (I was so clever leaving that behind….would have been a pain to store it on any vehicles). After this I took the bus back to Colombo and changed for one to Negombo. They could have called the airport Negombo airport as it’s closer to Negombo than to Colombo..that’s why I went up there a day earlier ..not to have any issues when getting to the airport:)

Best decision I could have taken..why? Well I stayed in a wonderful family house (running as a hostel with bunk beds but felt like being at home..super clean with happy travellers inside)..and met Scott (from the US) with whom there was a ‘click at first sight’ if you call it like this..

I was amazed by his positive vibe, kindness and healthy life..and he was amazed by..not bubbliness maybe? Anyway we went for dinner together and he showed me a fantastic juice place that I can only recommend to anyone staying in Negombo..It is situated close to the beach in Grace’s Hotel Negombo.

Grace's juice bar Grace and family

Negombo beach is not particularly nice but the couples under umbrella make it special..(showing affection in public  is not accepted in Sri Lanka hence the umbrella:)

Umbrella couples

On the 14th I took my flight to Delhi. Turned out Scott was arriving the following day so we decided to travel the first days together in India till he joins the group he booked with from home..

Next post..(last post for now) is coming up soon…on the 18th country I visited in the past 12 months…India.

After picking up my Indian visa I faced a 50 pound fine at the Thai border as I overstayed 5 days…. I tried to blag it but didn’t work..Anyway I bought a visa on arrival to Cambodia and headed to Siem Riep. The trip from Bangkok to Siem Riep took a whole day and included a lot of waiting  and changes. Finally I arrived, a tuk tuk driver took me to a hotel where checked into a  dorm room (where staff was sleeping LOL- they forgot to tell me this), then I had to plan my Angkor Wat visit for the next day. A Venezuelan boy (Sergio) whom I met in Chiang Mai contacted me that he was in Siem Riep too so we met up and arranged for the next day a tuk-tuk driver.

I decided to do Angkor in one day even though a lot of people recommended to buy a 3 day pass (no 2 days option which would have been the ideal). So after 2 hours sleep I was ready to go at 4.45 am to see the sunrise but the tuk-tuk driver didn’t show up..Never mind..there were a lot of them out there so I caught one quickly, agreed on the price (15$ for the whole day from sunrise to sunset), picked up Sergio from his guesthouse and headed to see one of the most beautiful construction of temples in the world..

It was a long day..very tiring climbing all these temples and absorbing the art of the constructions. The distances between the temples are big. You can buy fresh young coconut and fizzy drinks, food, fresh fruit everywhere..we even had a 40 minutes power nap after lunch in a hammock it was good:)

We arrived to Angkor Wat by was beautiful. In the evening we went out for a few drinks and dinner then sleep. Next day Sergio went to Angkor again, and I decided to take it easy..visit the city itself and maybe discover the countryside on a horse but it was too expensive..Siem Riep is not a backpackers destination but you cannot miss it because of Angkor.

Angkor Angkor

Angkor Angkor

Not only at Angkor Wat but in the whole Cambodia there is a big children problem. They are on the street 24/7 selling postcards, books, bracelets. Some of them are going to school, but some of them not..some of them don’t even have parents..very sad..When I looked into those beautiful brown eyes..I saw sadness and still when I asked them: ‘Are you going to school? ‘ They would answer: ‘Yes’. ‘I say you should be in bed by now.’ They would say:’ No..I have to sell. I like being here. ‘


Kids selling child

One tip for hostels in Siem Riep: AVOID ‘NO PROBLEM HOTEL’..despite the name I only saw unhappy and dissatisfied people here..and I was one of them.

We took the night bus with Sergio to the South..Sihanoukville. Now I got my final proof on why is it so much better travel alone…Some people do not shop around and constantly are ripped off. I like doing my ‘research’ and finding out how things are working because sad to say but most of the time for locals get the prices 50 or even 80% cheaper than what they charge tourists. If you are aware of it, you can get the local price..Also having travelled 11 months I have practice in what to ask when buying a night bus ticket. Anyway..the journey to Sihanoukville was a pain. 3 changes, no legroom..I was suffering..therefore moaning. Sergio couldn’t take this so we soon realised that we will separate soon. Upon arrival to Sihonoukville we checked into a hostel called Monkey Republic, had lunch and discovered the town. Very touristy place with vendors everywhere..I didn’t like it too much so my plan was to go to Koh Rong island the next day. I was shopping around in the dive centres…but by the time i would have got to a decision I felt that something was wrong…my tummy hurt and I felt sick. I didn’t wish anything else but a great night sleep after the horrid journey…and here I was throwing up all night due to food poisoning and then when i had nothing else to come out and went to my bed I was bitten to death by bed bugs….so I couldn’t even stay in my bed..I walked out weak and sat outside on a bench..meanwhile Sergio (knowing that I wasn’t too well) had his best dreams in his bed..since I didn’t see that he would have wanted to help me somehow I didn’t want to wake him up. Next morning I felt very weak..but I knew I had to go to the island..booked a dive package of 6 with the Dive Shop and took the 2pm ferry..the journey was amazing I was sunbathing on the deck and slept through the 2 hour journey.

When I arrived Sergio went to look for himself accommodation, for me it was sorted..came with the package free. I met my divemaster, Hagar who introduced me to a few people on the island and showed me around.

I started with a night dive it was awesome.just the 2 of us, many schools of fishes, crabs, nudis, octopus..Nightlife in Koh Rong is very’s not a party island like the South Thailand ones..I was hanging out most of the nights in Corner bar where the owner was superb and a sweet Argentinian traveller was working in the bar..during the day I was diving, night time drinking. One night – End of the world day- there was a party and the funny thing is that I found myself in the company of 2 Chilean boys, the Argentinian boy, Sergio- Venezuela, the guy I travelled with and a Colombian guy turned up as well who was doing his dive master course ..I couldnt believe it..I was back in South America…not to mention when I plugged in my iPod and played those amazing SA music I collected during the 7 months I spent there …they went nuts..I was ruling the dance floor:)

diving koh rong dive shop

South American crewchild

beach cambodiajump!

I spent on the  paradise island 5 days..I was very tempted to stay there for Christmas but I felt I needed to see something new..(Oh will I handle this ‘need’ after the 5th February when I return to the UK….) So I went back to Sihanoukville, spent a night there, oh I met 2 Hungarian people living in Reading..they were travelling in Cambodia for a few week. It was so nice, we had dinner together. Next day I took a minubus to Kampot.

Kampot is a very pleasant little town with a river passing through it. There were plenty of accommodations in the town but I wanted to stay right on the river 1.5 km away where there were a few guesthouses..unfortunately almost all full. I met and English and Aussie guy while hunting for room so we found the place..that I will always remember..Olly’s place.

Olly's place  DSC_0742

A very very nice bunch of people were staying there, a South African couple, Navy- Cambodian girl who worked there, a Swiss girl and a German girl. We spent together was amazing! I made friends with Olly as well and his VIP guest Gunter who was there with his kids..I was in the right place, right time, right company. Rented a bike for those 5 days I stayed there, visited caves, countryside, temples, Bokor National Park, Kep (20km away a fishing town on the beach…Cambodia’s hammock paradise). One thing worth to mention is that Kampot pepper is amazing! We visited some pepper plantations and we bumped into a hidden gem..the Vine Retreat..if you would like some undisturbed tranquillity spend a few days here..pool outside, great coffe and meals..stunning views.

Kampot fishing

on the river Kep

kampot pepper

On Boxing day we went to the cinema with Gunter and the kids to watch a very ‘happy’ movie..The Killing Fields..this is where my real connection has been made with Cambodia..I had no clue about the aggressive communism that took place between 1975 and 1979 where the communist party Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot killed 3 million Cambodian people..This movie gave me preparation for Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia which was my next destination.

I travelled here in a shared taxi..altogether 8 people in a normal car…driver in striped shirt:

shared taxi..driver is the striped shirt

I took a motortaxi to Top Banana guest house hoping to find space there..and I did! (Lonely Planet warned to book in advance but i never book anything in advance so i relied on my luck. worked:)

Phnom Penh is known as the Jewel of Asia..and the name is well deserved. Beautiful riverside, temples, markets make this city very charming and addictive.

When I was walking on the riverside looking for a delicious khmer restaurant I bumped into 2 kiwi girls I met in Koh Rong, Sunniva and Jo..we had dinner together and agreed to visit the Killing fields the next day. Yes..tough day was coming up..we were at the entrance of the place of horror…blood flood and fear..we got out Audio guide and started walking on the fields stopping by each terror point..the one where the trucks arrived with the people who had no idea that they just arrived to the place of their the point where they were bullied and terrorized..the tree against which khmer soldiers hit the babies…the mass grave of people whose heads were chopped off…and I could continue..

Killing fields khmer rouge outfit

I listened to a few true stories as well..from survivors on this audio guide which made me cry..a lot..after the killing fields we went to S21..the prison where all the people were waiting for their execution. This wasn’t delightful either.

S21 S21 victims

After this day I hired a bicycle and spent the next 2 days exploring markets (Russian, Central), Grand Palace, National Museum, Phnom temple etc.

Russian Market  Central marketGrand Palace

Cambodia is a very special place..the only place where you see amazing children shouting to you ‘Hellooooooo’..women walking around day time in flannel pyjamas, absolute fairness towards tourists and a great sense of humour. Where people after all those horrific years managed to ‘get over’ their past

I knew that the last chapter of my trip is about to come up..I was leaving South East Asia…

Took the night bus on the 30th December, arrived to Bangkok at 2pm, went to MBK shopping centre to buy a couple of things, took a taxi to the airport and boarded the 7pm plane to Sri Lanka…I felt the change…I felt the big big difference..again..I had to let something go..I am becoming an expert in this..Next post on Sri Lanka soon.

Here I was the country that inspired my whole trip..the first door to freedom…

I got only 15 days visa but it seemed to be ok as I planned 3 countries for December. My first stop was Krabi to see my friend Cooper. I spent the first night in Krabi (Pac- up hostel..if you are up for party, this is the place to go) I wasn’t because the previous nights were I didn’t appreciate the shouting young English fellows in the middle of the night. Next day I went to Ao Nang, and spent the next 2 days just relaxing and catching up with Cooper…and certainly partying in the evenings….:)

Party time Party time

I did some sightseeing, had a look at the local market in Krabi and enjoyed a couple of massage sessions too.

Temple Market

After Ao Nang I headed to Kao Lak, the jumping off point of my big dream..a diving cruise around the Similan islands and Richelieu Rock..

I was very optimistic going there hoping to get a space on a 4 days liveaboard ship on the night when I arrive and after a couple of hours shopping around I found a dive centre that offered an amazing last minute deal starting in a few hours.  So I didn’t even need to book accommodation or have dinner..went straight on the boat and the fun has started. It was a nice big group..mixed aged, mixed nationality..4 days on the boat, 14 dives, hundred and thousands of fishes, turtles, octopus, sea horse..loved every minute. I was hanging out most of the time with Bas from the Netherlands.

Fish identification The beach


There was a Thai celebration one day when the Thai staff prepared little floating flowers with incentives and a candle on top and we all sent off our bad spirits..

Thai flowers Sending off bad spirits

boomLike a fish....

the team

After the diving adventure I went to Bangkok to submit my visa application for India..(takes 6 working days and unfortunately there were 2 bank holidays in between so I knew I would stay longer than my Thai visa. In this case you pay 500 Baht fine/day (around 10 pounds) So on the day I arrived to Bangkok I took a nightbus to Chiang Mai to meet Bas and visit the north with him. As soon as I got off the night bus I met 3 people, a honeymoon couple from Argentina and Zergio from Venezuela! Of course super amazing people..and yes again..I felt very nostalgic…

I spent one day in Chiang Mai, hired a scooter and visited an amazing temple on the hill.

temple on hill with my Thai baby

In the evening we went to  place near the lake where you don’t see a single tourist.authentic thai restaurants attached one to another..Now here I had a story…lol..

I put my bike key in the helmet..then I saw the stunning evening view over the lake so I decided to take a picture..and had the glowing idea of using my helmet at a tripod….By this time I had a few beers so no wonder…I forgot about the key which landed straight in the water…classic!

The place

Next day we took a minibus to another city about 160 km north west from Chiang Mai called Pai..Very charming little town ..however this time of the year it was packed with southern Thai people and this is the coldest place and time in the year so Thais love it! The King’s birthday also contributed to the crowd..long weekend, everyone on holiday. Luckily we found accommodation in Mr. Jan’s Guesthouse (in the massage room only though) and for the next day we booked a 2 day rafting trip with Bas. We had 2 seriously funny guides and a group of Americans and a Dutch girl..the water on the 1st day was pretty slow as it’s dry season now so it was more like a chilled out flowing on the Pai river. When we arrived to our camp we went to a cave…we had no clue what was in the cave and what are the conditions there so it turned to be a great challenge for everyone…crawling in tiny spaces full of muddy water ..if you are claustrophobic DON”T DO IT! But the attraction in the cave was amazing…the silent waterfall as our guide called it:

Rafting cave crew

dirty team

On day 2 the water was around 3 so more fun…when we arrived to Pai we went out with the Amerians..had an interesting conversation with Nesh, psychiatry (by the was Bas was a psychologist too so….not only my travels make me realise things about me 😉

Few pics on Pai and surroundings that we discovered with Bas on scooter again. Pai has a lot to offer..mountains, hot springs, massage centres, cooking classes etc. The street food is amazing! Tried a lot of things and the favourite was meat ball on lemongrass stick..

Pai canyon Pai countryside

After Pai it was time to go back to Bangkok to pick up visa. Bas went back to Holland and I spent a couple of nights in Bangkok..

My friend Noppadol always takes care of me..I stayed in his hotel last year, the Grand China Princess hotel in the heart of China Town and he invited me for dinner with fine Peking duck, melon crab salad and excellent whiskey..I ended up again on the stage singing just like on my farewell night last year:)

GCP team

On my last day in Thailand I went to the floating market near was truly amazing.

Floating market

Next post soon about Cambodia.

The first stop in Malaysia was the stylish capital, Kuala Lumpur. It was a bit of a mission to find the hostel I booked (Sunshine Bedz KL) but it was my fault..oh and the monsoon rain didn’t helped either:)

Patrick, the owner welcomed me very nicely..this hostel  was just like being home..The crowd was cool too. My first trip was to the KL Towers..breathtaking high tech look:

KL Towers

Then went to an AMAZNG place, to the Sky bar in Trading hotel. Pool in the middle, view on the towers, fashion, luxury. Didn’t quite match with my sweaty, scruffy traveller look but who cares it was amazing to be there!

Sky bar

I was soo in the mood to go out but Athene (English girl I was hanging out with) didn’t feel good so I opted for a quiet night too.

Next day I walked around in the Sea Gardens, Orchid/Hibiscus garden, Little India and Chinatown. In the evening I was ready to play out. We were only a few of us, Patrick, Sheldon (Zimbabwe) and another guy from the US. It was an ok night, nothing crazy. First day of experiencing the Malaysian food..I have to say it’s seriously delicious…

food DSC_0105

Me and Sheldon wanted to go to Tioman but we missed the bus..doh, so went back to the hostel and visited the Batu Caves..nice:

Batu caves

The next day  we made sure we didn’t miss the bus, and Athene joined us too, so we arrived after 5 hours to Mersing, the jump off point to Tioman islands..There was only one ferry going/ day and we missed it so we spent the night in Mersing. I this town there is not much to do really and even though we did everything to blag ourselves into a cargo boat or get a speed boat to the island nobody took us so we had to stay overnight. Sheldon after this decided not to come to the island and I was pretty indecisive too as I contacted a few dive centres and all were pretty much closed for the monsoon and the only reason why i wanted to go was because of my AOW course. In the end I did go..we met Kai (Finnish guy). Athene went to Juara (East coast) and me and Kai went to ABC beach (the best on the west!) I had the time of my life on this island with a super cool Malay group of guys. They were celebrating the closure of season  (Ray’s dive school ) in A peace bar drinking off all the leftover booze.

A peace party


Then I started my Advanced Open Water with B&J Dive centre. Sammi, my instructor was super cool with a lot of knowledge..i got so much more confident in diving. Next step will the Rescue diver level. Meanwhile i got involved in their season closing celebration too. It was so nice not to be in a very touristy spot with full of the timing was perfect for the island. I spent here 5 days, then I continued to Singapore.

I would describe it as a perfect, neat little artificial city. High buildings, luxury, warm weather and incomparably delicious food. I found a very cheap hostel too, Wow Hostel (book it via hostelworld so it’s 8 SGD but if you walk in it’s 18).

I spent most of the time with Pang, I met him in Bali and he is from Singapore. It was nice to see him again and have a local guide. We indulged in food together.

singapore Pang

Oh my whole Singapore experience started with Candy..I was queuing for the bus when she warned me from behind that my bag was loose and about to we started chatting. Turned out she was from Penang (Malaysia) and she visited his friend (Jovan) who was from the same place but living in Singapore. They were both supernice..I had no clue about the transport and they almost came with me all the way to my hostel..See this is what is missing from the western culture..humanity and unconditional care for people…even if you don’t know them at all!

Overall you need about 3 days for Singapore (for the main attractions) of course you need more time to really ‘feel ‘ the city which I didn’t have. On m last day I visited Sentosa island with Jovan which is even more artificial than Singapore itself..with its giant Universal Studios, Casino, cable car and beaches it’s very popular for the locals and tourists as well.

Don’t leave Singapore without trying the chilly crab, carrot cake (it’s not a dessert!!), murtabag, nasi padang and Tiger!!

chilly crab

After Singapore my next stop was Melaka. Melaka is about 3 hours north from Singapore and 2 hours south from KL. I arrived quite late (10pm) so I happily accepted the approach of the guesthouse sales man waiting at the bus station. He got me  cheap room and cheap taxi..the only thing he didn’t tell me that the place (‘Home sweet home’ ) was a brothel. 3 girls from Taiwan were getting ready for the night next door so I left as quickly as I could. I was walking on that dodgy street in the middle of the night but then when i reached China Town a party rickshaw with a super fun guy picked me up and took me to Ringo ‘s Foyle hostel (i had to be persistent with him so that he accepts the money..again Malaysia..super nice interest..unconditional care..simple is that). In Ringo’s Carol welcomed me so nicely..and the people were cool..there is a roof terrace in this hostel so first night I was up there boozing with the people till 6am…nice start:)

The next day I was walking around by the river and in China Town and in the evening I met Silke (German lady living in Melaka, whom I first met in Pulau Weh- Indonesia if you remember). We went to an excellent restaurant called Pak Putra and had a walk around..But I was too tired from the previous night so we got home around midnight. The last full day I spent with her again, Melaka is a place to chill and walk and absorb the art and culture..

Melaka Melaka

After Melaka I went to KL again to see my friend from Tioman Afiez ( his bar: A peace)..I spent a couple of days at his house..cooked some Gulyas for the guys and relaxed.

Cook assistant Gulyas

After KL and the relaxed days I needed some fresh air and hiking so Cameron Highlands was a perfect place for it. I got here late too but it’s a very safe place. So I was walking to the hostel I looked up before but unfortunately there was a little obstacle to get there..due to the heavy rains a little lake formed on the road with hip height water level so I had to alternative routes to cross…on the left on a mud hill or on the right on a slim edge..None of them were ideal but my common sense suggested the mud cause even if I fall there I’ll just look like a turtle with my backpack and legs in the air but if I fall from the other side I might break my neck..So there was a Swedish guy, Adam who was on the same bus as me and we accomplished together this mission..I got muddy only till knee level..and no falling:) Once we got to the hostel we had to go back to town for a same mission 2x more..but the dinner was worth it We tried the famous Malay speciality called Steam boat. Basically they bring you a massive pot of either chicken soup or tom yam and a lot of raw fish, vegetables,  chicken, mushroom, tofu that you put in your boiling soup and cook it..(the soup arrived at the table on a gas cooker) here is a pic:

steam boat

Once we finished this delicious meal we went back to the hostel. Next day we decided to do some hiking. In Cameron Highlands there are plenty of trails that you can do individually or you can take a tour to the Mossy forest and to tea plantations and strawberry farms.

We teamed up with a lovely couple (Scottish girl, English boy) and we started the adventure together. It took us a while to get onto the right trail but eventually after walking in a private garden with cabbages and strawberry around us we found the trail. Oh it felt good to trek again!! It’s been a while..When we reached the top it started raining and I suggested to take a different route on the way back (I hate returning on the same route) this was a real it was steep and  the soil was mainly clay and the water was streaming down on I had a very stylish fall there which made my day as I couldn’t stop laughing for the rest of the day..Once we arrived back in critical conditions, we bought some booze, had dinner and spinned the bottle in the  hostel 🙂 It was truth not dare..and we learnt a lot about each other.

Next day Phil and Christy left and we had another day with Adam..but woke up at midday so we went on a short trek to Binchang to see a tea plantation but we didn’t make it in time so went to a strawberry farm instead.

The next morning we left for Penang..Now Penang is a great island with fantastic food.

Very similar to Singapore, food courts everywhere. We checked into the Cocoa Mews Hostel in Little India, then started walking on the promenade towards one of the best food courts in Gurney Drive Food court. We met Candy there and we started some food orgy:) By the way..another amazing gesture in a phone south American phone doesn’t seem to be working with the sim cards on this part of the world..and i didn’t want to spend on a new phone so..the shop assistant gave me his old Nokia phone for free….so nice!

After we finished with the fried chicken skin, sting ray cooked in banana leaf, fried oyster, ambra juice with sour plum and the rest delicious pieces we went to Bora Bora beach for cocktails..which ended again with night bathing in the sea..oh..again nice memories from Colombia…

The next day I went with Adam to the Thai embassy (when you cross to Thailand by land you get only 15 days visa) I was thinking to apply for 30 days too but then I realised that I have only 30 days left in South East Asia and I have still Laos and Cambodia on my list so I didn’t apply in the end. We then went up to Penang Hill for a stunning view on George Town and then we met Phil and Christy for lunch, and then we walked along on the heritage trail to see the wall paintings:

street painting Penang

Early everyone was ready for the Friday night karaoke! On Friday we separated ..I rented a bike and went to Penang National park, trekked to the Monkey beach and back, and went into the island..i love discovering on scooters!! So cool!

Monkey beach

In the evening we went to eat and then hit a private karaoke bar in one of the shopping Malls..the night finished at 4 am..had a lot of fun AGAIN.

Next day Adam had to catch his ferry to Langkawi and me the bus at midday to Krabi..

I loved Malaysia A LOT. One of my favourite countries..nice people, nice time I will not skip the Perhentian islands (which were closed because of monsoon) and Borneo..

Here I was…at my first stop in Asia…Bali. I heard/saw many fantastic things about this little Indonesian island so I was very much looking forward to it. From the airport I took a taxi to Kuta…mistake..

Even though I read all those horrid warnings on Lonely Planet about Kuta, I decided to go there, simply because when I arrive to a new place I like to go ‘more lively’ places so that I can meet people..I don’t actually regret going there for one reason. I met Sofie, Dutch girl travelling alone a few months in Indonesia and possibly somewhere else too. Bali used to be a Dutch colony so many Dutch people choose it as holiday destination.

I spent in Kuta 1.5 days…it was actually enough. Balinese people in that area are a bit like leech…you just cannot get away from them. They are only nice to you because they want to sell you stuff…I sat down on the beach and i found myself surrounded by 5 older women started doing my nails, the second massaging my feet, the 3rd breading my hair, the 4th selling bracelets, and the 5th offering me to bring beer putting a nice commission on it:) See pic

I didn’t say no to the mani/pedicure simply because it was cheap and i haven’t had it for ages..

The next day I spent on the beach..trying to surf success…this is the kind of sport that you need to do on a regular (i would say daily) basis in order to be good at it.

I rented a motorbike in the evening and the next day I was off to Ubud. Ubud is in the middle of the island, no beach, but lots of culture, thrilling art. Everyone has an iPhone, new cars..very rich part of Bali. You can see that on the prices too.

I stayed in a very nice place (so much nicer than in Kuta) called Duanas. Mady the owner looked after me and made incredible breakfasts.

I met Pang from Singapore and we did a couple of day trips together around Ubud visiting Temples, Rice fields.

One night when we went out I passed by a bar and heard a beautiful violin…….my heart drove into the bar nd voila…a Hungarian girl was playing.

I talked to her after the concert, her name is Helga living in Bali for 3 years..she introduced me to a couple of more Hungarian girls, it was amazing! Erika and Dia..and the cherry on top of the cream was that Erika knew Bea (if you remember she is the girl I was travelling with a bit in South America..did the Sensation white together:)) small world!

I stayed 3 nights in Ubud, then I went up to Lovina..On the way I saw the most impressive rice fields of Jatiluwih:

Besakih, the mother temple:


I booked a diving trip for next day in Lovina, in return I got free accommodation..

Oh…the sexiest Indonesian smile I have seen was this one…I asked for directions but after 15 minutes of trying to converse in Balinglish I had to continue my trip…:)

So the diving trip was absolutely amazing..I rented an underwater camera with an Italian boy and took a few great shots of turtles, sharks..colorful underworld..

After diving I set off to’s about 3 hours bike ride from Lovina..I arrived in the dark which is  shame as the road goes along the beach..i loved the night ride though:)

Amed is a little diving spot..however I didn’t dive here only swam and snorkelled the next morning.  Then I rode to Padangbai, booked accomodation (Topi Inn – by the beach) and rode to Kuta to return my bike. You have several ways to travel in Bali..The cheapest is defo renting a motorbike (around $4/day- add another $1.5 and you are done with petrol for the day)…if you don’t like the adventure, take the shuttle buses between the cities (average $10 to get from one town to another). You can hire a driver who takes you to wherever you tell him to go (aprox. $45/day).

Accommodation for a single person is between $10-$15.

So..i spent 2 days in Padangbai..and this was the first time i met with a genuinly nice Bali person without any interest..He is running the local post office, his name is Vajuk. He took me to a local place to eat with his bike (while i had my bike i only ate at local restaurants).

He had a lot of knowledge on what’s going on in the world..supernice. The rest of the Balinese people..hmm..nice nice but there is always some kind of interest behind…in Kuta for example while I stayed there I was the best friend of everyone..every day same comments: ‘you remember yesterday my friend!!’ (needless to say there was nothing to remember of)..once your big backpack is on you and you are leaving the place they don’t even say bye..

Anyway..on Friday (12th) I was off to the Gili islands…now these 3 islands are like little paradise…perfect honeymoon spot (was great being here solo..LOL). Nice fish, nice dive, crystal clear turcoise water..

There are 3 islands: Trawangan (the party one), Meno (the most tranquil one) and Air (the mix of previous 2). I stayed on Air 3 nights:


I met a really nice Dutch couple with whom I was hanging out in the evenings on Air..we took some nice decisions together about my life:) Here they are:

I also met 2 Hungarian girls, Panni & Dori. It’s funny how I only met like 4 Hungarians in South America in 7 months and I met in Bali and Gili 5 in 10 days:)

One more day on Air, then the next day in the morning I did island hopping to Gili Meno which is a stunning little paradise island..very quiet. I was snorkelling the whole day and sunbathing, swimming with turtles, intercating with locals, met 2 Spanish guys too, then I took the ferry to Trawangan the party island out of the 3 Gilis. On the ferry I met Silvia, Italian girl, she travelled alone too and it was her last night we decided to party…a bottle of Absolute vodka was a bad idea….we woke up in the next morning as the guys in the Hangover…very similar conditions:) Then a 2 hour fast ferry ride back to Bali (horror with a hangover), and I had my fight to Jakarta at 5pm.

This is where I will continue in my next blog:)