Oslob and Moalboal – The Travel Guide

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 19.47.04The island of Cebu is south of Manila and is in the country’s Central Visayas region. It is home to many top tourist attractions such as Kasawan falls and the famous Whale Sharks.

Getting out of the airport

Using the app Rome2Rio we were able to see that from Cebu airport we needed to get to the bus station (south bus terminal ) and there was a Ceres bus for only £2 which is 140 pesos for a 4 hour journey. As soon as we got out of the aiport there were lots of taxi drivers who are trying to take you the whole way to Oslob for 3000 pessos but if you manage to get to the taxi rank (white taxi’s are cheaper and always ask for meter) then you can head to the bus station. On the way to the bus station our driver agreeded to take us to Oslob for 1800 Pesos as we wern’t aware we had arrived on a Holy Day and the traffic was horrendous, the bus would have taken 6 hours.

 

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Accommodation

We stayed at New Village Lodge here which we found on Agoda. The location was great, very close to everything we needed. The rooms are very clean and the wifi is great in the reception area. They can help you plan all your trips you want to do from Oslob and arrange pick ups which is super helpful!

New Village Lodge, Oslob, Cebu

Another great acoomdation is Noordzee Hostel which is located on a beautiful beach and the hostel itself is close to the ports with boats taking you to Bohol or Siquior. 

Noordzee Hostel, Cebu

 

 

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Whale Sharks

Oslob is home to the famous Whale Shark experience. This trip has become extremely popular so I advise to go as early as you can to beat the crowds. We left our hotel at 5:30am and was in the water with the Sharks by 6:15. The whole trip takes roughly an hour depending on crowds but you get 30 minutes in the water. There is also nowhere to leave bags or valuables so if you are doing this without a driver to look after your things, only take your camera and a towel. The fee to swim with them is 1000 pesos per person and our travel to and from the Sharks cost us 300 pesos. Bring your GoPro as it is a huge one ticked off both of our bucket lists! 

This is a hugely controversial subject as many people do not agree with the fishermen feeding them for tourists and think it is changing the feeding habits of these Sharks. Others believe it is keeping this once endangered species alive. Make of is what you will but I would suggest going with an open mind. Both times I have swam with these giants I arrived in Oslob not convinced if I would take part. This time swimming with the whale sharks the locals have a much better structured interaction and seem to be handling the influx of tourists well. I did no witness any sharks being touched or bashing into the boats which I did witness in 2017. 

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Waterfalls

Tumalog Falls and Aguinid Falls, with the furthest of the two being a 40 minute drive away. They both have a 40-60 peso per person fee to enter and the whole journey cost us 500 Peso each. Both waterfalls can get very busy so I advise to go early again to beat the crowds. Tumalog is a pretty and you are able to swim where as Aguinid falls you trek up the waterfall with a guide. I wore wet shoes which saved my life as flipflops slide off the vertical walls you will walk up and I took my wet bag with me too. The guide is free but they expect a tip.

Tumalog Falls
Tumalog Falls
Aguinid Falls
Aguinid Falls

 

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Oslob Heritage Park

 

Getting from Oslob to Moalboal

From the main road in Oslob we caught the Ceres Bus which is 40 peso per person to Bato where you get another bus from Bato to Moalboal which costs 90 peso per person. There are two buses, one with aircon and one without and I would wait for the aircon bus as it takes around 3 hours for this journey. 

 

Moalboal

Pronounced Mo-ahl-bo-ahl

Things to knowThe main town of Moalboal is 90km from Cebu city, on the west side of the island. The part everyone goes to and talks about is actually called Panagsana Beach. In resent years Panagsana Beach has become internationally reowned for the incredible Sardine run just meters offshore. This tiny town is the most touristy part of the island we have come across. There are lots of bars and restaurants and is a great place to meet people. On Panagsana beach (which is tiny) you can hire a snorkel and flippers from a nearby shop and swim out to see millions of sardines.

In Moalboal its self there is an ATM but in Panagsana Beach there is only 1 ATM which doesn’t always work.

Accommodation

We stayed at a lovely lodge called Divers Lodge which was 1500 peso a night for a luxury room..by luxury we mean a working shower and fan but the owner did hook us up with a great moped to rent for the whole time we were there.

Diver Lodge, Moalboal, Cebu

 

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From Panagsana Beach we swam for an hour in the other direction, to the left of the beach, and we saw 4/5 turtles just swimming along. I wouldn’t pay for a trip from the shops if you are looking to save money to see turtles or sardines as they are just off of the beach in this area. There is a small island called Pescador Island you can do a trip to which does have incredible snorkeling but other than that just grab a mask and jump in!

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If you are after a better beach, White Beach is about a 15 minute moped ride away which is mostly locals but it is a nice beach and not busy during the week. There are two goverment tolls on the way which I think were 5 pesos each. 

White Beach

 

Kawasan Falls 

Kawasan Falls

 

Kawasan Falls – I have done the canyoneering before and it is really fun and exciting but it is hard! It takes a moderate level of fitness and swimming and it does take 3 hours to finish. One tip is to save your GoPro battery for the end of the canyoneering as it is the most beautiful part. 

If you don’t want to do the trekking, you can head straight to the bottom where it is 50 peso to park your moped and 75 peso to enter and you can swim around the bottom famously pictured waterfall. It does get very busy so go early as possible and head up to the left of the waterfall just above it to get some different shots to everyone else. Find more info on the perfect Instagram shots at this waterfall here.

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Places to Eat

Pleasure Principles – Slightly more pricey than other places but 100% worth your money. We reccomend the prawns!

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Cockonuts- Great wifi and very cheap food. You can sit right on the water edge and enjoy sunset with a cocktail and spring rolls!

Coconuts

 

The French Coffee Shop – Perfect place for your morning ice coffee!

French

 

Stay tuned for our travel tips for the island of Siqujior! 

Or do you want to read what we got up to in Siquijor? Check out our journey below!

Our Siquijor Journey 

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Travelling Take Two

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We flew into Manila which is the capital of the Philippines and only stayed one night as we had our flight booked to Cebu the next day but after a 14 hour direct flight from Heathrow we needed one night to recover.

There isn’t too much to do here, most people only use Manila as a stopping over place but we did book into Lub D Makati. The Lub D hostels are a chain throughout Thailand and some have been voted the best hostels in South East Asia so we thought this was perfect for our first night getting used to being a backpacker again. The rooms are huge, the beds are comfortable and the wi-fi is great. Not to mention the clean bathrooms with hairdryer and straightener on the side for everyone to use. This hostel was great and it is very safe here. The staff are also super friendly and helped us get a ‘Grab’ (Philippines equivalent to Uber).

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As I was only here for one night we went out for one drink in Penthouse, a fancy 1920’s bar that looks out over the most of Manila. The bar is on the 24th floor and the entrance on the ground floor looks residential, so just walked in and ask the guard for the bar. The first thing we see is the ‘no guns’ sign. 

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The first night here I did wake Olly up at 2am thinking we had slept in till the afternoon and started to panic but he told me to shut up and go back to sleep. We managed to sleep until 7am and we were wide awake which was so annoying. Somehow we managed to get back to sleep..and woke up at 1pm! Just in time for lunch! God how I have missed being able to sleep as much as I want. Olly doesn’t share this love and wants to get up and go and explore straight away. Lets see how long this lasts..

Our next post will be about the island of Cebu and everything this amazing place has to offer.

Lolz behind the Holz

Travelling to those who are stuck in their 9-5 jobs seems like heaven on Earth and don’t get me wrong, it is, but.. its not always the perfect Instagram picture its made out to be..

This page is to show you the truth behind the glitz and the glam of travelling 

Speaking of  getting the perfect Instagram shot, some picture perfect moments are often more crowded than expected. I find it extremely awkward taking photos in front of other people anyway ( shocking I know when I have as many Selfies as I do) but I do get funny around stranger and taking selfies which makes these situations horrendous. 

Behind the scenes..

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The walk to this swing was 20 minutes of hell walking on extremely sharp shells and then waiting my turn and fending off the profession photographer who wanted to sell you a picture of your self. Nah mate

The end shot 

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Or when strangers think this is acceptable..

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Or sometimes trip adviser lies to you and you actually end up visiting a building site..

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Or when you try and get someone else to take a cute candid photo of you and these are the results.

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Or when you’re too scared to carry on hiking over a waterfall with your new friends so you let them go on ahead and then suddenly you realize you are all alone and if you fall and crack your head open, that’s it.

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But it isn’t all bad. You get to meet the locals too..

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HE BROKE MY BAG!!!

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Don’t forget to do as the locals do..

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Thailand’s Hulk Hogan

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The hat kills me every time I see it..

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She popped up everyday in Phuket with the same Hat 

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Travel in style, always.

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Yes this is a train, a train I slept on 

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Don’t put plaster on and then be in the Sun, just dont

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And always bag up lotions and potions 

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Apply sun cream every 4 hours in Australia.. this is no joke

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If the animals wont get you, then the bad weather will

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Travel insurance comes in handy when you are a backpacker

Australian Hostel Bible↓ You will be amazed how many stupid people are allowed out of their houses.

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Thailand Travelling Guide

Welcome to Thailand the home of tacky galore and beautiful beaches! I did visit this amazing country twice but I have been home along time so forgive me if my memory is a bit rusty. So first thing you need to know is Thailand’s currency is called Bahh, it is highly worth having a currency app to hand which you do not need WiFi for as they will try and rip you off every single time. Personally I know bartering can be the most cringe worthy thing a human can do because I’m the type of person that will happily pay the 5 year old Thai child £5 for a Diet Coke. You will quickly learn to barter for your 20p toasties.


I used this currency app EX currency which was brill. I am also going to take an educated guess and say you don’t speak or understand Thai so please download this maps app called MAPS.ME. When you have WiFi download the country/town you are in and when you’re outside of WiFi you can use it, star locations and route your journeys. I used this everyday getting around and even found some fun things to do on it. Also don’t ever give the cab man/Tut Tut driver your phone to look at directions.


Getting around -This may sound hella racist but you are western person entering a third world country, they will charge you more for being western or white. Me and my boyfriend wasn’t allowed on a public bus to take us to the airport and they made us take Taxi which was three times the price. Another thing to note, do not get in the yellow taxis as they are more expensive than a London black cab and always ask for meter. Uber is super cheap out there and they have an a equivalent for where Uber doesn’t run called krab I think.

Hostel world and trip Adviser a must for booking accommodation. I also used the cheap eats section on trip adviser a lot when it came to saving money.


Dress code – Yep in the humidity best believe you are hiding those knees and shoulders in all temples or holy grounds. Not even ripped jeans will get you in so make sure you pack long sleeve and buy some elephant pants for the exploring days . A scarf around your shoulders will also not be allowed, you will need a t-shirt.


Some good things to be aware of

The old king (he died last year) is basically what Kim k is to the modern world, do not talk badly about him in front of any Thai person.


7/11 will be your best friend for air con and cheese and ham toasties. Trust me..

Most places down south you can get coaches too, the over night ones being cheaper just make sure you have a jumper and some food!


If you click on the title of each place it will take you to my individuals blog post about these places.


Oh yeah don’t be a dick and ride an elephant or go to a tiger kingdom. You might as well be a trump supporter who kills turtles for a living.


Bangkok

Bangkok is a huge city but not the most beautiful city in the world. Spend the smallest amount of time here if you can but if you are here a few days there is lots to explore!

 

Hostels

  • Lub d Bangkok Silom – met a lot of people, great hostel but lots of stairs
  • In a box – right next to the train station
  • Coop hostel – right next to a train station so easy access to the airport with a cute hang out area.
  • Hotel royal Bangkok in China town – if you’re feeling fancy with a rooftop pool looking over the whole of Bangkok.

 

Things to do

  • Khao SAN Road- just go there get a bucket and know you will have a great night.
  • Sky bar – the one in the hangover film but it has a dress code so no flip flops!
  • Temple of reclining Buddha- cover shoulders and knees
  • Temple of dawn (Wat Arun)
  • Blue spice restaurant
  • Bangkok arts and culture centre- check out online what’s on.
  • Jim Thompson’s house- who knew it wasn’t just a pub in stoneleigh, very interesting to learn about.
  • The grand temple- dress code and 500 bahh to enter so worth jumping on a tour for someone to tell you facts while walking around.
  • Hor Phra grand Hararat
  • The temple of the emerald Buddha
  • Floating market – early start as it is outside the city
  • Airplane graveyard

Chaing Mai

The most peaceful city without a beach. Elephant riding is banned and you can only play with them. I got an over night coach from Bangkok to Chaing Mai and back again.

 

Hostels

  • Hug hostel
  • A good place- the owner is such a lad, sorted out all of our tips, bus tickets, coaches back to Bangkok, our trip to PAI, he knows so many people he will get a good price for everything and even let us use the hostel to shower at when we weren’t staying there.

 

Things to do

  • Elephant jungle sanctuary
  • Ploen ruedee night market- cute little hipster market and bars
  • Anusarn market
  • Chiang mai Cabernet show- best lady boy show I’ve seen
  • Wat Rong Khun
  • Night bazaar place
  • THC rooftop grippy ass bar
  • Mu’s Katsu
  • Tikky cafe- trip adviser top rated cheap eat, the yellow curry was to die for.
  • Wat Inthakhin Sadie Mueang temple
  • Wat Phra That Doi Kham the temple of the golden mountain.
  • Chiang Mai Canyon- hire a ped and take swimming stuff and go have fun on the massive blow up obstacle course
  • Lantern festival – Around November time

Chiang Rai

We did a day trip here which leaves at 7am as it is 3 hours away but worth it as there are no tourists other than the Chinese.

 

Things to do

  • Wat Rong Khun
  • White temple
  • Blue temple
  • More not springs

PAI

The home of vegan food and the stereotypical traveler!

PAI is in my opinion the safest place to hire peds. The roads are huge and empty and you need one or get around . It was one of my favourite days in Thailand as we plotted out on maps.me all the things we wanted to do and set off. I booked a bus from my hostel in chaing Mai which is horrendous, see my PAI blog post for details.

 

Hostels

  • Common grounds Pai

 

Things to do

  • Bigs little cafe
  • The three little pigs soul kitchen
  • Spirit bar
  • Street food is unreal
  • Coffee in love
  • Sai Ngam Hot springs
  • The lands split- the owner is super nice and will give you food and bevs for free so leave a donation as this poor sod has had his land turned into an attraction due to earthquakes
  • Pam Bok Waterfull
  • PAI canyon – for sunset is unreal. Grab a beer and get there early as it gets busy.

WEST SIDE ISLANDS

Krabi

I flew from Bangkok to Krabi.

 

Hostels

  • K-Bunk hostel, its a chilled hostel but the sister hostel a few doors down is the party hostel called slumber party.

 

Things to do

  • So nang beach – all the way to the left of the beach if you are looking out at the sea is monkey trail leads to a better more private beach called PAI Plong Beach.
  • Krabitrek day tours
  • Koh Mor and Tub Sandbanks
  • Chicken head island
  • Koh poda island aka Jame bond island
  • Phra nang cave/ princess cave aka THE PENIS CAVE.

Phi Phi

The party island of the west side. I got on a boat from Krabi to Phi Phi which you can also get from Phuket.

 

Hostel

  • Hangover hostel- it’s far enough you won’t hear the bumping music from the beach but close enough to everything you need. Hostels on phi phi are either expensive or 48 bed dorms so it’s the best of a bad bunch. The owner is now on trip adviser thanks to me but he will look after you! He got me drunk, put me on boat trips I didn’t pay for and will make sure you are having a great time, Mr SiNG is a legend.

 

Things to do

  • Grand PP arcade – beaut restaurant
  • Monkey beach
  • Night swimming with with plankton
  • Boat trip to the lagoon
  • Maya bay – note 400 bahh to step foot on this beach as the film ‘the beach’ was filmed here so try to go later in the day when it isn’t so busy.
  • View Point – bring water, lots of it. I died on this hike ! Leg day is here and it hurts.
  • Banana bar – rooftop films every evening at 7pm if you want a break from drinking.
  • Long beach – literally as it sounds it’s long to walk to but it’s worth it !

Phuket

I got a boat from Phi Phi to Phuket.

 

Hostels

  • DFeel hostel- the private rooms where cheaper than dorms sometimes and it’s about half hour walk into town but it’s a nice walk.
  • Hao hostel – in the old town

 

Things to do

  • Patong beach is Russia mania
  • Bangla walking street- every 18-30’s holidays/lady boy/Brit abroad dream. It’s an experience but you have to go there to see it and experience a ping pong show, or in my case 4 flung into my hands. I cross the line at frogs btw..
  • Red duck restaurant- Kata beach
  • Horn Frill Steak House – Kata Beach
  • The biggest Buddha in the world..

EAST SIDE

I got a train to the east side islands which I booked at Bangkok Central Station.

Koh Sok National Park – I got the train from Bangkok to Surat Thani.

Koh Samui

I flew from Bangkok to Koh Samui and thenaboat to Koh Phangan for the full moon party. Note I booked a hotel on Koh Samui to leave my big rucksack and valuables in the safe while I took a smaller over night bag to Koh Phangan. Everyone knows you will be at the full moon party so it’s very common for hostels to get robbed.

Book your hostel on Koh Phangan as soon as you can as it gets sold out very quickly and can be expensive.

Koh Tao

Things to do

  • Hin Wong bay
  • Mango bay
  • Nang yuan Island
  • Shark bay
  • Janson bay
  • Sairee beach with the famous low palm tree

 

There is lots more to do in Thailand but these are all the places I visited in my short time there. Above Is a list of all the places I visited and the hostel’s I stayed at. Please feel free to message me if you have any questions 🙂

Australia Help Guide

 

If you are looking to work in Aus the first thing you will need to arrange is your working Holiday Visa which is about £230 from memory. I did mine in STA Travel shop as they fill out everything for you and you will receive an email confirmation when it has been processed, this can take up to 6 weeks but I got mine in 2 days. A working holiday visa starts from the second you step foot in the country and you have a year in the country. The only way to extend your first year is by doing 88 days regional work or to get sponsored. I will go into more detail below about farm work later on but Click here for more info on Working Holiday Visa’s.  If you are only going for a few weeks then visit on a tourist visa which is 3 months. I would also not recommend going to Australia in December or January as that is when flights are most expensive, if you complete your first year and want to come home, it will cost you a lot more to come home near Christmas!

 

What to Pack

This is where I struggled as I came from Asia where everyone and everything was dirty but in Australia everyone is beautiful!

  • I had a comfortable rucksack but I also had a small carry on roll on suitcase.. You don’t really need a rucksack in Australia
  • Of course pack things like Trainers and comy clothes but there are so many shops out there I brought new clothes to feel normal again after Asia. All you need are clothes to travel in on coaches, which can be very cold so pack a hoodie!
  • As many Bikinis and cover ups as you can, its so bloody hot you wont want to wear many clothes in the day but be warned in cities such as Sydney it is more pretentious than Slug and Lettuce on a Friday night so glam up!
  • Flip Flops, they will break, you will go through at least 4 pairs I promise you
  • If I was to go back I would take my iPad as some nights you stay in and you want to watch a movie in bed, an iPad would of been ideal
  • Camera, with a hard drive and lots of memory cards, I backed up everything and also had an online storage which I used every time I had an afternoon with WiFi.
  • Ipod/ Music – It is worth having a Netflix account to download movies for long journeys.
  • Portable charger
  • Tiger Balm saves lives
  • So does Bug Spray
  • Printed Colour copy of your passport and Visa
  • Copy of your travel insurance
  • Blow up pillow for long journeys and easy to fold away/ eye mask/ear plugs
  • Roll on Deodorant lasts longer and some hostels ban you from spraying them in rooms because they can set the fire alarms off
  • I always had a note book and pen on me with a few important numbers written inside in case I got my phone stolen
  • Lipstick can turn any day outfit into an evening outfit so always have some to hand!

 

Apps you will need

  •  Maps.ME – Which is an app which lets you download countries, cities and areas without WIFI and you have the ability to save where you have been. It helps out a lot when you are lost!
  • Wiki Cams for all your road trip needs! 

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A large majority of people start in Melbourne and work their way up the coast which I would highly recommend over starting in Cairns and going down. As most people go up, you make friends along the way and you tend to see them again as its all one route.
If you aren’t on a time schedule you can do what I did which was to plan it all when I reached Melbourne as we gave our selves a few days in between places if we liked where we were, we could stay or if we didn’t we could move on quicker. I stayed at BASE in St Kilda which is a great hostel! It’s cheap and there are things on every night at the hostel bar which is a great place to meet people. Mad travel is a travel agent within the hostel which can hook you up with everything you need. We brought a ‘Hop on Hop Off‘ greyhound ticket from Melbourne to Cairns which was around $400. This type of ticket meant we could get a coach the whole way up the coast with no time limit as we had a year to use it all up the coast. We also booked the 3 busiest places along the coast in advance as they sell out very fast. They sell out as they are very popular and often only have one hostel in the area. These places are Frazer island, magnetic island and the Whitsundays -Note there are other cheaper bus companies but Greyhound offer great air con, comfy seats, wifi and plugs to charge phones and cameras. If you are doing 16 hour coach journeys comfort and air con is a must!!
The most common stops along the East coast are; Melbourne, Sydney, Byron bay, Surfers Paradise/ Gold Coast, Brisbane, Noosa / Rainbow Beach (Fraser island tour starts from), Hervey Bay, Airlie Beach (Whitsundays), Magnetic Island, Townsville and Cairns.

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Melbourne

Hostel’s 

BASE st Kilda, United Backpackers in central Melbourne

Things to do

Trams in the city are free so take advantage

Melbourne city centre has lots to see and do! The famous ABC aka Asian Beer Cafe has amazing food with really cheap happy hours so defo worth checking out as well as the centre it is in.

Revolver bar

Night Markets on a Thursday.

Cookie is a really nice rooftop bar with a cinema.

Madame Brussels is a Tea Party themed rooftop bar with a whole lotta sass!!!

Federation Square always has bits going on.

St Kilda has the beach with great bars and places to eat accompanied by every single backpacker. You can also see penguins on the pier at night around 7pm.

To see some of the city’s best street art, head to the following locations;

AC/DC lane and Duckboard place, Hosier and Rutledge lanes, Centre place, Flinders Court, Union Lane, Presgrave Place, Russell Place, Croft Alley, Stevenson and Tattersalls Lanes, Drewery and Sniders Lanes, Caledonian Lane, Corner 361 Little Bourke Street and Rankins Lane, Finlay Lane, behind Corner of Queen and Franklin Streets and Blender Lane. Click here for a map!

Other must see’s if you like something a bit different from the typical tourist traps can be found here ->Weird and wonderful shops in Melbourne

 Great Ocean Road 

The Great Ocean Road is one of the best road trips you can do! It was one of my favorite things to do. Download ‘Wiki Camps’ its an amazing app where you can filter different things you want from a camp site, for example we needed power and I wanted a shower, and it brings up all the campsites along your route, it is so worth having this app if you are doing lots of road trips. Top things to see on the GOR are:

Loch Ard Gorge

Apollo Bay

Twelve Apostles

London Bridge

Lorne Beach

Erskine Falls

The Frotto

Gibsons steps

Split Point Lighthouse

Sydney

So it is probably worth mentioning Australia has lock out laws, these laws are slightly different in each state but they all suck were ever you go. Lock out laws were put in place to stop drunken violence and to control the youth slightly better due to so many people actually dying from being punched once on the back of the head. Yep Australians are a rowdy bunch and after talking to my Australian friends, these laws do actually help keep people safer on nights out. The laws in Sydney are as follows;

The legislation requires 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks at bars, pubs and clubs in the Sydney CBD entertainment precinct. This means, no re-entry in a club after 1:30- not even to smoke. No shots/doubles after 12, you are not allowed to down your drink, it is illegal to be drunk in a club so they will remove you, or keep you hostage and force water down your throat and call you a cab, it is actually a law they make sure you are able to get home! All drinking games are banned- most clubs will play ‘water pong’ or give you ‘food tokens’ as prices but actually it is a shot.

These laws to prohibit you drinking but they are designed to keep you safe, if anything it just means you start drinking earlier! Great article to read about it all here –>Would the last person in Sydney please turn the lights out?

Hostels

Wake Up! Sydney Central

Avoid Big Hostel as much as you can! It is filled with Chinese families and mainly people that work in the city so they are not looking to make friends and this hostel has the most bizarre rules such as you are not allowed plastic bags in the room, you are not allowed the lights on past a certain time, they do not have wifi in the rooms as they do not want you skying family members if someone is asleep..its just rubbish, avoid!

Bondi Backpackers – Beautiful clean hostel right on the beach! Offers free activies and so many discounts for in town.

Things to do

‘The Rocks’ has really nice bars and restaurants with Pancakes on the rocks which is beaut.

Coogie beach, Bondi beach and Manly beach are worth going too. Manly you have to get a ferry over to but it’s a nice day out. The walk from Bondi to Coogie is very popular.

New Town doesn’t have lock out laws! It has cool bars and shops worth checking out.

Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden

Gordon’s Bay

Taronga Zoo

Day trips to the Blue Mountains is one of the best things to do !

Byron Bay

Hostel

  • Arts Factory (the inbetweeners movie). You can stay in the hostel in the main building or you can stay in Tiky Huts which are so much better but this is where I learnt what a Huntsman Spider looked like very close up!- Note the staff here are vile but the atmosphere make up for it!

 

Things to do

Nimbin, the only place it is ok to buy weed, hash brownies and weed cookies. I honestly asked a 10 year old where to buy them and he led me to his Grandmother..

Everyone and their Nan sells weed here, it is a hippy town with one road and takes about 20 mins to see the whole thing. It is very , much a gimmick but equally very funny to see extreme hippies welcoming tourists with cookies.

Surf Camps

Dolphin Kayak trips

Light house walk, from the main beach to the light house there is a very beautiful walk which you are able to visit ‘the most easterly part of Australia’ so this means it is the earliest part of the day in that spot!

The Rainbow Temple is about an hours drive from Byron, so we rented a car and headed to Guy Feldmann’s extraordinary love offering to humanity. It is amazing and not a lot of people know about this place, it is one big hippie commune! He has built this huge tree house and the best bit is walking through the cave..I wont ruin the surprise what is down there

Crystal Temple

Brisbane

Hostels

Bunk is very good! Great bar underneath (pictured below)

Nomads private rooms are also rooftop penthouse style rooms with balconies.

Things to do

Lagoon- There isn’t a beach here as it is a city but they do have a man made lagoon which everyone heads to.

Shopping Helllaaa lot of shops and lots of pubs and bars but one place looked amazing which was Prohibition which is 1920’s theme.

Cinema is $6 I think

Day trip to Surfers Paradise, but there isn’t much to do here either! Do not do the bar crawl, rip off and horrendous!

Noosa

Hostels

Nomads. I genuinely think that is the only hostel that Noosa has..

Things to do

 Fraser Island

Surf Camps

You book a package with nomads to stay on Frazer Island for 2 days and to have a night in the hostel either side of the trip I think we booked with ‘Dingo’s’. I met everyone the night before, loaded a small bag into the trucks and set off for Frazer where we where put into 6 cars and drove around the island along a 75 mile beach seeing every thing it had to offer such as SS Maheno Shipwreck, Lake McKenzie, Champagne Pools, Lake Allom, ,Lake Wabby which has sand dunes so take a body board, Indian Head, Lake Birabeen and Eli Creek – Take a floatie!

Note you have to be over 21 to drive on Frazer and have to have been driving 3 years!

Hervey Bay

Hostels

Flash Packers Hervey Bay (pictured below)

Aussie Woolshed

Things to do

Whale watching!!! Between July and October whale season, it is the best thing I have done on the East Coast!

img_6957-2

 

Airlie Beach

Hostels

Nomads/Base, same reception but personally the rooms were nicer in Nomads.

Things to do

Whitsundays – I went on the Clipper which is a 3 days and 2 nights on board which is notorious for being the Party Boat but it really wasn’t that bad. I hate boat parties as I get sick very easily but they do not let you drink too much in the day as you are snorkeling and it would be dangerous for you to jump off the boat drunk. The evenings are filled with drinking games and fancy dress, which I would highly recommend if you want to meet people and get smashed. They have 2 slides, a hot tub and stop off at White Haven Beach which is amazing!  Other chilled boats can do a day trip or one night rather than the 2 nights on board with the Clipper.

You are not allowed to take zip bags on board due to bed bugs, only draw string bags. They say there is a limit on alcohol but there isn’t, you are not allowed bottles or red wine, so stock up on goon or as much as you can carry and you can put it in the fridge.

Hamilton Island – Which is a Millionaire island.

 

Magnetic Island

Hostel

BASE, the only one worth staying at. It has beautiful huts with Half moon and full moon parties.

Things to do

Barbie Cars! Literally why most girls go here

Hike up some massive hill to see wild Koala Bears

West Point to see the sunset, dont get caught taking a barbie car otherwise it is a $200 fine, lol

Drink

Geoffrey Bay to see wallabies!

Cairns

Hostels

  • Gilligan’s backpacker Hostel is a party hostel with great rooms. The hostel is huge and the rooms on the 3rd floor have TV’s and every room has a balcony which most people party on.
  • Nomads hostel is further out of town with a free bus every hour to and from town, I can’t not mention this hostel as I lived and worked there for 6 months and met some of the most amazing people there. It is no where near as convenient as other hostels in town but it’s a lot cheaper and more chilled out.

Things to do

  • Waterfalls!! -Crystal cascades is the closest with moderate hiking involved.

Uncle Brian’s tours- this is a day tour of all the local waterfalls such as Babinda Boulders, Milla Milla (herbal essences advert and where Peter Andre filled mysterious girl) Josephine Falls, Devils boulder, Lake Eachum . These waterfalls are all relatively close by so me and 20 friends rented cars brought some BBQ food and split it and it came To £3 each!

  • Great Barrier Reef!! This is a once in a life time opportunity so I say go big and do the most expensive tour. I did and it was amazing, 2 dives and 1 snorkel with a huge buffet breakfast and lunch!!

I wouldn’t recommend doing the helicopter tour here as I have herd it is better in Airlie beach as you get to see the heart shaped reef.

  • Cape Tribulation – there are many tours here which is much further north with lots of crocodiles. It’s much more jungle with beautiful beaches which I did in a day in our own car. Note the car was a 4×4 as there are many dangerous roads and animals up there.
  • Nandos! Also has a great Chinese food court which is super cheap.
  • Woolshed!! The only bar it is encouraged to get on top of the tables and dance until you fall off. I lived in this club and loved every night out there! Also does great food in the day!

 

Hiring Cars

There are lots of companies which you can hire cars from but we found one way which required very little money. Relocation cars are a popular way to get from city to city without huge costs. You type in what city you are wanting to start from and end up and they find cars/camper vans which need to be driven back to that city. For example we were in Brisbane and needed to get to Melbourne so we applied to this website –>Transfer Car and within a few days they responded with a camper van which needed returned to Melbourne. It has a time limit so we had 5 days to get there so we took a detour and did the Blue Mountains on the way down and had a great road trip! I would highly recommend this method. You do have to pay a $2000 insurance bond up front which they return into your account once you have returned the car.

Farm Work

In order to get your second year visa you will need to do 88 days regional work on a farm. This never actually takes 3 months, it takes much longer so I would highly recommend doing your farm work as soon as you get to Australia as it took me 4 months due to a bad season or weather problems. You do not need to pay an agent to find you farm work, this is a con. You will probably need a car in order to do farm work as you will have to get there and probably to work every day.

If you’re in Cairns AVOID EZZY LIKE THE PLAGUE. She owns a shop called Adventure Cairns and Beyond and she is a con artist/Witch who scams people for cash to place them, when the doesn’t have anywhere to place you and if you try and argue with her, she will tell the whole town you threatened her and tried to burn her shop down lol told you, witch!

Good farm work is hard to find, most places pay by the bucket, so you have to work hard to earn money or other places are working hostels which place you at different farms on different days. Being paid by the hour is extremely hard to find!! The problem with being paid by the bucket is work is not guaranteed, most days they will only ask for boys or will only have space for 3 people and it is who ever is ready first gets a days work. If you work on one farm continuously then it is 88 days ( most farms count 5 working days as 7) but if you are at a working hostel on different farms then it is 3 months pay slips you will need to provide for your second year visa. Only 1/4 people get asked for evidence when applying for a visa, I have friends that didn’t do farm work and still got a second year visa, where people on my farm where investigated and eventually given a visa. Every one is different, every country is different so don’t listen to all the rumors about more English people get investigated because we don’t.

Research your farm!!! It is worth checking out the Harvest Guide to see which fruits are in season in which areas in this link here –>Harvest Guide I did blueberries which are easy to pick but it is a known thing Banana’s are very hard and those farms tend to only hire boys as ‘Humping’ takes a lot of physical strengthen as well as spiders and rats that  are dropped onto your backs. I have friends that also joined many Facebook groups and wound up at a Puppy farm! She had to look after puppies for 3 months! Loads of people post jobs/info on Facebook pages such as ‘backpacker jobs in Australia’ or the most popular ‘Australian Backpacker’.

My farm was amazing, I was paid by the bucket but I had the best time ever! I worked at Mountain Blue Farms in Tabulam with the closest town being Lismore, which is close to Byron Bay, for more info on this farm click this link Mountain Blue Farm. There was 800 people on my farm and I lived at the closest hostel to the farm which was called Tabulam Backpackers.  There are different jobs on this farm, they are Packing shed (Hourly rate) boxing shed (Hourly rate) Supervisor (Hourly rate) Driver (Hourly rate) and Pickers (paid by the bucket). This was by far the best place to stay at! With 100 of us living there you have an option to either stay in cabins ($156 a week), camp with power or without($70-$110). I paid slightly more to stay in a cabin with 7 other girls but I had my own bed, fridge, wardrobe and mirror! It was so good! The hostel is clean and safe, always has clean water to drink and hot water in the showers, there are 2 kitchens with one sofa room with hundreds of DVDs and cooking space where everyone hangs out. They do have wifi but it is not that great, but its nice to be off the grid. There are other hostels around but none come close to how amazing Tabulam Backpackers is! The Hostel owners Brenton and Rose care for you as if you were their own children and always help out when they can, they put on free BBQ’s and games which include everyone. The nearest town was Casino which was an hour away where you can get food shopping and wifi! This farm is not accessible without a car. We had 2 cars between 6 of us which came in very handy when one broke down. There are so many thing to do here like go for a swim in the lake, jump off cliffs, chill in the hammocks and go to some amazing Bush Duff raves. House parties in Tabulam are the best!

Farming is hard, It can be horrendous, it is hot, it is exhausting and some times you can be working your arse off but there is always an Asian who is 5 rows in front of you. You start off broke and hear stories of people saving thousands of dollars and It can kill your spirit and when everyone has a bad day it is really felt within the hostel. People see you from the minute you wake up to the minute you fall asleep, they see you at your best and worst. You can be sweating your life away, dirty and pissed off and be surrounded in a group of 10 people who are all in the same boat. These people become your family, they become your life. You notice when someones having an off day and evenings are spent talking for hours because you cant sit there on your phone. You actually get to know people through and through. It can feel like you have known these people your whole life and you wonder how you coped before without them. Friendships become stronger, relationships are put to the test and come out stronger than ever and yet you will never forget the time you spent on a farm!

What you will need for farming

  • Probs a car or befriend someone that does! A lot of my friend rented a car called Spaceships which seemed reasonably priced.
  • You will need Trainers, hats, long sleeved tops, sun cream and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and defiantly an iPod/spotify account you can access without internet as picking for 6 hours a day can be hell when you have no one to talk to or music to get through the day.
  • You will need to have an Australian Bank Account which you will be paid into. You will need to stay in once place for atleast a week as they send you your card and info via post
  • You need to make sure you have opened a ‘Superannuation’ with your bank account which is basically a pension your employer pays into. You are able to get your superannuation back once you leave the country for good and as for tax..the laws have changed so its pretty messed up.. I think you don’t get this back now.. but I could be wrong!
  • Tax File Number
  • Your Visa Number
  • First Aid Kit, I got bit by spiders, ants, mossies and cut my foot on a rock in the lake. Trust me you will need one!

 

Medicare

I can not emphasis this enough PLEASE SIGN UP TO MEDICARE!! I had 3 surgeries and one dislocated knee and I did not pay a penny! Their health care is so good and it is free for us Brits to use it so please please please register for it as it could save you hundreds of dollars if anything happens to you. Before one of my ops a German boy had been admitted to A&E after getting a Pool Que in the eye and he tried to leave after a long wait and he was billed around $800 for just being admitted. DO NOT BE THAT PERSON!

To be eligible for Medicare you must:

  • be ordinarily resident in any part of the territory of the United Kingdom immediately before arriving in Australia

Documents you need to enrol in Medicare

British citizens need to provide 1 of the following:

  • a current British passport – includes those issued in Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey
  • a Northern Ireland passport

If there is evidence you weren’t a UK resident before arriving in Australia, you must also provide 2 or more documents to confirm your residency in the UK.

Non-British citizens need to provide a current non-British passport and 1 of the following:

  • a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with the initials UK
  • a National Health Insurance Medical card if you’re from Great Britain or the Isle of Man
  • a Health Service Medical card – Northern Ireland
  • a certificate issued by Social Security Committee of the States of Jersey
  • Proof of Insurance issued by the Guernsey States Insurance Authority or other proof of residence in the Bailiwick of Guernsey,
  • 2 residency documents

Your entitlements

Eligible visitors from the United Kingdom, including Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Northern Ireland can access:

  • Medicare benefits for medically necessary out of hospital treatment
  • medically necessary treatment as a public patient in a public hospital
  • prescription medicine available under the PBS – at the general rate

Period of cover

You’re entitled to Medicare from the day you arrive in Australia to the day your visa expires.

Students

If you’re in Australia on a student visa, you’re eligible to enrol in Medicare.

 

Everything Medicare related can be found here.

HOMECOMING

Sunday 12th February 2017

So of course I couldn’t plan a surprise without a little help and MC planned everything! He was picking me up and had told Ellie and Jess (Adopted sisters) that they were having dinner so they would be home and ready. I landed and I met Olly’s family for the first time which was extremely nerve racking as I didn’t exactly look my best after been travelling for 48 hours and I wanted to make a good impression but also just wanted to hug MC! I also got surprised with Tracy at the airport!!! I can not express what it feels like to see a familiar face after 15 months of being apart. Also having my first Costa in a year felt soooo good. I was so excited but it was bloody freezing!!! We made a stop to pick up Holly as I needed my photographer to capture the big moment and we all arrived at Jess’s new flat which I had never been to before so me and Holly had to hide while MC and Tracy went inside, leaving the door unlocked. All they told me was when I get in the door, turn right so in the video you can see my confusion when I am confronted with a wall..anyway watch the video to see Jess’s utter disgust that I have come home when she is ill and doesn’t have make up on. SHOCK!! It was the best thing ever!!! I have pictured this moment for months on end and I finally did it!! And she had no idea!! I bloody did it!!! Next person on my list was my mother, but I couldn’t see her till the following Friday, so it was time to lay low in North London!

​We said goodbye for the first time in weeks and it didn’t feel right!

MY JEWOOOOOO

 

Of course the first thing I do the next morning is go to tesco and buy the meal I have missed the most. A TESCO MEAL DEAL!!!!

​Once Muma bear and Dawn were surprised it was all a matter of how many people I could get. Thankfully Jess had made plans with Ollie and Callan before she even knew I was coming home so they got it next. Ollie tried to walk straight passed me and then realised and started shouting in the street, while Callan was jumping around and nearly knocked a bystander out cold. This was the best surprise due to sheer volume and excitement haha So good to catch up with these two and them meeting the new Olly in my life.

 

Just so happened my Dad was also back from Trinidad that week and I got to spend some time with him in London! Going to places we can both eat at now I am not fussy anymore.

Seeing Best friends from Travelling like no time had passed made the travelling blues bearable. It is so revealing having other people to talk to about how hard it is coming home. That and seeing them in normal clothes, in a city getting drunk! 

I have missed my muma more than I realised!

And coming home to my adopted family, the ones and only THE COHENS!!!! My favourite people in the world!!! Getting to see them all, feeling like its been ages but at the same time feeling like it was only yesterday we were all sat around on a Friday night laughing at one of Phils one liners!

Being back with this one.. I don’t think words can even being to explain what it is like coming home to your best friend. It is like putting on those old shoes you love and fit you so well. Everything just works, she knows me better than my self and it is just easy! It is like being with another, less funnier, version of my self. That and for once in my life I am browner than her! HA!!

Being home and not living with Olly will be difficult as we have been together for months on end now but coming home and meeting everyone I have only herd about is going to be so exciting. Doing normal things will be exciting. It is like I know him so well, but we still haven’t done the basic things couples do because I don’t even know where he lives. Coming home with someone is the best thing I can imagine. I would be so much more depressed coming home with no one to talk to who truly understands everything I was going through. Being home is hard and it sucks! I have no money, I live in North London where all my friends live in South and I have no car to go and see them. Its hard coming home, I wont sugar coat things and sell you dreams like I do on Instagram. Being home sucks oh and I don’t have a job which really sucks. But somehow Olly has put up with me the whole time! He met me when I was carefree, fun and brown and for some unknown reason, he still likes me poor,pale and pissed off. 

Travelling is honestly the best thing I have ever done. I know everyone says that but when it is the first thing I have ever done for my self and probably the most selfish I have ever been, I mean it! I loved every second of it. I know I have grown as a person, I know I look at things differently, I know I value my friends and family sooo much more than I have ever done I know I am grateful for everything I do have and I know I am a better person for it. Oh and I also am not a fussy eater anymore and I drink water out of choice!  Every day was an adventure, every thing good that happened is an unforgettable  memory and everything bad is a hilarious story! I have seen some of the most beautiful places on Earth and I know how lucky I be able to say that. If I could tell anyone to do anything with their lives, it would be to travel. You have no idea how big and beautiful the world is out there until you go and see it. It actually pains me when people have what I call ‘ Small town syndrome’ where they think going to the pub every Friday night is living. It is not! Living is jumping in someones car you met that day in the pool, heading to a waterfall you heard about through someone you spoke to in a kitchen of a hostel a few days ago and going and being blown away with how beautiful everything is and how you where so small minded before. I laughed every day, I met amazing, interesting, funny or beautiful people everyday. When is the last time you can say you’ve laughed so much your stomach hurt?  Travelling is life changing, I met the love of my life because we both just so happened to think ‘Fuck it, I am going travelling’. Everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that after meeting some of the most amazing people while I was away and having the most fun anyone could have. I love travelling and I will forever have the urge to go and see new places and see what the world has to offer. Until the next adventure – M x

Unexplored

Phuket.. or Russia?

Friday 3rd February 2017

After leaving Phi Phi me and Olly headed to Phuket for our last week of travelling!  I have been to Phuket with my sister before but not to this part. We had no idea what to expect, all we knew is that we had a week of sunbathing left and not a lot of money! Our final week to completely chill before coming home and of course, no one knew we were coming home.

“The Traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see”

We spent a hell of a lot of time at the beach, where we didn’t spend much money, only on food but the whole area is over run with Russians. It was honestly so strange, everyone on the beach, Russia, menus in restaurants, Russian, road signs to the airport, Russian! We couldn’t escape them! It was like the whole of Russia was on holiday in Phuket on Patong Beach!

We stayed at Dfeel Hostel which seemed like the only decent hostel that wasn’t on the strip of clubs. It was a half an hour walk into town but we didn’t mind waking around and exploring and walking past this beautiful Mosque every day.

I think most backpackers are told about Bangla Walking Street in Phuket..It is similar to Khao San Road in Bangkok, but so much worse. It is like every awful 18-20’s holiday to Magaluf or Zante in one street. It is typical Brits abroad with every age range here getting buckets of alcohol with a lady boy show showing the world how disgusting we can be. We actually filmed us walking down this road and we got approached by about 30 Thai people trying to get us in to the pumping clubs or Ping Pong shows. It is horrendous! If you are coming to Thailand to party then yes it looks great but seeing as I have done my fair share of partying and drinking in beautiful places, this is just awful! Me and Olly still went out down this road and got very very drunk, ended up at Ping Pong Show, catching a total of 4 in my hands and that night is very much a blur but I do remember someone saying ‘you let your boyfriend come to these shows’…hell yeah I did, who else am I going to sit there and rate the fake boobs with?!

 

We found a 24 hour buffet! Food was so cheap and unreal!!!

Could never be bored sitting across from this 😍

Our last night in this part of Phuket we walked along the beach and watched the most unreal sunset!

Old Town Phuket

As the organiser I am, I booked us into a hotel in the Old Town called Hao Hostel. Of course I was so excited about coming home in a few days to surprise all my friends and family I didn’t look at the dates and I checked out of our hostel, got a cab to the other side of Phuket and was confused when the hostel in the old town couldn’t find my booking. I had made us go there a day early…Twat! Will little money left we decided to spend our extra day exploring the old town which I really loved. It was such a nicer part of Phuket and I am so glad I got to experience this part. We were using Trip Adviser ‘Cheap eats’ a lot to save money and we came across this strange burger place which has Sausage Party Vibes.

The Thais sure love their King!

In an architecture shop we found this cute little coffee shop, was so random but I found this article about how the King loved Photography! As there wasn’t many western people around we stuck out like a sore thumb. These cute school girls were doing a project on improving their english so asked if they could interview us. It was all about healthy eating ect and I didn’t really know how to tell them we had been living off 20p toasties from 7/11.

After a crazy month in Thailand it was time for us to head home! I haven’t been able to sleep for 2 days (hence why I look dead) because all I am thinking about is what I am going to say to Jess and Ellie when I see them that night! Our journey home was hilarious as we had not eaten in a day as we got up at 5am for our coach back to Bangkok which took 14 hours and didn’t have any food on board, we then arrived at our hostel in Bangkok and passed out to be up at 7am to get the train to the airport! We of course was late at the airport so Olly has time to go the toilet while I brought the Burger King which we snuck onto the plane which stunk the whole plane out and we had loud Americans behind us shouting ‘Who’s got the burger’ to which I shouted ‘I haven’t eaten in 2 days people!!!’ Our plane was this big new fancy plane which had games, hand held devises and loads of movies. Olly slept and I watched about 5 films and was so excited to land and see MC !

So nearly home!!!!!!

Party in Phi Phi

Monday 30th January 2017

WE ARE GOING TO PHI PHI.. and Olly looks thrilled!We got off the boat from Krabi to Phi Phi and naturally you are harassed by every person waiting at the doc trying to sell boat trips, buckets, shots, somewhere to stay ect. We had already booked Hangover Hostel, next to the tsunami shelter, so we headed there. There are no cars or engines on this island as it is so small but it makes it very unique. I was expecting Thailand tat as the main land seemed to be over flowing with it but I was so shocked to walk through the small alleys and it was so beautiful with boho, indy vibes. The restaurants looked amazing and the clothes shops were beautiful little boutiques.  When we got to the hostel we met the famous Mr Sing! He was the hostel owner who would go above and beyond for his guests. You need alcohol but you’re getting ready? He will go get it, you need info on a boat trip? He knows it. Need food but you’re too drunk to stand up? He will go get you what you need plus a bottle of water! He was honestly so nice! We met a few German people and a few American and we started drinking straight away, trying to get to know everyone and remember names. We went out, got smashed and had a great night! Me and Olly came back and passed out in our clothes on. Oh and no one wears shoes on Phi Phi, I feel like it is an unwritten rule. 

We ate here at Grand PP Arcade which was amazing food! This is what I mean when you do not expect nice places to be on Phi Phi! Picture stolen from Google.Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 18.54.35

The next day we woke up and everyone had already planned to go on a boat trip but we didn’t know everyone when they booked it. But of course Mr Sing sorted us out and got us on it without us paying which was pretty sweet! We grabbed our camera’s and headed off. This is one thing I have learnt travelling which was very hard for me to get over, you have to be ready to go when ever, there is no time to brush your hair or pick an outfit, you just have to not care because no 1 does!

Monkey Beach!

This Lagoon was the perfect place to float and rest the hang over off !

 

I have a hard life I am aware..

The famous Maya Bay

Where ‘The Beach’ was filmedThis place is beyond beautiful but be aware that they charge you 400 Bahh to set foot on this beach. Out of a boat of about 15 of us me and Olly where the only one’s who got off to go explore and get a drink! Everyone we were with stayed on and got high which we didn’t want to do so they told us they would be back in two hours and off they went. 

Slightly concerning to see signs like this but Maya Bay and the whole of Phi Phi were affected by the 2004 Tsunami.

We walked through the island to the other side

My Olive skin Olive.

Deffo going to be my new Profile picture!

I also made Olly get his first pedicure haha he loved it!!!

God we are brown!

Leaving Maya Bay 😦 Leo was right to keep this place a secret..After Maya Bay we stopped to watch the sunset as the next activity was to swim with the night Plankton!

The night swim was terrifying as I don’t like the sea anyway but at night it is 100x more terrifying! But it was pretty cool to wave my arms and legs and see all the plankton light up. Obviously it is not anything like in the film The Beach!

And of course we headed home to start drinking!

On a night out I went back to the Hostel to get something and I recognised someone in the tattoo shop opposite…It was my friends little sister Georgina! Such a small world as I bumped into her brother in Bali the year before! The world seems so big but when you bump into someone from Epsom, it feels incredibly small!

As I am not used to drinking and I am the most dramatic person until you meet my sister, I made Olly pay for us to get into a hotel so I could die slowly in a swimming pool on the worst hangover to date! i just wanted a chilled day and you can not do that in the hostels on this island. Everyone wants to party all the time and we were getting bitten so much in our hostel we paid 200 bahh for the day in the pool with just us 2. Still can’t believe Olly puts up with me..I think he got revenge as that night he made me hike up to the look out! On all the vlogs we have seen talking about Phi Phi’s look out mentioning the stairs and hearing people talk about it only taking 20 mins..after 45 minutes we realised we had gone the wrong way and had taken the much harder, longer route up to the look out. I agreed to do this hike but with the promise I was aloud to moan the ENTIRE way until we got there. Thankfully we got there in time for the sunset and got a seat on a rock and slowly dyed in our own sweat. Was well worth it though!

That night we headed to Banana Bar which has an outdoor rooftop cinema screen and we watch Scully! It was so cool as I have always wanted to go to an Outdoor cinema and I didn’t expect my first time to be in Phi Phi!

All of our new buddies had left the island and me and Olly decided to go on another adventure, because I am such an outdoorys walker these days…

‘Only 5 more minutes’

Did find this cool dude trying to sell us weed who owned this hammock outside his shop!

Eventually arrived at Long Beach which is the other side of the island. The main beach where all the clubs are, is disgusting and you would be crazy to swim there. The other side of the island is for the holiday resorts which you can not get to unless you are staying there. So we found this beach which was one where we could actually swim and sunbathe! A few days of heavy drinking and I was done! I feel like I got all my partying out my system, thought I broke my foot and received over 50 bites and was ready to leave! If you do not like partying and going out, I would not recommend going to Phi Phi. If you do, then it is one of the most beautiful places to get f***cked up! As for me.. I am going to leave it here, contrary to popular belief I am very much alive!

😂😂LoooooL 😂😂​

Krabi

Wednesday 25th January 2017

After having got the 4 hour bus ride from hell back to Chiang Mai, having a quick shower in our old hostel, then jumping on another over night coach to Bangkok, all in which our hostel owner in Chiang Mai arranged, we made it to Bangkok in time for our flight to Krabi! This was mine and Olly’s first flight together which felt weird after covering so much of Australia together and now Thailand. He was useless anyway and fell asleep so I managed to finish of Dexter on Netflix! We arrived in Krabi and took a taxi to our hostel K BUNK which seemed like the best one on hostel world for the budget we were on. Hostel was great, very clean and good food and it had chilled vibes because the party hostel was a few doors down which was great because all I wanted to do was sleep! This hostel also had a cool netflix area with bean bags and xbox which is ideal when it rains! It rained a few days while we were here which sucked but it was nice to just spend some time resting, catching up on sleep and contacting back home and watching films together in bed and planning a bit more of our journey around Thailand. Olly had never seen ‘The Beach’ either and seeing as we were heading to Phi phi next, where it was filmed, he needed to see it! 

Our first day exploring Krabi we made some friends and walked half an hour to the beach in the heat, which didn’t seem that bad considering we were now about that walking life and I now spend 23 hours of the day sweating. We found Ao Nang Beach which was very nice but wayyyyy too busy! Me Ben and Olly walked to the left of the beach to go and explore and see what else was around and we walked all the way to the end which was then just sand and a path leading up the cliff called Monkey Trail.Monkey

We had no idea what this lead to and the only thing I knew is that I am still extremely unfit! This path led to Pai Plong Beach which was incredible..

So if you know me then you will know how obsessed with photography and drones I am. I found a guy with a drone and I got the balls to go over and just completely fan girl him and watch him control it and see what was over the limestone hills surrounding us. It was amazing!! He even took a photo of us all and emailed it to me!  

 

What you cant see because it is dark is the huge cliff in the background, literally 3 cliffs in one photo!

 

A backpackers best friend 20p Toastie!

4 ISLAND TOUR

We went on a 4 Island tour which consisted of me Olly..and 15 Chinese people in life jackets that didn’t leave the boat! First stop Koh Mor and Tub Sandbanks! In low tide you can walk between all 3 islands across the sand banks. We proceeded to take cringe couple photos because we can 🙂 

 

 

Chicken head island 🌴 

Koh Poda

AKA The James Bond island

Bless, him spending so much time with me he does try very hard to get a good photo but he is slowly learning he will never be as good as me! 

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We just chilled, sunbathed and ate the most amazing beach bbq’d corn here! We got given our lunch from our tour guide and chatted to her about how this island used to have inhabiters as we could see remains of houses but the Government kicked them out and made this island a national park so tourists had to pay to visit it. Typical example of how Thailand is being ruined by tourism.

 

Phra Nang Cave/ Princess Cave

AKA Penis Cave

There is a myth that Phra Nang Cave is about an Indian Princess who dyed in a shipwreck..something about fertility and the locals believe that if you come to this cave when you are trying for a baby and give an offering, it will bring you good luck with becoming pregnant! I was outtaaaa there as soon as I knew that!

  

One day me and Olly just walked for ages around to see what else was around and we decided it would be a good idea to walk back through the water, not knowing where the hell we were going or where it would lead and eventually finding this little bit of sand which at the time was just us 2 sitting there watching the sunset, It was perfect!

 

Next stop Phi Ph!!!

High In Pai

Pai is in Northen Thailand, which google tells you it should take 2 hours to get to from Chiang Mai, they look pretty close right?

pai 1

WRONG

when you zoom in you can see why it takes 4 hours to reach, with a huge amount of people unable to keep the past weeks worth of noodles and rice down for. This journey was horrendous and you do not want to sleep because even though your insides are being chucked around in a car designed for 6 people currently holding 16, it is a beautiful drive. If I had more experience on a motor bike and had more time I would of loved to drive this!

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This is Pai!!!

I herd this house was left here as part of a film set, but my wifi availability is unable to tell me which one. We had planned out what we wanted to do and see so we hired some peds and headed off. I have never driven a ped before so this was one of those times where I wanted to do something new and exciting, whilst having my sisters voice in the back of my mind telling me how selfish it would be if I was to crash and die. Either way this was the best day ever!!! The roads in Pai are very wide and not too busy so it was the perfect place to hire a ped and go see some cool stuff. Everything is so spread out there isn’t any other way of seeing everything we did. Our first stop was too Coffee In Love. It has a beautiful look out located next to the film set house. This is also where Lauren crashed her stationary bike into more stationary bikes and cut her knee, bloody hilarious!

The lady who worked in the coffee shop tried to put Lauren back together

Next we headed to the Hot Springs which were about half an hour away from town. The ride was amazing until we got to the national park in which these hot springs are located. If you are going to Pai be aware their are two hot springs, the shit ones and these ones, the good ones you have to pay to enter! The road through this national park is not for the fainthearted and I am pretty sure me and Lauren nearly cried and hugged each other when we got here. The roads are at 45 degree angels, which are not on straight roads, they are on cliff edges so you need to be extremely careful driving here. On all of my go pro footage of this trip I am either crying for Olly because my breaks weren’t working or just general crying for my life. It made the swim in the hot springs that much more enjoyable as we didn’t want to get out and drive to the next place!

Celebrating we are alive after the drive to get here!

 

 The Lands Split

Lands split is basically this poor blokes farm which happened to be above a plate margin and has been effected by earthquakes. He’s gone all Dragons Den and made it into a tourist attraction which to be fair to him, Bravo! He is also one of the nicest Thai men I have ever met, offered every single visitor food and drinks free of charge, only with the promise to tell other people about this place. The food was of course rank but I tried it, because if travelling has taught me anything, it is to try it so when Lauren moan’s I don’t like anything then at least I can say I tried it!

Pai Canyon

This is the best place in Pai to watch the sunset! It gets veryyyy busy and due to my new found fear of hights, get their early! The width of the walk ways varies which is terrifying but it is so much fun. I am not going to pretend that I didn’t get annoyed at the Chinese tourists with their selfie sticks screaming for selfies didn’t annoy me and this would be the best place for a small nudge and that would be the end for them. Lucky for them I was too busy squeezing Olly’s hand too tight and making sure he was 1 step in front of me. I do not know why I panicked so much, I think it was just being so close to death and not wanting to die which let my fear kick in. Anywhoooo more experience or brave people can carry on walking around for hours, or if you are a pussy like me, you can go for about 15 mins and find a spot to watch the sunset. Have to give a massive hats off to Olly and Lauren for putting up with me and my sudden fear of heights!

The moment I questioned mine and Lauren’s friendship and I screamed for her to come back to me but NOPE, she wanted a good picture. 

Managed to find a hena lady who did my hand for about £1

Pai’s street food is incredible, it is the one place I can look back on and say the food was the best thing about a place that has so much to offer and see. We had dinner but then when you walk down this street you suddenly want another 3 meals with a desert. It was sooooo good! We also bumped into a familiar face from the farm Ben..while I was queuing for more food.

 

After travelling together for what feels like forever, it was time me and Lauren would officially part ways.  In the last year we have only been apart for maybe two weeks at the most when I left the Farm before her and even then I was balling my eyes out. Lauren is the most incredible person to travel with, not only is she the most chilled out laid back person but she is always up for a good time, doesn’t matter where we are staying, how much money we have or what we look like, you can always count on Lauren to be next to you..covered in Jelly 😉 She always sees the good in people or situations no matter how horrendous they are and I really respect that about her, I look up to her massively from the way she thinks and views the world. She taught me a hell of a lot! She made me do and eat things I would never have touched without her being there. A Year is a long time to spend with one person; we have seen each other at our best and worst!  She has seen me go through every single mood a human can experience, from loving life and not being able to stop smiling, to being scared and home sick in hospital, she honestly was my rock through.  I am so glad I got to experience honestly the best time of my life with her, making memories I will cherish forever. Not only have I learnt things about myself but I learnt how strong Lauren was a person and I am so proud of her over the past year and I have no doubt in my mind you will go on to travel solo and not get robbed 🙂 haha. Lauren you made this time away what it was, so if you’re reading this I LOVE YOU!

 

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Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

When Olly joined me and Lauren in Bangkok we spent a day planning everything we wanted to do and made a list.. then we made a list of realistic things we could do with the time and money we had together. One thing Olly was so excited to do was to see the Elephants, so I made sure that this was the first thing we did! We traveled north to Chiang Mai because in my experience and knowledge, this was the best place to see the Elephants as no where in this town can you ride elephants. All the Sanctuaries are dedicated to saving and helping the growth of the Asian elephant population. So we jumped on a over night bus, which was great as the seats reclined and we had a lot of space to spread out and of course I downloaded 8 hours worth of Dexter for us to watch! In typical fashion Olly was out like a light and left me to watch netflix on my own the whole journey.

Lauren joined us a day later and off we went to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary! Even though elephants are beautiful and kind creatures, there is something terrifying about a 7 ton animal walking towards you with no intention of stopping. I think you can see the fear in my face in a lot of these photos.

The only time I show teeth.. when I am scared I am about to be crushed and have it caught on camera.

The baby wasn’t too scary..it just had its mum standing over me which is the trunk on the right hand side while the photographer was shouting smile!

Lauren floating in mud and poop!

Trip adviser came in so handy when I got to Chaing Mai. Me and Olly wasn’t on a huge budget but we still wanted to experience nice restaurants and food, so with the ‘cheap eat’ filter on Trip Adviser it was great! We found a place called Tikky Cafe which was hidden away down the back streets but it was voted No1 so we had to try it out seeing as it was  cheap eat and it was delicious! Yellow curry plus sides and drinks for about £2! Would highly recommend!!

Me and Olly went to a lady boy show, because when in Thailand, and after we were wondering home looking to have one last drink before bed and found a food park called Ploen Ruedee night market which was really cool. It was hipster vibes with food trucks all around and a DJ which we found just by chance, would definitely go back if I wanted a chilled night out!

Lauren of course found a bar called HTC which was pretty cool.

On mine and Olly’s list of things we wanted to do was the White Temple, so we asked our hostel owner who was a hilarious old Thai man who just wanted to help travelers as much as he could and he found us this trip which included heaps of things along the way and for a good price. The White Temple was slightly more north so we jumped in our mini van for the day with what we were expecting a tour group of tourists.. but turned out to be just us with a Chinese speaking guide. Bless his soul he tried so hard to answer our questions with his translating app and limited English speaking skills. But it was great we got to lay down in the bus and sleep the whole 4 hours to our first destination which was the Natural Hot Springs.

Then we arrived at the INCREDIBLE White temple. This temple was built by a Thai artist called Chalermchai Kositpipat who didn’t want to be influenced by religion and politics Wat Rong Khun, perhaps better known as the White Temple, is a contemporary, unconventional, privately owned, art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai. He wanted to portray his art as ‘ you have to go through hell to get to heaven’ which is shown in the walkway of hands, representing things holding you down, leading onto Heaven which is the temple its self. Inside we weren’t allowed to take photos but the back wall was meant to show hell so it had Osama bin Laden with George Bush riding a nuke, evil super heros and well known figures being conqured by the hero’s such as Spider man and Pikachu, yano normal temple shit.

The tour guide became our personal photographer for the day. And yes.. I did wear white for the photo purpose of the day!

The detail among the grounds were amazing

We brought a heart and signed both of our names as it is meant to bring good luck and hung them on this.. thing above us!

Next we went to the Blue Temple which was built by a student of Chalermchai Kositpipat.  The blue color represents the Dharma, the Lord Buddha virtue code of moral that spread all over the world becomes the doctrine of logically naturalistic as the bright blue sky. This temple displays the contemporary Buddhist art that implied the Lord Buddha ‘s doctrine.

Such a good photographer he turned out to be!

We then went on to some Chinese styled temples and this mamouth of a land mark. If you have good eye sight you might be able to see the bindi spot.. that is where the next photo was taken!

From here I am going to travel even further north, to Pai! I have been looking forward to this ever since I landed in Thailand and I cannot wait to get there!..Even if it is 5 hour bus ride with 762 turns in the road. Great.

Back with a bang in Bangkok 

So after an incredible time in the Philippines and a  tearful goodbye to my sister and Aimie it was time to get on another plane on my own and head for Bangkok! I couldn’t wait to be in Asia again and most importantly meet up with my travel buddie after just over a month apart. When I landed I was welcomed by Miss Quinn with my own sign, rewind 12 moths prior and it was me holding up a sign in Bali expecting Lauren’s arrival from London to Bali. I was so happy to see my little munchkin again!!

Lauren had everything planned down to a T! She helped me with my bag, put us on a train and off we went into the heart of Bangkok into a hostel she had booked for us called Coop Hostel. It was right next to the train station, clean and cheep which is hard to find in Bangkok! So in the fashion of our friendship, Lauren had lots of things planned and exhibitions to see so after a few hours of me getting my head around how many fake Kylie Jenner Lip Kits I could fit into my backpack, we headed to do some fun things and catch up! 

We visited the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre where the exhibition invited you to ‘become the art’. Each stand had pencil drawn instructions on what to do, even thought I tried to sit on the green chair and I got shouted at by secruity. It helps travelling with friends that enjoy photography as me and Lauren spent a long time here, got the perfect pictures and had a lot of fun!

I believe this to be one of the best photos of me while travelling and it doesn’t even have a cliché beach backdrop! Bravo Lauren!

Me looking so artys!

Stole this picture from Lauren, it was a lot better than mine!

The one thing that continued to blow my mind about Bangkok is how the landscapes in between the skyscrapers appear as a mixture of futuristic and run down. This intersection from the high walk way above looks almost futuristic like a scene out of the films Divergent but still with the dirtiness of Thailand. Its hard to believe the capital looks like a concrete jungle and only a few hours in either direction is beautiful Jungles or Beaches. It is a very different experience to stay in Bangkok.

Jim Thompson’s House

If you are reading this and you are from my hometown in Epsom, you will know there was a beautiful Thai style pub called Jim Thompson but I didn’t realised its significance until I came to Thailand and learnt first hand how much of a big deal Mr Jim Thompson was, or even who he was!

Jim Thompson was a American architect who was sent to Asia in WW2 where he fell in love with Thailand and moved there permanently. Thailand famous but long neglected industry of hand weaving of silk, captured Jim Thompson’s attention and he devoted him self to reviving the craft. He combined six teak buildings which represented the best in traditional Thai architecture and his own western influences to create his new home. Time magazine claimed he “almost single-handedly saved Thailand’s vital silk industry from extinction. In 1967 He went out for a walk in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia when he mysterious disappeared and his body was never found. It sparked the largest land searches in South East Asian history and remains one of the most famous mysteries in the region. After his disappearance his home and antique collection has been open to the public, showing his love of Thai traditions mixed with American influences amongst headless sculptures which pirates cut off to see if they had gold in them. It is beyond beautiful and definitely better than the pub in Stoneleigh! FYI Silk worms are gross!

At the house was also an exhibition called ‘The Game’ by two twin brothers and artists called the Le Brothers. They were expressing their childhood memories through photography and videos, having grown up in Vietnam through a difficult, confusing time. 

Laurens first Tuk Tuk !

The Grand Temple

It is a must see in Bangkok but be prepared, its bloody hot and a very respectful place so you have to cover up your shoulders and knees. As Olly learnt that ripped jeans are also a big No No in the Palace. We also got asked to show photo ID as we entered the grounds which we aren’t sure why. It costs 500 Baht to enter and I advise trying to get an English talking guide. We did witness a queue of Thai people which looked about 6 hours long and we learnt they are queuing to see the Kings Remains as he passed away 100 days before we arrived. The death of their king hit the country extremely hard (worse than Lady Diana) and you could be put in prison if you wasn’t seen mourning the king for up to 12 days after his death. 

Hor Phra Grand Hararat– Created by King Rama IV, the Buddha image is believed to contain magical powers for invoking rain and is worshipped for agriculture purpose.

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha- (Big arse gold building).  This is commonly known as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram in Thai or Wat Phra Kaew, it was built 800 years ago and has the unique aspect of the royal temple such as this as it is the only temple in the grounds that doesn’t have living quarters for the Buddhist Monks. 


The Demon Guardians- Six pairs of them standing at the gates of the gallery. Most of them face the chapel of the Emerald Budda, guarding it from evil spirits


I have to include some of Lauren’s amazing photos on here too of the palace.

The Grand Palace its self was established in 1782 and contains royal residence, throne halls, government officials and the Ministry of defence. 

The Temple of Dawn– Wat Arum Rajwararam most elegant pagoda land mark of Thailand, which is locatd on the west bank of Chao Phraya. 

We hopped in a Tuk Tuk to the Sky Bar which was in the Hangover, but unfortunately we were all wearing flip flops so we didn’t get in!

Birthday Bits in Bangkok!!

I think I ate this.. I cant quite remember..But before that happened, Olly arrived in Bangkok and surprised me by booking us into an amazing Hotel in Bangkok which looked over the whole city and had a roof top swimming pool. The night before my birthday we had drinks on the roof and Lauren turned up with some balloons and some presents! Which was amazing because there isn’t exactly a Clintons in Bangkok you can pop too, She did very well! 

Us three headed to Koh Sang Road which is where everyone backpacker in Bangkok goes to to get drunk as it is a small strip filled with buckets, ping pongs, McDonalds and weird bugs they make look tasty. The road is closed off to cars but somehow a Taxi managed to drive down this road and hit a huge crow of people, which resulted in people mounting the car and dancing on the roof.

I was extremely drunk and had a very good night with my two best friends! I am very grateful I had them there to celebrate my 23rd birthday with me in Thailand, I am extremely fortunate to be able to say I have celebrated my last two birthdays in different countries, first Melbourne and now Thailand!

Olly decorated our Hotel especially for me 🙂 

Lauren HAND MADE me my card and a choker in my favourite colour, the Stone is for healing, which after all my surgeries I definitely needed! I was very spoilt indeed!

After a few days in Bangkok, which felt too long as I don’t particularly like Bangkok, it was time to move onto our next destination. As Olly was most excited about seeing the Elephants, we decided to head north and jump on an overnight coach to Chiang Mai, hence why I look like death in the picture below, tanned, but death.


Philippine Island Help Guide

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There are many beautiful islands in the Philippines and I was fortunate enough to see lots of different islands and do many different things. This is just a brief outline of the route I did and what things there are to do in these areas. I have only marked the islands I visited and I have had many people ask me information about the Philippines so I hope this page helps you. My trip included about 6/7 internal flights so be prepared to travel around a lot! 

 

The Philippines is great for adventure and beautiful beaches but not so much food!

Apps you will need

  • Maps.Me as you can download the place you are in and use it offline however, the Filipino people are some of the friendliest and kindest people  I’ve ever met so I am sure they will help you if you are lost.
  • XE Currency-It is also handy to download a currency app so you can work out how much you are being charged for things.

The local currency is Pesos’s- one thing to note is to make sure you have checked your daily limit of cash with your branch as I had Visa and could withdraw 6000 peso’s at one time where as Master Card could withdraw 10,000. A lot of cash points also don’t like English cards so try as many as you can if you are having problems.

My Route

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Manilla 

I started off by flying into Manilla which is the capital of the Philippines but didn’t stay there till my last night in the Philippines. Believe what you want to about this place as it has got a lot of bad press on the news for the drug related killings but it is no way near as bad as they make it out to be! I’m not really sure what there is to do here in the day because I only went out in the evening the one night I was there. This city is very clean and pretty, a lot nicer than Bangkok!

Things to do

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We went to a secret bar in the back of a 7/11 store which was pretty cool called The Bunk. You just find the secret door the with bouncer, he looks you up and down and decided whether you’re let in or not! Dress code is pretty strict, no open toes or flip-flops!  Location: Ground Floor, RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center, 26th and 25th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. Some more secret bars and clubs can be found in link below.

https://pulseradio.net/articles/2016/08/7-secret-pre-gaming-spots-in-manila-that-you-have-to-check-out

1930414_1589216261400217_8478695057107707755_nWe also went to a rooftop bar called The Penthouse 8747. 1920’s themed and really good view! 

Boracay

To get to the party island of the Philippines I flew into Kalibo and got a taxi, then a boat, then another taxi to my hotel on the north part of the island.

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The best places to go out on the island are at station 1 and 2. We never made it down to station 3 but apparently it wasn’t worth our time. boracay-map-station-1-2-3

Things to do in Boracay

Ariel’s Point – A day trip on a boat to Ariel’s point, with snorkelling, paddle boarding and the cliff jumping.

Spider Bar – A really cool bar at the end of the beach once you’ve walked round the cliff edges and you will find this remote restaurant with a jump off and its own floating wooden raft. Cheap and nice food and a lader down to the sea if you don’t want to jump.img_8650

If you walk from station 1 down the beach towards the other stations there are many good restaurants and  bars which all have seating on the beach with so many fire shows going on around you. 

Cebu

On my first day there we went to ‘Tops’ which is a beautiful look out over the whole city. From Cebu city we got a two-hour ferry over to Bohol for the day. In Bohol there is a lot to do so make sure you get the early ferry over because the last ferry back is around 6pm.

Things to do in Bohol

  • Loboc River tour 
  • Chocolate Hills
  • Butterfly Sanctuary 
  • Tarsier Monkey Sanctuary ( smallest monkeys in the world)
  • Baclayon Church
  • Nova Shell Museum Panglao
  • Alona Beach
  • Danao Beach
  • Hinagdanan Cave 
  • Mag-Aso Falls Antequera
 I then got a taxi south of the island to Oslob where me and my sister swam with the Whale Sharks. I checked prices online and they were charging 6000 Peso (£98) and when we arrived they were charging between 1500-2000 peso (£30) for tourists. Please don’t think they are trying to rip you off charging the locals cheaper rates, the Filipino people earn less money than we do so that is why they have different rates. 
They only take cash and the nearest cash point is about half an hour away. If your card works that is, as certain cash points don’t accept English cards. Be sure to get a locker because all you will need on the boat is your self in your swimming costume and your camera. The boats are tiny so no room to put any belonging. The whole activity takes about an hour in total so it is definitely something you can do in one morning. We were advised to get there in the morning/early afternoon as that is when most sharks appear. Donsol is another area where Whale Sharks can be found.diving-with-whale-shark-philippines

Moalboal

We then got in the taxi again to Moalboal, which is south-west of the island of Cebu. Moalboal is incredible for diving and snorkelling to see turtles, millions of sardines and some great reefs. You can pay to be on a boat as a tour but we had 10 people and we hired a boat with a driver and they took us to the same places as the tours go, just on our time. We left at 6am as this is the best time to see dolphins. Pleasure Principle was one of the nicest places to eat in this tiny town, slightly higher in price than others but worth every penny.
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From here I got a taxi to Kawasan Falls, by far the most amount of fun you can have outside of your comfort zone. 5 girls with 2 guides ( who were 18) in helmets, life jackets, bikinis and wet shoes. The Canyoneering is hard, it is hiking, it is jumping off high rocks into pools of water, it is climbing over rocks and testing your fitness. I cut my knee, I hit my foot on the bottom and my arms were shaking half the time but it is incredible. Save battery on your GroPro for the end waterfall, it takes 3 hours to do this trek down the waterfall to reach the end so be prepared. To do the swing and slide at the bottom you will need cash, to buy a drink or chicken on a BBQ at the top of the waterfalls you will need cash, if you don’t want to do any of this you wont need anything! Lunch/ Dinner is included but it is at a home-stay and the food is..different.

Palawan 

To get to the famous El Nido we had to fly into Puerto Princesa airport on the island of Palawan. Once you arrive here there are shops outside the airport that can book your transport up to El Nido. depending on the time you arrive, you might have to travel in the morning as it takes 6 hours to get there. I stayed at a very nice hotel called Paboreal Boutique Hotel which is a 5 minute cab from the airport.
Kalui restaurant was amazing food, just make sure you book before.

img_8874Two hours into the trip from Puerto Princesa to El Nido there is the Subterranean River UNESCO world heritage site. This is a must see but it is a long trip. It takes about 5 hours from start to finish with all the queuing for boats and waiting your turn due to the whole of China visiting on the same day as you but it is worth it. Tour guide picked us up from our hotel, took us here, then onto El Nido which only takes 4 hours from here but you still arrive in El Nido about 11pm.

El Nido

The bus from Puerto Princesa is horrendous, it is bumpy and not pleasant at all. Make sure you have a neck pillow, plenty of water and snacks! El Nido doesn’t have good wi-fi, if any so this means a lot of hotels and hostels aren’t on the internet in which case you have to get a number and call them. Make sure you make a reservation as this is a tiny town and gets full very quickly! There is also only two cash points in El Nino so make sure you have plenty on you before you get there.

Things to do in El Nidoimg_9006

  • Tour A & C island hoping. These are the only tours worth doing, I booked with Midnight Sun Day Tours and would highly recommend them. Trip includes Small Lagoon, Big lagoon,  Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island,7 Commando Beach, Helicopter island, Matin Loc Shrine,Secret Beach, Star Beach and Hidden Beach. Bring cash for drinks and Canoe’s.
  • Las Casbanas Beach, has the famous island to island Zip- Wire across the ocean.
  • Secret beach, beware of the sand flies!
  • Massage’s and nails are very good here.

El Nido was the most incredible place I’ve ever been too!  

 

Paradise in Palawana

El Nido bound and we landed at Puerto Princesa airport after having the strangest plane journey ever, the picture below is the veggie option for Holly and Aimie on the plane after then ran out of food by the time they got to us, joy’s of travelling! 

On our way to the famous El Nido which looks like heaven but one hell of a journey to get there. El Nido was north of the island only accessible by one road which take 6 hours. This was us sat at Puerto Princesa airport after we landed trying to make sense of what we had to do in order to stop off at the underground river on the way to El Nido, where we were staying in El Nido and tonight and all on free airport free wifi. Stress levels were high! 

We walked outside the airport and found two shops that sell trips to El Nido and stop off at the underground river and return us to the airport a week later for about £10. We booked it all and Holly and Aimie pulled through, as they were on top of finding the best and cleanest places for us to stay and we arrived at Paboreal Boutique Hotel in Puerto Princesa. We booked 20 minutes before we arrived and when we arrived the receptionist was the most welcoming lady who spoke very good English. She helped us with our underground river trip the next day, calling them to double check they knew to pick us up from this hotel and even called the best restaurant in town and booked us a table for that night! We also discovered that all the hotels in El Nido were fully booked and most hotels didn’t have online booking at the wifi on this island was very limited so the owner of the current hotel we were in called his friend in El Nido and managed to book us a night in his hotel!! This was such a good hotel and probably the best night sleep I had in a long time!

Kalui Restaurant, the best Restaurant in town!

Our 7am start to the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River,  which is a UNESCO world heritage protected site. Basically one of the new 7 wonders of the world. It is 8.2km long underground river which thousands of bats taking refugee inside the caves. Because of their Guano (Poop) being the most expensive and effective fertiliser in the world, the government wanted this site protected, not to disturb the limestone or animals living here. The chambers inside this are incredible and it is hard not to open your mouth with amazement but then you are likely to get a mouth full of Guano. The whole thing takes about 5 hours.. but the boat trip inside if only about half an hour, its one long day of queuing.

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Finally reaching El Nido we managed to stay in one hotel (which had three chow chows) for one night, then we walked up and down the beach for hours trying to find accommodation for the next few days for 5 of us as Numra and Steph were joining us the next day and it seemed impossible. We were followed by other backpackers who were looking and they were in groups of two so they had more luck as everything seemed to be full! We came across this, what seemed like a farm and surprisingly they had two rooms available! No WiFi, no water a hell a lot of goats,cats, dogs and cats but at least we had a roof over our head. 

Aimie’s new best friends

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Our first hotel’s view was so colourful, it’s what I imagine the favelas in Brazil to be like.

The small strip of bars, restaurants and shops.

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It looks beautiful and over the year I have been away I have mastered the art of selling dreams on social media but this place actually turned into hell. This lovely beach I thought I could relax on,  and chill and I wasn’t swimming that day due to my back still being bad so I stayed on the beach watching Dexter on my phone while Holly and Aimie went for a swim and I started to notice small black dots on my arms and legs. Thinking it was sand I didn’t move until it started to hurt so I looked down again and these tiny black dots were now red. They were red because they were full with my blood and where biting me. 56 Sand-fly bites..56! I was not happy in heaven anymore.

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Las Casbanas Beach in El Nido!

On this beach about 20 minute cab drive from El Nido, there is the famous island to island zip line. Me and Aimie really wanted to do this but the day we went there the weather wasn’t too great and a lot of people were getting stuck in the middle which dangles you over the sea. As much as this place was paradise I wasn’t about to die on a dodgy wire hanging over the whole beach with lots of people watching.

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Four Island tour (A+C)

The most amazing trip I have ever been on!!! Midnight Sun tours hooked us up with our own private boat and we booked tour A as there was a storm on the way which the coast guard said the conditions were too dangerous for boats to go to Tour C destinations. Tour A and C came highly recommended here and we got to visit the Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shitmizu Island and 7 Commando Beach. Our tour guides were amazing and told us that every other tour company does the same route so we did the route backwards which meant we had this beach to our selves! 

Our crew caught and cooked our lunch for us which was divine. The crew honestly went above and beyond for us helping us on and off the boat, letting us jump from the roof, helping Aimie when she nearly drown, teaching us about the reef and letting us hold onto the side of the boat while they were driving with us still in the sea.

They also had no choice but to become our photographer for the day

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Small Lagoon 

Big Lagoon

Hanging out 

My puppy problem