25 Dec 2013

A Destination Christmas On Langkawi

For the first time ever we spent Christmas at the beach and stayed on Langkawi one of Malaysia's most beautiful islands. To get there we took the ferry from Penang on Christmas Eve, relieved to actually have a ticket - in true backpacker style we booked it the day before. It was a pretty smooth transit and took almost four hours.

Berjaya Resort Beach Langkawi Malaysia
"Le beach, so chic!"

23 Dec 2013

Chasing Street Art In Georgetown Penang

After a couple of weeks in chilly Nepal where the weather was getting colder each day we were very excited to arrive in sunny Malaysia on the charming island of Penang. The main attraction here is Georgetown an old British colonial town (now a UNESCO heritage area) bursting with character and colour. 

despicable me minions street art georgetown penang malaysia

18 Dec 2013

Up Close And Personal With Rhinos In Chitwan

Chitwan literally translates to Heart of the Jungle and is a huge national park in South Nepal. It's just five hours by bus from Pokhara and then another five on to Kathmandu, its most famous resident is the One Horned Rhinoceros and we were looking forward to meeting them. There are also Bengal tigers but sightings are very rare but if you head to Bardia National Park just 15 hours by bus in the other direction you should get to see one. 

rhino in chitwan nepal

12 Dec 2013

Trekking In Nepal - Poon Hill

After a few days lazing in Pokhara it was time to experience some of the best mountain trekking the world can offer in Nepals Annapurna range. There were many routes to choose from at varying lengths and heights, the full Annapurna circuit takes about three weeks which was far too daunting for us beginners so we opted for a four day trek to Poon Hill, which is well known for its excellent close up views of Annapurna's tallest peaks. 

Annpurna mountain range Nepal

8 Dec 2013

Lakeside Lazing In Pokhara

After completing our mission getting from India in to Nepal the day before, we were thrilled to wake up in Pokhara and all set for a new adventure in Nepal. We chose Pokhara as our first stop as it's a popular base for trekking the Annapurna mountain range, has the fourth best paragliding in the world and it's a laid-back, cool kind of place by the beautiful Fewa Lake. Exactly the kind of place we needed after a couple of weeks in the crazy bustle of North India's biggest cities. It was refreshing to walk down wide, rubbish free streets and see women working in the shops and restaurants - when we arrived the weather was mild and sunny, perfect!

pokhara few lake nepal

5 Dec 2013

Border Mission - Getting From India In To Nepal

When we booked our tour of Rajasthan we also booked an overnight train to take us from Agra to Varanasi. Varanasi is one of India's holiest towns on the River Ganges, thousands of pilgrims travel here to bathe themselves or burn corpses in the ghats and it's also a popular stop before making your way to Sunauli to cross the border from India into Nepal. We were pretty unprepared about the finer details of getting to Sunauli but basically its a train to Gorakpur and then a jeep taxi to Sunauli. 

Varanasi India

3 Dec 2013

First Timers In Delhi - A Guide To The Travel Agents

Delhi is the starting point for many group and private tours of India and the number of travel agents and touts around Connaught Place is overwhelming. Finding a reliable and reputable agent is confusing, our search for a dream 12 day tour of Rajasthan took almost two days of enquiries and research - thankfully, it was all worth it.

It sounds cynical but you really do need to be wary of scams and you can't trust everybody you meet - be extra careful before you part with your hard-earned cash. Common scams range from being over charged, to handing over your money and never hearing from your travel agent again. Expect to be befriended by persistent touts on the street, in tuk-tuks and even your hotel - their aim is to get you in their agency for a well rehearsed sales pitch. Once you're inside they don't want to let you go before you pay - they will show you 'certificates' from governing bodies, previous happy customer comments, offer you a complimentary driver for an afternoon of sightseeing and even a takeaway lunch in the office. It's all very tempting and their excellent English makes them even more persuasive. 

2 Dec 2013

Sticky Visits The Taj Mahal

On the final day of our Rajasthan tour we crossed the state border into Uttar Pradesh and made our way to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. Having googled a list of the modern seven wonders of the world we realised we hadn't seen any before so this made us even more excited!

The Taj Mahal