Ocean Park

on Thursday, 30 September 2010

Today we visit ocean park which is one of the theme parks in Hong Kong, but apart from just rides there is a dolphin show and there are various other animals. We spend most of the day here, and the dolphin show in particular is very impressive. We don’t go on many of the rides, because are tired and Waiyi says some make her sick, wimp! We have some Chinese ice cream which is very icy and wafer thin type ice cream, very nice, but Waiyi manages to knock half of it over on the table. We then meet Waiyis mum and brother for some dinner at a local restaurant. Her mum speaks no English, but her brother is quite good.

New Hotel and Visa

on Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Today, I get up early and go and find another hotel in Causeway bay, it is more expensive and actually too much money really, but is my own room so I am willing to pay the extra. I also go and apply for my Chinese visa, I get a double entry so can visit Guangzhou with Waiyi for her grandfathers birthday, but only manage to get  30day visa because there is a big sporting event in Guangzhou and the Chinese government won’t give out longer visas. This means I will have to come back and get another Chinese visa before my course ends, unless I can extend it, which they said was unlikely. Waiyi is taking a half day, so I meet her at her work and we go and put my laptop in for repair. That night we meet a couple of her friends Manzy Chu and Kingyan, and go for some food at Spaghetti house and then some drinks afterwards in Wan Chai. Chris meets us there for a drink, but leaves quite early. The rest of us stay quite late and get fairly drunk!

Leaving Singapore And Tom

on Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Today, we leave Singapore. I get up late and have some breakfast and we wait at the hotel until we need to leave. Me, Darren and James get the MRT to the airport and the others get a cab including Tom. I am leaving from a different terminal and have to get a bus, so I don’t see the others before leaving. Mine and Tom’s trip is over after nearly 7 months together! I wait in the departure lounge by myself and realise that now I am by myself again and am a bit apprehensive about my course and how easily I can get a job in China. The flight is four hours and unfortunately I don’t have my laptop but manage to read and listen to some music to get through the journey. The flight is slightly delayed but I get extra leg room again and again Tiger airways are great. I arrive and Waiyi is waiting to meet me, we get the airport express to Fortress hill and I stay at the same hostel me and Tom did the last time we were here. The dorm is full of some weird people this time though. There is a Chinese looking couple with loads of luggage sharing a single bed and look like they have stayed for months and also two other guys who also look like they are living there, one of which is covered in tattoos and is rolling a joint, he has all the latest Apple products though and says he is on a business trip meeting other Apple employees. The bed is very small and I decide I won’t stay there after this night, the dorm is $140 a night which is a fairly good price for Hong Kong, but I can’t stay here two weeks! Me and Waiyi go for a late nigh steak at a place across the road which is ridiculously cheap and we see a apparently famous Hong Kong actor there.

Sentosa And Raffles

on Monday, 27 September 2010

Today we visit Sentosa in the morning, which is an island of the coast of Singapore, which is basically a huge theme park. But after arriving it starts raining and we can’t do anything so head back to the hotel. That evening they have decided to visit Raffles bar, apparently a famous bar in Singapore but I had never heard of it. I have no smart clothes and apparently the dress code is quite strict so decide not to bother and will stay at the hotel. They are going out afterwards though, so I decide I will come along and just wait for them to have their Singapore sling. When we arrive, they don’t seem to mind I am in shorts and flip flops, so I decide to go in. The bar is just like being in a Wetherspoons, but with tons of monkey nut shells on the floor. Pretty disappointing! We have one drink, I have a Singapore sling, just because that is what you should have I guess, in fact it is actually quite nice, but is very expensive, so we just have the one, before going to Clarke Quay. We get there and have quite a few drinks and get a bit drunk!

Singapore Grand Prix

on Sunday, 26 September 2010

Today is the day of the Grand prix, we end up arriving at about 3:30pm, it is absolutely packed. We manage to catch a Porsche race before the grand prix and the views are not too bad. We wait around for the actual race to start and try to find somewhere to stand about an hour before the race starts, but all the stands are completely packed out and you can barely see anything. If I went again I would definitely pay the extra for some decent seats. The organisers have also restricted lots of views for what reason I do not know, it’s not for safety as they have just put huge sheets up to restrict the views. I manage to find a small gap where I can get some half decent photos of the first couple of laps, as seeing anything let alone getting a photo is near impossible at any of the small stands. We try and climb a tree, but find it is absolutely covered in huge red ants and are quickly escorted down by about ten security guards. We have a walk around and find a couple of reasonable spots in our area, one of which is very hidden and the other we have to walk into a fountain. If you want to watch the race, you have to watch it on one of the huge screens, but it is worth going just for the sound, it is amazing, so loud it is ridiculous. We had been told to take ear plugs and I thought everyone was just exaggerating, but if you were standing near the track it was painfully loud and they were definitely needed. Taking photos was very difficult with the restricted views, low light and just ridiculous speed the cars were going.  The only real decent shots were the ones of the cars after they had been dragged off the track. We watched quite a bit in the main square, with some Aussies, there was a lot of booing when Webber forced Hamilton off! We had tickets to watch Mariah Carey, but decided not to bother in the end. We head to Clarke Quay, a pint of Tiger is $22, about £10, so we don’t end up drinking and leave pretty quickly and decide to spend our money tomorrow.

Arriving In Singapore

on Saturday, 25 September 2010

This morning I wake up very early, at about 5am, although i have been waking up all night, I go and try and wash and brush my teeth in the bathroom and then wait for my flight at 9:15am. The flight is about 15 minutes delayed, but after the horror stories about this airline, everything seems perfect and I have no problem, the plane is immaculate and I have extra leg room. I will definitely use Tiger airways again as they are so cheap. The flight is about one and a half hours and we arrive at about midday, Singapore time. It starts tipping it down with rain and I get soaked walking to the hostel. I check in, but the others are not there, so I wait around in reception till they arrive that later. We then decide to go and try and see the qualifying, which starts at 10:00pm, we get as close as possible, but they really have done a good job of not letting anyone who hasn’t paid seeing the race. We go to a few bars, but at £5 a pint, we don’t drink much, although we end up getting back at about 3am. I am really tired, after not sleeping much in the last week. But want to get up early to go do a bit of clothes shopping, somehow I have left my jeans somewhere, so need a few bits. Then we have the grand prix this evening, there are a few other races before hand and some shows, so plan to arrive about 3pm.

On My Way To Singapore

on Friday, 24 September 2010

Today I am going to Phuket by bus and then I fly to Singapore tomorrow morning. I leave at about 12:20pm, we take the bus first to the pier, a girl is sick and then this makes another guy sick, so we have to sit in this cramped minibus with two people throwing up into plastic bags most of the journey and then get the ferry over to the mainland. From there we get on another bus for about one and a half hours, unfortunately the air conditioning has broken and the bus is absolutely roasting everyone sweating profusely. We then swap busses and spend some time waiting around, they want 300baht to drop me at the airport instead of the town. I say no, because they have to drive past it and it is much closer than the town, another example of them trying to get more money out of you. We get the minibus to Phuket and although we are supposed to arrive at the town about 9:30pm and the airport around 9:00pm, they finally drop me off around 11:30pm. I start to walk towards the airport which is 5 kilometres away, because it is so late I don’t know whether I can find a cab. Luckily just round the corner a cab stops and after asking for 100baht. I only have 460baht and have been told a room at the airport is either 300-400baht. I tell him I only have 60 and he says”Ok”. I get to the airport and in fact there is no rooms here and the cheapest nearby is 1000baht. The information lady suggests I just sleep at the airport, so that is what I will do. I manage to steal some wifi from a restaurant and finally try and sleep at about 2:30am. I only end up getting maybe one hour sleep though.

Thailand Round Up

on Tuesday, 21 September 2010

So after just finishing another week in Thailand. 9 weeks in total! The most spent in any country so far, I thought I’d write what I thought of Thailand. When we first arrived we went straight to our muay thai training camp in Phuket. Here we spent three weeks training and other than that did not do too much, apart from a few trips to the cinema ad the beach. These three weeks were hard work, I would probably say even more so than the trekking in Nepal, because at least there we had amazing mountains and scenery to see. After a few days, I could tell the actual fighting was just not interesting me and it became just a way to lose some weight and get fit. In hindsight though, I personally just didn’t put in the effort I should of, maybe because it was not interesting me, or maybe I just didn’t give it enough of a chance. So after the training we went to Koh Pha-Ngan, this was a party island and personally I didn’t really like it. The full moon party was massive and a good laugh with friends, but staying on the island at least in Haadrin is not nice. I later find that there are some unbelievably nice areas of the island as good as any of the others we visit, perhaps even the nicest beach in Thailand, just so completely different from the party area in the south, I couldn’t believe one end of the tiny island could be so much different to the other. At this point we only spent one night on Koh Samui, so didn’t really have a chance to see what it was like. Next we went to Phi Phi, I had been expecting a paradise island, and although the the small island of Phi Phi Ley was very nice! The main island was dirty, as was the beach, with just a few bars on the beach. It was a huge let down and one day is plenty to just take a longtail to Phi Phi Ley. Next we went over to Phuket, this time we stayed in Patong which is the busier area of Phuket, the beach was surprisingly very nice and it is a very busy place. The main road is not very nice, just lots of lady bars and lady boys everywhere. Next we were up to Bangkok, which was also a bit of a let down, the capital city, but there is actually not much to do and the hassle in Khao San Road was not very nice. After this everybody left and it was just back to me and Tom. Next we were up to Chiang Mai for a few days, but this turned out to be a very nice place, with loads of things to do and also cheap and with a pretty good nightlife. We only had 3 days here, and it was nowhere near enough. You needed at least 1 week if not 2.

After Chiang Mai, me and Tom went back to Bangkok and then went our own ways for the next 10 days while I met Waiyi back down south on the islands. We stayed at some very nice hotels, for a comparatively cheap price to a hotel in the UK. Even though I had visited a lot of the islands already, we managed to fit in things that I had not done before with the other guys.

Later I would return to Koh Samui for a week with Adam and after only spending one day here last time, found it to be one of the best places in Thailand. I could spend a long time here. In the end I actually started to quite enjoy Thailand and after you get over the seediness of it, there are some really fun places and some excellent beaches, I would love to go back in the diving season to spend a few weeks diving around Thailand!

Another Late Night

Today, we wake up late again, we meet one of Adam’s friends who lives on Koh Samui and go and get some food at a Mexican restaurant. We then go out and play some pool, this time finally managing to win some games, and end up staying there for about 4 hours and having quite a few Changs.

Another Wasted Day

on Monday, 20 September 2010

Again today we don’t do much get some food and recover again. Have a look round the local street for some clothes and things to do, but everything seems to cost quite a lot of money and the diving doesn’t sound great, unless you go far away, which costs a lot of money. We go out that evening for some more pool and some beers.

Wasted Day

on Sunday, 19 September 2010

Today, we get up late and just chill out at a beach side restaurant and take advantage of some free internet. We don’t do anything else and just spend the whole day recovering from the night before. I feel dreadful! We go out for a cabaret show that night, which I have to say I found a bit boring, but was funny nonetheless. We played a bit of pool in a bar, with the usual hassle from some bar girls, one of which must have been on something and looked like the crazy frog and was very hyperactive, until she managed to get some old bloke in the bar and we just watched in disgust while playing pool, while trying to spend as little money as possible on drinks. There was also some old guy, probably in his 40’s with some young Thai guy, who can’t have been older than me. Thailand really is a weird place.

Back In Koh Samui

on Saturday, 18 September 2010

This morning we leave the pier area and decide to head to Koh Samui. We are up and at the tour office at 8:00am. We get a lift into town and have to wait an hour for a minibus to take us back to Had Yai. From here we get a ticket to Koh Samui, we get a minibus to Surat Thani, which takes four hours, we arrive at another tour office and are told we have missed the bus to the pier by 10 minutes and that we will have to wait till 11pm and get the night boat to Koh Samui, which takes all night or we can pay another 350baht each and get another ferry to Koh Samui. We argue with the women for a while, but are getting nowhere and the women is actual starting to cry. We have no choice and have to pay the extra 350 baht. We get another minibus to the pier and then a huge ferry to Koh Samui, which takes one and a half hours. We share a taxi with a Dutch couple into Chaweng and find a hostel for the night. We manage to find a room for 600baht, which is really really nice and we can’t believe we have got somewhere so nice for this price. We go out and get some food and end up staying out late having some beers and playing some pool.

Malaysia Round Up

on Friday, 17 September 2010

We have not ended up spending much time in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur has very little to do apart from the Petronas towers and we only spent some time on one of the islands, which was also fairly boring and after we had been told it was paradise by some friends we where expecting a bit more. Maybe we had been to so many beaches in Thailand it just felt like more of the same. If you like beaches it would be great.

Back To Thailand

Today we have planned to leave the Perenthians, last night Adam has said that some were talking about not leaving and staying. But the plan is still me, James, Tom and Tim will leave. My alarm goes of at 7am and we all get up, apart from Tom who is in bed with all his clothes on, including a jumper, he is really ill. James also decides he will stay another night and therefore just me, Tim and Adam leave. We get the 8:00am speedboat over to Kual Besut and then share a taxi to Kota Bharu for 60 ringgit. We arrive at the bus terminal and check the busses but they say that because of the religious holiday, all Muslims are travelling around and as the country has a very high Muslim population, everyone is travelling. We decide to instead get a  taxi to the Thai border and then a bus over to the port and a boat to Koh Lipe. We arrive at the port at 6:30pm Thai time and find there are no more busses and the speedboat to the island is 900baht return, which seems ridiculous considering it’s only about 40km and you can go to Singapore for the same price and that must be at least 1500km. We have some food and discuss our options. Me and Adam think we will go to Koh Samui again for another full moon instead, as it just seems way too expensive. We will think about it overnight and decide in the morning.

First Dive In 6 Months

on Thursday, 16 September 2010

This morning I am up at 7:30am for the diving, I wake the others up and we go and get some breakfast down on the beach. I am a bit nervous, as I have not dived for 6 months and am not sure if I will be able to remember everything. Our gear is set up and we have to give it a check over, I just watch the others to get some idea of what to do. We stick all the stuff in the boat and head to the dive site, picking up another diver from the other island on the way. We arrive at the dive site called Pinnacle, which is a triangular shape rock that just about sticks out of the water and at the deepest point is about 25m. We get our gear on and get in and go down with the guide, there is us 3 and one other guy on a pleasure dive who is a divemaster, his name is Felix and he is German. He has all his own gear and an underwater camera. We go down circle the rock a couple of times, James runs out of air near the end and ends up sharing with Felix and Taco surfaces a few minutes before the rest of us as he is also out of air. We get back in the boat and head back to the dive centre, we strip our gear and fill in our log books. All finished by 11:00am. The rest of the day is spent relaxing on the beach. Tomorrow morning we will all leave. James will go to KL and the rest will either go to Langkawi or back to Thailand. I am unsure whether to go to Langkawi or straight down to KL, but will decide tomorrow.

Giant Turtles, But No Sharks

on Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Today we decide to do the snorkelling trip. We are up at 10:30 and the full day trip starts at 10:30pm. We decide 5 hours is to long anyway, so do the shorter trip, which goes to the main points anyway. Shark point and turtle point. On the trip is me, James, Tom and Adam. To start with we stop at turtle point and there is loads of people, we all jump in and after 30 seconds a huge turtle swims up underneath me, up to the surface and then dives back down. The visibility is not great and only Adam sees some small ones. After a while, they say we will go back later. The next stop is shark point, we all jump in again, with the guys from the boat, it is a bit clearer here, but still not as good as near the beach, for some reason. I spot a small shark, maybe 3 or 4 foot long, but it swims of so quickly, I only get a short glimpse. After about 20 minutes in the water, Tom and Adam spot one or maybe to big ones, that again swim off before me and James can get to them. We spot one other little baby shark, but that is it. It is a bit disappointing not to see the big one as I expected there would be lots and they would swim around us. We then head to one other point, but this is just fish and a little boring. We go back to turtle point on the way back and there is nobody there this time. We spot a few on the surface, one which is quite close, so we all jump in and swim with it for a few minutes. It is huge and has lots of fish swimming alongside cleaning it.  We then return to the beach and sunbathe till dinner. Some guys get some sleep early and some others stay out till 5am. Me, James and Taco are doing a dive tomorrow and have to be down on the beach at 8:30am, so we get an early one.

Got Burnt

on Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Today I wake up at 9:30am. Tom has stayed in the other guys dorm and comes back to our room just after I wake up. I decide to go and have some breakfast and read a bit until the rest of them al get up. Eventually they wake up and they have some breakfast at about 12:30pm. Then we end up spending the rest of the day on the beach and in the sea and trying to work out what to do in the next couple of weeks until we need to be in Singapore for the grand prix. We have some dinner and I walk along the ridiculously steep, unlit path to the other side of the island to use the internet cafe. We should do the snorkelling trip tomorrow and possibly start our advanced open water course, so get a reasonably early night.

More Snorkelling!

on Monday, 13 September 2010

This morning the guys finally turn up, so there is now eight of us, 3 stay at our hotel and the other 3 get a dorm. They drop off all their stuff and we get some breakfast and chill out on the beach. We hire some more snorkelling stuff and go to the other end of the beach where a couple has said they saw giant fish and moray eels. I go out with James, Adam and Tim and after about 45mins I decide to go back because the snorkel and mask are dreadful and there is not that many fish out there. The others stay out a bit longer and come back saying they have seen the huge fish and eels as well. We stay on the beach a bit longer, before getting some dinner and going out for some drinks. I only have one beer, but the others go through 3 bottles of rum before going out and then more rum and beers when out.

The Towers

on Wednesday, 1 September 2010

This morning we are up early to visit the Petronas towers. We get there quite early and there is not too long a queue for the tickets. Most of the early times have sold out though and we get tickets for 12:30pm. So on the way back we visit the other telecommunications tower, this one you have to pay for and is actually higher up than the Petronas towers because it is built on top of a hill. It is quite expensive and we think it isn’t really worth it. We come back and get our hair cut, before heading back to the Petronas towers for out tour. We start by watching a 10minute advertising movie from the company and then go up the lift to the walkway, which is actually only about halfway up the building, so the view is not that impressive, and we only have 10 minutes up there. The film with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones, Entrapment was filmed here. We head back to the hostel and just chill out until we have to leave for the train.