Big Bad Daily Travel Diary of the World – One Year Itinerary Blow by Blow!

Leaving the UK!

Leaving the UK!21-May-2009 11:12, Panasonic DMC-FX3, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100

“I couldn’t possibly go travelling, I’d get bored!”

When a friend said this to us recently, we were more than a bit shocked. We’d had a cracking time. But thinking about it… maybe others would also think it was boring? Maybe some would find it one big world of pain? Others perhaps others would find our journey the best thing since sliced bread? For us, careering from one hostel to the next, taking night buses to the middle of nowhere and never knowing what insect or animal is going to cause the most problems for that day had both its ups and downs – but overall it was one of the greatest experiences we’ve had to date.

Anyway, to help you make up your own mind, we kept a one liner daily diary of our year away. Hopefully this is useful for anybody planning a similar route and will set some expectations or give some ideas on your own travel route!

Continue reading Big Bad Daily Travel Diary of the World – One Year Itinerary Blow by Blow!…

Gallery: Lots of stone terracotta warriors…could only be Xi’an!

Now there are two travellers to add to the 8,000 warriors...

Now there are two travellers to add to the 8,000 warriors…03-Feb-2010 08:58, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.3, 4.1mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 400

Moving North-Easterly in China, we arrived in beautiful Xi’an. Surrounded by Ancient City Walls but with other travellers telling us there wasn’t a lot to do, would we like Xi’an? Would we see the Terracotta Army and what would we find to eat in the Muslim Quarter….? Continue reading Gallery: Lots of stone terracotta warriors…could only be Xi’an!…

Gallery: Bustling Beijing and Hiking the Great Wall of China!

Eddie, Trevor, Lynette and I about halfway between Jinshanling and Simatai.

Eddie, Trevor, Lynette and I about halfway between Jinshanling and Simatai.08-Feb-2010 08:44, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.5, 28.0mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100

Beijing is the capital of the most populous country in the world and unsurprisingly it is rather busy. With only a week to explore what seemed an impossibly long list of things to do, we were all set for another crazy week with little sleep. We were also looking forward to visiting the fabled Great Wall of China; a feat of human engineering we’d been told would not disappoint! So, last stop in China – did we find our favourite bit of food? Why is it the local’s get absolutely slaughtered at dinner? And why was our train from Chengdu unexpectedly the last train in China we’d ever take? Continue reading Gallery: Bustling Beijing and Hiking the Great Wall of China!…

Gallery: Pandas, Mountains, Monkeys and Wacky People! Could only be Chengdu…

Lynette and I at sunrise on top of Emei Shan!

Lynette and I at sunrise on top of Emei Shan!31-Jan-2010 01:07, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.3, 4.1mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 80

Arriving in Chengdu after a 26h marathon train journey the air was still nippy but we’d slept OK on the train, bar the 0730 wake up call when we didn’t get off the train til 1530. Train snacked out and still disbelieving how so many people eat the giant pot noodles, we were looking forward to more adventures with the sights promised here. Would the pandas prove as cute and cuddly as we anticipated? Would People’s Park show us many crackers Chinese? Would we see more monkeys at Emei Shan? Continue reading Gallery: Pandas, Mountains, Monkeys and Wacky People! Could only be Chengdu……

Gallery: The beautiful limestone karsts of Yangshuo and the Dragon’s Backbone Terrace!

Lynette and I in front of the Dragon's Backbone Terraces.

Lynette and I in front of the Dragon's Backbone Terraces.25-Jan-2010 09:22, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.5, 4.1mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 80

Packs on backs, we’ve arrived in China with a slight chill in the air and lots of rain in our socks. Our destination for the next week is the tourist hotspot of Yangshuo, characterised by huge limestone peaks spearing out of the ground, followed by the Dragon’s Backbone Terrace – a crazy network of valleys and hills swamped in ‘silver ribbons’ of paddy fields. Our timing was terrible, the weather was grey and drizzly, but we didn’t care – we’d arrived in China! Did the rain ever stop? Were the Chinese as unfriendly as we’d been led to believe? Had we said goodbye to our last mosquito? Continue reading Gallery: The beautiful limestone karsts of Yangshuo and the Dragon’s Backbone Terrace!…

Gallery: Hanging in Hanoi and boating in Ha Long Bay!

Entering one of the fishing villages of Ha Long Bay, evidently I'm trying to flap away somewhere...

Entering one of the fishing villages of Ha Long Bay, evidently I'm trying to flap away somewhere…15-Jan-2010 08:52, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 14.0, 28.0mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 100

Having meandered our way slowly North we finally arrived in its capital, Hanoi, our last stop in Vietnam. From here we planned to take a trip to Top Gear’s finishing line, the beautiful limestone peaks of Ha Long Bay. We also didn’t have long on our Visa… and didn’t plan on finding out what happened to those who were never allowed to leave… who is the famous dead body in Vietnam? Would we make it on the final leg into China? Continue reading Gallery: Hanging in Hanoi and boating in Ha Long Bay!…

Gallery: Resisting the urge to shop in Hoi An and Battle History in Hue!

It is only now I chastise myself for knocking at least one more grain of rock from these sculptures.

It is only now I chastise myself for knocking at least one more grain of rock from these sculptures.13-Jan-2010 08:24, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 3.5, 28.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 200

Our final straight in Vietnam had only places left beginning with H – and of the first two to be knocked off one is famous for bargain tailor made clothes and the other for being the site of a major battle during the Vietnam war. Geographic necessity forced us down Vietnam’s famous shopping centre first… just how did we go from planning on buying absolutely nothing to having a $96 shipping bill? What does the Perfume river actually smell of? How does a glass of beer costing just ten English pennies actually taste? Continue reading Gallery: Resisting the urge to shop in Hoi An and Battle History in Hue!…

Gallery: New Year’s Eve in Nha Trang and dallying on scooters in Da Lat

We'd had a few drinks by this stage....seconds after midnight!

We'd had a few drinks by this stage….seconds after midnight!31-Dec-2009 18:03, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.3, 4.1mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100

Christmas shenanigans out of the way, we were moving onto Nha Trang where New Year mayhem would occur. Following the festive period with a bit of plant life at the flower festival in chilled out Da Lat, surely we would cover all bases of cultural, social and natural wonder over the next week? Would we find some New Year buddies to party with? Do glowstick flowers or real flowers make better photo material? Would Lynette get on a scooter with Steve…and if she did, would she survive? Continue reading Gallery: New Year’s Eve in Nha Trang and dallying on scooters in Da Lat…

Gallery: Christmas in Saigon and Moored on the Mekong Delta!

Sitting proud on an American M41 tank, destroyed in landmine in 1970. Also a geocache!

Sitting proud on an American M41 tank, destroyed in landmine in 1970. Also a geocache!24-Dec-2009 05:24, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.6, 6.1mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 400

After a fleeting visit and two extremes of Cambodia we were looking forward to a month in the famous lands of Vietnam. Cautiously optimistic about the country our first stop was the capital, Ho Chi Minh, where we would be spending a hopefully merry Christmas and an excursion to the Mekong Delta. We immediately loved the place, but like all countries it still had its moments. Did we find Christmas dinner? Just how big is a Mekong Catfish? Why on earth would we be ecstatic that Vietnam is an ex-French colony?

Continue reading Gallery: Christmas in Saigon and Moored on the Mekong Delta!…

Gallery: The sombre reality of the Khmer Rouge, S-21 and The Killing Fields in Phnom Penh…

The barbed walls of S-21 detention centre, or Toul Sleng.

The barbed walls of S-21 detention centre, or Toul Sleng.20-Dec-2009 07:34, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 38.0mm, ISO 400

Our sprint through Cambodia continued with our second and final stop, Phnom Penh. The praises of this country have been sung to us by many travellers but the main attractions of the country’s capital are rather more sombre and concern the genocidal years of the Khmer Rouge regime when almost a quarter of the country’s population was killed. To better understand the atrocities that occurred, we were to visit the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, better known as S21, and Choeung Ek – the famous Killing Fields. How did this sinister regime come to power? Why did the world’s leading nations allow it to continue, and even hold a seat on the UN for a further ten years after it was deposed? This particular post is not very cheerful, but it was an education for us and hopefully of interest to you.

Continue reading Gallery: The sombre reality of the Khmer Rouge, S-21 and The Killing Fields in Phnom Penh……