So, I said I’d never be one of those travel bloggers. You know – the ones who return from an extended trip all full of promises to keep the blog up to date, only to let it sink away into obscurity…
Nestled along the Danube, just an hour from Vienna, is Bratislava. One of the smallest and, in our opinion, most perfectly formed capital cities in Europe.
When my Mum mentioned that she was headed to London to get her Russian visa application processed I jumped at the chance to tag along. We’ve only been back a little over a week, but I have to be honest and admit that the post travel blues I was trying so hard to avoid have started to rear their head. The idea of an afternoon in London sounded like the perfect remedy.
Having cancelled our trip to Nepal due to concerns about trekking in monsoon season, we did have some worries about visiting India in June / July. I did tons of research and it looked like if we stuck to our planned two week north India itinerary we’d be more or less okay and even if it did rain, it wouldn’t be 24-7. The predictions turned out to be correct and in spite of a few showers we found that our destinations were fairly monsoon proof at this time of year.
For once in our travels we decided to slow it down when we reached Indonesia. We were considering cramming in many more islands than we eventually managed, but I for one am glad we decided to minimise our itinerary. There is so much to see in Indonesia that you’d need a lifetime or at least many months to explore it anywhere near properly, but really who has that amount of time on their hands!
After the realisation that we weren’t going to make it to China on this trip, we decided that spending two days in Hong Kong would be the next best thing. Although it wouldn’t be quite the same, at least it would provide us with a little taster, and luckily we found that flights from here to the Philippines were pretty cheap which gave us an added incentive to add it to our itinerary.
As I write this we’re sitting in a little cafe in Labuan Bajo, it’s less than 24 hours since we finished our Komodo Island trip and we still can’t believe how incredible our time here has been. In the last three days we’ve trekked on remote islands in pursuit of Komodo dragons, snorkelled with giant Manta Rays and have just generally had three of the most perfect days of our travels so far.
Ten days is nowhere near long enough to see what the Philippines has to offer. I have to start this post with that disclaimer and to admit that after just a few days we were wishing we’d decided to stay and explore for at least a month!
We decided that we had time to spend a day in Manila, as we wanted to see at least some of the capital, and two islands. Initially we’d considered just one island but agreed in the end that we wanted to try and experience a few different places.
We approached our trip to Manila with a degree of trepidation, knowing that it can be a city that poses some challenges for visiting tourists. Many travellers either skip over the city all together by flying to Cebu or Kalibo, or choose to head straight from the airport onto another flight to the islands and beaches. We decided though that it would be a shame not to spend at least one day in Manila seeing what the city had to offer.
Brunei was never one of those countries that popped up on our ‘must see’ list. In fact, before we reached South East Asia I have to be honest and say I don’t think I’d ever even heard of it. When we decided to go to Borneo island, we realised it was just a 20 minute flight from where we were staying in Kota Kinabalu and well, it would have been rude not to visit really.
Arriving in the small city of Sandakan early evening we grabbed a taxi to our hostel and got checked in, ready to plan the next couple of days. We stayed at the Sandakan Sea View Backpacker Hostel and while there are a few hostels on this road I’d wholeheartedly recommend this one.