A Travellerspoint blog

Stop 7 - Koh Samui

semi-overcast 28 °C
View Waite World Tour on carlagregory's travel map.

After leaving Sandakan (and the rain) we caught a plane to Surat Thani and then jumped on board a boat to Koh Samui. Finally some sunshine!!
Koh Samui

Koh Samui

Koh Samui - Boat Selfie!

Koh Samui - Boat Selfie!

Our first three days were spent just out of Chawing at the Free House Bungalows. A beautiful calm beach with not much to do; The perfect location to sit and relax!

Koh Samui

Koh Samui


Koh Samui

Koh Samui

As Lucas's birthday was coming up we decided to change up the location and choice of accommodation so we moved about 20 mins drive across the island to Lamai beach. This beach was quite different and had waves! I have not played in waves like this since I was a child. None of this walking out for 500 metres and still having the water up to your shin a la Rye. It was deep and a lot of fun.

But as the saying goes its all fun and games until someone loses an eye....or in this case their wedding ring! Yep, that's right, I lost my wedding ring and it was my own stupid fault. I had just put sunscreen on, went to join James in the ocean and then decided to get rid of the sunscreen that was stuck under and around my ring. As I'm thinking 'I shouldn't be doing this in the water' the ring popped off my finger, straight to the bottom of the ocean. James and I searched for quite a while but couldn't find it. The waves meant the sand was moving quite quickly and the ring was never to be seen again *insert me sobbing here*

Then Lucas turned 12! I still cant believe that 12 years ago he wasn't here, and now, 12 years on he's almost as tall as me! Where has all that time gone?!? We decided to go to the Pink Elephant Waterpark to celebrate his birthday. After finding a cab who was willing to take us over the mountain we arrived to the 2nd dodgiest water park I have seen in my life (the first being in the Philippines). There were only 3 other groups of people there when we arrived which meant we had the place virtually all to ourselves! This meant no lines for slides, no one else bumping into you on the lazy river ride AND getting the wave pool turned on by request. The slides were a bit slow (I got stuck halfway down a few times but that could be saying more about me than the slide?!) but all in all a good way to kill a couple of hours.

Pink Elephant Water Park

Pink Elephant Water Park

Birthday Present

Birthday Present

Time for a cultural eating challenge! Each Sunday night in Lamai there is a huge market with food and general market stuff eg/ souvenirs, clothes, jewellery etc. We headed down to see what all the fuss was about. Absolute mayhem!! But we did have some delicious food and found a stall that would satisfy the requirements for a cultural eating challenge. We had a bag full off grasshoppers, some black bugs (not sure what they were...) and grubs. Lucas tried all of them and thought they all tasted pretty good; as did Adam. James was not as convinced but tried them all anyway and then complained the whole way home that he was feeling sick. I do have footage of them eating which I will post on here - just taking a while to upload with the slow internet.

And just as I thought I had got out of eating sausages Lucas finds a café called Samui Sausages which apparently serve the best sausages on the island. We head there for breakfast and luckily there were other things on the menu - we all know how much I love sausages. During breakfast the rain starts pouring and unless we wanted to walk in the storm we were stuck hanging out at Samui Sausages until the rain past. Across the road there was a hairdresser so both boys decided to get new hair cuts. James opted to look like Bert from Sesame Street while Lucas went for some type of Bogan with a top knot / 90s undercut. They're super happy with them so that's the main thing?!

New Haircut

New Haircut

90s undercut

90s undercut

Man bun!

Man bun!

Not much else to report on from Koh Samui. We stayed 9 days in total and had a great time. There are more photos to add from Adams phone - will add them shortly so watch this space.

Now, off to Koh Phangan for some more beach time.

Posted by carlagregory 01:39 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Stop 6 - Sandakan

overcast 28 °C
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Out of the jungle and into the Sheraton - feeling somewhat human again!

The weather was miserable....again....seems to be following us everywhere. We stayed here for 3 days and I cant say that I felt all that safe during our stay. I also cant tell if the locals are excited to see white people or they're just taking the piss. I've decided it was the latter as Lucas was being called Justin Bieber the whole time.

One thing you must do when visiting the area is go to the war memorial. Sandakan was home to a Japanese POW camp that held man Australian and British soldiers during the second world war. The prisoners were initially in Sandakan to build an airstrip for the Japanese and conditions were appalling to say the least. The Japanese decided to send 2000 prisoners to Ranau some 260kms away - these were known as the death marches. Of all the prisoners sent to the camp, only 6 Australians survived.

The memorial is located at the site of the POW camp and is incredibly moving, upsetting and beautiful all at the same time. James spent the whole time in tears and I must admit there were a few times when I had tears too.

It really does make you appreciate the sacrifices all these brave men and women made so we can live the life we have today.

Posted by carlagregory 22:47 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Turtle Island

overcast 28 °C
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About a 40 minute boat ride from Sandakan lies three islands known as the turtle islands. Hawksbill and Green sea turtles come here to nest and there is a wonderful program in place to assist the breeding habits of these turtles.

We organised our own ticket directly through the company which is a lot cheaper than organising through a third party agency where you are allocated a guide.

The boat ride out was incredibly wavy and back jarring! You arrive at the island before lunch time, have a brief rundown of the days activities and then are free to enjoy yourself. There is a great beach but due to the weather the visibility was non-existent so the boys couldn't snorkel. Lunch is provided, very basic but so nice to not have to decide where / what you are going to eat. After lunch it is advised that you get some sort of nap in as you could be up quite a long time waiting for the turtles to arrive on the island at night.

After dinner there is a movie about the work the program is doing and then you settle back and wait for the turtles. We did not have to wait very long, by 8:30 we were able to go out and see the turtle laying her eggs. We were only allowed to watch one turtle and she had already been on the beach for an hour before we arrived. All up she laid 42 eggs which is not that many and is probably the last of her eggs for this season. She was a returning turtle to this beach and her shell was about 1 metre long. Quite big!

Once the eggs were collected we then went around to the hatchery to bury them. The eggs need to be placed at a certain depth and buried in a certain way to replicate how they would be in the wild. Also, the temperature of the soil determines the sex of the turtle. The ones we buried were in the "boy" hatchery - this was the shaded side. The "girl" hatchery is in the sun - apparently only a difference of 4 degrees is needed to change the sex.

With the eggs buried we then went to release some newly hatched turtles. Only 1 out of every 100 turtles released will survive. They were so incredibly cute and it was a wonderful thing to experience.

With all 3 activities completed it was off to bed for a 5:30am rise to catch the 6:30am boat ride back.

Posted by carlagregory 22:21 Archived in Malaysia Tagged island turtle Comments (0)

Sepilok - Orang-utans and Sun Bears

semi-overcast 28 °C

About a 15 minute walk from Uncle Tans base camp is the Sepilok Orang-utan and Sun Bear sanctuaries. It is a bit pricey to get into each place but worth doing both in one day. We made the mistake of doing one before going into the jungle and the other after we came back.

Soooo much cuteness in one place! There is a nursery for the smaller Orang-utans to learn life / survival skills and a huge area of land for those who are older and can live on their own. Feeding time was at 10:30; only two orang-utans came to the feeding platform but it was still wonderful to watch.

The sun bears were out and about in the wet weather on the day we visited. There are two viewing platforms where you can watch them. Luckily for us they were playing quite close to the platforms and as we went a bit later in the day (and possibly due to the wet weather...) it was not that busy.

Neither centres take that long to go through so depending on how long you want to watch the animals will determine your length of stay. One morning will be long enough to do both centres.

Posted by carlagregory 22:10 Archived in Malaysia Tagged and - sun bears sepilok orang-utans Comments (0)

Stop 5 - Uncle Tans Wildlife Camp

Welcome to the Jungle

rain 28 °C
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After a quick flight from KK to Sandakan we were off to Uncle Tans wildlife camp on the Kinabatugan River for a 3 day / 2 night package.

To get there it was a drive from Sepilok and a boat ride. After two weeks of heavy rain the dock was just slippery, wet mud. The only person to fall was me so I spent the next three days in muddy pants.

Our boat was the first to leave but the last to arrive as it had engine problems. It was very slow going in the rain and finally we came to be rescued by another boat. We had to climb into the new boat in the middle of the croc infested waters...luckily I did not fall this time.

Finally we arrive and our accommodation was a series of open huts with nothing but a mattress on the floor a mosquito net. Before we left the guide was saying it was not a 5 star resort; James then told me he thinks its only 4 stars as they lost one due to the beds being on the floor.

That night we went out on a river cruise in the rain and saw macaques, proboscis monkeys, buffy owls, kingfishers and a baby crocodile. unfortunately not too many animals were out due to the weather.

The following morning saw a 5:30am start and a jungle trek. It was pouring with rain the whole time so while we didn't see any animals we did learn a lot about the plants and even got to try eating a few. That night we had another night cruise and trek. The rain had finally stopped so there were many things to be seen. James and I skipped this trip but Adam and Lucas went and saw a bunch of animals - pythons, snakes, frogs, proboscis monkeys, birds and civets.

As this was our last night there was drinking, guitar sing-a-longs and card games well into the night.

Even though we didn't have the greatest of weather and we were soaked for 3 days it was a truly amazing experience and a chance to see things we wouldn't usually. This trip is a must see for anyone visiting this region in Borneo. FYI - take long pants, lots of mosquito spray, a pillow and a towel!

Posted by carlagregory 00:46 Archived in Malaysia Tagged river kinabatugan Comments (0)

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