Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Kota Kinabalu- "Not a lot"

I landed in Kota Kinabalu in Borneo's Sabah region in the morning and after checking into my hostel (which was awful) I asked the receptionist what there was to do in Kota Kinabalu, "Not a lot" was her reply. It turned out she was right.

I went for a walk and nothing was open. I found the post office, which was miraculously open and posted some post cards. I then walked along the riverfront which was pretty but it started to rain and also none of the cafes were open.

There were loads of malls in the city but again nothing was open. Most likely due to Ramadan.

I then walked past a clock tower:

I then found the only cafe open in a hotel and sat there for two hours eating cake and drinking fresh orange juice really really slowly so I could take advantage of the free Wi-Fi as my hostel didn't seem to have any. Finally things started to open.

I walked for a while and came across a large shopping mall called Times Square. It had a cinema in it and then i realised how cheap the cinema was (£3 for ticket and popcorn) so I watched wonder Woman to pass the time.

I then walked back to my hostel past the waterfront to find that my hostel was above a bar. Not just any bar but a karaoke bar and it went on til after 1am! I also had to put up with one of the receptionists singing at the top of his voice for two hours!

Eventually it was the next morning and I decided to go to the islands which are only 15 minutes away by boat. I decided on Sapi Island.

It was a beautiful day of sunbathing and swimming and seeing fish close to the reef.

It was also the only time I got burnt!

Afterwards I went to the cinema again and watched pirates of the caribbean as there was nothing much to do.

Kota Kinabalu is a good destination if you want to see the islands and the wildlife but it really isn't worth much time in itself. I found it to be just a typical small city with nothing much in the way of culture but lots of malls, I was a little disappointed in the cities of Borneo but I suppose its all about the wildlife and that's where borneo is amazing! If I were to do this trip again I would skip the cities and just go straight into the countryside and go wildlife spotting!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Kuching- Cat City

I arrived in Kuching in Borneo also known as cat city due to the large number of cats that roam around. I checked into my hostel which was really basic and had no wi-fi due to the weather and there wasn't many people around apart from a chinese family who were really noisy! 

I tried to connect to the wi-fi but no luck so went out to see if I could find a cafe. The only ones I could find were like food court type cafes but I eventually found a decent one. There was a lot of people round during the evening but I discovered during the day it was very quiet as I was there in Ramadan. 

My first stop was a small temple at the end of the street.

I then wandered through the deserted streets and came across cat statues:

and wall art:

and a nice river:

And...nothing else. Yep nothing else, the place was pretty boring. But I wasn't there for the town I was there for the wildlife and the next day was awesome!!

I went to Bako national park to see proboscis monkeys. I had to get up really early and catch a bus to the park. I met an English couple from Birmingham on board and we chatted for ages. There was also a man on the bus that we found really funny. He was from the UK as well and went on about how amazing he was in the jungle and how he does all these treks etc and even had the cowboy hat on too. He was so annoying. 

We eventually arrived at the boats which take you to the park. You can only get to bako by boat and the ride was amazing. We even saw river dolphins. 

We landed on the island and had immediately saw some monkeys and a bearded pig:

we hiked through the rainforest looking for proboscis monkeys and eventually saw them in the trees:

We then finished on a beautiful little beach and had lunch:

We then decided to try out some more of the walks and saw monkeys and odd looking crabs:

We also came across another beach:

The rainforest was amazing with loads of different trails and wildlife about. On the way back to the boat we saw more proboscis monkeys:

Proboscis monkeys are really endangered and you can only see them in Borneo so it was amazing to see them in the wild. 

We then made out way back to kuching by boat and bus and i said goodbye to my new friends and I went back to the cafe I found to use the Wi-Fi and have dinner. 

The next day I went to spot Orangutans! I went to the bus stop early again and met a guy from Switzerland on board. So we went to see Orangutans together. We were dropped of at the rainforest to go see them and hiked up to the main entrance of the Semenggoh wildlife sanctuary. Its basically a part of the rainforest that is looked after by the sanctuary where they let wild orangutans roam about without fear of being killed as they are also highly endangered and can only be found in Borneo too. Luckily for us we found some feeding:

We then saw a mum and her baby swinging through the trees:

We then had to go back to the bus and back to Kuching. The next day i had to get a taxi at 3am in the morning and the hostel said there would definitely be one there as they booked it but it never showed!  I then had to wander round looking for a hotel open at that time to order me one. Very stressful but I got there in time to fly to Kota Kinabalu. 

In my opinion Kuching is boring and is really not worth visiting but the surrounding wildlife was amazing. Definitely worth a visit for the wildlife as that was one of the highlights of my entire trip!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Singapore- Wheres your soul?

I landed in Singapore and met up with the Indian couple from Vietnam who gave me tickets to see the zoo for free!!! I noticed everything was very clean and orderly. It was a bit unusual from the rest of Asia.

I arrived at the arab quarter in my lovely 4 star accommodation again (yes I treated myself again) and went for a wander to meet a girl I chatted to through couchsurfer. We decided on raffles hotel, to order a singapore sling.

you are given bags of free peanuts in the raffle bar and chuck the remains on the floor so the floor is covered in peanuts. It was a beautiful building and the inside was really nice.

We had a great time chatting and drinking our very expensive cocktail and then walked back through the city which was full of skyscrapers and restaurants to my hotel.

The next day I started off on my journey through singapore seeing lots of religious buildings:

and odd looking hotels:

I started off looking at the art Gallery which I enjoyed:

Before continuing on my way to meet up with another couchsurfer:

I arrived in chinatown looking for my new couchsurfer friend called Elliot. I couldn't find him so ended up spending the next 5 minutes shouting "Elliot" at passing westerners too see who would respond. Thankfully on my trip down the escalator I received a response and spent the next 5 minutes both running up and down the escalators trying to catch each other. This was a taster of the rest of my crazy day with Elliot!

We started out in Chinatown where he told me that he was from England but spent the year in Australia. We saw temples:

and ate street food and saw street art:

Elliot loves to talk to random people and we spent a good part of our day chatting to different people.

He also likes to lie!

We decided we wanted to go to the marina sands bay hotel pool area for free. So Elliot concocted an elaborate plan to get us in. This involved him pretending he was part of the robotics convention being held there (he managed to get a hold of one of their badges) and we would just lie about staying at the hotel and try and get up that way.

So we went to the hotel:

And he tried to talk us up BUT... It didn't work 😁 Naturally.

So we went to garden's by the bay instead.

It was nice but a bit odd as its supposed to replace a garden, but it just lacked the outdoors feel.
At this point Elliot and I agreed, this did not feel like Asia.

I got hungry so we went to find food and ended up in Gordon Ramsay's restaurant. I had fish and chips and Elliot had hot lemon water (cause he was determined not to pay for anything, and succeeded eating my free bread and my free cookies for dessert)

Then we headed to the star war themed gardens by the bay light show which was awesome! A light show depicting the entire star wars movie- and it worked!

It then started to rain so we called it a night. It was a really fun, crazy day!

Next day was zoo time! I was really excited!!! I met a girl and her mum on the bus and we chatted about Singapore and how she had been to Britain-to Wales! who just goes to Wales? Well she had and wanted to talk about her welsh experience for a really long time.

We then arrived at the zoo:

The zoo was amazing and one of the best zoos I had been too. There were loads of animals and they weren't caged in so it was more natural then a normal zoo. I'm now just going to show pictures of animals:

There were loads of animals. It took all day to see them! Then in the evening was the night safari. Which is a zoo for nocturnal animals.

There were shows and safari tours and lots to see but unfortunately is really difficult to get pictures of animals at night so you will have to just take my word for it.

In my last day of Singapore I started of at the botanical gardens which were huge.

Then walked along Orchard road window shopping.

I ended up in Little India:

Before heading back to my hotel. I then had a wander round arab quarter before leaving to catch my flight to Borneo.

I did really like Singapore especially the zoo. There's lots to do but it is very expensive to do anything but a nice little stop over. However, it isn't anything like Asia and as it felt too clean and clinical it lacked a little soul.