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Author - graham

Late Traveller and facilitator looking forward to sharing my travel journey as I backpack around South East Asia and maybe the world.

Airbnb

This time I tried renting an apartment through Airbnb.

It is useful to point out that having had two years of limited travel, with most Airbnb hosts having had no customers, expectations were not high.

There wasn’t a huge choice either.

So, perhaps a lot of hosts were being cautious.

After all, they would have to pay for extra cleaning after each rental and possibly have a gap between bookings due to whatever covid policy/restrictions were imposed in that country.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. Nice clean apartment with plenty of room.

The price I think, was fair, I may have been able to get it cheaper, but at the time of booking, the Philippines had only been open for ten days.

TIP OF THE POST

With Airbnb a lot of places give discount if you stay longer, make sure you benefit. I initially booked for 13 days and they only give you a weekly discount rate, so I lost out and only benefited by one week. Pays to plan well. 🙂

I stayed in an apartment hosted by Chen. https://abnb.me/zbyEcR4n6pb

Situated in Nottingham Building at Camella North Point ( quite apt as the last two years I have been living in Nottingham, England.)

For me, the beauty of this place was that it had a pool. Open most days from 7 am until 9 pm, it gave me somewhere to escape from the midday sun and exercise.

Central to most things, local shopping malls are within a walk or taxi ride. I found a great laundry place opposite the entrance and plenty of convenience stores within walking distance.

Finding a friendly, reliable taxi driver is one thing I try to do in every place I stay. Look after them and engage with them, and it’s worth it.

They will show you places you might not find and the places you must be careful visiting.

Also, as I like to return to places, it’s nice to have a person you can call.

Trust me, taxi or tuk-tuk drivers know where the best places are to eat.

Did You Know?

Airbedandbreakfast was formed in 2008 by roommates who decided to put an air bed on their apartment floor and open a bed and breakfast. I guess to earn money. Shortened to Airbnb, it does not own any property but makes a commission on every transaction.

May 2022

So back in Cambodia and looking to experience the real Cambodia.

I already found a good scooter that saved me from hiring one, and I have worked out that it would have paid for itself after 6 months.

Now to look for a house to rent. I have agreed to share a place with a fellow volunteer/traveller from Canada, who actually stayed in Cambodia during covid and my plan is to stay for at least a year more.

I started by spending time at the farm, where I spent much of my 2019 working and helping Bo Tree become a beacon for Kampot Pepper. When I left we had on average 4 volunteers helping the 3 full-time local staff welcome, serve food and explain about the famous pepper to approximately 30-40 visitors per day.

Then Covid 19 came along and practically destroyed tourism. No visitors meant the volunteer program closed for 2 years and the staff had to find other work.

I promised to return and help get the program going again and once it has become successful again I can move on to other things.

My Asian Travel:20 items on my bucket list

During Covid and my time spent stranded from traveling, I watched the news like most people. In fact, the news became a constant reminder of what we had lost and the strength and depth of people.

The world got closer

There was a caring side that we suddenly found and the need to make sure everyone was ok.

I found it refreshing in the UK and I hope it will continue.

However, as always there was the other side to the coin.

In order for this to happen, we had to lose people. In fact many millions.

Lots of genuinely nice people who although may have been ill would still be here, if not for Covid-19

I guess this makes us think! How long do we have left?

I lost two people I cared about and although old enough to have lived a longish life, both, had so much more to give and live for.

Bucket Lists

So, the subject of bucket lists came up.

Now, this is something I have always determinedly veered away from.

People that know me, understand I don’t follow trends or popular things. ( I still haven’t seen Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad yet!)

But, as I like to travel a Bucket list seemed more relevant now. Especially when I knew some of the things one of my friends wanted to do and now sadly will no longer get the chance.

So below are the 20 things I have in mind to do whilst in Asia. Some are continuous and will apply to all countries I visit (therefore cannot be crossed off until all are accomplished and some are dedicated to certain places.

Hope you like and comment with your own lists.

  1. Attend or be invited to a wedding in each country I travel to. ( not mine:))
  2. Sail a boat in and around Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines.
  3. Stay in a monastery in Tibet or Myanmar
  4. Get a traditional tattoo from a Borneo tribe and a Thai Monk
  5. Climb a mountain in each country I visit
  6. Ride a horse in Mongolia
  7. Ride a scooter in Asia
  8. Motorbike down the whole of Vietnam
  9. Fish with fishermen in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan.
  10. Learn and cook at least one traditional dish from each country
  11. Live like a local
  12. Hot air balloon over Bagan, Myanmar
  13. Read the history of each country whilst you live there.
  14. Experience and learn a skill or traditional craft in each place.
  15. Learn a Martial Art
  16. Re-learn the guitar
  17. Sing a song live for prosperity with?
  18. Play one song on the guitar live
  19. Watch a movie from the country you are in.
  20. Master Yoga

Accomplishments

Whilst currently I can only attest to accomplishing one. The scooter in Asia, I now own my own little Honda Air Blade.

So far I have had Invites to weddings in both Thailand (1) and Cambodia (4 ).

I have climbed the highest mountain in Vietnam and soon the one in the Philippines

At a cinema in Bangkok, I watched a Thai movie with no subtitles, and where the whole audience rose for the king before the start of the movie.

I know how to cook a dish from Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines.

I guess the rest will follow.

View half way up Fansipan, Vietnam

10 mountains to climb in Asia

Asia is a very big place and has a huge mountain range called the Himalayas included along with many other individual famous mountains and other ranges.

Choosing 10 was going to be hard, but I used a simple approach to this:

A. The ones that are easily accessible and can be tackled without specialist mountain equipment.

B. Acceptable for a novice or reasonable fit individual who fancies a challenge.

C. something different that appeals to me personally. (After all, it is me that will be climbing them, so I want to climb for a purpose not just because they are there.)

So don’t expect Everest or K2 to be included.

  1. Mt.Fansipan, Sapa, Vietnam.The highest mountain in Indochina. ( Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) (3147m, 10,325 ft.) My first to conquer and an awesome feeling when I reached the summit. Even though it was cloudy and the view wasn’t what I had hoped for it was still a memory I will cherish. Read more here
  2. Mt. Fuji. Highest in all of Japan. (3776m, 12,388ft.)
  3. Mt Apo, Mindanao. Highest Mountain in the Philippines. (2895m, 9498ft.) hopefully next on my list in 2022.
  4. Mt. Kinabalu. Borneo. Highest in Malaysia (4095m, 13,435 ft.)
  5. Mt. Jayawijaya. New Guinea. Highest in Indonesia. (4884m, 16,024 ft.)
  6. Mt. Hkakabo. Highest in Myanmar. (5881m,19,295 ft.) Whilst Myanmar is mostly unchartered this seems a place to visit.
  7. Everest Base Camp. Nepal. (5364m 17,598 ft.) Why wouldn’t you if you could?
  8. Khuitien Peak, China -Mongolia border (4356m, 14,291 ft.) Visiting Mongolia is a long-sought-after dream.
  9. Tuanjie Peak, Qilian Mountains, China (6644m, 21,797 ft.) is another colossal mountain range and double the height I have climbed so far.
  10. Meili Snow Mountain, China, (6740m, 22,113 ft.) This one will be a challenge as it is the highest of all of the ones I want to reach.

August 2021

At last, I feel comfortable venturing out and seeing the sites more.

So after a long wait, I am off to Cambridge for a few days with my mum

It will be my first time staying somewhere after Covid and to see how things are working in another city. Nottingham has become a bit relaxed, fewer and fewer people are wearing masks on public transport, and authorities seem lacking in stopping anyone.

Our first time using a booking site and then need to understand about cancellations etc. A lot has changed and I am guessing want to be sure that they can be refunded if the worst happens and the trip is canceled in some way due to Covid or restrictions enforced upon them.

It was also good to spend quality time with mum, and for us both to enjoy food cooked by someone else.

April 2022

Holiday in the sun anyone?

It’s more fun in the Philippines or that is their motto for tourism.

So just after the country re-opened, I decided to fly from Singapore where I was acclimatising to the warm weather again, to test the theory.

I spent the best part of a month in Davao, on the east side of Mindanao Island in the south.

Wonderful place, lovely people. I got to meet a few special people that will be in my life for a long time I think. More on that another time 🙂

Towards the end of the month, I landed back in Cambodia and enjoyed my first 75-cent beer in almost two years. Worth the wait I think. I missed Khmer New Year by a week or so, but the good news was that a few days after I arrived they lifted the restrictions on wearing face masks, so I could at least see the smiling happy faces of Cambodia.

Met a couple of ex-pats from Wales, and the US, living in Vietnam on their first visa run since covid.