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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.

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


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.

10 Items to bring in your carry-on bag on your flight

So as we now start to travel again and look to take our first flight in a while. I thought it would be good to remember some important things in my opinion that are essential to take on your flight in your carry-on bag.

Obviously, it goes without saying that you need to bring with you, money, phones, a passport, etc but what about the things you don’t normally think will be needed. Especially if you are traveling long distances.

So here goes:

  1. Wet wipes ( antiseptic if possible). Covid has become something we will have to live with now, but that shouldn’t mean we need to let our guard down. Use these whether for yourself before eating or to clean down afterward. I also recommend on a long haul flight that they come in handy to clean hands, face, and even feet before applying a new pair of socks when you land.
  2. Spare underwear and a t-shirt. I mentioned above about clean socks, but if you are on a flight that has a transfer at some point, have extra clothes. Recently I had a 3-hour stopover in Dubai before flying to Singapore. However, due to reasons beyond my control, it turned out to be 3 days. My luggage had already gone on ahead without me. So having spares in your carry-on bag is advisable and quite sensible considering this.
  3. Hoodie or Jacket. Now I usually fly to warmer climates so I don’t normally think about extra clothing, but flights can sometimes feel colder, especially at night, and you may feel more comfortable. There is of course that added bonus of if you are stuck at the airport it helps as a pillow if you need a couple of hours sleep.
  4. Notebook and pen. How often have you had enough of gadgets, phones, movies, tablet, etc, and upon looking through the inflight magazine you find a good article only to find you don’t have enough battery life to use your tech to make notes? Writing also calms you and is a good distraction from boredom on a plane.
  5. Charging cables. Pretty much every plane has now the option for you to charge your phone or tablet, as do airports. Take advantage as we never know when we need that extra 20% battery.
  6. Eye Mask or sunglasses. Night flights are great but day flights can put you in a dilemma if you want to sleep and the person next to you, wants to have the window blind up, to enjoy the view.
  7. Some good music playlists you like or an audiobook or podcast. Whilst airlines try their best, I always find limited music to my tastes. so having my own is helpful.
  8. Tissues. No one likes to carry dirty handkerchiefs but having one or small paper tissues can make life simpler. especially for the next one.
  9. Mints, chewing gum, or boiled sweets. The last flight I was on the lady next to me had a coughing fit and my throat was dry, the flight was sat on the runway for over 25 minutes which meant no chance of getting a drink. Anything to wet your mouth.
  10. A duty-free shopping bag. If like me you try to make every kilo count having a few extra things can increase the weight. So whether you keep a spare one handy or just buy something from duty-free ask for a bigger bag than you need as it allows you to put a few extra things in and the airlines don’t check.

Hope that helps and I am sure you may find other things you will need. If you have kids there will be things that are essential relating to them, like a favourite toy or book. So whatever you bring with you just remember to enjoy your flight and holiday.

Relax and enjoy your flight!

May 2021

So this month is my Sisters birthday. So we are off to a local village where we get to see a local band .. Live music at last. It seems like forever since I have been to a pub, let alone live music.

Even with a few restrictions due to Covid. It was still a good night

A few birthdays of friends and loved ones.

Still working in England and still believe I can escape soon to warmer climates.

If you still watch the news then Covid is still the number one topic. But vaccines in the west are becoming the main talking point.

More because developing countries are struggling to get enough quantities as the developed wealthy nations are purchasing more than they need in advance of production.

Great for the pharmaceutical companies and for the developed population of the world.

But what about everyone else?

Have we forgot about the last year and the compassion we shared for every nation in the world who suffered at the hands of this virus?