Marvellous Malaysia on The Straits of Malacca

Dusky Leaf Monkeys

As part of our travels Sam and I agreed to look out for a spot, where at some point in the future, we might want to stay for a month or two, away from the English winter. We’ve seen many beautiful places but nowhere with the right balance of things to do, see, experience and enjoy for an extended period…..until we came to George Town on Penang Island, sitting on the north-west coast of Malaysia. On entering Malaysia you get a three-month visa free of charge – a great start – then you meet the wonderful multi-cultural people, eat the fabulous food, and of course bask in the tropical climate.

Tucked at the top of the Straits of Malacca, Penang had an important strategic position in the development of trade in the 1700 – 1800’s, which saw colonial powers impose themselves along the Straits – British in Penang and the Dutch in Malacca. Both cities now enjoy UNESCO Heritage site status largely due to the incredibly well preserved and diverse architecture of their respective old towns.

George Town Dispensary 1923

However, the architectural heritage is not limited to colonial style buildings. One of the most striking features of Penang and to some extent Malaysia, is the evidence of its multi-cultural history and presence. Nowhere is this more obvious than on the “Street of Harmony” where in the space of a mile you can walk from the Anglican Church of St George’s,


to the Chinese Goddess of Mercy Temple, which contains remarkable stories about the warring Chinese Clans in the 1840’s…


on to Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple,


and to Kapitan Keling Mosque in the space of half a mile.


The history is fascinating. Captain Francis Light is credited with the development of George Town (hence the colonial name) in 1786, serving the interests of the British East India Company. Through some typically duplicitous colonial dealings he secured a lease on the land. If ever there was an example of history being written by the victorious it can be found on his monument in St George’s.


Judging by the reaction we got when we asked a local guide about the veracity of the epitaph it would probably be labelled “fake news” these days!

One of the endearing features of George Town is the plethora of ramshackle trading stores adorned with vintage signage. I particularly liked this one with the old Raleigh sign (Robin Hood included)…


..and ancient seemingly decrepit workshops that still showed signs of activity, although quite what they produce…well, who knows..”housing materials” apparently.

Truly a Man Cave!

Complementing the architecture is a wonderful array of street art. Tracking these down becomes something of an adventure in itself with unexpected delights popping up all over town. There are three particular popular ones which use real bikes to make the art even more remarkable.

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However, this is just the tip of the iceberg and George Town has rightly become famous for its burgeoning street art scene. Here is selection of some of our favourites..

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More Monkey Business

As well as the pleasures of George Town, Penang Island has lots of other attractions, including Penang Hills, where the temperature drops and a lush tropical forest sits towering above the town. We jumped on a bus and enjoyed a ride through the Island for a few pence before reaching the Hills. A swift cable car journey up and before we knew it we found ourselves gazing at beautiful and striking Dusky Leaf Monkeys. They look unreal and you find yourself staring at them in amazement. By monkey standards they are shy, so we were delighted to see them and their striking features close up.


We took a guided tour through the jungle high across a walkway and were able to view the jungle close up, with the sound of cicadas (and mimicking Drongo birds) for a soundtrack.

Jungle Walkway

Our guide spotted something quite unique, a crab that lives in the foliage in the mountains – the Highland Vampire Crab. I don’t know what you think, but a creature called a Vampire Crab isn’t ideal! Here is a picture of one modelled rather bravely by Sam….


It wasn’t all trekking and animal spotting. I had time for a jungle canopy swing. Turn the volume up to get the full Cicada soundtrack at 10 secs…..

Before we finished our visit on a canopy walkway looking down the jungle treetops

Sam on top of the Jungle Canopy

Malaysian Nom Nom

Whether you go away for a long trip or a long weekend you can’t help wondering if you are going to be okay on the food front in a foreign land. The scales we occasionally come across in our hotel rooms provide an unambiguous answer and are a testament to the fact that we are having absolutely no difficulty filling our faces. With a small handful of exceptions, the food has been excellent, and George Town with its multi-cultural offerings tops the list for cuisine. Penang is known as the food capital of Malaysia and rightly so. The Little India neighbourhood was full of lovely restaurants with great veggie dishes. We also indulged in a lot of pancake eating having discovered a superb place on the Street of Harmony serving up the best pancakes we have ever eaten – and as pancake/crepe aficionados that is high praise. Their speciality one included beansprouts and sultanas – an odd mix but it was delicious. Here is a sample of their wonderful wares..


Penang and George Town have made a really great impression on us and it’s definitely a place we want to return to. We scratched the surface on our visit and there is a lot more to see on this wonderful Malaysian Island. Getting on the ferry across the Straits of Malacca, to get the train south to Kuala Lumpur, we felt excited but a bit sad to leave. Sam caught me looking like a wistful traveller on the ferry looking back at Penang.

Wherever I lay my hat..

Kuala Lumpur

We visited KL as recently as three years ago, and enjoyed seeing the main sites such as the Petronas Towers and the Batu Caves on that trip. So we took the opportunity to have a bit of a relax and have some down time. That didn’t stop us popping up the KL Tower for some great views of the city and to test our nerve by walking in the glass sky box that is appended to the Tower. Given the popularity of the sky box you queue for at least 20 minutes and then you are allowed a maximum of two minutes in the box before you are asked to leave and let the next group in.  Most people abused this rule, staying in there for far longer until a burly Malaysian security man insisted they leave. When our turn came we gingerly stepped out onto the glass, looked down very briefly, adopted suitable poses for pics and after about 40 seconds I suggested to Sam that we had seen all we needed to see and should really leave and let the next people in the queue have their moment.

KL Tower Sky Box

We also visited a few night markets, enjoying the food and atmosphere, but not so much the rain. I don’t know what it is about KL but it rains more regularly than any place we have ever been to, with every day delivering huge downpours with violent thunder and lightning.



We continued our journey down the west coast on Malaysia’s excellent railway system – the best we have experienced so far. Clean, comfortable and punctual, the ideal way to see the countryside unfolding. Malacca is another interesting town with an important trading history that was primarily developed by the Dutch and Portuguese, with a bit of British interference at some point. Although not quite as interesting as George Town (to us at least) it has its charm including the pink Christ Church dating from 1753.


…and a great riverside walk where there is more evidence of the Malaysian enthusiasm for street art and murals.


The town is also famed for its colourful street market on Jonker Walk which gets jam-packed at the weekend and is perfect for people watching from the respite of a bar stool.

Herbs, spices & all sorts on a Jonker Walk stall

The Malacca Tourist Board won’t thank us for saying this, but two of our abiding memories from the town are firstly the bizarre and quite frankly horrendous pimped up “rickshaws” that cycle about the town decorated with venerable historical characters such as Hello Kitty and Pokemon while pumping out deafening cheesy music. We were told that they are one of the local traditions. Well quite frankly they are an abomination to a town claiming heritage status. Your Honour, I present “Exhibit A” for the prosecution….

Get Lost Kitty!

Secondly, we found our way into what looked like a British Pub – our suspicions confirmed when we looked at the menu and my eyes immediately alighted on the words “Branston Pickle” while Sam spotted “Pie and Mash”. Absence really can make the heart grow fonder when it comes to HP sauce, Branston Pickle and mashed potato with gravy! We both love South East Asian food and didn’t really think we were hankering after any food from home. That is until we saw the menu and scoffed down our meals in record time. We were two very happy campers after that meal…..until we ran into some more of the blasted rickshaw contraptions again!

Home Comforts


Up Next:

From Malacca we took another train south to head into our sixth country – Singapore. However, we will be returning to Malaysia in November when we go to Borneo in search of more jungle wildlife. In the meantime, there is a lot of travelling to be done including the next stages in our adventure which are going to present us with a real contrast: spotless Singapore, followed by the wild Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java.








Island Hopping and a Jungle Treehouse in Southern Thailand

Beats Halong Bay – Chiew Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park

After our busy trek southwards from Northern Thailand, the last couple of weeks have been a real contrast: lazing around on beautiful island beaches and living in a jungle treehouse in Thailand’s premier National Park, Khao Sok.

We’ve been reflecting on the difference between holidaying and travelling. The most obvious one to us is the ability to have lots of downtime where we do next to nothing. Our holidays are usually organised with military precision, making the most of nearly every minute. Whereas now doing nothing is not only fine, it’s essential to avoid total exhaustion. If we were in holiday mode Sam would have quite rightly throttled me by now. It felt a bit odd initially, but we both really value the time where we just rest, read or float about listlessly in the sea knowing that we have days lined up where we will be busy, followed by doing absolutely nothing…or maybe thinking about material for the blog!

Heading to the south of Thailand we decided it was time for some island life, opting for the east coast and the Gulf of Thailand before the rains set in. The beaches are beautiful and quiet at this time of year, ideal for recharging the batteries.

We spent five horizontal days on the south coast of Ko Phangan looking across the water to the north coast of Koh Samui. These beaches are really popular and very busy in high season, but we had some of them virtually to ourselves – a real island paradise.

Away from the numbers

Then after a short ferry ride, we then spent a week on the north coast of Samui gazing at the south coast of Phangan. Obviously we did a little bit more than that….but not much more!

Mae Nam Beach, Samui

Both islands have their party reputations, especially Ko Phangan and its legendary full moon party (although in truth there appears to be a party arranged for every phase of the lunar cycle). However, that is definitely not our scene (anymore!) and there are more than enough quiet beaches to be found on both islands to escape the booze-filled hedonistic madness.


We haven’t been completely idle: another joy of having time on our side is the chance to plough through books old, new, and varied that we would never normally get the opportunity to read in just a few sittings. I’ve also got my head down and done some real work – a desk, good wifi and laptop enabling me to get on with some projects. Okay, it’s not work in the traditional sense but I’m enjoying the idea of being a nomadic worker and the “office” isn’t too shabby either….

Never had a view like this at Worthing Town Hall

Khao Sok National Park

When Sam left her job in Crawley, her colleagues bought her an excellent Lonely Planet coffee table travel book, containing the top 500 places to visit in the world. Tucked away somewhere in the 400’s was a short paragraph extolling the virtues of Khao Sok National Park in south west of Thailand. We decided this would make for a great change from the beach and researched accommodations options, of which they turned out to be plenty. We opted for a treehouse experience – how often are you going to get that opportunity?

Our jungle home

This was going to be four days and nights of rustic living, among the sights, sounds and smells of the jungle. You know you’re in for the real deal when the guide book in your room provides advice on how to deal with the variety of animals you might come across in the jungle and (more alarmingly) in your treehouse. For example, you and I know that leeches are harmless…………..but that doesn’t mean I want the little bleeders (see what I did there) anywhere near me! There was also friendly but firm instruction on not leaving doors or windows open, otherwise you might find a troop of long tailed macaque monkeys squatting in your home. Although none got into our lodgings they did make themselves very comfortable on our “verandah”.

Cheeky Monkey

Rejuvenated from our island break we launched ourselves into a series of jungle tours and activities starting with a night safari into the National Park, where our eagle eyed guide was able to point out stick insects, various lizards, frogs, a mouse deer (or was it a deer mouse?) and a sinister looking tree viper hanging high above our heads. Sam was his match though spotting the amazing sight of fire-flys lighting up the darkness and bringing our attention to the presence of a large bat by deploying a high pitch scream as it flew in front of her face. When we turned our torches off we were plunged into pitch blackness and the sounds and smells of the jungle were heightened. Tramping into the dark jungle was a unique experience and great fun. We felt proper adventurous!

The next day we took an hours drive to Chiew Lan Lake to see the beautiful limestone karsts that are studded throughout brilliant blue green water. This is breath taking scenery – as good as the far more famous Halong Bay in Vietnam, but without thousands of tourists cramming the waters.

Vertical karsts

….we could easily fill the blog with pictures of this gorgeous scenery, but here is a bit of footage instead..

On getting to shore we had a short trek before a bamboo raft took us to some caves, before a bit of downtime swimming and kayaking in the lake.  During the trek we found the hidey-hole of a tarantula with its legs peeping out….(note camera shake)….


….and by way of contrast signage warning of larger beasts…


After our exertions we took a canoe trip down the River Sok, which started inauspiciously when a frail bamboo bridge I was crossing, gave way with a loud crack, under my burgeoning weight, much to Sam’s delight. Karma immediately saw to it that while failing to control her hilarity her left leg disappeared into river mud sinking her knee deep. Having abandoned our dignity on shore we sailed gracefully downstream with our guide. Strangely the trip included stopping for a cuppa boiled on a campfire…. all we longed for in the sweltering heat was ice cold water, but after all the trouble the guide went to, we felt obliged to drink the hot tea.

More tea vicar?

It did give us another chance to stop and look at the incredible limestone rock formations that never fail to impress:


On our last day Sam wisely ducked out of a walk that was billed as a trek into deeper jungle. Our guide wanted to show me his village and take me off the beaten track. He advised that I regularly rub in bug repellant as the jungle would be full of leeches. My heart sank a bit further when I observed he was armed with a machete to help clear the path we were to take. Twenty minutes in my clothes were drenched in sweat, breathing heavily and thinking I wouldn’t last much longer! Leeches kept attaching themselves to my shoes so I had to keep vigilant, brushing them off before they made it to my skin. Yuk! Thankfully the heat, humidity and machete hacking got to my guide and he started to slow down. We certainly were off the beaten track, in fact there was no track for large parts of the trek. As we faced another section of dense jungle with no obvious route ahead I asked “….er… when was the last time you came on this trek exactly?” My guide stopped and thought for a moment “over two years ago” came his reply! No wonder there was no path to follow. Here is a pic of the typical view of our trek….

A path less travelled..

Between warnings of leeches, poisonous plants, wild pigs and spiky bamboo I vaguely recalled him mentioning that the second part of he trek would involve walking beside and through a river. So I was thrilled to hear the sound of a river babbling away after 90 minutes of deep jungle experience. I did briefly here the call of the Gibbon (probably warning me about the leeches), but didn’t spot any wildlife. My guide was as good as his word and we spent the next hour walking through fast cool waters that refreshed my tired feet and made the whole experience well worth the effort. I felt quite triumphant that I hard done it and was coming out alive.

Bear Grylls….not

However, the leeches had the final say, despite my running battle with them one had made its way onto the back of my leg and was happily sucking away. No pain, but it turned out to be quite hard to staunch the flow of blood once I’d got it off me. By way of consolation I finished the trek with a spot of tubing down the River Sok – great fun and a brilliant way to see the river and its wildlife (inc a mangrove snake) from a different angle. Apologies for the pincer legs and knobbly knees that swing into shot…..

During our last night when we were settled in our bed, when there was a noisy commotion near our heads, something quite large was in our room and far too close for comfort. As is the way when these things happen, I was despatched by Sam to leave the safety of our mosquito net cocoon and with iPhone torch set to stun, identify and presumably deal with the cause. As I gingerly stepped into the bathroom I found a very large lizard staring back at me with four eyes. “That’s unusual” I thought to myself, until I realised that two of the eyes belonged to a creature in the lizards mouth, which I think was a frog, but could have been a large cockroach. Sadly this pic doesn’t do it justice, but it was a real monster..


We loved our jungle adventures and it is incredibly exciting and humbling being so near to so much untarnished beauty. We can’t speak highly enough of Khao Sok – it’s turned out to be a really unexpected gem in our journey. Having said that after five days up in our treehouse we were ready for a return to creature comforts, air-con and a really hot powerful shower.

Oh Phuket

With a trip to Penang in northern Malaysia planned, we drove south from the jungle to Phuket where a short flight over the border would take us to our next country. We weren’t particularly keen on the idea of Phuket – another Thai island that comes laced with pre-conceptions and a dodgy reputation. However, we didn’t realise just how big the island is and how easy it was to find a hotel sitting next to a deserted beach and a small forest. With no desire to see the islands lowlights, we took root and enjoyed a few more days of island snoozing.

Nai Yang Beach fringed by Sirinart National Park

Top Travelling Tip

If you follow the Thai courtesy of leaving your footwear outside your home, it pays to be vigilant. One morning while putting on my trainers I could feel my toe pushing against a rolled up sock. “That’s odd…..both my socks are on the floor” followed by a rapid realisation that something else was pressing against my toe in my shoe. After a panicky withdrawal of my foot a rather disgruntled and crumpled frog hopped out, obviously enjoying the damp and clammy home it had made for itself until I launched my size 10 at it. I’m pleased to report no damage was done to the frog or myself. However, Sam was less than happy as I burst into a full length version of “Froggie went a Courting”  for the next hour.

Evicted from home, sweet home


Next Time: Mmmmmmmmm…..Malaysia!!


Suki and the Elephant AirBnB in Chiang Mai



We spent last year running an AirBnB from our home in Brighton, letting our spare bedrooms to travellers from all over the world. As a result, we regularly received an AirBnB magazine that highlighted some of the most unusual and exotic AirBnB accommodation across the world. One in particular caught our eye: a set of rustic villas located in an elephant sanctuary in the jungle an hour west from Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. The article promised living among the elephants, and the chance to meet and interact with them close up. We duly checked the letting details – at about £30.00 a night it looked a great deal and a unique visit. As we don’t plan out itinerary much more than 2/3 weeks ahead at a time we couldn’t make an immediate booking, but we knew when we planned to go to Chiang Mai so we checked again once we were approaching Thailand and found there were rooms still available for a couple of nights. More messing around with elephants beckoned!

On arrival we discovered to get to the camp we had to drag our luggage across a long, rickety and bouncy bridge that swayed worryingly with each step and looked straight out of the set of “I’m a Celebrity….” but this was much more a case of “get me in there” as we viewed the idyllic  river running alongside the villas with elephants dotted about.


After checking into our Villa – a wonderfully ramshackle timber building – we were pointed in the direction of baby elephant Suki and invited to introduce ourselves to her. What a beauty Suki is, 3 months old and just about mastering coordination of her strong ungainly limbs and inquisitive trunk.


We booked ourselves on to a day’s tour at the sanctuary: a jungle trek, followed by rafting down the river, the highlight of feeding Suki and her mother, and bathing another one of the herd in the flowing river.

When you book onto something called a jungle trek you kind of expect a fairly long but pleasant stroll through a rainforest for an hour or so, taking in a waterfall or two. If that option existed we didn’t get it!! Along with three fellow trekkers from France and Brazil we headed off in our songthaew (an open-air taxi with minimal suspension) for a drive deep into the jungle where we were deposited with our two guides, one of whom was clearly worried about my age and fitness as she kept checking “John, you okay?” She had good reason. The heat was draining, but what made it exhausting was the regular disappearance of anything resembling a horizontal path to follow, which meant that we had to spend a lot of the trek head down working out where to place each foot. The terrain was uneven to say the least and obstructed by jagged rocks, fallen trees and swamps. Steep vertical drops started appearing on one side of the route with the only thing preventing us slipping being up grasping overhanging branches and vines for support. I was going to jokingly ask our guides how many tourists they had lost over the years but thought better of it in case they gave me an honest answer. My long legs gave me some advantage but poor Sam had to clamber over all sorts. We eventually reached a waterfall in one piece and went for a dip in rather bracing water – a blessed if short-lived relief from the heat.


While we swam in the river our guides decided that in the interests of health and safety we should each have a stick to help us through the jungle. Ten minutes later five bamboo sticks roughly hewn from the jungle were issued to us. They were a great help although I nearly speared myself on mine, pole vault style. Crossing narrow bamboo bridges over rapids soon followed (along with a sense of deja vu after our Luang Prabang bridge nightmare), until wet slippery undergrowth mercifully gave way to flat wide paths, allowing our travel insurance policy to slip back into its hammock and rest easy again. (I’ve come to think of our Travel Insurance Policy as a real entity that looks down on us frowning as we embark on some of our adventures).


After trekking, sailing down the Wang River on a bamboo raft of dubious construction was relaxing and serene, the waters rushing past us as we veered between rocks and overhanging trees skilfully steered by our skipper with his bamboo rod. Another magical experience when your senses drink in the jungle floating by and you are immersed in the moment, not a care in the world. Priceless.

However, the best was yet to come. Having scrambled off our raft we met up with our elephant guide and went off to feed Suki and mum: “you go ahead, they will follow you – they can smell the bananas!” Being eagerly pursued by several tons of elephant who are very keen to relieve you of all the bananas stored in the basket on your shoulder is quite a feeling, like having a London bus relentlessly homing in on you. Suki, who hasn’t yet graduated to banana feeding, added to the chaos by careering between her mums’ legs and nearly knocking me and Sam flat on our faces. Terrific fun and all the time being up close to these remarkable creatures.


After feeding time was over, we headed back down to the river to bathe another elephant who is one of the most delightfully tactile creatures, wrapping its trunk around us playfully as we did our best to exfoliate her tough hide.


As we sat in the bar area in the evenings and mornings elephants would wander up looking for a treat, sniffing out any sign of a banana going spare. We agreed that this remarkable AirBnB had exceeded the expectations that had whetted our appetite in the glossy magazine we read months ago whilst still in the UK.


However, the constant presence of glorious elephants is only half the story at Chai Lai Orchard. It also runs a social enterprise called Daughter’s Rising that rescues women and young girls from the ever growing sex trafficking industry. Their remarkable work not only allows a route for these women to escape this dreadful industry, but provides training and education. All of the young women working at this sanctuary have escaped and are being given opportunities to learn English, train in hospitality and have a future free from fear and exploitation. A brilliant short film explains more at this link:

Daughters Rising Film


Chiang Mai – same same, but different..

Ten years ago we we stayed in Chiang Mai and we were looking forward to returning to the city. We chose to stay close to the vibrant Night Market, which seems to have grown even bigger as have the food courts that accompany it, selling cheap and delicious meals. We happily overdosed on fabulous fresh veggie Pad Thai, cooked in seconds for a couple of quid and a refreshing bottle of Leo to accompany it.

The old town with its historic walls hasn’t changed much, but the Wat’s and Temples seemed to be grander, with more gold leaf decoration than when we last visited.


In one temple a young monk sat meditating and praying with fellow Bhuddists, while further across the room about a dozen elderly monks sat quietly, cross legged and as still as stone, a picture of tranquility in deep meditation……… took us five minutes to realise they weren’t real, but astonishingly life like wax replicas.


Rather than head off straight to Bangkok, and onward to the islands in the south, we thought we would meander down on the train and spend a few days stopping off at some interesting towns en route, starting with Lampang. While the town itself was unremarkable the surrounding countryside offered beautiful hilltop panorama’s to view the paddy fields, plains and mountains of the area.


After a two day stopover we took the train to Sukothai where the ancient town was a real find. Temples, Wats, and statues of Bhudda in a lovely historical park area that was beautifully conserved. We took a couple of bikes from the hotel and happily cycled around the ancient sites for several hours.


Remarkably there was hardly anyone there, a handful of visitors wandering around the large site in virtual solitude. Sukothai really deserves more attention.


Sukothai also provided us with our best hotel infinity pool experience yet, which is saying something given the ones we’ve enjoyed to date…..


Our third stop was less enthralling. It started badly with a four hour journey on a train carriage with no air/con in 30 degrees+ temperature. Everyone in the train carriage appeared to be struggling to manage the sweltering heat and we were so glad we’d  decided to break the journey up and could escape before Bangkok. When we passed through Lopburi 10 years ago, the station was covered with monkeys scurrying around the station. On arrival there was no sign of any monkeys, other than ornamental ones, so we decided to head straight to the hotel and looked for a taxi, of which there were none. Instead two old fellas on 3-wheel bikes leapt up, crammed our bags, and us, into each of their tricycles and began to cycle….very slowly. In fact my cycling chauffeur was considerably older than Sam’s (who had overtaken us immediately) and after a short downhill stretch he had to hop off and push. Now I know I’m carrying a few extra pounds and could lose a bit of weight but I thought that this was a bit much. As he struggled to push the combined weight of his bike, bag and passenger guilt got the better of me and I hopped out and helped him push as well, much to the amusement of a passing van load of children, laughing at the sweaty westerner paying to push his own luggage on a tricycle.


After checking in we took the precaution of booking a taxi with a combustion engine and headed into town in search of Lopburi’s famous monkeys and oh my we found them! It was like stumbling on the set of Planet of the Apes. The ground was alive with the movement of wild monkeys eating, fighting, chasing each other through traffic, adorning buildings left, right and centre, and having the most blatant in your face sex!



Now we like our little simian ancestral cousins but quite frankly this was unpleasant, it was really clear who bossed Lopburi town! By a monument we met a man with dark glasses and a big white stick – we incorrectly assumed he was blind. In fact the big white stick was for beating monkeys that came too close. He gestured wildly to Sam speaking rapidly in Thai, but we were unable to get the gist of what he meant. A few more frantic gestures and it became clear he was indicating for her to take the sunglasses off her head, before the monkeys did it for her!! Looking at the numbers I couldn’t help feeling that his luck was going to run out soon and that stick was going to be appropriated by a pack of marauding monkeys and shoved in a place where the sun doesn’t shine ………sideways.


Two hours on from Lopburi we crawled into Bangkok for a one night stop before flying south. After the mixed comforts of our train journeys south we came across the complete opposite. Standing regally at the next platform was the Eastern Oriental Express that runs from Bangkok via Kuala Lumper to Singapore. An absolute beauty and thankfully not a monkey in sight!



Top Travelling Tips
Carrying travel books around for a year is not a practical option in the battle to keep luggage weight down. There are loads of good online travel sites that provide great up to date advice, maps, itineraries and recommendations. For S/E Asia we would recommend Travelfish for its detailed and excellent guides. Cheap to boot and well worth the investment. The other must have for train travel (anywhere in the world) is the superb Man in Seat 61. A brilliant source of information, timetables and advice.


Next Up: Island Life and a Treehouse in Southern Thailand