Wandering Mendoza, Argentina: An almost Useful Gringo Guide

Green Mendoza

Mendoza (3 nights)

I wasn’t too bothered about coming here before we went. The main reason gringos go to Mendoza is because it is the wine capital of Argentina. Sara enjoys a tipple now and then so she was excited to visit. For me, after being there it turned out to be one of my highlights. I’m now an alcoholic.

We started from Santiago in Chile on a mega scenic bus journey. You’re surrounded by huge mountains and snaking up the pass to the border is an eye opening activity in itself.

Scenes

The border really was a piece of cake compared to the Chilean border. There was a freaking owl in the rafters too. I told the bus driver in Spanish about it but he couldn’t care less. Or I said something offencive by accident.

We stayed in a reasonably priced, quality place called Hostel Alamo in a fairly big but dated room. The guys who worked there helped us out fitting in what we wanted to do in a short space of time, plus we had a BBQ with them one night (the first of many Argentinian BBQs.. and I thought Brits knew how to BBQ!)

If you can’t beat ’em…

We spent a day touring vineyards with some other gringos on bikes (the unmotorised variety). We tasted so much wine and sadly I don’t remember anything about the day now..

But thankfully we took a load of photos, it looks like we had a nice time. It’s exciting that there is no problem with getting sloshed and cycling on the side of a fairly busy road as a group. Silly, I mean silly not exciting!

Not exciting

Sara was well up for a sunset horse ride which meant I was to face one of my single greatest fears.. horses. Horses. HORSES.

Jonny – Age 19

Horses have a freaking mind of their own, if Hernandez the horse wanted to chuck me off at any point he could. Hernandez has a mind of his own and that’s what terrifies me. Anyway once I faced my fear I had a great time taking in the mountain scenery whilst putting in zero effort with only mild chafing. Of course we had a BBQ at the ranch after the riding.

Chafing

He could be thinking anything

I preferred this Mendozaian dog

TOP TIP – Blood sausage. It’s not that nice. It’s a soft, mushy sausage made from animal bumholes. They’re like Bounty and Milky Way in a box of Celebrations, they’re always the last thing left at the end of the BBQ.

The headline act for me – Argentinian Steak. They say not to meet your heroes (Meat your heroes?) but I would disagree. The steak was everything I imagined and more. It was love at first sight. It was a holiday romance that I’m gutted had to come to an end. I will remember the first kiss, the very first time I placed my lips upon (around?!) thee. You were a.. rare find. Quite the dish. I’m certain you had no feelings for me, but still I let you inside. And when you had nothing left to give, I just paid and left!

Love story aside, you could get a delicious steak dinner for 2 with a bottle of Mendoza Malbec at a relatively fancy place for $30. I know, heaven is cheap.

Sara likes steak now, our relationship is now perfect

Overall In Conclusion Mansell Experience Quick To-The-Point Travel Rating Points Score – 10/10

Perhaps slightly enhanced by my holiday romance with a steak dinner, I thought Mendoza was a proper south american highlight, plus there was a load of fun, active stuff we didn’t do! Take me back!!

Watching me out the corner of his eye 😭

The Good, The Bad and The Useful of Travelling in India

Spending a month in India, we didn’t even scratch the surface of this vast land and culture. However, we did begin to appreciate some of its quirks, people and regions. We have summarised these into some useful tidbits of info for travel in India.

We’ll start with the useful:

India may be the 7th largest country in the world but in terms of population it ranks in second place. Over 1.3 billion people to be more precise spread across 29 states and 7 union territories. There is more diversity than you might think for one country including religion, over 20 different languages, cuisine and culture. We met Indians who felt like foreigners when visiting other Indian states.

Many restaurants in India are confusingly called ‘hotels’, We’re not quite sure why. The majority of restaurants are vegetarian (as Hindus do not believe in inflicting pain on animals) and often restaurants serving meat advertise themselves as a ‘non-veg’ restaurants since it is less common.

You’ll never find beef on the menu as cows are considered sacred and kept for milking only. Pork is also less common because of the Muslim beliefs about the pig being a dirty animal. The meat you will find in non-veg restaurants will be most likely chicken, lamb or goat.

If you are white, tall or blonde at some point during your time in India you will most likely be asked for a selfie. It can make you feel like a film star at times and annoyed at other times. Love it or hate it, a lot of Indians just aren’t used to seeing foreigners and therefore you’ll need to get used to being stared at. A lot. As a female, have your wits about you, sometimes selfies frustratingly encouraged ‘unwanted touching’.

Indian people generally dress conservatively, especially the women. Ladies, I feel for you as you need to cover up your legs and shoulders and it’s very hot. However, it’s much better to dress in line with the locals as a sign of respect and to avoid unwanted attention. Maxi dresses or long pants are ideal.

The good:

One of the appeals of travelling in India is the cultural experience you can get for your money. The cost of living is very low in comparison to the U.K. For example, a decent size meal can cost between 30p to £4. Accommodation for a private double room with an ensuite and air conditioning cost between £10-£20 per night. Buses were inexpensive and trains were reasonable (the rate dependent on the class).

You can see so much fascinating wildlife and stunning landscapes in India. Periyar National Park in Kerala was very picturesque with wild elephants roaming around. Ranthambhore National Park was great for spotting Bengal tigers. The Indian peafowl or peacock is India’s national bird and we saw plenty during our travels.

There was much less Western tourists in India compared to South East Asia for example. You certainly get the local experience.

The food is amazing. Particularly the breads and curries. Trying the food and snacks from different regions of India was one of our highlights as they were so different! Delhi belly is a reality though so best to eat at reputable restaurants or street food vendors where you see them cooking the food in front of you. We stayed away from meat a lot of the time and didn’t touch salads or fruit unless you could peel the skin like oranges and bananas. The water is definitely not drinkable, we wouldn’t even advise using it to brush your teeth!

Not to stereotype, but we found the Indian people to always be so smiley and friendly. Even if it was broken English or using hand signs because they spoke no English at all, we found their hospitality to be second to none.

The bad:

If you arrive in Delhi or another big city in India, it’s unlikely you’ll avoid witnessing poverty in India. It can be really hard to stomach the scale of it and seeing so many old, young, men, women and children sleeping on the streets.

It is not uncommon to see cows, pigs, goats, dogs and cats walk freely amongst the streets. The sad part, is that unfortunately a lot of these animals look malnourished and are often seen near or on piles of rubbish on the side of the street. I watched one cow gobble up 10 plastic cups, it was pretty awful to watch. The stray dogs and cats are often wounded and flea-infested.

Not necessarily a bad thing but something to get used to – foreigners pay more for things. Generally Indian states have a local rate and a higher foreigner rate for all of the forts, palaces and sights requiring a ticket to enter. The same can be said for tuk-tuks and buses. Sometimes as a foreigner you will be stopped and charged to enter free places of worship too. Normally you just have to suck it up and pay it. The only time you can negotiate is with tuk-tuk drivers. An Indian man told me, “when they see white people, they see money”, meaning many Indian people believe white people are rich. It helps if you have a rough idea of how much you should be paying for something.

Gender equality hasn’t quite reached the same level as western countries. I know in some areas there is gender equality (from working with Indian women in the U.K.) but we still felt there seemed to be a strong perception of women staying at home and raising children. There were times when Indian men would speak to Jonny and would ignore me when I spoke. The question I would get asked most commonly was “Do you have any children? Why not?”. We even saw some restaurants advertised as ‘women-friendly’.

Public transport in India by bus and train was generally always overcrowded. If you purchase a seat, it generally meant you had to share it.

The Indian head nod, was both fun and frustrating for us. We’d ask a question and sometimes get the head shake in response which meant it was hard to decipher a concrete yes or no. We think it just means okay, I hear you.

The toilets are generally pretty basic, especially those on the trains. No toilet paper but a tap for running water – Indians use their left hand to clean themselves. Some Indians thought toilet paper was unhygienic so bring toilet paper with you if you don’t want to clean yourself the Indian way. If you are eating in a restaurant or shaking someone’s hand, remember to use your right hand!

In conclusion:

India is 100% worth visiting. The diversity, culture, landscape, sights, wildlife and food are breathtaking. There are so many incredible places to visit both in the cities, countryside and coastline.

As a backpacker, it’s amazing how much you can see and do with a relatively low budget. Plus very authentically as there are less tourists that South East Asia for example.

However, I would say keep your wits about you, particularly if you are female. Look out for scams and be open-minded.

Read up as much as possible about the culture and the places you will visit in advance if you can. Use your hotel/homestay/hostel as much as possible to help you during your stay if you have any questions.

Oh and remember to bring toilet roll (and Ladies, bring tampons as you’re unlikely to be able to buy them in India!).

We hope you have an amazing trip!

You can read our other blog posts about India here:

Kerala, South India: Our 2-week itinerary

Thrissur Pooram – An Outsider’s Perspective

India: The Golden Triangle and Rajasthan in 2 weeks

4 days in Hong Kong

Disclaimer: this travel blog was from August 2017.

The very last part of our 5-month trip around Asia was spent in Hong Kong. Instead of a lengthy blog post, we thought we’d put in a few highlights of the few days we spent here before returning back to the UK.

Highlight 1 > the food, especially the Dim Sum!

We loved Dim Sum Square and Cantom Dim Sum Expert. For huge portions of dinner (not Dim Sum) Tsui Wah was a good shout and fairly cheap too.

Highlight 2 > walking some of the dragon back ridge

Offering incredible views over Hong Kong we would recommend the hike. We got a bus to the start and walked to the view point.

Highlight 3 > seeing the large seated Buddha

The seated Buddha was a little out of town but experiencing the glass floor cable car was really cool. To get the seated Buddha there are quite a few steps up, however, the views were amazing, oh and the Buddha is huge!

Highlight 4 > going to Macau for the day!

We took the first boat out from Hong Kong and the last boat back. Macau is like the Vegas of Asia but also has a cute Portuguese town as well. It was definitely worth a visit!

Highlight 5 > the city skyline

We managed to get a free open-top bus tour of the city because some travellers hadn’t planned their time properly. We also took the peak tram with the sky pass to get the view over Hong Kong.

One month in Thailand

Bangkok >> Krabi >> Ko Phi-Phi Don >> Khanom >> Ko Tao >> Ko Phangan

Brits get a 30-day visa exemption for Thailand which makes it a popular destination for holiday makers, gap-year students and travellers. Not to mention the cost of living is low, the weather is great almost all year round and Thailand hosts some of the best beaches in the world. So it’s no surprise that it can feel like half of Blighty are there with you. Safe to say we were a little apprehensive about visiting Thailand.

However, contrary to our initial apprehension we were left wanting more! As a self-confessed beach bum, the majority of our time was spent island-hopping in South Thailand. And boy, is there a lot of islands – some completely deserted. Even the secret paradise beach that Leonardo Dicaprio found in the film ‘The Beach’ can be located in South Thailand – though that beach admittedly is quite touristy now.

Here is a taster of what Thailand has to offer and that’s before even mentioning the food…

One month of travel distilled into nine photos. Tricky.

Our route: 

I couldn’t produce the usual Google map route because we visited islands in Thailand, so instead you have this amateur markup.

A) Bangkok – 6 nights (over two trips)
B) Krabi – 4 nights in Ao Nang and 1 night in Krabi Town
C) Phi-Phi island – 2 nights
D) Khanom – 5 nights
E) Ko Tao – 9 nights
F) Ko Phangan – 5 nights
Plus 1 night on the overnight train to get to the Thai/Malaysian border.

The Thai food had to be one of the cuisines we were looking forward to the most and on the whole it didn’t disappoint but watch the chili- it blew India out the water.

Thai food was very tasty as long as it was of a ‘Farang’ or foreigner spice level! Our favourites were the classic Green Thai curry, Massaman curry, Pad Thai and Mango sticky rice for dessert.

Bangkok

We actually went to Bangkok twice; the first time after India and the second time after Vietnam. On our first trip to Bangkok we visited the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

Modelling the staple Thailand attire at Wat Phra Kraew and Wat Pho temples. Have you ever seen so much gold?

We stayed close to the notorious Khao San Road, a road famous (or infamous) for its bars and restaurants serving alcohol by the bucket. It was really fun, except for the fact I was still recovering from food poisoning in India so we didn’t hit the parties full force.

Khao San Road antics.

The second trip to Bangkok made up for that though with a lot of socialising and catching up with old friends.

Catching up with some old friends in Bangkok.

We checked out some of the humongous shopping centres complete with car showrooms and full gymnasiums. We also shamelessly went to Tesco Lotus just because it was like home.  Terminal 21 was particularly cool with each level represented by a different country, at the top was San Francisco with delicious food court.

The Golden Gate Bridge… in a shopping mall.

Krabi

We’d heard only good things about Krabi from other travellers so we decided to make this our next stop. Flights were really cheap too costing about £20 each. The main attraction of staying in Krabi is for island-hopping, aside from the bar crawls. It’s quite a big place and there are numerous places to stay- we chose Ao Nang which sounded like it would be lively and have lot of options for island-hopping.
June maybe wasn’t the best time of year for a visit because it was monsoon season. During our time in Krabi, I’d say 70 percent of the time it was overcast and 50 percent it just rained. A Thai massage became a great rainy day activity!

Singing in the rain.

Luckily, we did manage to get some breaks from the monsoon and enjoyed island hopping to Chicken Island (named after it’s shape) and Tup Island which connect by a sand bar at low tide.

The first deserted islands we visited via longboat. Pretty darn beautiful aren’t they?

We also went to Railay beach which you can only reach by boat. It had a beautiful cove (and monkeys!) and was popular with rock climbers. There were also nearby caves, one weird cave with penises in and one fairly normal cave (called Diamond Cave).

Railay beach and some strange caves.

Ko Phi-Phi Don

Ko Phi-Phi Don or Phi-Phi island was our next destination. Interesting fact, ‘Ko’ means ‘island’ in Thai.

We stayed for just two nights on the party island but managed to squeeze in a lot. The first afternoon, we got our bearings, stroked one hundred cats and lazed away on the beach with Chang beer and Jonny playing Ukelele.

Trippy snapchat filter.

The island-hopping boat trip from Phi-Phi was a full day stopping at the stunning Bamboo island, monkey beach, a gorgeous turquoise pool of water surrounded by rocks and Maya bay – famous because it was where the ‘The Beach’ was filmed. Getting to Maya bay was pretty funny as the water was too shallow for the boat to anchor so instead we had to rock climb and use a net to clamber up to gain access. We could then do the classic run through the palm trees, like Leonardo, to reveal the bay. Though it had got a little cloudy so it wasn’t quite the same beach.

Being like Leo and finding not-so-secret beaches (anymore) for the day.

Phi-Phi island although beautiful, did have a dark side: alcohol buckets at silly prices (£3.50 for a bucket of G&T), UV paint, beach and pool parties and even a bar with a boxing ring in the middle. As you can see in the photos below, we naturally stayed away from all this nonsense. This was also the night I lost my Thailand 7/11 toastie virginity – a staple most gap year students will mention.

Damn that toastie was worth it.

Khanom

This place was our retreat. A non-touristy town compared to the rest of the places we visited, with a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach.

Barely a soul around.

It is also home to pink albino dolphins and we were lucky enough to see two on a trip organised by our host.

Great 2 second capture by Mr Mansell of the speckled pink Dolphins.

We stayed at a really homely Homestay called Happy Resort and had a small bungalow all to ourselves with a kitchen so we could even make our own food- it was so nice to have cereal in the morning!

Our little bungalow complete with dog and hammock free of charge (and husband…just kidding).

Other highlights of our stay in Khanom were Hin Lat and Samet Chun waterfalls, the night market and Khanom Seafood restaurant which had an endless list of fresh seafood cooked in your preferred style. Scooters and motorbikes we £3 to rent all day so we took one each to get around.

Waterfalls, biking, hiking and eating- what else could you want?! Actually I could answer that, better roads would have been nice!

Ko Tao

We made Ko Tao mainly a diving trip, planning to do our Advanced Open Water PADI certification. The diving (and snorkelling) was incredible seeing so much underwater life including turtles, rays, barracudas, groupers, parrot  and bat fish and more. Sadly, we didn’t get to spot a Whale Shark which frequent the water around this area.

How to even begin to capture the diving and snorkelling to be had in Thailand.

We also went to Yuan Island which was gorgeous. The beaches and snorkelling around Ko Tao were great as well including Tanote Bay, Shark Bay, Freedom Beach and Mango Bay stopping at another view point.

Exploring Koh Tao on our non-diving days.


Koh Phangan

The home of the Full Moon Party! There wasn’t actually a full moon when we went but a half moon so instead we got tickets to the Half Moon party in the middle of the jungle! Josh, our third wheel, who had nothing better to do joyfully came out to meet us in Thailand. We had a lot of fun catching up and nursing his hangover the next day.

Half moon spectacular.

Besides partying, we enjoyed some of the beaches and waterfalls on the island.

Koh Phangan away from the parties.

Then it was onwards and upwards to Malaysia! The journey involved a boat, a long drive, one overnight train journey and a second train once we crossed the Malaysian border. It was long but actually didn’t feel too bad, the sleeper train had beds with curtains and all the transport ran very smoothly.

Nighty, night!

15 Things To Know About Sri Lanka

After spending three weeks in Sri Lanka, here are 15 interesting facts and things we learnt about Sri Lanka:

1. Sri Lanka is often referred to as the ‘tear drop’ of India due to its shape and position located just south of India. The island itself is smaller than Ireland but is home to almost 21 million people (whereas Ireland has a population of around 4.7 million).

Photo taken from Google maps.

2. Sri Lanka used to be known as ‘Ceylon’. The new name of Sri Lanka was issued in 1972 following independence from the British Empire in 1948. You may recognise Ceylon tea though, and this is one of the main exports of Sri Lanka. The British had complete rule over Sri Lanka from 1817 and introduced tea plants to the island in 1824. By 1965, Sri Lanka became the world’s largest tea exporter and to this day remains one of the top 5 tea exporters in the world. Check some of the English well-loved brands such as Yorkshire tea, Tetley and Twinnings English breakfast teas and you’ll find it is part made from tea plantations in Sri Lanka!

A cup of Ceylon tea with a box of ‘tea-time’ biscuits.

 3. Tea is not the only British thing we oberserved, we saw traditional red postboxes, railway stations built by the British, British colonial hotels and architecture and ‘tea-time’ biscuits in every shop.

A photo of one of the vintage trains still in use today. We took the very scenic route between Ella and Kandy and it was like a step back in time!


4. Sri Lanka is situated near the equator so typically has a hot climate between 29-34 degrees Celsius all year. However, unlike other countries it is affected by two monsoons: the Yala monsoon in the south & west of the country from May to August and the Maha monsoon in the north & east from October to January. This is perhaps why you see such green and lush vegetation in the hill country and a large array of wildlife in Sri Lanka from parrots and buffalo to elephants and leopards. 

Some of the wildlife we saw in Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka.

 5. The south coast has a stunning coastline of white sandy beaches and huge waves so it’s perfect for surfing. We stayed in Hikkaduwa which had a lot of surfers. We also saw a lot of dogs on the beach. The dogs were all well natured but tended to all be strays that the locals would occasionally look after. We never saw a dog go into a home though.

A dog relaxing on Hikkaduwa beach.

 6. The main language in Sri Lanka is Sinhalese though we found the majority of Homestay and Guesthouse owners spoke some English. In general, we found the Sri Lankan people to be very friendly. Many would go out of their way to help you find your way. As tourists, we were always popular with the kids who wanted to say ‘hello’ to us in English.

7. Sri Lanka is one of the oldest Buddhist countries in the world and played a key part in the history of Buddhism. You can climb Adam’s peak to see what is believed to be Buddha’s own footprint, visit the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy to see the casket containing the tooth of Buddha and cave temples in Dumbulla over 2000 years old.

The Buddha statues we saw in the ancient Dambulla Cave Temple.

8. The currency in Sri Lanka is Sri Lankan rupees (LKR). The exchange rate from LKR to GBP is roughly 195 rupees to £1. Most of the Sri Lankan rupees are in notes rather than coins. We found the cost of living in Sri Lanka to be a lot cheaper than the UK- our average daily spend was £45 (or £22.50 each) for a double room with a fan and private bathroom, plus 3 meals a day and travel/daily activities. We used our credit card to withdraw money from the ATM and found Commercial bank to be most accepting of MasterCard. The Bank of Ceylon did not seem to ever accept our credit cards.

9. We found Booking.com to be wonderful for booking accommodation in Sri Lanka. It had a huge range of accommodation including guesthouses, home stays, hotels and hostels. Most of the time we would just book our next stay the night before with no problem. We tried to do a lot of home stays and found these to be the most rewarding since you could begin to understand the local customs, meet local people and ask questions about Sri Lanka and the area you were staying in.

Our home stay at ‘Ruwanpura’ and the host family in Udawalawa.


10. It is custom to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a place of worship. In general, women tend not to bare their shoulders or knees opting for a t-shirt style dress or t-shirt & skirt. 

11. Traditional Sri Lankan food is curry & rice. We were always presented with a big plate of rice and then 3-4 smaller dishes which normally consisted of Dahl (lentil curry), 1-2 vegetable dishes often with aubergine (eggplant) or okra, perhaps a chicken or fish curry and sambal (which is made from coconut), plus poppadoms if you were lucky. We also tried egg and string hoppers and milk rice. If you order food in a restaurant, we learnt that Sri Lankan’s like to take their time (I read somewhere that they like to socialise before eating) so waiting around 30 minutes for food after ordering is not uncommon.

One of the many Sri Lankan curries we had. This one had an aubergine (eggplant) dish called Wambatu Moju which we loved!

12. Public transport in Sri Lanka is pretty good and very very cheap, particularly the buses. We used the local buses mostly and found a 1 hour journey would cost less than a bottle of water! The buses can get a little crowded and many do not have air-conditioning. There is a conductor on every bus so you do not buy tickets in advance- just hop on and wait for the conductor to come to you! If you’re not on a tight budget you can also hire a driver for the day for around 60 USD.  Tuk-tuks or rickshaws are everywhere- on average expect to spend about 50 LKR per kilometre and slightly more in touristy areas. The benefit of tuk-tuk is that they can reach places cars/buses cannot like down trails or long driveways. We found it was all male drivers in Sri Lanka and be prepared to hear serious amounts of ‘honking’!! They use their horns more than the brakes! It can feel a bit unsettling for foreign travellers at first.

Jonny on one of the local buses in Sri Lanka.

13. Haggling or negotiating is part of everyday life in Sri Lanka, particularly for tuk-tuks or at market stalls. In a supermarket, prices are printed directly on each individual item so you can quickly build up an idea of how much you should be paying for a bunch of bananas or bottle of water for example. One thing to note is that you can only buy alcohol in a dedicated store which may be a side store to a large supermarket or even in the basement. It only seems to be men who purchase alcohol at these stores so it can be a little intimidating for a woman since you’re likely to get some disapproving looks.

14. Between 13th-15th April, the Sri Lankan people celebrate their New Year. It is a National holiday and a time for family gathering so many businesses, buses and restaurants will close over this period. Small fireworks can be heard across the country and sweets are prepared in every home such as Kokis and oil cake which we were fortunate to try. On New Year’s day it is tradition to wear a new piece of clothing.

A photo of food we received for breakfast on New Year’s Day including milk rice, oil cake often referred to as Kevum and Kokis in the shape of butterflies.

15. Lots of tourists carry the Lonely Planet guidebook which means more remote areas mentioned in the book have started to become more touristy. If you are looking for a really remote location, the locals have great knowledge or another option would be to take a bus and explore other areas. One more note for travellers is the plug socket – it is a cross between a UK plug socket with three prongs and a European one with rounded prongs. We brought a world travel adapter with us for our trip but found it would not fit. In the end we bought a plug adapter from the local supermarket.

A plug adaptor we purchased in Sri Lanka – you can see here the socket and pins.

HELLO!

Three weeks into our 4.5 month trip around Asia and we decided to start a blog! There is so much we have discovered about Sri Lanka already and we have realised that photos, whilst they are great, do not always capture the stories and experiences behind them. So hopefully you’ll enjoy reading this blog! We hope to:

a) allow family & friends to follow us on our journey

b) inform other travellers about areas we have visited

c) inspire others to travel

Firstly, I should provide some background to our journey so far. We are a married couple living in the UK, who decided to take a 6-month sabbatical or career break from our jobs to do some travelling! To make this sound slightly less glamorous, this didn’t happen without months of planning including saving for 18 months, deciding what to do with our rented flat and all our furniture, car (in the end we decided to end the lease and sell our furniture and car) booking the travel, budgeting, getting vaccinations and so on. Perhaps one day we’ll write a separate blog entry on the planning side alone as there would certainly be enough to fill it!

But for now, let’s focus on the travelling part because that’s definitely the most exciting…

We made the choice to do two trips; the first one in Asia and the second in South America. Our trip started on 5th April 2017 and our itinerary is three weeks in Sri Lanka, one month in India and then three months getting from Bangkok to Bali with a few days in Hong Kong on our way back to the UK in mid-August.

Our budget allowed for a typical back-packing style trip and that suited us because it gave us more flexibility to travel around. We booked all our main flights with STA travel as they offered a round-the-world ticket at a decent price and the option to move flights easily with their multi-flex pass. As for accommodation we just booked our first few nights via Booking.com and opted to leave the rest of the trip open.

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Photo: Us about to depart at Heathrow airport for our 4.5 month trip around Asia with probably far too many bags!

So that’s us! And now we have almost finished our 3-weeks in Sri Lanka which have been amazing! We really challenged ourselves by moving to a new destination in Sri Lanka every 2-3 days but that in itself has been a great experience to speak to lots of different people, stay in lots of different places and really get a sense of different regions in Sri Lanka. I think we’re both still in holiday mode and it hasn’t really sunk in that we’re out here until 22nd August so we know we may not be able to keep up that pace!

We’ll now write a separate blog entry on our time so far in Sri Lanka…

Much lovings,

Sara & Jonny