Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, 8:25pm on a Friday night and the city is electrifying. A cacophony of noise and kaleidoscopic neon colours, voices competing with scooter engines, hooters, music blaring from distorted radio speakers, BBQ smoke filing the air as the sticky heat of this old colonised French city wraps it all in a frenzied whirl. It’s like the Vegas of Asia, as we zip through the streets, dodging kamikaze scooters, we make our way to the Liberty Central hotel, where the rooftop pool welcomes our tired and buzzing minds. This is the starting point for our 7 day river cruise along the mighty Mekong Delta, a fabled river system seeped in history, romance and conflict, The pulse of South East Asia.
In July I travelled to Central Australia for a short break. We arrived in Alice Springs to unseasonal warm weather – 27 degrees, and after collecting a 4WD at the airport we headed through “The Gap” to the town proper. A number of years ago I lived in Alice Springs for 6 months over the summer, so the first thing that struck me was how green it is. The contrast with the red landscape and blue sky is stunning and the view of the MacDonnell Ranges from Anzac Hill quite spectacular.
Colombia has a, perhaps, colourful history – cocaine trafficking, drug cartels, kidnappings, guerrilla armies to name a few, however I didn’t ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe in the towns/cities we visited (Bogota, Salento, the coffee estansia, Medellin, Cartagena).
After months of agonising stressing, planning, preparing, cancelling and rebooking, my partner Scott and I were finally on a flight to Negombo, Sri lanka via Kuala Lumpur. We stepped out of the airport and embraced what would be our first impression of Sri Lanka, the smell of fresh rain on earth mixed with a distinctive spicy flavour, streaming lights of eccentrically decorative tuk-tuks taxis weaving through traffic as Indi-pop distorts their speakers.
In July 2014 I travelled to Sabah, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. My itinerary was private throughout. From Kota Kinabalu, KK as it is locally referred to, Mt Kinabalu quickly came into view as a dominant feature – 4,095 metres, the tallest mountain on the island of Borneo. The national park has very well marked walks and this is where you start the trek to the summit of Mt Kinabalu.
In November 2011 I embarked on my first trek in the Nepalese Himalaya Annapurna Region. The Annapurna Region is a great region to trek for first time trekkers as you do not trek to as higher altitude as the Everest Region however saying this there is no easy trek in the Himalaya no matter what region you are trekking in.
In August I was lucky enough to have my first trip to India and I undertook a 7 day riverboat trip with Assam Bengal Navigation.