As I stand deep in the Valley of Kings in Tutankhamun’s tomb, drinking in the colourful motifs and complex hieroglyphics adorning the cool walls of the Necropolis, in what is considered the most famous archaeological site in the world, goosebumps ripple up my arms and the guides words float in my head – “Today, after visiting the famous Pyramids of Giza you have seen why people come to Egypt, but now we will show you why people fall in love with Egypt”. The next two weeks we were very fortunate to be taken on a spellbinding journey throughout the main highlights of Egypt.
I am flying over the sparkling expanse of the Mozambique Channel to one of the most exotic, forgotten and ecologically diverse islands on the planet, Madagascar. My first glimpse of this fabled island was not really as I imagined as what I saw, initially horrified me – smoke and fire. Not one or two fires, but dozens, burning the land and sending dirty grey plumes spiralling upwards into the skies like mini tornadoes. Little did I know that my first impression of the island would be totally reversed when meeting its warm people, seeing its unique wildlife and spectacular landscapes which would takes us on a spell bounding journey.
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.
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.