Our EvaAir plane waiting to whisk us off to Taiwan.
The past four weeks have flown by and it’s time to take off on the next leg of our adventures. We have had so much fun in HK and it will be sad to leave but this time it is only for four weeks. Leaving was made harder this time as we are now being called grandma and grandpa which is lovely.
Our plan is to travel all around Taiwan using only public transport which we know might be challenging but we are willing to have a go. The itinerary is as follows, Taipei for six days, followed by two days Hualien, two days Taitung, five days Kaohsiung, three days Kending, three days Tainan, two days Taichung, two days Yuchi (Sun Moon Lake), finally two days back in Taipei then back to HK.
Let the fun begin.
While we are having an amazing time travelling to all the places we have been we always look forward to our return to HK to spend time with our granddaughter and her mum and dad. It’s been seven weeks since we left HK so it was interesting to see what sort of a reception we would receive from her. We needn’t have worried as we were greeted by a great big smile and a lovely hug, she was excited to see us again.
Our time here in HK is spent filling the days with as much laughter and fun as you can possibly have in a day. There is enormous pleasure in seeing her cheeky grin or hearing her infectious giggle and also seeing how quickly she is developing her own personality. It’s amazing to see how someone so young retains and uses all the new experiences we are trying to give her, she is learning so fast.
One of the first tasks we had to do while back in HK was to decide where we would visit next as our original plans would have to be amended due to the uncertain situation in Japan and South Korea. We decided we would not travel to either after reading all the travel advice. While this was very disappointing it gave us the opportunity to look at other options in the area so we set about planning where to go.
After talking with Lou and Max we decided on Taiwan as they had been and loved it and it was only a one and a half hour flight away. We will travel around Taiwan for four weeks then return to HK for two weeks then we will all head off to Australia together.
So, planning complete, Taiwan here we come!!
Today we arrived back in Singapore where we started our journey of Malaysia seven weeks ago. It has been a wonderful experience as we have seen some incredible sights, met lots of lovely friendly people and have had fantastic weather throughout our trip.
There have been so many special moments but I think seeing the Orangutan’s at Semenggoh in such close proximity has to be up there as one of my most favourite memories. Our journey took us from Singapore to Malacca, Ipoh, Cameron Highlands, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Brunie then back to Singapore in readiness for our return to Hong Kong on 2nd September.
We have had a wonderful time and we love Singapore but we are excited to be heading back to Hong Kong to see our granddaughter and her mum and dad again. It will be interesting to see how much she has changed over the past seven weeks and hopefully she will be pleased to have us back for more fun and games.
We promised ourselves a trip to the Botanical Gardens when we returned to Singapore so here are some of the snaps we took.
Today was another early start as our flight to Brunei was at 8.50am. The flight itself was just 40 minutes long so we hardly had time to settle into our seats before it was time to land. This must be one of the shortest flights there is.
Our hotel the Badi’ah offered an airport shuttle service so were there to greet us as we came through immigration. Ten minutes later we were checking into the hotel so after unpacking we headed out to have a look around the area. In the immediate area there were shops and restaurants but we had noticed on the way to the hotel that there was a lovely mosque that didn’t appear to be too far away. Although it wasn’t too far from the city centre to walk the hotel had a local bus stop right outside so we used the bus every day during our stay.
Here are a selection of the many photographs we took during our time here.
Sultan Omar Ali Sulfuddin Mosque
Jamie’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
Kampong Ayer – Water Village
Royal Regalia Museum
Local bus 42, 45 or 49 to town and back.
Have had a fantastic time in Brunei over the past four days.
Next stop Singapore.
When we arrived back at our hotel after the river cruise last night we decided to go for a drink at one of the waterfront cafes. We hadn’t been there for more than an hour when Gina was bitten above the eye by a mosquito. Within 20 minutes her eye started to swell up quite badly, it looked like she had been in a boxing match.
This morning the swelling had spread to below her eye so it was really uncomfortable. Luckily she had some antibiotics left from her last bite so decided to take one hoping it would help.
As we would be leaving for Brunei in the morning we decided we would take a trip to the laundrette and get our washing up to date. We are looking forward to seeing Brunei and have no idea what to expect in relation to how it will differ from Borneo.
With the washing done we returned to the hotel and spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool and then watched our last sunset in Kota Kinabalu. Fortunately the antibiotics appear to be helping so Gina is feeling a lot more comfortable.
We have had a great time here in Sabah and Sarawak and will always have fond memories of the time we have spent in Borneo.
After such a good day yesterday we were looking forward to the river cruise today. It was another early start as it was quite a long journey to the point where we would join the Klias river. Today there was only eight of us on the tour so we travelled by mini bus which was a lot more pleasant than yesterday. Before setting off our guide Sam gave us an idea of what to expect during our time on the river and explained that on arrival we would receive a traditional Sabah meal before commencing on the cruise. The journey took us two hours to reach Beaufort so we were pleased to have the comfort of the air conditioning as it was another hot day. Sam had told us that if we were lucky we would see Proboscis, Mekak and Langur monkeys then afterwards when the sun had set we would take to the river again to see the Fireflies put on their show.
We were fortunate to see a number of monkeys, but they were feeding high up in the trees. Although we were unable to get clear shots on our phones we did get some great shots on our camera. Unfortunately we don’t have access to them whilst we are travelling.
After sunset we took to the river again to see the fireflies. I have never seen so many fireflies in one place and was amazed how they showed up in the night sky. It was like looking at Christmas tree lights twinkling in harmony. Sam had asked us not to take photographs for fear of disturbing them so unfortunately we were not able to capture the spectacle on film.
Today we woke early as we were getting picked up at 8.00am to take the two hour journey to Kinabalu Park. After picking up other passengers from another hotel we set off, in total there were 20 of us on board During our journey we were told what to expect while visiting the park. Firstly we would be taken to see the wild flowers that grow in the area, some of which are rare and only grow in the Sabah region including some of the smallest orchids in the world. This would be followed by lunch then we were told the news that we had been waiting for, after lunch we would be taken to see a Rafflesia in bloom. It was day two, so we were extremely fortunate to have timed our visit perfectly. After seeing the Rafflesia we would then have the opportunity to take a canopy walk before returning to our hotels by late afternoon.
The Rafflesia – 75cm wide.
Monday we spent the morning looking around the town and found the tourist information centre so we could ask about the various tours available and also about the local bus timetables. While they tried to give us the information we asked for it was clear that we would have to remember that we were in Malaysia and things don’t always run as they should.
The afternoon was spent relaxing by the lovely hotel pool followed by a meal at the pool restaurant. We have noticed that the sun seems much stronger since we arrived in Borneo compared to the mainland so have tried to relax in the afternoons more. The evening was spent discussing what trips we would take.
Tuesday morning we booked a tour to Mount Kinabalu National Park on Wednesday followed by a Klias River Cruise for Thursday with the tour desk at the hotel. The girls there were extremely helpful and explained in detail what each tour consisted of. We were particularly keen to take the park tour as there may be the opportunity to see the famous rafflesia flower, the largest flower in the world. If so we could count ourselves very lucky as they take five years to germinate and only stay in flower for about three days.
Roll on tomorrow.
Today we arrived in Kota Kinabalu after a short one and a half hour flight from Kuching. We are staying here for six nights and are interested to see how Sabah differs from Sarawak, we are especially looking forward to visiting the Mount Kinabalu National Park.
On arrival at the airport we were quickly processed through immigration and planned to take a taxi to our hotel as the airport is a 15 minute drive from town but saw a shuttle bus kiosk in the foyer. On enquiring where the bus made it’s stops we found that one of the stops was just around the corner from our hotel so we bought tickets for MYR10 between us, bargain.
Our hotel Le Meridien was situated straight opposite the waterfront and the food market so this should be an interesting place to stay.
Today we will be heading off to Kota Kinabalu on the 12.40pm flight with Malaysia Airlines.
Yesterday we spent the day having a final look around Kuching. We have had a great time here and enjoyed staying at the Meritin hotel where the staff have been so lovely. Our two guides Musa and Mezelan who accompanied us to Semenggoh and Bako were excellent, their local knowledge was invaluable in giving us a great experience and also a greater understanding of the Sarawak people, their customs and the beautiful countryside that surrounds them.
Last look around Kuching, spot of lunch followed by another great sunset.