Paul & Cat's Travelling Blog
This final blog for the South East Asia part of our trip is a little late! We arrived back in the UK on 22 December but the madness of Xmas quickly took over and we didn't get chance to post anything until now!Neither of us can quite beleive the first leg of our travels is already over - it's gone very fast but it has been the most incredible three months! We have done a little summary of our favourite places/experiences at the end of this blog - but first lets talk Hong Kong... The minute we arrived in Hong Kong we both immediately loved the city. It reminds us (unsurprisingly) of London in many ways - a 24 hour hustle and bustle city with tons of character and loads to see and do. Our hostel was right in the heart of Mong Kok which is crazy busy and full of street markets and huge neon lights everywhere. On our first full day in the city we did what the locals here do best...shop! Every area of the city is essentially an extended shopping mall - most of which stock stuff that neither of us could possibly afford. After a long exhausting day we stopped by the pier to see the daily Symphony of Lights show at 8pm. The skyline of Hong Kong is very impressive - and even better at night (see photos)! One of the nights we went to the Happy Valley horse races which was brilliant. As it was in the run up to Christmas the atmosphere was incredible and there were loads of Christmas parties going on. We walked away with 11 quid!! The food in Hong Kong is amazing- we ate mainly at small restaurants filled with locals without another tourist in sight. Our favourite was probably a little dim sum place which ranked in the top 101 places to eat in the world according to timeout magazine! Very fresh and surprisingly cheap- so we ate there two days running, naturally. On our last day we took the open top bus tour around the city (twice!) which was really interesting, albeit very touristy. We ended our Hong Kong visit with a couple of Mojitos (2 for 1 of course!) in Soho. Soho is home to so many British expats and sitting in the bars up there was just like being in London and this gave us time to reflect on the incredible experiences of the past three months. Here is a summary of our favourite aspects: Tastiest food- Morning Glory and Mermaid- Hoi An, Vietnam; Cafe by the Ruins- Baguio and Smoke- Boracay, the Philippines but also Thai curries and Vietnamese street food!
Best beaches -
Pom Pom, Borneo without a doubt but close contenders are Boracay, the Philippines; the Perhentians, Malaysia.
Favourite towns and cities-
Hong Kong; Saigon, Vietnam and Phnom Penh, Cambodia for the big cities. Hoi An, Vietnam and Sagada, the Philippines are amazing little places.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia; Mt Kinabalu, Borneo; Banaue and Batad, the Philippines and Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.
Number one is Pom Pom turtle and reef conservation, Borneo followed by the killing fields and S21 museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Mt Kinabalu, Borneo.
We both agree that if we absolutely had to pick one country that we loved most, we'd say Vietnam - which is ironic as it's the only country that we hadn't intended to visit before leaving!
And the aspects we weren't as fond of-
Malaysian food generally; any town in Sabah, Borneo; Manila; minibus travel in Thailand; rats; cockroaches; expensive beer, windowless prison-like accommodation.
Next stop... Chile!!