Lisa and Hope in ASIA

Joined July 2017Living in: Sheffield, United Kingdom
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  • Day44

    We chilled all morning with some of the people we had met, had some breakfast, got packed, and checked out. Ernie picked us up at 11 am to take us to the airport….well….by airport I mean room. It was tiny – it was crazy! We loved it though. The security men checked inside ALL of our bags on the way in, and then we checked in. You know a plane is tiny when they ask you to weigh YOURSELF on check in…yep that is right! I thought that Hope had misheard at first, but nopeeeee, we weighed ourselves. Not what you fancy doing after 6 weeks of eating and drinking non –stop haha!
    The plane was absolutely tiny! It was like our own tiny private jet. There were 12 of us on it, and it had two propellers either side (I can’t say I felt the most safe when we were in turbulence but it was only 45 minutes long so it was fine). It made sense why it was £47 for such a short journey – otherwise it wouldn’t be worth running. They have only recently introduced this direct flight.
    We landed in Caticlan, and got the ferry to Borocay. We got ripped off…again! We should have walked off the ferry, got a tricycle to the port, and got a ticket to Borocay which would have cost about 100 (and the lady at our hostel even said to do that). But we stupidly got dragged by this man into his shop where we agreed to pay 500 pisos each for a lift to the ferry port, ferry, and a lift the other side to the hostel. Idiots! I still don’t know what we actually paid for….100 was for assistance…well where was our assistance when we had to chuck our heavy bags onto the top of the van!!! Fuming!
    We overheard an English lady saying about how this route is so bumpy, and she would rather pay more to go a different route and be safe…blah blah blah. So we were expecting the worse and thought we were in for the bumpiest ferry ride. Especially when we saw that the company had just 2 stars, and there was a broken window on the ferry!!! But we left….and approximately 4/5 minutes later…we arrived. We were so confused.
    We got the van to mad monkey, we were the final stop. We had heard how amazing this hostel was so we were excited.
    We arrived – and it did not disappoint! Easily the best hostel we have stayed in on our whole travels. We were even upgraded from an 8 bed mixed dorm to a 4 bed female dorm (and only had one girl in there anyway!). Three nights only cost 900 pisos (Outpost was 850 for one night!!).
    We went out on the hunt for a Mexican, and had a walk along White beach on the way, which was very beautiful. It is so touristy in Borocay, but we quite liked that as were up for going out. It’s a shame that the Mexican was awful – very expensive- and so awful. And even more annoying as we walked
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  • Day43

    We woke up feeling fresh (ish) as we didn’t drink too much. We couldn’t decide whether to do the island hopping tour with the girls or not (apparently it is the best one so we probably should have done it really) but we had spent a lot of time island hopping so we thought it would be nice to spend a day on the beach instead. We got a tricycle to Nacpan beach – voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and it did not disappoint! It cost 1000 pisos return (it was a one hour ride away, and we managed to barter him down from 1500 so we were happy with that). Jacob was going to come with us, but he didn’t want to pay 330 (lol) as he thought it was too expensive (£5 …so £2.50 for a ONE HOUR journey!!). His loss though – we had a great day! The tricycle ride was very bumpy and we got very muddy, but Ernie (the driver) was so lovely.
    The beach really was stunning – by far one of the best seas we have ever been in! The sand was so light, and the waves were so big – it was amazing!
    It was cloudy all morning, but then it cleared up at lunch time. We managed to get tanned though (and a little bit burnt) – the clouds are deceiving! We had some lunch (after bumping into the Saudi Arabian couple from the other day hahah) –Hope had some fries and a lemon iced tea, and I had a vegetable noodle dish. Very nice!
    Ernie waited for us all day bless him – until about 2 pm when we decided to go back and visit Air Swift to get our flight booked to Borocay for the following day. We were asked to ‘put more clothes on’ when we arrived hahaha … so I went in with my rain coat on (in the boiling heat haha).
    We sat on the beach outside Outpost when we got back, then got showered and ready, and sat down for some food. Of course we had the pizza again (we had it the night before and it was A M A Z I N G !). We met two English girls and an English lad and ended up having a really good night drinking with them. The girl, Zoey ended up getting so drunk that she fell out of her bunk in the middle of the night and bruised her nose, knee and got scars all over her body! This was after she had been sick in her bed haha.
    It was a great day – we love El Nido!
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  • Day42

    On Wednesday August 23rd, we travelled from Port Barton to El Nido at 1 pm. We had a frustrating morning – and felt pretty annoyed!!!!
    We woke up and packed, and then I went for breakfast whilst Hope finished off as I was starving (shock) and had some pancakes. The man at the accommodation told us that motorbikes to the waterfalls are only 500 pisos for both of us so we arranged to go. The weather wasn’t great but we were under trees anyway so it didn’t matter. The journey was about half hour there, and we spent about 60-90 minutes at the waterfall. It wasn’t an amazing waterfall, but it was pretty and it was nice to visit before leaving Port Barton. The water was absolutely freezing!!!!
    However, at the end of the trip, the men charged us 500 pisos for the room (as agreed) but then said that the motorbikes were 500 EACH which was absolutely ridiculous! But because we were leaving to go and get our bus, we paid it without querying it (which I am very annoyed at us for and we should never have paid that! Even 500 was us being ripped off!!). To make matters worse, they told us the bus was 500 each, and then we overheard him accepting 400 off someone else. By this point I was fuming so I went and asked for our 200 change as we were not being ripped off. I wish I had asked for the motorbike money back as well!! They obviously do not get many tourists at this time of year, so they must have just thought that they would claim as much money off us as possible.
    On the bright side, when you do the conversion to pounds, it really is not a lot of money (500 is £7.50 roughly) but it is more just the principle (or principal? I get them mixed up haha) of it.
    Anyway, the bus to El Nido was about 4 hours long. The strangest thing happened on the way. A boy asked me where I’m from, and when I replied with Leicester, it turns out that he is from Oadby… lived 5 minutes from my old house…went to the same schools as me… and is one year above me. It was so strange. Out of all the places – the Philippines is dead at this time of year AND Port Barton barely has any other tourists, yet I bumped into someone from home!! It was crazy!
    Anyway, we had a great couple of days in El Nido. So we arrived there at 5 pm ish, went to a big supermarket to buy some more toiletries, and got a tricycle up to the hostel: Outpost, with Jacob. It was a long way up the hill but Jacob was trying to insist that we walked (he didn’t want to pay – lovely boy…very very tight. He tried bartering for 10 piso peanuts on the stop on the way to El Nido …that’s 15 pence!!). The hostel only had 4 bed dorms which were a little more expensive than expected (850 pisos a night – approximately £12.50 which is a lot for one night) but we didn’t mind paying it (Jacob took a long time to decide). The hostel was excellent though (bar the wifi which was something we desperately needed to book our next flight!)
    Unfortunately, I had the most banging headache and felt so dizzy (Hope said I was not making any sense with what I was saying… I just could not get my words out!) so I went for a ‘lie down’ which of course ended up being a few hours long. Sadly we missed out on the beer pong tournament (I’m sure Hope wasn’t too upset about that, haha). The hostel was so lively and full of young people (mainly English as well) so although I felt so dizzy, I tried my hardest to have a few drinks as I didn’t wanna miss out. We drank at the hostel until 10, and then went out with some English girls we met to Tikki bar as the hostel bar licensing was only until 10. The bar was good and we were having a good time….until I tried to do a shot to get drunk and make myself feel better…it just didn’t go down well. I was sick…. A lot ! My body just wasn’t handling it that night haha. So we had to go back (I felt really bad but I don’t think Hope minded too much…for once it wasn’t her being sick bless her!). We did get the NICEST FALAFEL WRAP ON THE WAY BACK THOUGH….I’m still dreaming of it now.

    Ahhhh falafel
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  • Day41

    We have had the most UNREAL/AMAZING/SPECTACULAR (that's a new word I've never used) DAY!!!! We have been in actual paradise - by far the most beautiful day of the whole trip. It has been breathtaking !
    We woke up at 5.50 am in Sheebang hostel, got ready, checked out by 6.10 am, and got the tricycle at 6.15 am to San Jose bus terminal. We got the 6.45 bus to Port Barton (and ended up having a private van which was ideal!).
    We arrived at around 9.30 so just under 3 hours (in comparison to the bus which would have taken 4 hours minimum). However, they did drive pretty quickly so sleeping was impossibility.
    It was the first day that the weather was actually sunny and looked like it could be clear! We were so happy!
    When we arrived, the man found us accommodation which consisted of beach front cottages for only 500 each a night so it was fine. They were very basic but looked cleaner than our previous accommodation so we were happy.
    The man at the accommodation told us about an island hopping tour they did but seeing as we had missed the scheduled tour (and I doubt it would have ran as there were barely any people around), we could only do it if we got a private boat which was more expensive. We decided to do it – it was 1000 each (£15 pounds) and Hope didn't get to do the island hopping the other day.
    It was fantastic!
    Firstly, we stopped and did some snorkelling. The reefs here are incredible! Although some are damaged from where the boat men have put their anchors, parts of it are beautiful (however we did see the man touching the coral later which was frustrating, as it damages it). We saw so many beautiful fish of all different shapes, sizes and colours. Not many tourists know about Port Barton, so we felt like we were in a secluded little area.
    The first island stop was German island. It was beautiful. We paid a minimal fee (so minimal I can’t even remember what it was!) and spent a few hours there. The island only had a few tourists on. There were many hammocks, and swings on the island and we spent a few hours lazing about before the man made us some lunch (vegetables and rice). We said we didn’t want fish (I was put off from the overwhelming full fish on my plate at Honda Bay) but I was quite jealous after seeing the freshly grilled fish on the plates next to us!!
    After lunch we did some snorkelling around the island. Sadly we didn’t get to see any of the giant turtles which are sometimes around here, but we saw a cute little turtle.
    We went to a couple more snorkelling spots, and then went to the most incredible sand bar. It was so tiny, but was full of starfish, and we had it all to ourselves! We loved it.
    We were incredibly lucky with the weather, incredibly lucky with how quiet everywhere was, and overall had an incredible day!
    When we got back to the cottages at around 3 pm – the heavens opened. It POURED it down. We had a nap whilst we waited for the rain to stop, but didn’t end up waking up until 9 pm !!! From 4 pm – we must have been shattered! We woke up, luckily the electricity was on (it is only on 6 pm – midnight), and went for some dinner. However, the rain was still so bad that the restaurant with wifi was shut so we had to go to a small one further down. I had vegetables in oyster sauce with rice, and Hope just had a Fanta.
    It's now 22.39 and we are shattered so I'm going to go to sleep now so we can get up at 7 am to hopefully go and see some waterfalls.
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  • Day40

    Yesterday (the 21st) we saw one of the seven natural wonders of the world: the Puerto Princesa Underground River. It was unbelievable!!
    The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (The Underground River) is a protected area of the Philippines located about 80 kilometres north of the city centre of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. The entrance to the subterranean river is a short hike or boat ride from the town Sabang. The Underground River was provisionally chosen as one of the New7Wonders of Nature on November 11, 2011. The selection was officially confirmed on January 28, 2012.
    Luckily we woke up feeling freshER than the morning before (would have been fresh had we not been up for half of the night from the RUDE boys!). We got the 7.15 am bus to the underground river, which was located about 90 minutes away.
    The tour guide was crazy (but lovely), she was repeatedly shouting 'ma'am sir' mid-sentence and kept cracking jokes - we were getting so confused about what was a joke and what was serious!
    She made us all introduce ourselves - but this was where the FIRST (of many) strange things that happened that day. So the lady in front from Saudi Arabia starts filming us when we are talking and literally holds her camera directly in front of my face. Then we could see that she had put a caption and was snapchatting it?! Maybe she has never seen a white person before.... but we are not performing monkeys haha - it was all very strange (particularly because we still felt half asleep so a camera in our face was very overwhelming!)
    Everyone else in our group was from the Philippines - all lovely!!)
    After the 90 minute journey to Sabang, we had the morning to do a trip (the lady said that it was because the queue for the underground river was extremely long, but do not think this was the real reason). We didn’t mind though – we got to do an 800 m zip wire over the sea which was beautiful and was so fun (But very painful for poor hope as she was wearing a skirt so the harness was directly pressing on her skin).
    The rest of the group did a mangrove boat trip.
    We had lunch after the morning trips which was a buffet (but Hope and I had eaten so many crisps we weren’t that hungry haha shock!). We had cucumber, noodles, and some spring rolls.
    After lunch, we made our way on the ‘mother boat’ (as they called it) to the island where we got our small boats through the underground river. It was beautiful! We travelled through the massive cave on the longest underground river in the world – declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. We saw hundreds of bats (we were told in our individual synchronized audio devices (as you have to be silent in there) that you must close your mouth when looking up at the bats so they don’t poo in your mouth lol), giant monitor lizards were there, monkeys, apparently many snakes (luckily didn’t see any!).
    We saw lots of monkeys after coming out the river. Another very strange thing happened on our way back to the beach … we walked past a very … very … strange man.
    Anyway, the journey back on the ‘mother boat’ to Sabang was great – the views were honestly breathtaking!
    We got back to the bus, and did the 90 minute bus journey back to Sheebang hostel. We were going to see if we could make the final 4 pm bus from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton, but we got back at 4.30.
    We checked in to another room as we had originally only booked 2 nights (and apparently the one we were in was booked for that night…even though we saw later that it wasn’t?! strange!). The lady first tried to take us to the 8 bed room next door with the boys in…but we told her we really did not want to stay there so luckily she took us to another one.
    We were going to chill for a bit and then go out for a nice dinner and drinks. But after repacking our bags, and deciding that we would get the 6.30 am bus to Port Barton the following morning, we decided to have a chilled night with dinner at the hostel (and have the lovely veg adobo again), and plan the rest of our trip in the Philippines so we could get flights sorted.
    The plan of the Philippines was:
    Manila  Puerto Princesa, Palawan --- Now completed
     Port Barton, Palawan  El Nido, Palawan  Borocay  Cebu  Manila.
    A very busy trip ahead!
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  • Day39

    After 10 minutes of snoozing my alarm, Hope eventually woke me up! I was in such a deep sleep that it was just not waking me.

    7 am – I think I was still drunk- but we had a tour booked for Honda Bay and the pickup time was booked for 7.30 am. We both felt horrendous!!

    Hope even more so - she started being sick soon after waking up and made the decision that she was not going to come. She didn't think she could hack the boats, and to be honest, I don’t blame her, she was in a bad way (bless her!). She was very disappointed though of course!
    The previous night we thought we would have a ‘couple’ of drinks in Sheebang hostel – but with Hope and I, we all know what a couple means. We were on such a high when we arrived back from the prison, and were welcomed to happy hour 2 for 1 cocktails – we just couldn’t say no! We took full advantage of the 2 for 1 Kamikaze cocktail (vodka, triple sec and lime juice) and had a few before happy hour was over. Then we had some food (starving of course), and continued our drinking. Bearing in mind this was 6 pm and we had already had 3 cocktails each – we ended up drinking until 11 pm at the bar, and going to Tiki Bar (a big club) at 11.30 ish until around 2 am (not that I can remember when we got home lol). We met a couple of Americans who lived here now – and they were sharing with us some places to visit – with Port Barton being a secret heaven that the locals visit – not touristy at all, so we planned that as our next visit.
    Tiki bar was good (I think?!) from what we remember. We have no idea when we left, or what time we went to bed – but we managed to set our alarms – so we can’t have been too bad…right? We remember it being a good night though for sure!

    Anyway back to the morning…I was probably still drunk (in fact I was definitely still drunk), but decided to go as we had already booked the tour and we would have had to pay if none of us turned up! I was picked up, and taken in a squashed minivan to the snorkel hire where we got our shoes and snorkels (for 300 pisos hire – quite expensive for here?!), then taken to the boat port with my group. Everyone was lovely! I spent a lot of the day morning talking to a Catalan couple (they were sure to emphasis they were NOT SPANISH!), and much of the afternoon with a lovely Filipino girl called Therese, from Manila.

    The fresh air did really help, and I sobered up more as we were on the boat from the port to our first stop; Starfish island! It was beautiful there!!!! It has its name for a reason. It is literally an island filled with starfishes! The water was crystal clear. The bottom did not look deep at all – when it in fact was – showing just how clear the water was!! You could go farther and deeper from the shore to see many more colourful fishes and reefs, it was so beautiful and the perfect hangover cure!

    It was getting frustrating watching people pick them up and take the starfish out of the water just for photos though!!! Why can't they just watch them in their natural environment?!

    The snorkelling on the first stop was great! We saw so many fish, all different shapes, colours and sizes. We spent the majority of the day here as this was where Jen (the tour guide) did our lunch.

    Lunch was fish, vegetables, rice and meat (for those who eat meat). I do love fish but when a man put a whole fish with its long fin directly on to my place (which also touched the watermelon!!!) - I was very overwhelmed (particularly when so hungover).

    Our next destination was Luli island. This was lovely, but probably my least favourite of the three. Many people got some minced bread from the shop for the colourful fishes so that they will swarm over.
    I jumped off the diving board – it was so much fun! However Therese didn’t manage to record it – frustrating!! haha
    Further along the beach were many signs pointing to danger beyond of jellyfishes and stonefishes.

    Our final destination was Cowrie Island – my favourite !!
    This was my favourite island of the three! It was so beautiful - full of coconut trees and palm trees, with the most gorgeous turquoise coloured waters. Although it was quite popular - there was nowhere near as many tourists as you would see in other countries that had beautiful islands (and they would not be as beautiful as here!). I really enjoyed just sitting on the beach with Therese and looking at the view of the cute little island. I just wish we had longer there.

    After this, we went back to the snorkel shop to return our things, and I was dropped off back at the hostel.

    Hope and I chilled for a bit, then got some food at the restaurant. I had the most beautiful local food – Vegetable Adobo. It is actually a Filipino dish of chicken or pork stewed in vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, bay leaves and peppercorns – but I asked for it with vegetables. It was that good that we both had it the day after!!

    We chilled and planned on having an early night - we didn't want a repeat of the way we felt when we woke up in the morning!

    We went to sleep early - but were woken up by the rude RUDE rude VERY RUDE lads the other side of our hostel room (it was like a 6 bed one side and an 8 bed the other side). They came back drunk at 3.30 am, but instead of being drunk and a bit loud - THEY WERE PLAYING THE GUITAR FULL VOLUME!!! And showering,
    And shouting. And being so so rude! Hope went and asked them to be quiet (and if they were quiet from that point then I would let them off for just being drunk and unaware of how loud they were being) BUT THEY CONTINUED! Hope was awake until half 5!!!! They were so so ignorant!!! ARGHHHH HOSTEL LIFE IS HARD !!!
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  • Day38

    Today was honestly one of the best experiences of our life!!! First, I will begin from the morning...

    We thought we would be up at 7/8 ish as that has been the pattern every other day, but we must have been tired as we ended up sleeping until 11.30. I did wake up at 7 though and see the heavy rain so thought what is the point in getting up early.

    We got ready, and checked out at 12. It was so awkward because Sophie asked what our plan was that day, and where we were going. So it was very awkward saying that we were moving to Sheebang hostel which is a hostel only 10 minutes away. If the weather was nice then I'm sure the huts and hostel there would have been great - it had cute hammocks and swings and was right near the sea!
    But in the rain we just wanted to have a proper shower inside (after such a long day travelling the day before). We said it was because we had friends over at the other hostel (though I'm not sure how believable that was!).

    Anyway, we got a tricycle over to the hostel by the same man for 150 pisos. We checked in to our room - it was alright! First impressions of hostels are never great - sharing a room with many strangers and a bathroom is never going to be particularly appealing.

    We decided to visit Iwahig Prison and penal farm which is the Puerto Princesa rehabilitation prison. It was one of the best experiences of our lives!

    We paid 700 Pisos return for a tricycle to the 26,000 hectare prison which holds 3,186 convicts, and was about 15 km away from Puerto Princesa City.
    Iwahig is unique among penal institutions. The Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm were originally set up in 1902 by the United States to house Philippine prisoners who had fought against the American colonization of the Philippines. It served as a depository for prisoners who could not be accommodated at the Bilibid Prison in Manila.
    Now, the open-air Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm offer a unique approach to reforming criminals. It is one of the largest open-air jails. Instead of concrete walls, the prison is surrounded by a wire fence. A single guard at the entrance greets tourists and criminals’ relatives without inspecting them. He just took my driving licence for security. The idea of the prison is to rehabilitate criminals, so that the minimum-security inmates feel integrated within the community. Their main mission is no longer only punitive but information and restorative justice (Iwahig’s Superintendant Antonio C Cruz)
    As many as 200 minimum-security inmates are responsible for farming and office-related work, as well as for supervising the tasks of the medium-security inmates. Aside from the maximum-security inmates, who are kept isolated, all convicts learn a trade, including farming, fishing, forestry and carpentry. This is so that they can be reintegrated back into society, and bring something back into society as opposed to being released as a better criminal (which we believe occurs in our British prisons as a result of the urgent prison crisis!).
    As Hope and I entered, we arrived by the gym where a group of criminals greeted us. They took us over to the souvenir shop, showing us dream catchers, keyrings, magnets etc. – many of which they had made themselves. We bought some peanuts to give to some of the prisoners, and started talking to many of them.
    They showed us a dance – it was great! We ended up staying for a few hours, and so were lucky enough to see them perform 3 dances – Backstreet boys, cheerleader by Omi, and another one that I can’t remember.
    We spent hours talking to them – we were fascinated. The main man we spoke to, Jason, had the two tear tattoo on his face – so we immediately were aware that he was a murderer. Though we could not see any guards nearby, we did not feel unsafe at any point. He told us his life story. Two mafia members were searching for someone who they were going to murder, and on their mission searching inside Jason’s house, they shot Jason to leave him for dead, and killed his family. Jason spent 3 days in hospital, and woke up to find that his family were dead. He did what Hope and I personally believe most 20 year old men would want to do in that situation – and he killed the two men. He was given a life imprisonment sentence. He spent his first 17 years in Manila prison – which I think is the Quezon City Jail. He told us stories of the gangs there, the high drug use, the prisoners running the prisons, the over crowdedness - the hell life! After 17 years of good behaviour, he was moved to Iwahig Prison and Penal farm to spend his last 5 years – to be released after 22 years imprisonment. He told us of the many journalists who have visited him, people want to hear his story. We spoke to him for hours and couldn’t believe his life. He shared his experiences in both prisons – and talked through with us the differences, and his opinions. He said that some people here can have their family living inside the prison with them. He shared how they feel less like animals in cages here – and more like free human beings who are earning their space back in to society!
    Hope and I are so passionate about this area, and were truly amazed. We really believe that the British system need to adopt some of the beliefs in prisoner rehabilitation of this prison, and then the urgent prison crisis could make some way of improvement.
    Jason also told us about how many visitors, particularly Russians, have come in to the prison to just ‘laugh at the animals.’ We cannot believe how uneducated, rude, and shallow some human beings really are. If only people worldwide could understand the successes of the rehabilitation of offenders – instead of just listening to the media and wanting more punitive punishments, maybe we could make some way of improvement.
    We bought some peanuts for Jason and his friends, played with their lovely big teddy bear dog, and enjoyed learning some more.
    Our tricycle driver took us around the prison showing us the medium security area – all areas wear different coloured t-shirts depending on the security level. Each section has a boss – who is a prisoner who has earned their place.
    These prisoners are learning skills that are going to help them to reintegrate back into society. They are able to bring something to society, and are helping to reduce the over crowdedness of Manila prison. We just wish England could introduce something as amazing as this – Hope and I have set our new aim to open a rehabilitation centre in England…. Watch this space !!! Haha
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  • Day37

    We had such a great night last night in Kuching! We arrived at the hostel which Hope booked on Hostel World, Singgahsana - which was great! It had a lovely little rooftop bar, and we had a nice private room with a shared bathroom.

    We chilled for an hour, then went and had some noodles from a 7/11 (we weren't starving after having the massive lunch before we flew) so just had a snack. Then...funny story, we were supposed to go and buy some vodka to have some pre drinks but ended up sat in a bar with a load of locals and were drinking beer! It was a strange but very fun couple of hours to say the least.
    We did also buy vodka though, so after a few beers, we got ready at the hostel and had a few drinks before going out to a couple of bars. We had a great night!


    Our alarms went off at 4.45, which I'm sure you can only imagine how we felt after going to sleep at 2 am ish. We sort of dragged ourselves out of bed and booked an uber (and passed out the whole journey there of course). We went through security, then passed out again for an hour before boarding. We slept the 1 hour and a bit journey from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur.

    In KL (our dreamland) we had a couple hours wait before our next flight to Manila at . For some crazy reason, we weren't that hungover and we were both in hysterics over the most random things on the plane - it was hilarious! I'm not sure what came over us (probably still drunk).

    We landed in Manila at 2 pm and had 4 hours to kill before our next domestic flight to Puerto Princesa, Palawan at 5.50 pm. Palawan Island of the Philippines is located in Region IV-B. Palawan is the largest province in the country and Puerto Princesa City is its capital. Palawan is stretch from Sablayan tip of Mindoro Island in the northeast to Kudat island of Borneo in the southwest. It lies between the Sulu Sea and South China Sea.
    It took a little while to get through security and wait for the shuttle to get to the correct terminal though so a few hours flew by! We couldn't wait to get out of Manila - it was so humid that you're sweating within seconds of walking outside, and to be honest it's the first time where we haven't felt completely safe. Not because of all the 'terrorist arrack warnings' but just because we were sat waiting for a shuttle, being the only western young girls, getting stared at by locals ... and eventually two armed guys stood in front of us. It was strange!

    Once we were in the correct terminal though it was absolutely fine. Unfortunately there was a bad storm (not surprising in the Philippines as it's peak rainy season right now so we are to expect lots of rain and storm), so many flights were delayed and ours was 'put on hold' (I didn't really understand why it didn't just say delayed but apparently it's because the plane was ready, everything was ready to go so we just had to wait for the storm to stop!). From what we gathered, the weather got so bad that one plane had to turn back around straight after take off!

    Our flight ended up leaving at around 8.30 pm (so we had been waiting for a very long time - we had a pizza whilst we waited though of course). It took around 1 hour 20, so we landed just before 10 pm.

    I text the lady at the hostel as soon as I knew the flight was put on hold, so presumably she would have told the transport man that we didn't need picking up as I thought it would be easier for us to get a local man at the airport. However, the poor man waited for us at the airport for 4 hours! For some reason he got there an hour early (Sophie, the lady at the hostel said he always goes early) and then when he was told that there was a big delay, he decided to wait anyway as he had already paid the entrance fee. Bless him!

    So he drove us to our hostel on his tricycle. It was supposed to cost 150 pisos (100 pisos is approximately £1.50) but we gave him 500 (still only £7.50 to us) but he was over the moon with that!

    We discovered how cheap the Philippines was within our first 10 minutes of arriving!

    We arrived at the hostel (after going down many dark dirt tracks) and it was such a cute hostel. However, one night was definitely enough! The lady said the dorm with beds is full SO asked if we wanted to see the hammocks. We saw them, but although we may not be cultural for wanting beds - we were absolutely shattered! Maybe another time we would try and sleep on one, but that moment in time we just wanted to pass out in a bed. So she said she would upgrade us to a private room with beds for the same price as we thought we would have beds. We think she was annoyed though because she said no one ever wants to go out of their comfort zone haha oops!

    She messaged me earlier and asked if we wanted food, so at the time when we thought our arrival was 7pm - we said yes! But with a 3 hour delay, of course we ended up eating at the airport so we were really not hungry. But the man had already made the food, so we sat and ate as much as we could haha!

    Sophie (who is from Belgium) and her local friend chatted to us for about 45 minutes/ an hour and then we went to our room. The room was cute - it was a little hut. However, there was a massive praying mantis on the roof, the toilets were basically outside, and we were unsure as to what would be crawling on us in the night.

    Luckily we were so tired that we fell asleep straight away - after completely tucking the mosquito net under our beds.

    We thought we would be up at 7/8 ish as that has been the pattern every other day, but we must have been tired as we ended up sleeping until 11.30. I did wake up at 7 though and see the heavy rain so thought what is the point in getting up early.

    We got ready, and checked out at 12. It was so awkward because Sophie asked what our plan was that day, and where we were going. So it was very awkward saying that we were moving to Sheebang hostel which is a hostel only 10 minutes away. If the weather was nice then I'm sure the huts and hostel there would have been great - it had cute hammocks and swings and was right near the sea!
    But in the rain we just wanted to have a proper shower inside (after such a long day travelling the day before). We said it was because we had friends over at the other hostel (though I'm not sure how believable that was!).

    Anyway, we got a tricycle over to the hostel by the same man for 150 pisos. We checked in to our room - it was alright! First impressions of hostels are never great - sharing a room with many strangers and a bathroom is never going to be particularly appealing.

    We decided to visit Iwahig Prison and penal farm which is the Puerto Princesa rehabilitation prison. It was one of the best experiences of our lives!

    We paid 700 Pisos return for a tricycle to the 26,000 hectare prison which holds 3,186 convicts, and was about 15 km away from Puerto Princesa City.
    Iwahig is unique among penal institutions. The Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm were originally set up in 1902 by the United States to house Philippine prisoners who had fought against the American colonization of the Philippines. It served as a depository for prisoners who could not be accommodated at the Bilibid Prison in Manila.
    Now, the open-air Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm offer a unique approach to reforming criminals. It is one of the largest open-air jails. Instead of concrete walls, the prison is surrounded by a wire fence. A single guard at the entrance greets tourists and criminals’ relatives without inspecting them. He just took my driving licence for security. The idea of the prison is to rehabilitate criminals, so that the minimum-security inmates feel integrated within the community. Their main mission is no longer only punitive but information and restorative justice (Iwahig’s Superintendant Antonio C Cruz)
    As many as 200 minimum-security inmates are responsible for farming and office-related work, as well as for supervising the tasks of the medium-security inmates. Aside from the maximum-security inmates, who are kept isolated, all convicts learn a trade, including farming, fishing, forestry and carpentry. This is so that they can be reintegrated back into society, and bring something back into society as opposed to being released as a better criminal (which we believe occurs in our British prisons as a result of the urgent prison crisis!).
    As Hope and I entered, we arrived by the gym where a group of criminals greeted us. They took us over to the souvenir shop, showing us dream catchers, keyrings, magnets etc. – many of which they had made themselves. We bought some peanuts to give to some of the prisoners, and started talking to many of them.
    They showed us a dance – it was great! We ended up staying for a few hours, and so were lucky enough to see them perform 3 dances – Backstreet boys, cheerleader by Omi, and another one that I can’t remember.
    We spent hours talking to them – we were fascinated. The main man we spoke to, Jason, had the two tear tattoo on his face – so we immediately were aware that he was a murderer. Though we could not see any guards nearby, we did not feel unsafe at any point. He told us his life story. Two mafia members were searching for someone who they were going to murder, and on their mission searching inside Jason’s house, they shot Jason to leave him for dead, and killed his family. Jason spent 3 days in hospital, and woke up to find that his family were dead. He did what Hope and I personally believe most 20 year old men would want to do in that situation – and he killed the two men. He was given a life imprisonment sentence. He spent his first 17 years in Manila prison – which I think is the Quezon City Jail. He told us stories of the gangs there, the high drug use, the prisoners running the prisons, the over crowdedness - the hell life! After 17 years of good behaviour, he was moved to Iwahig Prison and Penal farm to spend his last 5 years – to be released after 22 years imprisonment. He told us of the many journalists who have visited him, people want to hear his story. We spoke to him for hours and couldn’t believe his life. He shared his experiences in both prisons – and talked through with us the differences, and his opinions. He said that some people here can have their family living inside the prison with them. He shared how they feel less like animals in cages here – and more like free human beings who are earning their space back in to society!
    Hope and I are so passionate about this area, and were truly amazed. We really believe that the British system need to adopt some of the beliefs in prisoner rehabilitation of this prison, and then the urgent prison crisis could make some way of improvement.
    Jason also told us about how many visitors, particularly Russians, have come in to the prison to just ‘laugh at the animals.’ We cannot believe how uneducated, rude, and shallow some human beings really are. If only people worldwide could understand the successes of the rehabilitation of offenders – instead of just listening to the media and wanting more punitive punishments, maybe we could make some way of improvement.
    We bought some peanuts for Jason and his friends, played with their lovely big teddy bear dog, and enjoyed learning some more.
    Our tricycle driver took us around the prison showing us the medium security area – all areas wear different coloured t-shirts depending on the security level. Each section has a boss – who is a prisoner who has earned their place.
    These prisoners are learning skills that are going to help them to reintegrate back into society. They are able to bring something to society, and are helping to reduce the over crowdedness of Manila prison. We just wish England could introduce something as amazing as this – Hope and I have set our new aim to open a rehabilitation centre in England…. Watch this space !!! Haha
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  • Day36

    15.37 and we are just about to take off from Kota Kinabalu with our air Asia flight to Kuching. We are staying overnight in Kuching before our 6.55 am flight to Kuala Lumpur to get our flight to get our flight to Manila, the Philippines.

    We have just had the most incredible lunch at 'Nook Cafe' in KK. Hope had tomato soup, sweet potato chips, a cheese sandwich and a chocolate brownie with an orange juice. I had a 'create your own breakfast' with poached eggs, sour dough toast, sautéed potatoes, salsa, fried eggplant and sautéed mushrooms, with an orange juice and also followed with a chocolate brownie (and ice cream). It was all so good - and so cheap (about a fiver each).
    The plan was just to go there to kill time before heading to the airport but it was that good that we kept ordering more food.

    We were going to do some more island hopping today, and go to one of the islands further away as they are supposed to be beautiful, and not as touristy. But when we woke up at 8, it was so cloudy and had rained all night that we thought it wasn't worth it. So we spent the morning getting organised - repacking our bags, and booking our first internal flight in the Philippines; from Manila to Puerto Princesa. The plan is to get out of Manila as quickly as possible as we've heard it's not very clean and is not particularly nice.

    When we land in Kuching, we are probably going to get an uber to the hostel as we have started using uber all the time now ... it is ridiculously cheap! For instance, using a taxi from the airport to our Hotel (hotel Victoria) cost 30 RM but an uber from the cafe to the airport (not much distance between the cafe and hotel ... and if anything the cafe is probably further out) cost just 10 RM (approx £1.80) for a good 20/25 minute journey.

    We started panicking as by the time we had eaten and ordered an uber it was 2.15 pm and our flight was 3.30!! But the uber came within minutes and we were at the airport by 2.40 (we did have a small worry though when the machine said we could not check in as it was less than 1 hour prior to the departure time but all was fine at the desk). We walked through security and immigration so quickly that we still ended up having so much time to spare and were sat about waiting. You really do not need to leave longer than an hour for domestic flights (however us English do like to be early).

    It's 15.49 and we are at the runway about to take off.

    Will update the blog later! Goodbyeeeee

    ****

    Writing this on the 18th...

    We had such a great night last night in Kuching! We arrived at the hostel which Hope booked on Hostel World, Singgahsana - which was great! It had a lovely little rooftop bar, and we had a nice private room with a shared bathroom.

    We chilled for an hour, then went and had some noodles from a 7/11 (we weren't starving after having the massive lunch before we flew) so just had a snack. Then...funny story, we were supposed to go and buy some vodka to have some pre drinks but ended up sat in a bar with a load of locals and were drinking beer! It was a strange but very fun couple of hours to say the least.
    We did also buy vodka though, so after a few beers, we got ready at the hostel and had a few drinks before going out to a couple of bars. We didn't even need to go out - pre drinks just me and Hope was hilarious! We were having so much fun!

    We had a great night!

    Of course we thought it was a good idea to go out until 2 am when we had a 7 am flight hahaha!!! Somehow we have managed though
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  • Day35

    Firstly I will start with last night, as yesterday's blog post was very detailed about Sandakan, so makes more sense to write here.

    So we landed in Kota Kinabalu, and got an airport taxi to our hotel; Hotel Victoria where we had a private room. The hotel room was fine, however the location was not particularly great! It was very local so we were STARED at when we arrived, and when we went out the room.

    We got to the room at around 4 pm and chilled for a couple of hours before getting an uber (uber is SO MUCH cheaper than local taxis) to Breeze Beach Club. Sadly it was too cloudy to see the sunset, however the sky did look absolutely beautiful once the sun had set. It was the most gorgeous shade of deep blue!

    We stayed at the beach club for an hour/ hour and a half ish and had a couple of drinks each. It was lovely there!

    We got some hummus and bread, but the food was very average and also very expensive with very limited choice so we googled a nice restaurant and got an uber there.

    The restaurant, El Centro, was beautiful! We had vegetable fajitas and vegetable quesadillas -it was gorgeous! We had a cocktail each and chilled out.

    Kota Kinabalu is nice, and drinks are not too expensive, however it is not the sort of place we would want to have too much to drink in. The amount of people who were staring at us, we just wanted to have dinner and get a taxi back.

    It was a lovely evening though! And it was nice to wake up a fresh for island hopping - boats are not the one when you're hungover!!!!

    ****** Now ********

    It's 13.45, and we are sat by the 'Borneo Divers Sabah' building on Mamutik island. We are leaving back to mainland in 15 minutes, so just sat down chilling out.

    We've been island hopping today, but unfortunately due to bad weather conditions, we were only able to visit 2 islands which aren't too far from Kota Kinabalu mainland; Manukan island and Mamutik island.

    We got up and ready at 9 and got a taxi to Jesselton Ferry port not long before 10. We used '' and paid 40 ringgits each for a return to both island (7/8 pounds). The boat left mainland to Manukan island at just gone 10 am, and took around 15 minutes. It was so bumpy and the boat repeatedly smacked into the water making it quite uncomfortable. However it was funny, and so short that we did care.

    Manukan island is very pretty - but so so so touristy! It is FULL of Chinese and Korean tourists who are taking numerous selfies and photos everywhere, and shouting very loudly. We got some chips from a cafe, then went and sat on a beach further away to try and avoid the tourists .... but they all came over.
    The water was so clear so I rented a snorkel, but didn't actually end up snorkelling as we only had about 45 minutes as the next boat was leaving at 12 to the other island (as due to the bad weather the last boat had to leave at 2 today instead of 4.30 so we had limited time), so we just lay on the beach for that time. The sun was starting to make its way through so it was quite hot!

    At 12, we got the boat to Mamutik island. This island is a lot smaller, so sadly it's easier to notice all of the tourists. There isn't actually any a la carte restaurants either, just a couple of big buffet restaurants full of Chinese tourists on their 'island hopping' tours. Unfortunately the weather got worse, so there's been a bit of rain and it's been quite chilly so I haven't fancied snorkelling. So we came and sat on a small bench and got an ice cream and a drink here.

    It's 13.54 so we are going to go and get the boat back to mainland!
    *****

    14.31 and we have just got off the boat. Wow that was hilarious! Despite feeling like we have broken our backs from all the jumps, it was pretty hilarious! We're now standing in the rain waiting for our uber to arrive (much cheaper to use under here)

    ******

    I'm writing rather often today haha

    It's 15.54 and we are sat in the laundry shop waiting for our clothes to wash. It's only 20 minutes wash and 20 minutes dry so we shouldn't be here too long!

    16.39 .... okay wow ..... we have made one of the machines go absolutely mad .... OMG.... we may have put almost half the detergent in Hope's machine by mistake (it all fell out)!! It was fine when she used it but the person using it straight after has now got a machine that is so full of bubble and is leaking everywhere !!!! Awkward !!! Hopefully it wasn't us ... Hope is trying her hardest not to laugh out loud ahahaha as the man who works here is on the phone to someone asking for help whilst trying to hold the machine door shut and stop anymore water coming out. Ooooooooops !!!!

    *****

    After our washing, we had a 'quick 20 minute nap' that of course ended up being a 2 and a half hour nap and we woke up at 8.50 pm hahaha! Hope thought it was the middle of the night!! We got a taxi to Waterfront where there is a number of different restaurants, but we ended up in Hard Rock Cafe. Hope just got a home made lemonade, but I got some chips, garlic bread and mac and cheese (all side dishes so was only cheap).

    After dinner we got an uber back to the hotel!
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  • Day34

    It's 9.43 and we are soon to get packed and check out as we have a 2.30 pm flight to Kota Kinabalu.

    Sandakan has been amazing! I've decided to write it all in one blog post (so apologies for the long post!) as the jungle trip ran over 2 days.

    On Sunday 13th, after a nice long sleep, Hope and I were both up early at 8 am and went for breakfast.

    After breakfast, I got ready and walked over to the Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre (only a 15 minute walk). Hope chilled out in the resort on the decking area and read her new book.

    The Orang-utan sanctuary cost just 30 Rm a ticket (approx. £6). Although there are quite a few tourists when you're in there, it is completely different to a zoo and the whole concept of the centre is excellent! Their aim is to return orphaned injured or displaced orangutans back to the wild. Many of the orphans have successfully undergone the process of rehabilitation and have been released into the 4294 hectare Kabili- Sepilok Forest.

    The centre also had nature trails and walks within the reserve, and it was all beautiful to walk through.

    First I walked to the nursery where they had many baby orang-utans who I assume had not long been in the centre as one was not that great at climbing, and there was a lot of enrichment there. It is very similar to Mona here, the chimp sanctuary that my sister works at in Girona.

    Though there were many people trying to get to the glass to take photos, it was still amazing! Orangutans are the most beautiful animals and I was in my element watching two or three of them playing. I had a great time just watching them all for a bit.

    After that I walked to the feeding ground where they put food out in the hope for the orangutans to come. On the way I saw a big orangutan in the distance swinging through the trees - it was amazing!

    The orang-utans did not come for food, only many proboscis monkeys. However, it's not actually a bad thing as when they don't come, it shows they are making progress in their rehabilitation as they are finding food themselves in the forest.

    I stayed for a bit, but in the direct sunlight it is so humid that it's practically unbearable! So I went to the shop and got a few things, before walking back to the resort.

    Hope and I chilled for a couple of hours, grabbed some food, then I got my bag together and waited in reception to be picked up. I was doing a 2D1N jungle tour on the Kinabantangan river with Uncle Tan's. I was so nervous as I had read how basic the conditions were, and was worried that I would be on my own. However, the tour was incredible and I had the most amazing 2 days!

    Hope enjoyed a couple days chilling out, reading her book, catching up with everyone from home, and relaxing. She was very content.

    I was picked up from the resort at 12.30, and taken to Uncle Tans's centre where I had lunch and met my group. There was a Dutch girl called Fred who was lovely, so I ended up spending most of my time with her. We had 3 couples in our group; an older Australian couple, a young Spanish couple, and a young German couple.

    We had our briefing at 2 pm where they told us the agenda for the next couple of days (most people did the 3D2N tour). They warned about how basic the conditions were, and he even said that a lot of people in the past walked out at this point as they hadn't read the website and didn't realise there were no dorms.

    After the briefing, we drove for about an hour to where we got the boat down the Kinabantangan river. Everyone was so nice so the bus journey flew by, as we were all chatting. The boat down the river was around an hour, but en route if the driver saw any wildlife he would drive into that direction so we were all on our look out the whole way. We saw some birds along the way, and some monkeys. Some of the Macaques were staring at the boat like they wanted to come with us! It was great!

    When we arrived in camp, we put all our bags in our rooms (I shared a hut with Fred, and the couples were all in a separate hut with double mosquito nets and double mattresses). The 'room' was literally a mattress with a mosquito net over. There are no doors and no windows in the huts. We had to put any medication/food/drinks/toiletries into the red buckets in our rooms to prevent the rats and monkeys from getting them. The man told us of occasions where people have woken up with big holes in their bags, and all their food eaten, as rats have got in to them. I read all of this on the website though so I wasn't too shocked.

    We chilled out for a couple of hours with the group, played some cards etc. The strangest thing happened though... the Australian man Stephen asked if I'm from London, so I said no I'm from the midlands, he goes 'where' and I'm there thinking ... how is a man from Perth going to know where Leicester is!? But I told him anyway... and he goes 'no way ... that's where I was born' and his wife Caroline says 'he's a ten pound pom!' (As they call it in Aus). I was absolutely shocked! It turns out that all of his family are from there and he was born there 60 years ago, and his family moved over to Perth when Australia was paying British people to move over. We were shocked!! It was so funny talking about Leicester. Who would have though eh?! Such a small world!!!

    We played 21 blackjack, then had dinner. Dinner was gorgeous - so many vegetarian options. I had pok Choy again, with rice, and other vegetables. There was plenty for the meat eaters too - all laid out in a buffet. Whilst eating we had a visitor over us - a big bat was just constantly flying over us and going round in circles.

    After dinner, we got ready for the night safari. I was so excited!!! We had to bring our rain coats, torches and cameras.

    The night safari lasted about 90 minutes, down the Kinabantangan river. It was amazing! We took it in turns to hold the torchlight to look for wildlife - you could see them as their eyes reflected back. We saw so many crocodiles eyes, which was so cool... however as you get closer, they go back under. We saw numerous monkeys - they call the mackats 'jungle safari' here as there are so many altogether and they love to go around stealing things. They told us in the camp to keep everything on us at all times, or else the monkeys would come and steal our stuff.

    After the night safari, some of the group went to bed, but Fred and I (and the German couple for a short amount of time) went and sat in the big open hut where the young Malaysian lads (who work at the camp) were singing and playing the guitar with another group staying on the camp. We joined in, had a few beers, and had such a funny night. Lights went out at 12, and we are supposed to go to bed then but they were all so drunk that we continued the music and stayed up longer! It was a great night!

    However, having 4 beers probably wasn't the best idea. 1 or 2 and you're tired, 6 or 7 and you're drunk .... but 4 made me wide awake and in a very happy mood. But this meant I couldn't sleep. I was tossing and turning for a good hour or so, but because Fred was asleep by this point, I freaked myself out a bit when it hit home that I was in the middle of the jungle .... and they saw a VERY venomous snake just one night before (the Mongrove cat snake). I saw one of the men flashing the torch light outside, so I went out and spoke to him. He works every single night patrolling the camps for any snakes getting too close to the rooms. At first I felt reassured and a lot safer.... but then it kind of freaked me out a bit as I realised they needed someone to check ... because there clearly has been times where snakes have been close.

    I walked round with him for over an hour as I was wide awake and was freaking out a bit on my own. When we walked past the river, we could see a crocodile the other side (his eyes were reflecting) - the crocodile didn't move the whole time!

    He showed me a photo of the snake he saw the other night (different to the mongrove cat snake but looked very similar. I can't remember the name now but he showed me it in the book and I read about it - I had my own tour really!)
    I thought I would end up patrolling with him all night seeing as we had to be up at 5.45 anyway, but by around 2.30 am i felt tired so luckily was able to sleep. I did wake up again at 5 though so just stayed awake for the hour (I wanted to get up but it was still a bit dark and I didn't know where the man was so thought it was better not knowing if there was a rat in my hut or anything haha!)

    Although I'd had little sleep, I felt refreshed and excited for the day!

    We had tea and biscuits, then did the day safari tour. It was excellent! Although we didn't get to see an orang-Utan (however, watch this space!), we saw so many Macaques (primate) and were lucky enough to see a Bornean gibbon! We saw some of the most beautiful birds - kingfishers, a number of different type of Hornbills. We saw eagles, and saw an owl. We saw more crocodiles, and lizards etc. It was incredible! It lasted about 90 minutes.

    Then we got back to camp and had breakfast - which was a yummy buffet. After breakfast, Fred and I chilled on the hammocks until I had to pay my bill and get ready to leave. I wish there was an opportunity for me to stay all day but leave in the evening, but unfortunately not. I was very tempted to stay another night, because they had 2 walking tours and another boat trip in the day, followed by another morning safari the next morning. However, I decided that I should go then as planned, and I'm glad I did in the end as I had a great day in Sepilok.

    On return to Uncle Tans, we had lunch, and then we were dropped off at our accommodation. When I got back, Hope was chilling in the room as it was so hot and humid outside. We both had an afternoon nap for about 3 hours.

    At about 3/4, I went to the rainforest walk in Sepilok. Hope was on a good point in her book so she decided to stay at the resort and chill out with her book. I met Natasha, the Canadian girl who we met at Uncle Tan's and we did our own walk around for a couple of hours before the guided night walk started at 6 pm. We were so lucky - we saw an orang-utan! I was amazed!!!!! And of course very happy I ended up leaving the jungle when I did, as they didn't see an orangutan the day after either, and I was so lucky!

    The guided evening tour was amazing! We watched the flying foxes jump off the tree top, then walked around the rainforest and saw a number of different animals. We saw 2 snakes, both I think were green pit vipers which are venemous (one we almost stepped on), many frogs, lizards, some more beautiful birds, many extremely long worms, and a number of different animals. It was amazing!

    However, the heavens opened at the start of the tour, so we were walking around in pouring rain. When it rains here - it rains hard! And me being the idiot I am, didn't bring a rain coat or a torch so the walk was a struggle (until the kind tour guide let me wear his waterproof, bless him!).

    The tour lasted about an hour and a half, then we walked back to our accommodation (Natasha was staying at the Sepilok Jungle Resort so about 400 m before ours. I had no waterproofs to put my phone in so it very almost broke - it took a couple days for it to dry out properly (but luckily it's fine now!)

    We were absolutely soaking - it looked like I had jumped in a swimming pool!!! When we went past her accommodation (after the half hour walk in the rain), I started to freak out as I realised that I had no torch but couldn't get my phone out as it would have broken in seconds. So I tried to run in the pitch black in the thunder and lightning with no light... in the end I got my phone as I didn't want to stand on any snakes or anything haha. My phone was playing up for a few hours, but now it's fine (I'm very lucky!).

    After getting changed into dry clean clothes, hope and I had dinner and a few cocktails. We had a nice chilled evening having a few lovely drinks and nice food (we ended up ordering a lot - shock! Malay curry, pizza, chips and flavoured rice).

    A few drinks well and truly knocked me out though - the most tired I've been in a while!
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