Archive for March, 2010

Climbing the karsts

Climbing the karsts

Yep, that’s me. More on that soon…

We now have 250 days of traveling behind us, and the countdown to Africa is on. Check the stats:

– 44025 kilometers traveled, over land and sea (Equal to 1.1x around the equator!)
‚Ä®- 1062 hours spent in transit
‚Ä®- Countries visited: 22
‚Ä®- Distance breakdown: 51% ship, 30% train, 12% bus, 6% car, <1% other ‚Ä®- Time breakdown: 62% ship, 18% train, 10% bus, 4% car, 3% foot, 3% other Check out the breadcrumb for the latest routes.

View from our bungalow

After our fourth visit to Bangkok, we made our way south to Khao Sok National Park. The park is in the interior of the sourthern, peninsular part of Thailand, and is somewhat less frequented by the mobs of tourists that seem to be over-running the country’s beaches these days. We arrived via a comfortable overnight train ride from Bangkok, followed by a scenic mini-bus ride. Huge limestone karsts reached skyward all around us, dripping in thick green jungle and vines. Gibbons and exotic birds provided a continuous soundtrack. We found a great guesthouse called Smiley’s, with super-friendly staff, and checked into a cheap little bungalow with a view of the cliffs. We were ready to dive head-first into some national-park caliber nature.


With less than a month to go until we begin our African overland adventure, the big question on our minds (and on your too, faithful readers) has been this: how are we going to get to Africa? Well, we finally have the answer…but unfortunately it’s not the one we hoped for. We’d simply run out of time, and none of the options that we explored so vigorously resulted in any viable solutions. So we bit the bullet. The big, Malaysia Airlines 737 bullet. And after coming over 43,000 kilometers and 12 time zones without leaving the earth’s surface, we will be (reluctantly) flying to South Africa.


Coconuts in Cambodia

I’d like to start off by declaring it a huge honour to be given posting privileges by wewander hosts Mark and Meghan Gosen. For those who aren’t familiar, myself (Mike Davis is my birth name) and Sarah Davis (my begrudging wife) are long-time bridge partners of Mark and Meghan, turned friends. Since Mark and Meghan left the soils of North America, the friendship has made a transition to more of a stalk-er, stalk-ee relationship. Until February 17th…


Bangkok round 4

We’re back in Bangkok for the fourth time now. I successfully picked up my new passport, and now I have 48 shiny new blank pages to fill with visas and stamps in Africa. Tomorrow we’re leaving for Khao Sok National Park in the south of Thailand, and I have to say that it’s almost strange to be on the move again after nearly three weeks of stationary relaxing on Koh Tao. We’re getting used to the feeling of shouldering our packs again :)

We realized yesterday while reminiscing over some older photos that we neglected to post our album from Cinque Terre in Italy, which we visited way back in November of 2009. It’s now up on the photos page, way down between Tuscany and Switzerland. Better late than never, right?

New photos uploaded

We’ve uploaded a whopping 5 new albums to our photos page, including pics from Laos, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Thailand. Enjoy!

Environ-mental choices

These guys aren't flying either

Is traveling without flying the greener choice? We don’t know. But we would like to find out. When all is said and done we will attempt to compare our travels, the way we’ve done them, to a hypothetical ‘if we flew’ scenario.

The green choice would be to stay put and never leave home. The next best choice would be to ride a bicycle and sail a boat. We hope the next next best choice would be to do what we have done (are doing).

There are a few measures to help us make this comparison, like a carbon footprint calculator. We’re not sure which we’ll use. There is no standard, it’s not black and white and there are so many factors involved you can go mental just thinking about it. For example, a 10 hour flight from A to B may equate to less carbon consumed per passenger mile compared to a 10 day cruise ship or cargo ship from A to B. However, this comparison is time independent and considers only distance travelled. How that passenger spends the next 9 days and 15 hours after he/she disembarks the plane should also be factored in for a just comparison.

We do know that we’ve made the right choice for us. It hasn’t always been the easy choice, nor the cheapest, but we wouldn’t change a thing. So far we’ve come half way around the world and have travelled over 40,000 scenic kilometres without flying, a feat we’re quite proud of. There’s still a long way to go. As our days and cash supply dwindle, these choices are becoming even more difficult. No matter what, we’ll make the best of it. We look forward to eventually answering some of these questions, for ourselves.

On deck and in the hole

Our sojourn in Koh Tao almost over. It has been a welcome change of pace for us to spend a few weeks in just one place. We’re starting to look ahead because just over a month from now, our epic African overland adventure is set to begin in Cape Town. Will we have to fly? All signs point to yes. (More on this to come.)

Tomorrow we’ll be heading back to Bangkok on an overnight bus to TCOB. Before heading south with Mike and Sarah, we had to drop off Mark’s passport at the Canadian Embassy for renewal. Although it wasn’t due to expire until 2014, he was nearly out of pages. And since we require at least 20 blank pages for our African trip, he we had no choice but to renew, pay a pile of cash and wait 3+ weeks to pick it up. At least he will have a 48-page passport this time. Fortunately we can save a little cash on me since I also have a UK Passport with oodles of blank pages I can use to travel Africa. While in Bangkok Mark will also get a last shot of Hep B and we’ll both look into getting Rabies (vaccinations that is). Fun stuff!

After Bangkok part 3, we’ll head south again with stops in Khao Sok National Park and perhaps Koh Lipe, an island on the Adaman coast just north of Malaysia. Then we’ll do some hiking in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia before making our way to Kuala Lumpur where there are direct flights leaving for Johannesburg…

Birthday in paradise

The old man himself

My 29th birthday was spent relaxing in paradise. We woke up and scootered into town for a delicious, huge english breakfast at Zest Café. Mmmmmmmm…delicious eggs, bacon, toast, beans, tomato, sausage and hashbrowns. It may sound run-of-the-mill to those of you who can get that any day of the week, but it’s a pretty rare thing to find a good Western-style breakfast in this part of the world. What you often get is white bread, hotdog posing as sausage, and weak, thin strips of bacon. Not at Zest Café! A brilliant way to start a birthday.


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