With my six weeks at 301 Muay Thai over, focus now moves to planning the next few months as I continue my travels around South East Asia and abroad.
After spending the weekend immediately following the camp in Bangkok and Pattaya watching Joe’s brother Jen fight in Lumpinee stadium and Eddie fight in the ‘Rising Star’ MMA night I head south, to Krabi. Krabi is world renown for its rock climbing and I’m excited to see how it compares to Laos. I’ve seen pictures of people climbing limestone cliffs that hang over the ocean which I think it will be amazing! Being on a tight schedule I’ll only have a day or two in Krabi before continuing my journey south where I hope to stop off and chillout at the small, relatively unknown hippie-esque island of Koh Lipe before crossing the Malaysian border.
With only be a few days to explore Malaysia I’m aiming to visit Penang, the Cameron Highlands and have a quick look around KL before flying to Kota Kinabalu on the 4th of April. I’m now wishing I gave myself an extra week in Malaysia, but that is hindsight for you. Landing in Malaysian Borneo I’ve got a few days to explore, see the orangutan sanctuary and prepare myself for climbing Kinabalu on the 7th of April. Kinabalu, being a 4000m high mountain takes a full two days to hike. Having never done any mountain climbing/hiking before, I’m both excited and apprehensive about how my knees will hold up. The fact that around 40,000 people climb the mountain each year, and that I am at the height of my fitness provides at least a little bit of reassurance. Returning from the mountain late on the 8th I’ll spend a day relaxing at the hot springs and continue exploring what Borneo has to offer before flying out to Manila (Philippines) on the 13th.
I’ve given myself three weeks in the Philippines and I don’t quite know what to do with it. There will definitely be some island hopping and I’m considering getting my open water dive ticket because there are (apparently) some great wrecks to dive. The rice terraces are a must, and along with that I plan to check out some of the boxing gyms that I’ve heard some great first hand reviews to try and keep fit. Finally, someone I met at 301 Muay Thai in Thailand inspired me to open my eyes to the property market in Thailand, and more specifically – holiday homes. With property in SEA being so much cheaper than Australia, and the ROI from what I’ve seen so far being quite good, it will definitely be something I’ll try to get a feel/understanding of while I’m there. All of that should keep me occupied until I fly to Saigon on the 1st of May.
I’ve given myself three weeks to explore Vietnam starting in Saigon and ending in Hanoi on the 25th of May. If all goes to plan I’ll be catching up with my parents for a week in Saigon to celebrate Mum’s birthday before continuing north through Hoi An, Hue, and few other stops before spending a couple of nights in Halong Bay. I’ve barely had the time to form an itinerary of what to do in Vietnam as it seems so far away. Therefore, I’m very open to suggestions!
Being the self-confessed tight-arse with money that I am, one of my favorite aspects of the Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam trip is that I got all the flights for just over AU $100! Needless to say, I love the budget airlines in this region.
After the 25th, my time in Asia comes to an end with a flight to Los Angeles finally sorted after a few online booking issues with China Southern Airways. A vast number of people I’ve come across on my journey so far have spoken so highly of the beauty and culture in South and Central America that I felt like I had to go and see it for myself before coming home. I haven’t booked any onward flights from LA yet, however the current plan is to spend a few days catching up with a good friend before heading to Cancun (Mexico), and ultimately Cuba. In Cuba the goal is to find an intensive salsa dance camp/course and spend a month or so there to cross off another new years resolution/goal – learning to dance (again) much like I did with Muay Thai in Thailand.
Planning beyond June seems fruitless so I’ll leave it at that for now. I’m always on the lookout for any must see’s/do’s from people first hand, if you have and ideas for the countries I’m heading to, please let me know either in an email or in the comments!