Not getting easier

On our second day of filming, we didn’t have much packed down on the agenda, but the traffic in Bangkok makes it so difficult to get around – it takes ages to get between shots. Unfortunately the BBC’s hotel is on the other side of town from ours, so we had to set off at […]

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Bangkok Filming – Day One

Hmm. Here’s a challenge for you – make a factual programme about a family visiting the Bangkok City Palace, without being allowed to film in the Bangkok City Palace. Yup, defeats me too! It turns out that item number one on the schedule was sabotaged by the Thai authorities, who won’t allow filming inside the […]

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Meeting the Beeb

Today was a BIG day – the day we were meeting our director, who will spend the next week filming us around and about Bangkok for the Holiday programme. Ginny’s the director, and the great news was that we had the meeting over lunch at her hotel, so we enjoyed a pretty luxurious lunch in […]

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Back in Bangkok

We left Chiang Mai on the overnight Special Express train, which leaves at 5 o’clock in the evening, and gets you back into Bangkok at 6 o’clock in the morning. As usual, it was a pretty smooth trip, with comfortable sleeping berths, and a good Thai meal in the restaurant car, looking out onto the […]

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The Streets of Chiang Mai

Streets in Thailand strike us as completely chaotic, just a mess of vehicles with motorbikes darting in and out constantly. It makes crossing the road a somewhat hit-n-miss affair, but at least the drivers slow down a little when they see a foreign family weaving its unsteady way across their path. One of the amazing […]

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Getting around Luang Prabang

We’re becoming experts on getting around Luang Prabang (not difficult – there are so few ways to do it, and so few places to go!). Slow boat up the Mekong One of the ways to enter or leave Laos for Thailand is to take the slow boats which ply the Mekong river. Although we’ve declined […]

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Waterfalls

Although there’s enough to see and do in Luang Prabang, we thought we ought to make an effort to get out to the waterfalls, 15 miles from town. As it is currently the dry season, we’d expected a trickle of muddy water over a small rock. We definitely weren’t prepared for what we found – […]

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Monks – everywhere!

Wherever you go in Luang Prabang, the monks are inescapable. On every street corner, set of steps and pavement, there is normally a monk chatting or hurrying between temples. It is one of the things which makes Luang Prabang stand out as an other-world place. At 6.30 in the morning, the monks leave their monasteries […]

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Royal sight-seeing

Luang Prabang was the historical home of the Laos royal family – until the revolution! In 1975, when the revolutionaries finally won a war against the King’s forces, King Sisavang Vattana was forced to abdicate, and then imprisoned in a remote cave, where he and his entire family died from starvation and neglect. And within […]

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Luang Prabang

We’re now in Luang Prabang, the ancient mountain capital of the Kingdom of Laos. Nowadays it’s not the capital, and Laos is no longer a kingdom, but a People’s Democratic Republic. But the history of the city is everywhere you look. We arrived last night, hunting for accommodation near the Mekong, which flows on the […]

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To market we go…

At sunrise we took a look at the local market, to see what delights were on offer for us. Bird flu is still an issue here, and is expected to be for a few more months, so the usual supply of chickens at the market was absent, and instead all kinds of different animals were […]

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Into the land of communism…

We woke up on the train in a different landscape to that we’d left behind in Bangkok – everything looked a lot drier, as the dry season is in full swing up in the north. Instead of lush green trees and grasses, as around Bangkok, there is instead a profusion of different shades of brown […]

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Up the river

Bangkok’s roads may be choked with traffic and moving at a snail’s pace, but at least the river provides an alternative way to get around. As we had a few hours to kill before catching our evening train northwards, we took a river boat up the river to Nonthaburi, a suburb an hour north of […]

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The Cop and I

Getting around Bangkok is a bit of a nightmare – in the non-air-conditioned buses you can sit for hours in a traffic jam with no breeze, breathing in the exhaust fumes all around. Air conditioned buses are much better, but are fewer, and cover less routes. Tuk Tuks – the kind of thing you’ve seen […]

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The Khao San Road

The Khao San Road in Bangkok is synonymous with “backpacker”. It has been the historical backpacker haunt in the city since the early 70’s, and it is lined with shops selling everything the modern backpacker needs. Today that seems to be 1) beer 2) fake CDs 3) fake student/press ID cards and 4) hair braids. […]

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Arriving in Bangkok

In the morning, after a Thai Railways breakfast (“Oh, don’t those fried eggs look soo attractive wrapped in clingfilm?“) we watched the Thai coast and countryside slide past as we headed further north. Although we’re only a few hundred miles north of Malaysia, the outlook is quite different – especially the architecture and the ornate […]

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Taking the slow train north

Time to head north – and to leave Malaysia for Thailand. After spending so long in other countries – 3 months in Oz, a month in the States, Canada and New Zealand – it seems odd to be leaving Malaysia after just less than two weeks. However, we have spent over 2 months in Malaysia […]

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Taking the slow train north

Time to head north – and to leave Malaysia for Thailand. After spending so long in other countries – 3 months in Oz, a month in the States, Canada and New Zealand – it seems odd to be leaving Malaysia after just less than two weeks. However, we have spent over 2 months in Malaysia […]

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Eugh!

For the last few days I’ve had a sore, inflamed throat, probably caused by the dry air of an air-conditioned room. Yesterday it also became a really nasty hacking cough, and started with all the symptoms of a cold. So I went to a pharmacy (easy to spot in Malaysia, where they’re called Farmaci!), and […]

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Eating Asian style

Some people regard eating in Asia as a game of Russian roulette, where you’re always likely to get ill from a meal, but just don’t know when. I’m sure that during our three months here, we’ll eat some dodgy meals, and end up getting temporarily ill from them, but on the other hand, we’ve got […]

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Bloodletting

One of the facts of travel is that over time you get used to tropical temperatures. When you first arrive somewhere like Asia the heat and the humidity hit you like a wall, and you feel unfit and unable to do anything (add that to jet lag, and imagine what a life our friend Peter […]

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Pangkor Island

When you’re in a tropical paradise, and you wake up and open the curtains onto the sea, then there’s no alternative but to spend the day on the beach – so we did. And because its Monday morning, I thought I should share it with you. To say anything else is unnecessary! (Well, apart from […]

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Pangkor Island at last…

It’s only a day late, but it was worth the wait. We’ve now reached Pangkor Island, just off the west coast of Malaysia, above Kuala Lumpur. The ferry across from the mainland took half an hour, and cost 60p, and then a taxi took us to the west coast of the island to Teluk Nipah, […]

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What a romantic Valentine’s Day

Oh, to be in Asia, now that Valentine’s here. Following on from the wedding anniversary spent on a Chinese hard-sleeper train, we managed to spend today on a bus. Malaysian buses are pretty impressive, compared to normal Asian standards, but there are still elements of Asia in the organisation. We had tickets for the 9:30 […]

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Day one in Malaysia

Since we arrived in Asia, Emily has consistently asked for one thing to eat – coconut. Unfortunately here, they don’t tend to have the hardened brown coconuts we have at home, so the flesh is quite different to eat. Instead, they chop open a green coconut, pop in a straw and drink the milk. The […]

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A typical day around Singapore

A few times people, before we left England, people asked me “When you’re travelling, what do you do all day?” – I guess its difficult to believe that you can spend a year travelling around the world without getting bored, or spending all day on the beach. I’ll use today as an example of how […]

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Travelling with a fussy eater

Over the last few months, Emily has become a more fussy eater. This means that she describes herself as “full” whenever the food in front of her doesn’t appeal, and then declares that she is “hungry” pretty soon afterwards. Typically that means she is “full” when she’s half-way through a bowl of rice, and then […]

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Hospital Day

Last week Emily got her leg put into plaster. Today, we went to the Singapore General Hospital to see if it could come off. We had to be checked for SARS before we could even get into the building (ID check, temperature check), and once inside the doctors took enormous care to ensure that everything […]

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Out on the city

With Emily’s leg still in plaster, we had to think carefully before rushing out onto the streets of Singapore. If we knew she’d be in plaster for much longer, we’d buy a buggy for her, but as we hope it will be off this week, it means that for the moment we’re carrying her everywhere. […]

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Flying to Asia

Handy travel hint: Getting through airports is made a lot easier when you’ve got a child in a wheelchair. Those people that push you around the airport know every single way to jump a queue and get you settled in a lounge quickly. Much better than one of the swanky Gold cards! After 7 months […]

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Having a treat

When we’re travelling, ‘having a treat’ has a special meaning. It can be something small, like a decent cup of coffee or an ice cream for the girls, or it can be something else. The girls’ treat today was an ice-cream, which had been emailed to us by our friends Tom and Elizabeth. (Well, emailed […]

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The Farm at Whangaruru

Emily has quickly adjusted to life wearing a plaster cast. After the first night, it doesn’t seem to have caused her any pain, and she was quite happy to sit and watch satellite TV all day long, without having to move a muscle. And when the sun came out, she moved out onto the veranda, […]

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The Farm, Whangaruru – WHOOPS!

After another emotional farewell to Sarah’s parents (with all the bird flu news, they’re even more nervous about us heading to Asia next weekend), we drove north towards the Bay of Islands, the area where the first European settlers arrived in New Zealand. But we’re not really here for the history, but because we’d been […]

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The Surfers Paradise

We’ve now moved to the west coast of the North Island, and are in a village called Raglan, which is where the surfers of New Zealand gather – and our view of the beach is great! The Solscape hostel is a surfers paradise, with half railway carriages as double rooms dotted around the grounds, full […]

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Going up the wall…

The weather’s taken a turn for the worse on the coast, with grey clouds covering up the blue sky, and delivering rain showers through the day. So we went swimming to the outdoor pool! Well, the pools are thermally heated, so instead of being cool, they’re heated to a range of temperatures between 31 degrees […]

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Getting jabs

When we left England, we’d decided to get the girls typhoid jabs done in New Zealand, so that Emily was a little bit older. So this morning the girls got to pop down to the medical centre and get them. It was quick and easy, and most importantly for them, they were rewarded with a […]

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Rotorua stinks!

After driving through Rotorua quickly to get to Mount Manganui, went back to see some more of the thermal sites, and to find out where that awful smell comes from. We stopped in the municipal park, to see where the steam was coming out of the ground. There were steaming hot lakes, and mud pools […]

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The North Island

While we’ve been on the South Island, we’d not seen many Maoris or signs of Maoris. But since leaving Wellington, we’ve seen more in a day than in the whole of the previous two weeks. Somebody explained to me that the Maoris lived mostly on the North Island because of its warmer climate, although there […]

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