So the next stage of the gap year adventure is well underway. Last Monday I sealed the deal and booked my international flights. It’s now confirmed that I’ll be heading to south east Asia with Louise for 15 weeks! We’ll be leaving from London heading to Bangkok on Jan 10th and I’ll be coming home from Bali on April 19th. However Louise isn’t joining me the whole journey and I’ll be waving her off from Singapore on March 21st.
We also have booked a few internal flights to transport us the longer distances.
Our fantastic “project manager”, as we’ve crowned her (also known as mummy Lorraine), has done a fab job helping me and Louise get our skeleton plan together.
Our current plan includes:
Thailand:- Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Koh Tao, Krabi (and surrounding islands)
Malaysia:- Langkawi, Penang, Cameron highlands, Kuala Lumpa, Melaka
Borneo:-Kuching(and surrounding national parks)
Indonesia:- Bali, Lombok, Gili islands
In Chiang Mai we will be volunteering for a week at the Elephant Nature Park.
While we’re there we’ll “help prepare the elephants food, have the satisfaction of feeding them and the moving experience of watching the delight they have bathing together in the river. This is all against a backdrop of witnessing how they behave in their natural habitat.”
In Borneo we also have a two week trip planned where Louise and I will be involved in the conservation of orangutang in the wild. We’ll be trekking through national parks; learning traditional handicrafts such as fishing; swimming in jungle rivers and staying in coastal areas where we’ll snorkel and observe green turtles and other sea life.
One issue we came across during our initial planning was visa requirements. To stay longer than 30 days in Thailand or Indonesia you need a visa. The Thai visa was far simpler to get our heads round than the Indonesian option, so we opted to extend our stay in Thailand and apply for Thai visas. Louise’s preference from the beginning of planning our trip was staying longer in Thailand, so that’s what we’re going to do.
We sent our passports off to the “Thai Royal Embassy” in London, to request our over 30 day tourist visas. Within a week my passport returned to me with a shiny new sticker on one of the back pages granting me an extended stay tourist visas. Sending off my passport was a new experience, as was getting a postal order… how retro.
Another admin type job was getting my jabs sorted, so last Thursday I ended up returning home from the nurses after having had three jabs! However I will have to source the immunisations for Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis separately.
For now the planning mania has ceased slightly meaning me and Louise have much more time to relax and make vegan pancakes. Having days off which are actually days off is such a novelty 👏
☀️. S .☀️