Everything I read about climbing Mount Kinabalu said it was hard. Really hard. Even the Book of Opinion (our Lonely Planet Guide Book) includes an amusing section about the pain, physical and emotional, you go through during the climb.  But how about climbing Mount Kinabalu with kids?

The internet told me that people from the age of seven to eighty years have climbed it, but that it’s probably best to wait till the age of at least ten. And it’s expensive too. Really expensive. So we’d discounted it as an option. But I still had a niggling feeling in the back of my mind. My irrational fear of regretting not doing something and my dislike of missing out on things was quietly gnawing away in my brain. Read More

If you are planning a Borneo adventure, a Kinabatangan river tour in this unique wildlife sanctuary is a must.  And one of the cheaper ways to get on the river (if you are on a bit of a budget) is with Mr. Aji Expeditions.

Of all the crazy things we’ve done, drifting down the swollen, crocodile infested Kinabatangan River in Malaysian Borneo in a little open-topped boat in the pouring rain, watching an orangutan building his nest thirty metres up in a jungle tree whilst hornbills circle above and pygmy elephants wander along the river bank has to be in our top five.   Read More

The blurb on Bako National Park in Malaysian Borneo says it has bearded pigs, proboscis monkeys and winged lemurs. I didn’t really expect to see any of these things in the wild.  But I thought we’d have a lovely few days sleeping in a slightly damp hut and going for lovely walks. Bako was the first National Park in Sarawak, opened in 1957. It’s also one the smallest, but almost all the plant species on Borneo can be found here. And it’s only an hour on slightly dodgy Bus No.1 from downtown Kuching. Bargain. Read More

We’ve spent three days in Bako National Park, and it’s hard to imagine a more jurassic, a more alive, or a more astounding place in the world. As I write this, the tree canopy is swaying, signalling the early morning arrival of the local long-tailed macaque tribe on their breakfast foraging expedition, and the air is alive with the sound of a hundred different species of bird and insect getting busy with the day. I know that if I look hard enough, somewhere in the tree opposite there’s a perfectly disguised winged lemur folded up and pressed against the trunk, sleeping vertically after being up all night hunting. And a massive bearded pig has just strolled casually from underneath our house, he probably slept there last night. Read More

Songkran, the famous New Year water festival in Thailand, used to be a civilised affair with much gentle dripping of scented water on to the hands of respected elders.  Nowadays though, it’s three days of waterpistol-toting fun and alcohol-fuelled carnage.  Songkran in Bangkok can be quite an intense experience, with thousands of people on the streets.  So is Songkran safe for kids?  We spent an interesting Songkran in Bangkok with our two kids, aged 9 and 11.  Read on to find out what happened and if we’d visit Bangkok during Songkran again…. Read More

If you are wondering whether a trip to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam is worth the effort, then wonder no more.  This is one of the up and coming tourist destinations in Vietnam and well worth a visit.  The area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 due to it’s spectacular world class caves and beautiful countryside, but it’s changing rapidly as more and more tourists flock here to experience the chilled vibe and stunning cave tours.  I have not doubt that more and more beautiful underground worlds will be discovered in the next few years, but don’t wait too long to come here!   Read More

We’re two hours into a six hour minibus journey in the mountains of Northern Laos, on our way to Nong Kiaow, and I’m trying to take my mind off the smell of vomit by listing all the things I hate about backpacking.   Evan, our slightly travel sick nine year old, has thrown up twice.  It’s thirty degrees outside and the air con doesn’t work.  But worst of all, the bus driver is a Celine Dion fan with an eye on becoming Laos’ first rally car champ. The scenery is probably amazing.  But it’s difficult to concentrate on scenery when you’re frantically rummaging in your backpack for another of the sick bags acquired from the last airline company you used.  Right now, bus journeys and travel sickness are both up there at the top of my ‘Worst things about backpacking’ list. Read More