The best Airbnb in the world

England! The land of our forefathers! The homeland! We had made it.

Our initial welcome consisted of the immigration officer giving me a massive grilling. How long are you going to stay? How will you support yourself? Are you planning to undertake any work, paid or unpaid?

Entering the UK with a stream of campervans and freight trucks

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The worst day of our trip *knock on wood*

On Sunday Andy wasn’t feeling so flash (think sitting on the toilet regularly), so we weren’t up to much. I think we actually watched a movie in the hotel. We had lunch then said goodbye to Pete who had to fly back to Los Baños for work. We did head back out to Las Cabañas Beach to see the sunset, along with half of the tourists in El Nido. After such a negative title I’m going to uplift the mood of this post by putting in the best photos. Keep scrolling down to view some of mum’s photos from our time in El Nido.

One of the lagoons near El Nido (Photo: Jacky Challis)

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El Nido Island Hopping

The next morning we had to get up early again to catch a flight from Manila Airport to El Nido on Palawan Island, in the west of the Philippines. After passing through security we were asked to follow one of the Air Swift staff members. What do you know, she led us into the VIP room. We had made it into an airline lounge!

We have no idea how this happened. It could be for all Air Swift passengers, although not everyone on the flight was in the lounge. It could be because mum was using a crutch following her hip replacement. Our best guess is that it’s because Pete checked into the flight using his diplomatic card from work. (Mum also has a diplomatic card, she should definitely use it more often.) In any case, it was pretty awesome. Probably about on par with the New Plymouth Koru Lounge. We got free club sandwiches, free drinks, comfy chairs and extremely efficient wifi. I made the most of the opportunity by uploading as many photos to the blog as I could.

Andy in the VIP lounge

Andy in the VIP lounge

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Christmas on Ko Phi Phi

Julian, a German that we met in Malaysia, had recommended a resort on Ko Phi Phi (Phi Phi Island) in Thailand. On the strength of his glowing recommendation we booked five nights at Relax Beach Resort over Christmas.

The five days passed by eating, swimming, snorkeling, beach yoga, reading and lying in hammocks. Very relaxing. The snorkeling was awesome, there was a reef just off the beach with tonnes of different fish. My favourite were the yellow and black striped fish that swam near the surface. You were literally swimming through them and could practically reach out and touch them.

Relax Beach Resort

Dining hall at Relax Beach Resort

We had bought Chang beers in Krabi where they were cheaper. To keep them cold we placed them in the toilet cistern. Each night before dinner we would partake in some toilet Changs on the balcony of our bungalow.

Toilet Changs

Changs cooling in the cistern

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Krabi – Why did I choose this?!?

Krabi Town was always a bit of a random, fill-in stop. Hudson, a kiwi we met in Taman Negara, had stayed in Krabi a week and really enjoyed it. Based on this we decided to spend three nights here. And it did truly live up to its name – we saw a lot of crabs.

We had booked into a NZ$100/night resort on Phi Phi Island over Christmas so we were feeling a bit cheap while we were in Krabi. As such, we eschewed all of the tours on offer – 4 islands, 7 islands, Hong islands, James Bond tour (seriously). Instead we did a couple of independent activities along with laundry and eating a lot of pad thai.

Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Suea)

This temple is well known for the 1,237 steps to reach the golden buddha at the top. It was a long, hot, long, sweaty climb to the top. There was a lovely cooling wind at the top though. Also free wifi. The views were awesome, looking out across the limestone hills. Totally worth the climb up.

View from Tiger Cave Temple

View from the top of the 1,237 steps

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