Last day in Singapore

Although we were both crying out for a lie-in after our exertions the day before, we got up early for another busy day of sight-seeing. It was our last full day of the trip and we wanted to make the most of it.

We went down to reception and asked the manager if he could book us a taxi to Little India. "You don't take MRT?" he said disapprovingly. We had considered that but the MRT station is a ten minute walk away and a ten minute walk in Singapore can be a sweaty affair. Nevertheless, suitably guilt-tripped I agreed. "Oh yes, that's a good idea!" I replied as if I hadn't possibly considered the option.

So we walked to Outram Park and bought two tickets for the purple Northeast line, bound for Punggol Coast. But we only went three stops - Chinatown, Clarke Quay and Dhobi Ghaut - before we got off at Little India. I love traveling by underground - it's modern, quick, cheap and easy.

We left the station and turned left on to Serangoon Road, walking up to Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, dedicated to Shiva's fearsome wife, Kali. It's colourful shikhara has statues of her wearing a garland of skulls, ripping out the insides of her victims. Nice. It is of course possible to enter these temples but we were more interested in a walking tour today as we'd visited many Hindu temples on our trip to India last year.

Despite it being mid-morning, the sun was scorching as we patiently waited to cross the busy road. Our first task was to find somewhere to eat as we hadn't had breakfast. The problem was, every restaurant we came to we were greeted by the fragrant aroma of curries and spices. As much as I love a good curry, I wasn't ready for one at this hour. We walked along several streets before settling on a large cafe style place decked in green furniture, that sold sweet paratha. I ordered a banana and honey one and it was really tasty with the crispy, slightly oily bread. I also ordered a papaya juice and it solved a mystery for me - what are the juicy orange chunks of fruit you always get at Asian breakfast buffets? Answer - papaya.

Afterwards we wandering around Little India, which I was disappointed by. My Lonely Planet says 'Riotous Little India slaps you in the face with its teeming walkways, blaring Bollywood tunes and crayon-hued shop-houses' but it just didn't deliver on that promise. It felt sleepy. Perhaps it was early and was only just gearing up for the day ahead. Architecturally it was interesting with rows of colourful shop-houses, looking like they belong in a different era with their wooden shutters. It occurred to me that perhaps the reason I was underwhelmed was because I'd been to Penang, which was visually very similar but far more vibrant. We walked along seven or eight streets but they just felt typical Asian streets.

Within easy walking distance is Kampong Glam, Singapore's muslim area. We walked along Jalan Besar, crossed a canal and opposite Queen Street Bus Terminal I snapped some photos of some colourful buildings behind a church. From there we headed the short distance to Sultan Mosque, Singapore's largest, which looked like it had been lifted from Arabian Nights. It was 'call to prayer' and we watched as hundreds of people streamed towards the grand mosque, gold dome glimmering in the midday sun. I found the muslim quarter really interesting to wander around. We passed bustling cafes with people puffing smoke from shisha pipes, perfume traders and rug shops. The place was full of life.

I'd read online about Haji Lane, so thought it was worth visiting while we were in the neighborhood. It proved to be an unexpected highlight. It's a street of hipster cafes, indie boutiques and live music venues, that somehow seem misplaced just a few streets away from an Islamic place of worship. We walked down the narrow pedestrianised street, past shops selling pop art, indie T-shirts and vintage clothing. There were small bars with names like Going Om, I Am and Working Title, plus hair and nail boutiques.

We reached a junction where the buildings were covered in street art. A cafe called Juice Clinic had psychedelic swirly walls and paintings of iconic figures like Marilyn Monroe and Aretha Franklyn. By now we were ready for lunch and Jessica chose a place opposite where there were outdoor seats in the shade. It was called 'The Mad Sailors', which it turned out specialised in halal British food (there was a sign on the wall that advertised 'sarnies'!). My steak sandwich was a little too dry, but Jessica loved her chocolate smoothie(s) and I had one of those perfect moments when 'There is a Light That Never Goes Out' was played as I absorbed the surroundings. When I paid I had a nice chat with the waitress, a 20 something year old woman in a black hijab, who studied in Kent and had a weird accent that was a fusion of middle east and cockney.

After lunch, we walked down the busy and incongruously named Beach Road to Raffles. We'd already been told that the elegant colonial building was closed for refurbishments but sure enough we saw a sign for an adjoining pop-up bar where we could sample a Singapore Sling. When in Rome. After the gin-tasting night we'd be on prior to the trip, there were other drinks I liked the sound of more, but I couldn't not drink a Singapore Sling in Singapore! We ordered one each for the eye-watering price of $56 (about £15 each)... I suppose they can charge what they like when tourists like me have to have one just to tick a box! A Singapore Sling is a cocktail containing gin, cherry liquer, cointrea, benedictine, pineapple and lime, that was developed in the early 1900's by a bartender working in the Long Bar of Raffles hotel. I found it very sweet but quite refreshing given the heat outside.

The most interesting thing about Raffles is the tradition that everyone gets a free bag of monkey-nuts on their table and are encouraged to throw the shells on the floor. As a result, there are lots of satisfying crunches and cracks as you walk to your seat. The waitress explained to me that the wooden floor isn't brushed until the end of the day and the shells help prevent dust. She also said that since littering in Singapore is illegal (if you're caught spitting out chewing gum for example, there is a $1000 fine), many people enjoy the opportunity to throw shells on the floor to release some steam!

From Raffles I picked up a suggested walking route from my Lonely Planet. We walked to the corner of North Bridge Street where outside a mall were some interesting bronze statues of paparazzi dogs. We walked down the road, past City Hall and the glimmering white St Andrew's Cathedral, which looked out-of-place surrounded by tall skyscrapers. In front of the National Gallery, another spectacular hark back to yesteryear, was a cricket pitch where a game had just finished. My brother took an aerial photograph of this cricket ground from his hotel room when he was on his honeymoon. I walked out in to the middle and looked around, trying to work out which skyscraper his hotel could have been.

This part of Singapore was very green and spacious with lots of old buildings, brimming with history. We walked to Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall and a small park nearby with an art installation of big metal spheres. Singapore River curved around to our right. With more time at our disposal this would have been an interesting excursion and regular boat-trips are offered from the quay. Doubling back on ourselves we crossed Cavenagh Bridge and I snapped a photo of an interesting sculpture of kids jumping in to the water outside the oppulent Fullerton Hotel. This was the point where our route met up with the Merlion sculpture at the marina, where we walked the day before.

The time was 5.30pm and although the sun was still shining and it was still very hot, some menacing dark clouds were gathering above. We'd planned to end the day by taking a ride on the big wheel, but we decided to head back to our hotel instead, to freshen up for a night out. We walked through the business district, feeling very small beneath the tall glass towers, past city-slicker types in suits, quaffing beer at stand-up bars. It's neat symmetry that a trip that started in the very polished city of Dubai should end here in Singapore, surely the cleanest, most orderly city in Asia. We entered Raffles Place MRT station and tubed our way back to our hotel.

It was a nice luxury to be back at our hotel at a reasonable hour, to give us plenty of chance to get ready for a night out. It seems a common trend on this trip that each day Jessica and I would get back to our hotel much later, exhausted after a long day of sight-seeing and not have enough juice left in the tank for a big night out.

We showered and spruced ourselves up and I put on my favourite Primark blue stripey shirt which has traveled all around Asia with me. We stopped at reception as I needed to sort something out for tomorrow. Our flight was late, at 7.25pm, which would mean we'd probably get until 4pm for sight-seeing. However, our checkout was midday and unless we could have somewhere to shower later in the day, there was no way we could head out in to the sun. It was completely unfeasible turning up to the airport a hot, greasy mess ahead of about 20 hours of travel. So I asked at reception whether it was possible to extend our check-out time, for which I was willing to pay. A young receptionist told me that I'd have to pay for an extra day but an older man, who I assumed to be the manager, took us to one side, tip-tapped away at a computer for a while and told us that he'd happily let us check out at 1.30pm, free of charge. His kind gesture would give us the option of a morning of sight-seeing and then the opportunity to shower afterwards. I shook his hand and vowed to myself that this kind deed would be getting a good mention on TripAdvisor.

We chose to eat at Chinatown and this time we insisted on a taxi. The streets were illuminated with lanterns and inflatable dogs (it's Chinese year of the dog). Our chosen restaurant was called Luxe but unfortunately due to a mix-up, it wasn't the Chinese restaurant we expected, it was an Australian steakhouse. A strange choice for our last night in Asia but after all of the noodles and rice I've eaten on this trip, the sea-food, stir-fries and steamboats, it was comforting to tuck in to a nice rib-eye with garlic sauce. I also enjoyed my dessert, two sable biscuits with a lime, coconut cream, but had literally finished it in two mouthfuls!

We'd researched a few candidates for bars to visit afterwards, so headed for the popular Ann Siang Road area of Chinatown. On our way down Neil Road we heard loud music and stopped in front of an open-fronted shop-house where children seemed to be practicing some kind of drumming performance. This area was awash with activity and when we eventually reached Ann Siang Road, there were lots of lively bars, revelers spilling out on to the pavement. It was Friday night and local people mixed with office-workers, letting their hair down after a busy week at work.

We were seeking one bar in particular, the excitingly named Operation Dagger. This bar is renowned for it's boundary-pushing cocktails and is number 24 in the top 50 bars in the world. My Lonely Planet describes it as 'extraordinary' and to encourage experimentation, cocktail descriptions are limited to flavour, not spirit. We found the address, 7 Ann Siang Hill but there was just an empty looking building with no sign of life. I noticed a grille in the pavement and looking down through it, saw some movement. So we went down a grubby set of stairs and sure enough entered the dark hidden bar. It was only a small basement bar but was packed. The entire ceiling was filled with a cloud sculpture of probably 5,000 lightbulbs.

As I was deciding what to order, a smartly dressed young waitor presented a tray to me with free nibbles, sake infused cucumber on a smoked yoghurt. Tasty. For my drink I ordered a 'Gomashio' which was described simply as 'toasted sesame, cucumber and ginger' and Jessica ordered 'Snow' which was 'yoghurt, yuzu, genmaicha and white chocolate' (anything with chocolate is a winner for her). The price was steep ($28 dollars each, £15) but in this case it was worth it. When they arrived they looked like little works of art, almost too good to drink, and they tasted great too. Mine looked like a cup of green tea with a strip of compressed cucumber on the rim, coated in burnt sesame seeds. The waiter instructed me that I was supposed to take a bite of the cucumber and then a sip of the drink at the same time. I did so and it was really unusual - it reminded me of an all-singing, all-dancing chocolate lime sweet in a cup. I have no idea what the alcohol was. Jessica's was a creamy white cocktail, on which rested a delicate tempered white chocolate sphere filled with small beads of chocolate. We clinked glasses and decided it was a great memory for our last night in Singapore.

Although we had opportunity for half a days sight-seeing next day, we decided on a leisurely morning given all of the traveling that lay ahead. We had breakfast at an Italian restaurant near our hotel and then went shopping for gifts for people back home. I've got a reputation in the office for bringing some quite daring snacks back from Asia, so as well as various chocolate treats I was delighted to find bottles of 'bird nest juice' (yum, bird spit). At 4pm we took a taxi to the airport and three hours later we were climbing in to the sky on the first of two seven hour flights back to snowy England.

It's been a fantastic trip. The first two weeks were all about the jungles of Borneo and I particularly enjoyed visiting Mulu, definitely in the top five places I've visited. Swimming and climbing through dark caves, seeing (and not being scared of!) 10 inch spiders and witnessing a 3 million bat exodus will live long in the memory. Brunei was an interesting diversion and although I was disappointed that the orangutan sanctuary in Sepilok was so small, I loved seeing the proboscis monkeys and sun-bears up close. The second half of the trip, after I met up with Jessica in Kuala Lumpur, was all about art, culture and beaches. Every place we visited exceeded expectations, from the big cities to the tea plantations in Cameron Highlands. We climbed peaks, swam under waterfalls, had fish massages and a big highlight for me was the street art in Penang and the beach at Langkawi. Visiting Singapore at the end has been the icing on the cake. The food has been superb and the people among the friendliest I've ever met.

Singapore, day 1

After an early alarm call and some hasty last minute packing, we were taxiing our way along the deserted, dark streets to the airport at 6.30am. Our flight took off two hours later and we got a good view over Langkawi as we climbed in to the sky. I saw our beach and felt a little sad to be leaving.

The flight took an hour and a half. We landed in Singapore and quickly sailed through immigration and baggage reclaim. I changed all of my lovely colourful Malaysian ringitt for sombre white Singapore dollars (my fourth currency in a month) and used 25 of them to pay for a taxi to our hotel. The exchange rate is easy to work out, roughly 2 dollars to 1 pound.

First impressions, Singapore feels a very un-Asian city. The streets are wide and leafy, traffic flows smoothly and everything seems very clean and orderly. We passed the sky-scrapers of the downtown area and arrived at Link Hotel 20 minutes after we set off.

It's a strange layout for a hotel, two long blocks either side of Tiong Bahru Road linked by a bridge, hence the name. There are some very swish looking restaurants on the ground floor - a Chinese and a Japanese - and the lobby had a boutique feel with lots of modern art and a receptionist with thick, fashionable glasses. Our room is nice, albeit small (bijou is the word) although I'm not a fan of glass-walled bathrooms.

We only had two days sight-seeing in Singapore so didn't have time to waste. We quickly unpacked essential items and freshened ourselves up. I consulted a fold-out leaflet that I picked up in reception which had a map on the back. As expected, our hotel was within walking distance of the main touristy areas. The leaflet was impractically big - when folded out it covered half of the bed. I didn't want to spend half of my time in Singapore trying to work out how to refold it, so I picked up my scissors and cut out the small section of map I needed. In to my back pocket it went and we were out of the door by midday, ready for some sightseeing.

But first, food. We went to a nice French style café nearby, lured in by the pastries in the window. I've eaten a lot of nice Asian food on this trip but the steak sandwich I had, plus blueberry crumble, was one of the most enjoyable of the trip!

Our first port of call was The Pinnacle@Duxton, which apparently has the best views of Singapore's skyline. It's also a pretty unique building. It comprises of seven entirely residential 50 storey towers (making it the tallest residential building in the world), each connected by 500 meter sky-gardens on the 26th and 50th floors (the longest sky-gardens in the world).

It looked pretty dramatic from street level as we approached. We entered the lobby of the closest tower and took the lift 50 floors up - only to find that you need a swipe card to get through a turnstile on to the roof. We descended 50 floors back to the bottom and after asking several very helpful residents - one of whom was an ancient looking guy on a pushbike - we were directed to a small office at the foot of block G1. There was a sign in the window 'Back in 15 minutes' and the blinds were pulled down. A friendly middle-aged French couple were lingering about too, so we all took the lift up to the top floor, more in hope than expectation, but were disappointed to find another locked turnstile on to the roof. Back down we went and, hallelujah, the blinds were up at the office! A man the other side of the glass told me it costs $6 for non-residents to go up to the garden but you need to have an EZ travel card to complete the transaction. Just as I was resigning myself to giving up, he said he'd lend me his card if I gave him a $10 deposit. I gave him the money and we were back in that lift again.

The views from the top were superb. One side overlooked the colourful docks and the other side looked out across the terracotta roofs of Chinatown to the polished skyscrapers of the business district. My favourite was the Oasia hotel, almost entirely covered in vegetation. Singapore is definitely one of the greenest cities I've visited. We walked along the walkways that joined the seven towers. There were lots of plants, fixed furniture and even a park where we saw the biggest grasshopper I've ever seen.

Next we walked to nearby Chinatown which was zig-zagged with lines of red lanterns and choc-a-block full of quirky streets, old temples and markets selling all manner of weird and wonderful items. We saw a herbal remedy stall that had trays of dried creatures out front, including sea-horses and some kind of indistinguishable animal that was 10 inches long, had wings and a head like a dinosaur. Fruit and veg stalls had spiky dragon fruit and weird marbled mushrooms. When buying souvenirs for people back home, I took particular interest in products that were displayed next to fans.

Outside the market was a square with a very impressive, very large Chinese temple. Or so I thought. I consulted my Lonely Planet and it was actually the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, which apparently houses one of Buddha's actual teeth. Strange place for it in the heart of Chinatown!

We headed towards the business district, modern skyscrapers towering above, providing shade from the early afternoon sun. Although slightly cooler than Malaysia, it's still very hot. People in business suits walked past, clutching a briefcase in one hand and a paper cup of coffee in the other. Shiny cars waited patiently at junctions - no rickshaws buzzing around like mosquitos here or the incessant honking of horns. I didn't see any litter at all. It felt like London with hot weather.

Turning a corner, the marina spread out in front of us with the unmistakable triple skyscraper of Marina Bay Sands at the far end. In my opinion it's one of the daftest pieces of architecture in the world, with what is supposed to be a boat resting on top. I'm all for innovation but it looks more like a banana! In front of it is another interesting building, the ArtScience Museum, which looks like a cross between a lotus flower and a broken egg-shell.

Heading along the prom we passed the grandiose five-star Fullerton Bay hotel, a relic from Singapore's colonial past and formerly the General Post Office. Further on was 'Merlion', a statue that is half lion and half fish, which represents Singapore's history as a fishing village. It spews a powerful jet of water from its mouth which makes for lots of comedy tourist selfies. My favourite building here is Singapore Theatre, two glass domes covered with triangulated glass windows - it looks like a couple of armadillos or durian fruits. The Esplanade is the creative hub of the city, with galleries, grandstands and concert venues and on the corner of the marina was the Singapore Flyer, a giant 'London Eye' style ferris wheel.

We walked across the 280 meter 'Helix Bridge', a spiral tangle of metal and glass that is inspired by a DNA structure, to the foot of Marina Bay Sands, looking more and more like an AT-AT walker the closer we got. You have to hand it to Singapore, they aren't afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to architecture.

Next to it is the brilliant 'Gardens by the Bay', a billion dollar botanical garden, part of the city's strategy to transform Singapore in to a Garden City. It's free to visit except for the two huge domed conservatories. We paid $28 each (£15) which was worth every penny for the air-conditioning inside!

The first, 'The Flower Dome', is the largest columnless glasshouse in the world and replicates the dry climates of the Mediterranean, Australia and South America. The place was a kaleidoscope of colour with exotic flowers and plants all around, some of which looked too bizarre to be true. I only learned later that it's possible to download an App which tells you which each flower is. Around the dome were also art installations, including a large dragon made from driftwood.

'Cloud Forest' replicates the cool, moist conditions from tropical mountain regions like SE Asia and middle America. When we walked in we were confronted by its spectacular centre-piece, a man-made mountain containing the world's tallest indoor waterfall. It was quite an impact walking in, being met by the blast of air from the falling water and the cooling spray. The mountain was completely clad in orchids, ferns and mosses and reminded me of 'Mossy Forest' in Cameron Highlands. We ascended up the structure via an aerial path, each subsequent floor having a different theme. One contained orchids and water features, another stalagmites and rock formations and there was also a big cinema screen showing a presentation about global warming.

Perhaps the most recognisable sight here is the garden of futuristic looking techno-trees. They are between 25 and 50 meters tall and aren't just interesting to look at, they are the environmental 'engines' for the gardens, harnessing solar energy for the lighting, collecting rain water for cooling, irrigation and fountains and providing air for the cooling systems in the domes. Photovoltaic cells echo photosynthesis and contribute energy to run the park. The whole park has been designed to minimise environmental impact.

Darkness was falling, so we sat below the trees waiting for the light show to begin. At 7.45pm, music started to oooohs from the crowd. It started slowly and menacingly, the trees lit up red like demons, before picking up in pace. By the end there was so much colour and light it looked like a firework display from our vantage point, staring up to the sky. It was a strange medley of music that included Bonanza, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones.

I loved Gardens by the Bay. We were there for about four hours but could easily have spent the whole day there.

When the light show finished, the crowds streamed towards the exit. Apparently it's very difficult to flag a taxi in Singapore, so we headed towards Bayfront MRT. The underground in Singapore is predominantly automated, so after consulting the tube map, we bought tickets from one of the very easy-to-use ticket machines. It cost $3 for both tickets and two tokens fell in to the tray. We took the blue line three stops to Chinatown, where we changed on to the Northeast purple line to Outram Park, a ten minute walk from our hotel.

It was 8.30pm. We wanted to go back to our hotel to shower and change but it was late already and we were hungry. So instead we went to a local style Chinese restaurant opposite our hotel. The menu had 36 pages and included delicacies such as shark fin soup, 'smelly beans' and deep-fried bull-frog. We weren't quite so adventurous - we had prawn and egg with crispy noodles, char sui and shrimp fried rice, sweet and sour pork and spicy greens. A group of about ten local people dressed in suits were downing shots raucously.

We got back to our hotel at 10pm. In an ideal world we'd have been energised to go out for a few drinks but we both felt drained and foot-weary. We'd packed a lot in, so took the decision to have an early night as there would be more of the same tomorrow.

Mountains and waterfalls

For our final day in Langkawi we took a taxi to the western side of the island, to the foot of Gunung Machinchang, the highest peak in a rocky range that can be seen from all around the island.

To get to the top you must take a cable car. I really enjoy cable car rides. The carriage rattles and vibrates when you first get in until it leaves the carousel and lurches forward and suddenly it's a completely smooth, completely silent ride. We rose higher and higher, over lush green forests, the views back over Langkawi getting steadily more impressive. My trigger finger on my camera was kept busy.

We reached a viewpoint, so all got off and snapped more pics on a circular viewing deck. The scenery to the left was rugged and wild, whilst on the right were lots of islands with white ribbons of sand. I could make out our beach in the distance through the haze. A large group of identically dressed Japanese women posed for a selfie. They were all the same age - perhaps a sport or walking group.

In the queue everyone had opportunity to purchase souvenirs with their photo on. It seems to be a cottage industry here in Langkawi that whenever you go to a touristy place you'll get your photo taken against a plain green background when you enter and by the time you leave you've been magicked in front of a spectacular view and made in to a place mat. I've never bought one but Asian people seem to love these pics.

The next stretch of cable was breathtaking. Apparently it's the steepest cable car line in the world on the way to the top station. We disembarked and took photos from two viewing decks, joined by one of those bridges with lots of padlocks attached to the railings to prove couple's undying love to eachother. It seems a strange custom to me. I read an article recently about one of these bridges collapsing through the sheer weight of padlocks/love. Talk about a bad omen.

Although the sweeping panoramic views were great, the heat was fierce and we were completely exposed. After ten minutes I retreated down the steps, suntan lotion streaming in to my eyes and gulped down a 7Up.

When the needles on our body temperature gauges had returned to the green zone, Jessica and I were ready to tackle the spectacular skybridge. To get to it we had to go down 200 steps, which I grimly realised we'd have to climb up again later.

I've walked across a lot of bridges on this trip but this one left the others in the shade. It was a couple of hundred meters long and curved majestically across to another peak. The views were sensational - that good I almost forgot the oven-like heat. Dotted along the bridge were glass panels under foot to give people a view of the drop below.

Incredibly I overtook a women with vertigo, walking very slowly along the centre of the walkway, shooing away her husband who was trying to say supportive words. I have to question the wisdom of someone with vertigo taking the world's steepest cable car up to a skybridge spanning two peaks. That said, good on her for conquering her fears.

To get back to the cable car we had to climb those 200 steep steps. By the time we reached the top, my heart was pounding and I felt like I was melting. Malaysia has probably been the hottest place I've ever visited. As I was gulping down another hastily purchased cold drink at the top of the steps, a girl with a hijab approached me and tried to sell me a keyring with a photo of Jessica and I on it.

At the foot of the hill is a theme park with an odd collection of attractions like a 3D cinema and bumper cars. As we were walking through it Jessica spotted a fish spa she wanted to try. I didn't enjoy the natural fish spa I got in Brunei under the waterfall (the fish didn't nibble, they nipped like piranhas) but there was no point me sitting down waiting for half an hour, so I decided to give it a go as well.

We were shown through to a tiled room with a square bath in the middle, containing all of the small fish. Jessica was first to dip her feet in as I snapped a few photos. At first she smiled but then said "oh I don't like it, I don't like it". Only 29 and a half minutes to go I reassured her. I put my feet in and soon understand her reaction. It was unbearably ticklish. I looked down and could barely see my feet as hundreds of the tiny fish nibbled away. It was a weird sensation but after the initial discomfort I grew to quite quite enjoy it and was sad when our time was up.

Nearby are Telaga Tujuh waterfalls. We climbed another mountain of steps to the very top - I'd love to know how many steps I've gone up on this trip! At the top were a series of rock pools you can swim in. It was the perfect way to cool down but the best part was sliding down the natural water slides to the next rockpool. I was like a big kid. The biggest 'slide' was about 15 meters long. I sat on the edge, let myself go and was surprised how quickly I slalomed over the smooth, slippery rocks, rolling sideways in an undignified manner and landing with a big splash. When other people did it they looked like a child going down a slide but my arms and legs were everywhere. Perhaps I'm optimum weight for top speed? I climbed back up the hot rocks and had five more goes.

After half an hour we walked down all of those steps to the foot of the waterfall. Even though at this time of year the water is more of a trickle than a Niagara Falls cascade, it was still an impressive sight. I'm terrible at guessing heights or distances but it was probably 50 meters and easily the tallest of the four waterfalls I've seen on this trip (just googled it and it's 91 meters - told you I was bad!).

Again there were rockpools to immerse yourself in. I danced over hot rocks and chose the pool immediately below the waterfall. It was only a small pool but deep - I couldn't touch the bottom. There were only three other people in this pool - a French couple and an Asian guy - but for some reason none of them wanted to go under the actual falling water. Sometimes it can be easy to underestimate the force of waterfalls but with my feet planted against some rocks opposite, I leaned back against the slippery wall as water pummelled me. It was the best shoulder massage imaginable.

There is loads to do in this area, including zip-lining and climbing, but we didn't have time as we wanted to be back at our hotel to watch the sun set at the beach bar. It was a lovely sight but partially ruined by all of the jet-skis. One of the popular activities to do in Langkawi are jet-ski island-hopping trips and it seems everyone comes to the stretch of sea directly in front of our beach as the sun sets. The constant drone of engines ruined the ambience somewhat.

It was sad watching the sun disappear on our final night in Langkawi. What a brilliant place. Take away jet-skis and the stinging microscopic organisms that come out in the evening and it's the perfect chill-out beach. Add to that the spectacular scenery, our fantastic hotel, some great restaurants and the fact that there is loads to do, Langkawi definitely lived up to expectations.

The bright orange sun burnt its way in to the sea and then the sky turned a nice pink, then purple, before darkness fell and couples walked hand-in-hand along the beach.

We headed back to our room to pack for an early flight next morning, to Singapore, the last destination on this holiday.


When I booked a taxi from my hotel to the port, I was surprised when the hotel receptionist recommended a 7.30 pickup for our 8.30 ferry. We had walked to the port on the day of our arrival so I knew it couldn't have been more than a 10 minute ride. Nevertheless, she was the expert so I had agreed.

Our alarms rang early, we packed and took a taxi through the unusually empty streets to the port. It took ten minutes as expected. Bleary-eyed we waited 45 minutes in a departure lounge and then on the boat itself.

I'd had a romantic notion that the ferry would be on an old-fashioned ferry with multiple decks and room to move around - perhaps drink a cup of tea 'up top' while watching the world go by - but we were all crammed in to the hull of an oversized speedboat with no view at all through the grubby windows. Worse still, the air-con was ludicrously cold. As always on travel days I'd prepared for this (buses are often chilly rides) but even with a jumper on I was cold. There was no chance for sleep. There was a flat-screen TV at the front which showed a kids Marvel film which didn't appeal and the journey took three long hours.

As always there was a rugby scrum of taxi drivers touting for business when we walked through the ferry terminal. I walked past them all to the cabs and picked the most unassuming driver I could see (usually an old guy who has been doing the job for years). He was a real character and we chatted the entire 20 minute journey to our hotel.

We chose to stay at Pantai Tengah, which the driver told us means 'middle beach'. There are plenty of beaches to choose from in Langkawi but this seemed one of the quietest and prettiest beaches, with some nice hotels. We're staying at a lovely resort called Langkawi Hotel Villa & Spa. It's certainly several notches higher than hotels I usually stay at - there are a choice of restaurants and an infinite pool! Our room is excellent. Really spacious and modern with a comfy bed and possibly the best shower I've ever encountered in Asia. There is a full length patio window through to a balcony which offers views over the gardens and towards a large pool. Look carefully between buildings and trees and we can see the beach and the sea.

Our first day here was fairly low-key. We'd crammed so much in to our time in Penang, in boiling hot temperatures, we both felt exhausted, not helped by just six hours sleep on the night before we left. We both slept during the afternoon, either side of the obligatory walk along the beach, barefooted in the water.

The beach is gorgeous. It's a long strip of golden sand, framed by rocky scenery either side with islands dotted in the water. It's very quiet too. It's a private beach, so no bars pumping out music, pushy stall owners or battles for the last sun lounger. There are just hotel guests (mainly very well fed Germans and Russians) lounging lazily in the sun, some sipping a drink at the beach bar and the occasional person swimming in the turquoise water. In the distance jet-skis bounce past and paragliders are towed by motorboats towards the far busier Pantai Cenang.

We ate at the posh hotel restaurant next to the infinite pool. I opted to push the boat out and ordered lobster thermidor as I've never had lobster before. It was spectacularly good (mmm cheese, I've missed you). I had a tom yam mojito, inspired by my favourite Thai soup. It was basically a normal mojito with lemongrass and kafir lime leaves, but oddly no chilli. Music wafted over diners as they ate, a solo trumpeter playing instrumental versions of famous songs (it was like 'name that tune'). It was a classy establishment so it was amusing when a trumpet version of Puff the Magic Dragon came on. De Niro would have loved it. The meal, plus cocktail and dessert came to 125 ringgit, by far the most expensive meal of the trip but still only £25.

The day after was much the same. After taking advantage of the breakfast buffet (yoghurt and fruit with honey is my favourite) we claimed sun loungers on the beach, from which our towels didn't move all day. We went in to the water and it's the calmest sea I've ever swam in. There was an island opposite, I'd guess a kilometre away, and I wondered whether I'd be able to swim it. Hypothetically that is, we were penned in by buoys as the channel between islands is used by tour boats.

We ate lunch at the beach-side bar (tuna melt - I'm beginning to crave carbohydrates and stodge) and then did it all again in the afternoon, slapping suntan lotion on in generous measures. Relaxing was very much order of the day. I tried to read my Kindle but the reflections off the screen were too bright and at one point we went to explore a rocky outcrop nearby but didn't find anything. We only retreated back to the hotel briefly after lunchtime to book a day-trip for the day after. As much as I love exploring places and sight-seeing, I love days like this.

It's definitely one of the prettiest beaches I've been to. Last year I really enjoyed Palolem in Goa but it wasn't a beach you could fully relax - this one certainly is.

Back in the room (air-con, yes!) we showered and put on some respectable clothes before heading out for dinner. We'd identified various recommended place within walking distance from my Lonely Planet but they were all closed. Odd. Normally gaining Lonely Planet's seal of approval ensure restaurants are packed.

We settled on an unassuming place called Bobbi's Snacks & Bar and chose a table underneath a ceiling fan. I had a nice curry, Jessica noodles, plus a few Tiger beers. We listened to the owner, a very bubbly woman called Lio, give palm readings to a group of European backpackers. Her predictions were nearly all bad so when she offered me one later I said no! As we were chatting, four very serious looking uniformed men marched in who Lio told us later were tax inspectors. I got the impression they revelled in their authority.

Next morning we were picked up 9.15am for a half day island-hopping boat trip (75 ringgit each, £15). We were minibused to a small jetty, where we jumped on to a longboat. If we were expecting a gentle cruise we were mistaken, the boat bouncing over the waves as we raced to our first island. The scenery was superb but I couldn't risk trying to take a photo as it was too bumpy. Every now and then we'd hit a wave and take off for a second, landing with a thud in the water to a theatrical 'ooooh' from those on the boat.

Our first stop was Pulau Dayang Bunting, better known as Pregnant Maiden Island. We stopped in front of limestone cliffs rising sharply from the water and as we bobbed up and down in the boat our guide pointed out that they made the shape of a pregnant women. I looked up but could only see see a series of bumps made from the rocks. I wasn't convinced. Certainly it was nowhere near as good as the Abraham Lincoln in the cave in Mulu.

Our guide said "one hour". We climbed some monkey infested steps and descended down top a large turquoise lake, glimmering in the mid-morning light. Steep cliffs surrounded the lake, making an impressive sight. It was possible to swim in the lake (apparently women unable to conceive get cured) but we opted instead to hire a kayak. I think it's fair to say we struggled to find rhythm at first, spending a lot of time going round in circles, but by the end of the half hour we were a finely honed team of Olympic quality kayakers ("left, right, left, right, right again, right again, left, right, left right" etc). We rowed to the far end of the lake, before realising how hot it was, then heading for the shade opposite before returning to the pontoon. Hard work but great fun.

Despite 'don't feed the monkeys' signs, a Malaysian woman was doing exactly that to a rabble of excitable monkeys on the raised walkway to the jetty. A wild boar wallowed lazily in the mud.

We all jumped back on to the boat and held on tightly as we bounced our way to Pulau Singa Besar island. The ride was so bumpy, one of the metal poles holding the roof snapped. Fearing it might disconnect and injure someone I dived across and held it tightly until we got to our next stop.

We stopped off-shore, where dozens of eagles circled above. The boat-driver threw some food in to the water and one by one the eagles swooped down to grab a chunk. It was quite a spectacular sight. When I read that this trip included 'eagle feeding' I assumed it might involve eagles on tethers on dry land, but this was fascinating to watch.

I turned to the boat driver and asked "what type of eagles are they?" to which he replied "chicken". Chicken eagles I thought, surprised and a bit underwhelmed before I realised that the driver had though I asked what he had fed them.

The final stop was Pulau Beras Basah, a small island with a picture postcard beach, jutting out in to the sea. It would have been a little slice of paradise if it wasn't so busy. There were so many boats arriving it was like Dunkirk. The island tour is obviously very popular but you'd think given that Langkawi comprises of 99 islands and countless golden strips of sand, that tour operators could spread themselves out a bit. I went for a swim but gave up because too many boats were arriving and they didn't give a wide arc to swimmers, just chugged straight through them. Nevertheless, we enjoyed swimming in the warm water for half an hour.

We were back at our hotel by late lunch and decided to take a taxi to nearby Pantai Cenang to buy a few bits and pieces. It's a much busier beach, popular with backpackers. After completing our shopping we couldn't resist a half hour foot massage at a little spa. My masseur looked like Manni Pacquiao and massaged like him too, literally punching my calf muscles and the soles of my feet at one point. It was a very firm, very knuckly massage but it felt good.

Back at the hotel we decided to spend late afternoon in the infinite pool. I enjoyed swimming in the perfectly still water and enjoying the views, but it wasn't as nice as swimming in the sea. That said, yesterday when swimming at about 5ish we noticed an occasional weird stinging sensation on our skin - not painful but uncomfortable. Chatting with an Aussie guy at breakfast he told me that microscopic organisms cause it. They mostly come out at night.

We ate at a highly recommended restaurant nearby with the slightly odd name Fat Cupid. It's an Asian fusion restaurant and my sliced duck on rendang curry with watermelon rice was gorgeous, with lots of satisfying pops of flavour. I had red wine poached pear for dessert which has absolutely no Asian fusion about it whatsoever! There was an English couple on the next table and the man sounded exactly like Michael Caine.

I've really enjoyed Langkawi so far. One more day and then we're off to Singapore for the final leg of the trip.

Georgetown, Penang

After an early alarm call, we took a five hour bus-ride to Penang (35 ringgit). As predicted, the first couple of hours were stomach-churning (especially given some of the more exotic things that I ate at the steamboat restaurant last night). But the views more than compensated - lots of green landscapes, rolling peaks and limestone karsts near Ipoh. I got about an hour of sleep and we were crossing a long bridge to the island of Penang at 12.30.

We're staying in Georgetown, a Unesco World Heritage Site. I knew straight away I was going to love it. The buildings are architecturally full of character and colourful too, giving the place a lot of charm. There are no modern high-rises here, it's like stepping back in time.

Our hotel, Cintra Heritage House, oozes charm. It's a traditional old-style Chinese link house with several shuttered rooms around a central courtyard, a bit like a haveli in India. Apparently during the second world war it was used as a hair salon for Japanese officers. Our room has 'Prince Edward' on the door but it's hard to imagine royalty staying in it. There aren't enough surfaces to put stuff on and since we're on the ground floor, the bedroom has no natural light. There is no TV but that's fine, we didn't watch a single thing in Kuala Lumpur or Cameron Highlands.

We unpacked to the sounds of call-to-prayer emanating from a mosque nearby. Often it can be very therapeutic and quite beautiful to listen to but on this occasion two men were having a wailing contest. Neither would get far in Call-to-prayer Factor.

Mid-afternoon we headed out on an art trail, which didn't just turn up some excellent art but also took us to corners of Georgetown we may easily have missed. We wandered through Chinatown and Little India, past mosques, temples and shrines, the city a colourful mish-mash of different religions and cultures.

I had researched where lots of the art was located but I needn't have bothered. As Jessica was perusing a quirky little shop that sold nothing but cat items, I asked the owner for directions. She gave me a street art map (thus negating an hours careful research) and very thoroughly talked me through it, not once but twice, and then a third time for good luck with a magic marker.

Most of the art was created by Ernest Zacharevic, Lithuania's answer to Banksy. His stencilled paintings have a similar style but aren't political and are often interactive. For example, one of the more famous in Georgetown is a child on a motorbike and you can sit on the bike and it looks like you're giving the boy a lift. A popular one has two terrified children on a push-bike looking over their shoulder, so it's funny seeing people posing for smiley selfies with them (I chased them for my selfie). One of my favourites features two kids happily playing on a swing, with an empty swing for you to sit next to it.

It was great fun finding the correct area and working out where the art is located. There was a Bruce Lee down an alleyway, a storm-trooper next to a shop and a blue Marge Simpson bollard. Lots of the art featured cats or bikes for some reason.

We ended up at Perasa King Edward (hey, there's that name again), a busy road that runs along the port. I found the ferry office and booked two tickets for Sunday to Langkawi. It's a 3 hour trip and the tickets cost 70 ringgit each. We could probably have bought tickets on the day but I didn't want to risk a 'sold out' sucker punch.

It was seriously hot, easily the hottest weather of the trip so far. It was a relief to get back to our air-conditioned hotel room and have a cold shower.

Penang has a reputation for the best food in Malaysia and some say the best food in SE Asia, so we decided to eat at Georgetown's best restaurant according to Lonely Planet, Teksen, just a few streets away. First impressions weren't too favourable - it had a canteen vibe to it - but it was heaving to the rafters, mainly of locals which is always a good sign. We queued to be seated and then oddly had to give our order at the front of the queue. I guess due to its popularity it's just a way of turning tables around quicker. As a result our decision felt rushed.

After ten minutes staring jealously at everyone else's food, we were led to two empty spaces on a table with a German couple. I got chatting with a friendly family from Costa Rica on the table behind and when I turned around the food had arrived. We had ordered four dishes and three of them were really good, especially the pepper squid and a dish the waitress recommended, pork belly and yam (which had a very sweet, almost alcoholic tasting sauce). The only dish I didn't like was an indistinguishable crunchy green vegetable with prawns in a strong, pungent fish sauce.

The restaurant ran like a well-oiled machine. When a table was vacated, two women literally ran to it, cleared and wiped it ready for the next customers. We had arrived at 9ish, just in time for last serving, so by the time we finished all of the other tables were empty and a waiter was stacking chairs. Hint hint. An old lady with a wrinkled face full of character collected our plates and tutted whenever she had to scrape leftovers away.

The popular backpacker area is on Love Lane, with lots of bars and cheap eateries spilling out on to the pavement. We went for a drink at Micke's Place, one of those grungy places where the walls are covered with graffiti. As a result it seemed out of place seeing two cool looking local men playing Uno.

Following a good nights sleep, Jessica and I went for breakfast in a quaint little courtyard in the hotel. I ordered pancakes but was a bit underwhelmed when they arrived with just honey. I had almost finished when a plate of accompanying fruit was also served. The last few mouthfuls were delicious.

Our plan this morning was to visit Penang Hill, which looms 821 meters over Georgetown. To go up it we took a ride on a funicular which is a train which climbs steep tracks. Whenever I've been on a funicular in the past (Montserrat in Barcelona and Victoria Peak in Hong Kong) they have slowly chugged their way up the hill-side but this one must have been driven by Keanu Reeves. It raced up!

The view from various vantage points at the top were superb, across Penang and the Selat Salatan Channel to Butterworth on mainland Malaysia. In the far distance were the misty outlines of the highlands. It was easy to spot Unesco listed Georgetown as it was low-rise without a skyscraper in sight.

The best thing about Penang Hill though was the refreshing breeze, which brought the temperature down to almost tolerable levels! We had an ice cream in front of a golden domed mosque and a colourful Hindu temple which was surrounded by scaffolding, as I perused a leaflet about the hill. There was more to do than I thought.

Firstly we decided to go on a pleasant walking trail which led through the thickly forested slopes of the hill. The views were excellent and I found it funny to see Chinese tourists photographing themselves in front of one of the more unusual tourist attractions here, a red English-style post-box.

We reached the entry to The Habitat and paid the 50 ringgit entrance fee each. The winding trail here led in to denser jungle and the wildlife was well signposted. Sadly we didn't see any of the (apparently quite shy) dusky leaf monkeys as they look bizarre little things, or the giant squirrels, which I'd seen previously in India. We didn't see anything at the excitingly named Drongo Corner, or the elevated Langur Monkey walkway and Jessica was pleased we didn't see any of the four types of snake we read about on the information boards (one of which was a poisonous cobra). To be honest I didn't mind, it was just nice to stroll along and enjoy the atmosphere of the place. We did see a lizard though and lots of big butterflies and of course there was the constant buzz of the jungle.

The highlight was Treetop Walk, a rather futuristic looking circular aerial walkway which marks the highest point on the island. From it we could see all around the island and out to sea, towards our next destination tomorrow morning, Langkawi. A mansion can also be seen which now belongs to the Governor of Penang. Back during British colonial rule, Penang Hill was designated as an area to grow strawberries but they found the area too difficult to clear. Instead it became a getaway for wealthy Brits in the days before air-con. Those grand buildings remain today. My professor friend says it's possible to have tea and scones at one of them but sadly there wouldn't be time for us today.

The enjoyment of the views though were counteracted by the need to get out of the sun, so we descended the steps and took a golf buggy back down to the main touristy area. We were hungry so it was chicken fried rice time.

The queue for the funicular back down Penang Hill was crazily long. I hate the concept of any kind of a fast-track queue-jumping system but on this occasion felt it was worth £4 each as it was our last afternoon in Penang and we wanted to cram in as much as possible. Had we not, we'd have been in that queue for another hour.

Back in Georgetown we visited Pinang Peranakan Mansion, a lavish house that was home to a wealthy Chinese family. I enjoyed seeing all of the luxurious furniture, clothing and jewellery but the most interesting aspect for me was the house itself which was too cluttered with things to see, so it felt more like a museum than an everyday snapshot of their life. And if I'm honest, some of their decor was a tad garish for my liking.

Georgetown is a small city, easy to explore by foot. We discovered lots more street art including a ballerina on a satellite dish, a huge chicken, 'Blue Girl', penguins wearing bling and a modern version of The Last Supper with guests like Marilyn Monroe, Homer Simpson, Salvador Dali and Darth Vader (now that's a Come Dine With Me I'd like to see). At one point two tall German girls saw me photographing a wall and asked me "have you seen man on a canoe?" I hadn't but we compared maps and found it at the next junction. Mighty impressive it was too, spanning the height of an old two storey townhouse.

We walked past a few lovely temples, including a Chinese temple where elderly rickshaw drivers sat waiting for customers. On another corner we passed an elderly Malaysian man, easily 80+, singing a note-for-note version of Elvis's 'I Can't Help Falling In Love With You' backed by a group of three other octogenarians. I dropped my loose change in to his collection bucket.

We visited Chew Jetty, a community on stilts at the port. I was looking forward to seeing it but it was just a short jetty with lots of souvenir stalls. In five minutes we'd reached the far end, so turned around and headed back. It was nowhere near the authentic slice of life I experienced at Kampong Ayer in Brunei earlier in the trip.

Jessica went to the hotel to shower while I walked to a nearby 7Eleven to buy a couple of big bottles of water. As I was walking I noticed three Japanese women photographing something on the opposite side of the street. When I looked up I saw another famous piece of street art, of a little girl surfing on a giant turtle. It's that kind of place!

After chilling, literally, in our hotel room for a few hours, we headed out to dinner. We wandered down a few likely looking streets but couldn't find any nice looking restaurants. There were lots of hawker stalls and street vendors but the thought of eating by the roadside in the heat didn't appeal at all, which was a shame because some of it looked really nice.

We settled on a sea-food restaurant right next door to the place where we ate the night before. It wasn't a touristy place at all and I didn't really fancy anything from the one-sided laminate menu, but took a lucky dip and ordered fish bee hoon soup with porridge and maggi. I don't know what most of those items are but it was really tasty - basically a fish broth. The only other people in the restaurant were locals so I felt under pressure not to show myself up with my chopstick skills. I washed down the meal with a can of Kickapoo Joy Juice (basically orange Tango) chosen solely for its comedy name.

Tomorrow we take a ferry to Langkawi. I'll be sad to say goodbye to Georgetown - what a brilliant place.

Mossy Forest

Today we went on a tour that we saw advertised on a leaflet. It turned out to be a great day.

After breakfast we got picked up at 8.45am and our 4x4 sped along the winding roads to the next town, Brinchang. As ever with these kind of things there is a variety of different stops, starting today with a butterfly farm. We stepped in to a large greenhouse where thousands of butterflies danced around (well, actually, most rested on the glass ceiling). Most were large black ones with a lime green pattern, which are the national emblem of Malaysia. Each only lives for a maximum of 20 days.

Outside our guide Daz passed me a leaf insect and let me hold it. It was one of the coolest things I've seen - it looked exactly like big leaf but on closer examination it had twig-like legs, wings and a head. These were the insects I heard on the Night Walk in Mulu, which made a noise like someone tuning a violin. When Daz picked it off my hand, its feet felt sticky although actually they have tiny hooks in their feet.

We saw huge stick insects (surely there comes a point when they need to be renamed accordingly in terms of size - branch or log insect for example). There were also Godzilla sized lizards, cool looking snakes, tarantulas, ugly looking bull-frogs and I got to stroke a very large horn beetle. Oddly there were also raccoons, scruffy looking rabbits, turkeys and a duck protecting a huddle of about eight very small yellow ducklings.

Heading up steep roads, we stopped for a while to admire the view over a lush tea plantation. Whenever the sun is shining you can see all of the different greens and in the distance clouds shrouded the tops of mountains. Daz told us that tea bushes actually grow in to trees if you give them a chance and don't pick the leaves off. He also explained that tea-pickers (almost always from Sri Lanka, Indonesia or Bangladesh) get paid just 25 cents (5p) for a kilo bag of tea leaves, which requires a significant amount of time and effort to produce (not to mention carry back down the valley). They earn about 1200 ringgit a month (£240) for their back-breaking work.

As we clambered back in to the back of the 4x4, Daz opened the windows and told us "if sick, throw up out of window". For 20 minutes we headed towards 'Mossy Forest', climbing higher and higher, eventually in to the clouds, turning tight bend after tight bend and bumping over the poor surface. I was grateful I only had toast for breakfast.

We were relieved when we arrived and got out of the car. As our stomachs unknotted themselves, Daz told us some interesting facts about the plants we'd see. He told us about the different types of moss, which absorb water like a sponge, and picked up some leaves from the floor which he scrunched up and invited us to smell. It reminded me of lemongrass but was in fact citronella he told us. It's extracted for mosquito repellent which is why there are no mosquitoes in Mossy Forest.

He also told us something I found hard to believe, that this forest is the oldest in the world (later I googled it and he's right!). It's 130 million years old - I wonder how they work that out?

By now it was drizzling and very misty but it added to the atmosphere I thought as we walked around a small section of the forest on slippy wooden walkways. Many of the trees were covered in a thick moss that felt pillow-like when I pressed it. The trail followed a ridge away from one of Malaysian peninsula's highest points, Gunung Brinchang. The views left and right would have been stunning but all I could see was the whiteness of cloud. You could actually see mist rolling over the ridge, cranking up the atmosphere to dangerously high levels.

I loved walking around the Mossy Forest, a real highlight of the trip.

We descended back down the bumpy road in to the sunshine and BOH Tea Plantation. There was a working tea factory we could go in to and watch the machines that thresh, heat and dry the tea leaves. But best of all there was a cafe with a sensational panoramic view across the plantation. I ordered a pot of 'Cameron Gold' and a nasi lemak cheesecake. It was an odd mixture of hazelnuts, lime and chilli paste which I'll be honest, challenged my taste buds. Buy just as it was winning me over, the next mouthful included an anchovy. Who puts fish on cheesecake?!

There was a nice path back down the valley to a colourful Hindu temple we'd arranged to meet the driver at. Even being out in the sun for ten minutes I felt myself burning.

We stopped at another fantastic viewpoint on the way back down the valley and then the last stop of the day was a strawberry farm. Kind of. What it actually was was various shops selling all-things-strawberry (chocolates, jams, juices, strawberry shaped pillows etc) with the opportunity to pick your own as a bit of an afterthought to make it a touristy activity.

The whole tour cost just 35 ringgit per person (£7).

We were back in Tanah Rata early afternoon which gave us an opportunity to mooch around the town. I bought a cheap pair of sunglasses as my decent pair cracked on the way to Cameron Highlands. It's almost tradition I have to buy a new pair every holiday. I also bought some shaving foam as I'd hate to run out mid shave.

Tonight we went to a Chinese 'steamboat' restaurant. No, it's not on an actual steamboat, it's named due to the way the food is cooked. Basically we chose two soups and had a load of raw ingredients we got to cook in the soup on a hot-plate on the table. We had prawns, chicken, squid balls, crabsticks, eggs, pork mince and noodles. You throw whatever you want in to the soup, put the lid on and crank up the heat - you know it's cooked when it begins to steam. I liked everything except a very fishy fish-ball and the strangely textured bean curd skin.

Right, time to pack, tomorrow we leave Cameron Highlands for Penang.

Cameron Highlands

There are a choice of eight different buses leaving Kuala Lumpur for Cameron Highlands. We loved our hotel room and checkout wasn't until midday, so we decided to have a leisurely morning and take the midday bus.

At 11am we took a taxi to Terminal Bersepadu Salatan, or TBS as the locals call it, which is the biggest bus station I've ever seen. It was like an airport with different levels and gates. We didn't have tickets so there was a sense of relief when we were told there were spaces on the bus we wanted. Had there not been it would have meant a two hour wait for the next bus.

The bus was due to leave in 15 minutes so we raced to Gate 8 and hastily bought some snacks for the journey, which we were told when boarding we weren't allowed to eat on the bus. Then something I've never seen before... the driver stood up at the front of the bus and gave us a demo on how to use the sick-bags! Ominous. The first 90 minutes passed by uneventfully, the city giving way to rolling hills. After a 20 minute comfort break in which Jessica and I had a Magnum almond each, we hit the road again. The winding roads became steeper and soon I realised the need for the advice on sick-bags. We seemed to climb almost constantly and matters weren't helped by the buses soft suspension that bounced up and down like a children's toy. The views were superb as we neared our destination.

Cameron Highlands is a hill station area developed under British colonial rule as an airy retreat from the relentless heat elsewhere in Malaysia (it's named after the explorer who mapped the area in 1885). It's 1500 meters above sea level so the temperatures are significantly cooler than Kuala Lumpur. The rolling valleys are filled with tea plantations and strawberry farms, and I even saw a cafe selling scones. Jolly good!

We're staying in Tanah Rata, a bustling little town concentrated on two main streets. Our hotel is called Century Pines (the Brits introduced pine trees to Asia) and is situated at the far end of the town, next to a park. It looks a rather grand colonial building from the outside and the reception area is all marble and chandeliers.

Our room is excellent - very stylish with a comfy bed, although the bathroom is a little gloomy and the laundry rates are the most expensive I've experienced in Asia. It will cost me £21 to get two bags done. I considered finding a local laundry myself but I'm only here for two days and don't want to waste time just to save a few quid.

The town has got a really nice feel. In the evening we walked past a row of local style eateries but wanted something a bit more restauranty where we could sit inside (at night it's quite chilly). We found a Chinese restaurant where three tasty mains, spring rolls and two drinks came to just £12, including a generous tip. Afterwards we explored another road and found a good place for desserts. No surprise that Jessica opted for the chocolate cake, I went for a blueberry pannacotta.

Next morning I was woken by 'call to prayer' from a nearby mosque. It's quite a soothing way to wake up, listening to the chanting and singing.

Breakfast was a strange affair - scrambled egg on toast, beans, chicken sausage and salad, plus cornflakes and toast. After we'd finished we walked the short distance to the towns bus station to buy tickets for the next leg of our journey, in two days time.

With the sky looking rather gloomy, we opted for a short walk to start the day, to Parit Falls near our hotel. We followed a rather poorly maintained path along a river, over a bridge and through a forest, to a modest waterfall in front of which litter bobbed up and down in the water. But Jessica had never visited a waterfall before so she enjoyed it.

Next we got a taxi to Cameron Bharat Tea Plantation, which we had passed on the bus-ride in. The views over the valley were excellent - a green patchwork quilt of tea bushes on rolling hills that disappeared in to the distance. The view was only slightly ruined by telephone pylons cutting straight through the valley. We snapped some photos and had our first tea of the day. I had a pot of cardamom tea (I couldn't detect any cardamom) and Jessica a really nice lemon iced tea.

We walked further up the road to another tea plantation where it's possible to descend in to the valley and explore. But it started raining so we went to their cafe instead. Rain can be a nuisance but I wasn't complaining much on this occasion as I drank a pot of massala tea and ate a butterscotch muffin while enjoying the view. I'm a tea-aholic.

When the rain stopped we paid 2 ringgit each (40p) for a wristband to allow us down to the bottom of the valley, which gave us a much better perspective of surroundings. The taxi driver earlier had mentioned that it was possible to walk back to Tanah Rata through the valley so we decided to go 'off-grid' and give it a go. It wasn't an official trail but how hard could it be?

The next few hours were the most enjoyable of the day. The scenery was excellent and the sun even came out as we made our way through the tea plantations. It was nice to get away from the crowds - it was just Jessica and I, plus colourful butterflies that danced past, a centipede that looked like it had armoured plating and large bumble bees which had Jessica running for cover.

After a while the path curved round to the left down another valley, so we backtracked and found the correct path. There was no map to follow or trail signs, we were just guessing the direction back. It was quite good fun. The path became less distinct and muddy and I made a joke about us eating grubs for survival if we got lost, then we saw the roofs of wooden huts and realised we'd reached orang asli village, where a lot of the tea-pickers live. The taxi driver had mentioned something about a village so we knew we were on the right track.

We climbed up the slope to a few huts. A woman stood in the doorway of one with a young girl. I waved and the little girl waved back and then two little boys ran out to greet us. "Tanah Rata?" I enquired, pointing in the direction I believed it to be. The boys nodded eagerly and indicated for us to follow. They took us through the small village, past chickens and yapping dogs, to a hill from where we could see a road. Sorted!

Well, not quite. Firstly getting to the road required going down the slippery side of the hill and crossing a stream, which called for firm footing and good teamwork. Secondly the road was very steep and longer than I had hoped. And thirdly, when we finally reached the main road in to Tanah Rata, it began raining heavily. It certainly rains a lot in Cameron Highlands - in fact everywhere in Malaysia has had heavy rain about 4pm every day. We found a shelter and managed to flag a taxi ten minutes later. It's windscreen wipers were broken which wasn't ideal but ten minutes later we were back in the comfort of our hotel. A soggy end to a very good day.

The tourist infrastructure is very poor here. The main reason people come is to go hiking on one of the numerous trails but information is hard to find and decent maps non-existent. So I was pleased that we'd managed to improvise our own route which was very picturesque too.

Batu Caves

We sleep with the curtains open and it's pretty special to wake up with a view of Petronas Towers from the comfort of our bed.

We took advantage of the plentiful buffet breakfast again. £15 is a lot for a breakfast but I had three helpings, two coffees and two juices, so got my money's worth. Plus big breakfasts negate the need for lunch.

Tomorrow we leave Kuala Lumpur and my plan is to get a bus to our next destination, Cameron Highlands. I've done research before the trip but it's always worth a second opinion and a helpful guy behind reception was able to print out a bus timetable.

Our first port of call today was Batu Caves, one of the holiest Hindu sites and "one of Malaysia's national treasures" according to my Lonely Planet. It's located 15km north of the city so we took a taxi (45 ringgit). The driver tried to upsell by offering to take us to various palaces and temples but I didn't fancy being on a stopwatch or the inevitable diversion to a silk/silver/gem 'museum'.

Batu Caves are a series of caves in jagged limestone cliffs. It's quite an impact seeing them for the first time because outside is a huge 43 meter golden statue of Murugan standing guard. Behind him is a steep 300 step staircase, which looks like a stairway to heaven, leading in to Temple Cave.

Jessica spotted stalls selling flower garlands outside. She'd always wanted one, so I bought her one for 10 ringgit, two quid. An old man was sewing fresh petals on to string to create new ones, which looked a time consuming job.

After snapping some photos outside, we passed the big golden statue to the left and began climbing the steps, hard work in the blistering heat. I heard a yelp and saw Jessica swatting off the unwanted attention of a macaque monkey. 20 steps later and another was grabbing at Jessica's garland, petals fluttering to the ground. Freaked out by the unwanted attention, she wisely tossed her garland to the monkeys. It turns out macaques like to eat fresh petals - who knew?

At the top of the steps is Temple Cave, a big domed cave with shrines dedicated to Murugan. More steps lead upwards through a huge crack in to a second cavern which houses a temple in honour of Murugan's wife. During the holy festival of Thaipusam in January, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims descend on these caves and leave offerings. There weren't quite as many people today but add the number of monkeys and it wouldn't be far off!

It was free to enter Temple Cave as it's a place of worship but three quarters of the way up the steps it's possible to go on a guided tour in to Dark Cave. Tickets cost 35 ringgit each (£7) and the next available tour was at 1.05pm, in 45 minutes time. It was nice to cool down in the shade, although it wasn't easy to relax with so many mischievous monkeys on the prowl.

The tour lasted 45 minutes. We put on our hard hats and proceeded in to the cave before descending down steps in to the inky darkness of Wind Cave. The final cavern was the largest and was illuminated by light coming through a big crack in the roof. Although the cave paled in to comparison against the caves I saw in Mulu, the tour was interesting. We were told about the creatures who live in the cave, including the rarest spider in the world, a trapdoor spider. We didn't see one (they're only small) but did see a whopper of a spider, a cool looking centipede with long legs and of course heared the squeaking of the 300,000 bats who hang from the roof above. Most of the animals in the cave are blind, so have long antennas as feelers. The guide also told us about flatworms which when cut in half grow another head and tail and form two worms. If that isn't freakish enough, if you cut them in half lengthways they'd grow two heads!

We got a taxi back to the Chinatown area. It features prominently in Lonely Planet in terms of things to do and we were headed for Petaling Street Market as Jessica needed a new day bag. Amongst other things the market unashamedly sells counterfeit designer goods like Gucci, Rolex and Versace, plus an array of football shirts that somehow just don't look quite right.

Jessica spotted a bag she liked. She wasn't after a designer one, just the right shape and size with a long strap and a suitably summery design. "95 ringgit" said the stall-owner (£19) but after some excellent good cop, bad cop by Jessica and I, and the fact the stall was just about to close, we settled on a price of 60. "You win" said the stall-holder begrudgingly. In fairness, I reckon she still made a handsome profit and we paid far more than locals would have paid.

Chinatown was really atmospheric with no skyscrapers or international hotels, just lots of street hawkers, small open-fronted shops and red lanterns hanging above the street.

My favourite thing about this area is that it's where a lot of Kuala Lumpur's street art can be found. I was looking for a particular piece I'd seen online by Ernest Zacharevic, a celebrated Lithuanian artist whose style isn't a million miles from Banksy. I found it (a yellow bus containing an angry mob of kids) on a wall at the side of a car-park. Nearby was another of his murals 'Boy in a Canoe' and the biggest piece we saw was a young by in a tiger hat on the side of a large building next to a busy road.

The day before Jessica teased me when I said "let's get some nosh" at lunchtime. "Who uses the word nosh?" she said, "is that a Chester thing?" So imagine my delight when we were walking back to our hotel to see a sign for a shop 'Nosh & Nibbles'!

At night time we headed in a different direction for dinner, to a lively area with restaurants, bars and live music. Jessica chose a beach themed restaurant with sharks swimming in a tank above the bar. We noticed groups dolled up local women in high heels, looking to latch on to the many wealthy ex-pats who were dining.

After all of the Asian nosh I've eaten this trip I fancied something Western, so ordered sirloin steak, which I enjoyed. Afterwards we went to a place nearby for dessert. Both of us ordered a chocolate fudge brownie and couldn't believe the size of it when it arrived. I managed three quarters of mine before I waved the white flag. When a jovial waiter cleared our table he told us we'd done well because the dessert we'd chosen was "usually for three or four people"!

A Malaysian band were playing and I applauded loudly after a brilliant version of Amy Whinehouse's 'Back in Black' (the vocals were uncannily similar). Later when we left we spotted two members of the band, including the lead singer, sat on a wall outside having a cigarette break. We went up to them and told them we really enjoyed their music, particularly the Amy Whinehouse song. The singer looked genuinely thrilled - I thought she was going to hug me at one point

Tomorrow we leave Kuala Lumpur. It's been a busy three days but I'm looking forward to a change of pace in Cameron Highlands.

Kuala Lumpur

A taxi picked me up at 7.30 and I arrived at Sandakan airport half an hour later. I read my Kindle in the departure lounge and before I knew it we were queuing to get on the plane. I didn't get a window seat but got my pre-ordered beef kung po within 20 minutes of take off. AirAsia coming up trumps again.

The flight took 2 hours and 40 minutes. It was exciting to think that at the same time Jessica would be heading to Kuala Lumpur from the opposite side of the world. I got chatting to a Dutch girl who last year travelled through Vietnam by motorbike. She bought it in Ho Chi Min City for 300 dollars and sold it a month later in Hanoi for the same price.

Jessica arrived in Kuala Lumpur two hours and thirty minutes before me. I was keen to get to the hotel ASAP but in Asia it's often a mistake to get a taxi as the roads are so busy. Instead I took the airport train in to the city, which took 45 minutes and cost 55 ringgit (£11). From KL Sentral I then hopped on to a rattly, squeaky monorail. KL has an overground rail map just like London's underground. I took the green line for five stops to Bukit Nanas station (for just 3 ringgit) and my hotel was on the corner opposite the station.

It was great to see Jessica again, who was tired after two long flights. The hotel is sensational. We're staying at the Renaissance Hotel which is the first five star hotel I've ever stayed in. It has a huge marble lobby and possibly the most staffed reception desk I've ever seen. Our room is on the 17th floor and has a superb unobstructed view of the nearby Petronas Towers. I'm writing this now sat on an armchair in the window, overlooking the city. There is complimentary everything, including no less than eight assorted bottles of stuff in the bathroom and there is a control panel next to the bed which turns everything on and off. It feels luxurious... and no ants nest that i can detect.

We spent the afternoon relaxing in the room. Jessica caught up on some sleep and I researched things to do while we're here. At 9pm we ventured out to eat. We turned left from our hotel and headed along Jalan Ampang for ten minutes to the Petronas Towers, lit up like space rockets in the night sky. The 88 story twin towers are the tallest in the world at 452 meters tall. The floor plan for each tower is based on an eight-sided Arabic star and there are further Islamic influences in the five tiers of each tower, plus the 63 meter masts. On the 41st floor there is a skybridge connecting both towers.

We were headed for the five storey mall that sits beneath both towers, to a highly recommended restaurant called Little Penang Cafe. However, we'd just missed 'last orders', so went to Madam Kwan's nearby instead. The food was fantastic, the best of the trip so far by a mile. We had crispy prawn and pork dumplings and chicken satay skewers for starters, the latter of which had a really tasty, complex satay sauce (not overly nutty like some places). For main course I had prawn dumpling broth which was spectacular and my drink was pretty good too - assam juice, which I assumed would be iced tea but had a really sour, salty taste (I later learned it was kumquat). Jessica's pink drink on the other hand tasted like air freshener. The cost of two starters, two mains and two drinks was just 107 ringgit, less than £22.

Next morning we had a bit of a lie-in to help Jessica overcome jetlag and went down for breakfast at 10am. Breakfasts are often very disappointing in Asian hotels but this was a revelation. There was a pretty decent effort at a full English, cereals, fruit, waffles, croissants - even muffins and doughnuts. It was all-you-can-eat and we both definitely had our fill. However it turned out that breakfast isn't free to guests, so we had to fork out £30. It was worth it though.

Afterwards, we walked to KL Forest Eco Park, a 10 hectare slice of projected jungle right in the heart of the city (the entire city was built on jungle but this little section, nicknamed Bukit Nanas - 'pineapple hill' - remained. Once we finally found the entrance (after seemingly circumnavigating the entire park) we walked the wobbly canopy walkway, enjoying the strange juxtaposition of forest treetops and concrete jungle. It was seriously hot, so I enjoyed the forest trails below more.

Although I enjoy travelling alone, it's fantastic sharing experiences with people and seeing things through their eyes. Jessica had never visited a jungle before and particularly loved the insect sounds, wanting to capture it by shooting a video on her phone. Afterwards I taught her what the mating call of a frog sounds like.

Nearby is Menara Tower, a tall telecommunications tower that's like a needle with an orb near the top. Although it's possible to go up the Petronas Towers, the better view is up Menara Tower (with the added bonus of course that you can see the world famous Petronas Towers). It cost 105 ringgit (£21) per person.

After queuing for ten minutes we took a lift up to the top floor, my ears popping halfway up. The view was superb, lots of skyscrapers framed by the misty outlines of mountains in the distance.

We walked around the open deck, snapping pics, then joined a half hour queue to go in the 'Skybox'. There was a sign 'not suitable for people scared of heights', surely the most pointless sign ever made.

We were stood behind two German girls who we'd seen posing for selfies earlier in the park. Now they posing for a selfie in the queue. At one point one of the girls was scrolling through photos on her phone and I couldn't help but notice that, no exaggeration, every single photo had her posing in front of something!

That said, when it was our turn in the box, Kuala Lumpur's spectacular skyline formed a suitably impressive backdrop as Jess and I worked our angles. The box had a glass floor and I felt dizzy when I looked down.

I had some good banter with a young security guy. We had a bit of a chat when I was waiting for our turn in the box and when later he walked past holding a plate with a cake on it, presumably his lunch, I went to take it off him and said "aw thanks, that's really generous". Top bants I think you'll agree. He found it really funny and when Jessica and I were queuing up later to take the lift down, he made a point of shaking my hand and saying "see you later my friend". Malaysian people are really friendly.

When I planned today I thought all of this would take us up to maybe 2pm but the time was already 4. It was a day of drink breaks and queues.

We walked back to Petronas Tower (not a bad reference point to find our hotel) but by now my feet were screaming submission. I'd worn a new pair of flip-flops all day and was beginning to blister. Jessica needed to find an ATM and without wanting to come across over-dramatic, I almost fell to my knees and told her to go on without me.

Later we returned to Petronas Towers to find somewhere to eat. I never tire of looking up the towers, especially at night when they're lit up. Lots of people gather in the park in front, taking photos as opportunistic Delboy types try to sell them fish-eye lenses.

This time we got a table at Little Penang Cafe, recommend highly in my Lonely Planet. Apparently Penang is Malaysia's culinary capital and as it's somewhere we'll be visiting later in the trip, we wanted to sample the food. I ordered Penang Curry Mee, 'a most sought after hawker dish in which mee and beehoon are in coconut gravy with fiery chilli paste, garnished with cuttlefish, prawns, fish ball and cockles'.

It was delicious, a really complex flavour, although I must admit, my taste-buds were quickly blown in to submission as it was a couple of notches above my spicy limit. Both mains and two lime juices came to 45 ringgit, less than £10. We were still hungry so went to a coffee shop where I couldn't resist a slice of apple pie.

As we walked back to the hotel we caught glimpses of Menara Tower we'd visited earlier in the day, lit up like a UFO. I like the fact Asian cities make such an effort to illuminate their most impressive buildings.

Proboscis monkeys and sun bears

After I'd seen the orangutans I went to the car-park and the driver I had booked was stood waiting for me, holding a piece of card with my name written on it. Very formal. He was a cheerful chap called Chia and the drive took 35 minutes. We passed a herd of water buffalo when we cut through a palm plantation.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is home to 300 monkeys. They live wild but are enticed to the viewing area by twice-daily feedings. When I arrived a large male was sitting on a fence. I've only seen these weird looking monkeys from afar, so it was surreal to get up close to them. They have big noses, red faces, pot-bellies, are renowned for flatulence and the males are in a permanent state of arousal. I've had mates like that.

Proboscis monkeys can only be found in Borneo. I was fascinated by them. They adopted human-like poses and were unbelievably stoic and chilled. Annoyingly some idiots (one Russian guy in particular with his red cap on back to front) were posing for selfies with them, leaning in close, putting the camera right in the monkeys face and snapping themselves. I was hoping the proboscis would claw him in the face (I bet he wouldn't share that selfie) but the monkey sat unmoved, day-dreaming at the floor.

When feeding time arrived and food was emptied on to the deck, proboscis monkeys raced from the forest and began tucking in. Orangutans only feed one, or maybe two, at a time, but this was a communal feeding frenzy.

There seemed to be some kind of standoff between two groups of monkeys. As ten of them tucked in to their dinner, the alpha male (with the biggest, floppiest nose) stood menacingly on the corner of the platform, scaring away rivals who watched enviously from a safe distance. When one edged close, he stood and bared his teeth - which would have looked quite intimidating if it wasn't for the comical honking noise he made.

Seeing the proboscis monkeys was an unexpected highlight. There were so many and they were such fascinating creatures.

I got back to my hotel and chilled for a while underneath the air-con. Thankfully my room no longer has an ant infestation although I'll be lying on my bed, updating Facebook or my journal, and the occasional ant will crawl across me. Not really what you want on your bed.

It takes five minutes to walk from my room to the restaurant. Feeling hungry I ordered two mains together, a very tasty beef dish and dry chicken noodles in a soy dressing which, as my brother Martin would say, was delicious. There was an ice cream freezer so I got myself a Kit Kat ice cream for dessert.

Next day I had a relaxed morning before going to Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre. It was just a few minutes walk from my hotel, almost opposite the entrance to the orangutans. Admission is 32 ringgit.

The centre opened in 2014 and it's a similar setup to the the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Vulnerable or orphaned sun bears (or those that were human pets) are taught how to climb and forage for themselves before being released back in to the wild. They're called 'sun bears' because of the golden bracelet pattern around their neck and they are indigenous to SE Asia. China and Vietnam slaughter them for meat, or cage them and extract their bile for medicine, making projects like this all the more worthwhile.

I walked around the high walkways and enjoyed looking for the black fur of the bears. One was sleeping leisurely at the top of a tree, a few more were playing around the roots of another tree. I heard the cracking of wood and saw a bear ripping the bark of a tree away with his teeth, looking for termites. The bears are fantastic climbers, not surprising given the length of their claws. I watched several of them climb up and scavenge for insects before sliding back down in a comical fashion, like a fireman sliding down a fireman's pole.

There was other wildlife too. Excitingly the trees above began shaking and a wild orangutan appeared, munching away on some leaves, before swinging his way out of the park. He obviously didn't want to steal the limelight from the bears. I saw lots of monkeys, including up-close, a pig-tailed macaque. I always think macaques have very angry looking faces and technicolor bums. I also saw flying squirrels but this time they were taking a break from their daredevil base-jumping exploits.

The time was 3pm and I wanted to go to the Rainforest Discovery Centre next. I'd read that the best time to go was late in the afternoon, to give yourself the best chance of seeing wildlife. It was a 1.5 kilometre walk away and admission was 15 ringgit (£3).

Although I enjoyed seeing the orangutans the day before, I was disappointed that none of the jungle trails were open. It meant I only had a few kilometres of walkway to explore. However there were no such problems here - the huge park has lots of jungle trails, aerial walkways and bird-watching towers. I went up one of these towers (168 steps) and the view over thick jungle was breathtaking.

Although the sun wasn't out, this was the hottest day of the trip so far. Overnight rain meant it was stiflingly humid and there wasn't a breath of air at ground level. Up the viewing towers though, a pleasant breeze blew (cooling me down after all the physical exertion to get up to the top!).

It was a thrill walking around the same jungle orangutans live wild. I didn't see any but spotted one of their nests. Orangutans change nests every day to prevent the chances of disease.

I did see lots of macaques, including a mother and her very cute baby. The grounds were well signposted with all of the animals and birds that lived there, from snakes and brightly coloured hornbills to bug-eyed tarsiers and gibbons. Apart from monkeys and some funky butterflies, I didn't see much but didn't mind. Just walking around freely was highlight enough for me.

I took the Kingfisher Trail to the 'Sepilok Giant', an enormous ancient tree you could imagine the Avatars getting very excited about, before heading for the exit. I'd have happily stayed longer but my water bottle was nearly empty and darkness was descending.

Near the exit was a botanical garden with some weird and wonderful flowers and plants, most of which I haven't seen before. At one point I walked through a big cobweb, like that scene in Indiana Jones - cue lots of furious swatting.

What a brilliant day. I enjoyed seeing orangutans yesterday but being able to walk around the jungle today was the icing on the cake.

After dinner I packed as tumultuous rain drummed in to the roof above my room. It was a nice thought that somewhere on the opposite side of the world, Jessica would be leaving the snow and ice of England to join me for the second half of my trip.

Borneo has massively lived up to expectations. I've been in three different jungles and seen loads of wildlife. I loved caving in Mulu and seeing orangutans in Sepilok. But most of all, just staying in such beautiful, remote places was magical. It's been a real adventure.

Tomorrow I fly to Kuala Lumpur.