We’ve seen some spectacular beauty so far on our travels; in New Zealand we encountered towering volcanoes and sparkling emerald pools on the Tongariro Crossing; vast shimmering lakes surrounded by cloud-capped mountains in Queenstown and patchwork fields studded by lush rolling hills in Golden Bay. In Indonesia we were again awed by huge fiery volcanoes when we visited Mount Batur and Bromo and hit paradise when we washed up on the golden beaches of the Gili Islands. None of these sights, however, prepared us for the extreme beauty we discovered when we travelled through the Ifugao and Mountain provinces of the Philippines.

On arriving in the Philippines we headed straight for the beautiful island of Bohol in search of chocolate hills and tiny primates – here’s how we spent our whirlwind week on Bohol.

Ever since we left the Philippines it has been haunting us; we just can’t shake the nagging feeling that we have unfinished business there - that we simply left too soon.  We may have only spent three short weeks there but the wildness and the beauty of this incredible country, the challenges it presented us with and the adventures we had there have stuck with us in a big way. Of all the countries we’ve visited so far, I find the urge to return to the Philippines is the strongest – but why?

We decided at the last minute to spend a few weeks in Malaysia and this was one of the best decisions we have made so far on our trip. We spent most of our time in the jungles of Borneo searching for wild orangutans and along the way had some amazing adventures and spotted so many other wonderful creatures. Although we didn't have much time left after our stint in Borneo we managed to squeeze in a few days in Kuala Lumpur, where we ended up feeling quite at home.
After our flight from Indonesia to the Philippines got cancelled, a two-hour stopover in Malaysia became a 23-day jungle adventure and we’re so glad that it did. We were given a free 90 day visa on arrival and we really wish we could have used it; we could have slowed down and been able to see much more of this beautiful country. After struggling with budgets in Indonesia, we figured that we needed to relax our spending in Malaysia instead of plucking a daily budget out of thin air and wildly sticking to it no matter what; with that in mind, here’s what we spent during three weeks in Malaysia.
Unlike some travellers, I didn’t despise my life before we hit the road. I didn’t have a job I especially hated or live in a place I found dull. In fact, there were many elements of my old life that I absolutely loved; the people, my routines and living in what I still consider to be the best city in the world: London. So, although I had an almost all-consuming, obsessive desire to travel, those last few weeks before we left the UK and all the packing, organising and saying endless goodbyes were pretty difficult for me.
My only plan for our three-week trip to Malaysia was to find wild orangutans in Borneo. I’ve long dreamed of seeing these incredible human-like creatures in their natural environment and was prepared to do whatever it took to achieve my goal. Our search for the so-called man of the forest took us deep into the jungles of Borneo; we sailed down rivers and spent hours trekking through tropical heat to try and catch a glimpse of these secretive and endangered primates, but did we succeed?
A bat crash-landed on our bed.I say bed, but it was really just a piece of tarpaulin laid out on the floor of our camp, deep in the jungles of Borneo. Perhaps the bat was confused by the light from our candles flickering feebly in the night breeze, no match for the deep darkness that lay thick around us. While Andrew and I leapt up in shock, the dazed bat pulled itself along on spiky elbows, its leathery wings stretching and contracting as our local guide, Ganya, herded it away from our camp.
You never know what you’re going to get when you arrive in a new country.  We've found that those first few hours and even moments after emerging from the airport can entirely colour the way you feel about the place; while we immediately fell in love with Melbourne, for example,  we just as instantly detested Jakarta. Unfortunately, those first few days in Jakarta really stained our whole experience in Indonesia, so I was nervous about what we'd encounter in our next destination. Would Malaysia be the tonic we needed to help us fall back in love with travel?