Travelling isn’t always plain sailing. Don’t be fooled by the picture post card images circulating social media, a lot can go wrong when you’re on the road and this year certainly had its mishaps! Here are Find Me Paradise’s worst travel moments of 2017:
11 – Having to chase down our ferry in the open sea
Tioman island was undoubtedly one of the highlights of 2017. Our stay at Bagus Place Retreat was amazing; we had food to die for, the most picturesque beach on our doorstep and made great friends with all the fellow guests. So, something had to go wrong, right?
Our departing ferry from Tioman Island to the mainland was at the disgustingly early time of 7am, meaning we had to get a speedboat from Bagus Place to the main ferry terminal at 6am. We dragged our zombie selves, sleep dust still in our eyes, out of bed and to the pier for 5.55am, where we hoped to meet our boatman.
Fighting back the seasickness
Unfortunately, our captain had overslept, only to rise from his slumber a whole ten minutes after our ferry had left! In a bid to maybe catch the ferry at a terminal further down the island the boatman put the speedboat in full throttle. Waves crashed into the boat with such force that we had to stop, Audrey was seasick and our chances of catching the ferry were diminishing.
Suddenly, a large white vessel appeared on the horizon. It was the ferry! Our boatman started accelerating like a madman until we were neck to neck with the boat. Meanwhile Audrey was saying her prayers as our captain started to lean out of the boat and wave to attract the attention of the ferry. Luckily the ferry’s skipper happened to be looking down and saw our tiny speedboat desperately trying to keep up, he shouted something to our boatman and the ferry started to make a U-turn to a nearby port. We were saved! Amidst all the chaos our boatman had somehow managed to persuade a large passenger ferry to make one last stop so us poor tourists could get back to mainland. Suffice to say, we were not the favourite passengers on board after having added a good twenty minutes to an already long journey …
10 – The worst room we have stayed in so far - Panglao Island, Philippines
Of course whilst travelling you’re bound to encounter some rooms that aren’t the most pleasant places to sleep in. However, there’s one certain accommodation, *cough* Gaea’s Apartments *cough* that sticks out among the rest.
The room itself was relatively standard, a decent bed, average Wi-Fi signal, and enough space to drop our bags without having to clamber over one another to get to the door. The main problem was the headache inducing stench of damp and wet paint, not that the fresh lick of colour did anything to brighten up the room. Then came the communal kitchen area, a pandora’s box of filthy dishes, rotting food and a ‘free water dispenser’ that would’ve been a nice touch had it not been home to twenty dead floating flies.
Located directly next to the kitchen was the ‘bbq area’; a hole in the wall packed with litter that emitted an overriding smell of urine. Then next to the bbq area were the grand total of two communal toilets, a solid 20 metre walk from our room. Each toilet was occupied by a cockroach and a swarm of mosquitoes, whilst the floor was covered in human bodily fluids. Thankfully after one night in this hell hole a storm hit and our roof started leaking meaning we were gifted a free upgrade to a room with our own bathroom and a hot shower, ahhhhh heaven.
9 – The unluckiest waterfall jump possible – Tioman Island
On previous trips Kieron has always taken home the 'most accident prone' trophy. Falling off a motorbike, losing toenails and picking up two parasites in India are just a few of his unfortunate mishaps. However, whilst Kieron has remained relatively unscathed in 2017, Audrey’s certainly had her fair share of accidents.
After trekking for 2 hours we had finally reached the stunning Asah Waterfalls. Nothing was more refreshing than taking a dip in the cool waters after walking for so long in the burning Malaysian sun.
Having watched the rest of our party take turns to leap into the pool, we decided to do the stereotypical couple thing of jumping in together whilst holding hands. “OUCCCHH!”, Audrey had managed to land her shin on the only rock in the whole waterfall. Her leg started to swell up and bruise within seconds. Roads do not exist in Tioman, so the only way back for Audrey was the painstaking jungle trek back the way that we came. To make matters worse, the water pressure from the jump managed to give Audrey an ear infection that lasted for weeks. Not a good day for her!
8 – The nightmare that is Cebu City, Philippines
We’ve visited some rough places that make you question, “What on earth am I doing here?”. However, only New Delhi can rival Cebu City for the worst place that we have been.
We had planned to meet with our two Canadian friends, Dylan and Holly, and our friend from home, Dom, in Cebu City. All of us would fly into Cebu City on the 5th of December and we’d stay there for 2 nights, catching up on sleep before moving onto our next destination. Our big mistake was letting Dylan book the accommodation without researching the area that we were staying in. A quick google search of ‘Colon Street’ shows that it’s the most dangerous street in the whole of Cebu, teeming with muggers, drug addicts and prostitutes, and that’s the exact road we were staying on.
At 11pm, Dom was last to arrive out of the group. The woman at reception had asked him to pay for his room upfront however he had no Philippines currency on him, meaning a trip to the ATM was in order. Without waiting for us to meet him at reception, Dom ventured into the eerie, pitch black streets of Cebu City alone. By the time we arrived at reception the woman behind the desk was urging us to get hold of him, “He’s going to be robbed, you can’t go out at night here! “. After ten unnerving minutes Dom returned to the hotel. A local man had followed him to the ATM, demanding money whilst another offered him a prostitute, thankfully he returned prostitute-less and with a full wallet.
Witnessing a Robbery
The following day we decided to get some food from the local shopping mall. It was midday and Colon Street was packed with locals, the sheer amount of people here makes you realise why Philippines is one of the most populated countries in the world. You’d expect to feel safe with so many people around, however one local was undeterred by the crowds. On a busy crossroad, he ran at an old lady, knocking her over and snatching her handbag before running off into the distance. If we weren’t already on our guards, this event sent our caution into overdrive.
We later left Cebu City via the bus station, a 300 metre walk from our hotel. We set off from our accommodation in convoy. Kieron at the front, Dom at the back, girls in the middle, our backpacks made us easy targets to be pickpocketed and we weren’t taking any chances. When our bus finally left the city we couldn’t have been more glad to escape.
7 – Audrey Burning her leg in Penang, Malaysia
Audrey is certainly prone to the odd accident or two, many of which aren’t her own fault, however this injury falls right into the stupid category.
We had just finished the most delicious Tandoori Naan before heading outside of the restaurant to decide where to venture next.
As with much of Asia, Penang is loaded with scooters and they can be seen parked on every sidewalk. Whilst we were talking, Audrey decided to lean back onto one of the scooters. Suddenly, she could feel a weird sensation in her leg. She didn’t think anything of it until a few seconds later she was crippled with an overriding pain.
Audrey burst into tears, not realising that she had been leaning on the piping hot engine of the scooter. Her leg instantly blistered and she still has a 3 inch scar on her leg to this day.
6 – Typhoons and bad weather in Asia
After 2 months of never ending sunshine in Europe, our luck with weather ran dry in Asia (or should I say wet in our case). In over three months of being here we have accumulated a grand total of 5 full days of sun throughout Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Philippines.
The worst of the weather came in December when three consecutive typhoons battered the Philippines. Boats were cancelled due to the ferocious waves, meaning Dom was left stranded in Dumaguete despite his flight leaving Cebu City later that day. He had to fork out an extra amount of money to fly from Dumaguete to Manila where he could catch his connecting flight to Bangkok. In the following days we had to pay over the odds to depart from Siquijor to avoid being stranded on the island.
Despite having to spend extra money, we still felt extremely fortunate to be safe in a natural disaster where so many lost their lives.
Stay tuned for Find Me Paradise's top 5 Worst Travel Moments
That's it for numbers 11-6, keep your eyes peeled for Part 2 where we reveal Find Me Paradise's top 5 worst travel moments!