Italy Through Photographs - Highlights of our three week Babymoon through Milan, Lake Como, Bologna, Rome, Venice, Florence, Tuscany, Pisa, Amalfi, Naples & Bergamo

In June this year, Farmboy and I headed to Italy for 21 days of {backpacking} adventure to celebrate our baby-moon (or rather, the celebrate our last few moments of life as we know we it before our little girl joins us in September). 

I will be writing travel guides for all of the places we visited, but it's going to take me a while. Along with our trip to India last year (eeeek I still have yet to finish the travel guides for that!) this was one of the most extensively planned trips we have ever done. This was all due to the fact that we had to have ALL our bookings (trains, planes, accommodation, buses etc) booked ahead of time in order to secure Farmboys Schengen Visa. I am lucky enough to hold dual citizenship and so have a British Passport, which makes traveling a breeze for me, but which unfortunately gives poor Farmboy no special treatment.

We stayed in AirBnb's for 90% of the trip, only staying in Hotels on the Amalfi coast when we couldn't find an AirBnb within our budget. We were backpacking (or rather, Farmboy was...I carried the camera bag and of course our little baby) and managed to survive 3 weeks living out of a 13kg bag.

I will be sharing more on what we packed (including what toiletries I packed) in another post. I also will write more on what traveling while being 6 months pregnant is like soon.

All in all, it was FAR easier than I had thought. Bonus...being able to skip all the queues at the airports!

Here is a breakdown of our 20 day trip:

Johannesburg > Istanbul, Turkey > Milan

Milan (1 night)

Milan > Bellagio, Lake Como (2 nights)

Bellagio > Milan > Venice (2 nights)

Venice > Bologna (1 night)

Bologna > Florence (1 night)

Florence > Todi, Tuscany/Umbira (3 nights)

Todi > Rome (3 nights)

Rome > Amalfi Coast (1 night in Ravello & 3 nights in Conca dei Marini)

Amalfi Coast > Naples (1 night)

Naples > Bergamo (1 night)

Bergamo > Milan > Istanbul, Turkey > Johannesburg

It's going to take some time before the travel guides are up, so in the mean time, here are a few of the photographic highlights of our trip.

We bought a second hand Fujifilm x100T especially for the trip, and had planned to only take that camera along but I ended up taking my Nikon D750 at the last minute. I'm so glad I did as it took me a while to figure out how the Fujifilm worked and to get used to it. So here are my photographs from both cameras.

Farmboy is working on a travel video too, which I'll link up here in this post when it's done.




Here are some of my other Travel Guides for you to browse through in the mean time while I create the guides for Italy.


India through photographs - Highlights from our 2 week trip through Goa, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Pushkar & Jaisalmar

India through photographs - Highlights from our 2 week trip through Goa, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Pushkar & Jaisalmar

In January this year, Farmboy and I headed to India & Nepal with two friends for 18 days of backpacking adventures. We spent 15 days in India, and the last 3 days in Kathmandu, Nepal.

I will be writing travel guides for all of the places we visited, but it's going to take me a while as this was one of the most extensively planned trips we have ever done. Here is a breakdown of our 15 days:

Korea > Goa for 5 nights

Fly from Goa > Delhi 1 night

Delhi > Agra for an afternoon, then drive > Jaipur for 2 nights

Jaipur > Pushkar for 2 nights

Pushkar > Jodhpur for 2 nights

Jodhpur > Jaisalmar by overnight train for 3 nights (including a dessert safari stay)

Finally fly from Jaisalmar > Jodhpur > Delhi

It's going to take some time before the travel guides are up, so in the mean time, here are a few of the highlights of our trip. Make sure to scroll down to the end to watch the video too!

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Borneo Travel Guide: Kuching


Farmboy and I headed to Borneo for 12 days in July last year. We had a great time, and would definitely recommend it. We had a few ups and downs, mainly due to the environmental damage , it was terribly sad to see so much deforestation. I probably wouldn't have noticed it if I was traveling with anyone else, but Farmboy was an environmental consultant is his former life and so was more aware than me (I thought there was a lot of green but what I thought was natural vegetation was 9 times out of 10 palm oil plantations). We also knew very little about Borneo (apart from the fact that it is one of the last places where you can see Orangutan in their natural habitat), and actually ended up deciding to go there because it had the cheapest flights and seemed like a very unique holiday destination. 

We spent the first part of our holiday in Kuching (2 days), moving onto Bantang Ai lake (3 days), then Kota Kinabalu (2 days) and then onto Semporna (1 day) & Mabul Island (4 days). As there is so much to say about our trip I am going to breaking up these posts into different parts. In this part I will be talking about Kuching. In part two I will be talking about Bantang Ai Lake; Part 3 I will be talking about Kota Kinabalu and finally in Part 4 I will write about Semporna & the scuba diving we did on Mabul Island.


You may be thinking of heading to Borneo soon (or sometime in the future) so to help you plan your trip, I have put together this travel guide, as well as some tips from our stay. Please keep in mind that my husband and I may travel very differently to you, and have different likes and preferences for things. I prefer the more luxurious path, while Farmboy would stay in a hammock for the entire trip if it was up to him. So we plan accordingly, and of course, try to stick to the budget.

Map of Borneo

Borneo is the name given to the biggest island in Asia (it's really big!) and is actually made up of 3 countries; Malaysia, Brunei & Indonesia. Malaysia & Brunei are far more geared to tourism (this has its perks but at the same time means that places are very touristy) whereas the Indonesian side is a lot more rural and natural. As we only had 2 weeks for our holiday we decided on Malaysian Borneo. If you are looking for a more authentic Bornean experience and you have more time, look into traveling around Indonesia Borneo. Also bear in mind the different visa requirements for Borneo & Malaysia before you travel.

Borneo Malaysia Travel Guide CityGirlSearching


We flew from Incheon into Kuching (with an overnight layover in Kuala Lumpur). If you do have more than a 4 hour layover at night in Kuala Lumpur, I highly recommend booking into the new capsule hotel in Kuala Lumpur Airport (click here). It was fully booked when we arrived and we spent a very uncomfortable 6 hours sleeping under a cold concrete bench, hanging onto our belongings for dear life. The hotels in and around the airport are expensive and get booked up fast. You can book per hour at the capsule hotel and looked like a really fun experience.

Getting a taxi at the Airport

We arrived in Kuching at 8am and got a taxi to our guesthouse in Kuching. Most of the taxis in at the airports in Malaysian Borneo are regulated. You stand in a link and tell the teller where you are going and they then issue you a taxi voucher. You then give this voucher to the taxi driver and off you go. No dealing with cash or bargaining or being taken advantage of. It was such a different experience to Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia & the Philippines.


We spent 1 night in Kuching at Travellers Homestay in the Chinese Quarter of Kuching. It was a wonderful place, clean and so beautifully decorated and the host, Mai, was just wonderful. Such a warm and welcoming lady and we loved our stay at her guesthouse.

*W20 000 a night for a double room with aircon

The guesthouse is above the family run restaurant, and she is in the process of opening up a cooking centre to offer cooking courses to guests. The food was great and I highly recommend staying there if you're in Kuching.

Things to do in Kuching

We spent the day wondering around Kuching. Kuching is known as the City Of Cats. We walked from Travellers Homestay into the centre of town and spent some time wondering along the harbor. That night there was a food festival in town which was fun to wonder around. 

Semenggoh Nature Reserve

Our main reason for visiting Kuching was to see the Orangutan at the Semenggoh Nature Reserve. The Nature Reserve is home to the Orangutan rehabilitation centre, where you have a high chance of seeing Orangutan. The orangutans there are semi-wild which means that they live in a large area of trees around the reserve and feed themselves. Food is put out twice daily by the staff at the nature reserve to supplement that feeding. This means that during fruiting seasons when food is plentiful within the trees, the orangutans may have no need to (and don’t) visit the platforms. There are two feeding times a day (09h00 and 15h00) but best to get there early. The Oragutan are incredibly shy animals, and it's not guaranteed that they will come out at feeding time. We unfortunately were around a very noisy group of tourists who just wouldn't keep quiet. As the Oragutan are very shy, I'm sure the noise put them off. We had terrible luck and didn't see any oragutan, but travellers we met along our trip had seen the King, Reggie and a number of females with babies. We were really sad to miss them.

The Semenggoh Nature Reserve is easy to get to from Kuching by local bus.

From Kuching town centre, you want the number K6 or 6 from bus station number 2 which is near the mosque. Mai, our host at Traveller Homestay dropped us at the bus station. The bus leaves Kuching at: 7h20am, 9h50am, 1pm & 3pm. Returning from Semenggoh Nature Reserve at 8.20am, 11.15am, 2.05pm & 4.05pm (correct in August 2015). 

Tickets are RM3 per person each way, and the bus ride is about 45 minutes (but up to 1 hour). The bus adrops you right in front of the ticket office.

If you don't mind forking out some money for a taxi, it's about RM30 per way per taxi.

Entrance is RM10 per non-Malaysian adult for a single entry ticket. There are toilets just behind the office here. From there you walk about 20 minutes to get to the feeding area. It’s a nice walk with lots of trees, plants and animal calls to keep you entertained but it is just along the main road so be careful of the cars and tour buses which wizz pass you.

Once you’ve reached the actaul entrance to the Rehabilitation Area there are more toilets, a shop selling drinks and this is where you will congregate to hear a briefing. This is a safety briefings you need to listen to as they tell you what to do and what not to do to in terms of behaviour to ensure you’re respecting the environment of the animals but also to make sure you’re not seen as confrontational or a threat by the orangutans.

After a very disappointing few hours, we walked back to the entrance to the park where we were picked up by our hotel (Hilton Bantang Ai) in their shuttle to make the 4 hour journey to Bantang Ai. Even though we didn't see Oragutans it was still a nice way to spend the morning, and walking through the lush jungle of the National park was fun. 

Look our for Part 2 of our trip where I will be talking about Bantang Ai Lake and our stay at the Hilton.

Malaysia Travel Guide and The Perhentian Islands


Farmboy and I visited Malaysia in August last year (2013).  You may be thinking of heading there soon (or sometime in the future) so to help you plan your trip, I have put together a travel guide for the places we visited, as well as some tips from our stay. Please keep in mind that my husband and I may travel very differently to you, and have different likes and preferences for things. I prefer the more luxurious path, while Farmboy would stay in a hammock for the entire trip if he could. So we plan accordingly, and of course, try to stick to the budget. 

Malaysia is predominantly a muslim country, this is something to keep in mind for a few reasons. Alcohol is very expensive there, and in some places forbidden. Also, try and research which national or religious holidays are happening during your trip. This may seem obvious to some people, but it was something I had never thought to research. We were there over Ramadan and were staying on the Perhentian Islands at the time. The island we were on basically shut down for the week and we could only find a handful of places to eat at. Bear that in mind when making your final bookings.

We spent 8 days in Malaysia. After landing in Kuala Lumpur, we headed straight to the Perhentian Islands by overnight bus and spent the rest of our trip there.


Perhentian Kecil

The Perhentian Islands are made up of 2 islands, Kecil & Besar. Besar is the more family friendly island, and Kecil is the livelier island made up of backpackers and part goers. We spent 5 nights on Perhentian Kecil in a range of accommodations. We weren't able to find any places to book online and so had to join the hoards of people on the first boat in who had to walk up and down the beach in search of a place to stay. We were envious of the French couple who whipped out their booking confirmation on the boat, and then proceeded to amble their way to the only fancy looking resort on the island. We were insanely jealous, as the rest us on the boat kept eyeing up the competition to see who would make it off the boat first in search of a room for the night. This is why we now try to book at least 60% of our accommodation before hand. From Kuala Lumpur you can take an overnight bus to Kuala Besut which is where you then catch a small boat to the Perhentian Islands. Once on the islands there are plenty of taxi boats that you can take to get from one island to the other for about US$15 one way if needed.


We caught an 8 hour overnight bus from Putra Station to Kuala Besut (-+US$20 pp) which stopped at the port at about 4am. We found out later that AirAsia has numerous cheap flights from KL - Khota Bharu, from there it's an hour taxi ride to the port at Khuala Besut.

From the port it's a 45 minute boat ride in a small, fiberglass boat (watch your belongings...everything gets wet!). The speedboats take you just short of the shore, from where you take a mini 'taxi' boat to the beach. It's completely unnecessary, but unavoidable as the main boat won't stop any closer to the shore. It's a cheap transfer (about US$2 a person) but still very annoying. From there it's a short wade ashore through knee-deep water with your bags (keep that in mind when packing!). When leaving the islands, there is a jetty from which you leave from, which makes things easier for the return trip.

Kecil Island is small enough to explore in one day. There are 2 main beaches, Long Beach (usually where you are dropped off by the boat) which houses all the backpackers and night life. And then Coral Bay. Coral Bay is the place to go for spectacular sunsets, slightly cheaper prices, and small private beach coves. The snorkeling is better at Coral Bay, but the swimming is better on Long Beach. It's only a 15 minute walk through the Jungle from one side to the other.

I highly recommend staying at Ewans Place (click here for his facebook page). His was the only restaurant open during Ramadan and he was so helpful in organising us a last minute room, after a few pleads and batting of eyelids. The rooms are simple, but clean and more than adequate. Nothing fancy, but they are situated in the middle of the island, away from all the noise of Long Beach. 


While both Kecil & Besut Island share the same diving sites, the dive operations on Perhentian Kecil are slightly cheaper than those on Perhentian Besar. Daytime dives can be as cheap as US$25 each depending on the company and distance to the site; night dives cost around US$40. We don't have our diving licenses, but packed our own snorkels and goggles from Korea so we have the freedom to snorkel wherever we want to.


Khota Bharu

After our stay on the Perhentians we headed back to the mainland port of Kuala Besut and caught a taxi to the airport at Khota Bharu. We had booked flights using the AirAsia app on our iPhones (having our iPhones with us has been a life saver on many a trip, their GPS location mapping and the apps for booking hotels and flights with the click of a few buttons have made traveling so easy). There were 4 of us to share a taxi (about $20 for the hour long trip but you can haggle the price). Once we got to Khota Bharu we had some time to kill and headed to the main market in the town square. It was such an interesting experience, well worth a stop at.


  • If you're short on time, look to see if you can find cheap local flights on sites like AirAsia (this has saved us so much time and we have been able to book flights for reasonable prices). Download the AirAisa app, it's super easy to use. For Malaysia we booked our internal flights for about $120 last minute for two people from Khota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur
  • When booking flights be sure of what is included in your flight booking, especially with Air Asia. We booked flights for Malaysia for really cheap, and then only after booking did we realise that we could only take carry on luggage (which was restricted to 7kg's a person, and they were super strict at the airport, weighing all our bags including my big camera bag).
  • Take your smart phone with you. We didn't have data, although we were told that sim cards were readily available and pretty cheap. But we were able to jump on some free wifi in cafes. The GPS function on our iPhones was an absolute life saver, as it functions in helping you navigate, even when not connected to wifi.
  • Jot down your expenses, this helps you stay on track. We took only cash for our 2 week trip and writing what we spent where helped us to stay within the budget 
  • Download the Orbitz and apps on your phone. By booking through the app you usually can get good discounts discount and can book last minute. When we were there in 2013 there were no places on Perhentian that you could book online, but this might have changed by now.
  • Visa Requirements: For South African/UK/US/Canada/New Zealand/Australia passport holders, no visa is required for 90 days. You need to have a passport that is valid for 6 months after your departure date, so if you arrive on the 1st of the month and leave on the 30th of the month, the passport should be valid for 6 months from the 30th of the month.  If you passport is not fully valid your airline may not allow you to board and the immigration authority will not permit you to land in Malaysia.
  • Pack a sense of humour. You will get lost. You will fight with your husband/boy friend/friends. You will get sick at least once and you will have an amazing holiday all the same. 

Is there anything I've left of the list? Any places you'd recommend in Malaysia? Or any tips you think should be included here, pop me a comment below. 

If you have any questions about our trip feel free to leave me a comment below and I'll get back to you soon.

Happy travels!

[This is the second travel guide I have done, click here to see my guide to Vietnam]

Backpacking in Bali & What to Pack


On Monday, Farmboy and I are off on our summer holiday to Bali. It's been a long semester of teaching and boy oh boy do we need this holiday. As I've been packing, I thought it would be fun to show you what I pack in terms of toiletries for a backpacking trip. I say backpack, because that is what we travel with, and even though we do treat ourselves along the way with nice hotels, we spend a lot of our time in backpacker type accommodation.

Here is what I pack for each of the trips we've done (you can see more about our last trip to Malaysia by clicking here and Vietnam by clicking here). 

There are one or two items that I haven't packed yet (toothbrush, deodorant and mosquito spray) but this is what I will be taking for our trip to Bali:



I found the handy travel sized bottles at Dischem back in South Africa and top them up with whatever products I am using to the time.

-My shampoo and conditioner were half full with Loreal Elvive from back home in South Africa and I just topped them up with the little I had left of their full sizes.

-A spray bottle with IQ DermaQuench Rose Blossom Toner (also from back home).

-Body wash bottle filled with whatever wash we have in the bathroom here (a fresh citrus smelling wash from Happy Bath here in Korea)

-Face Wash from the youth range of skincare from Dermalogica (also bought back home).

-Hera 50+ Sun Mate Leports waterproof sunscreen

-My favourite sunscreen for face, Oil Cut SPF 40 from The Face Shop Korea.

-Olay Total Effects Eye Transforming Cream

-Travel sized Black Sugar Perfect First Serum Gold from SkinFood

-A sample sized Argan hair treatment oil from Confume (review to come soon, this stuff is amazing!!)

-My favourite Chia Seed Water toner and lotion from The Face Shop in  their cute travel sized containers. And lastly, the most useful skincare product, Green Tea facewipes from Étude House



-Mac StudioFit pressed powder

-Innisfree Pink Beam Mineral Pact highlighter which I use for a blush, highlighter and eye shadow

-Essence Stay All Day Concealer as you always end up getting at least one pimple while being away on holiday. This concealer is light and stays put all day.

-Lipgloss from TheFaceShop


-Eyebrow comb and pencil from The Face Shop. I have only recently delved into eyebrow care and I can't believe just how much of a difference it makes to your face. The pencil can also be used as an eye liner.

-DCT lip balm (the ultimate lip care product!). it is so expensive back home in South Africa, but I have found it on Iherb for just over $'s nearly $9 back home!

-Oh! M' Eye Lash Curling  mascara I just picked up from Etude House. It's not waterproof as I just don't want to deal withe hassle of taking off waterproof mascara on holiday. Most people would advise you packing waterproof mascara especially when going on holiday to a topical island, but the mascara I have that is waterproof takes nearly 4 products to remove, and although my lashes look amazing all day, while taking it off I nearly always loose a few lashes. So I'm trying this one out, and just hoping for the best!

-a selection of hair accessories (hair ties, clips and most importantly, bobby pins)

First Aid Kit


Without fail, one of us ends up getting sick in same way while on holiday. We always pack a little bag  of medicine just in case. We usually use a clear zip lock bag which helps when trying to find it in your backpack, as well as making things easier for yourself when going through check in at the airport:

-Medlemon sachets for colds and flu

-Nurofen for pain and fever

-Disprin for headaches and fever

-Genpain, a generic form of myprodol for really bad headaches or body pain

-Strepsils for sore throats

-Buscopan for stomach cramps

-Valoid for neasuea

-a local pill for diarrhoea (I have been warned about Bali Belly, so best be prepared I think!)

-plasters, mosquito bite cream, mosquito repellant and ear buds

Is there anything else you would suggest travelers pack for their backpacking trip? Or anything you can see I have forgotten, please drop me a comment below! I have today to still rush out and make sure I'm all ready...

Vietnam through Photographs

Farmboy and I escaped the cold of South Korea for the sun, sea and sand of Vietnam over Christmas time last year. Or that's what we thought we were doing when we booked our flights the months previous, but only a few weeks before leaving we were told it had been snowing up North in Sapa, right where we were headed.

In spite of the chilly weather we experienced in the North, the central regions were wonderfully warm and we even managed to get two swims in! Our pale forms were a bit of a sight, but with our smiles we blended right in with the other tourists. We are known for searching out the quieter parts of cities and countries, but we were unable to escape the crowds in Sapa and Hoi An. We didn't mind though, it's all part and parcel of traveling these days.

I will be posting more in depth information on our 12 day trip to Vietnam (Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay & Hoi An) but for now I leave you with some photographs from an epic trip to an incredible country. It was one of our most favourite trips so far (even being on par with our honeymoon to the Greek Islands) and we will most certainly be going back to HoiAn.

The food was amazing and incredible cheap, the public transport, or rather the transport that was most readily available (metered taxis) were a complete rip off and despite being one of the most budget friendly countries in South East Asia, it became our most expensive trip due to missing our flight home. Thankfully we teach English in Korea, and can just about afford to make that mistake once, and only once. Besides, we got to spend 12 hours at the airport with no money, 1 coke, 1 bowl of Pho noodles and the movie Frozen on Farmboys ipad with 13% battery life...what more could you want for your last day of holiday together.