That’s a wrap.
The trip home was the usual deal. Direct flight from Kota Kinabalu to Perth, pick up the duty free alcohol, grab an Uber and back to normal. Actually, nothing has been normal since we got back. Writing this now, many months later, it’s hard to believe how different the world is. Coronavirus was a thing we were hearing about while we were on the cruise. It was happening in Wuhan, which seemed a long way from home. As we left Malaysia the Christmas and New Year billboards were being replaced with Chinese New Year wishes. Little did they know that the world would come to a grinding halt tight around the time of this massive festivity.
Mr Bolo had to make a quick trip back to Scotland in March, scraping back into Australia just before the mandatory isolation (he arrived home at 6pm and mandatory isolation started at 9pm). Our trip to Barcelona in April was cancelled. As it turned out Spain was suffering huge losses of life across the dates the conference was to go ahead (22nd April to 2nd May). Of course the scale of the global disaster is still playing out with many countries now experiencing second waves of illness and death. While I love to travel, I am eternally grateful I live in Australia where we have seen very few cases and deaths, compared to other countries around the world.
On reflection, we were so lucky to have such a great holiday given what was about to happen. My favourite things of our holiday are hard to pin point but here goes:
Taiwan top 3
- The earthquake museum
- Taipei city including Taipei 101 on NYE
- Christmas day in and around the hot springs
The cruise top 3
- Bionic Barry the robo bar
- Lazing around the pools
Borneo top 3
- White water rafting
- Snorkelling on a private island
- Mountain bikes in the jungle
As usual I kept a costing of the holiday (on Splitwise) and the following are a few of the main costs, all in Australian dollars for two people:
- Airfares for two adults $3200 (Perth to KL, KL to Taipei, Taipei to HK, HK to Kuching, Kuching to Kota Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu to Perth)
- Car hire in Taiwan $516 (7 days)
- Petrol $112 (to go right around the entire island of Taiwan)
- Accommodation in Taiwan $956 (12 nights in a mix of AirB&B and hotels)
- Mr Bolo’s puffy toot and toffee strawberries $5.50 (and 10kgs in body weight)
- Entry to the earthquake museum $5.00
- Christmas dinner and beers $25.00
- One night’s accommodation in HK $231 (booked before the riots started)
- The cruise $5500 (including the drinks package for 2 adults for 7 nights)
- iFly, North Star and the trampoline + the iFly photo $250
- The apartment in Kuching $268 (4 nights)
- Massages $70 (2 each for 60 minutes)
- Kek lapis $3.56
- Mountain bikes $177 (half day, including hotel pick up and drop off)
- The resort in Kota Kinabalu $1504 (5 nights, including breakfast)
- Beating Mr Bolo at squash $priceless
- White water rafting $67.13
- Snorkelling $163 (day trip, including hotel pick up, lunch and gear)
All up, for food and alcohol, accommodation, transportation, attractions and activities we spent $15 500.00 for two adults to traverse 3 countries (Taiwan, HK and Malaysian Borneo) and a further 2 on the cruise (Japan and Philippines), across 29 nights. That’s $270 per night, per person. Our blend of Air B&B, hotel, cruise and resort accommodation was just right. We had the right mix of relaxing by the pool and trying new and exciting things, as well being catered for and then finding our own food options.
We would thoroughly recommend a trip to Taiwan. It is an amazing place with incredibly friendly people, amazing sights and experiences, and great food. It’s a contemporary Asian holiday destination that is easy and fun to travel around.
I doubt we will be repeat cruisers, but we did have a great time and are glad we have done it. We can see why it appeals to some holiday makers and I think it would be a great option for families. My kids would have loved it when they were teens. Having said that, within weeks of us disembarking there were of course major public health disasters in ships related to COVID. It does make you wonder how the industry will recover and what the cruise experience will look like.
The Borneo side of Malaysia was fabulous. We loved it and would really recommend it to all travellers. Again, the people were really friendly, the ease of travelling was awesome and the food was great.
Anyway, international holidaying seems like a pipe dream now so I am incredibly glad we did this trip. In the meantime we will make the most of the opportunity to Wander out Yonder in Western Australia and then further afield when the borders open up. Here’s hoping, for everyone’s sake, that it is sooner rather than later. Take care out there. J