The first stop on my journey through east and southern Africa was Ethiopia. Compared to other parts of east Africa, Kenya and Tanzania in particular, Ethiopia gets few tourists. This is a shame as the country has a lot to offer and has moved on a lot since the tragic famine of the 1980s.
My route took me from the slightly unpleasant capital city of Addis Ababa norhteast to the shores of Lake Tana, the source of the White Nile. I spent a few days in the lakeside town of Bahir Dar before travelling to Gondar on the northern side of the lake. From Goldar the spectacularly beautiful Simien mountains are just a few hours drive away and I spent three days trekking through the mountains, a real highlight of my trip.
I spent about ten days in Montenegro starting in Tivat in the north of the country before visiting the beautiful old walled cities of Kotor and Budva. Although similar in appearance the two cities differ greatly in atmostphere. Kotor is relaxing place to spend a few days while Budva is a real party city especially within the historic city walls.
Perhaps the most spectacular scenery aside from the famous bay of Kotor was in the Levcen National Park. The stunning mountain views overlooking farms and rural villages was something very special and these are some of my favourite photos from my visit.
Cambodia is a country of extremes. It has beautiful isolated beaches contrasted with overcrowded unpleasant cities. Temples that remain from ancient civilisations overshadowed by reminders of a recent genocide.
In total I spent about three weeks in Cambodia, my biggest regret is not spending more time on the southern islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. These islands have kilometer after kilometer of vacant, unspoiled beaches, clear turquoise water and dense jungle.
I spent a couple of wonderful weeks travelling around the beautifully scenic country of Laos. Starting in Vientiane I spent a couple of days exploring the capital before travelling north to the famous backpacker town of Vang Vieng. The town once famous as a party destination has reinvented itself as a centre for adventure sports such as rock climbing, kayaking and mountain biking.
From there I visited Luang Prabang in northern Laos, arriving there in time to celebrate the Laos new year festival, Pi Mai (also known as Songkran). I also spent a few days trekking through the mountains north of Luang Prabang visiting small villages of different ethnic tribes. It was one the highlights of my time in Laos and with close to 70% of the country's population living in rural areas it gave me a better insight into what life is like for the average Loas family.
A visit to Myanmar is different experience to anywhere else I've been in Southeast Asia. While some of their close neighbours are close to saturation point when it comes to tourism, Myanmar is only learning it's trade. The country was effectively closed to tourists for fifty years due to a bitter civil war but military rule ended in 2011 and since then tourist number have begun to grow albeit slowly.
My trip began in Yangon, the largest city and former capital of Myanmar. most famous for being home to the Shwedagon Pagoda. From there I travelled to Mandalay, another historic city, then onto the town of Kalaw. From Kalaw I trekked to Inle Lake, a great location to relax and take a break from all the temples and pagoda. My final stop was the historic ancient city of Bagan, home to over 2000 Buddhist temples. With this in mind you will notice a LOT of photos of temples, pagodas and monks!
The East coast of Australia is a well trodden backpacker route but there's a reason for that, it's great fun and spectacularly beautiful. My east coast adventures began in the seaside town of Byron Bay. From there I visited the hippy town of Nimbin before travelling up the coast through Ocean Shore, Surfers Paradise and onto Brisbane, the largest city in the region.
North of Brisbane is where the landscape turns truly spectacular. The town of Noosa was an enjoyable stop off but for me the two highlights of the region are Fraser Island and the Whitsunday Islands. Both are beautiful in different ways. Fraser Island was a high speed off-road adventure, three days exploring the sand based island, driving through loose sand in a 4x4 truck, seeing lots of wildlife including sharks, dingos and snakes.
In contrast, sailing the Whitsundays on the Condor yacht was a relaxing and chilled out experience, visiting the famous Whitehaven Beach and witnessing some of the most spectacular sunsets I've ever seen.