Just a quick note before I start: I would like to thank @FunkyGibbon, @Giant Panda and @Chlidonias for all their help planning this trip in a PM thread that stretches to 8 pages with 153 posts. I really appreciate it. Also special thanks to Chlidonias as it must be said that a lot of this trip has been particularly inspired by his Asian adventures. It’s also worth noting that the posts in this thread will be simultaneously posted on my page at travelblog.org here: BirderWilliam | William Bezodis | Travel Blog the content will be exactly the same, although there will be the occasional ZooChat-specific section like this initial passage and my plan is also to add some pictures to the travel blog site of any travel-type things that are of interest but not zoo or wildlife related so wouldn't really fit in the ZooChat galleries. You can also subscribe to updates on travel blog if you wish. Prologue Time for another trip! This time, I’ll be doing quite a bit more than I’ve done on any past trip ever by virtue of the fact that I’ll be going away for a lot longer than I’ve ever done before and I’ll be doing most of this trip backpacking on my own. It should be good! Anyway, a bit of background; I’ve finished my exams now and I’m done with school. I’m officially educated I suppose. I’ll be starting university in late September/early October but in the meantime, I’ve got quite a long period of time and what else is there to do apart from spend 113 days, or about 16 weeks, backpacking in South East Asia and Australia? So that’s what I’ll be doing for these next few months. My flight out of Warsaw going to Bangkok leaves on Wednesday afternoon (the 23rd of May) and the return flight is on the 13th of September. So that gives me quite a long period of time to see lots of cool things which I will of course be documenting in this travel blog in a way that’s hopefully reasonably humorous and entertaining – although the most entertaining bits of travel blogs to read are when things go wrong so hopefully there won’t be too much of that – and I’ll try and include some pictures as well, internet access permitting, as I go. So what will I be doing then? I don’t think anyone reading this will be surprised to hear that the focus of the trip is wildlife. I’ll be trying to get a bird list as high as possible as well as tick particular target species along the way, as well as look for a number of mammal targets that are especially high on my must-see list. There’s certainly lots for me to be on the look out for! The other thing about this trip is that due to the length and nature of it as a solo backpacker, I’ll be doing a lot of things at a slower pace than many of my previous trips and I’ve got a good length of time in a lot of places so I’ll hopefully be able to see places more thoroughly, go a bit further that I would have been able to do on a short trip – particularly one with non-birders also having their own interests – and give myself the best chance to see some wildlife in some incredibly biodiverse places which are also notoriously difficult for wildlife watching. I will of course be doing the vast majority of the travel by various means of public transport – although for much of the Australian portion of the trip I will be with relatives, which is a very good thing given the appalling public transport network in Australia – and doing the trip with an average daily spend that is quite low (although almost 4 months of travelling in another continent will never be particularly cheap) and I should be able to get good value for money with this trip in terms of the bird/wildlife list and of course the enjoyment and experiences. It’s said that travel broadens the mind, and I think the cost per unit broadness of this trip will be lower than previous ones, although the overall extent of broadness will probably be quite high. And I reckon the process of mind-broadening will probably be, at times, as painful as that sounds, but it will certainly be an adventure. So I was undecided about how much detail I should go into with the exact itinerary. I was going to just leave it at that and be all vague and mysterious, with the added advantage of nobody knowing if something goes wrong from the original plan so that I can pretend it was all intentional. But I’m super-excited about all the places that I’ll be going so I’m just going to write about it know, and my intention is to use the blog to be candid about the travels and being on my own for so long, I’ll probably go a bit mad if I try to keep up a façade of everything going perfectly and to plan and as I’ve said, it’s always more entertaining for readers when things go wrong. All of my readers are clever enough to know that not everything goes to plan when travelling. I’ve only got about three readers, but I know they’re all clever. Anyway, this is roughly what I’ll be doing: I arrive in Bangkok on the 24th and I’ve got two days in Bangkok staying with an aunt who lives there just to rest a bit after a long flight and hopefully get over the jet lag. Then I fly from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. I’ve then got just over two weeks in Peninsula Malaysia, which is a bit tighter than I maybe would ideally have left myself, where I’ll be doing some things in KL and day trips to nearby places as well as visiting the major birding/wildlife sites of Bukit Fraser and Taman Negara for roughly 4 days and 7 days respectively. A lot of the itinerary is deliberately left approximately with only flights booked in as firm brackets for how long I spend in each place. On the 11th of June, I then get a flight from KL to Sandakan, a city in the far Eastern part of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. I’ve then got almost four full weeks on Borneo, where I’ll be doing a number of wildlife sites across the state of Sabah before flying out from Kota Kinabalu on the other side of the state. With the current plan, I’ll hopefully be visiting Sepilok and surrounds, the Kinabatangan River, Lahad Datu, the Danum Valley, Mount Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu, and possibly some other places from Kota Kinabalu like the Crocker Ranges depending on how long I end up choosing to stay at each place. I’ve left the names in here so that anyone who’s interested can look them up. From Kota Kinabalu, I’ll then be heading do Darwin in the Northern Territories of Australia – via a rather annoying self-transfer in Singapore – where I’ll be travelling with an aunt who lives in Perth in Western Australia who will be meeting me there. After that, I’ll be heading over to Cairns, which I visited for just 5 days two years ago and really like so I’m excited to return and do some of the surrounding locations. I’ll also be meeting up with my parents and brother at this point and we’ll be doing Cairns and surrounds as a family trip, although I’m hoping to keep the additions to the bird/wildlife list ticking over (I’ll also have a car for Darwin and Cairns which will probably be a welcome relief after not far off two months on my own and reliant on the whims of public transportation. After Cairns, I’ll be down to Perth in Western Australia to spend some time with much of my family on my mother’s side who lives there, and then I’ll be off on my own again for a final month of travel starting with Singapore and heading up to Thailand for my return flight out of Bangkok – that bit of the trip’s not really planned yet. So that’s the plan. To anyone who actually read that whole thing: I salute you for your perseverance. I’ll hopefully waffle less when I’m writing actual travel blogs and actually have something to say. If you’ve got any thoughts/comments/jokes/insults/whatever feel free to leave them. If all goes to plan, this will be a great trip. And in fact, if not all goes to plan it may well turn out even better! Also note: I’m going to be writing this stuff as I travel so there will be typos and writing mistakes and bits where it gets boring or incoherent or doesn’t make any sense. Hopefully it will be interesting overall though and more people reading and interacting with these posts will encourage me to keep writing this. It will be great to bring you all along for this adventure that will be my life for the next few months!