The journey to our next destination was just an hour but the majority of us slept throughout – passed rice fields and mango trees, headphones in and we were there before we knew it. Next stop…. Pouring hot springs.
We arrived at the hot springs at about 4.30pm, the accommodation was stated in the itinerary as a ‘hostel’ so we were all prepped for bunk beds and shared rooms. We arrived in quite a different story – a lovely little house with a huge communal area and adjacent and large comfy seats – the bedrooms were then off in corridors to the left and right – all of us with private rooms (Sarah and I sharing as we had paid for shared occupancy) in really cute rooms.
Quick showers and getting some laundry over to the laundrette we all headed down to the hot springs. It was an interesting little place, individual (essentially) baths which filled with natural water from the hot springs. We found one big enough for all of us to soak our aching muscles and relax a little bit before heading back to the room to get ready for dinner.
Edwin had stopped the bus on route to pick us up a few beers and Hannah had bought some ‘beer snacks’ so we all met in the communal area for drinks and snacks before dinner. We just headed up to the restaurant on site for dinner – pretty much all we could muster given we had all been up since 1.30am – and had a quick bite to eat before everyone headed back (after attempting to get on the wifi having been cut off for 4 days by this point. I persisted though as I discovered on logging on that someone had hacked my paypal account and spent a pretty decent amount of money so I spent some time try (and pretty much failing) to get hold of someone at paypal to try and stop it compounding. Quite an unsettling and annoying thing to be happening while on holiday!
After about an hour of trying to get it sorted I finally gave up and headed back to the room – it was getting on for 10pm by this point and I was completely shattered…. It had been a VERY long but rewarding day.
The next day (Thursday) was ours to do with it what we wanted – Intrepid had obviously planned this well as it gave us a bit of recovery time after the hike. He had said we could meet him at 10am if we wanted to go with him for a walk into the rainforest and up to the canopy walk but other than that it we were on our own. Sarah and I woke relatively early so we decided to head to the springs before heading for some breakfast. We met Hannah and Clare in the communal area who joined us too. Walking up we met Jeremy and Claire who had been down for a dip a little earlier – we clearly were all early risers.
After a half decent finger pruning we headed for some breakfast across the road – one of the better pineapple juices I’ve had since getting to Borneo. I have found the adjustment in food quite strange this time – while there is still a lot of rice and noodles there is also a lot less fresh fruit and vegetables which I’m finding quite difficult when I have been used to having that for breakfast / snacks through Thailand / Cambodia / Laos.
Jeremy, Claire and I met Edwin to head for the walk – Hannah, Clare and Sarah stayed back at the accommodation and chilled out for the morning. Walking anywhere with Edwin is great as he used to be a ranger so his knowledge of all the creatures, animals, plants and trees really is second to none. We headed up into the forest towards the canopy walk – looking at ‘touch me not’ plants, huge 3D spiders webs, the biggest ants I’ve ever seen and giant bamboo trees – it was so interesting. When we arrives at the canopy walk I was quite glad Sarah had decided to stay back at the accommodation as she has a bit of a fear of heights and the canopy was very narrow, 41m above the ground and quite rocky when there is more than one person on it – I don’t think she would have enjoyed it very much! The views were absolutely incredible from the top. Unfortunately we were soon followed by a group of Chinese shouting at each other across the canopy bridges somewhat ruining the beautiful peace of the area…we had the first part of our bridge walk quietly though!.
When we had finished we made our way back down again where Hannah and Clare joined us to head over to the waterfall nearby. We spent an hour swimming, having our feet nibbled by feet (a pedicure some people pay a lot of money for!), swinging on the natural swing, watching all the butterflies flutter around and massaging our backs with the force of the waterfall– it was lovely!
We met Sarah back at the house before grabbing a quick lunch. The afternoon was then very relaxing, all sitting, reading and I was writing my journal. This is one of the things I really like about the group we’re with – everyone is more than happy to sit and chat, play games, have a laugh etc but at the same time, everyone is equally happy sitting quietly keeping themselves entertained. Hannah and Clare had arranged to have a massage that afternoon so they went about doing that. At about 4pm (when ‘the tourists’ had left) Clare had finished her massage so she, Sarah, Claire and I headed back down to the pools for another soak before they shut at 6pm. We spent a good hour and a half putting the world to rights in one of the open air hot pools before heading back and getting ready for some dinner.
Shower and a changed I decided now was the time to introduce ‘Monopoly Deal’ to our group…. Having seen the reaction to the card game Jeremy and Claire taught us when we were up in the mountain lodge, I thought this one would go down well…. I wasn’t wrong! After a couple of practice rounds, accompanied by a beer or two, it was clear to see this was going to be a bit of a feature throughout the rest of our trip! A few games in and Edwin joined us to take us across the road for dinner where we had some of the best food of the trip. It was really nice, despite the pools being quite a tourist attraction, all the food places served good local food, cooked on site and (mainly) very tasty. After dinner I spent a bit of time trying to sort my Paypal issues again but soon gave up as the wifi simply wasn’t strong enough – I was just having to keep my fingers crossed that the issue hadn’t got any worse while I was out of decent service.
All finished we headed back up to the ‘hostel’ to get ourselves packed into overnight bags in preparation for the jungle and to continue our Monopoly deal marathon. This resulted in our latest night so far in the trip…it’s amazing how addictive a game like this can be!