Where's James

India: Mumbai

Mumbai, formerly Bombay, was my first stop of a one-month trip in India. It’s the country’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, as well as one of the greenest and cleanest. I was staying in the Andheri district around 45 minutes from the main tourist sites in South Mumbai so my first real experience of India was on the “locals” – Mumbai’s commuter trains. Even outside of peak hours the trains are packed and they only stop at stations for 10-15 seconds, causing a scene of total pandemonium.

Abu Dhabi

While flying Etihad to India I took the opportunity to stopover in Abu Dhabi, my second visit to the United Arab Emirates after Dubai. Though the capital city it’s smaller and less developed than Dubai. Most journeys are done by taxi and attractions can be far apart which isn’t ideal on a backpacker budget. While there is a bus it requires a prepaid card which can only be bought and topped up from specific places - all of which I’d have needed a taxi to get to anyway.

Australia: The Red Centre

From Adelaide I headed north on The Ghan, one of the two famous coast-to-coast railways in Australia. I’d been looking forward to the journey for a while and the views were as good as I hoped, particularly sunrise over the outback. It also helps to get a sense of how big the country is when it takes almost 26 hours to travel from the coast to the centre. A ticket for The Ghan costs £170 for a “day/night seat” with beds and cabins costing significantly more.

Australia: Melbourne and Adelaide

My first stop in Australia was Melbourne in the state of Victoria after taking a five-hour flight from Bali. Arriving in Winter the first thing I noticed was the cold and the first day was spent shopping in the Central Business District. Jetstar 787 to Melbourne The CBD is the oldest district with many colonial buildings and it reminded me more of home than anywhere else I’ve visited. There are some lovely buildings, particularly the state library and Flinders St Station, and even a shopping mall built around an existing old building, Shot Tower.

Indonesia: Lombok and Bali

After my trip to Mt Bromo I headed to Surabaya and took a flight over to Lombok. I’d originally planned to visit Flores but with Bali airport closed due to ash from Mt Raung I altered my plans. I stopped in Kuta for a couple of nights, a town popular with surfers and far quieter than the town in Bali of the same name. There are some nice beaches further out of town but those in the centre are extremely littered and not somewhere where you would want to swim.