A Travellerspoint blog

Australia - Melbourne & Great Ocean Road

DAY 101-107

sunny 28 °C

One final surfing session and a last beer on Kuta beach and we left Bali to get to our final destination – Australia.

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After only 5 hours we landed in Melbourne. The first thing we noticed when we got off the plane, was the nice fresh, non humid morning air.

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The free shuttle bus to our backpacker hostel was already waiting for us and took us straight to our small and carpeted 4 bed dorm at the hostel. After getting used to comfortable bungalows in Southeast Asia, this was some kind of change for us. Anyways, our room-mates were friendly and we knew we wouldn’t live the Aussi backpackers’ lifestyle for a long time.

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After two days exploring the city, it was time for us to do more serious things and prepare everything for a longer stay. New mobile phone cards, bank accounts… and of course we needed a car as soon as possible. Fortunately, we met a French couple who wanted to sell their car at our hostel. Two days, a service check, some additional repairs and some discussions with the car mechanic later, we became proud owners of a 20 year old Mitsubishi station wagon equipped with full camping gear and ready to head West to the Great Ocean Road.

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First, we stopped in Torquay, said to be Victoria’s main surfing town, which seemed a bit lonesome during the week. A few km’s further West at Bell’s Beach, there was more action going on – unfortunately Julia's wetsuit was on its way to Sydney by mail and the wind was too cold to go surfing just in a bikini.

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So we drove further along the costal road that offered lots of scenic views (which were announced by signs about every 500m). After hours of driving, we finally reached the 12 Apostles, amazing natural rock sculptures, sticking out of the ocean. The panorama and the atmosphere just before sunset were definitely worth the drive.

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Frank was even happier seeing his first snake crossing his path (it might look bigger as it is, it was only about 20cm in length). After a picnic dinner, we spent the night in our car on the parking place right in front of the cliffs. The location was just perfect with thousands of stars and the Milky Way above us.

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Still it was kind of difficult to sleep well as our matress deflated after a few hours and we heard strange noises close to our car for the entire night. The next morning, we were ble to find out, that the noises were only created by the wind. After driving another 50 km along the coast, we visited the "London Bridge" (another rock formation) before heading back to Melbourne on the inland route.

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Posted by Frankee 18:06 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Bali - Nusa Lembongan

DAY 89-98

sunny 31 °C

Nusa Lembongan, a quiet little island just about an hour off the coast, was a welcome change after 2 weeks on Bali. While it had been raining a lot the days before, the weather was just perfect when we arrived on Lembongan. Our Bungalow at Ketut Losmen, right next to the beach, was the ideal place for relaxing, reading and calming down from travelling and shopping.

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And, at least as important, the surf was great from the day we arrived. It really is an amazing place, with totally clear water and the view of fishes swimming in the coral reef below you and the Gunung Agnung volcano on the horizon when you're in the water, waiting for waves to surf.

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Renting a motorbike is a great way of exploring the island. You can snorkel outside the mangroves and discover some more small bays and beaches.

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On the last day, we still got the chance to see a traditional ceremony in the village. Actually, we got no clue what the whole thing was about, but probably the people were praying and sacrificing to scare off evil spirits and please the good ones.

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After finishing this entry, we're off to Dreamland again for the last one and a half days. On staturday night, our flight leaves for Melbourne and soon "real life" starts again...

We'll keep you postet!

Posted by Frankee 19:27 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Bali

DAY 75-89

all seasons in one day 31 °C

After more than a week of shopping and sightseeing in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur we finally arrived on Bali - pretty stressed out and ready for a relaxing holiday at the end of our trip.

It would still take a few days until we could really enjoy our stay on Bali though. Everyone who has ever been to Kuta (the main tourist area of the island) knows what it's like: hundreds of shops and motorbikes, people try to sell anything you can imagine or want to transport you to the other end of the island, when you actually want to go to the beach to relax in the sun or surf. Julia had the impression that it was even worse compared to when she was on Bali 4 years ago. Still it was nice that some locals still recognised her from her last holiday, especially the friendly staff of Mekar Jaya Bungalows and also a masseuse on the beach.

Definitely worse than the last time was the water quality with thousands of dead fish (which supposedly died from some poisonous red alges) and rubbish.

After two days of surfing in the stinky waters we had enough and decided to rent a car to get to some more pleasant places of the island.
The first day, we went to the Bukit peninsula in the south. After spending a few hours at lovely Dreamland Beach we visited Ulu Watu Temple which is situated in a spectacular location on top of some 70m high cliffs facing the sea.

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We also stopped at Ulu Watu surf beach and Padang Padang - but as the waves were pretty small, there was not too much going on.
On the way back we went to Jimbaran Bay for a classical and romantic seafood barbecue on the beach (you can choose the fish you'd like to have before they put in on the barbeque).

The second day, we drove to the north to Taman Ayun Temple, followed by the important Tanah Lot Temple on the seaside. This temple is particularly famous for its unique location on a rock, surrounded by water, and its beautiful sunsets. While several Balinese were praying and bringing oblations, other locals were "playing surf" right next to the temple.

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For the following days we had planned to just go surfing and did a trip to Turtle Island. The waves were pretty good and winds were offeshore. But while Julia was enjoying the surf, Frank unfortunately hurt his ribs in the same way as he did on the Philippines. After the long paddle, his muscels and tissue were inflamed so badly, he could hardy move and we even had to go to hospital!

As Frank had to keep quiet and the weather and swell forecast didnt look very good, we decided to go to Ubud for a few days, the centre of culture, arts and crafts. From there, we did a roundtrip to the central mountains in the north. We visited the hindu and buddhist temple of Danau Bratan and went to the beautiful Git Git Waterfalls after that.

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The next days we were just chilling, having a massage each day, swimming in the pool and enjoying the great food in Ubud (where you can really get everything you want, from Balinese buffets, delicious babi guling (that's spofacki for our Bavarian readers) to homemade pastas and fresh salads).
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As Frank loves birds, we also had to go to the Bali Bird Park, which was pretty expensive, but definitely worth the money.

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And who ever thought, that only girls are shopping addicts - in our case it is the absolute opposite. After Frank already bought some more shirts in Kuta (cos he still hasn't got enough, he only bought 15 t-shirts, 4 pairs of jeans, 2 suits and 3 shirts in Bangkok and another 3 shirts and a pair of trainers in Kuala Lumpur) he walked up and down the roads of Ubud for masks, watches and a silver bracelet. Well, at least this time he didn't buy anything (just to continue a week later in Kuta again - that time he got another pair of trainers and underwear).

On the last night in Ubud, we went to see the traditional Legong and Barong dance in Ubud Palace, which was a great to watch.

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Posted by Frankee 06:24 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Bangkok & Kuala Lumpur

DAY 68-75

sunny 35 °C

Our main activities in Bangkok were shopping (especially Frank) and lying in bed recovering from concussion (that's Julia).

We tried to make an effort and went sightseeing as well.

Ayutthya is one of the many attractions in the reach of Bangkok's tourist mini buses. It was a boiling hot experience as there was no shadow to be found anywhere. We were wandering around the former capital of Siam, dizzy from the heat and couldn't really enjoy the trip as it was simply too hot (and this was still in the morning hours!). Still we were able to catch some nice impressions and learn something about Thai and budhist culture.

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The next day we went to see the floating markets, famous for well, .. er .. floating markets.

On our way to the market, we first had to stop at a coconut factory. We first were really excited about finally getting to know the tiny men who hang the coconuts in the trees ;-) In the end it was a 30 minutes stop at a bus stop with about 20 other (big) tour buses, with uncountable amounts of other tourists who were amazed that coconut oil and coconut sugar does really come from coconuts. How to get sugar and oil out of coconuts was explained in a 20 seconds show, the rest of the time was used for a pee (about 15 minutes queing) and buying loads of souvenirs.

There are rumours that there are actually two floating markets. One is the traditional one which is somewhere further away from Bangkok, the other one is staged for tourists, about 1.5 hours from Bangkok by mini bus.
Counting the amounts of tourist boats in the market (there are about 8 times as many as the boats actually selling something), we assume that we have been to the touristy one ; )
It still was a nice experience though. The food on the market was great, we ate delicious things like sticky rice with mango.

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By the time we got to Kuala Lumpur, Julia was absolutely annoyed of anything that moves or makes sound. While Frank rushed up Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers (he was almost the first one who got there that morning), Julia was lying in bed catching up on some sleep.

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We had only one day in Kuala Lumpur but again tried to squeeze as much shopping in as possible.

After Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur we felt pretty drained when we arrived in Bali!

Posted by Frankee 06:13 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Donsol - Philippines

DAY 65-67

semi-overcast 31 °C

After extending our stay at the watersport complex for 2 days (people, wakeboarding and all was just too much fun!), we went to Donsol to go snorkelling with whalesharks.

Normally at this time of year there should already be enough of them around to almost certainly be able to see some - well, ... almost certainly ... we kept on waiting and circling around with our bangka for about 6 hours but we didn't see a single one : (

- nuff said

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Chasing the whalesharks was somewhere between boring and annoying because of the constant loud and monotone sound of the boat's engine. Still it is yet another reason to come back here at some point in another vacation - the Philippines are really worth more than one visit!

On Our way back to Legaspi however we were able to catch a view on the perfectly shaped Mayon volcano. This one is still active and erupted only some months ago, followed by a devastating taifun. Unfortunately it all ended in a couple of thousand people who didn't survive the landslide that came down the mountain and covered them in ash and mud.

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At the moment we are in Bangkok, mainly for shopping, as you might have guessed.
We first stayed in Hotel Atlanta, a Bangkok original from the fifties with a strict no sex tourism policy (they must be very proud of it as you can read the 'don't does' basically everywhere).
Just today we moved to a nice hotel right in the middle of Khaosan Road - bit more live here!
Below a view on Khaosan Road as most of you might remember it ...

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Posted by Frankee 06:50 Archived in Philippines Comments (1)

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