26 Oct
Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
Number of flights.  Click here to go to the itinerary page.
Bus, train and taxi rides.  Click here to see all posts relating to transport. (56 posts)
Miles walked.  Click here to see all posts relating to walking and trekking. (43 posts)
Countries visited.  Click here to see what we think of them. (14 posts)
Number of species spotted.  Click here to go to our wildlife page.
Photos taken.  Click here to go to the photo gallery. (94 posts)
Rainy days.  Click here to find posts relating to the weather. (50 posts)
Number of times scammed.  Click here to read all about it!  (2 posts)
Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

10 August 2011

List mania

Who doesn’t like Top Ten lists? Or top five, or top three. We certainly whiled away many quiet moments in our year putting together idle lists of our favourite and least favourite things that we had encountered on the way. I’m putting them in the blog to help us remember all this stuff, and also for anyone that’s interested! So now who wants to make a Top Five Lists list?

Best food

  1. Black pepper crab, Singapore
  2. Dim sum in Hong Kong
  3. Khao soi, Northern Thailand
  4. Char keow chao in Penang
  5. Green curry, Surat Thani, Thailand

Best otter sightings

  1. A pair of smooth-coated otters in Sungei buloh, Singapore
  2. Marine otter in Punihuil, Chiloe island, Chile
  3. Southern river otter in Chepu, Chiloe island, Chile
  4. Spotted-necked otters in Tillietudlem, South Africa
  5. Spotted-necked otters in Marievale bird sanctuary, South Africa

Best landscapes

  1. South Island, NZ, from Fox to Queenstown
  2. The flooded forests of Chepu, Chiloe Island, Chile
  3. The Langtang Valley, Nepal
  4. The Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia
  5. Flowers in Namaqua, South Africa

Close encounters of the wild kind


  1. Swimming with turtles and sealions in the Galapagos islands, Ecuador
  2. A niviventer running around on Maureen’s face, Ko Surin, Thailand
  3. Being nuzzled by a giant stingray in Hamelin bay, Western Australia
  4. Attack of the scary fish while snorkelling in Bali
  5. Nose to nose with a tasmanian devil in Loongana, Tasmania

Best wildlife locations

(sunrise kayak)

  1. Galapagos islands, Ecuador
  2. Sacha Lodge, Amazon
  3. Kruger National Park, SA
  4. Khao Sok, Thailand
  5. Ranomafana, Madagascar

Prestige wildlife

  1. The big five, South Africa
  2. Australia’s weird five: Platypus, echidna, koala, wombat and the Tassie devil
  3. Lizards: Komodo, marine iguana, chameleons
  4. Snakes: Anaconda, boa constrictor, bushmaster
  5. Birds: Andean condor, wandering albatross, flamingos

Best activities

  1. Caving in Thailand
  2. Jet-boating in New Zealand
  3. Sea-kayaking in Phang-Nga bay, Thailand
  4. Horse-riding in the Atacama desert, Chile
  5. Glacier walking in New Zealand

Best breakfasts

  1. Carmen and Robbie’s, Storms River Mouth, SA
  2. Cafe Ism in Newtown, Sydney
  3. New Year’s breakfast in Thailand
  4. Bay Merchants cafe, Albany, Australia – porridge, caramelised banana & mascarpone
  5. J&MR, Hobart, Tasmania – chorizo & gruyere in puff pastry

Best festivities

  1. Celebrating Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai, Thailand
  2. Festival of Senor Chopakillpa in Ollantaytambo, Peru
  3. Dashain in Bhaktapur, Nepal

Best (non-otter) wildlife sightings

  1. Everything in the Galapagos islands, Ecuador
  2. Watching southern right whales from the cliffs off Hermanus, SA
  3. Tasmanian devils in Loongana, Tasmania
  4. The owl and the hammerkop in the Kruger, SA
  5. Capuchin, Squirrel and Red Howler monkeys leaping over our heads in the Amazon
  6. Hector’s dolphins in the Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand
  7. Snuffling echidna in Kangaroo island, Australia
  8. Yellow-footed rock wallabies in Flinders, Australia
  9. Pygmy falcon snatching a lizard, Augrabies Falls, SA
  10. Watching (and listening) to Indri singing in Madagascar


  1. Visiting the El Tatio geyser, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
  2. On the boat looking for river otters in Chepu, Chile
  3. Night drive in Marrick, SA
  4. Kyanjin Gompa, Langtang trek, Nepal
  5. Knysna B&B, SA

Major disappointments

  1. Not getting to Ningaloo reef, Western Australia
  2. Not swimming with dolphins, Kaikoura and Picton, NZ
  3. Damp squib: New Year’s Eve in Thailand

On the water

  1. Galapagos cruise, Ecuador
  2. Jet-boating in NZ
  3. On the Tonle Sap, from Battambang to Siem Reap, Cambodia
  4. Nature cruise at the Otago peninsula, NZ
  5. Crossing the border from Thailand to Malaysia in a ricketty longtail boat

Refreshment of the soul

  1. Idyllic days in Meditasi on the coast of Bali, Indonesia
  2. Staying at The Sanctuary in Battambang, Cambodia
  3. Thai massage on the beach, Ko Yao Noi, Thailand

Places of worship

  1. Shalu monastery, Tibet: the chanting monks and the scent of yak butter candles
  2. Devout Tibetans prostrating around Bakhor square, Tibet
  3. Monkeys and burning ghats of Pushpatinath, Kathmandu
  4. Bling! The golden temple near Chiang Mai, Thailand
  5. The tranquil convent of Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru

Most polluted cities

  1. Kathmandu creaking at the seams, Nepal
  2. Thick smog in Santiago, Chile
  3. Humid Hong Kong, polluted by air-con

Most genuine local culture

  1. Tibetan devotion
  2. Cambodian lake people
  3. The tribes of Madagascar
  4. Traditional Nepal
  5. Bowler hat ladies of La Paz

Most touristy tourist districts

  1. Thamel, Kathmandu
  2. Aguas Calientes, Peru
  3. Ubud, Bali
  4. Cusco, Peru
  5. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Worst transport experience

  1. Nightmare bus ride in Nepal
  2. Stranded in Calama, Chile, as a result of protests and road blocks
  3. Forced to take an expensive flight from La Paz to Cusco due to roadblocks
  4. Our 25-hour bus journey from Cusco to Arequipa, thanks to road blocks in Puno
  5. Dodging moped maniacs in Denpasar, Bali
  6. The infernal seven-hour drive across the bleak Atacama desert from Putre to Arica in Chile
  7. Hire car failure in Penang, Malaysia
  8. Driving down the worst dirt road in the world in Chiloe, Chile
  9. Getting lost crossing Ecuador without a map or any road signs
  10. The blown head gasket of El Cheapo, NZ

Best drinks

  1. Zibobbo, a wine of sherbet and roses from South Australia
  2. Pisco Sours of Chile and Peru
  3. Fresh guanabana juice in Ecuador… or tree tomato… or mango… or blackberry… or…
  4. Endless cups of spicy chai, Nepal
  5. Siam Sunrays cocktail sipped at Ko Yao Noi, Thailand
  6. Black Mac beer, NZ
  7. Chicha Morada, like Christmas in a glass, Peru
  8. THB (Three Horses Beer) in Madagascar – a national beer with taste

Best cities

  1. Sydney, Australia – close to perfect
  2. Chiang Mai, Thailand – so very laid back
  3. Hong Kong – fascinating around every corner
  4. Singapore – delicious and clean
  5. Queenstown, New Zealand – idyllic setting

Best snorkelling

  1. Sealions off Espanola island, Galapagos
  2. Sea turtles off Floreana island, Galapagos
  3. Coral reef, Kelor island, Flores, Indonesia
  4. Booby diving underwater, Galapagos
  5. Coral reef off Pemuteran, Bali

Best day hikes

  1. Routeburn trek day 2, South Island, New Zealand
  2. Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
  3. Kings Canyon, Australia
  4. Langtang trek day 3, Nepal
  5. Poon hill trek day 3, Nepal

Best markets

  1. Covered market in Battambang
  2. Melbourne’s Queen Victoria market
  3. Covered market in Mae Hong Son
  4. Jade market, Hong Kong
  5. Waterside market in Bangkok

Scary moments

  1. Attack of the malevolent(?) suckerfish while snorkelling in Bali
  2. Boat collision on the Tonle Sap in Cambodia
  3. Lost after dark while searching for hairy-nosed wombats in Australia
  4. Walking past a sign in Quito: “tourist robberies zone, do not go this way”
  5. Driving through a township by accident, South Africa

Memorable accommodation (good and challenging)

  1. Our tiny floating bungalow on Khao Sok lake, Thailand
  2. Trekking lodges in Nepal: the definition of “basic”
  3. Old Wesleydale, a charming Georgian country house in Tasmania
  4. Maureen’s grandmother’s house in Denpasar, Bali
  5. Kimono hotel, Tibet
  6. Luxury lodges on the Routeburn trek, New Zealand
  7. A floating backpacker lodge in Abel Tasman NP, New Zealand
  8. Meditasi, Bali

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