02 Dec
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Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
4147
Number of flights.  Click here to go to the itinerary page.
35
Bus, train and taxi rides.  Click here to see all posts relating to transport. (56 posts)
185
Miles walked.  Click here to see all posts relating to walking and trekking. (43 posts)
581
Countries visited.  Click here to see what we think of them. (14 posts)
15
Number of species spotted.  Click here to go to our wildlife page.
1157
Photos taken.  Click here to go to the photo gallery. (94 posts)
13288
Rainy days.  Click here to find posts relating to the weather. (50 posts)
63
Number of times scammed.  Click here to read all about it!  (2 posts)
1
Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
45
 
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

Archive for February, 2011


28 February 2011

The smell of adventure

28th February 2011 It’s a shame we don’t have the technology to record smells and include them into internet sites for others to enjoy. The scent of the trees in the mighty jarrah and karri forests of this part of Western Australia is one of the most superb smells of our travels. There’s a strong, » » »



28 February 2011

Stingray

27th February 2011 I’m starting to really enjoy the wildlife in Australia. It’s not like South Africa, where there are parks loaded with big game conveniently available for viewing from a car all day long. Instead you find the most surprising and unusual creatures in unexpected places, and often get particularly intimate and memorable encounters » » »



26 February 2011

Wine break

26th February 2011 Enough chasing about in the baking heat for furry critters and driving hundreds of kilometres through scorched desert in search of wilderness adventure. Let’s drink some wine and have a huge lunch! We chose the Swan Valley wine region for today’s diversion, as it’s scarcely an hour from Fremantle. I can report » » »



26 February 2011

Rottnest sizzles in the sun

25th February 2011 Today we visited Rottnest Island. It is described as “Perth’s Island Playground” and if you’ve been following our blog that might leave you wondering why we’d go there. One word: quokka. In fact the island doesn’t really match the image. There’s only one settlement with a couple of small hotels and a » » »



26 February 2011

Fremantle squawk

24th February 2011 I’ve always thought Fremantle has a cool name. It’s a cool town too. There’s a good mixture of shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes in a compact centre with plenty of attractive old buildings. If you ignore the 37 degree daytime temperature it could almost be an English market town. We had a » » »



26 February 2011

And back again

23rd February 2011 So now we’re driving back down the 900km road to Perth, the same route we drove two days ago but in reverse. It must be said that our trip up the west coast of Australia feels a little anticlimactic. This west coast is difficult to visit and enjoy. You can gawp for » » »



26 February 2011

Of dolphins and cyclones

22nd February 2011 Monkey Mia is that place in Australia where dolphins come right into the shallows to meet humans. It was obviously a very moving experience for travellers twenty years ago, sitting in the crystal-clear shallows feeding fish to their favourite dolphin and petting them for hours. However, the dolphins got too dependent on » » »



26 February 2011

Helluva difference

21st February 2011 You couldn’t find a bigger difference, driving on Bali one day and then Western Australia the next. Gone are the narrow winding roads, hundreds of vehicles, overloaded motorbikes, rustic villages, potholes, verdant jungles and average speed of 25mph. Say hello to endless and immaculate straight highways with the occasional huge road-train passing » » »



26 February 2011

New travel companions

20th February 2011 My parents picked us up from the hotel this morning. I paid the bill before they arrived, and got the first cold wake-up to the fact that Australia is going to be expensive to travel in. The room was about £100. For a characterless no-frills hotel in an uninteresting part of town, » » »



26 February 2011

Images of Bali

We leave Bali exhausted from difficult driving, exhilarated by lovely countryside, full of good spicy food and delighted by the coral reefs. Within the four weeks we have actually explored pretty much every corner of the island, though of course not in great depth. So this is a round-up of stray images from all over.



26 February 2011

Life in a volcano

Our daytrip to Gunung Batur was brilliant for photography. There was so much to see in the human and the natural landscape. We did have to fend off a couple of touts and putative guides, and since we were there (a) off-season, (b) with our own transport and (c) away from the main tourist spots » » »



26 February 2011

Dragon islands

Flores was a strong contrast to Bali. It is still a very backwater island, the few hotels are unusual oddities in a local landscape whereas on Bali tourism is the currency. We came to see Komodo dragons and we weren’t disappointed.



22 February 2011

Many farewells

19th February 2011 Today we said farewell to Bali, which has given us a month of magical snorkelling, spicy food, lovely accommodations and heinous traffic. The drive back over the mountains in the early morning light was exceptional, the rolling rural landscape looking every bit as idyllic as an autumn morn in the Shropshire Hills. » » »



22 February 2011

Fruitless trek

18th February 2011 If we are unlucky on a wildlife trek and don’t see very many animals, at least there is the pleasure instead of a fine walk in beautiful natural surroundings. Unfortunately in Bali Barat National Park we didn’t see much and the walk was hot and uncomfortable. Our guide Gede was very good, » » »



22 February 2011

Happy Birthday Maureen

17th February 2011 For Maureen’s birthday we took a trip to Gunung Batur, the volcanic mountain in the middle of Bali. The guidebook warned us that the touts and guides are so avaricious and persistent around here that many people leave vowing never to return. What a birthday treat! In the event we only picked » » »



22 February 2011

A lot more fish in the sea

16th February 2011 Today we went to Pulau Menjangan, an island just off this north-west coast of Bali renowned for its diving and snorkelling. Because it’s part of the Bali Barat National Park we needed to take a guide on our boat and he came snorkelling too. Mainly he swam with Tim and Vanessa, who » » »



22 February 2011

Hotel ups and downs

15th February 2011 Still trying to decide whether to like our hotel or not. When we arrived yesterday it looked lovely, but my hackles immediately went up when we asked for WiFi and they said it was 50,000rp per hour. That’s £3.50 which would be steep even in London. To my way of thinking, when » » »



22 February 2011

Coffee in the rain

14th February 2011 It started to rain on the morning we left Flores, and we sat in the little cafe on the hill overlooking the airport watching for our plane to land through the drizzle. Around us sat locals playing chess and smoking cigarettes over coffee. In half an hour they would finish their drinks » » »



16 February 2011

Will my arm drop off?

13th February 2011 When I went to bed last night I noticed that my left forearm was tingling and almost numb on the underside. Not painful, just very weird. I couldn’t work out what was wrong until recollecting the journey back from Rinca island. We were all very tired and Maureen slept with her head » » »



16 February 2011

Hunting dragons

12th February 2011 We set out on our dragon hunt at 7am, after fortifying ourselves with a breakfast of fried noodles and egg. The first task was a two-and-a-half hour boat trip to Rinca island, on a wooden fishing boat whose engine chugged deeply, rather like a techno rave, and shook the whole vessel. On » » »



16 February 2011

The restaurant that fell to earth

11th February 2011 This evening we ate at the restaurant next door. This doesn’t sound very peculiar, but I’m at a loss to understand what it’s even doing there. Lemme explain… Our hotel has six rooms and lies 3 kms out of town, on a dusty road with nought but shacks and banana plantations on » » »



16 February 2011

Moving onto Flores

10th February 2011 We started horribly early at 6am with a sad breakfast of hard-boiled egg, feeble jam sandwich and water which had been left for us by the kind staff of Okawati because they don’t start breakfast until 7:30. I wouldn’t have bothered if I’d known that 1.5 hours later we’d be ensconced in » » »



16 February 2011

Bali beauties

9th February 2011 I think there are three beauties in Bali. The first is the sea and the shore, at least in places like Amed where the rampant spread of resorts hasn’t made the scene fit only for sun-worship. Our last stop with Tim and Vanessa will be Permuteran, and I have all fingers and » » »



9 February 2011

Blech

8th February 2011 One day of rest turned into two days of rest. The first was very needed, as our long driving day had left everyone quite tired, not only me. We wandered Ubud, we indulged in a very oily Balinese massage which was pleasant as an experience but doesn’t leave the same lingering feeling » » »



9 February 2011

Wandering by car

6th February 2011 We left our hotel by 9am this morning, and didn’t get back until 6:30pm. I reckon we probably spent a total of 3.5 hours exploring a temple, having lunch and visiting a lake which means I spent about six hours driving. Given that I used less than half a tank of fuel » » »



8 February 2011

Return to Bali

5th February 2011 Guest post written by Tim Johnson Fifteen years ago I was here in Bali, deep into a long round-the-world break, still in my twenties. It felt like a major highlight of that trip – especially the music and dance – and so I was wondering how honest my long-stewed memories would prove, » » »



7 February 2011

Ubud feels familiar

4th February 2011 We’re travelling with friends again. Yesterday morning we got up hideously early to go jogging with Maureen’s cousin in a park in Denpasar. Don’t ask me why! Although it turned out that we were only going to be walking around the park, and indeed most of the other locals in their shorts » » »



7 February 2011

Useful things

2nd February 2011 Today’s post is an equipment update. We promised to do these, as every other travel blog we’ve read tells readers what they decided to pack, but not how those items turned out in practise. There’s torrential rain outside, and today was largely spent with last-minute tasks like printing out photos for grandma » » »



2 February 2011

Maintenance day

1st February 2011 Today was one of those maintenance days. There were toiletries to buy and a guidebook to Australia to search for. We found a cafe with free WiFi and dedicated 3+ hours to updating the blog, getting the Recommended* page working again and catching up with various emails. As a bonus the cafe » » »



2 February 2011

Picture Amed

Our three day trip to the Amed coast was a great glimpse of the beauty on Bali. I honestly have no idea why any tourists would want to stay around the grubby bustle of Kuta, Sanur, Legian and the rest. But I’m very glad that most of them do!



2 February 2011

Poor hat

31st January 2011 I would have been quite happy to hang around the house all day doing not much, but oh no we had to go and visit the clifftop temple of Ulu Watu with grandma. Also known as the monkey temple. Actually, almost all temples in South-East Asia seem to be known as the » » »



2 February 2011

Oleh oleh

30th January 2011 Duck eggs and donuts. Today we ambled our way back from the far east Amed coast to Denpasar and grandma. There is a tradition on Bali called “oleh oleh” which means that when you visit someone (or return home) you bring small gifts with you, and your hosts also give you gifts » » »



2 February 2011

Singapore snaps

The release of this gallery was postponed due to the need to surprise Tim and Vanessa with Maureen’s new hair. We hope our readers will understand and excuse the delay.



1 February 2011

Terrors of the deep

29th January 2011 The snorkelling along this coast is wonderful. Seriously, it knocks Ko Surin into a cocked hat, a veritable cocked hat. The coral is just a few yards from the shore everywhere and is a delight of different forms and colours and textures. The term ‘coral garden’ fits superbly. We snorkelled two coves » » »



1 February 2011

Meditasi

28th January 2011 This is a lovely place. It’s my favourite bit of Bali so far, both the area and the place we’ve stopped to stay. From Padangbai this morning we drove east as far as it’s possible to go without plopping into the deep indigo Indian Ocean. Padangbai is an amiable spot, with a » » »



1 February 2011

Durian Durian

27th January 2011 In Indonesian words can often be doubled to emphasise their meaning, so for example “besar besar” means not just large but lots of large. I’ve had my first experience of eating fresh, ripe durian and it’s such an amplified fruit experience in every way that it really ought to be doubled. Durian » » »



1 February 2011

Budget Update Asia

Written by Maureen, Financial Director of M&M Ltd Our goal in Asia was to enjoy ourselves while spending less, and save up for Indonesia where we plan to meet up with friends and family. So how did we do? Hong Kong Hong Kong is easy to summarise. A cosy room in a budget guesthouse was » » »