A Travellerspoint blog

August 2008

Ko Samet...

...Land Of Beaches & Bugs

sunny 35 °C

On the morning of the 27th, we left our hotel in Ko Samui (I never did work out what the place was called) for the airport at about 8am for our 9:45am flight. The little outdoor airport was pretty busy, but once again we managed to check in our overweight bags without any trouble. I've pretty much got it nailed now...if it's a sloping scale/conveyer belt you make sure it's hanging off the end and all the weight is transfered through the end of the bag and not down onto the scales (this was how we made our bags weigh 6kg instead of 25kg on this particular flight!)...if it's a flat scale, a deftly placed foot/leg supporting the back of the bag takes a good 5 or 6 kilo's off. Our Bangkok airways flight took off on time and we were landing in Bangkok within the hour.

Ko Samet is an island off of what they call the Eastern Seaboard of Thailand. Ban Phe is the port about a 3 hour drive east of Bangkok where the boats go from. When we got to Bangkok, we didn't really have a plan as to how we were going to get there. Whilst I stayed with the bags Kim did a deft job of finding out that there was a free shuttle bus that could take us the 45 minutes to the bus station in the middle of Bangkok, where we could then get a bus for the 3 hour journey out to Ban Phe for about 10 bucks each...whilst holding the heavy kite bags in 32 degree (92 Farhenheit) heat, I thought about this for precisely half a second before sheepishly pointing out the limousine service desk and hinting that she might like to go haggle for a car, which she managed to secure for a good price! I guess some first class travel habits never wear off! We loaded the bags into a nice air conditioned car and set off on what turned out to be about a 2 hour ride....I think we were both relieved to be doing it in comfort.

West Coast of Ko Samet
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Ban Phe is a mucky little port town spread out about half a mile along the main high street. The taxi driver dumped us at the port there. We had a tentative plan to find the local office of a hotel on the south of Ko Samet island. I left Kim with the bags and on my second attempt found the place and despite the woman there not speaking English managed to negotiate our planned 10 nights on the island plus boat trip for a reasonable price. I then just prayed that it was going to be a decent place!

We got a speed boat over to the island which dumped us right on the beach outside the hotel. Well Ko Samet Ville resort is, how shall I put it, remote! Ko Samet island is a T shape about 5 miles long and at the top a couple of miles across. Our resort is about 3 quarters of the way down the east coast. There is one main dirt track that runs north south through the middle of the island. At the top it is fairly densely populated with resorts, especially the north east. Once you get halfway down, there's really only 3 or 4 places to stay. Where we are the next nearest place is about a 15 to 20 minute walk north.

Our Room
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The accommodation is pretty new from what I can gather, at least the building we're in....there's a not very good restaurant, and a very nice beach...and, well, that's it. If I were to say it's quiet, that would be an understatement! It is actually very nice and relaxing though and as I said it is only about a 15 minute stroll to some decent places to eat and drink.

I think when we first got here we were a little shell shocked...I suspect there were maybe half a dozen other people staying here...and whilst it is a beautiful spot, I know I was wondering what the hell we were going to do for 10 days! However 3 days have passed already and it hasn't been a problem and I'm quite enjoying it!!!

The first day we explored the coastline north...it is typically nice sandy beaches in little coves, separated by rocky headlands...you can scramble between the beaches the length of the island I imagine, or you can cut inland through the jungle (yes jungle) and take the dirt road. Places have clearly been over developed, but certainly not where we are!

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We rented an ATV for a day (little quad bike) to explore the island. Kim rode whilst I navigated. The roads, well tracks, are terrible....huge holes and ruts, and you really can't get over a few miles an hour. There are no cars really (a couple of taxis that are actually pick up trucks) but the main mode of transport seems to once again be mopeds....this just seems treacherous to me....trying to stay on 2 wheels...and indeed we saw a couple of people take spills, but nothing serious as no one is moving very fast.

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Oh, and it's hot....really hot...it got above 100 degrees today with what felt like 100% humidity...and the bugs are a little irritating....well a lot irritating actually....but so far we are mostly keeping them at bay. The frogs are just unbelievable. We walked down to the beach one night and Kim said, "no way listen to the frogs!". I was convinced that there was no way they could be frogs, it sounded so loud. But she was right, a small pond full creating a noise slightly louder than a freight train. I've never heard anything like it. And then there's the snakes...they are everywhere....well I've only actually seen two, but I know they're out there! The first I think was a cobra...brown about 4 foot long....Kim disagrees and reckons it was a harmless grass snake. In hindsight I'm probably in agreement with her that the second one was an earth worm, but it was dark at the time.

PS. Have reached the upload limit for the month on photos for this site, so you'll have to wait for more!

Posted by msmitheman 20:52 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Ang Thong National Marine Park

sunny 30 °C

The carving course finished with a very intense afternoon and evening working on vegetable garnishes! The teacher got pretty serious on the final day for some reason and whilst I still really enjoyed it, I'd had enough by the end...my fingers wouldn't move anymore. She insisted we work holding the vegetables in one hand and the knife in the other rather than working on the cutting board as we had been for the first 2 days. I failed (and still fail) to see why this is necessary, but I struggled a bit. Not having the steadiest (or smallest) hands in the world made it tough. Anyway I still managed to turn out some decent leaves and shapes from cucumbers, chilli's, tomatoes and spring onions!

Kim & I joined the teacher for dinner that evening, and enjoyed a nice Thai meal inclusive of deep fried fish tails....a first for us, but not terrible (although I wouldn't jump at ordering them if I saw them on a menu!).

Yesterday we booked a tour to the Ang Thong National Marine Park about a 45 minute speed boat journey west of here. We were picked up from our hotel at 8am and driven to a pier about 15 minutes up the coast where we joined about 100 other people (ok, I don't know how many but there were a lot!). We were split up into speed boats of about 20 people each. The trip over was via another island called Ko Phan Ngan where we picked up a couple more, and we arrived in the marine park at about 10:30am.

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The area is an archipelago stretching north south. I don't know how many islands exactly, but a lot...a beautiful area, but I have to say it looks like tourism is spoiling it rapidly. We pulled around into a cove for the first activity of the day snorkeling. Let me just say there were that many boats there it took some time finding a bit of water where you could lay flat without hitting someone else! The snorkeling was pretty bad...poor visibility and not much marine life (probably due to the large number of boats and tourists). We were there about an hour, before being whisked off to another island.

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Kim and I were sat on the front of the speed boat with a couple of others and one of the boat crew...suddenly I heard the guy shouting "Crocodilly, crocodilly"...on closer inspection I saw a group of people snorkeling by a small rocky island and a small salt water crocodile heading there way...maybe 3 or 4 foot. I was glad at this point that our snorkeling was done for the day as I assumed its 12 foot mother was around somewhere! As we pulled away the group in the water were non the wiser and as Kim observed, no one seemed particularly concerned about pointing it out to them.

On arriving at the 2nd island we were ushered onto the beach by the guide and told "we now climb mountain!". There were a few panicked looks around the boat, but on a quick scan of the horizon it became clear that we were going to be okay as there were no mountains evident! What we did in fact do was climb an extremely steep set of staircases up and over a hill and down the other side to a lake in the middle of the island. The views and scenery were pretty spectacular.

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On arriving back at the boat we were then taken to a third island for lunch...a green curry, vegetables, rice and spaghetti?? (obviously!!!) picnic on the beach. It wasn't bad food, accompanied by the obligatory pineapple and watermelon afterwards. After lunch it was back on the boat to our third and final island where we were thrown life jackets and told to get in 2 person kayaks. We paddled in a group around a nearby island and although it seemed like we were trying to break some sort of speed record in order to get back, it was good fun. On getting back, we then laid around for about an hour before taken back to Ko Samui (hence not understanding the need to paddle like the wind in the kayaks!!!).

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It was a fun trip although it would have been nice to be rich and be able to charter a boat to do it at our leisure!

Posted by msmitheman 20:49 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Tropical Thailand...

...Ko Samui

sunny 32 °C
View Mike & Kim's Trip on msmitheman's travel map.

Our time in Bali sadly came to an end on the 13th August. We jumped in a cab at 3pm with all our gear and headed to the airport for a 6pm flight. We were flying from Bali to Jakarta and then onto Bangkok for the initial couple of legs. Assuming that our flight to Jakarta would be taking off from the domestic terminal I got our cab driver to drop us there. On chatting with the check in agent, I soon established this was wrong as our second leg was international....a new one for me...so on failing to come up with an excuse for Kim, I confessed and picked up the 2 kite bags for the walk around to the international terminal...luckily not too too far!!

That was to be the only hiccup of the trip...our Jakarta leg took off on time and we landed about 7pm....we had a couple of hours to kill there (which involved a bowl of noodles and game of scrabble) before our 9pm flight to Bangkok. Garuda airlines did us proud for both legs, landing us on time at about 1am at Bangkok airport (although I did find out, just before we left, that Garuda has been banned from flying in Europe for failing to meet safety standards...I had no complaints!).

Us In Jakarta
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On clearing immigration and collecting bags in Bangkok, we had time to kill before we could check in for our 6am flight to Ko Samui...we set up camp and found coffee and croissants, and after a quick nap were able to check in about 4am. Once again the Bangkok airlines flight took off on time and an hour later we were landing in Ko Samui, at a tiny little open air airport (basically a runway and a little shaded area for the baggage carousel) some 12 hours since departing (actually more with time differences...its really not that far distance wise).

I found us a bus to our hotel which turned out to be about a 10 minute drive away. We set up camp at the Shambala Bungalows in a place called Big Buddha on the northeast corner of the island. It's a tiny little village...one street of shops and restaurants but with a really nice beach and bay, all of which seem very quiet again. We spent two nights in the Shambala Bungalows, but soon discovered that it's a lot warmer here than Bali....we had gone for a cheapy "no aircon, no hot water" room....but with the pathetic fan in there, it was a little unbearable. We didn't have to walk far (2 doors down) to find another much nicer place for pretty much the same price with all the mod cons, including a mini bar and breakfast...(no complaints for less than 15 dollars a night).

Big Buddha Beach
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The kiting here isn't great....we made a couple of attempts, but the wind is pretty light, and there's not a lot of room for error with a thin beach, boats and piers so we've found other things to amuse ourselves. (although I have to say the bay is very shallow at low to mid tide....waist deep for a long way out, so if the conditions ever did come right it would be a good spot). Also bumping into 2 bathing water buffalo didn't help fill me with confidence that it was going to be a great spot!

Big Buddha Pier
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There are a lot of "Wat's" or Buddhist Temples on the island. As you may have guessed where we are staying is named as it is due to there being a Big Buddha at the Wat here. We can see it from the beach and I have to say when I first got here I was skeptical (shock horror I hear you say!). It didn't look that impressive and I was beginning to think they should have really called the place "Quite Big Buddha", however I stand corrected having visited it up close the other day....quite impressive...as are the other Wat's around the island. They are typically very colorful with lots of bald chaps in orange robes chanting.

Wat's
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We have rented a little jeep for our time here as it's so cheap and works out less than getting around on public transport (the taxi's are a huge rip off....they'll charge you 10 bucks or more for a journey of a few hundred yards). To give you an idea what this particular rental car is like, the windows will fall out if you open them to carelessly...the steering wheel has a bit of rope around it that I suspect is holding it on...the wind screen washer thing does a very good job at washing anyone who may be walking down the pavement 2 streets away, which doesn't really matter as the windscreen wipers don't really do anything...and it goes on...in fact when the guy handed me the keys and the bit of paper where I was supposed to mark off any "dents or scratches" on the little picture of the vehicle...I pondered for a minute before drawing a big circle around the whole thing....much to the amusement of the rental car folk...although I did notice they didn't change it!!! Having said that it's doing us proud and we've grown to love its quirkiness!

We took an initial trip around the island...it's not big...I suspect if you drove none stop you could circumnavigate it in an hour or less. Most of the villages are around the coast....the inland is very hilly and from what I can tell from the map mostly forest. On our first trip we failed to find the snake farm, butterfly farm, crocodile farm and the Ha Lin waterfall, but had fun pottering around looking at the different areas (we may make another attempt at some point!). Once again the trip confirmed our choice in locations, there are some terrible resort towns on the west side of the island that made Kuta on Bali (see previous posts) look idyllic.

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There are lots of stray animals on the island. Kim is single handedly feeding them one by one in her rescue attempts! (what with this and her "War On Sand" in our room...god forbid I don't brush off before coming in...there's almost not enough hours in the day!!!).

Kim & her kittens!
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We saw an advert soon after getting here for the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts (SITCA) that was offering various courses cuisine related....

to digress quickly, the food here has been FANTASTIC...I was worried when we first arrived that we were just going to spend all hours of the day eating (we have restrained ourselves)...so on seeing the courses we thought it would be fun to check the school out.

Turns out that there are lots of cooking classes, but also a Thai Fruit & Vegetable carving course...which runs over three days. It's a lot of fun...challenging, but doable...run by a very tenacious Thai women who will certainly let you know if your "angles are off by a few degrees" or your "cut is 5mm instead of 4mm"! It's a small class...3 hours each day and we have just completed day 2....it was water melons on the 1st day and cantaloupes on the 2nd....and assuming I don't mess up my turnip and pumpkin tomorrow, I will apparently receive a certification in "Fruit & Vegetable Carving" (that's "carving. not chopping" as the teacher likes to say to the "Italian chef" who is also on our course who seems to have a fairly hap hazard technique that has tended to result in his creation looking more weed than flower!)...who knows, maybe I'll be able to find a job at the Thai restaurant 2 doors down when we get home!

Day 1 our watermelons
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Day 2 my cantaloupe & kim at work
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We have plans to take a trip to the marine national park about 30km west of here in a couple of days. For those that have seen it this is where the movie "The Beach" was filmed. Apparently it's about an hours speed boat ride followed by a day of sea kayaking and snorkeling. Should be fun. We may also do a day trip to Ko Tao, which is another island a similar distance away....apparently good snorkeling.

We have another week here before we return to Bangkok....our plan then being to make our way to Ko Samet...another island about a 2 hour bus journey and hours boat trip from the capital.

(SIDE NOTE: We did indeed make national TV in Indonesia...can't say we saw it ourselves, but apparently it was "good good"!)

Posted by msmitheman 05:34 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Goodbye Bali...

...hello Thailand

28 °C
View Mike & Kim's Trip on msmitheman's travel map.

We are coming to the end of our 2 month stint in Bali so I thought I would write an entry on a random selection of events and sights...including the Sanur Village Festival that has been going on this week.

Food has been a million times better here than in Vietnam (oh no, we're going back there!!!!)....but I have to say it has still been a little on the disappointing side (although there have been some great meals I will admit).

Highlights of places we've eaten in case you ever head over here...

The Spirit Cafe is a small restaurant and bar on the beach owned by a particularly irritating Australian woman. Irritating mainly because she likes to let everyone know that she is the owner...that would be everyone in about a mile radius of the place....as she stands in the middle of the restaurant. They seem to do alright on the food front until they get busy...then it goes downhill....one particularly busy Sunday the waiter came over and before we said anything said "don't order pizza, no more pizza...we just can't be bothered, it takes to long"

Benno's is a typical beach side joint serving both Western and Indonesian food and the usual over cooked fresh seafood. I have to say the food is pretty good, but careful with the deserts...on perusing the desert list for a while Kim chose the Cheesecake. When we tried to order the waiter then proceeded to tell us that they didn't actually have anything on the desert menu (it was a good page long)....just fried bananas (don't bother, they're clearly fried a few days in advance).

Menu's in general are a challenge in your reading skills (and patience due to their size). For example there are numerous restaurants offering Chicken Gorden Blue or even Chicken Gorden Blew....one place serves nodlles noodes and noodels on three consecutive lines of the menu (and in fact doesn't serve noodles anywhere on the menu)....and there's the particularly disturbing cafe up the road that advertises what sounds like a nice porterhouse steak until you read that it comes with "...fried skin on potatoes"!

I have to say though, that by far the best food we've eaten is for breakfast at a tiny place called Randy's next to the hotel here. Our mornings consist of me having the "Canadian Breakfast", consisting of 2 pancakes, 2 poached eggs, orange juice and a pot of tea and Kim having the "Basic Breakfast" consisting of 2 slices of toast, 2 poached (sometimes scrambled) eggs, fruit plate and coffee....all for the pricey sum of 5 dollars (3 pounds)including a tip!

Signs in Bali are quite amusing too.

We have seen many signs along the road advertising "Cat Ovens"...I have since found out that this doesn't involve baking feline creatures for pleasure or even food, but that Cat is actually pronounced Tsat and means paint. Oven is used in the Western sense of the word and in fact refers to car garages advertising a car spraying service where they paint your car and then bake it in a special oven to set the paint.

Kim pointed out a useful place the other day....it was advertising "Genuine Antiques for Sale...." and then in small print below "...made to order".

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The last 4 days here have seen the hosting of the "Sanur Village Festival". This has seen a number of events and competitions going on in the town and on the beach...traditional boat processions, windsurf racing, kite competitions (more later), Bonsai Tree competitions, pillow fight on a pole knockouts, who can walk the quickest around a course with a liquor bottle full on water balanced on their head (some impressive competitors in that one!)....see who needs the olympics when you've got all that!

The Boat Parade
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On Day 2 we headed down to the beach where there was a huge Kite festival and competition taking place. Really quite impressive....massive kites of all shapes and sizes, some that would take a team of people to hold down....I'm not sure what the rules were or who won, but it was fun to watch none the less. Obviously we thought this would be a good time to kitesurf as it was windy....maybe not the best idea but oh well.

getting ready to launch...
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all different shapes and sizes...
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On getting to the beach, we were immediately approached by a television crew....I obviously pointed them towards Kim and walked away...and despite her best efforts at getting rid of them they were pretty adamant they wanted to film us for the piece. This involved us walking down the beach together and being approached by one of the festival organizers (who turned out to also be the chap who owned the local Bonsai garden that we walk through to the beach everyday) to talk to us about how great Sanur and the festival is. I was quite impressed that we managed to get this right in just 2 takes....I'm still not sure what was wrong with the first one though. They then proceeded to film us setting up the kites and heading out onto the water. Who knows whether we'll make the final cut!

Bonsai Winners!
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We surfed for a bit, but the kite competition started getting a little hectic and I feared for our kites a little bit....some of these things are huge...made out of masses of wood and material...they would have destroyed our kites if they'd hit them...and on seeing them crash onto the beach and send people fleeing on multiple occasions we decided to call it a day.

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The festival culminated yesterday in a big parade down the main street in Sanur. We were reliably informed this would begin at 3pm but when we were still waiting at 3:30pm we moved to the local pub, "The Piccadilly", that has an open air bar adjacent to the street....the parade finally came through about 5pm, by which point we were a little tipsy, but Kim managed to snap some photo's and I think it was quite impressive.

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Today is our final day in Bali before we head to Thailand. It will be sad to leave...the people here are great and we've made friends at the hotel and also the local bar (the aforementioned "Picaddilly"!). My biggest surprise of all was how successful the kiting was (Kim constantly reminds me that it was her idea to come here and that she new the kiting would be good!). I don't believe there's many places in the world now where you can have consistent winds and still be the only ones out for most of the time.

We fly to a place call Ko Samui tomorrow, via Jakarta and Bangkok...I actually had no idea where it was until I just added it to the map....so here it is!

Oh and I haven't wanted to blag...but I'm now 2 games ahead....quite the comeback!

Posted by msmitheman 21:09 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

The Gili's

sunny 30 °C
View Mike & Kim's Trip on msmitheman's travel map.

Monday morning our alarm went off at the stupid hour of 6am. After flashbacks that I was still at work and it had all been a dream I realized that we were in fact still in Bali and were getting picked up at 7am for our ride to Padang Bai to get the boat to the Gili Islands (well actually just the Gili's....apparently Gili means small island, so small island islands I guess doesn't really make sense!). I actually think we were up before the chicken as well...and despite my cockadoodledo attempts to wake it up I think it remained fast asleep until sunrise....little @#$(#@#$!!!!!

See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

The obligatory "bemo" arrived on time and we managed to cram our bags inside and get in alongside a french couple and their three kids. It is funny how amazed people are by the fact that we appear to be traveling around the world with 2 sets of golf clubs....none more so than when we turned up at the port to get on the boat to a deserted little island in the middle of nowhere! I think it kept some people in conversation for the whole crossing....I was able to make out various comments between couples in French or Dutch that referred to "les body bags" or "crazshy englishe people"

At 8am we arrived at Pandang Bai, a small port on the west coast of Bali about an hour from Sanur. We "checked in" our bags and went off in search of breakfast as the boat didn't leave until 9am. We thought we had better getting something quick, so ordered a coffee and ham and cheese croissant....but in true Balinese style when they were finally delivered an hour later we were wolfing down the coffee and grabbing the croissants as we ran for the boat!

The "Gili Cat" is a 30 person boat...enclosed, with bench seats and three 100 horsepower engines that propels it to some 40 knots across the choppy waters between Bali and Lombok. After a particularly entertaining safety briefing, of which the only part I understood was the bit about "don't worry when the captain shouts JUMP JUMP JUMP three times we all jump at the same time and swim together" (and drown or get eaten by sharks together I heard Kim whisper to me) we were all set to go. We left on time at 9am and for the first 10 minutes enjoyed being bounced around and thrown off our seats as the captain found "full throttle" and just left it there. An hour later there was no noise coming from anyone on the boat and everyone seemed to have lost their suntan and turned a shade of green or white. It didn't help that it was also extremely hot. I think we were all relieved to finally see Lombok come into site. As we pulled into the port we could see the Gili's, which are three islands, off to the left. The boat dropped a few people off in Lombok and then took off again for the busiest of the islands Gili Trawangan.

After what was actually a very efficient crossing (if somewhat rough) and totally on time, we arrived at Gili Trawangan only to be reminded that things are never easy in this part of the world. The Gili Cat's outboard engines were "fixed" and as there was no jetty it couldn't get up to the beach. So it moored up about 20 feet from the shore. Seriously I could have probably walked in, and certain swam it in about 20 seconds. A wooden boat with retractable outboard engine was launched from the beach and pulled up alongside us, where we proceeded for the next 20 minutes to transfer all the bags from one boat to the next and then all the people who were told to sit along each side. That boat was then skillfully maneuvered (for the next 5 minutes) in a "U" turn before we set off on the 10.4 second boat journey to the beach...where people and bags were once again transfered from boat number 2 to the sand. This all probably sounds reasonable without a jetty, until you realize that the second boat, if turned lengthways was longer than the distance between the first boat and beach and could have just been used as a walkway!

We wasted no time in negotiating a ride to our intended destination, Gili Meno, which was the second island across. I say negotiated, when in fact three people offered the same price and wouldn't budge...anyway, we immediately got our own private ride for the 15 minute crossing.

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We were dumped on the beach at Gili Meno where it quickly became apparent that there really wasn't anything there. You can walk around the circumference of the island in about an hour, and across the middle in less than 15 minutes. A coral reef circles the island and there are about 10 resorts up and down the east side. In the middle there are a few locals that live there (I believe I read the population was a couple of hundred)....and that's about it. No roads, no cars, no fresh water (just bottled), a lot of cats, and a few million chickens!

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We decided it would be safe to leave the kite stuff on the beach and find somewhere to stay. After looking at a couple of places we finally decided on the grandly named "Royal Reef Resort". I'm not sure what was Royal about it, but it was 6 quite nice bungalows next to the beach. We grabbed the one right on the beach front....the photo shows it was quite basic....more gap than wall or roof, a bed with mosquito net, a salt water shower and sink, and the most useless fan I've ever encountered....but perfect for what we were after...especially as it wasn't far from where we got off the boat and I only had to haul the kite bags a short distance in 30+ degree heat.

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I haven't really got a lot to write about our time there as we did very little (this was planned!). We invested in some snorkeling gear before we went which turned out to be a good call. We snorkeled every morning all round the island when the seas were calm, but found the highlight to be off the north east side. The reef extended out for a way and then dropped off to the sea floor about 30 meters below. The coral was unfortunately mainly dead due to blast fishing and storms, but the sea life was excellent. The highlight was probably the big turtles that we swam with on a couple of occasions....but also thousands of fish and other creatures that I have no idea what they were!

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....oh and the jellyfish....Kim pointed this out the moment she put her head under the water for the first time....I tried to convince her that they weren't jellyfish, but the more there were the less convincing my argument became. She got stung a few times, but then took to wearing her rash guard and kite pants to snorkel in (see photo of her kiting in last blog entry!). This pretty much restricted stings to hands, although she did get a nasty one on the arm the first day, I'll give her that.

I did not have kite pants.....and got stung lots. I also read in the guide book that July and August is the season for the "Portuguese Man O War" (look it up, it's savage!) to be found in these parts. I'm pretty convinced that's what got me on multiple occasions.....Kim is less convinced and keeps telling me to get over it!

We spent four nights there and it was excellent....so quiet (are we getting old?)...apart from the chickens....why is it that there are so many but you can't get decent chicken to eat anywhere?

As we had to get back to Gili Trawangan to pick up the boat we decided to head there a day early and spend the night there. We negotiated a boat ride with the hotel owner to get over there. The waves were big that morning though and he couldn't get the boat up to the front of the hotel and had to dock on the west coast. There was no way I was carrying the kite bags round there, so to Kim's dismay we used one of the pony and carts that are the standard form of transport on the island. Little ponies pulling wooden 2 wheel carts. I have to admit they don't look very well cared for, all skin and bones, which is a little sad....and I did feel a little bit bad when we loaded two 50 pound kite bags, kim, me, the driver, the hotel owner and a girl who was hitching a lift over to snorkel on the other side, onto the back of the tiny cart....I also have to admit I had the camera poised and ready as I was convinced the pony was going straight up in the air with the weight we had on the cart at the back. I guess thankfully this didn't happen and somehow we all made it to the boat launch and across to Trawangan.

Trawangan is a nightmare. It has gained a reputation as a "party island" but is basically a big dusty rubbish dump full of drunk (or worse) people. It was not a nice place and we pretty much locked ourselves in the hotel room and watched movies until the boat left the next morning.

The return journey was a mirror of the outward leg (including ridiculous beach to boat transfer) but on time, slightly less bumpy and all went smoothly. We are back in Sanur, once again at the great "Little Pond Homestay"....highly recommended if you're ever here! 2 weeks before we go say goodbye to Bali and head to Thailand! The wind forecast is good from Monday onwards.

Posted by msmitheman 00:58 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

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