Week 40: Last week in Bali

June 7, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

We’re rounding out our time in Bali, with only a couple of days left. This week we managed to meet up with a few friends from Vancouver. We had a beach day with Aimee in Kuta, and dinner with Sam and Adam in Sanur. It’s been great to see some familiar faces and has made me excited about seeing everyone in August. Until then however, I’m still enjoying things in Asia.

On Tuesday I headed up to Ubud, about 20km north of Denpasar, and only about an hour away from where we’ve been staying. Ubud is a cute little town surrounded by lush green rice paddies and one of Bali’s major arts and culture centers. Mike opted to stay back in Sanur as my plans were a little too girly for him. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Week 39: 9 months in Asia and the things we (will) miss.

May 31, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

We’ve just crossed the 9 month marker of our 1 year journey. Having been through Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, our time abroad is quickly coming to a close. In a few weeks we’ll be heading back to see more of Malaysia’s north coast around Penang and possibly the Perhentian islands for some diving, then on to Borneo for a few more weeks of diving and motorcycling before flying back to Hong Kong to return home to Canada in August.

South East Asia map of our travels
Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 38: Welcome to Bali

May 24, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

Things are back on track and looking up. We finally managed to get some accommodation sorted for our month in Bali, and were able to relax and enjoy our first week here. Our hotel for the first few days was great! A little more than we’ve been spending, but we got a great deal through AsiaRooms.com*, and it was one of the few we found that actually had internet. After a couple of crappy weeks it was a welcome splurge and just what we needed.

Puri Saron Hotel, Seminyak, Bali

Bali is beautiful, and the weather has been great. We spent a few days lounging by the pool and making the most of the swim-up bar. Mike was in heaven, and I’m convinced that’s the reason he picked the hotel. He’s been complaining about the lack of swim-up bars in Asia, so was finally happy. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Week 36 & 37: The downside of travel

May 17, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

For the most part, we’ve avoided talking about the difficulties of long-term travel. There’s sort of an unwritten rule among travelers that you just don’t talk about the bad stuff. Sure, it’s ok to bitch about lost luggage, a missed flight, or being ripped-off by a taxi driver, but no one really wants to hear that traveling can be tedious and stressful. Most people prefer to imagine our lives are nothing but poolside piña coladas, and endless Saturdays. Unfortunately that’s not always the case.

I think for most travelers, there comes a point when the romantic idealism wears off and the reality of long-term travel sets in. For us that point was last week. I can’t really pin it down to a specific moment or event, but rather the culmination of 9 months in Asia. Cultural differences, language barriers, and the challenges of living this type of lifestyle have become more and more apparent, and it’s been a difficult couple of weeks. What’s culturally charming on a two week vacation can become remarkably frustrating after a few months. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Week 35: Fight Night

May 4, 2009 - Filed under Entertainment, Stuff to do, Weekly Report

Walking the streets of Koh Samui around Chaweng beach can be a little like running the gauntlet. We’ve been bombarded by tailors trying to coax us into their stores for cheap suits, shirts, shoes and the like. Restaurants handing out drink coupons and herding street traffic towards their tables. Street vendors trying to sell us knockoff t-shirts, soap carvings, statues, jewelry, and a ton of other mass produced stuff. Taxi drivers endlessly asking if you want a ride. It can be a bit much, but is a defining part of the Thailand experience.

Muay Thai Guy

Among the cacophony of all this, there are trucks roaming the streets with loud speakers proclaiming the greatness of the evenings scheduled Muay Thai boxing matches. Its always the ‘Fight of the Year’ and every fighter is supposedly a district champion… but 6 years ago I did take in a Muay Thai night and it was a memorable if somewhat shocking experience. Back then, they started with the youngest fighters around 6 years old and progressed to the regional champions who were usually in their mid 20’s. It was strange paying to watch little kids beat each other up, and it did get quite bloody when they got to the later matches. But I’d say it’s a must see if you’re in the neighbourhood since the Thai people are so enthusiastic about the sport and it really is a good time. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 34: Back to Koh Samui

April 28, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

One of the harder parts about this crazy lifestyle of ours is that we are constantly picking up and moving somewhere new. We’re not exactly traveling light, which can make planes, buses, ferries, taxis, jeepnies and tuk tuks, a little difficult. And I’m often envious of those people with the tiny little backpacks.

This time before heading back to Koh Samui, we decided to do a bit of downsizing in order to lighten our load. We both got rid of quite a bit of stuff, but unfortunately it didn’t seem to make a dent in our belongings. So far we’ve been pretty good about shopping, and haven’t really purchased any souvenirs, but between the dive gear, camera gear, and computer gear, our bags are definitely heavier than we’d like.

Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Week 33: Last week on Koh Tao

April 22, 2009 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Weekly Report

After 5 weeks on Koh Tao, we decided it was time to move on. We’ve had a great month relaxing, diving, and catching up with a few friends (Becca, Jacob and Patrick who we met in the Philippines, as well as Kenny and Ben, friends from Vancouver).

The highlight for this week was undoubtedly the Whale Shark. We had heard one had been spotted a couple of times over the last few weeks, and we’d been trying to arrange a trip to Sail Rock, almost since we arrived, but for some reason none of the dive shops could make it happen. Until last Friday…

whale shark, koh tao, thailand

Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 32: A week in point form…

April 13, 2009 - Filed under Weekly Report

Here’s what happened this week:

  • Mike finally got his computer fixed after waiting 2 weeks for a new video card.
  • I lost my bank card, and am now awaiting a new one from home.
  • We had a few drunken nights with Becca & Jacob, involving thai buckets and late night pancakes.
  • The weather has been rather un-cooperative, bringing lots of rain and a few power outages.
  • We lounged on the beach and consumed several beer, while floating off the beach in front of our place.
  • Patrick, who we also met in the Philippines arrived on Koh Tao, after spending a month in Bali.
  • We went diving at Chumpon & Red Rock for the 3rd time.
  • We had all you can eat Thai BBQ (kinda like korean BBQ, but Thai) for only $5.
  • I ran into one of the girls who worked in the dive shop where I did my dive master’s, 6 years ago.

Posted by: Kelly

Week 31: Life without internet

April 7, 2009 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Weekly Report

Our internet connection has been out for the last 5 days, which means the posting around here has been even lighter than normal. Luckily work’s been pretty slow for the most part, so we’ve been taking a little break from the online world.

Once again we’ve settled into a bit of a routine here, and while it’s nice for us to chillout and not be constantly on the go, it does make for some pretty boring posts. So in an effort to keep things interesting, and because I missed “Foto Friday“, I’ve decided to turn this into a picture post.

koh tao
Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 30: Settling in on Koh Tao

March 29, 2009 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Weekly Report

This week we got settled into our new apartment. It was a lot harder to find a monthly rental than we expected, especially one with internet. Most places that had internet didn’t do monthly rentals, and the few places we found that did do monthly rentals, didn’t have internet. We did however manage to find a place. It’s not perfect but so far we’re quite comfortable here.

It’s a one bedroom apartment, a couple blocks off the main strip of town, on Koh Tao. It’s right on the beach and we have a little balcony overlooking the water as well as a great rooftop patio, both of which make up for the fact that our kitchen only has a microwave. Luckily the food in Thailand is great, and most of it is quite cheap, so while we love to cook, we probably wont be doing much of it over the next month or so. Unless anyone’s got some great microwave recipes.

Read More…

Posted by: Shim