Category Archives: Nature

3 days through Ijen & Bromo

We started our long weekend by taking the plane from Singapore to Surabay airport on Friday morning. To do the whole tour we used : tommy, recommended on Singafrog and also by us now ! It was well organized and the driver was really nice.

Day 1 Surabaya – Banyuwangi

The driver picked us up at Juanda international airport, Surabaya. We drove to water falls near by Bromo area. From the outside we through it was small water falls with no interest, but then you walk inside the water fall and look backward and then it is just beautiful ! Get ready you will be totally wet !

Back to the car and we drove to Banyuwangi and stay the night in an hotel there. Hotel : Hotel Palm

Total distance by car : 275 km, approximately 7h of drive

Day 2 Ijen blue fire tour – Cemorolawang

Early morning wake up : midnight !! We took a jeep tour to Paltuding village, in the slope of Kawah Ijen. We walked to the summit and crater of Kawah Ijen for about 1.5h.
Total distance on foot : 6 km Total elevation gain : 900m

As we reach the crater, we saw the blue flame, a burned sulphric gas that make beautiful contrast at night. It is quite impressiv however i through they were not that big !

By the sunrise, we climbed back up to the summit to see the beautiful panorama of Kawah Ijen and its beautiful sulphuric acid lake (which is one of world’s biggest). Beautiful ! Really no word to explain how nice the scenary was.

We get back to the hotel to take breakfast and shower, then we drove to Cemorolawang and stay in a hotel .

Total distance by car : 40 km, app 3 hours + 230 km, approximately 6h.

Accommodation : Lava View Hotel

Day 3 Bromo sunrise tour – transfer to the airport

We started at 03.30am from the hotel by jeep to see the sunrise in Penanjakan (it takes approximately 1 hour drive). The waiting time (around 1h30) was definitely worth it !! Bring some warm cloth and gloves.

After seeing sunrise we climbed Mt. Bromo, a volcano inside an ancient volcano. The walk is super easy (maybe only 25 min walk). The hard part is the breathing, because of all the dust and the horses walking next by you, it is quite difficult to breath. Bring mask !! That will prevent you to be asphyxiated.

Back to our hotel, we had breakfast and clean up. We left the hotel at 10 am/11 am in the morning to Juanda airport. It took approximately 3 to 4 hours, depending on the traffic.

Climbing in Lopburi, Thailand 

There are over 60 routes, single and some multi pitch climbing, just 2-hours away from Bangkok. You can do this trip over the weekend from Singapore.

Khao Jeen Lair is a limestone peak located 14km east north east of Lopburi town, 160km north of Bangkok. There are five areas called “Temple Area – Left Side”, “Temple Area – Right Side”, “Secret Garden Area – Left Side”, “Secret Garden Area – Right Side”, and Easter Island areas.

How to get there ?

Khao Jeen Lair is accessed via a temple but not that easy to reach. We got lost the first time. I recommand you to get a phone with a GPS !

Then once at the temple you have to hope it is open ! Therefore watch out the days your going there if it is not a public holiday in Thailand.

To the cliff you actually have to walk through the temple and up to the main face. The monks have been extremely nice to us climbers. The only request they have made is that you have to sign a registration form and give a little something for the entrance fees.

A PDF climbing guide can be viewed and downloaded from the following link: HERE

Climbing there

We did the multi-pitch on our sides. 3 groups of 2, doing Waltz for a lovely life and Corcovado. We started around 9 am.

Waltz for a lovely life is a really nice multi pitch of 6 pitchs, 5c/6a all along well maintain and nice area to belay. The first anchor for the relay is not very easy to find you have to do a travers and then you can set up the relay. For the other pitchs no issue finding the anchors.

Corcavado, I didnt do it, but our friend said it was also a very nice route, more engage but still very feasible.

The whole repelling is done on Corcavado. Some cactus and trees on the way done might create difficulties with the rope !

Climbing in Krabi, Thailand

Climbing in Krabi is always a perfect choice. This place is one of the best climbing area in the world. The views are breathtaking, the routes are beautiful and the beach is amazing.

However it is not easy climb there, the average level of the routes are 6b. Most of the climbing area are well maintained, but always double check the condition. Some routes would need new slangs.

How to get there ?

Plane to Krabi airport (direct from Singapore with Air asia and scoot). Then bus toward the pier and long tail boat to Railay or Tonsai. Most of the time your hotel in Tonsai or Railay can arrange the transfer.

Where to stay ?

Railay or Tonsai. Railay will be more touristic and high standing compare to Tonsai which is the backpacking site. Both are nice (I have done both).

In Tonsai : Tonsaibay Resort
In Railay : Sand Sea ResortRailay west beach

Either way you will go to the other side to climb. Tonsai and Railay offers equivalent numbers of routes ! You can easily transfer from one area to the other via a small path (count around 30 min from extreme right of tonsai to extrem left of Railay.

Where to climb ? 

So many area in Krabi ! You would need to stay a whole week maybe more to do all the routes ! However, some area are pretty nice if you have only 1 weekend to spend.

  • 123 wall –> for beginners and warm up.
  • PHRA NANG BEACH –> some easy routes but most of them are difficult, go during sunset the view is stunning !
  • Thaiwand wall –> one of the most beautiful routes over there, the view is just wonderful
  • HUMANALITY WALL –> mutli pitch of 6a / 6b . a must to do !
  • MELTING WALL –> access with a canoe or boat because you might be blocked due to the tight. Routes are pretty nice and the view too.

3 days get away at Bukit Lawang

3 days get away at Bukit Lawang.

Trip duration: 3 days
Cost: 240$ (flight tickets) + 193$ (trek, meals, guesthouse)

Bukit Lawang is near Medan in Sumatra Island. It is very easy to get there, direct flight from Singapour.

For the organisation of our trip we used : Bukit Lawang Tour and Trekking GuideLINK , +62 813-6410-8007 (on what’s app).

Perfect organisation, always looking at us and really good food ! 👍👍

Day 1

We took our flight on Friday morning, arrived at Medan around 10am. We were welcomed by our driver and drove for 3h30 to reach Bukit Lawang. There we met our guide for the first part of the trip. we  started our trekking around 1.30/2pm. around 3pm we stopped for a lunch (nasi goreng and fruits), then we continued to walk for around 1h30. On the way we had the chance to see some orang-outans 😀. Very close !

We reached the camp (near to the river) around 5pm. We had tea and coffee with some biscuits very nice ! Then resting, shower in the river and chatting.

Diner by the first, chicken curry, noodles, rice. Very good ! Sleeping in the tent with a small yoga mat. A bit hard I must say !

Day 2

Waking up with the nature and the long tail monkeys ! 🐒 Breakfast and then packing for the trek. We walked around 2h30/in a morning, we also had the chance to see some orang-outans on the way.

Lunch by a nice river and waterfall.

Back to the trekking, for around 2h30, we reach a summit and enjoyed a nice view over the jungle !

Around 4pm we reach the second camp site.

Rafting to go back to Bukit Lawang ! Nice and smooth after the effort comes confort ! 🚣‍♀️

Arrived around 5pm at the guesthouse. Relax time. However the guesthouse we had wasnt great, bed broken which ended rolling at each other ….

Wisma Batu Mandi: poor service, bed broken, no toilet paper and far from the bar/restaurant of the ecolodge. 🙁

Day 3

Woke up a 8h30, breakfast and getting ready for the travel back to the airport. Left Medan at 4pm.

Maldives Live on Board

Maldives are very critized because of their politic and its government. However, it is one of the best spot to go diving with an incredible marin life. We decided with 12 other friends to go diving their for 1 week on a boat. 

When ? February 2018 during chinese new year

Where ? Maldives central atoll 

How much ? 1,600 Euros / person except flights. We found some flight from Singapour for 400 SGD. 

After many research, we found one affordable liveboard : Dune Maldives check out their website : https://maldives.dune-network.com/en/home

The dive center is really nice and people there too, nothing to say, nice crew definitely nice food and great boat with clean rooms. Totally recommend ! 👍👍

We spent our week on the boat going from atoll to atoll in the central maldives, with 3 dives a day and 1 time 4 dives with one night dive. 

Komodo National Park

Trip duration: 7 days
Cost: around 2,000 SGD per person (this includes the diving, excursions, food and hotels).

Komodo National Park is a national park in Indonesia located within the Lesser Sunda Islands in the border region between the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara. The park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Padar and Rinca, and 26 smaller ones.

Day 1 – Arrival, setting up dive equipment

We landed on Flores Island, in Labuhanbajo city. From the airport we took a taxi to reach the city center. We normally should have spend the night in Eco Tree Hotel but unfortunately it was full and we have been upgraded to the Laprima Hotel.

Eco Tree Hotel ❤ : Soekarno Hatta 22, Kampung Tengah, Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia
Laprima Hotel: Jl. Pantai Pede, Labuan Bajo, Goron Talo, Komodo, Kabupaten Manggarai Barat, Nusa Tenggara Tim. 86554, Indonésie

Both hotel are really nice and clean. The Eco Tree hotel has a magnificient view of the bay and a great pub/restaurant (hipy type). The laprima hotel is more sophisticated with a nice swimming pool.

Day 2, 3, 4 – Live on Board

We book our live on board with http://divekomodo.com/  it was prefect, the boat was nice, the crew members too. 👌👌

Day 1: leave Labuhanbajo at 9 am. We did 3 dives on this day.  Very impressive dives with lots of current but surely one of the best dives I’ve ever done (amazing corals, great visibility, huge numbers of mantas). We stayed the overnight on the boat. 

Day 2: explore komodo area for diving. We did 4 dives on this day. Overnight on board.

Day 3: 2 dives in the morning and followed by komodo dragon tour in Rinca island. And then back to Labuan Bajo.

Day 5 – Padar Island & Palu Siaba Besar

We started our day waking up early to take a boat direction Padar Island. After 3-4 hours boat we finally arrived at the island. The walk is around 1h maximum but once in the top it is just majestic !!! 😍😍

After this walk, back in our boat toward the Siaba Besar. Beautiful small island where you can relax and chill on the beach.

Day 6, 7 – Day trip diving 

During those two days we did day trips diving with the Uber Scuba dive center : http://uberscubakomodo.com/.

Good center, however I add some issue with my dive gears, didnt get the right shoe for my fine during the both days…

Day 8 – Padar Island, Komodo Island and Pink Beach

On this day because we were taking our flight the next day we couldnt dive so we went back to Padar and we did Komodo Island. Komodo Island is similar to Rinca not much difference, the trail is a bit longer but still very touristic.

We stopped on our way back to Pink Beach as well. Pink beach is not worth it, not really pink…

Day 9 – Back Home

After a nice and sportiv week we took our plane in the early afternoon back to singapore with mantas in our eyes !

Diving in Komodo Dangerous ?  🤔

Dives in Komodo are amazing but not easy. There might have very stong current and you need to be able to balance yourself well otherwise it can get very complicated for you and your buddies. But despite of this they are one of the best dives in the world ! In our group there were some open water and they came back alive 🙂

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

4 days around yogja

Total budget per person : 600$ flight included

Day 1

We started our trip from Singapore with Air Asia (cheap airline) at 11am. After an hour delay and 2hours flight we landed in Yogja around 1pm. We choose to rent a car for this travel. It might be supprising and risky but it was worth it even if the drive is a bit intense (cars and motocycle are coming from everywhere) it’s manageable.

After having checked the car condition with the renter (Avis), here we go ! Direction Prambanan Temple.  It is a 9th-century Hindu temple. It is dedicated to the Trimurti, the expression of God as the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer.

/!\ Tips: buy the binded ticket with Borobudur Temple, 40 USD.

Nice temple, and very big. There are several “towers” where if you go inside can see status of gods.

After our visit, we stopped at the temple restaurant outside of the temple and facing the temple. Beautiful view of the temple. Then, long drive started to go to Borobudur Temple. Around 50km of small and narrow streets with a lot of traffic. After 2h drive we made it to our hotel.

Lotus 2 Homestay: Jalan Balaputradewa No.54, Borobudur, Magelang, Jawa Tengah 56553, Indonesia
Very nice and welcoming people, 5 min walk to Borobudur temple, clean rooms.

Day 2

Waking up early 5.45am to reach Borobudur temple when it opens at 6am. We knew that we were going to miss the sunrise but we didnt wanted to pay the additional cost for it. Despite this we could enjoy the early morning lights with no body at the temple.

It’s from 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple, it’s the the world’s largest Buddhist temple. The temple consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome.

Amazing view, beautiful temple, I think from many temple we have done over asia, this one is one of my favorite one.

Back to our hotel for the breakfast and then heading to Yogja downtown.  40km drive and 1h30 later we arrived in the busy city. The drive became a bit more tense and after several u-turns we found a parking at the railway station (50,000 Roupies for 24 hours).

We started our viste with the Kraton and Waterfall temple (Taman Sari). It’s a nice area to walk from narrow streets to very large and noisy streets. The temple itself is not very beautiful, but the atmosphere and the whole district around it make it interesting. The entrance for both is 13,000 per pers.

 

We stopped for lunch at a very nice place (Italian and Spanish) but very good food : Sixsenses Restaurant  (Jalan DI. Panjaitan No. 39, Mantrijeron, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55141, Indonesia).

To end our day we went for some batik art (painting on silk).

We spend the night at Andrea Hotel, Sosrowijayan Wetan GT I/140, Gang 2, Sosromenduran, Gedong Tengen, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta 55271, Indonesia. Located in a beautiful narrow street, nice and clean rooms.

Day 3

Starting our day around 9am, we took back the car and drove toward the coast of Yogja. Beautiful road, less traffic, and amazing landscapes.

First stop : Laut Bekah. The access is a bit tricky and will require good driving skills. The road is more like a path and very very narrow, sometimes very steep, but the view is worht it ! Coordinates : S8°4’16” E110°22’30”.

Second stop : Parangkusumo Desert. We were really impressed by the diversity of landscape Java island has ! Indeed, we went to see and walk on the parangkusumo desert, small yes but quite interesting to see sand dunes appearing after the forest. Coordinates: 8°00’59.5″S 110°19’03.9″E.

Finally, we reached our amazing hotel.

Queen Of The South Beach Resort, Girijati, Purwosari, Gunung Kidul Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta 55872, Indonesia. Amazing pool with view on the sea, nice and clean bedroom. Good breakfast and barbecue.

Day 4

Day 4 started with a fail, we wanted to do the Langse Cave and the dardevil treck, but it ended up by turning back at the start of the trail. The ladders were not in a good shape and it was too risky with 100 m hollow on the right side.

We changed our plans and drove toward an organic farm and a nice view on the countryside. Wisata Alam Seribu Batu. Beautiful view.

Then after chatting with the owner of the farm, we drove to Pinus Asri Where we found a nice forest of pine tree.

Back to yogja, where we slept one more night, close to the airport in a nice homestay.

Griya Cemara homestay, Jl. Pisang, Maguwoharjo, Kec. Depok, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia.

10 days in Vietnam {part1}

Duration : 10 days
Budget : ~1300 sgd / pers (flights/hotel/activities and food included)

10 days in vietnam is a good duration to be able to visit a bit and enjoy the country from north to south. We most of the time stayed 2 days is each cities.

Overall trip : Hanoi –> Halong Bay –> Hanoi –> Sapa –>Hanoi –> Hue –> Hoi An –> Da Nang –> Ho Chi Minh

Day 1 – Hanoi

Arriving to Hanoi from Singapore after 3 hours flight we took a cab to reach the city center (~40 min drive, it should cost around 400,000) and our hotel Rosa Bella Hotel. Nice and welcoming people took us to our rooms. Very clean hotel, maybe the breakfast is a bit small but still okay.

Hotel bella Rosa : 21 Cầu Gỗ, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

To start our visit, we looked for a nice place to grab something for lunch.  We ate at the Artisan Buon Dua Le Cafe. Very nice place, nothing fancy but just great.

Buon Dua Cafe : 20 Hàng Hành Hàng Trống Hoàn Kiếm Hàng Trống Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội Vietnam

Day 2 – Hanoi

We did the lonely planet walking tour which is just perfect to enjoy Hanoi and all the small streets.

Highlights :  Ngoc Son temple, The Huc, The monument of the martyrs, Pho Hang Be and the market on Pho Gia Ngu, Pho Ma May, to discover, at n ° 87, the delightful commemorative house, Pho Ta Hien, to the famous bars, the Bach Ma Temple, Cua O Quan Chuong  Pho Thanh Ha, where a street market, the Dong Xuan Market, Pho Hang Ma, where the fake notes are sold during the Buddhist ceremonies, the tinsmiths and the mirror makers, Buddhist altars, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Ho Lo Jail.

For our afternoon, we took a cab to go at the west lake and enjoy a nice walk next to it with the visit of a temple.

For dinner, we ate at la Porte d’annam. Absolutely amazing. Careful, there might be lots of people, it’s better to book.

Porte d'Annam : 22 Nha Tho street, Hoan KiemHanoi 00000001, Vietnam

Day 3 – HON GAI HARBOUR – BAI TU LONG BAY – THIEN CANH SON CAVE

Direction : halong bay. 4 hours drive to reach the area.

http://www.indochina-junk.com/ No 58, Au Trieu street Hoan Kiem district Hanoi- Joining PRINCE junk

7.30 – 8.00: Pick up at your hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter area. We booked through indochina junk a small boat for max 8 people. It’s more expensive than the big boats but worth it as the trip is not the same and they are going through smaller path where you’re getting more privacy.

12.00 – 12.30: Embark at Hon Gai International harbor.

12.30 – 13.00: Check-in, we enjoyed a welcome drink and add a cruise briefing.

13.30 – 15.00: Have lunch while cruising to magnificent Bai Tu Long bay; admire the fascinating formations on the way.

15.15 – 15.40: Explore the well- hidden Thien Canh Son cave.

15.45 – 18:00: Enjoy relaxing on a white sandy beach at Hon Co island, swimming or kayaking.

18:00 – 19.00: Back to junk for refreshing before having dinner on board.

20.00 – 21.00: Relax, enjoy fresh air & overnight on board.

 

Day 4 – VUNG VIENG FISHING VILLAGE – HON GAI HARBOUR

07.30 – 08.00: Morning view of Bay’s landscape with a cup of tea or coffee. Have breakfast in the fresh air.

08.30 – 09.30: Visit Vung Vieng fishing village by a rustic row-boat.

10.00: Check out of the cabin. Start cruising towards the harbor while an A la carte lunch is served.

 

11.45 – 12.00: Disembark. Drive to Yen Duc village in Dong Trieu province.

14.00 – 14.30: Enjoy water puppet show performed by local artists which is good for kids not really interesting for adult.

14.45 – 17.30: Arrive in Hanoi.

Once in Hanoi, we moved to the railway station to get our train to Sapa. We booked one bedroom with 4 beds with the Orient Express. Small but clean, let’s go for 6 hours night train to Lao Cai.

Day 5 – Sapa

6am, we arrived at Lao Cai station. We took a taxi (you can have cheaper if your take the local bus which is correct, but we were too tired !). 1hour later we finally reached Sapa. Next objective, find 4 scooters. We found some in the street next to the bus stop, for 60 $ 4 scooters for 3 days.

Sapa is changing a lot currently with constructions everywhere. They are also lots of ethni that try to sell you many handmade braclette, neckless… They also try to sell you hotel rooms, or visits of small villages. Be strong ! you can say no sometimes.

With our scooter, we drove to our guesthouse (1h by scooter). Beautiful road for the view, but not great for the road itself with lots of hole.

Ta Van Ecologic Homestay --> super nice homestay with a magnificient view on the rice field.

 

4 days in Cambodia

Duration : 4 days
Budget : ∼600 $ / pax (flight; hotel;activities and meals)

Day 1

We left Singapore on Thursday evening plane took off around 7pm we arrived in Phnom Penh at 9pm. We took a cab to reach the city center (11$, not really negociable as all of the cab where saying the same price).

We check in at our hotel (nice a quiet hotel, near everything restaurant, museum, coast, activities), the employees were nice and the room was cosy and clean. Sufficient for us.

Address : Diamon Palace Hotel, #29EO, St. 178, Preah Ang Makhak Vann St. (178), Phnom Penh 12206, Cambodge

We went out in the famous street to grab something to eat. Stop at where we enjoyed really strong cocktail (bit too strong for me through) and good food.

Day 2

Starting the day with a nice breakfast (included in the room) toast; egg and orange juice or coffee. We then walk to What Phnom (north of bd Norodom). Nice pagoda, small but with decorations and well maintain 5 (only 1$ the entrance).

 

 

Then we walk back in the direction of the hotel. Originally we wanted to visit the Silver pagoda and the royal palace but they are closed between 12 till 14h. We had to change our plan to the National Museum (5$). I recommend it if you want to learn and understand a bit the culture of Cambodia. Allow around 1h30 for the visit.

After the visit we went eating in a very nice place called “Friend“, close to the museum. Awesome place, incredible plates and really affordable prices. Totally recommend it.

To end our day, we decided to go and visit the Tuol Sleng. Old prisons like we used to have in France or Germany during the war. Hard, difficult, sad, but worth it. It’s unfortunately part of the history of this country.

Dinner at the Romdeng; also perfect like his brother “Friend”.

Day 3

Direction the airport for Siem Rep. After 40 min flight we landed and reach our nice hotel  ( Borei Angkor Resort and Spa).

Address : Borei Angkor Resort and Spa, #0369 National Highway 6, Slokram, Banteay Chas, Krong Siem Reap 17252, Cambodge

We relaxed the morning at the pool area.

For our afternoon, we decided to visit a floating village. we choose Kâmpóng Khleang less touristic than his brother Kampong Phluk but a bit farthest but worth it. We were the only foreigners there. Our tuk-tuk driver was really nice and show us around.

Day 4

For our last day we choose one tour that the hotel offer for the Angkor Wat temple. Our driver and guide took us during the whole day to all the touristic but outstanding place of Angkor Wat.

For me one day at the temples area is sufficient if you’re not a huge fan of temples. However, you could spend 3 to 4 days visiting the area.

We ended our day around 3 pm so we enjoyed the swimming pool and could go at the city center to enjoy a nice meal.

Day 5 

Our last day was the travel back to singapore around 11 am.

 

3 days in Chicago

Day 1 – Travel and The loop

Woke up early to take our flight from Dallas to Chicago, we arrived around 8am in Chicago. We took the subway to downtown and meet a friend. We started our visit with the Millenium park and Grant Park with the Bean.

The bean
The bean

We went then to rent bikes near Monore harbour. We biked to the Navy Pier and had lunch then.

View from the shore
View from the shore

We biked up north to Lincoln Park Zoo and enjoyed the Michigan Lake. Lincoln Park Zoo is a really nice small zoo, one of the oldest in the country.

Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo

We biked back to the hotel Hyatt and had a dinner and drink near our hotel.

Downtown Chicago
Downtown Chicago

Day 2 – Near North and North Side

We started our day by a long walk around downtown to enjoy as much as we could the heart of Chicago. You definitely need to lose yourself in those streets.

Chicago
Heart of Chicago

Chicago Downtown
Chicago Downtown

Then we had a wonderful lunch with the specialty of Chicago deep dish pizza at pizzeria uno near magnificent mile. Then we did the famous magnificent mile.

Pizzeria Due
Pizzeria Due

Chicago Water Works Pumping station
Chicago Water Works Pumping station

Ending our day with a wonderful sunset on one of the highest tower the John Hancock Center. Tips, better than the willis tower because you dont need to pay entrance, you need to have a drink instead but believe me it’s worth it.

View from the tower
View from the tower

To end our day we went enjoying some live music in one of the many bars on Hubbard St. Good streets to go out !

Day 3 – Far south

To finish our wonderful long weekend, we walk a bit alongside the canals near the Trump Tower. We then took the subway to Chicago University up South. Amazing campus, beautiful buildings a must to do to enjoy more about the student life.

Chicago University
Chicago University

Chicago University
Chicago University