LIFE SE ASIA MAGAZINE

2emptynesters

Introduction:

Time of year: Late October 2016

Purpose of trip: As part of our round the world trip, we were determined to see Halong Bay. In reality, that is best done by an overnight junk cruise.

p1010751Why we chose this place: Halong Bay is unlike anything else, with thousands of limestone mountains rising from the sea. This provides a stunning backdrop and a chance to view the unique lifestyles of the fishermen and their families who spend their entire life on the sea.

We chose the Dragon Legend II (operated by Indochine Junk), because it had great Tripadvisor reviews and it’s a large (therefore sociable) and luxurious (which we felt we needed at this stage in our trip) boat.

How long we stayed: We organised an extended trip with Indochine Junk which included an airport pickup, a night in the lovely Hanoi Pearl hotel, transport down to Halong and…

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WokTravels

Eat, Love, Pray & Play Bali – Part 5.

DSC06544DSC05339After a one and a half hour van ride from Seminyak, followed by a bumpy traverse over narrow unpaved tracks deep into the paddy fields, we finally arrived at our destination – Agung Khalia Villa, abode for our 5 nights in Ubud, Bali. 

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This incredibly alluring  villa complex is surrounded by plots of lush paddy fields; we learned from our driver that they belong to different farming families, with the boundaries of ownership demarcated by small shrines planted at the corners of each plot.

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Agung Khalia Villa has an interesting history, as told to me by the villa manager Guru, a local Balinese who incidentally is a superb hospitality professional who doesn’t say no to any guest requests. Apparently the c0-owner of the villa, Californian college professor Laura Leaver, used to lead school trips to Bali. She fell in love with the place…

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WokTravels

Eat, Pray, Love & Play In Bali Part 1.

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This is the time of my annual vacation with my Mum and siblings; our choice of destination this year is Bali, a popular vacation spot made even more famous by the Eat, Pray, Love movie portraying Elizabeth Gilbert’s (played by Julia Roberts) soul-searching sojourn, part of which took place in Bali.

We rented a vacation home in the upscale Seminyak area – Villa Martine is hidden from the madding crowd of the main Seminyak shopping thoroughfare, down a narrow little lane; I’m amazed that our van could pass through it.

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The villa is a lovely 5-bedroom bungalow with its own pool, furnished in open-concept Balinese style with a modern touch. It comes with outdoor showers in a few rooms and includes the services of 2 in-house domestic helpers who even cook your breakfast to order –  a gorgeous villa to spend 2 days.

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She Walks the World

I have never heard of Pulau Weh until I started diving early this year, when I was told of the beautiful reefs and marine life surrounding the island. So during the monsoon season (Oct-Feb) in South East Asia that usually sees most of the islands on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia close-off to visitors– I wanted to dive, and somehow, Pulau Weh seemed like a very attractive choice. Apart from the diving; it’s relatively unknown, almost untouched by mass tourism, and offers some much needed peace and quiet.

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About Pulau Weh
If you want to travel as far up north of Indonesia as you can go, Pulau Weh is the place to head to. It is situated in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island, and is part of the Acheh province.

The main religion of the province is Islam, and shariah law was applied here…

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Stafford on Tour

Our plan had us heading straight to Ban Lung, but instead we decided to head east into the Mondulkiri (lots of beautiful jungle cloaked mountains and plantations, but little else). In Sen Monorom (the regional capital) we scored a cute little bungalow at the Happy Elephant for super cheap – no frills but all the thrills – and headed straight for a waterfall to enjoy the rest of the day. We had heard bizarrely good reports of a pizza restaurant (Mondulkiri Pizza) in the town, so thought we would have a look and after about half and hour of wandering the back streets, in the pitch black being barked at by every single dog, we managed to find it and had an admittedly great pizza while watching the Cambodia v Japan football.

En route to the falls on a moto

Next up, a very exciting day. We were headed into…

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