Last time i wrote, i was in Lovina, going snorkeling the next day. And so i did! Wasn't really too sure what to expect, i just kinda got talked into it, figuring it would be something to do as there wasn't a whole lot going on in Lovina. So i got picked up early in the morning from my place, jumped in a minibus as we picked up 9 other people. A bunch of swedish people, two swiss girls and a couple of aussies. We got flippers and snorkels then drove for about an hour to a little harbour, where we jumped onto a boat and travelled for about 20 minutes to the tiny little island we were heading to. It's near gilimanuk if you just happen to be looking at a map of indonesia right now.....So we parked the boat and jumped in, and straight away I was thinking 'wow...all this coral reef.....crazy looking fish swimming around....'and then i stuck my head up out of the water and one of the swiss girls was going 'magnifique!!' or however you spell it, so i swam across with the other swiss girl and there was this sudden huge drop-off, where the coral just stops and descends into nothingness....and all the big crazy fish were just down in the darkness...looking slightly evil. And so we swam along this ledge, amongst hundreds and hundreds of fish, huge shoals that you'd swim straight through....crazy colours....crazy looking....it was just....crazy.
So after about an hour and a half of just going wow, we swam to the beach and had some lunch. Then dived back in again. It was just completely insane. It makes me want to do my PADI though and learn to dive, so i can go and check out the deep places, without the slight drawback of drowning....
So then i spent about another 4 nights in Lovina...and looking back at it, i can't really think of anything else all that exciting that happened! I just relaxed, had some great food, swimming, met a few people here and there....but nothing all that exciting really. I was just enjoying my $6 a night watch tower!
So next up i went to Ubud, which is in the middle of Bali. It's a bit like Chiang Mai, kinda artsy and cultural, but i had some really amazing food there. There was a monkey sanctuary there, so of course i wandered over to see that. Tha t was really fun, it had been raining for a couple of hours before i went, and there was this concrete channel that ran through part of it, talking water away. Well, the monkeys were having a fun time running and jumping in and out of that, and playfighting. It's just funny as walking round watching monkeys being monkeys...i want a pet monkey now....that would be pretty sweet :D
Good old lonely planet said there were some good walking trails around on the outskirts, but it wasn't exactly obvious where they started or finished. So i wandered off to try and find one. So i'm pretty sure i was on the right road, and it said the trail started somewhere on the right hand side. So i'm walking along, pretty much to the middle of nowhere it seems, and i reach a river, which means i've gone too far. So i turn back and start following every little trail that leads off to the right hand side. So, i end up at someone's house, then at a spa, then i'm just wandering through a paddy field, figuring the trail has been made by the people that work in them. And eventually the trail stops. Plus the guys working in the fields were looking kinda pissed off. So i walked back pretty quick, and gave up.
After Ubud i went to Padangbai, thinking that i was going to go across to the Gili Islands, which are just off of Lombok. I tried to book transport to the gili islands from Ubud, but apparantly it was too choppy, so i decided to just got to Padangbai and hope the weather situation improves. Everyone i asked in Padangbai either didn't want to take me to the Gili's because it was too choppy, or they wanted to charge me a bucketload to get there. So i spent three nights in Padangbai, it had an ok beach but it mostly seemed to be a place for old europeans to come on holiday. So not all that exciting.....
So i was getting a bit fustrated with Indonesia. After the awesomeness of the previous 4 months, it was all a bit slow. There weren't really all that many backpackers around, and there wasn't really anything that i was desperate to go and do. I sorta wanted to go see Borobodour on Java, but that would mean flying out of Jakarta, which would mean going to Jakarta, which was something i really wasn't keen on. Like most of this trip, nothing was really all that researched before i came, but i wasn't really enjoying my time in Indo. And i still had about 3 weeks left....so decided to go do something else. I fancied going back to Phuket in Thailand, and so booked a flight first to Kuala Lumpur and then up to Phuket. And so then, the next day, off i went. The beauty of airasia.com. Cheap flights, and always space available.
The next day i toddled off to Kata beach on the bus, it was a whole lot busier than it was back in October, as it's now high season, and now the sea is just like a big bathtub, as opposed to crazy waves and bodyboarding that happened in October. So i was sat on the beach and a thai girl who was on the bus wondered over and sat next to me. Turns out she had just finished her third year of med school and was taking a holiday but didn't really know too much about the south as she is from the north east. So we sat around and went for a swim, she asked me if i wanted to come with her to Krabi and Ko Phi Phi, she was going to be staying at her brothers place in Krabi then probably just day tripping to Ko Phi Phi. I was up for it but then we realised that there was no way to contact each other once we got off the bus as she had no access to internet where she was staying. But it was all good because i ended up staying longer in Phuket town and having a bit of a crazy time..
So the next day i was sat outside in the garden for a bit, reading the chronicles of narnia (yeah i'm cool) and then met hamish, from brisbane and donnery from the states somewhere. Watched some movies in the evenings. Then the next day me and hamish set off to try and find this mythical irish bar. We weren't entirely sure where it was so we were wondering around for a fair old while, we ended up asking a bunch of people but none of them had a clue what 'irish' or 'bar' was, so we attempted to act out being 'irish', which was a bit harder than acting out 'bar'. So then we walked into a ford dealership and tried to get directions. One girl came running out and drew a pretty descriptive map, and then also told us about a place called timber hut, which sounds like a really crappy version of pizza hut, but gave us her number for no apparant reason. So we'd been wondering around in the hot sun for a fair old while, and finally we saw it. Success.
We origninally went there because we wanted to watch the tennis, which we can do at the hostel but we just wanted a change of venue, so we got in there....and watched the tennis. And then.....we ended up staying the whole night. It was some guys birthday, there were a bunch of people who lived/worked in phuket town as english teachers etc....well at some point me and hamish ended up on the dj decks. That was entertaining. Of course, at the time we thought we were amazing, but we went back the next day for a few more beers, and found out how rubbish we thought we were. But it was all good fun!
The next few days was just spent not doing a whole lot really. One day i went to patong beach with hamish and pascal, and in the evenings we would just sit outside, drink beer, eat food and meet whoever turned up. There wasn't a whole lot going on in Phuket town, so at one point we decided we should head down to patong beach and stay at the backpackers there. It's where the majority of holidaymakers go, so there's hundreds of bars/clubs etc. So me, hamish, two norweigen guys called eirik and stefan who had been travelling together and two swiss guys called marco and pascal who hadn't been travelling together, headed down. We sorta had some issues with the booking, so three of us had dorm beds and the other three had to sleep in the common area. Although ultimately, when we came back from our first night out at 6am, the sleeping issues wern't really such a massive problem!
So after we arrived, we went down to the beach for a bit. There was this awesome inflatable assault course type thing in the sea, so we went in that. It had inflatable climbing walls, and this one thing called the moonwalker, which was inflatable trampoline platforms with this long inflatable round tube between the two, and the task was to run across without falling off, as it would spin as you ran on it. Well, i went at it for a fair old while, drank a whole lot of salt water and occasionally wiped out just short of the platform, but didn't make it all the way across once. Curses.
In the evening we had some drinks before we went out, then just had a bit of a crazy time really! And then again the next night. But at this point, me and hamish had been drinking every night for about 8 or 9 days, and we'd just been eating crappy food and lying around watching movies during the day, trying to feel better. So the next night i just chilled out at the hostel, and then left the next day.
I was planning on getting a bus, first to hat yai on the border of thailand/malaysia, then down to butterworth and hop on a ferry to penang, but i came back to phuket backpackers, and i'm still here. Whoops. It's just so easy to spend time here. Great food everywhere, so laid back. However, i have booked a flight to penang for wednesday, then i'll go to Kuala Lumpur for a couple of days, and then i fly home from singapore a week today! Arg!