Lombok Sunset

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Sunset from Medana Beach

I’m still in Indonesia but we’ve moved from Bali to Lombok. We’ve based ourselves on the north of the island on the coast and we’re dialling up the relaxation a notch.

I captured the sunset a few moments ago, looking out towards the Gili Islands.

We will head over to the Gilis on Thursday and see if we can snorkel with the giant turtles here.


Volcano Sunrise

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Sunrise over Bali

I climbed Mount Batur again this morning to watch the sun rise.

At the summit with guide, Dede

We set out from our accommodation in Ubud just after 0200 and arrived at the base of Batur just over an hour later.  Our ascent took less time than it did last year, but it definitely felt more challenging. Our guide was a 19 year old Balanese guy called Dede who was working as a mountain guide to fund his studies in Denpasar and sometimes ascended Batur twice a day. Perhaps some of his energy transferred to us and encouraged us to make the ascent faster than we would have done.

We climbed to the top crater this year – we didn’t make it to this level last year – and we sat waiting for the sun to rise over Bali. The sky was wonderfully clear and we were even able to see Mt Rinjani on Lombok from our crater vantage point.

Crater Rim Walking

Once the sun had risen, we climbed up and around the crater rim.  This climb was mainly on hands and knees and the exposure managed to turn a few other crater climbers back – the crater rim is steep sided and steam rises gently from open vents in the inner crater wall making the narrow track damp and slippery in places.

The descent was just as challenging as our ascent, sharp volcanic rock rolled underfoot as we slowly picked our way down through the narrow channels created by the hundreds who make the journey to the summit of Batur every day.

Long Time Indonesia

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Rice Terrace on Bali

We are currently travelling in Indonesia.

Last summer we climbed an active volcano on Bali, Mount Batur, from the top of which we saw an incredible sunrise.  This year we will return to climb Batur once again.

Yesterday we visited a few temples around Ubud. I always like to find places that are remote and that attract few tourists; I’ve always been this way.  Finding places like that in Ubud is pretty challenging, but sometimes it’s the journey to the places rather than the places themselves that are most beautiful.

A very good friend of mine pointed out last week that I’ve not posted anything to my blog since 2016, so this one is for you Gav.

Summer Travels in Cambodia

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Cambodian Landscape from Preah Vihear
Cambodian Landscape from Preah Vihear

Moni and I travelled to Cambodia during July with Moni’s family.  Although I’ve spent a lot oftime in Asia, visiting Cambodia was a real eye opener.  Cambodia has so much to offer but is still shrouded in so much sadness from the decades of war that the country has experienced.

We stayed for 2 weeks and travelled from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap via Kampong Cham and Skone, a small town famed for it’s local delicacy of deep friend tarantulas.  We spent a few days in Siem Reap exploring the Tonlé Sap and temples around Angkor Wat before heading north, far off the tourist trail to see the rarely visited, military guarded temple, Preah Vihear, just south of the  Thai border.

From Preah Vihear, we drove back to Phnom Penh and stopped in Kampong Cham on the way to see the house where Moni’s mother grew up.  The family lost the big house in Kampong Cham during the rule of the Khmer Rouge.  The building is now occupied by a government function, but the current residents were more than happy for us to go inside so that Moni’s mum could take a trip down memory lane.

After another few days in Phnom Penh, we travelled to Sihanoukville to see what the Cambodian coastline had to offer.  We spent a day at one of the beaches where I practiced handstand walking along the white sand whilst Moni tried to get a sun tan.  The next day we woke up to a howling wind that rattled the windows of our beachfront hotel.  A quick look out of the window told me that the storm was here to stay, the weather forecast confirmed this suspicion – heavy rain for the next 3 days.  We waited for the rain to ease and then drove back to Phnom Penh.  As we drove back through the miles of rice paddies, the water was almost covering the road in parts.  Quite unnerving when driving over mile after mile of completely flat land.

We arrived back in Phnom Penh several hours later and spent the last two days of the trip relaxing before heading back to London.

Cambodia has so much to offer, I can’t wait to go back.