Tag Archives: Beach

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A Weekend in Byron Bay

12th August 2016

IMG_6458 We had some important tasks to complete last week. We needed to try out our new Gopro. Yep, see I told you it was important. We decided that the only way to do this was to take a road trip so we hit the road and headed South. If you come to Australia and you are searching for crystal white beaches and pure azure waters then look no further than Byron Bay. It helps that Byron Bay is in New South Wales. As Old South Walians we wanted to see what it had to offer.

IMG_6483 springbrook We set off from Brisbane and drove to Coolengatta where our hotel was. This little area  lies on the border of two states; New South Wales and Queensland. It literally does . To get to our hotel we had to zig-zag over the border a few times. We didn’t do much on the first day other than hop along the coast and eat delicious food. We squeezed in a trip to Springbrook , which is an impressive mountain range that I’d recommend. From here you can see Mt Warning (which for the geeky ones of you is the setting of the animated film Fern Gully). We also ‘happened’ to stumble upon the Springbrook fudge shop and tried all they had to offer. It was divine. If Lee, the fudge connoisseur was impressed you know it was good.

IMG_6481 That night we stayed in Coolengatta and ate at the number one burger restaurant in Queensland called Ze Pickle. It was much fancier than expected. It had a classy bar vibe, which did worry me. I’m used to the good burger places looking slightly more down to earth and greasy, but I was pleasantly surprised. The ‘Kanye Cheese Sticks’ burger won me over, and not just for it’s South Park reference name, but for it’s layers of deliciousness . If you are in the Gold Coast and like juicy burgers I’d give it a whirl.

The next day we headed to Byron Bay. We were both blow away by the breath taking views. It seems like Hawaii to me. I’ve never been there so I suppose this is based purely on episodes of Lost and Lilo and Stitch , but still I think that’s solid research, right? The place was stupidly busy so sights like the lighthouse were impossible to see. We would have been upset ,but the views we saw on the drive up to the lighthouse were worth queuing in, even if we didn’t get to go in the lighthouse itself.

IMG_6433 IMG_6482 We headed home after our trip to the beaches,  but squeezed in one more stop to Mynion falls.  Unfortunately we were knackered and still needed to get home for work the next day so we didn’t get to do the trek to the falls, but we did get to go to the look-outs and see the falls themselves. Lee saw them too , just from very far back on the viewing platform because although he’s the tallest man I know, he’s very scared of heights.

IMG_6510 Overall it was a fantastic two days. We got to see forests, jungle, mountains, waterfalls and beaches. It is such a beautiful place here in Australia with every type of terrain. We still haven’t quite got our heads around how pretty this place is , even after a year. We’ve liked it so much that we’ve decided to stay a bit longer.

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Gili Air – Who Knew Water Could Be That Blue?

18th October 2015

giliair_07 By the time we got to Gili Air we were 11 countries in. Before we even stepped onto our boat we felt ready to just get to Australia and start our next adventure. We couldn’t imagine prettier beaches that the Philippines or a more relaxing atmosphere than Koh Rong Samloem in Cambodia. We were a bit exhausted from travel and ready to never pack a bag again. Luckily we stuck with the plan and arrived on the beautiful Gili Air.

Gili Air is one of the three Gili islands in Lombok. It is wedged between the tiny island of Gili Meno and the large , very popular island of Gili T. We decided right away to skip Gili T for the same reasons we skipped Kuta Bali. We heard it was filled with young teenagers on gap years eating magic mushrooms and partying into the wee hours. We looooooove a good party. In fact my liver’s future health was probably the main factor in needing to leave Korea , but after all these months we just wanted to do nothing. Not ‘tours of the island, climing mountains’ kind of nothing but actual ‘lay on the beach for a disgusting amount of time’ type of nothing.

Gili Air was exactly what we had hoped for. No cars, no fuss…just pure beautiful laziness on sand.

giliair_04 giliair_01 Our only major issue with Gili Air was that we were as poor as poor can be by this time. We were counting the pennies (or as I like to call them, cocktail tokens). There was only one atm that was almost always out of money, and we were hoping to pay by card as much as possible. This lead to a lot of walking around the island, which you can do easily in an hour or two. Each morning we would find a beautiful beach bar, ask if they took card and get a few lost looks. When we would eventually find a bar that took card, they would get the pleasure of our company until the sun had long thrown in the towel. In one bar they had sun lounges on the beach and our days were filled with reading, snorkelling and spring rolls. Eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in one bar was surprisingly liberating. They also obviously wou giliair_05 giliair_06 ld want to get rid of us and top up our cocktails with a little too much island liquor. We loved it.

We spent three days on our arses and I regret nothing. I did wonder how a holiday island would work that was mainly Muslim , but it was very respectful and surprisingly tolerant of Westerners skimpily clothed and drinking. This might sound naive to some people reading this, but after living in Saudi Arabia for a number of years it was a fantastic surprise. The call the prayer at 5am was actually quite soothing and reminded me of the early hours in Saudi where the songs would come floating through the house. If you are a light sleeper I’d make sure your hostel or hotel isn’t near the one main mosque on the island, but if like us you don’t check and are right next to it, it’s still easy to sleep. Coming from me this means a lot since the sound of an ant tickling its cousin could wake me.

giliair_08 giliair_09 giliair_10 After Gili Air we begrudgingly moved on to Gili Meno. We loved Gili Air so much that we couldn’t believe we were leaving it. Luckily we did because Gili Meno is just as lovely if not even quieter. ….but I’ll save that long winded tale for another time. Mainly because I want to throw more pictures of blue azure seas and random cocktails at your eye holes.

Happy Weekend Everyone. signature

Koh Rong Samloem – Our Paradise Found

13th June 2015

b12 Oh Koh Rong Samloem. How I miss you!

As I write this we are in Indonesia and it has been a month since our visit to Cambodia’s Saracen Bay. I don’t think there has been a day that Lee and I haven’t talked about how we miss it. It honestly was our little paradise.

b14 b10 Saracen Bay on Koh Rong Samloem was our home for a week and also the place I was turning 29. Because of this Lee decided to book a slightly nicer place for us , which I wasn’t going to argue about. We choose the delightful Saracen Bay Resort which was 45 dollars a night. I am not exaggerating when I say they should be charging 200 dollars a night. This place was heaven.

dock view b5 We arrived via the fast boat from Sihanoukville (which you can read about here) and suddenly all the travel and pain was worth it. We were taken to our bungalow that was right on the beach and a few meters from the calm and still ocean.

The second we dumped our bangs, we threw on our swimsuits and hit the water. The water was so shallow you could just walk and walk in water warmer than any sea i’ve ever experienced.

There isn’t too much to write here since we spent a serene few days drinking gin and tonics* on the porch, swimming in the sea and star gazing.

no fridge...not a problem.

no fridge…not a problem.

I spent a fantastic birthday the same way we had spent the rest of the week and it was incredible. The main thing to point out to all you techie bloggers out there is that there was no wifi. The first day I was almost strickend that I couldn’t instagram the incredible sea views but I quickly loved the lack of contact with the world and didn’t really want to return.

The incredible sunrise was worth waking up for

The incredible sunrise was worth waking up for

I did debate not talking about this place just to see if I could keep it a secret a little bit longer but I loved it so much that I want you all to instantly run there and soak up the sunshine. If you are looking for the real desert island experience then this is the place for you.

There were other bars to explore but everything closed at about 8:30 for food and 10 pm for drinks so if you are after a bit more of a party feel then Cambodia’s other island Koh Rong, is more for you. We really liked the quiet few days we had there. In fact we liked it so much that when someone compared Koh Rong Samloem to Gili Meno in Indonesia we instantly changed all our plans to add it to our list. We’ll arrive there in a few days so we’ll let you know how they compare.

beach1 b13 dog b8 We loved our little bungalow on Saracen Bay and we definitely will be back as soon as possible.

*We stocked up on snacks and alcohol before heading to the island because we heard it was expensive. It was actually quite affordable there but I’m glad we brought our own supplies.

Things to Know About Boracay

26th March 2015

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  • As far as beaches go – it’s a winner. The shades of turquoise blues than fade all the way into rich navies will blow you away. You will always be snap happy here. The beach is also pleasantly litter free and so soft and white it feels like water…. it also gets white hot after midday so pack those flip flops. 9
  • Filipino people, at least in Boracay, hate tourists. I really do understand this since we’ve barged into their beautiful home bringing Mc Donald’s, Starbucks, selfie sticks and all manner of pointless things with us. (Sorry Starbucks…you know I still love you). Everyone we’ve met has smiles that don’t quite reach their eyes and a look that says ‘buy my shit you filthy foreigner’. I realise this is such an un-fair statement since we were only on the island for a week and it was the end of a long busy season, in which we tourists probably earned everything we got. Also, that this may just be the case in Boracay . I especially know this to be true since I have met tons of Filipino people outside of the island in the UK, Saudi Arabia and in Korea who have been the loveliest, nicest, funniest people I’ve met. It was just a bit of a shock to the system when we arrived. It is good to know before docking on the island. Maybe tourist’s excessive demands for wifi, cheap cocktails, fresh towels, and burgers have something to do with their mood – Nah! *Since writing this we have visited both Bohol and El Nido in Palawan and the Filipino people have the loveliest, friendliest and happiest people around. This is definitely just a Boracay thing. 1
  • It’s HOT – ‘No , on a tropical island it’s hot?’ I hear you all sarcastically cry, first touche and secondly we are talking ‘sweating your ping pongs off’ hot, which incidentally is the official term used on the weather channel here – I imagine. 4
  • Red Horse is lethal – this is the local STRONG beer. It’s is cheap but not cheerful. For me it made evening’s disappear. A night of drinking these (and some sneaky day time cocktails) had my poor friend having to constantly remind me I’d told her the same store before, about 3 minutes ago…oh jeez. 10
  • Pick pockets rule the roost – watch your bags. This is the same in every country but we had some particularly sneaky thieves lighten our pockets in Boracay. They were helped by the restaurant staff who distracted us so they could get in our bags. They luckily only managed to steal a few dollars from us…..and our pride.
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    Fanta is called Royal in the Philippines

    D'Mall is the central shopping area in Boracay with lots of night life

    D’Mall is the central shopping area in Boracay with lots of night life

  • A fun drinking game is a shot for every seller trying to sell you something. Only kidding, please never play this game. You will die….I’m not being ironic. Don’t play this game…you will never wake up. 6
  • Filipino food is DELICIOUS – I hadn’t heard good things but we love it. Its lots of meaty dishes in thick stocks and gravy. The pork adobo is a particular favourite. Seriously it’s worth coming just for the food. Try everything. *Since writing this Lee unfortunately had a bad case of food poisoning from a restaurant that looked really nice. It was a beef dish which is weirdly one of the hardest meats to get here so I’d stick to the pork, chicken nor seafood.
  • So much delicious cheap fruit – In the same vein as the last point. Eat alllllll the mangoes. Fresh pineapple, mango and coconuts are abundant. Juice, breakfast, lunch and dinner should be as packed with these goodies as possible.
  • Even though it’s a hot place, they love dairy. There is so much cheese here. This excitement may just be from living a cheese free life in Korea where it was so expensive that only birthdays and Christmases warranted a purchase. I wanted to order cheese burgers and hold the meat. 7 8

These are obviously all just quick, silly observations after a week in Boracay . I can’t wait to see more of this country because I love it more and more each day. We are on our way to Bohol now for Tarsiers and Chocolate hills. After that we have what Huffington post named ‘last paradise on earth’, Palawan which we can’t wait for. Bring on those islands! signature

 

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Boracay – The Philippines – Day 1

19th March 2015

banner We are here! We finally made it to sunny Boracay*. It took us 6 trains, 3 planes, 3 buses,a boat and 38 hours but we are here. And wow was it worth it . The beaches here in Boracay are stunning, a turquoise blue shade that makes its way to navy on the horizon. With pure white beaches as an accompaniment. Boracay is a very ‘party’ island with a lot of people trying to sell you deals. I wish I’d printed a t-shirt that says ‘no I don’t want to buy an island hopping tour’, but its still lovely. The crazy party atmosphere is always welcome when you are expecting it. 5 12

Our first day was spent sleeping off the mental trip to get here and exploring. It’s quite a small island and we walked the length of the beach in an hour or two.We filled up on some self indulgent burgers, which to my happy surprised were covered in mountains of Cheddar cheese and wandered until happy hour began. 1 6 9 10 11 I am really excited because a friend from Korea is also here so I need to track her down and force her to dance the night away with me. I am amazed that we didn’t bump into each other yet because Boracay is so much smaller than I thought. But after a crazy few, cold months of organising and packing it’s great to be in a lively area where the only things to do are relax, drink and drink some more. 4 7 8

*If you read my previous post about our re-direct Jetstar flight then here’s a quick update, so we waited a long time but it was too late to fly to Manilla, which closes at night so Jetstar gave us an allowance for food and for a hotel. We have kept all our receipts and been promised they will pay so I will let you know if it all goes to plan. Fingers crossed!