7 Countries in One Year
Our first year cruising outside of Australian waters has included Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Some countries we sailed to and others we flew to; we even rode into one and caught a bus into another. This blog is a recap of our journey in 2015.
New Years Day 2015 we awoke in Kuta, Bali and had one last day with our boys before they flew back home to Adelaide. We had sailed from Darwin, Australia, mid November arriving in Bali mid December. Clearing in at Maumere created little fuss, a visit with the komodo dragons was exciting …. albeit they don’t do much; our Christmas on Gilli Island with our children was soothing to the soul.
The sea and islands surrounding Bawean are gorgeous. We found great places to snorkel and use our paddle boards. We found a beautiful little beach on which we built an oven and cooked Bebek Betutu (duck with balinese spices).
Kumai and the Orangutans were amazing. The river cruise we went on was fantastic! Brilliant! Don’t miss it if you are in the area. Karamata Island, its surrounding islands and sea, are a conservation area. The snorkelling was exceptional for Indonesia and we met many people including the friendly people of Pulau Panebangan.
A couple of “visa runs” from Indonesia took us to Kuala Lumpur where we explored the city mostly on foot, and to Kuching, Malaysia at the top of Borneo. Kuching has the most scrumptious laksa called Sarawak Laksa.
Our first stop in Malaysia was at Senibong Cove Marina, from where we took a bus to Singapore for a couple of nights. The highlight of Singapore was, for me, the Jurong Bird Park. Dwayne did suffer through 4 hours of it… much to my amazement, before we went for a look at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Helix Bridge.
Sailing the Malaysian coast was very different than sailing through the Indonesian Islands. There are less anchorages, but there are, however, more marinas. We prefer to anchor but did find ourselves, at this time, having to use the marina facilities a little more….. could this have had anything to do with the fact that Dwayne had bought an air-conditioner at our first Malaysian stop? More than likely, but he will dispute that. All I know is that we purchased an air-conditioner and then we spent a few months in and out of marinas. Highlights of Malaysia included being able to get up close photos of the hornbills in Pangkor, the street art in Penang and the Bluesman’s Paradise beach bar on Pulau Singa Besar.
Onwards and upwards, our next destination was Phuket. Check-in at Ao Chalong is easy… click here for more info. We had friends, Kate and Martin, visit us in Phuket, and with them we explored the beautiful hongs and nearby islands.
Leaving our boat and home, Thorfinn, in Langkawi we flew to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where we bought a motorbike and explored this extraordinary country. In the 1970’s the world literally turned their backs on the atrocities that were occurring in Cambodia, this however, has not prejudiced their warm welcome of visitors to their country. We explored the remarkable temples at the Angkor Archaeological Park.… don’t miss this unique historical area.
Other highlights of Cambodia included the cooking classes at Battambang, the riverside town of Kampot, and pepper crab at Kep.
Interesting, but much more emotionally trying, are the museums and memorials that commemorate the Cambodian occupation by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Not for everyone, The Killing Fields – Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre, is a good place to pay your respects to those that lost their lives in horrendous circumstances.
Crossing the Cambodian – Vietnamese boarder was easy and we did so with little fuss…. the traffic however, was anything but! After riding for half a day we hit the Ho Chi Ming City traffic on the outskirts of the city… it took another few hours before we had found our way to accommodation and rested after an 8 hour ride from one country into another.
Highlights of Vietnam include the food and the people. We met an abundance of wonderful people and once again they welcomed us with big smiles and hearts of gold. A visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels offered more than just walking through one of the terrifyingly narrow and small tunnels. A firing range, booby trap exhibitions, and demonstrations of making rice paper are just some of the other interesting features.
Hoi An is just delightful. It is an old trading port that has an eclectic array of Chinese shop front building, french colonial buildings, a river, a Japanese covered bridge, and a startling array of markets, shops, restaurants and cafes. At night the place comes alive with lights. Lanterns of all sorts line the streets, shop fronts and of course the market stalls where they can be purchased.
We then spent six weeks in Thailand at PSS (Phithak Shipyard Services) painting Thorfinn’s hull, anti-fouling her bottom and re-varnishing her interior. We also had the cushions re-upholstered in a lighter colour. It was a busy time but we met many lovely people and made lots of new friends. During this six weeks, in-between working almost everyday on Thorfinn, we had many a BBQ with friends, organised some fun nights and celebrated at least three birthdays, including Dwayne’s 50th!
And the seventh country for 2015 is… Australia. Back in our home country for six weeks we have been grateful to be able to share our friends’ happy day at their gorgeous wedding, a delicious Christmas lunch hosted by Kate and Martin and shared with our families, a day on the beach with good friends and time spent with our boys. It is now New Years Eve, so it is with eager anticipation of what the new year has in store for us, that I wish you all a Happy New Year and sign off to go and join the festivities!
Thank you to all our followers. I hope you will continue to cruise with us in 2016, and that I will be able to carry on entertaining and informing you about the wonderful, exciting and sometimes bewildering places we visit. HAPPY NEW YEAR! from the Trippin’ Turpins.
2015 – Links include travel notes
Kuala Lumpur – Part Two
Eating in Kuala Lumpur
Eating in Kuching
Senibong Cove Marina
Malaysia -including KL, Sebana Cove and Malacca
Eating in Penang
Eating in Langkawi
Four Must-See Angkor Temples!
Two Cheap Cooking Classes
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
The Killing Fields – Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre
Five Crazy Foods We Ate In Cambodia
Exploring Cambodia on a Motorbike – Part One
Exploring Cambodia on a Motorbike – Part Two
Eating in Cambodia
Cheap Cambodian Street Food
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