A Travellerspoint blog

LOMBOK, INDONESIA

From my disaster in the village of Tetebatu, to the wonderful resort area of Senggigi.

sunny 40 °C

large_IMG_2478-001.jpg
I am about to tell you about the worst hotel I have ever stayed in! Ironically I can't remember the name of it, nor did I write it down in my journal, lol! Its located in the little village of Tetebatu, on the island of Lombok (the island next to Bali). Upon arriving the hotel looks nice (pictured above). Cute little cottages overlooking rice fields & Mt Rinjani. What could go wrong, right?
large_IMG_2496-001.jpg
So like I said, it looked great upon arriving, so I immediately booked myself in for 3 nights. That was was first mistake. Then I went for supper at the hotel's restaurant. Turns out the front desk clerk who is also the bell boy, is also the waiter ... and would be my guide the following day, lol! After supper I headed back to my room for a hot shower. In addition to a nice, hot shower at the end of a long day, I also need wifi (I travel solo and my mom fears for my life when I'm gone, so she demands to hear from me daily or else assumes I've been kidnapped or am dead), and free breakfast in the morning. I already gave up the wifi upon checking into this hotel (the entire village is without internet - so this is a good place to come and relax and get away from the world), and I discovered they had lied about the hot water! It was FREEZING cold!! I cant do cold showers, I just cant! How's a girl supposed to shave when she's shivering and covered in goose bumps?! Later on as I'm laying in bed writing in my journal I noticed big turds on the floor! At first I thought it was a bug, so I flicked it away, only for it to stick to my finger!!! OMG! Then I started noticing those little turds everywhere in my room. What on earth is living in here??!! Was is a mouse? A rat? A gecko? I had no idea! I continue writing, trying not to think about what could possibly be living in my room, when a GIANT moth starts fluttering around my lamp! And by giant, I mean like the size of a bird! I am deathly afraid of moths, and grasshoppers, frogs ... basically anything that jumps at me. I know moths are harmless, but I cant help but freak out! Since I'm traveling solo, I have to deal with this intruder on my own. I grab a flip flop and smack that bastard to death! But now I have a giant moth carcass smeared across my wall, and I know the Indonesian ant army will appear in no time, so I have to clean that hot mess up! Puke. Once again I go back to writing. Now I notice that the toilet is making a noise. So I get up to go check it out, I flick on the bathroom light, and freeze! There, on the shower wall, is the biggest !@%#!! spider I've ever seen in my life! Open your hand ... Its THAT big! (the next day I saw the same kind of spider thats now in my shower and took this photo below)
large_IMG_2483-001.jpg
Just the body was the length & thickness of my thumb! Its legs were so long it had knees! If it has knees it can jump, right?! I think that spider and I stared at eachother forever, both not knowing what to do! I couldnt let him get away, deeper into my room, so I bent down to take off my flip flop, aka killing machine ... and it scurried across the wall and down the shower drain! Oh thank God! The shower had a bucket of water & a scoop to 'sponge bathe' yourself with, so I quickly moved that heavy bucket of water over top the drain so it couldnt get out! Giant moths, mysterious turds, AND a giant spider?! For real?! I cant even deal with this. I plop myself down on the toilet, head in hands, wondering how I'm gonna be able to get any sleep knowing all of what is in my room (Oh, did I mention there's holes all over my screened windows? Some are 'fixed' with bandaids, but others are still wide open for more giants moths to invade, along with malaria carrying misquitos), when what do my eyes see .... a freaking toad the size of my fist blocking my exit from the bathroom!!!!!!!!!
large_BD0E8315CA1E045AE90E546104EDD1C7.jpg
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET IT OUT???!!! I cant smack it with a flip flop or step on it, it would explode all over the place! And I dont want to get anywhere near it, for fear of it jumping at me and sticking to my leg!!!!!!!!!!!! So here I am, on a toilet with my pants down, and a toad blocking my way. I want to cry! I stared at is for so long, and it didnt move ... to the point of me thinking 'maybe its a ornamental door-stopper', cuz it was sitting in just the right place. No such luck. On closer inspection I saw his throat move. Was it sleeping? Do toads sleep with their eyes open? I pulled up my pants , and in one big leap, I jumped over & past the toad and into my bedroom. Phew! It's still not moving. I have come up with a plan: trap it under the water scoop, and use my umbrella as a shield in case it jumps at me. Take a moment and envision this: me with open umbrella in hand, defending myself from a stupid toad, little red scoop in the other hand, like I'm going to war ... with a toad. It was so ridiculous I nearly started laughing at myself. I hesitated over & over again, so worried that I'd miss and he'd jump past me into my bedroom ... then what would I do?! But I needn't worry, I somehow managed to capture it on my first try! OMG I did it! Yay me, lol! But as soon as I had it trapped, it started jumping and trying to make an escape. The water scoop wasnt heavy enough to hold him down! So I put a full 2L bottle of water on top of the scoop and that held it down. But all night long I heard it jumping and bonking its head. Over & over ... all night long. Sigh. Well I guess that explains the giant turds all over my room! Needless to say, I didnt sleep at all. I had my sheet wrapped around my head covering my ears cuz I was so afraid something would crawl into my ears while I slept and give birth. Blech!

Ok, new day. Breath. I awoke with a migraine. Probably from stress and lack of sleep. I went straight to the front desk and complained. The lack of english here is infuriating! They had NO idea what I was saying/asking/complaining about. And remember, I booked in & prepaid for THREE nights!!! After nearly an hour of trying to explain my self in different ways to make them understand, I think they finally got it. I wanted my money back. But they didnt want to give it. Seriously?! I work part time at a hotel in Canada, and if you are unhappy with your room, not only do you get a discount/refund, you get a voucher for a free night. Not in Indonesia. Ugh, lesson learnt. But I at least convinced them to transfer the $ I had paid towards the room, to a guided day hike and a hired car to take me to Senggigi.

Day hike commence. I was first taken through the rice fields and village.
large_IMG_2517-001.jpg
large_IMG_2488-001.jpg
Rice
large_IMG_2494-001.jpg
large_IMG_2510-001.jpg
Mt Rinjani in the distance - Indonesia's 2nd largest active volcano!
large_IMG_2497-001.jpg
Thats not 2 peaks ... its one giant volcano with a crater in the middle!
large_IMG_2499-001.jpg
This is how red hot chilis are grown
large_IMG_2513-001.jpg
large_IMG_2511-001.jpg
My favorite part of the hot, sweaty hike that confirmed my lack of fitness, was seeing the locals go about their daily life. Whenever I've gone on an excursion to a village its seems very fake. Like they know tourists are coming, so they are putting on a show. Showing us how to do this, and how to make that. But this was real!
large_IMG_2525-001.jpg
large_IMG_2528-001.jpg
large_IMG_2529-001.jpg
large_IMG_2530-001.jpg
large_IMG_2532-001.jpg
large_IMG_2534-002.jpg
large_IMG_2535-001.jpg
large_IMG_2538-001.jpg
The whole point of me signing up for this guided hike was to see Black Monkeys. I was expecting it to be like Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali ... monkeys absolutely everywhere. But that was not the case. These were actually wild monkeys, unlike the super tame ones in Bali. My guide had a machete and was hacking us a path through the trees! The problem with that was the monkeys could hear us coming from a mile away. We couldnt get anywhere near them. So after hours of hiking & hacking, all i got was one lousy photo.
large_IMG_2546-001.jpg
We emerged from the hot jungle at a dam just in time to see all the little kids getting out from school and racing over to said dam, strip down to their birthday suits, and jump in the water, lol!
large_IMG_2561-001.jpg
large_IMG_2557-001.jpg
large_IMG_2558-001.jpg
large_IMG_2559-001.jpg
large_IMG_2553-001.jpg
Then we headed over to my guide's brother's house for a home cooked meal of chicken, eggs, noodles, rice, veggies, and tempe. These are his boys.
large_IMG_2562-001.jpg
After the meal he led me down a steep & slippery trail to a waterfall. As my guide nibbly leapt from rock to slippery rock, I blundered along like the uncoordinated fool I am. We came to a 'staircase' of slippery mud and wet bamboo that led through a bamboo forest, before finally arriving at the waterfall.
large_IMG_2569-001.jpg
large_IMG_2490-001.jpg
large_IMG_2574-001.jpg
After some time enjoyed here, I had to climb that same slippery 'staircase' back up. From there I was whisked away on a scooter back to the hotel. And from there I grabbed my backpack and said 'good riddance' to the worst hotel stay of my life, and got in a car headed to the resort area of Senggigi. I assumed my bad luck had ended. But no, it hadnt. About halfway we stopped for gas, so I bought myself some ice cream. The kind dipped in chocolate and on a stick. I attempted to eat it in the back seat of the car. But its so dang hot at the equator that ice cream melts faster than you can eat it. Chunks of the chocolate shell kept melting/falling off. And since the window was open (cuz the car had no a/c), the wind from driving fast caused the melting chocolate pieces to fall all over me! One fell on my shorts and melted on contact, making it look like I shit myself. Another hit my face and then slid down my chin and fell into my shirt, and continued to melt and slide into my bra. In the meantime I'm still holding my ice cream on a stick and its melting at an insane rate. I have melted ice cream to my elbows! At this point I look like a 2yr old trying to eat ice cream for the first time, LOL! My driver glanced at me in his rear view mirror and just burst out laughing! FML. We stopped somewhere so I could clean myself up & change, and then continued on our way.

The drive along the coast towards Senggigi is incredibly scenic! My driver was nice enough to stop half a dozen times so I could take photos.
large_IMG_2415-001.jpg
large_IMG_2419-001.jpg
large_IMG_2416-001.jpg
large_IMG_2431-001.jpg
large_IMG_2424-001.jpg
large_IMG_2426-001.jpg
large_IMG_2430-001.jpg
large_IMG_2438-001.jpg
See, I told you! Its stunning isnt it?!
large_IMG_2447-001.jpg
large_IMG_2449-001.jpg
large_IMG_2453-001.jpg
My driver stopped and bought us a bag of lychee fruit still on the branch ... and full of ants. And all warm & gross from sitting in the sun. Fail.
large_IMG_2469-001.jpg
The inside of the fruit looks all fleshy & gross, but if you get a good one, they are quite tasty.
large_IMG_2472-001.jpg
If you dont have a trailer, just pile it on top & tie it on!
large_IMG_2473-001.jpg
I stayed at the Holiday Resort for the rest of my time on Lombok. It was 700,000 Rupiah compared to only 200,000 Rupiah for the dump last night, but SO worth it!
large_IMG_2613-001.jpg
It had a pool that didnt end. It just kept twisting & turning throughout the resort. It also had a jacuzzi area & a swim-up bar.
large_IMG_2619-001.jpg
large_IMG_2621-001.jpg
large_IMG_2624-001.jpg
large_IMG_2656-001.jpg
large_IMG_2654-001.jpg
large_IMG_2615-001.jpg
Upon checking in I was given 2 vouchers for free 'Welcome Drinks'. So I went to redeem them at the pool bar and received Iced Melon Tea. The best invention ever!!!
large_melon_tea.jpg
I ordered a 'hotdog' at the restaurant and got this thing.
large_hotdog.jpg
This resort was great! Clean, luxurious (or was it that I was used to staying in crappy hotels and just finally got a good one?), and beachfront.
large_IMG_2638-001.jpg
The sand was half white and half black! I've never seen a beach so completely divided 50/50 like that before!
large_black_white_beach.jpg
Here's the awesome view from my resort looking across the ocean to Bali's volcano!
large_IMG_2649-002.jpg
large_IMG_2634-001.jpg
I went for a walk down the beach. Black sand is HOT people! HOT! Like it scalds the bottom of your feet! I came across this little beach restaurant. I was just gonna buy some cheap bottled water (only 3000 Rupiah here, opposed to 12,000 at the resort!), but ended up staying for supper and watching the sunset over Bali's volcano.
large_IMG_2659-001.jpg
Table in the sand :)
large_IMG_2660-001.jpg
For $3 I had this delicious plate of food (not sure why, but Indonesians place a fried egg on top of every meal), 2 bottles of water, and 1 can of Coke! Steal of a deal!
large_IMG_2661-001.jpg
Amazing sunset :)
large_IMG_2668-001.jpg
large_IMG_2674-001.jpg
large_IMG_2685-001.jpg
large_IMG_2679-001.jpg
So Lombok started out horrible, but ended well ... thank goodness!

Posted by ChantelleS 17:46 Archived in Indonesia Tagged ocean wildlife beach indonesia monkey jungle waterfall terrace asia lombok Comments (0)

FLORES & KOMODO NATIONAL PARK - INDONESIA

This place is a dream come true! Literally ... it looks like paradise (beacuse it is), and I got to see Komodo Dragons in the wild!!!

sunny 40 °C

After a bunch of rainy days in Jakarta I flew all the way over to the island of Flores. I knew I would love this place even before the plane landed. The views from my tiny airplane window upon landing were spectacular!!! It flew over volcanoes and 100s of vibrant green islands surrounded by a ring of turqoise water!

The airport in Labuan Bajo is tiny. And by tiny, I mean they off-load your bags and leave them on the tarmac for you to pick up, lol! I didn't have any luggage to wait for, cuz I travel with only a carry-on size backpack, so I headed straight to where the taxis were waiting. The exit doors to get out of the airport were locked though ... but not to keep me in ... to keep all the taxi touts out! You should have seen them, it was hystercal! They were all pressed up against the windows, like children trying to peek into a toy store, lol! Their faces were smooshed up against the glass and everything. A guard unlocked the doors for me and I was instantly bombarded by every single taxi driver trying to get my business. You can definitely tell its low season and they are hard up for some business. I chose a driver and told him to take me to a beachfront resort. He took me to La Prima. One of the best parts about traveling in low season is the good deals. This fancy resort that was beachfront, had a big infinity pool with a swim up bar, massage parlor & spa, free breakfast & wifi, etc, was $120 a night in high season, but only $51 in low season :)

This was the fabulous view from my balcony!
large_IMG_2231-001.jpg
large_IMG_2234-001.jpg
large_IMG_2220-001.jpg
Turns out my taxi driver's brother runs houseboating tours to Komodo National Park, so as soon as I mentioned I was interested, he called up his brother who arrived in under 5min to give me his business shpiel before I even had a chance to bring my backpack up to my room! Once again I got a steal of a deal cuz of low season!! This has got to be the best deal of 'em all! I booked a 2 day/ 1 night houseboating tour to Rinca Island & Komodo Island for only $75!!! Regular $300 in high season (accordingly to my Lonely Planet guide)! I was smiling for the rest of the day :) After I gave him a deposit, I dropped my bag off in my room and headed to the pool/beach.
large_IMG_1286-001.jpg
large_IMG_1300-001.jpg
large_IMG_1281-001.jpg
large_IMG_2225-001.jpg
large_IMG_1297-002.jpg
large_IMG_1288-001.jpg
large_IMG_2224-001.jpg
So this next story I'm about to tell has never happened to me anywhere else in the world, but its happened over & over again every island I've visited in Indonesia ... random locals will approach me wanting their photo taken with me, or will be taking selfies but making sure that I'm in the background, or hide in a bush to take my photo! Some just walk right up to me while I'm tanning poolside and take my photo without asking! Its so annoying, I hate it! Has this happened to anyone else?! Do I look like someone famous (I dont think I do), or is just cuz I'm tall, white, and have blond hair??? Whatever the reason, it got real annoying, real quick. Now I 100% always ask a local if I can take their photo rather than trying to be sneaky about it, cuz now I know how it feels having someone invade your privacy. This is what African wildlife must feel like when a jeep full of tourists shows up and starts clicking away, lol!

My first amazing Indonesian sunset :D
large_IMG_1321-001.jpg
large_IMG_1399-001.jpg
large_IMG_2238-001.jpg
large_IMG_2272-001.jpg
The next day I checked out of my hotel, but left the majority of my stuff there in storage (just took enough with me for my 2 day adventure), and promised I'd be back for it. My taxi driver's brother was supposed to pick me up at 6:30am to take me to the marina to join the other people on my houseboating tour. After 15min of waiting I was beginning to think I'd been scammed. But finally, around the 20min late mark, he showed up. I joined 5 other Canadians for the adventure of a lifetime :)

This was my home for 2 days & 1 night. The open part in the front was our sitting area by day with all our luggage piled in the middle, and our sleeping area by night. Thank goodness for perfect weather, cuz I wouldnt wanna sleep out in the open if it was raining! It was not the fancy yacht I was expecting, more of a beater putzing along, lol! But the scenery & company made up for it :) The captain & crew got bunkbeds; we slept in the open on the floor (more photos to come of our sleeping arrangements a little later). There was a toilet (squatty potty version), but no shower.
large_IMG_2144-001.jpg
large_IMG_2117-001.jpg
large_IMG_1786-001.jpg
Sailing away from Labuan Bajo.
large_IMG_1480-001.jpg
large_IMG_1471-001.jpg
Our first stop was Rinca Island. It wasnt too far away, under 2hrs, but I cant remember exactly how long it took. I was too mezmorized by the scenery to pay attention to the time. Everything was so wonderfully green!
large_IMG_1522-001.jpg
large_IMG_1570-001.jpg
large_IMG_1565-001.jpg
large_IMG_1559-001.jpg
Upon arriving at Rinca Island we were assigned a ranger / guide. This we found out, is not included in the price we already paid. Plus there was a fee to bring a camera. I cant remember how much the extras fees were since this trip took place 9mths ago, but it wasnt outageous or anything. Theres 4 people to a guide, so you split the cost between 4ppl, and you each pay your own camera fee.
large_IMG_1585-001.jpg
large_IMG_1584-001.jpg
Right off the bat we spotted this Komodo Dragon snoozing in the shade near the ranger station!
large_IMG_1596-001.jpg
Before the 2hr hike began, we were given a quick safety briefing and a stick to ward off any dragons lurking in the tall grass. I'm pretty sure a twig isnt gonna save my life. We were told that twice in recent years Komodo Dragons had walked into the ranger station and cornered the ranger working in there! There is only one door, and so no way to escape. One bite from a Komodo will kill you! Not from venom, but from so much bacteria. Its a long, slow death. After being told that, me & my stick were on high alert!!

The first hour of the hike was more of a walk than an actual hike. We were taken to a Komodo nest to see where they lay their eggs in holes they have dug in the ground.

We spotted this baby Komodo peeking his head up above the grass, and another one lumbering down the very path we were walking on!
large_IMG_1598-001.jpg
large_IMG_1617-001.jpg
large_IMG_1222-001.jpg
The 2nd hour turned into an actual hike ... through a furnace! The first half was in the forest, which provided shade from the 45C heat (although its still about 37C in the shade)!! The second half was out in the open, no trees for any cover at all, and straight up a hill to a lookout point. It was honestly like being in a furnace. If you've been to Mexico or the Caribbean and think you know what hot weather is ... think again! Travel to the equator, and then you'll know what real heat is like! You know how during Canadian winters the cold & wind can freeze your skin in seconds ... thats how the heat is here! You burn in 2.0 seconds. And by burn I mean it feels like your skin is on fire! So wear a hat and preferable light linen pants/shirt unless you like sunburns :) And dont forget to pack sunscreen & water!

Hiking out in the open
large_IMG_1632-001.jpg
large_IMG_1634-001.jpg
large_IMG_1624-001.jpg
large_IMG_1668-001.jpg
This was the lookout point we were rewarded with.
large_IMG_1648-001.jpg
large_IMG_1639-001.jpg
large_IMG_1672-001.jpg
large_IMG_1679-001.jpg
Back at the dock we noticed 100s of teeny tiny Fiddler Crabs! The whole thing was no bigger than my thumbnail!!
large_IMG_1702-001.jpg
large_IMG_1704-001.jpg
Back on board we were served a tastey lunch. The captain was also our chef, and if you could have seen the kitchen he was working in, you'd be amazed by the meals he put out!
large_IMG_1707-001.jpg
While we ate we sailed towards Pink Beach, which was our next stop for some snorkeling and relaxing on a beautiful beach.
large_IMG_1711-001.jpg
large_IMG_1719-001.jpg
Pink Beach ... the sand has a slight pink hue to it due to the red coral offshore.
large_IMG_1728-001.jpg
large_IMG_1727-001.jpg
large_IMG_1761-001.jpg
large_IMG_1758-001.jpg
large_IMG_1736-001.jpg
Some locals chillin' on their boat anchored at Pink Beach
large_IMG_1733-001.jpg
large_IMG_1744-001.jpg
One of said locals offered to lead me down a trail, and up a small hill to this lookout point over the beach.
large_IMG_1751-001.jpg
large_IMG_1747-001.jpg
So guess what I did? I mooned the captain. By accident of course! After swimming we all needed to change into dry clothes. There's not alot of privacy on the boat, so everyone would try to find a corner and change with a sarong wrapped around themselves for privacy. So I did the same ... changed from wet bikini to dry underwear. Then I came out of my corner with my sarong still wrapped around me, to let someone else use that corner. As I was struggling to keep the sarong up, but pull on some shorts at the same time, I decided to just drop the sarong. Panties are no different than a bikini bottom ... unless your wearing a thong! OMG! I totally forgot what kind of underwear I had on, LOL! My back was to a wall, or so I thought, so no big deal, right? Wrong! The 'wall' had a window for the captain to look out while he drove the boat. And guess who happened to be looking out the window when I dropped my sarong? Yup, Mr Captain got a good view of me ars, lol!

After a few hours here, we sailed over to Flying Fox Bay where we anchored for the evening. We watched the sunset by climbing onto the roof of the captains bunk.
large_IMG_1817-001.jpg
large_IMG_1791-001.jpg
We were told 100s of Flying Foxes (giant fruit bats) would fly across the bay at sunset ... there were 10. One at a time. Not the spectacle we were waiting for, lol! There were also a few of these birds fishing/diving into the water around our boat.
large_IMG_1800-001.jpg
large_IMG_1807-001.jpg
Sunset from our boat
large_IMG_1839-001.jpg
So our sleeping arrangements ... not ideal. Near bed time we were told to drag all our luggage out on to the bow of the boat cuz we'd be sleeping on the floor! The captain dragged out 6 flat mattresses for us to sleep on. But only 2 sheets and 2 blankets (and 6 smelly pillows)!!! Luckily the 2 sheets were large enough to cover all 6 little mattresses. But the blankets were to fit 3 people per blanket! Um, what? I dont know any of these people, I dont want to snuggle with 2 strangers under my blanket! Thankfully it was 27C at night with no chilly wind, so I didnt even need the balnket. I just used my sarong to cover my legs a bit. Again, so thankful for perfect weather, lol! Here is a crappy iPhone photo of our 'spooning train'! Thats me on the end in the pink shirt.
large_spooning_train-001.jpg
I actually slept really good considering. Sleeping under a clear sky speckled with stars in Indonesia ... awesome!! But bring earplugs, unless you enjoy listening to 5 other people breathing & snoring.

DAY 2
The next morning we were woken up by the rising sun, around 5:45am, grooooooan.
large_IMG_1854-001.jpg
We cleared out the mattresses & bedding, and brought our bags & benches back in while the captain made us banana pancakes for breakfast. Then we sailed to Komodo Island, only 10min away.
large_IMG_1867-001.jpg
Once again we were assigned a guide/ ranger, and had to pay extra fees for him (you cannot go hiking without a guide so you have no choice but to pay the fee) and for a camera. There were a few different hikes to choose from. We ended up splitting our group up into 2. Myself & the French couple did the easy 1.5hr hike, and the other 3 did the more strenuous 2hr hike.

My hike started along the beach where we waved hello to a few local ladies walking past from nearby Komodo Village.
large_IMG_1876-001.jpg
We saw 7 Komodos total today :) Two babies (which look alot like Monitor Lizards in Africa and are the same size too), 2 fully grown ones in the forest, and the rest were by the ranger station.
large_IMG_1871-001.jpg
large_IMG_1924-001.jpg
large_IMG_1892-001.jpg
large_IMG_1929-001.jpg
large_IMG_1932-001.jpg
In addition to the dragons, we also saw Roosa Deer (I'm sure I've spelt that wrong), and one cockatoo. This one was missing an antler??
large_IMG_1958-001.jpg
large_IMG_1946-001.jpg
Costa apple growing on a tree
large_IMG_1979-001.jpg
After taking photos of the villagers, komodos by the ranger station, and deer, we headed into the forest. Our first stop was atop Fregata Hill for a great view over the area.
large_IMG_1980-001.jpg
large_IMG_1982-001.jpg
large_IMG_1985-001.jpg
large_IMG_1990-001.jpg
I love the mountains here, they have a Jurassic feel to them ... quite fitting since the Komodos look like little dinosaurs :)
large_IMG_1993-001.jpg
After a short break at the lookout point, we headed back into the forest where we eventually came across 2 big Komodo Dragons! A little orange butterfly landed on the dragons nose!!! Brave!
large_IMG_2020-001.jpg
Anyone who was brave enough could stand behind a Komodo and the ranger would take your photo with it. Yes please! Thats me in the middle.
large_IMG_2039-002.jpg
large_IMG_2036-001.jpg
large_IMG_1213-001.jpg
large_IMG_2031-001.jpg
large_IMG_1189-001.jpg
large_IMG_2043-001.jpg
large_IMG_2059-001.jpg
large_IMG_1210-001.jpg
large_IMG_2063-001.jpg
All of the trails on Komodo Island were made entirely of broken coral & seashells!
large_IMG_2086-001.jpg
Guys working on the trails
large_IMG_2091-001.jpg
Filling bags with broken coral
large_IMG_2092-001.jpg
Our hike ended at the beach where we started. We had about 20min to wait for the other group to finish their hike. In the meantime I made friends with this little guy.
large_IMG_2105-001.jpg
large_IMG_2097-001.jpg
The beach & pier in front of the ranger station
large_IMG_2113-001.jpg
large_IMG_2112-001.jpg
large_IMG_2114-001.jpg
Our next stop was Manta Point for some snorkeling with Manta Rays! (I didnt take any photos, no underwater camera). There were about 30 or so of them gliding effortlessly through the water.
large_IMG_2119-001.jpg
large_IMG_2138-001.jpg
After about 40min here, we made one last stop at one of the many little islands for more snorkeling / swimming / tanning. This is my boat anchored at the beach.
large_IMG_2151-001.jpg
large_IMG_2155-001.jpg
large_IMG_2164-001.jpg
large_IMG_2169-001.jpg
Paradise ...
large_IMG_2162-001.jpg
large_IMG_2172-002.jpg
large_IMG_2180-001.jpg
large_IMG_2175-001.jpg
large_IMG_2195-001.jpg
Two-tone blue water :)
large_IMG_2202-001.jpg
Thats it, thats all! By far my fave part of my whole month long trip, and definitely one of my Top 5 travel experiences ever!!! Then we sailed back to Labuan Bajo and said our goodbyes. I spent an additional 3 days back at La Prima Hotel relaxing poolside by day, and enjoying the incredible sunsets by night.
large_IMG_2374-001.jpg
large_IMG_2400-001.jpg
large_IMG_2405-001.jpg
large_IMG_2413-001.jpg
One evening a storm rolled in. I watched it come for miles before it finally reached me. My balcony was covered so I was able to watch the storm and not get wet :)
large_IMG_2341-001.jpg
large_IMG_2345-001.jpg
Well thats got to be my longest post ever! Hope you enjoyed all the photos & stories :)

Posted by ChantelleS 20:10 Archived in Indonesia Tagged landscapes beaches boats islands water boat ocean wildlife beach indonesia volcano cruise blue island sand coastline dock bay pool tropical lizard asia komodo Comments (0)

JAKARTA - INDONESIA

Stuck in filthy, raining Jakarta for 4 days because a volcano was erupting in the area I was originally planning on visiting. Luckily I found a zoo to visit on the one sunny day I was here.

rain 35 °C

After my 5 days in Borneo, I flew to Jakarta, Indonesia. Jakarta was just supposed to be a one night thing before heading to Yogyakarta to see Borobudur (one of the top things I came to Indonesia to see), but as it turns out, Mt Kelut was erupting in that area!! No flights were being allowed to land or take off, over 100,000 people had been evacuated, and everything was covered in 2 inches of ash! So I canceled my flight and was stuck in filthy Jakarta for 4 days days rather than just one!!

I found a hotel in Jakarta on Expedia, but decided to not book it, but rather to just show up without a reservation and hopefully get an even better rate. My plan failed. The Expedia rate was $32 ... the rate I was quoted by just arriving was $98!!!! How can Expedia be less than half the price?! So I stood there in front of the desk clerk, whipped out my phone, and proceeded to book a room on Expedia at the cheaper rate. Then we stood there staring at eachother while he waited for my reservation to come through in his system, lol! Awkward.

The hotel was called NEO Tendean, and was awesome! Super modern, everything wonderfully clean, great staff, etc. My only complaint is that the one & only restaurant had a very limited menu of only spicy food. But other than that it was a great place to be stuck for 4 days. And again, I forgot to take photos of it. The views from my room on the other hand ... well, have a look and see.
large_IMG_0406-001.jpg
large_IMG_0408-001.jpg
That river looked like the kind of river you'd see a dead body floating by in. But it was nice to be able to see into local life and take photos through my window without walking through the neighborhood like a tourist with my camera.
large_IMG_0412-001.jpg
Of the 4 days I was stuck here, 3 of them rained :( On my one sunny day, I headed to Ragunan Zoo. I thought that cab ride there was going to cost a fortune because it took at least 30min. But it was only $5 CAD :) And admission to the zoo was only 4500 Rupiah ($0.40!!!) I have no idea how they manage to pay the employees and feed all the animals with only 40 cents admission!! The zoo was HUGE! SO many animals, each with their own keepers / handlers.

The first thing I saw upon entering the gates, was a pond area full of massive pelicans! We have pelicans in Canada, but they're only about 1/3 of the size of these ones!! And I just loved the colors on their faces!
large_IMG_0431-001.jpg
large_A1BFD8CCBD769D27D4CA44EDFDA19C3C.jpg
At the gate you get a map, which is not in English, so good luck to you. I'm not exaggerating when I say I was there from 9am until closing time and only saw half of it!! So be sure to wear good shoes. I made the mistake of wearing flip flops, and my feet were killing me by the end of the day. There are few signs, which are also not in English (but that is to be expected, as I'm not at home any more, I dont expect the whole world to have everything in English just for me). But the signs usually had a photo as well, so a sign with a photo of a tiger should mean "tigers this way!" I made a bee-line to the tigers, cuz they are my favorite of the large cats, and I'd never seen one before!
large_IMG_0443-002.jpg
large_IMG_0721-001.jpg
large_IMG_0719-001.jpg
large_IMG_0699-002.jpg
They're so cute, and orange, and stripey :)
large_IMG_0744-001.jpg
large_IMG_0737-001.jpg
large_IMG_0762-001.jpg
Yawning tiger
large_IMG_0754-002.jpg
He just wants a belly rub like all kitties :)
large_IMG_0759-001.jpg
Pooping tiger, lol!
large_A20872BBE48757DFA88C2B0BCE5BE406.jpg
Grooming himself
large_IMG_0730-001.jpg
large_IMG_0785-001.jpg
He looks like he's scheming on how to eat me for lunch!
large_IMG_0788-001.jpg
The bigger animals, like the tigers, lions, elephants, komodos, etc, were NOT in cages. They were in a 'pit' with a 'moat' around it. So people can be eye level with the animals, and dont have to worry about stupid cage bars obscuring their view, but are still safe because of the moat (which was about 15-20ft deep, and 10-15ft across). Here is a photo of an elephant in his enclosure so you can see what I mean. (Its alot deeper than it looks, but the foliage is filling it up).
large_A3275395F61D2E4F108908151241E503.jpg
Asian Elephants look very different from their African cousins. I think they are actually quite homely looking compared to African Elephants. They have small droopy ears, rather than the huge open ears of their cousins. They also have hollow faces, 2 big bumps on tops of their heads, and are alot smaller. Here's a photo of an Asian elephant, followed by an African elephant I photographed in South Africa last year so you can see the difference.

Asian Elephant
large_IMG_0860-001.jpg
African Elephant - much more beautiful in my opinion. Those big ears make all the difference :)
large_A3E1136FD3CEE453CD29C2DC02E47AEA.jpg
Elephant tail. The 'hair' is very wiry, and there were places selling bracelets made of elephant tail hair!
large_IMG_0895-001.jpg
Elephant foot
large_IMG_0894-001.jpg
And my favorite ... elephant trunk.
large_IMG_0888-001.jpg
large_A2FD6009A3252A29E47BE50787080A1B.jpg
large_IMG_0868-001.jpg
Next up were the Malayan Sun Bears. My first time seeing a bear! I live in Canada, and apparently theres bears here, but I've never seen one.
large_IMG_0668-001.jpg
large_IMG_0624-001.jpg
large_IMG_0635-001.jpg
large_IMG_0656-001.jpg
large_A2C9D2A99DBADAA943EBAF16C6F27F2C.jpg
large_A2CBA348CA4B6811DEC93BC19A444D0D.jpg
large_IMG_0816-001.jpg
There were alot of orangutan enclosures throughout the park. I got to see a male orang which had the massive (and ugly) cheek pads. I'm very thankful I got to see orangutans in the wild in Borneo before seeing them here, because they are SO FAT in the zoo! Morbidly obese actually! Poor thing is so fat it cant even close its legs!!
large_A47D8DEBC739447F0B60FCC1DE06B0D4.jpg
large_A47E7811F1AC1BB77C7C97F560E43107.jpg
Male with its cheek pads. They should not be flopping over like that ... thats extra fat as well. And that 'bag' of fat hanging from his neck ... also not supposed to be there, all fat!!!
large_A494A87C9AF4126C597548BAD20425D9.jpg
large_A4933C8DC481FEAC9DCF33EC78E39E47.jpg
It looks like he's giving me the finger, but he's really just holding up his fat face, lol!
large_IMG_0598-001.jpg
I came across another orangutan enclosure with another alpha male. His cheek pads were more normal sized, but look at those dreadlocks!!
large_IMG_0679-001.jpg
There are signs everywhere indicating not to feed the animals, but stupid tourists still throw cheezies to them. No wonder they are fat!
large_IMG_0678-001.jpg
Look at this thing! Doesnt it look like a man in a Sasquatch costume, lol?!
large_IMG_0905-001.jpg
Strange looking creatures thats for sure!
large_IMG_0901-001.jpg
large_IMG_0909-001.jpg
So flexible!
large_IMG_0911-001.jpg
large_A4A64714E4B4FBDE744D647B4BD1B186.jpg
There were a few deer (not sure what kind) that were wandering around freely. But when they spotted me, they froze,and watched my every move.
large_IMG_0826-001.jpg
large_IMG_0834-001.jpg
This racoon looks like he had a rough night, LOL!
large_IMG_0602-001.jpg
I walked around, and when I came back to the racoon he had switched to this position, hahaha!
large_IMG_0609-001.jpg
Black Tonkean Macaque
IMG_0926-001.jpg
Silver Leaf Monkey
large_IMG_0947-001.jpg
Gibbon
large_IMG_0505-001.jpg
Bintorang, aka Asian Bear Cat
large_IMG_0541-001.jpg
I'm not sure what kind of little antelope this was, cuz the sign was in Indonesian. But it was so tiny I could have held it in one hand!
large_IMG_0606-001.jpg
Within the zoo, there is a separate Primate Enclosure housing gorillas, more orangutans, chimps, and a variety of smaller monkeys. It has its own admission price of 6000 Rupiah (only $0.55). I walked around in that enclosure for at least an hour searching for the chimps & gorillas, but I just couldnt find them! Oh, I found their enclosures alright, but it was so big, with so many trees, that I probably walked right past them without seeing them. Theres even a skywalk / boardwalk thing up high so you can look down at them. Finally when I was about to give up I found 2 massive gorillas!!!
large_IMG_1053-001.jpg
large_A3ABE715CD259A6E3B68BF96B688188C.jpg
They are seriously huge! Much, much bigger than a human! Taller, and twice as broad as a football player!!
large_A36C7DDAEBB06E61E2926FCDA00477A4.jpg
large_IMG_1017-001.jpg
'Zoolander' gorilla giving me his best 'blue steal' pose
large_A341BA67958599BFA8454B79E5FBB0D9.jpg
I never realized how flat their faces were!
large_IMG_0987-001.jpg
large_IMG_1045-001.jpg
large_IMG_1062-001.jpg
Look how big his head is!!
large_IMG_1023-001.jpg
large_A3A2015EE092268280218B7CB0643314.jpg
large_IMG_1087-001.jpg
And last, but not least ... Komodo Dragons! These guys were another of my top reasons I chose to visit Indonesia. But now for my predicament ... I wanted my first Komodo sighting to be of wild dragons, not in a zoo! In a few days time I would be flying to Flores to go houseboating in Komodo National Park and hopefully see some Komodos in the wild ... but what if I didnt see any in the wild, and had passed on seeing them in the zoo?! I'd go home not seeing any! I've had such bad luck with wildlife in the past (going cage diving with Great Whites ... but not seeing any sharks; going whale watching ... and not seeing any whales), that in the end I decided to see them in the zoo.
large_IMG_1110-001.jpg
THEY WERE SO BIG!!! 9ft long! Like a massive black iguana, that walks like a crocodile, with a tongue like a snake!
large_A3C5E00EDCC1B493F22A43891E38D8EF.jpg
One good thing about deciding to see them in the zoo, is that I happened to arrive at feeding time!
large_IMG_1171-001.jpg
Their handler whistled and they came lumbering over like little dinosaurs. Just like dogs looking for a treat!
large_IMG_1224-001.jpg
Bird? What bird? I dont know what your talking about.
large_IMG_1201-001.jpg
large_IMG_1207-001.jpg
large_IMG_1229-002.jpg
I always thought Komodo Dragons were venomous, but all that slobber you see is not venom. Komodos actually have so much bacteria in their salivia, that one bite from a Komodo can kill by infection!
large_IMG_1230-001.jpg
large_IMG_1250-001.jpg
large_IMG_1246-001.jpg
Look how thick that tail is!!! It was as thick as my thigh!
large_IMG_1254-001.jpg
large_IMG_1256-001.jpg
The handler and his pet dragon :)
large_IMG_1259-001.jpg
Thats all for Jakarta. I had one more day here, but it rained again. So in 4 days, all I got to do was visit the zoo.

Posted by ChantelleS 15:35 Archived in Malaysia Tagged wildlife indonesia elephant zoo city animal dragon tiger asia bear orangutan komodo Comments (0)

DAMAI BEACH, BORNEO - MALAYSIA

Beautiful, secluded Damai Beach

sunny 35 °C

I was staying in Kuching, and the nearest beach I could find was Damai Beach, approx 30-40min via taxi. I'm sure there was a bus, but I have no patience for that. The taxi was 120 Ringgit roundtrip, which is about $41 Canadian.
large_IMG_0303-001.jpg
large_IMG_0300-001.jpg
My plan for the day was to have a relaxing beach day and work on my tan since the majority of my first 2wks of traveling was rain! But when I arrived I soon found out that Malaysian women are still covered head to toe, even at the beach. Their husbands however quickly stripped down to their tighty whities and ran into the ocean while their wives sat in the shade completely covered and sweating away.
large_IMG_0312-001.jpg
large_IMG_0325-001.jpg
I didnt feel comfortable removing my sundress and suntanning in a bikini after seeing how the local women were dressed at the beach. I felt that even my sundress, which was knee length with spaghetti straps, was too 'revealing'. So instead of tanning I walked the length of the 'boardwalk' taking photos.
large_IMG_0354-001.jpg
large_IMG_0343-001.jpg
I noticed these tiny snails all over the beach making intricate designs in the sand as they moved about.
large_IMG_0307-001.jpg
large_IMG_0310-001.jpg
large_IMG_0323-001.jpg
There was only 2 or 3 hotels on the beach, plus these cabins for rent. At the far end of the beach was a place with a big cafeteria like restaurant with many vendors selling many different kinds of food. I enjoyed a chocolate banana roti.
large_IMG_0371-001.jpg
Well, thats all for my day at the beach. Although I didnt get to relax the way I had hoped, I still enjoyed it. It was very clean, and very few people ... just the way I like a beach :)

Posted by ChantelleS 10:57 Archived in Malaysia Tagged beach tree malaysia borneo tropical asai Comments (0)

BAKO NATIONAL PARK, BORNEO - MALAYSIA

It took 6hrs of hiking in the rain, but we finally came across the world's rarest primate ... Proboscis Monkeys!!

rain 35 °C

Well, today sucked, but was awesome all at the same time. My number one reason for choosing to travel to Borneo was to see orangutans & proboscis monkeys in the wild.
large_82EAEDDEFC4D90EA151F594DA007899B.jpg
When I woke up this morning it was really cloudy and looked like it might rain, but I headed to Bako National Park anyways, seeing how I only had 5 days total in Borneo I didnt want to waste a day. I took a taxi from Kuching to Bako NP for 50 Ringgit ($17 CAD). Yes, theres also a bus that will take you there. No, I did not feel like searching for the correct bus stop, nor standing around waiting for it. As soon as my taxi arrived at the boat termianl to Bako NP it started raining. And by raining, I mean pouring!! Sigh. Luckily there was a guy selling rain ponchos! It was the best 5 Ringgit I ever spent, lol! It kept me & my camera gear dry.
large_862BAE23E7546B4B10D1768B525D34C7.jpg
Myself, and a handful of other tourists who had their hearts set on seeing proboscis monkeys, decided to sit in the boat terminal and see if the rain would let up. It didnt. In the mean time I met a wonderful girl named Izabela from Poland. It was her last day in Kuching and she wasnt leaving until she saw some monkeys. We became instant friends :) I'm so thankful I met her, cuz if I hadnt, I probably would have gotten back in that taxi and went back to my hotel. But instead we waited until the pouring rain turnt into a light drizzle, and shared a boat to Bako NP. You pay per boat, not per person. No one else wanted to join us in the rain, so it was 47 Ringgit each (that inc paying the boat driver to stay and extra hour in the park), $16 CAD.
large_862ABD06E4E4049214DA39D0F3F81C38.jpg
Some views from the boat along the way.
large_IMG_0256-001.jpg
large_IMG_9796-001.jpg
large_IMG_9798-001.jpg
Arriving in Bako NP we found out there is no pier. They just drop you in thigh deep water and you have to wade to shore. Not fun when its already raining.

Arriving in Bako NP
large_IMG_9848-001.jpg
As soon as we made it to shore, it starting pouring again. And what do I do? Slip and fall in my flip flops, stub my big toe, and rip my toenail off!! Completely off! I nearly vomited it was so gross!! Thankfully there is a lodge here with a medical center (who fixed me up good), toilets & a cafeteria. The food was cold and gross, so bring your own if you can. We ate a crappy lunch together, and then sat watching the rain for awhile, hoping it'd let up. It didnt. So we donned our rain ponchos, and huddling together under my umbrella, we walked the trails, looking up into the falling rain, in search of the world's rarest primate! It was great to share this adventure with someone who appreciates wildlife as much as I do, and understands how incredibly rare these animals are!

Well the first 5 soggy hours all we found were some wet Bornean Bearded Pigs near the lodge, and a few Long-Tailed Macaques.
large_IMG_9823-001.jpglarge_IMG_9824-001.jpg
large_IMG_9831-001.jpg
large_IMG_0040-001.jpg
large_IMG_0079-001.jpg
large_IMG_9846-001.jpg
Even though it literally rained the entire time we were here, one could not complain. The rainforest is SO lush & green! And despite the rain, we weren't cold because it was still 30C out! We were prunes by the end of the day though, lol!
large_IMG_9882-001.jpg
large_IMG_9913-001.jpg
large_IMG_0026-001.jpg
large_IMG_0030-001.jpg
large_IMG_0001-001.jpg
Part way down one trail was a shelter-hut. We stopped to take a few photos. Izabela set her backpack down, and a macaque stole it in 2.0 seconds!! They can be quite vicious, so you dont want to just walk up and take your bag back. No point in getting bitten / rabies. With one bite it had chomped a hole right through the canvas material!! But Izabela needed her backpack back ... her passport was in it! So I gave her my umbrella to use as a sort of shield to protect herself in case the monkey attacked. She opened & closed the umbrella over & over again in front of the monkey and that scared the monkey off. Backpack saved :)
large_IMG_9884-001.jpg
large_IMG_9890-001.jpg
large_umbrella_vs_monkey.jpg
We took a break from walking through puddles and staring up into the trees, and headed back to the lodge. We were beginning to feel defeated, that we had wasted our money and an entire day. But then we talked to some people who had been staying in some of the cabins for rent in the park who said the proboscis monkeys come close to the lodge around supper time because they can smell the food. We decided to take a chance and paid our boat driver to wait an extra hour til supper time in hopes of spotting some. And it was the best decision of the day!! Sure enough, right around supper time we heard a 'bang bang bang' as a huge proboscis monkey jumped out of a tree, landed on the metal roof of a nearby cabin, ran across it, and then lept into a tree!!! Rain ponchos on, umbrella up, and off we went cameras in hand to get a closer look :)
large_IMG_9970-001.jpg
They are tall like a man! Much bigger than I was expecting! And the noses ... hahaha! The males have a huge nose! They look like Muppets :)
large_IMG_9938-001.jpg
Eventually the big male lept from tree to tree and disappeared deeper into the rainforest. But now our spirits were up, and the rain even stopped! So we went exploring once again.
large_IMG_0151-001.jpg
large_IMG_0155-001.jpg
large_IMG_0142-001.jpg
large_IMG_0530-001.jpg
large_82EAEDDEFC4D90EA151F594DA007899B.jpg
large_IMG_0176-001.jpg
large_82F49AF7F089E831DFA6B01BD11DC452.jpg
They are quite active, but I managed to get a photo of one leaping from one tree to the next.
large_IMG_0232-001.jpg
The females are alot smaller, and dont have those big noses.
large_IMG_0187-001.jpg
We even spotted this baby way up in the trees :)
large_IMG_9997-001.jpg
That last hour that we paid the boat driver was definitely worth it, but it went by much too fast. After a successful, albeit wet, day, we headed back down the river to the boat terminal. Only to discover that all buses & taxis disappeared after the park closed. So we were trapped in a little village. But we made the most of it. We found a little outdoor market.
large_IMG_0288-001.jpg
large_IMG_0274-001.jpg
large_IMG_0277-001.jpg
large_IMG_0279-001.jpg
large_IMG_0280-001.jpg
large_IMG_0282-001.jpg
large_IMG_0283-001.jpg
large_IMG_0285-001.jpg
Beside the market was a little shack of a restaurant where I ate the best meal I had the whole time in Borneo! The ladies working there didnt speak a word of English so we had no idea what we were going to get. But what we got was delicious and only $1! A great end to the day :) We hitched a ride back to Kuching with a local man heading that way in his car. Call it hitchhiking I suppose ;)
large_IMG_0293-001.jpg

Posted by ChantelleS 20:05 Archived in Malaysia Tagged rainforest wildlife monkey malaysia jungle borneo animal pig proboscis Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 41) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 »