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.
OK, so now it was 2015.
Highlights of Indonesia include Bawean
and the Karamata area
. For Indonesian cruising information see Cruising Indonesia.
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).
The beach oven built by Dwayne!
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.
Jurong Bird Park
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
Penang Street Art
A night of blues at the Bluesman's Paradise bar on 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.
On our sail back to Langkawi
we anchored at Koh Rok
where we discovered some beautiful snorkelling and we rescued a turtle that was wrapped up in rubbish.
Saving the turtle on Koh Rok.
See video of rescuing the turtle.
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.
Making the curry paste for the Amok.
Fried Crab with Green Kampot Pepper
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.
The Sculls of the victims of The Killing Fields are held in a Stupa where you can pay your respects to the people who lost their lives.
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.
If you like the beach and just want to chill out with golden sand and beautiful clear water then Nga Trang is for you.
Nice walk along the beach at Nha Trang
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.
Back in Langkawi we were joined by some more friends, the Vonic family, and set of to explore Koh Lipe and the Tarutoa National Marine Park
. Fabulous snorkelling and diving!
We then spent six weeks in Thailand at PSS (Phithak Shipyard Services) painting Thorfinn's hull, antifouling 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!
Dwayne's 50th birthday!
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.
Eating in Bali
Bali to Surabaya
Kumai and the Orangutans
Karamata and Surrounding Islands
Across the South China Sea
Eating in Batam
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
Ao Chalong - Phuket
Cruising Phuket - Part One
Cruising Phuket - Part Two
Cruising Phuket - Part Three
To Ride or not to ride? - Elephant Tourism.
Koh Lipe and Tarutao National Marine Park
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
Exploring Vietnam on a Motorbike
Two Delightful Reason To Visit Vietnam