Posts in Category: Southeast-Asia

Koh Tao and Singapore

After being land-locked in Chiang Mai, we flew to Surat Thani to get to Koh Tao for some diving. We decided to do a few specialties and I got deep & nitrox certified. As previously, Phoenix Divers Koh Tao and their fish-pointers (divemasters/guides :-P) did a great job at taking us to beautiful divesites although the visibility wasn’t as good as the last time. I bought a small rubber whaleshark dive-buddy which now rides the bubbles above my tank when I dive – so far it hasn’t succeded in calling its mom so I’d see a whaleshark again :D. We also took pictures from the 360Ā° viewpoint and tried our luck to see turtles or sharks at shark bay (but didn’t). After Koh Tao, we spent the last nights of my 3 week trip in Singapore to re-visit some (rooftop)bars and meet some old friends.

Unfortunately, my Sony SEL16-50 lens broke during the time in Koh Tao and I could only partly fix it on the go so there are only a few pictures. After the replacement parts from china found their way to germany, I managed to get the lens working again =) .

Chiang Mai – Light festival and cooking class

During my Southeast asia trip in november 2019 I finally went to the north of Thailand and visited Chiang Mai during the Loykrathong / Yee-Peng festival. I only stayed for 3 days but visited temples, a cave, the ‘sticky’ bua tong waterfall and learned to cook amazing thai food.
At night, we bought sky lanterns and let them rise to the skies which looked amazing due to the many lanterns.
Please keep in mind that these lanterns may not be allowed to use in your country or area, especially if you’re near an airport. They pose a dangerous fire-hazard if they get entangled in a tree or fall down early. Chiang Mai has a special allowance and lockdown on night-flights during the festivities and many police officers make sure nobody is hurt by burning parts falling down.


Cambodia – the temples of Angkor Wat

The temples of Angkor Wat are praised for its beauty but I had never visited them – until now. I travelled from Koh Chang via ferry and bus to Siem Reap and spent 2.5 days exploring the numerous temples, some of which had been taken back by nature (including the famous temple from the Tomb Raider Movie, Ta Prohm). Luckily I met a few fun people during the bus trip to discover the temples together.
Many temples are still under reconstruction and being funded by the entry fee (67 USD for 3 days) or individual countries donations, like China and Germany. Anyway, see for yourself šŸ˜‰

Koh Chang – Diving and Waterfalls

In november 2019 I did a 3 week trip to southeast asia. Some friends planned to join later so I decided to go to cambodia to visit the temples of Angkor Wat before returning to Bangkok to meet them. But first, I wanted to chill on a beach and go diving – so I went straight to the eastern thai island of Koh Chang. I went diving, scootered around the island and enjoyed delicious food on the beach with new friends. The island also has a few waterfalls and is famous for elephant “sanctuaries” (which I didn’t visit). Long story short, here are some pictures from Koh Chang, above and below the surface.

Volcanos, temples and Manta-Rays – Indonesia 2019

In February 2019 I went back to Indonesia – but this time with a plan :D. I tried to convince a few friends to ‘join my trip’ with a 1-pager filled with pictures of vulcanos, manta-rays and temples.

So in February, we flew to Denpasar, Bali and started our trip via Ubud and back south to Nusa Lembongang for the Manta rays. After some nice dives and driving around the island we left for permuteran – a small village near the national park of Menjangan in northwest Bali.

We enjoyed some more dives and visited the turtle hatchery to send a small turtle (Sgt. Miau) on it’s way into the big blue ocean. Afterwards we passed the straight and slept a few hours near Mt. Ijen before hiking up the crater at night – and even saw the famous blue flames.

The next day, we took a train through the Indonesian landscape towards Probollinggo to get close to Mt. Bromo. Due to cloudy weather we didn’T go for the sunrise and we walked around the planes near Mt. Bromo in the late morning hours. We also hiked up to the craters edge where we could hear the rumbling and see the smoke coming out of the partly active volcano.

As our final stop of the trip, we went to Yogyakarta and spent the last days visiting the UNESCO world-heritage site temples Borobudur and Prambanan as well as the city and its surroundings.

I put the diving pictures in a second gallery below.

 

The Philippines NĀ°2

As mentioned in the previous post, I went to the philippines again!
This time, I took some friends who also dive and flew to manila. From there, we went to coron, oslob and moalboal to spend a few days island hopping and diving – but see for yourself!


I (finally) bought a GoPro Hero 5 black and took this, instead of the chinese actioncam (e.g. during my Corfu-Trip) or the canon Powershot D20 (Komodo) – but honestly, I’m really disappointed with the photo-quality. Some of the distortion might be due to less clear water or higher currents but for taking pictures, the GoPro Hero 5 is definetly not good enough – above and below the surface. (And way less good than Ads or influencers make you believe; I’m not even sure it would win in a standoff to a 50ā‚¬ china actioncam. This counts for PHOTOS – the GoPro Series-Camneras were designed for videos anyway.)

Beijing

In march 2018, I went to the Philippines – again! After visiting these beautiful islands the first time, there were even more places I wanted to visit. So I found a cheap flight which had the additional benefit of 2 stopovers in Beijing, China. Upon our first arrival, we queued at different queues since nobody could tell us where to go. Eventually we saw a well hidden sign pointing us at the right counter for the transit visa and waited ~1.5 hours until the 10 people in front of us were finished (pretty slow :D). After enduring some questioning regarding the purpose of our visit and our intentions for the 15 hour stopover (you really want to go to the city centre for just 10 hours?) we finally got our visa-stamps. We went to the city centre, had a look at Tianmen square, went through a ridiculous amount of consecutive ID-checks (on the same, fenced, pedestrian walk), went to the entrance of the forbidden city and tried to turn around again and ate the original beijing duck =).
On our way back, we had another stopover and decided to go to THE GREAT WALL. Luckily, we met 2 other backpackers who wanted to join and easily found a cab driver to get us to the wall. Equipped with chinese cash and Starbucks coffes, we got in the car for the 1.5 hour ride and ended up buying cable-car and sledging tickets to get up to the wall and downhill fast. This allowed us to spend about 2 hours on the actual wall before heading back.

A gamble for a whaleshark – Diving Koh Tao – again.

Having booked the komodo-flights just hours after coming back from the liveaboard, I was scrolling down my facebook-feed and noticed Phoenix Divers Koh Tao – whom I had visited the year before – had been posting whaleshark pictures for days in a row. Erik, my dive-buddy just said ‘can’t we go there?’ – And since we had 4 days before our flight to komodo, we started googling how to get to Koh Tao asap. Flights were expensive but we found a bus-ferry route and messaged the diveshop if they had beds in the dorm and spots on the boat. They did =). Delayed by a day due to the late kings funeral ceremony (may he rest in peace) and after leaving our krabi-hotel 3 days early, we were on our way to Koh Tao – anticipating to see those magnificent giant spotted whalesharks. A few hours of cab, bus and ferry rides we arrived in koh Tao in the evening and set up our gear. The next day we had 3 great dives – without whalesharks šŸ™ . And the evening was overshadowed by backpackers and tourists deserting bars due an alcohol ban.
On the 2nd and last day of our ridiculously short trip over to Koh Tao we were on the boat again – enjoying coffee, the salty air and stunning view while making new friends among the other divers. Then we saw it: The captain lifted his hand sideways in front of his forehead – and people started getting enthusiastic while the diveguides tried to keep us calm since there’s absolutely no guarante these animals stick around. Luckily it did =)). When we reached chumpon pinnacle, we got ready and as soon as someone spotted the whaleshark jumped in.

It stayed with us for most of 2 dives, circelling in and out of sight and coming really close.