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 360° 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 =) .
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.
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 😉
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.
One night at a party, a friend and I noticed we had a weekend without plans or events in the near future and decided to do another city trip. Flights to Bratislava or Sofia were super expensive so we scrolled all the way down and clicked on Vilnius. We found return flights for ~75€ that’d leave friday afternoon and return early monday morning so we didn’T even need to take days off work. We booked and didn’t plan anything besides booking a hostel. As always, we did a free walking tour with an amazing guide to learn about the capital of Lithuania and its history. Thanks to ‘no unlock fee’ scooter-offers from BOLT, we scootered a lot around the city. We saw the ‘independent’ republic of Uzupis, a small area near old town which is basically the artsy area of the town. The best-spent 3€ ever was probably for the 30min boat ride around the island-castle ‘Trakai’ near Vilnius 😀 . Thanks to rainy weather, we even visited a nearby water-park with lots of saunas and waterslides and of course we tried the amazing local specialties and beers. Lithuanian cooking seems pretty simple but tasty: take some minced meat, wrap it in dough, cabbage or potatoes and fry / cook / deepfry / bake it. Some resemble potato dumplings, others look like empanadas, cabbage rools or tortellini/pierogi.
As mentioned in the previous post, I tried to explore more of eastern europe in 2019. So in september, I flew over to Budapest, the capital of hungary. Since it was another weekend-trip I only had ~3days but the advantage that a friend of mine was doing an internship there.
As usually, I did a free walking tour to learn about the history and also took the tour through the parliament besides going to the zoo on sunday :D.
Back in singapore I spent most weekends exploring the neighbouring countries and wondered, why I never did that in europe. I decided to start ‘exploring europe’ in more detail when I got back. This didn’t work due to a lack of cheap flights, many events on the weekends and other calendar conflicts. This year, I decided to – finally – get a few dots east of germany into my travel map and booked weekend trips to:
– Gdansk, Poland (03/2019)
– Kraków, Poland (04/2019)
– Warsaw, Poland (08/2019)
– Vienna, Austria (01/2019)
– Budapest, Hungary (09/2019)
– Vilnius, Lithuania (10/2019)
Besides these trips to eastern europe, I spent weekends in
– Malta (see post absout diving malta)
– Bergen, Norway (see post about Bergen)
– Lago di garda, Italy
and went to London and Zurich though I’d been there previously.
The gallery below shows pictures from my poland-trips (Gdansk, Warsaw and Kraków since I only had ~2 days each to get a quick grasp of the culture, monuments and lifestlye)
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.