Saturday, 30 August 2014

Our Wedding in Bali

When I left England back in 2012 to embark on a teaching career in South Korea, I never expected that within two years I would be a married man. As someone who was single for most of his twenties, and who had not been on so much as a date in several years, I had no high hopes for finding love abroad. If anything, my mind was focused more on the experiences and adventures I would find there. As it turns out, though, I met the love of my life only a week after arriving in Korea, and she would shape and define my time there in incalculable ways.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Pre-Wedding Errands in Kuta

After a day of shopping in Ubud, Angela and I had just a few more tasks to complete before our big wedding day in Nusa Dua. We had arranged appointments at our respective consulates to receive our certificates of no impediment to marriage, as well as a meeting with our wedding company a couple days before the big day. Also, despite much frantic browsing in Ubud, Angela still hadn't found a wedding dress, so we needed to do some shopping in nearby Kuta.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Shopping on Monkey Forest Road

Bali. Indonesia's Jewel. Island of Gods. Morning of the World. Following almost seven months of travel, it would be our last destination in Southeast Asia. We'd seen so many rich cultures, toured so many old temples, and motorbiked through such a wide variety of vibrant countryside, that it really took something amazing to wow us at this late stage in the journey. Somehow, though, this little island did just that. Or more specifically, Ubud did.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

The Gili Islands

With the last of our volcanic exploits behind us, Angela and I caught a ferry from Java to Bali, before bussing across the island so we could catch another ferry to the Gili Islands. We would explore Bali more later, but for now we wanted to check out the quiet, tropical getaway of the Gilis, which had been recommended to us by so many people we'd met on our travels. The archipelago comprises three small islands just off the coast of the larger island of Lombok, and they are famed for their gorgeously turquoise waters, quiet bungalow-lined streets, and plentiful diving opportunities.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Ijen Crater - The Eye of Java

The day after exploring the volcanic wastelands of Mount Bromo, Angela and I rose early once again, this time to climb Ijen Crater, a volcano containing a one-kilometre-wide acid lake at its centre. Just like at Bromo, there were many spectacular views to enjoy as we approached the volcano, and the crater itself, with its turquoise colours and sulphurous aura, provided yet another awesomely alien-planet-like experience.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Fire over Bromo: Part 2

Fire over Bromo: Part 1

After a few days of sightseeing in Yogyakarta, Angela and I had to figure out how we'd get to our next destination, the mighty volcano of Mount Bromo. You can go there independently by taking a train from Yogyakarta to Surabaya, then another train to Probolinggo, then a bus to Cemoro Lawang, a village on the slopes of the volcano. We figured that since this was such a long-winded itinerary, it should be much cheaper than taking a tour. When we went to the train station in Yogyakarta, however, it turned out a ticket to Surabaya would cost us 45 dollars, and that was only half the journey! So much for Indonesia being a cheaper place to travel (this has been one of our peeves with this country so far: way too expensive, for way too much hassle!).

Friday, 15 August 2014


Wat Arun...Ayutthaya...Angkor Wat...Kek Lok Si... At this point in our trip, Angela and I have been to so many bloody temples that it really takes something special to impress us now. Fortunately, there are still some adequately spectacular ruins out there for us to see, as we discovered on the tail end of our visit to Yogyakarta, when we took a tour of Indonesia's most famous temple, Borobudur.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Yogyakarta - Cultural Capital of Java

After a couple of days spent travelling from Malaysia to Jakarta and then across Java by train, Angela and I finally got to do some actual exploring on foot when we stopped in Yogyakarta for a few days. Renowned as a centre of Javanese artistic and intellectual heritage, Yogya (as it's known, for short) is second-only to Bali as Indonesia's most popular tourist attraction, primarily due to its proximity to Hindu-Buddhist temple complexes like Borobudur and Prambanan, as well as its fine art culture such as music, poetry, puppet shows, ballet, and batik. We would visit one of those aforementioned temples in due course, but first we focused our explorations on the old city itself, wandering through the charming residential alleyways and water palaces that surround the kraton, a palace where a local sultanate still operates today.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Journey across Java by Train

After saying goodbye to Malaysia, Angela and I were bound for the biggest archipelago, the largest Islamic community, and the fourth-most populated country in the world. Indonesia would be our first foray into the southern hemisphere, meaning we'd be travelling during the cooler "winter" period, quite a relief after being in places like Thailand and Vietnam during their hottest, most humid months. Being this close to the equator, it would still be pretty warm, but way more bearable than most of the places we've been to.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Twelve Days in Malacca

Leaving Penang behind us, Angela and I headed south to Kuala Lumpur with a lot of time to kill. We'd booked our flight to Indonesia for the 6th of August so we could avoid the busy travel rush of the Muslim fast-breaking festival, Eid al Fitr, or Hariraya as it known in this part of the world. But this meant we still had around two weeks left in Malaysia. We decided to use this time doing some volunteering at a hostel just on the outskirts of the capital, since it would give us something to do without spending a whole lot of money.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

A Reunion in Penang: Part 2

Click here to read Part 1 of this post if you haven't already.

On our third day together, the four of us rented motorbikes from Happy Ken, a cheerful character who sung and danced between showing us our new rides.

A Reunion in Penang: Part 1

For Angela and me, Penang will always hold a special place in our hearts as the place where I asked her to marry me. But we'll also remember it as the place where we met up with our two Canadian friends, Matt and Kimmi, who we befriended while teaching English in Korea. Having recently finished their contracts, they too were doing some travelling in Southeast Asia, and they took a plane from Singapore to Penang just to meet us. The four of us spent several days exploring the island together, seeing the colourful temple of Kek Lok Si, riding motorbikes along the coast, and chilling on several beaches.