A Travellerspoint blog

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Day 1: Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

Planes, luggage, hidden fees.

sunny 32 °C
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We sold or abandoned our last belongings. Great! Sending dozens of boxes across the Pacific sucks, and costs hundreds of dollars, so let's try to avoid as much of that as possible. We got to the bus on time (though not much time to sleep). We checked my backpack which was about 17kg and cost about $100. Sweet. Better read the fine print next time. Got a good rate on transferring money because of Steve and Sun-ha. Thanks!

We flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia first on a 7 hour flight. Waited in lines for about 2 hours. Hung out in the airport for about 3 hours. Then we got in to Denpasar, Indonesia at 11:30PM. We got a cab to our first hostel in the city and slept. Approximately 18 hours of transit later.

Posted by ErnieLG 17:51 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Days 2-9: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Monkey Forest, Spanish Cafe, Fanta, Biking, Broken Bottoms, Boohoo, Temples, Elephants, Museums, Silversmithing, Hiking...

sunny 30 °C
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We slept, woke up, we ate breakfast. It came in a leaf. We were picked up and driven an hour away to our next hostel. Our room overlooks beautiful rice paddies. Our first mission was for Paige to pull out money since her card had declined her the night before. Then Paige realizes she threw her card in the garbage. Seriously. We didn't realize we'd haveta wait so long for her new card to get here.

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We ate at a place called the yoga barn. Delicious!

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We walked to the Monkey Forest. Turns out monkeys really like me. We bought some bananas. Paige was easily robbed of her bananas two minutes into the forest.

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Monkey Forest: 10

We stopped into a Spanish café for a juice when it poured rain for 12 minutes.

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For dinner we ate at an Italian restaurant and had pizza and pasta. … also delicious. After dinner we bought wine that tasted like sweet, alcoholic Fanta.

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We biked like 240398 miles one day. On bicycles. My butt area is not good now. But we went to the Antonio Blanco Museum which had a lot of naked Balinese girl paintings.

Blanco Museum: 9

We checked out the Neka Art Museum in Campuan, which had a lot of recent works in modern and traditional styles.

Neka Museum: 8

We went to a heron/egret roost where there were thousand of birds everywhere in Petulu. We had some ribs and curry and burritos and quesadillas and sangria. Woo!

Heron/Egret Roost: 9.5

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I accidentally deleted what I typed, so this'll be short. Using an iPad as a computer has its pitfalls. Like using websites totally sucks. Anyway...

We hired a driver for a few days. A few bucks a day; it's the way to go. We went on a long walk through rice paddies and jungle and we saw a bunch of things. Geckos, bats, frogs, toads, sun skinks, swallows, swifts, egrets, herons, St. Andrew's Cross Spiders, dragonflies, damselflies, beetles, stinkbugs, red ants, bumble bees, millipedes, caterpillars, butterflies, wasps, fish, chickens, dogs, cats, etc. We ate a lot of fruits and vegetables along the way, most I don't remember the names of. Durian sucks, BTW.

We went to this awesome bird/reptile park. It had over 250 species of birds alone, and about 99% were indigenous. I was in a bird show, and some hawks swooped in and took some meat off my head. Ouch. The aviaries were mostly open so the birds could just kinda fly around. We played with some tortoises and iguanas, too.

Nature Walk: 9/10
Bird/Reptile Park: 10/10

We checked out some Pura in Bedulu and Pejeng like Penataran Sasih, Pusering Jagat, Kebo Edan, and Samuan Tiga. There were some yoni/lingam and a cock fighting plaza. Samuan Tiga had huge trees and a river and no one was there. Nice for just exploring. Cool plants, and I saw some big geckos. The archaeology museum was closed, but we saw a few things.

Yeh Pulu had some 14th century Hindu cliff carvings. We hiked through jungles, rice paddies, and neighborhoods to get to Goa Gajah, the Elephant Cave. It's from the 11th century and had some old Hindu and Buddhist statues.

We ate some Indian food and got some massages. 7USD/hr. Not bad, right?

Goa Gajah: 8.5/10
Yeh Pulu: 8/10
Pura Penataran Sasih, Pusering Jagat, and Kebo Edan: 7/10
Pura Samuan Tiga: 8.5/10
Archaeology Museum: ???/10

We went to some more temples. First, Pura Saraswati. Saraswati is the "patron saint" of Ubud since she's the goddess of learning and culture, and Ubud is the city of art. It was her holiday on Saturday, so everyone wore traditional clothes and made offerings to her. Everywhere in Ubud is undergoing renovations or something, so Pura Marajan Agung was closed.

The Puri Lukisan Museum was pretty cool and so was the Agung Rai Museum. They both had a lot of art (and we've officially seen a shit-load of art now in Ubud) and a sweet orchid collection. Mostly Denubium and Phalaenopsis. They give you free drinks after you're done looking at everything at the nice museums here.

We saw a dance at the palace which was pretty cool and interesting. It's like slow popping with an emphasis on the motion of their eyes and fingers. They had a little orchestra of traditional instruments, too. I like the deep, metal gongs and gamelans.

And we ate some pizzas and penne. :)

Pura Taman Saraswati: 9/10
Pura Marajan Agung: ???/10
Museum Puri Lukisan: 9/10
Agung Rai Museum of Art: 9.5/10
Legong Dance: 8.5/10

The Elephant Park

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Water Temple

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Nature (Bird?) Walk

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Delicious!

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Photos from our jungle trek today

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We went to the Elephant Safari Park in Taro. There're 21 elephants there which used to be working elephants in Sumatra, and four of them are babies. They had a lot of open space and jungle area to hang out in. We saw a little show, and it was cool, because they don't prod and hit them. And we got to feed and play with them. But there were still people riding them, and they kept some of them chained.

We went to two areas with holy springs and temples in Tampaksiring, Tirta Empul and Gunung Kawi. It's a holy day today for their deity of knowledge, so everyone is out and wearing traditional clothes. People bathe in this water and pray for success in school. We saw some 7m stone carvings dating back to about the 14th century. I found a Russian girl's purse which had like 500USD and her new iPhone. She's lucky...!

We went to a Botanic Garden which was undergoing remodeling, but they let us in for half price. It should've been free. Looks like no one's done any maintenance on this place in years.

The Museum Rudana was pretty sweet. It cost like 100,000 rupiah, but it was worth it. They gave us sarong and free drinks. Some works dated to the 1840s, but they had some of the best local modern works we've seen so far.

We ate a three course meal with like 40 different Indonesian foods.

Elephant Safari Park: 9/10
Tirta Empul and Gunung Kawi: 7.5/10
Botanic Garden: 1/10
Museum Rudana: 9.5/10

Today we took a silver class. The teacher gave us no instructions. Here's some silver, here's some tools, go. The entire class took a few hours. I wish the teacher told me to try something a bit easier for a beginner level, but Ernie's ring turned out great!

Chez Monique Silver-crafting: 9.5/10

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We woke up at 2AM to hike up Ganung Batur, one of the highest peaks in Bali. It's about 1.7km. It was a nice climb, and we kinda saw the sunrise. Kinda. There were some low-hanging clouds. But we got to see a ton of monkeys and volcanic vents. It's a pretty active volcano still. We also saw a luwak (a kind of SE Asian civet) and a porcupine!

AND WE RESOLVED ALL THE ISSUES WITH OUR STUPID BANKS IN KOREA AND CANADA. AND IT WAS GOOD.

Ganung Batur: 9/10

Posted by ErnieLG 07:19 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Random notes on Bali

Final thoughts

-There are natural springs everywhere, so people just bathe in them. We drank some of the water, but how clean is it? It tasted fine. Everyone says to not drink it, but we'll be here a month, so... I'm not gonna be overly cautious. It's not deadly.

-I saw a meter long lizard slowly climbing down a tree. Baby Komodo? Probably just a smaller monitor.

-No one uses the Balinese script; they just use roman characters. Pretty much no one knows how to read or write it, but heir spoken language is definitely different from the other kind of Indonesian.

-We're able to haggle a little more since this is tourism low-season. I've been trying not to buy too much, though. Just the necessities like a sarong and taxis.

-There are beggars, but not too many.

-Most of the art is Hindu. A lot of the paintings are very similar to each other, but there are some that are really different. Ubud is known for painting, wood carving, metallurgy, and stone carving.

-People here speak English MUCH better than in Korea.

-It's pretty bike- and scooter-friendly, but... like most undeveloped places, it's a little scary at night.

Posted by ErnieLG 21:54 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Days 10-11: Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

Nap time. And I saw a sea turtle!

sunny 30 °C
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We took a bus to Padangbai, then a boat to Lombok, then to Gili Trawangan (a little party island off of Lombok). We found our hotel without much trouble. It's nice. We took a little walk around our new island, and I slept for approximately 14 hours. I guess I was tired.

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The next day we went on a snorkeling trip to the three islands, Gili Trawangar, Meno, and Air. The boat had a plexiglass bottom that we could see through. We saw some big fishies, and I even saw a sea turtle. We got pretty sunburnt, despite the SPF50.

Gili T seems like a good place to relax on the beach, get sunburnt, do water sports, go diving, and drink a lot.

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Glass-bottom Boat Snorkeling: 9.5

Posted by ErnieLG 21:46 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Days 12-13: Mataram, Lombok, Indonesia

In some random city AKA mosquito larvae galore.

sunny 30 °C
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We woke up at 7:30AM to run to an arbitrary section of beach to wait for some dilapidated over-crowded longboat to take us back to the mainland of Lombok, the port at Bangsal. We rode a pony carriage to the bus stop, and waited around confusedly some more. A van took us to our next spot in Mataram. We went to Mataram Mall which was pretty funny and ghetto. We ate at McDonald's, of course. And got donuts, too. We went to some big temples from the 18th century.

I ran to the beach (we're staying about .3km east of it) for a cool sunset. We're by a lot of little mosques (remember, Indonesia is almost entirely Muslim, except for a few spots). We saw a mosque that was about 7 stories tall and as big as a block. We were walking around the hood and saw a buncha frogs, and everyone's pretty friendly. We drank with some dudes on the corner. Some kinda Indonesian moonshine. They called it wine. Sure. I drink whatever some bum on the corner hands me in a dirty cup.

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Pura Meru Temple and Mayura Water Palace: 8

We checked out this cultural museum. It was about one big room of stuff. Some of it was cool, but the coolest things were locked away in another room.

Museum Negeri Nusa Tenggara Sarat: 8

Our hostel was the only one on Hostelworld. It was about $5/person/night. No A/C, shower, internet, breakfast, English speaking staff, nor hot water. I don't mind the roaches, spiders, mosquitoes, and ants.... But when there's a colony of mosquito larvae in our water basin... And I had actually used this water to clean my body before noticing. So I basically had a mosquito larvae sponge bath. I ended up spending some time cleaning the bathroom. It was fairly far from the center of town where everything was, but it was right near the beach.

Posted by ErnieLG 21:52 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Days 14-17: Flores Sea, Indonesia

Arr matey! Komodo dragons!

sunny 30 °C
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We're on a little boat with about 15 other kids. Most of them are French or French Canadian, but there're a couple Americans, too. Fun! We saw some dolphins. Good sign.

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We went to the islands Palau Moyo and Palau Satonda. Trekked through some rivers and waterfalls. Lotsa hermit crabs and butterflies. Went snorkeling a bit. Saw some more dolphins and flying fish. Awesome! Oh, we saw another of those huge geckos, too.

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We went to Gili Lawa so I could climb a little mountain. We went snorkeling at Pulau Lasa, an island with red sand (from dead coral?).

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We went to Palau Komodo, and we saw FOUR Komodo dragons. Pretty fucking sweet. We saw some deer, too, and played a lot of drinking games.

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We went to Loh Buyua (crocodile island) on Pulau Rinca and saw about half a dozen more dragons. We also saw buffalo, millipedes, and monkeys.

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We did some more snorkeling and went to Labuan Bajo, the big port city on the west side of Flores. It's funny.

We had one last dinner with our boat crew.

Lombok to Flores Boat: 9.5

Posted by ErnieLG 07:03 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Day 18: Ruteng, Flores, Indonesia

Lotsa rice

sunny 30 °C
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So we (Paige, Mai, and Mike) hired a driver to show us around the next town. But first to get a bottle of arak. (Palm/rice wine made in a toilet or something. Fucking strong. And gross.) No, not for us; for the driver and his friend. We saw these emerald spiderweb rice terraces that went on for miles and made cool designs in Cancar. We checked out a traditional Manggarai village. And in case you didn't know, kids in undeveloped countries love pens and paper and stuff. Aaand I got my backpack fixed for less than a dollar. And I got new flipflops. Third pair so far on this trip. WTF mate.

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Lingko Cara Rice Paddies: 9/10
Ruteng Pu'u Village: 7.5/10

Posted by ErnieLG 04:20 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Day 19: Bajawa, Flores, Indonesia

Getting bit by wild animals. Should maybe wear shoes.

sunny 30 °C
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We hired a driver/guide for the next three days. 'Bout 60 bucks/day. Not bad really, since going rate's about 90.

We went to a hill on the edge of town where we could see all of the rice terraces in the valley that went on forever. And there was a big statue of the Virgin Mary. Funny. Well, this island is Catholic, but it's still weird.

We stopped by a big lake on the road and did some hiking around it. I got attacked by a green vine snake (possibly a python or viper?) and half a dozen leeches.

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We saw how they make arak (palm sap wine) in Aimere.

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We went to a traditional Ngadu village where men and women live in different houses. And they bury their dead in the front yards outside their homes, then the rains come, and after a few years they just kinda forget where they were, and they just become part of the Earth again. Kinda nice, actually. And dogs are domestic animals at just guard their homes and get eaten. And they eat betel and coral, so there's always like this red ooze coming out of their mouths.

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Golo Curu Hill: 9/10
Danau Ranamese Lake: 8/10
Bena Village: 8.5/10

Posted by ErnieLG 04:23 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

FYI

Important info

That map at the top of the page shows where I am now, where I've been, and where I'm going next. You can zoom and stuff.

Posted by ErnieLG 05:22 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Days 20-21: Mino, Flores, Indonesia

Family reunions. I ran maybe 4.5mi. Most I've run in like 4 years. I'm pretty fat right now.

sunny 25 °C
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We saw some big old stone structures where people would sacrifice animals in old ruins.
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Wogo Lama Village Ruins Megaliths: 8

We were passing through Ende and saw all of our driver's family having a graduation party. So we drank some arak and hung out for a bit. It was pretty funny. We saw people scrapping a big wreck about 100m from the shore. It was like a buncha ants with blowtorches taking apart a giant dead grasshopper. There were a bunch of people sorting millions of rocks on the beach by hue and size to sell. Crazy.
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Then we went to some hot springs and waterfalls. The villagers were having a cooking class for the younger girls, and they made us stay and taste all of their foods they made with local crops. They don't even have fucking ovens, and they made some bomb brownies with cassava. Cray.
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Moni Air Terjun Waterfalls and Mata Air Panas Hot Springs: 8.5

We saw sunrise over a volcano with three different colored crater lakes (light turquoise, dark greenish-blue, and dark brown). We came back to town and shopped at the outdoor market.
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Kelimutu Volcano: 9

We also stopped by the beach to eat and swim a little.

Posted by ErnieLG 20:08 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Days 22-23: Palangkaraya, Kalimantan, Indonesia

Still in Indonesia... and thievery.

sunny 30 °C
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Just took three flights to get to this next spot. Which took literally all day. And the first four hotels we tried all had no vacancy. And no one speaks any English. Uh oh.
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And we're on a bus for like... 12 hours. Oh, and someone stole Paige's Kindle from our room. We asked about it, but they said they didn't have it. After we said we were calling the cops, they handed it over.
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Posted by ErnieLG 19:19 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

No Wi-fi

Updating tomorrow

Self-explanatory

Posted by ErnieLG 01:19 Comments (0)

Days 24-26: Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan, Indon.

Floatin down a river in the jungle. Lotsa animals. And fungi.

sunny 30 °C
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We hired a boat with crew, guide, and cook for a few days to take us down the Sungai Sekonyer River and into the park. We were walking around, and we found four orang-utans. A big male was less than a meter from me, just hanging out. There was also a mother carrying a baby and an adolescent. We also saw ants that're about 3cm long, fire ants, and mosquitos like you've never seen. You stop moving for a second, and there's a dense cloud of them all over you. So I'm just wearing pants and a jacket. This is also crocodile and leech territory. (People have been eaten by them here.) Not to mention tarantulas and venomous snakes. And the water is toxic with mercury and other chemicals from mining. In other words: stay on the boat.
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In other news, our boat's chef is awesome.
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And our guide says that if you eat 31 leeches full of blood, it's good for your manhood.

There're millions of butterflies here. Woke up and a big black, blue, and red butterfly probed me with its proboscis. Speaking of, we saw a bunch of proboscis monkeys in the trees as we plied down an even smaller tributary to Camp Leakey, the biggest research and rehabilitation center for orang-utans. I missed the crocodiles, but I saw a monitor that was about .7m long and a pygmy squirrel. And some more of those evil leeches... At night, we trekked around a little and saw bird-eating tarantulas, frogs, and epic moths. Oh, and bioluminescent bugs and fungi.
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We've seen maybe 20 wild or rehabilitated orang-utans and a gibbon (named Bob) now. I was washing my clothes on the boat this morning (in river water the color of maple syrup), and a female that was maybe 10 years old came up to me.
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I've gotten pretty used to waking up around 730am. And not changing my clothes. Or showering. Being on vacay is nice. Except for that weird rash....

We saw some more orang-utans and some villages. Did I tell you that they can even use oars and canoes? Anyway...

On the way back, I finally saw a crocodile, so my trip's complete.
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Tanjung Puting National Park Klotok Boat Trip: 9.5

Posted by ErnieLG 06:26 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Days 27-28: Pontianak, Kalimantan, Indonesia

Wow, another boat... and so much rain.

sunny 30 °C
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We hired a tiny wooden Batman boat to take us around the river. There were all kinds of huge tankers and liners. We went through tiny canals where people built streets on the water. The people in stilt houses were washing clothes and swimming. I tried saying hi to as many people as possible. I think I fell a little short of 1,000.
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River Sampan Boat Trip: 9.5

Got stuck in a huge torrent, so didn't do much. But I did go on an 11-hour bus ride to Malaysia. Quite a few people ask to take a picture with me. Is it the pallid skin, beard, or lip ring?

Posted by ErnieLG 06:35 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Days 29-33: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

In a pretty cool hostel. Ropes and ladders. Kayaking in the rain. Lotsa dolphins and bats. And a 16 hour bus ride...

all seasons in one day 30 °C
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Well, Malaysia seems pretty different from Indonesia already. Much more modern, but the people still seem friendly. We took a tiny boat across the Sungai Sarawak River and walked through some little villages. I saw a monitor that was about .5m, some cool moths and butterflies, some bats, and a giant praying mantis.

Oh, and we got picked up from the bus station. Awesome! And we have wi-fi! And showers! Crazy!
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Riverside Kampung Villages: 1

We hiked up this mountain that was less than 1km high, but it was a very vertical ascent. Lotsa ropes and ladders. We hiked through the jungle for about 8 hours. Saw a white cicada?, some sweet butterflies, a lizard a little like a frilled lizard about .3m long, and an earthworm that was about .15m. We went through a few waterfalls. Then we sat and drank beers by the ocean.
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Mount Santubong: 9.5

We're at a nice hostel. I'd definitely reco it. We hung out yesterday and today with the owner's family. Today we went to an orang-utan reserve, but it couldn't compare to what we'd seen already in Indonesia. We kayaked down the river for a few hours. Not a lot of white-water, but it was cool. We explored the villages along the river, too.
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Semenggoh Nature Reserve: 1
Kayaking: 9

We took a cruise on the wetlands, and we were sitting in the middle of a pod of Irrawaddy fresh water dolphins for about half an hour. We also saw a couple crocs 2 or 3 m long. There were a bunch of mudskippers and blue crabs and proboscis monkeys. We checked out one of the little villages, too.

We went to some epic caves after that. One had 1000s of bats everywhere and some swift nests with eggies, too. Saw some cool lizards and big-ass cave spiders. The other cave we saw was giant, and we took some scary tunnels.
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Fairy Cave and Wind Cave: 9.5

Posted by ErnieLG 06:41 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

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