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Ijen Crater

Getting to Banyuwangi

It was still very early in the morning when I clambered into the sweltering bus that was heading to Banyuwangi from the Ubung bus terminal in Bali. Still bleary-eyed from the lack of sleep, I paid the IDR850k for the bus ticket - a rate that seems to have been standardised amongst all the bus services, and included the cost of the ferry from Gilimanuk to Ketapang - and squeezed my way through the narrow rows trying to find an unoccupied seat next to the window. I knew we would be travelling west on the coastal road, so in order to get the views of the coast, I made sure that the seat was on the left side of the bus. Read more


Cape to Cape Day 06 – Deepdene to Cape Leeuwin

Cape to Cape Index

Ominous Weather

Cape to Cape Track I broke camp at 08:10 that morning and made my way from Deepdene Campsite down the 390 metre trail to the dune blowout. I was greeted by dark, ominous clouds, a sure sign of impending drama. I had had enough of the blistering sun by then and welcomed the brisk sea breeze as I pushed my way onwards with my sights transfixed on the tiny lighthouse in the distance.

I found that stepping in the footsteps of those that had gone before me somehow made the going much easier. Perhaps it was due to the compacted sand or perhaps because less energy was being used to maintain my balance as the soft sand crumbled Read more

Cape to Cape Day 05 – Conto's Campsite to Deepdene

Cape to Cape Index

The Boranup Karri Forest

Cape to Cape Track I was very eager to get away from the crowds of Canto's Campsite that morning, so I packed up my hammock quickly and skirted the hoards of campervans and oversized (and excessive) tents in order to make my way out of the campgrounds. I arrived at the sign outside the entrance and turned left down the trail, circumventing the boundaries of the massive campsite. The trail was refreshingly thin here and undulated around the bushland for approximately 900 metres or so with views opening up of the beautiful green carpets of the canopies of trees off in the distance to my right. I reached a junction that branched off left back to Canto's (that is how big the campgrounds were!) and right descending into the woods along a firebreak that carved through the foliage as far as my eye could see. Read more


Cape to Cape Day 04 – Ellensbrook to Conto's Campsite

Cape to Cape Index

A Wrong Turning

Cape to Cape Track I left Ellensbrook campsite a little later than I had hoped, just after 08:00. Realising that I had over 30 kilometres of hiking to do that day, I would need to hike at an average speed of approximately 4 km/h to reach the next campsite before the sun set - a speed that was definitely achievable especially considering that I was now hiking alone. The clouds didn't look too promising though and I caught myself hoping that the weather would hold up. Everything else was perfect - the shade of the trees that filtered the morning light cast everything in a soft, tranquil light, all the shadows long and stretched out. Read more

Cape to Cape Day 03 – Moses Rock to Ellensbrook

Cape to Cape Index

Wilyabrup Crags

Cape to Cape Track The three of us left Moses Rock campsite just after 09:00 and turned left at the crossroads in order to continue heading Southward. As the views of the coast opened up, the overwhelming power of the ocean immediately became apparent - the initial reverberating smash of the waves against the rocks, the water being powerfully sucked back out to the ocean in the surge that would always follow, and the soft hissing of the suds as they dissipated.

Despite all this, the other two still seemed pretty discontent. So much so that they were entertaining the notion of pulling out at Gracetown and heading to the climbing crags instead. Read more


The Temples of Bagan

I climbed out of the Shwe Mandalar express bus groggily and somewhat curmudgeonly after being rudely awoken by the strident cry of the bus driver just as the bus squeakily rolled to a stop. Despite the lack of sleep, I found to my surprise that the bus ride had been far more comfortable than I had anticipated. For some reason I had expected the eight and a half hour ride to be on a cramped and very crowded bus that was not too dissimilar to the one that I had taken to get to Bromo. This was most likely due to all the horror stories of the road conditions in Myanmar that I had heard, stories that I think are probably only applicable to rural areas and possibly the ride from Bagan to Inle Lake. Read more


EBC Day 18 – Namche Bazaar to Lukla

Nepal Index

Back to Lukla

The scenery that awaited me just south of Namche was absolutely gorgeous. The pinewood (Pinus sp.) forests that laced the southern hills were a mix of vibrant reds and greens, and the backdrop of white and silver layers of snow that adorned the southern slopes of Nupla (elevation : 5885m) really brought out the contrast of colours. Read more


EBC Day 17 – Lungden to Namche Bazaar

Nepal Index

Leaving Lungden

Despite the ferocious wind that was blowing up the valley from the south, it only took 30 minutes to hike from Lungden (elevation : 4375m) to Marulen (elevation : 4210m). At first, Marulen was akin to a ghost town, as all the houses were bolted from the outside and there was not a single person in sight. I did however end up seeing three people right at the end of the town, which struck me as somewhat odd for a fairly large town (at least by Nepalese mountain standards) of about 12 houses. The days were getting much colder and the nights were getting much shorter, so the scarcity of people was most likely due to the coming of winter. Read more


EBC Day 16 – Renjo La Pass

Nepal Index

Renjo La Pass

Since today was going to be a big day, I decided to spend a bit more time 'fueling up' with three cups of coffee (NPR300, RM12) and macaroni and cheese (NPR450, RM16), whilst enjoying the views of Gokyo Tsho that lay just outside the lodge. I left slightly later than the other hikers as I did not want to hike with anyone along the way. This was because I was in search of the feeling of complete isolation (or rather as close as I could get it), as the thought of no one being around you for many kilometres, although initially disconcerting, can ultimately be very emancipating. Read more


EBC Day 15 – Lakes of Gokyo

Nepal Index

Thonak Tsho

I had another lucid dream that night. For some reason I was in Singapore this time around, and was standing on a beach with a rented bicycle by my side. I was looking out over the ocean and was watching some world-class waves being churned up by hurricane-strength winds. Suddenly, a huge tidal wave swept through the coast and washed away everything in its path except for me. The dream had probably been inspired by the ridiculous howling winds that had swept down the valley that night and had buffeted the small town of Gokyo.

Read more
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