We chose to visit Lombok because it sounded different to the more popular destinations in Indonesia. The idea of going somewhere unusual always appeals to us, especially when its away from the crowds. We had arrived in Senggigi Lombok via a boat from Bali. Having spent a few days in Holiday Resort Lombok relaxing and recuperating from our long trip from Europe we were ready to explore the Island. Not much exists in terms of information on circumnavigating Lombok so we looked at a map and worked out rough route as best could. Some places to stay and towns to visit could be planned, others we would have to decide on the fly. We had no idea of road conditions or how long it would take to cover distances. We did read about somebody driving around the Island in a day, leaving early and returning at night. How or why you would do this is crazy so please don’t try it. You’ll miss all the cool stuff!
It is said that Lombok resembles Bali from thirty years ago before it became so popular. After spending a week here, we couldn’t recommend it more. Here are some useful tips!
Getting to Lombok can be done in two ways. You can fly from Bali for relatively cheap (or possible your destination outside of Bali) to Lombok International airport and then take a taxi for there. Or you can take a boat, either private or public. We chose to take the boat as we went to the west of the island first. Depending where you depart from in Bali will determine the cost. We took a private boat from Sanur with Scoot Cruises, costing us 1.2 million IDR for both of us. These private boats are what are referred to as fast boats. Despite this, the trip across the channel still took about 3 hours and had a stop in Lembongan Island to drop off and collect passengers. The operation is efficient and there are a multitude of companies to chose from. Tickets can be pre-booked online (although paying online in Bali can be difficult) or simply bought at an office or through a tour operator.
You can’t go from Lombok to Bali and not stop in the famous Gili island! We learnt that all small islands in Lombok are called Gili’s but these are so well known that the name has become synonymous with these three islands. And yes, they also belong to Lombok, not Bali. The Gilis are – Gili Tranwangan with is reputation as a party island, Gili Meno as a couples retreat and Gili Air with its laid back atmosphere. Being very keen on diving and liking the idea of chilling we chose the latter.
Leaving London for our travels gave us the option of crossing over the pond for a long overdue stop in France. Whilst I’ve been gathering experience travelling throughout Europe I had yet to visit La Republique. France could easily been defined as the heart of Europe. With its size and prevalence in the continent, and its rich cultural standing, it is definitely a strong contender for the title ( especially now that the UK has put themselves out of contention ). But now the hard questions – where and what do you do in a country with so much to offer?
Of course you must first go to Paris! No? See the Eiffel Tower and visit the Louvre!? But not before eating a croissant on Champs-Elysées. Or not! In fact non of these things capture my imagination and we didn’t do any of them. That to me is not the France I wanted to see but rather something that forms an image of a Disney World for adults. Watching the Tour de France had painted a much different attraction that I wanted to see – the small towns, narrow roads and the abundant chateaux that dot the country side. Disney World could wait.
El Cuyo was a last stop on our Mexico trip. After Riviera Maya and exploring the Yucatan we wanted a remote quiet place to do almost nothing. A small fishermen village at the end of the road seemed just the right kind of place. The same evening we arrived, we realised just how quiet and remote El Cuyo was. Kids were playing on the main square and policemen were just casually sitting in front of their station. We were thinking, what could they possible have to do police here?
We were told in Merida by a few sellers that (all ) the Mexican hammocks are produced in a small town of Tixkokob. They would even proudly show their ID with place of birth Tixkokob but they were trying to persuade us from going there. In Merida and other touristy places like Cozumel or Playa del Carmen they up to 300USD for a finely detailed one. However, the desire to get a local made and not overpriced hammock for us was stronger. Tixkokob we will fiiiiind youuu!
We visited Merida at the very end of October 2016 hoping to see some festivities preceding to the Day of the Dead ( Dia de Los Muertos ). To our surprise, by the time we finally arrived, all the parties were over and the city life was back to normal. Therefore, if you’re planning a Halloween in Merida make sure you check in advance their festivities calendar. Besides that, we immediately fell in love with the old colonial look of the city, its colourful houses and the street buzz.
I realised I used the term ‘experience’ a lot in this post, but that is exactly what Afrika Burn is – a bombardment on your senses. Everything about it is an (unique) experience, including getting there. Settled in the middle of the Tankwa Karoo National Park, it’s about 4.5 hours drive from Cape Town, out of which 120 on a dirt road. For over 10 years both locals and foreigners have been gathering in the desert to partake in this eclectic arts festival. Born from its Bigger Brother in the States, Burning Man, Afrika Burn has always been announced as one of those must-experience events. So with our flight to Europe drawing closer we thought that we would do just that.
When you think of the Maldives the first thing that comes to your mind are the white sand beaches and its crystal blue waters. With over two hundred resorts, the Maldives are world-famous as a holiday destination. My chance to visit this wonderful place came with an irony – I had to leave Thane behind. For the most of 2016 Thane went on and on about visiting Maldives. It seemed like such a far out idea at the time. Then miraculously, thanks to this modeling thing we call work, I got an amazing opportunity to visit THE Maldives, courtesy of the Woman & Home magazine. We were both stoked and bleak at the same time because it is THE couples’ destination on the planet and I was going solo.
In case you didn’t know a thing about Cape Town and its surrounds you’ll learn quick enough there is plenty to see and do, all in a close proximity. A two hour drive in any direction will have your environment change from urban to mountains, forest to semi-dessert and active to relaxed. This post is about how much can be done in just one day. The challenge we set to ourselves included our favourite attractions – mountain, wine farm and a beach – all in a chilled ‘capetownian’ way.