Hanging out in the Hanoi Old Quarter

Location MapI really enjoyed walking around the Old Quarter of Hanoi. For me it had a totally different feel to other Asian cities at least in the heritage area. Small streets, old trees, busy but not too busy, tall narrow European style buildings and with the familiar yet so very unfamiliar Vietnamese use of the Roman alphabet.
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Two weeks exploring Java and Lombok in Indonesia

Location MapDuration: 16 days
Expenses: AUD$532 or AUD$31/day
Internal Flights: Surabaya to Bali AUD$41

Indonesia really feels like a place I could backpack around for months. The food is fantastic, the people are kind, the islands are beautiful and I only saw a handful of them. Unfortunately I only budgeted 16 days in Indonesia – 8 for East Java and 8 for Lombok. The purpose of my trip was to hike Mt Rinjani (Lombok) and Mt Bromo (East Java), but I feel fairly certain that I will come back to see more someday. Indonesia has so much to offer: mountains, volcanoes, jungle, rainforest, beaches, diving, hiking, food and more!

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Chilling out on Gili Air

Location MapI’m certainly not a beach person. I don’t like the idea of spending (wasting) a day lying on the beach doing nothing, but I’m trying to learn the art of relaxation. Gili Air of the Gili Islands in Lombok was the perfect place to get used to it. Laid back island life, friendly locals, quiet beaches, but still a slew of restaurants and bars to check out. Swimming, snorkeling, diving, there was no way to do it all. I guess I’ll just have to come back.
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The three amigos climb Mt Rinjani

Location Map
Mt Rinjani, a towering pyramid of rock that at sunrise casts a triangular shadow across the Segara Anak lake that fills the caldera and it’s little offspring, Gunung Barujari. Believed to have been created during the biggest eruption of the 13th century the caldera and its mountains are a masterpiece created well before the great European artists.
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From Bali to Lombok

Location MapAhh Lombok, such a refreshing change from Kuta, the dirty armpit of Bali. A more relaxed pace, the people are nicer, the island is beautiful and far less tourists make the effort to cross just 50km of water. We took rest in Senggigi, a small series of towns and beaches in the west of Lombok before seeing some of what the island has to offer.
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Solo Mt Bromo

image Mt Bromo (2,329m) is what everyone talks about and goes to see in East Java. I wouldn’t say Mt Bromo itself is very impressive at all really. It’s just a small smouldering crater below the perfectly shaped Mt Batok (2,470m) and the towering Mt Semaru (3,676m). Together though, within the vast caldera that they call home, this volcano group makes for some stunning scenery surrounded by Tenggerese villages.
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The Blue Fire of Ijen Crater

Location MapI must have screwed up my research because I completely overlooked the Ijen Crater in East Java. I didn’t remember it looking very appealing the first time I looked it up, but when I arrived in Probolinggo it became an instant must do.
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The Indonesian Reading Revolution in Surabaya

Location MapSurabaya was not somewhere I intended to stay long, but then again I guess I never really went into the city itself anyway. Good company and a nice hostel on the outskirts of town near the airport kept me there for 5 days when I had only intended to stay overnight. It was there that I met Asoka and learned about his Indonesian Reading Revolution.
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The Singapore Food Safari

Call me crazy, but sometimes I think a destination can be more about the food than the things to do. Singapore has so many influences that add to its own special blend of Oriental cuisine. Here you’ll find loads of delicious Chinese and Indian style dishes and you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for any of it.
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3 Weeks of Springtime Sakura in Japan

Location MapDuration: 23 days
Expenses: $92/day in expenses, $30/day for JR Rail Pass
Total: AUD$2,800 or ¥240,000

Japan is certainly a destination for all seasons. I feel like I need to live there to really experience all the colours and many faces of the landscapes. This year I travelled to Japan for a little over three weeks to see springtime cherry blossoms during Sakura. It was so contrasting to the last time I went during Japan over New Years one winter.

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