Tag Archives: boat

Holy island hopping – Guimaras

15 Dec

Mango ketchup! from Guimaras - Mango capital

We were in Iloilo and besides shopping and having a private cinema session (read here), there wasn’t much to do or to see. But we did go for a stroll along the port… and decided impulsively to jump on a boat to Guimaras – the mango capital of the Philippines (they even had mango ketchup!!! See pic).

  • What we hadn’t counted on either was the adventist missionary who had decided to convert us…
  • And when we arrived we just got on the first jeepney we saw and with the help of all the people in it, we ended up in an unexpected mangrove resort
  • Pics below

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World’s longest Underground River

6 Jun
Did I tell you I went to the underground river?

Did I tell you I went to the underground river?

After a shakey ride in my almost private SEAir propeller jet (read here) I arrived in Puerto Princesa – the capital of Palawan Island. One phone call later I had a room in the Banwa Art Guesthouse – a bamboo affair with ethnic art smothered all over the place. Upon arrival the lady of the house told me about their package trips to the world’s longest Underground River, which was on my list of things to visit – so I jumped on the occasion and saved myself the hassle of finding transport and permits and all myself in exchange for 1500 Peso.

Having to be towed to salvation by another boat

Having to be towed to salvation by another boat

The road to the sea-side was only partly sealed – and partly a ‘massage road’… (nice way of putting it). Then was a boat ride to the entrance of the cave, where we changed to a paddle boat with guide (and funky fluorescent orange life vest and helmets) for a ride through stalagmites and tites. The trip on the river was a bit like a pre-recorded message (repetitive jokes inclusive) – but on the way back the engine of our boat broke down, so we were floating on the sea for an hour before another boat came to rescue us.

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Boracay Beach in the Rain

1 Jun
Experiencing Philipino Planes...

Experiencing Philipino Planes...

Getting there was half of the challenge because the airports and airlines in the Philippines seem to function quite differently from the European ones. Arriving at Caticlan airport was only a first step, it did involve getting a few tricycles and boats through stormy weather to get to Boracay island proper.

View from my room... on an exceptional sunny day

View from my room... on an exceptional sunny day

Luckily I was met by a friend (an angel ;-) on the other side of a rocky and splashy sea-ride who had found me a lovely guesthouse, with beach view and balcony, and whose staff adopted me as one of the family, for better and for worse… (read below)

The beaches were very worthy of the title Paradise (many pics below), but the weather didn’t really cooperate. Rainy season seemed to have kicked in early this year, so I gave up hope of sun and simply went swimming in the rain. A loooovely & liberating experience.

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Kayaking down to Vientiane

5 Mar
Kayaking into town...

Kayaking into town...

I was on many buses, trucks, boats, cars, mopeds, bikes and planes already, but when I saw it was possible to kayak down the river from Vang Vieng to Vientiane, I definitely wanted to give this a go. It sounded a bit like ‘kayaking to work’ or ‘going shopping by kayak’ – never t-done that before. I basically just signed up in one of the travel agencies (after bargaining the price down to 170000 Kip (17 euro)). Going by bus would be half the price, but this would include lunch, company and fun (sort of).

Having bought into one of these activities also meant that I was going to be thrown together with other people that booked the same trip, which in itself is an interesting experiment. Continue reading

French Connection Laos

18 Feb
Ze French couple - great to "causer" (chit chat)

Ze French couple - great to "causer" (chit chat)

In order to get from Muang Khoa to Muang Ngoi Neua, I thought to take a boat 3 hours down the Nam Ou river. I had asked several people along the boat landing on the river bank, frantically pointing at my phrasebook, but with no result. It is only afterwards that I realized the sentence given in the phrase book was ‘when is the BUS going’ – so then I understood why the boat people were looking strangely at my question (and also because of my probably alien pronunciation of Lao language).

After asking a few people more, I found out that there was something like a ticket office (near bus stations and boat landings). There was a young guy who attended me in pristine English. Of course there was Continue reading

Hallucinating in Halong Bay

13 Feb

Halong Bay - the star attraction of Vietnam

Halong Bay - the star attraction of Vietnam

Halong Bay is a definite must if you’re anywhere near Vietnam (see pictures below). It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen on my trip so far (definitely on the same level with the Angkor temples, and Kep Lodge ;-) You basically check in on a jonk boat (for a day or two or three) and float around the carst rocks that rise from the tranquil Chinese Sea, in all kind of different formations. On the trip you’re served with a meal of seafood on board, and drinks you can add yourself as many as you like, which we did ;-) We were lucky with the weather, as it is often foggy out there, so we were sunbathing on deck while taking in the scenery.

On the trip you can stop to visit some nicely lit caves and play the ‘You See What I See’ game with the tour guide, imagining different statues and scenes in the stalactites and stalagmites. Or Continue reading

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