I really like the saying ‘We all need the darkness, to see the light’. And it got me thinking of my time in South East Asia and some of the good and…not so good things that happened over there.
So I decided to write a post on some of the highs – the good decisions I made during the six months backpacking through 8 countries in the region, and also about some of the lows, the times where I made mistakes, but thankfully lived to tell the tale!
Some of these things are hard to admit, but what’s the point of this blog if I’m not telling the truth!
Top 4 stupidest things I did in Asia despite knowing better:
- I rode a scooter into a rice paddy field. (My family and friends that already know about the accident will be laughing at me so hard right now posting this.)
I had never ridden a scooter before arriving in Bali – which is rookie move 101 in traveling to South East Asia. It was relatively easy to pick up, and I am now super confident on one. However, within the first 24 hours, I had ridden off the side of the road, over the curb and into the rice paddy field on the other side. Luckily, the rice paddy was full of water (see: mud), so both myself and the scooter remained unharmed, just muddy. Very muddy. The worst part about it was that my boyfriend was following me and got the whole thing on his GoPro mounted to the front of his scooter. One day, maybe, I’ll share that footage with you (currently, I am still yet to find the courage to watch it myself!)
- I got drunk and let my guard down, almost getting my wallet stolen. Again, this is such a silly mistake to make. But one night in Kuta, Bali (there’s my first problem), I had one too many vodkas and didn’t realise when some pickpockets got too close. Luckily, we managed to recover the wallet from them before anything happened, but it could have been so much worse.
- I spent too much money on accommodation. This is a tricky one for me to admit, because at the time, it never seems like you’re spending that much on accommodation – however, in a place like South East Asia, it would have definitely been possible to save money in this area.
- I left my sunglasses on at Bali’s Pura Luhur temple – monkey swiped me right in the face stealing them and scratching my face up (ahhh, rabies!). I’ve been to sights all over the world that have similar warnings about animals wanting to steal your stuff, so I absolutely knew better. I will never forget that monkey swiping directly at my eyes to grab the sunnies.
Top 4 opportunities taken:
- Spending the cash to head to Belitung Island off the coast of Sumatra. One of the most beautiful, untouched places I’ve ever been. So this is basically how it happened: we were chatting to Resa who owns Captain Coconuts in Gili Air (you should absolutely check them out, they are a fantastic cafe and hostel), and he suggested visiting this island on the east coast of Sumatra. His wife and he had just been recently and loved it, as did we. It’s got the beauty of any of the more famous Indonesian islands, but no tourists or crowds. We only met one other foreigner there during our five day stay.
- Snorkeling during a storm when they told us it wasn’t safe, but we really wanted to see the turtles. The electrical storms in South East Asia are intense, so much so that most hostels/hotels that have a pool will close it when there’s an electrical storm. However, its up to you whether you want to hop in the ocean during one of these storms. We were told by the locals that sunset and the hour preceding is the perfect time to see sea turtles when you go snorkeling, so it had to be done really. The noise under the ocean when it was raining so hard was insane!
- Riding a scooter around the entire island of Bali. We hired scooters on a weekly basis in Ubud, and and took off to the north, for what was originally going to be for 3 days. We scooted over the Bratan mountain range and over to Singaraja. We then decided that 3 days was a silly idea, and we would need way longer. We went west from there and drove the entire coast road to Menjangan Island to go snorkelling. Following the island around and down, we ended the scooter trip with a few nights in Medewi Beach with the famed surf break on our front door. Probably one of my favourite things I’ve ever done in my life actually.
- Abseiling down into Jomblang cave just outside of Yogyakarta in Java. We had been told how great Yogyakarta was by loads of people, but when we arrived, it wasn’t really for us. It rained a lot (not Yogya’s fault – but you know how it is), and really we just wanted to get back out on a scooter to explore. So instead of staying in the city itself, we booked a tour to take us to Jomblang cave and then to Pindul cave to go tubing. Mind blowingly cool!
I’d love to hear your highs and lows of travel – whatever they may be!