Sipadan: Diving One of the World’s Best Dive Site Part I

 

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The world famous ‘Barracuda Tornado’

Sipadan’s Barracuda Point is said to be one of the world’s top dive sites (some might even argue that it’s the best!). While it is home to many different species of fishes, it is most famous for the giant schools of great barracudas that prowl the area. They make for a magnificent sight, forming a ‘tornado’ of a thousand gleaming swords as they swirl with the current above your head. Continue reading

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DIVE! : The Peaceful Depths of Amed and Tulamben, Bali

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A beautiful backdrop of mountains and padi fields in Amed

In the East of Bali, there lies a long stretch of coastal road which incorporates the 7 villages of Amed, Jemeluk, Buuntan, Lipah, Selang, Banyuning and Aas. This stretch of road is more commonly known as Amed. Life here is slow and peaceful unlike the fast pace of Kuta, Ubud and Seminyak. There are also less tourists here, making it a good place to relax and unwind without disturbance from others.

Bali has some of the more beautiful dive sites in South-East Asia and Amed and Tulamben are one of the top spots for diving in Bali. The dives here are mostly shore dives and a diver might experience strong currents and low temperatures at times. The USAT Liberty Wreck dive at Tulamben is especially popular with divers all around the world.

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The Great Sri Lankan Adventure Part 3: Mighty Sigiriya and Failing Adam’s Peak

THE MIGHTY LION ROCK

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Sigiriya Rock aka Lion Rock

Sigiriya Rock, also known as Lion Rock, is an ancient palace located in the Matale District, Sri Lanka. According to ancient lore, King Kasyapa built his palace on the top of this rock (nearly 200m high). It derives it’s name from a gateway that was built in the shape of an enormous lion on the side of the rock. After the king died, the royal palace was abandoned. Sigiriya Rock is now a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site and one of the most visited historic sites in Sri Lanka.

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The Mountain Man: Jeremy Tong Zhi Hao

The Mountain Man

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The Mountain Man up on Stok Kranji, 6123m, 2014

A student, Jeremy Tong Zhi Hao (25 years old) is currently in his last year of the Sports Science and Management Bachelor program in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. However, outside of school, Jeremy has a unique passion; he climbs mountains. He is a mountaineer, global expedition leader as well as an altitude coach. The founder of Jeremytongclimbs, Jeremy has been sharing his passion for climbing through leading and organizing mountaineering expeditions to various parts of the world. Currently, he has led over 16 expeditions. Also, Jeremy has scaled and trekked 31 mountains around the globe (many of them multiple times for a total of 51 trips!). These include Lenin Peak (7,134m – Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan), Stok Kranji (6,153m – India)  Mount Kinabalu (4,095m – Malaysia), Mount Rinjani (3,726m – Indonesia).

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Into The Blue: An Introduction Into Freediving

The acidic tang of vomit still lingered at the back of my throat as I tried to find a normal breathing rhythm. Closing my eyes, I held the buoy and tried to relax. I bobbed up and down, being gently pushed by the waves. As I took my final deep breathe, images flashed through my head. Happy memories, of the beliefs that motivated me and of love. I then plunged down and everything turned to blue.

Into the deep

Into the blue

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Backpacking Vietnam Part 2: Beautiful Halong Bay and Majestic Sapa

In the first part of this series, we toured Ho Chi Minh trying out the local street cuisine, rode through the Mekong witnessing the life of the river people and explored Hanoi’s Old Quarter’s with its authentic local vibes. This next article will bring you through my experience in Halong Bay and Sapa!

PLANNING THE ADVENTURES

Hanoi’s Old Quarter has a multitude of tour agencies from which you can book your trips from. They vary widely in terms of quality and price. There are also many tour agencies which purposefully put similar (or even exactly the same) names as certain popular agencies. This can make things very confusing for tourists. One of these is Sinh Tourist. I decided to go with them after reading pretty good reviews online. I searched for their (real) address online and then navigated through the many roads, alleys and ‘fake’ agencies of the Old Quarter to locate it. I booked the 2D1N Halong Bay liveaboard through them and it cost me USD 80. I booked the 3D4N Sapa tour through my hostel (Central Backpackers Hostel) and it cost me USD 135 inclusive of the train ride to Sapa, hotel and a 2 night homestay (I decided to do 1 night instead when I was there).

SAILING HALONG BAY

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Halong Bay; Where the dragon descended into the sea

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The Great Sri Lanka Adventure P2: Gritty Colombo and the Elephants of Kandy!

GETTING TO SRI LANKA

There are a few budget airlines which flies to Sri Lanka (from Singapore), most with a stopover at Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia. I opted to go with AirAsia. It took an hour to fly from Singapore to Kuala Lumpar with a stopover of about two hours. The flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka took about three and a half to four hours. The return flight cost me 290 SGD although there was a promotional offer earlier on which I missed. It had the flight at 230 SGD. The stopover at Kuala Lumpur was very comfortable and welcomed. They have a pretty slick food center with some fast food restaurants and it was good to have something to eat before boarding my flight to Sri Lanka.

*Read The Great Sri Lankan Adventure Part 1: An Overview here!

COLOMBO

Colombo's World Trade Center!

Colombo’s World Trade Center!

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The Great Sri Lanka Adventure P1: An Overview

INTRODUCTION

Sri Lanka has been gaining popularity as a backpacking destination since the civil war ended in 2009. While Sri Lanka has been steadily undergoing development after the ravages of war, many places are still relatively untouched by modernization, making it popular for those who love to go off the beaten track.

Atop Little Adam's Peak

Atop Little Adam’s Peak

Sri Lanka is a country so full of diversity that anyone who visits will definitely have something to look forward to. It is home to many different religions (temples galore!), ethnic groups and languages, making it a must go to those who have an interest in culture and history. Being an island, you’ll be surrounded by beaches, each with their own unique personality. You’ll be spoilt for choice, choosing from hip Arugam Bay famous for its surfing, beautiful Mirissa where you can go whale watching or Trincomalee for some spectacular snorkeling on Pigeon Island. Nature lovers can also rejoice for there are many national parks dotted around Sri Lanka with a multitude of wildlife such as countless species of birds, elephants, leopards and the like. For those who love beautiful scenery and hiking, there are the famous trails such as Adam’s Peak, Sigiriya Rock and the Horton Plains to visit.

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