AGJ

AGJ

AGJ

THE ROAD TRAVELLED

I first dipped my feet in the pool of European-water in my final year of University. Deciding wisely to get a general feel for Europe through a Top Deck tour, I visited ten countries. The UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Czech Republic. I loved every moment of my tour; the friends I made during the 23-days we spent together. I have since spent time with my gorgeous friend Katie, who lived in Athens at the time; and the lovely Jodie who resides with her beautiful family over in Perth.

Of course I had to return to Europa to explore further...this time I saw some unique and beautiful places for the first time. I escaped to Greece to visit Athens and the Greek Islands (Mykonos, Santorini and Crete), Turkey, Israel and Egypt. Most of these new destinations I visited whilst on a cruise, run by Contiki. There was no “crazy Contiki” feel about it however and for the most part we were all mixed in with other tour groups. Again, I met some wonderful fellow-travellers. I have since visited my 'Tasmanian family' the Freemans in their hometown of Launceston. This was also my first taste of the Cannes Film Festival; knowing this would now be an event I simply couldn’t miss.

With the introduction of Air Asia’s flight path to Paris, my Dad managed to pick us up some super-cheap flights and again, I returned to Europe in May 2011. It was amazing to see my Dad amongst the many places he had read and heard so much about; historical and tourist destinations alike. With only two-days at Cannes in our three-week trip, it was a short but successful visit. It was my first time in Spain, with Barcelona's pickpockets targetting Dad within our first hour in country! With my best friend Bec living in London at the time, we made a trip to Hungary to the sprawling city of Budapest. Dad and I also visited Kuala Lumpur for six days; a place I knew I would be visiting again (if not just for its' amazing textiles).

Through racing fashion, I won flights to Thailand in late 2011. My sister and I spent nine days on the island of Phuket during the time of Bangkok’s floods. I would have liked to have spent more time in seclusion or out on the islands. The best parts of Thailand seem to be tucked away from the tourist mecca of Patong; luckily Kata beach provided us some of this insight.

My husband Matt and I decided to see as much of Australia as we could before heading overseas. Perth was a delight in 2011 (and again in 2013), Adelaide and Melbourne charmed us alike with their mix of heritage and alternative-street vibes in 2012 and Tasmania was an amazing showcase of true natural beauty in 2013.

It was off to Malaysia and Borneo on New Year's Eve in 2013, with a quick island hop to Thailand thrown in. We relaxed in Langkawi and marvelled at the Orangutans outside of Kuching, took in the sights of Penang and enjoyed all the cultural diversity KL had to offer. In 2015 we headed to Bali and the Gilligan-style Lombok island of Gili Meno for our honeymoon. It was off again in 2015, this time to Hong Kong and Macau thanks to Matt's first racing fashion win.

THE ROAD AHEAD

Matt and I are off to Europe (thanks again to our team racing fashion prowess) in September 2017 - we'll be stopping by Paris, Epernay, Venice, Slovenia, Plitvice Lakes and Istria county in Croatia, Rome, Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Madrid, Barcelona and Munich - for Oktoberfest!

I cannot wait to explore Scandinavia and Iceland, Africa/Tanzania and the one city I haven’t visited in the US – New York! When I return to the US I'll definitely be visiting my friend Ashley in Texas, as well as a pencilling in a trip south to Mexico. Would love to spend time with Matt in the snowfields of New Zealand's South Island and many more snorkelling trips, particularly off Malaysia's East Coast (Perhentian Islands), Bali's East Coast (Tulamben), Belize (Ambergris Caye) and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

Time will tell 😊



Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Ubud May 16th 2015

We arrived back in Padang Bai at around midday and after picking up our suitcase from Aquaria, we headed straight back to Ubud for some much needed shopping. The local village markets we had spotted previously were on our hit list. Ketut told us Guwang Markets are usually busy in the morning so we went in the afternoon (on a Thursday) at 3:30pm. They had such a great selection of artwork – both traditional and abstract. The thing to keep in mind here is that their ‘starting price’ will be lower than the main tourist markets so therefore your room to move on price shortens. At your standard Art Gallery in Ubud we would offer $200 for a $1,000 artwork. After a half hour of serious bargaining on our last day I got my favourite Mohammed ... read more
Artwork purchased from Guwang
Evita Villas
Pasar Seni / Pasar Umum Sukawati

Asia » Indonesia » Lombok » Gili Meno May 15th 2015

Ketut had organised for us to get to Gili Meno via fast boat from Padang Bai, twenty minutes south of Candi Dasa. We thought it best to pack light and took our hand luggage only to Meno (leaving our suitcases at Aquaria). We were booked on Semaya One’s morning boat and thought we were being collected from Aquaria at 8:30am. However there was a knock at the door at 7am – a taxi driver saying we had to check in at Semaya One by 8am. We literally inhaled our breakfast (so delicious at Aquaria!) and jumped in the car. Needless to say, having to wait two and a half hours in the sun left us far less than impressed at Semaya One. Then to be ferried from island to island, stopping last at Meno at 2:30pm ... read more
Seri Resort, Gili Meno
Seri Resort
Sunbaking...

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Candi Dasa May 14th 2015

We made our way from the Ubud countryside east to the seaside town of Candi Dasa. I must say, from the moment we got there it was such a relaxing place! We stayed at Aquaria Resort at the north end of town, farthest from Padang Bai. The owner is from New Zealand (we had heard from locals) and so there were plenty of Aussies - our neighbours were from Victoria Point! We stayed in ‘Ocean View Aquaria 2’ beachfront room - it was so peaceful in fact that the wifi password was "peaceful". I could have easily have lounged on a sun bed and watched the world go by all day (whilst sipping their delicious $4.50 cocktails) but we had exploring to do. That first night we ate at the Crazy Kangarooon the main strip - ... read more
View from the Road
Handy Amed Map
Jemaluk Beach, Amed

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Ubud May 12th 2015

We had to head off from Pemuteran quite early to get to Ubud at a reasonable hour. With just one night in Ubud we wanted to make our time count. We stopped at Adi Asiri Restaurant on Jalan Raya Sanggingan in Ubud for a light lunch. We had the Chicken Satay and Cap Coy (stir fry beef and veges) with cans of drink for $36AU (36,000 IDR). Before we had even arrived in Ubud we drove through some local “Pasar Seni” (Art Markets) which we made note of, just in case the shopping in Ubud wasn’t as we expected. It was lucky we did because we returned to Ubud a week later and absolutely loved these markets (will write more in the articles following). We arrived at Dupa Ubud Villa, set amongst the rice fields just ... read more
Dupa Ubud Villa
Chilling, Ubud style
Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck Diner)

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Pemuteran May 9th 2015

On our sixth day we headed north-west from Benoa to Pemuteran via Pura Tanah Lot Temple on the west coast. We knew the drive would be quite hilly and take around 4 hours so we wanted to go with a driver we trusted. A friend back home had recommended Ketut to me (Facebook ‘Zoe Diex’ – because there’s a million Ketuts!). Ketut was very friendly, spoke great English and took us to heaps of hidden local gems. We would recommend him without hesitation. There was an entrance cost of $7AU (70,000IDR) at Tanah Lot, the traditional Balinese temple located on a small, rocky island. On the walk down we stopped for local gelato for $2AU (20,000IDR) but also spotted fresh coconuts and satay stalls. We enjoyed our time at Tanah Lot but felt it was fairly ... read more
Ulun Danu Bratan Temple at Lake Bratan
Ulun Danu Bratan Temple at Lake Bratan
Ulun Danu Bratan Temple at Lake Bratan

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Benoa May 7th 2015

I interrupt your travel blog browsing to announce I AM MARRIED! That’s right my hubby Matt and I tied the knot on May 1st at Hamilton in Brisbane, Australia. The wettest day recorded for Brisbane in over 20 years! We didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits and quite literally had the best day. Despite our friends and family telling us we were batsh*t CRAZY for it, we had about three hours sleep after the reception before getting up at 5am to board a flight to Bali. Our itinerary would take us south to Nusa Dua, central to Ubud, north-west to Pemuteran, east to Candi Dasa and across the Lombok Strait to Gili Menoisland. We honeymooners kicked off our relaxing two-week stay in the south at the beachside area of Nusa Dua, specifically at Novotel Benoa. ... read more
Novotel Benoa Lobby
Tanjung Benoa
Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa

Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur » China Town January 12th 2014

We arrived back in KL on Sunday and made our way to the Swiss Inn Hotel in China Town with the blistering midday sun upon our backs. It’s about a five-minute walk from Pasar Seni LRT Station, but I’ll admit it feels a little longer when you’re pulling suitcases along the uneven roads and walkways. I thought Matt may actually shove a vendor or two once we reached Petaling Street – they were in our face straight away. While it was frustrating on the way to the hotel, once we settled into our hotel (directly on Petaling Street with a view out over the whole street) it was great having the shops, stalls and food vendors so close. I really wanted to do some clothes shopping so we took the monorail to the Bukit Bintang area. ... read more
Inside the Cathedral Cave
'Hangry' (Hungry-Angry) Monkeys
Indian Sweets outside Batu Caves

Asia » Malaysia » Penang » George Town January 9th 2014

The heavens had decided to REALLY open somewhere over the ocean between Langkawi and Penang. Luckily it's a mere 35 minute flight so the turbulence didn't last too long. At first glance the island of Penang already appeared much more built up than Langkawi. The schmick white taxis (called 'limos' on Penang) were also a clear sign that this island is a lot more commercial (or as the signs would say "a world city"). For 45RM / $15.60AUD we made our way to the Sunway Hotel in Georgetown by limo. The Sunway Hotel is about a 10 minute walk from the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site in Georgetown. It was a welcome sight to arrive at such a modern and stylish hotel after our dated accommodation back in Langkawi. The Executive Level Lounge on ... read more
Tree Monkey Restaurant
Dusky Monkeys
Penang Butterfly Farm

Asia » Malaysia » Langkawi January 5th 2014

From the jungle of Borneo to one of Malaysia's most popular tourist islands Langkawi, this was surely going to take some getting used to! Langkawi is a beautiful island, at the top of Malaysia's west coast. So close to Thai border in fact that we decided to make the trip there on Day 3 of our 4 days there. Admittedly we left our run a little late in booking accommodation for this trip (mid-December) and being on the end of peak season most places in the "main area" were sold out (for reference the main area is Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah on the island's south-west coast). We decided on the Bayview Langkawi hotel in the heart of Kuah town (south-east) purely because we got a good deal and booked an Executive Room with sea view ... read more
Langkawi Cable Car
Inevitability
Cenang Beach

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Kuching January 2nd 2014

After the mandatory visit to Malaysia's capital, it was off to neighbouring Borneo (or put simply the east island of Malaysia). We chose Kuching (a 90 minute flight from KL) in the largest Malaysian state of Sarawak as the reviews of all of the Orang Utan sanctuaries seemed to be more focused on keeping the animals wild and away from humans, rather than kept in cages as a tourist venture. You can only imagine my delight when Matt told me Kuching meant 'cat' in the Malay dialect - and what's more, there was cat statues all across the city (even the world's only Cat Museum). After seeing hardly any ACTUAL cats in the city (and mentioning it to our lovely taxi driver Hamitaf) we actually found out the city was more likely named from the Chinese ... read more
Cat Statues
Top Spot
Ling Loon at Top Spot




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