Page 10 of LivingTheDream Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Jakarta May 1st 2009

(Day 392 on the road)Jakarta is just as crazy as I expected it. It is a huge city with close to nine million people (19 million if you include the suburbs). It is loud, crowded, hot, polluted, and the roads are jam-packed. There is no subway, just cars, motorcycles and buses choking the inadequate roads of the city. City planning seems to be almost completely absent. I didn't enjoy Jakarta very much, but as a transport hub there was no way of getting around it. I arrived there by plane from Medan in Sumatra, ending my three exciting weeks there. I spent a couple of days looking around the main sights, including the old colonial city centre Kota with its relatively unimpressive Jakarta museum. I also went to see the national monument Monas, a massive 132m ... read more
Bar behind bars

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Lake Toba April 27th 2009

(Day 388 on the road)Many years ago, back in high school, I used a deodorant called Sumatra Rain. If I was to device an advertisement for this product, I would set it here in volcanic Lake Toba. The lake is absolutely enormous at over 17.000 sq km - it is the largest lake by far in South East Asia. In the middle, there is Samosir island, about the size of Singapore that was created during the last volcano eruption, but with less than 10.000 people living there it is hardly crowded. The lake is also rather deep, reaching 450 metres in places. Watching a fisherman in his canoe go about his catch in the heavy but short rain one afternoon, I was wondering how long it would take to fill a lake of this size. There ... read more
Dog for dinner
Women washing clothes in the lake

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Berastagi April 23rd 2009

(Day 384 on the road)Indonesia is not only big - it is absolutely huge! Stretching over some 5.000 kilometres, it comprises of more than 17.500 islands. I completely underestimated the size of it and the time it would take to do this beautiful country any justice. I have been here a few weeks now and have seen only a tiny bit of northern Sumatra. In the face of the huge distances that I need to cover to get from A to B, I have decided to scrap my no-flying rule for a while. Flying is really cheap here as well, which is great for my budget: For instance on the last longer stretch I covered the one hour flight was only seven Euros more expensive (20 Euros in total as opposed to 13 Euros for the ... read more
Smoking and stinking volcanoe
Karo woman carrying a heavy load
Fish, fish, fish

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra April 20th 2009

(Day 381 on the road)The island of Pulau Weh is as far north as you can travel in Indonesia. Located just off the very tip of Sumatra in the infamous Aceh province, it is a quiet and very beautiful place. People come here to snorkel, dive and relax. And that is exactly what I did for a few days (on Iboih beach on the island). The island also attracts a very mixed crowd, more diverse than I have seen in a long time. Apart from the usual backpackers, there was the French couple with a seven year old daughter, who have been travelling the seven seas on their yacht for the last five years (so their daughter effectively grew up on the boat, without any friends or schooling). Then there was the Australian couple who had ... read more
Tsunami mass grave with 15.000 unidentified bodies
The splendid mosque Raya Baiturrahman
Girls going home after their lesson outside the mosque

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang April 15th 2009

(Day 376 on the road) The main reason to come to Bukit Lawang in the Gunung Leuser National Park is to view the Orang Utansliving here. Once upon a time, these wonderful creatures were living in various parts of South East Asia, but today they are only found in very few places in northern Sumatra and on Borneo. In Bukit Lawang, between 5000 and 7000 wild Orang Utans are thought to live, and the place is easily accessible from the city of Medan. Orang Utans are quite fascinating: Their genes are 97% identical with human. They can weigh as much as 90kg, and the span of their arms can be as much as 2 metres. And their name is Malay and means "person of the forest". Bukit Lawang became famous when the WWF and the Frankfurt ... read more
Full yet, Mr. and Mrs. Orang Utan?

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Medan April 13th 2009

(Day 374 on the road)The island of Batam on Sumatra in Indonesia is only 30 minutes south of Singapore by ferry or a short ferry-hop from Malaysia, but it is a different world altogether. Where Singapore and Malaysia are pretty orderly and easy on the traveller, Batam is chaotic and a lot of hassle. In a way it feels good to be in a more chaotic country once again, but after a few hours I was already longing for the peace of hassle-free Malaysia. Still recovering from the 25 US$ entry fee (they call it visa on arrival, but no one checks anything) the taxi drivers at the ferry terminal tried to rip me off by trying to prevent me to share a cab with two other travellers (no way, my friends, you think we are ... read more
Pickpockets got my wallet here
Singing and dancing the Koran
Watch your step

Asia » Singapore April 10th 2009

(Day 371 on the road)I am on the move again, and it feels great! From Port Dickson, where I spent the last six weeks, I backtracked to Kuala Lumpur to pick up my new passport which I had applied for a few weeks ago, as the old one was almost full. Now I have a virgin, brand new passport, which is a bit of shame really, as I have grown quite fond of my old, battered one with all the stamps and visas. Also, the new passport states it was issued in Kuala Lumpur, and gives my residency as Port Dickson, Malaysia. Let's see into how much trouble that is going to get me in the many border crossings yet to come. From KL I took a bus down to Singapore, the Lion City. According to ... read more
Dinner with Suzanne
With Endah near the Merlion statue
Pretty steep fine (about 500 Euro)

Asia April 5th 2009

(Day 366 on the road)It is exactly 12 months today that I started my trip with a week of trekking and camping in Turkey. The past year has gone by incredibly fast, and the experiences I have had and the people I met were far beyond even my wildest imagination. More than ever I am sure that I have made the right decision in leaving my old life behind and emerge on this journey. I am also relieved that I did not accept my old company's offer to take a one year sabbatical, or else this trip would now have to end. Instead, only the first 12 months are over, and many more months are yet to come - I am going strong. I am happy that so far that I have not experienced any major ... read more
On top of Mt. Fuji (Japan)
In the Gobi desert (Mongolia)
The rice terraces of Long Ji (China)

Asia » Malaysia » Negeri Sembilan » Port Dickson April 3rd 2009

(Day 364 on the road) I haven't posted in a while now, and there is a good reason for that: The past six weeks I have spent in one place, namely Port Dickson in Malaysia, a pretty sleepy and non-touristy seaside town about 2h south of Kuala Lumpur. I was looking to a) take a break from constantly being on the move, b) I wanted to play golf, and c) I wanted a place by the sea. I found the perfect place here in PD (as the locals call it), and have rented a nice apartment in a residential complex, complete with swimming pool, washing machine, satellite TV, balcony and on-site restaurant. The place is literally 200 meters away from the Port Dickson Golf & Country Clubon the one side and 200 meters from the ocean ... read more
Swim wear Malaysian style
At the prime minister's niece party
Consertavive Muslism - or Koreans playing golf?

Asia » Malaysia » Melaka » Melaka City February 18th 2009

(Day 320 on the road)I feel great, but unfortunately I don't look the part. In fact, I think I look a bit like a drug junkie at the moment. People in the street stare at me, and I am pretty sure it is not because of my good looks (for the time being): On my forehead, my nose, my neck and my arms, the skin is peeling off from a sunburn I caught whilst on Pulau Tioman last week. Around my mouth, there are an incredible amount of heat blisters, also from the sunburn. On my left arm and my left leg, there are big red rashes where I was stung by stingray whilst diving. Further, on my left bum (luckily not many people get to see this) there is a massive blue spot from the ... read more
A Famosa fort Melaka
Stadthuys Melaka

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