Michelle Nicholls

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Michelle Nicholls

Travelling to me is about culture! Discovering, learning, accepting, believing & immersing myself in the life and toil of the countries I visit.

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh August 24th 2014

I had read a novel called "When Broken Glass Floats" by Clanrithy Him and was immediately drawn into her world and chaos surrounding her years from1975 to 1979 in Cambodia. It was the time of the Kmer Rouge Regime! (There is much to read about this time so I am not going to try and tell it differently or any more descriptive.) It would be a few years after I read the book that I decided to travel to Cambodia to read and feel more about this dark time in our human existence. How does this happen? Why does this happen? Who are these people and how did they survive & transcend those 4years that changed the life of every Kmer forever!" Part of Clarinthy Hims story surrounded a prison called Tong Sleng meaning "hill of ... read more
Torture Chamber

Asia » Cambodia » East » Kampong Cham March 27th 2014

It was at home on my laptop that I first read about the Bamboo Bridge in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. The structure of it caught my eye and then upon reading more of the history of it, I decided then & there that I was going to see it for myself. The day I actually rode my bicycle across it was indeed an accomplished feeling as I smiled for 800 meters, which is the length of the bridge! The bamboo bridge connects the small yet populated island Of Koh Paen in the Mekong River to Kampong Cham, mainland Cambodia. The Island is home to 25 000 people and is a colourful mix of Cham & Khmer culture. The fascinating aspect is this bridge is constructed every year by hand in November (which is the dry season), then ... read more
Bamboo Bridge
Me on the bridge

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap March 3rd 2014

When I visit any country I have my itinerary mapped out like this; What I must see, What I want to see & what would be nice to see. I love to seek out the country side and visit villages that aren't geared for tourism that allow you an honest and personal look at life the way the local people live from day to day. I often think that tourism gets confused at times and try to offer you a westernised experience of eastern culture where in reality for me, I want to get as far away from it as possible. The thing with rural travel or rural homestays is they can be difficult to research prior unless they are well known on the tourism radar. A rural homestay is a must for me and one ... read more
the wedding
The wedding
Bullock Ride

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Tana Toraja April 21st 2011

As you travel from Tentena to Rentapao you will notice a shift from Muslim to Christianity with some villages displaying a large Crucifix in their front yard as well as the symbolic Crucifix lining the streets. I wondered as I was sitting in the bus watching the crosses fly past one after another like a flicker in a film, how & why is religion so intoxicating & consuming to some? Why does religion have to mean fanaticism & absolutism? In 2005 there was unrest in Palu, Poso, Tentena and surrounding districts between the Muslims & Christians which, resulted in a hideous bomb attack in Palu on Christmas day killing 8 people coupled with a bomb attack in Tentena killing 22 people. Such occurrences attract negative press within our western media leaving us, westerners little understanding of ... read more
The tradtional House

Asia April 18th 2011

Attending a funeral Ceremony at Tana Toraja is privilege one is fortunate to experience. Regardless of the status of the deceased as to how large the Ceremony is, it is certain to ignite all your senses and plant itself in your memory forever. I was lucky enough to be in Rentepao when a Funeral Ceremony was taking place for a Village noble. The funeral was an affair that went over a week however I attending the main day and left before the sacrificing of animals began. I understood the importance of the slaughter and the offering of the meat to the village people however I knew I would not be able to witness the killings so I chose not to sit for that particular part of the service. Rather than give an account of the funeral ... read more
The Village people
Colours of the village
River of red & black

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Togean Islands April 18th 2011

Travelling to the Togian Islands is no easy feat, getting there involves at least three days travel depending on your departure point. The Togian Islands had been one of my primary reasons for visiting Sulawesi. On Palau Kadidiri Island there are three resorts all sharing the same slice of pristine beach! In no particular order there is, Paradise Resort, Black Marlin Cottages & Pondok Lestari. Two of the resorts, Black Marlin & Paradise are similarly priced resulting in a competitiveness that can only benefit the traveller. I had read about the three resorts on the island and it wasn't until I had met a friend who used to be an employee at the Black Marlin Resort did I finally make up my mind where I was staying. The Lonely Planet lists Black Marlin first with reference ... read more
Black Marlin Resort Kadidiri
Inside Bunglow Black Marlin
Deck over water- Black Marlin

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Togean Islands April 18th 2011

This all started in Gorantalo when I wanted to withdraw a few million Rupiahs for my journey through the Togeans. The ATM would only dispense me 1.25million and for some unknown reason I thought that was my limit for the day. I would later learn that I could have reinserted my card and done that same transaction several times. The next day I completed the same transaction and by my calculations, I would have enough just for my stay. By the third last day on the Islands I still had 420 000rp left, I decided that I would like to see the Bajo Village. I had read about the people they call the Sea Gypsies and to date I hadn’t met anyone else interested in going with me to share the costs of hiring a boat ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Togean Islands April 16th 2011

From the first time I read about the Bajo people, "Sea Gypsies", I was intrigued about their existence in modern day life. The concept of people living in stilt houses that are built over the sea congers images the movie "Water World" which starred Kevin Costner. On my last days in the Togean Island I decided that making the journey across the sea to the Bajo Village was now or never. I hired a young local fisherman to get me there & the two of set out to the Gypsy Village in a traditional outrigger style boat. The timber boat had an old sack for a shade blind, A large rock for an anchor and palm leaves stitched together for a roof. Two outboard motors saw us cross the sea and to our destination in under ... read more
traditional long boat
Bajo Children
Water line

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Togean Islands April 15th 2011

By the fourth day on Kadidiri I had unpacked my backpack, fell into the routine of island life and completely lost all track of time and dates. Whilst on Kadidiri I found myself reunited with an old friend, the sea. Never one to stray too far from the ocean in my life, I have relished the time here to be up close and personal with the shores on the Island. I am reminded of a time as a child when I would spend the entire school holidays without shoes and be permanently salty and very tan from life by the sea. My time here on Kadidiri has made me realise just how privileged I have been in my life to have always had the ocean so close to me. I have relished yet again, days without ... read more
Sunset Palau Kadidiri
My hangout
Sea Gypsy Children

Asia » Indonesia » Sulawesi » Togean Islands April 15th 2011

I decided to fly from Denpasar, Bali to Gorantalo, Sulawesi. There was a brief stop in Makassar where I changed planes prior to heading to Gorantalo. An odd thing happened though when I caught a taxi at the Airport (which I must mention is about 30km out of town.) The taxi driver asked me if I would like to drive. Why not, I thought as I tackled a 4WD in the Bali mountains for three days I am sure I could manage this.. I couldn't speak Indonesian & he couldn't speak English so you could imagine how we got along with directions whilst it was raining buckets outside. The whole scenario was actually quite odd! Finally, I had enough fun and let him drive the last few km to Melati Hotel in Gorantalo. Melati Hotel is ... read more
View from the ferry over the bay Gorantalo
All the fisherman coming in for the night.
Good Morning from Top deck.

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