Michelle Nicholls

sunrise2 shanghai

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 May 1st 2011

My Vietnamese friend invited me to spend a few days with her & her family in a Village deep into the Mekong Delta after I returned from Indonesia. I had previously thought about a homestay in the area so I jumped at the opportunity to experience a real homestay not tarnished by tourism.. I would be staying in a village an hour outside of Cantho so far from tourism that I had to register with the Police just to be there. My Huong (my friend) had ridden to Cantho to collect me on her motorbike so my next hour was spent on the back of the bike riding through the villages which are quite condense. You know you’re in the Mekong Delta when all about you are villages on the banks of the Mekong and you ... read more
the family car
Omar & Opah

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Jakarta April 22nd 2011

With one week left in Indonesia I decided to split it between Jakarta & Jogya. I decided to check out Old Town in Jakarta. I was dismayed to see so many Heritage buildings in a derelict state. With brand new Shopping Centers on the up & coming I wondered why Old Town has been neglected by the Indonesian Government. I was warned not to walk around in the area by myself as it is known as a slum and petty crime is rife. I did however go down to the old harbor and have a wander around. I was completely amazed at how the ships' crew all load their cargo by hand and by crossing a very thin plank to their ship. I asked if I could go aboard a boat and one of the deck ... read more
Old Town, Old Harbour
Portrait of an Indonesian Man
The plank

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

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