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Kuta, Lombok

We took an Uber from Ubud back to Padangbai port to take the public ferry to Lombok, we would be going to the south of Lombok, to a town called Kuta (very different from Kuta, Bali) for a few days before going to the famous Gili Islands further north.

All went smoothly, we got to the port, bought our boat tickets for £2.50 each for a four-hour ferry, boarded and went straight up to the top-deck. When I say this boat was a ferry, it was more like a mini-ship, it transported trucks, cars, people, live-stock, petrol, basically anything that needed to go from Bali to Lombok could go on this boat, it was big.

We sat down on the top deck and a couple of the locals gave us some funny looks before one said to us that we might want to go downstairs where there’s more seats, we looked a little confused because we had a seat on a bench up here. But, I went for a walk to see what was in the downstairs section we hadn’t been in.

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Ubud, Bali

It was time to move on from the Nusa Islands, we had plans to go to Lombok and the famous Gili Islands from there, but first we would go back to Bali by public ferry and go to Ubud. Ubud is famous for being used as a setting in the book and subsequent film; Eat, Pray, Love.

We set off from Nusa Penida early morning, rode the bike down to the harbour and the owner of the bungalows came with us again to carry our bags and bring the bike back afterwards. The local boat was a big ferry and would only take an hour to get to Padangbai in Bali, we were on our way.

We got chatting to some locals and the boat was good, decent seats on an outside covered deck area, and it did only take an hour to get there. Plus an extra two and a half hours sat on the boat just outside the port waiting to dock up in a queue of other ferries.

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Arrival in Bali, Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Penida

After a fantastic week in Singapore, we flew on Sunday 4th June to Bali, Indonesia. We plan to spend a full month in the area around Bali and Lombok, so should have plenty of time to explore a few areas, a lot of where we are planning to go to is influenced by several friends who have been here before and recommended certain places, but Bali is very well-known tourist spot so we assume it’s where most people will go.

One of the first places we wanted to go was Nusa Lembongan, a small island about 30 minutes from Bali, but because we landed at night, we couldn’t go straight to there, so we headed over to the east side of Bali to Sanur, which is the closest port to get the boat to Nusa Lembongan, it’s more of a holiday destination than a backpacker hub, we just spent a couple of nights there to do some planning for the month ahead and sort out a boat to take us over.

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Singapore

Three and a half months ago, on our first weekend in South East Asia, we were sat at a Bia Hoi stall in Hanoi, on tiny plastic chairs, drinking beer for 5,000 Dong (16 pence) per glass, and we meet a couple of friends who are from Singapore. Fast forward 106 days and here we are, arriving in Singapore, and heading towards their home.

There are lots of reasons why we think the last six months have been the best of our lives, but right at the top of that list is the amazing people we meet everywhere we go. Meeting people in the street, sharing a few drinks and laughs, and those very same people inviting you in to their home, thousands of miles away, is just one of the many things that seems normal to us now but was something we had never experienced before.

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Bohol – Panglao Island

We flew back to Cebu from Palawan, and stayed in Cebu City again for one night before taking the boat the next morning to Bohol. On the way back to the airport in Palawan, the bus company we used forgot to charge us for the bus, they just dropped us at the airport and drove off before we’d even got our bags sorted, so that was 1,000 pesos saved.

We got to the boat pier the next morning, to go to Bohol, to be told all the normal seats had been sold already, and only business class was left, to save waiting a few hours for the next one, we’d have to pay for business class, which coincidently cost us an extra 1,000 pesos, it’s funny how karma works sometimes.

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El Nido

Our next destination in the Philippines would be El Nido, Palawan, but first we had to get there from Bantayan Island. This isn’t as straightforward as just going there, first we took a tricycle (like a motorbike tuk-tuk) to the port on Bantayan, then the ferry to Cebu (which for some unknown reason, maybe the shape of the moon, or the wind direction or the captain was sobering up, took two hours this time). Then it was the four-hour bus back to Cebu city, followed by a taxi to Cebu airport.

Next was the one hour flight to Puerto Princesa, Palawan, and because we arrived at night, we’d have to stay there in the city for one night before going to El Nido the next morning, so it was another tricycle from the airport to the hotel. The next morning we got up early and took the six-hour bus (that only took five) to El Nido, I think the driver was making up for the slowness of Philippine time by trying to drive at close to the speed of light to get there quicker.

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The Philippines; Cebu & Bantayan Island

A four-hour flight from KL took us direct to Cebu, in the Central Visayas, Philippines. Cebu City is one of the biggest cities in the Philippines, and is a base to get to many other areas on Cebu island or the other surrounding islands. It’s safe to say that we weren’t short of options when planning where to go in the Philippines, there’s 7,641 islands to choose from, so picking just a few to visit was never going to be easy.

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Ipoh & Back to Kuala Lumpur

We had been in Penang for almost a week, in all honesty, we could have stayed a month, but it was time to see somewhere different as we were quite short on time for Malaysia. We got on the free ferry (yes, FREE) from Penang Island to Butterworth, walked to the train station and took the fast train south to Ipoh, it only takes around two hours and takes us back half way towards KL again.

We planned to stay in Ipoh for just two days, we had read it had a very lively food scene and that it was relatively untouched by foreigners, both turned out to be very true. The people here were very friendly and interested to know why we were there, and the food was fantastic, which seems to be true throughout Malaysia.

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Kuala Lumpur & Penang

Kuala Lumpur would be the first time we stayed in a big hotel since we set off, we had accumulated a free night through one of the booking websites we use, worth £50, so be booked a £50 per night hotel for two nights and got one of them free. The result was that we got a club suite in quite a nice hotel, with a room on the 25th floor looking out over the Petronas Towers with access to the club lounge and free wine for two hours on both nights, it was certainly much nicer that than the budget rooms we have been used to so far, although we’re not sure if having that, and then going back to the budget places is worse than not having it at all 🙂

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Krabi

Despite falling back in to the travelling way of life with a bang, and having a few emotional moments after leaving the others behind at the airport, the bus ride was fairly quick and easy, after about three hours we arrived in Krabi town bus station. We seem to have learned what to do in these situations better than most, so whilst most people stand there negotiating with the tour agency office staff, or just accepting their drastically over-inflated prices to get them to their hostels, we just walk away and go to the public transport station where this time we just hopped in the back of a public Songthaew (like a tuk-tuk bus, with two rows of seats, that you can hop on and off anywhere on the route) for around a third of the price the bus company office wanted. It seems Vietnam and Cambodia were good practice for dealing with this after all.

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