Togeans – Malenge and going back

One ‘unexpected’ side-effect of no internet is the fact that one can’t find any information. We’re so used to Google whenever we need to find out anything, especially on a trip – a weather forecast, a cost of a hotel, timetable of a boat. In the Togeans, this luxury isn’t available, and since losing count of time is another side-effect, the information becomes even more valuable.

After staying for a couple of nights in Poki Poki, I decided to continue my trip to Malenge. Members of staff told me the speedboat (Bora-Bora) was on the other day, and I was happy to extend my stay to do some more diving.

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Finally getting to the Togeans

In my last post, I’ve described the bumpy road to Ampana, a small town from which one can take a boat to the Togeans. On the second day after leaving Bali, I finally boarded the speedboat. I had to pay 150 000IDR ‘national park fee’ and about the same for the speedboat.

I was thinking to go to Malenge as the first stop, but after speaking to the Checzh couple I decided to join them in Poki Poki Beach. The speedboat dropped us off at Bomba Divers resort (Araya Divers) where we met a family with a kid. They were expecting the boat back to Ampana – but we told them the boat wasn’t coming due to the engine issues. There are only two boats in operation: one we’ve arrived with and the one with the broken engine.

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Getting to the Togeans

While in Bali, I met my neighbour, Guido. We happened to be the victims of the same crime – our flip flops being stolen from outside our neighbouring apartments in Canggu.

This incident made us hate each other for a brief while – on suspicion that the robbery was performed by the other neighbour. But then we both realised this can’t be true and had a Bintang. Apart from having no flipflops, being neighbours and sharing a Bintang we realised that we have more in common – in particular, we like travelling, a lot.

So Guido recommended me going to the Togeans. In particular, he’s mentioned Sunset Beach and Lestari in Malenge, and recommended a way to get there. I’ve done a quick Google search myself and agreed that going to the untouched tropical islands with wonderful coral reefs and one of the best diving on Earth is something I want to do, right now.

Getting to the Togeans

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Exploring Bali by car

Yesterday my friend and I decided to rent a car so we can explore the island a bit more efficiently. We’ve found a few rental agencies on one of the forums and I contacted about 5 of them via whatsApp. Many have been sold out with such a short notice, but eventually, I’ve found a car for 200K per day ($15), which was delivered to my guesthouse at 9am, as requested. Surprisingly, I wasn’t asked for a deposit of any kind, or even my driving licence – the guy just drove away on his scooter after handing over the keys and the documents! Continue reading

Speedboat from Gili T and Bali – scheduling issues and prices

My friends were staying in Bali so I’ve decided to visit them. I walked around the main road of Gili, where helpful locals were offering their services. The first travel agency had a direct boat at my desired time – 12AM, for a reasonable price, 300K IDR ($22), called Mahi Mahi Dewata. I was asked to check in at 11:30 at the agency, so I did. The boat arrived around 12AM as promised.

I climbed the roof of the boat to enjoy some sun and waves. Someone on the way asked a member of staff if the boat is really direct to Bali, and they were re-assured. Continue reading

Travelling from Koh Lipe to Langkawi

From Koh Lipe, I’ve decided to go to Gili Islands, Indonesia. I’ve booked a flight from Langkawi to Lombok, with a stop in KL. To break up a trip a bit, I’ve stopped in Langkawi for a couple of days.

Getting from Koh Lipe to Langkawi

I’ve bought a ferry ticket through a small agency in Koh Lipe, for 700Baht. Other agencies had it for 750-800baht, so I got lucky there.

I had to check in an hour before the ferry. The immigration officer checked my passport, stamped it and said I would only get it back in the ferry.

The trip was nice and quick, about 1.5 hour in an air-conditioned and tidy boat. We arrived at a very modern terminal where after swift document check I was ready to go to my hotel. Another girl from the boat, Alex, was heading the same direction so we shared a taxi for 30Ringgit (about 7$).

I wasn’t impressed with my hotel. For the price of a posh bungalow, I got a tiny room with no window, which is not something I’d expect from Sunset Villa Inn.

Things to do in Langkawi

I stayed in Cenang beach, which is the main beach on the island. The beach was not the kind I like, with loud jet skis, banana rides and all that. The sea was murky and unpleasant. I developed some rash on my arms that itches for a week now! The chairs cost 10Ringgit, about $2.5.

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The activities offered on the island didn’t appeal to me. The Eagle watching, monkey watching etc were not something I thrived for. I regretted I stayed for so long on the island, 1 night would have been enough.

On the bright side…

Duty-free in Langkawi

Did I say I’m a wine drinker? In Thailand, I’ve suffered a bit, since most of the wines were cheap ones, costing a fortune. For instance, a Jacob’s Creek that costs 5-6 pounds in the UK cost double or even triple there. And it’s not my favourite!

In Langkawi, I’ve seen at least 3 duty-free shops, offering a large selection of decent wines and other alcohol, moderately priced. To buy, however, I needed to present my passport and all purchases were recorded against my ID!


Cleaning up the Beach

Today was a somewhat different day. After an exhausting 2-day dive course, I’ve decided to take it easy. I got out to the beach at around noon, and while trying to find a spot I realised how dirty it was!

It’s uncomprehensive for me, how people can leave their rubbish on this heavenly island! Plastic bottles, disposable plates and cups, plastic bags, straws, dirty diapers!!!… how hard is it just to take back what you brought?

I’ve approached the nearest resort and asked for a rubbish bag. They offered to keep my belongings so I don’t walk around with my beach bag.

I started putting it all into the trash bag, and in literally one minute another guy joined! And another! And a girl! And more people! Those staying on the beach would look around themselves and bring whatever they found: pieces of rope, plastic.. in less than 10 minutes the ~80L bag was hard to lift for one, and few of us carried it back to the resort.

Koh Lipe is such a small island and keeping it clean can’t be too hard! I was so glad that people would join my little effort with no questions asked!

It’s so simple to make a small difference!


Diving in Koh Lipe – Advanced Diving Course

Yesterday I wrote about my experience choosing a diving school in Koh Lipe. I choose “Koh Lipe Divers”  – no pun intended. They were friendly, had new gear and had 6 dives for the price of 5. And big boats!

Well… to my taste the “big boat” was a bit too crowded. At times, it was hard to get to the lower deck, and every other tank was taken. A bit of a queue to jump down, too.

On the other hand, I was 1:1 with my instructor.

My first dive was focused on buoyancy, something I really struggled with. After ±20 mins of practice as being neutrally buoyant (floating), swimming upside down, swimming sideways etc, we had a bit of fun. At first, the instructor showed me a “Nemo fish” (Clown fish). In Koh Tao, I remember one spot with 3-4 Nemos, and divers with the cameras around it. Here, the “Nemos” are everywhere, from 1cm to 20cm! At first, I was pointing my instructor at them like “Hey, look!!!” – and after the accent, he told me I don’t have to do it… They’re everywhere!


(taken from google)

On the other 2 dives, I’ve seen an even bigger variety of fish, corals and all that! So much more diverse than Koh Tao!