A River Full of Tubes Vang Vieng, Laos

Not that long ago, Vang Vieng was the party capital of Southeast Asia. The riverside town’s main attraction was party, tubing down the river, alcohol, and drugs. Not a good combination. A shockingly high number of tourists died on the river. But it took more than 20 deaths until in 2012 the Lao Government decided to close…

Plain of History Phonsavan and the Plain of Jars, Laos

It’s only 260 km from Luang Prabang to Phonsavan but even the “fast” minivan takes a good six hours for the journey. If you only get a little bit motion sick, be prepared to get badly motion sick here. The road has approximately 1000 bends. At least. The Plain of Jars Phonsavan is on a…

Across the Bamboo Bridge Luang Prabang, Laos

Back in Southeast Asia. I expected the door of Luang Prabang airport to open and there to be dozens of taxi drivers waiting to make some good money with the newly arrived tourists. The doors of the airport did open but there were no taxi drivers. Maybe on the main road, we thought and started…

Lion City Singapore

It was a very long day traveling from New Zealand via Australia to Singapore and we arrived in the big Asian city tired and hungry. After a big bowl of delicious noodle soup we went straight to bed to be ready to explore the city the next day. We had been to Singapore once before…

Ibu Volcano: The Ultimate Camping Experience Halmahera, North Maluku, Indonesia

Yet another active volcano on Halmahera Because Dukono was great and because on Halmahera island there’s another one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, we absolutely wanted to go to Mount Ibu. Plus, we were told that there we’d be even closer to the action (is that even possible?!). Our guide for this tour was Alex Djangu, a native…

Dukono Volcano: Playing With Fire Halmahera, North Maluku, Indonesia

Force of Nature It’s dark. You walk up the steep crater, on loose ash. The ground shakes with every thunder from the active volcano underneath you. The closer you get to the smoking crater, the louder the thunder and the faster your heartbeat. You’re scared. You know this is crazy and you should better turn back,…

Morotai: Back in Time Morotai, North Maluku, Indonesia

Exploring Morotai Daruba, Morotai’s main town, has at least one very good restaurant: Rumah Makan Irfamas (Ikan Bakar, what else.). However, apart from eating good fish there’s not much to do in Daruba. You have to get out of town. Muhlis Eso, the guy from Morotai’s WWII museum (it’s a small private collection, but a big museum…

Island Hopping Indonesian Style Morotai, Dodola, and the Bandas. Or not.

Banda Islands: Sounds like a plan Plans are just that; plans. Where you really end up is another thing altogether. Our plan was (and we were looking very forward to it) to go to the Banda Islands. From Ambon, they’re accessible by plane or by speedboat. At least that’s how it should be but, for…

Pulau Saparua: Dream & Reality Maluku, Indonesia

Who doesn’t dream of a tropical island with white sand beaches, palm trees lining the shore, and colorful fish swimming in the corals off the coast? Dream islands like that exist, yes, but unfortunately, in reality they often look a bit different. The white sand beach is strewn with garbage and it’s not uncommon to swim among…

Arfak Mountains: A Bird’s Paradise West Papua, Indonesia

Situated on the east of West Papua’s Vogelkop, the Arfak Mountains are the habitat of some of the world’s most unique and astonishing birds: birds-of-paradise. Only few people live in the Arfak Mountains and just a handful of tourist guides offer tours and accommodation in the Arfak region. One of them is Hans Mandacan, a…

Bunaken: Overwhelming Underwater World Sulawesi, Indonesia

A change of plans Back from Tangkoko, we booked a flight to Ternate for the next day. Ternate is practically just a volcano sticking out of the ocean. Unfortunately for us, that volcano decided to spit out some big ash clouds the day we wanted to fly and all flights to Ternate were canceled indefinitely. Since…

Thousands of Dolphins & One Boat Sulawesi, Indonesia

Dolphin watching and snorkeling in Batuputih Batuputih is not only the gateway to wonderful Tangkoko National Park, it’s also a great place to go snorkeling, diving, or dolphin watching. Lea, the local guide and divemaster (find her contact info below) with whom we booked a snorkeling and dolphin watching tour, promised us that, if we’d go, our boat…