It has almost been 11 months on the road now and as I sit here in Bali, on Kuta Beach, enjoying my third (fourth?) Bintang, I’m reflecting on this and realize I was a bit of an arsehole prior to jumping on that plane all those months ago.
I try to make a point of mentioning those moments of my trip that are WOW moments or top 10’s as it may help someone with an itinerary. Then Tao Philippines came along and cast shade on everything!
Getting to Bohol was a challenge, I won’t lie. We utilised almost all forms of public transport to get there and encountered some pretty hairy situations. Thankfully, we got to the Central Visayas relatively unscathed and in desperate need of a San Miguel!
Sagada is the natural next stop from Banaue as it provides a taste of some interesting culture and small town vibes. I mean, surely hearing the phrase ‘Hanging Coffins’ is enough to get you there?
Northern Luzon in the Philippines is home to the best rice terraces I’ve seen in the past 10 months. Couple this with quaint villages to hike through and sleep in, it makes the region really special. Here’s a photo blog of our journey to the terraces, and a little practical information as the internet is lacking in good advice for the region.
Getting to Manila wasn’t a quick process. It meant a 6 hour train followed by 5 hours of flying, but it was worse for the South African contingent making their way to the capital of the Philippines – 16 hours of flying isn’t that much fun either!
The Ijen Plateau is home to a massive volcanic crater, complete with blue burning sulphur fires at night and a turquoise lake. It has all the critical ingredients to make the 1am wake up and hike worthwhile.
Mount Bromo is an active volcano in East Java – it is set within some of the most otherworldly landscapes I’ve seen. Technically, the vast area below the crater is called the Sand Sea (what a cool name) but it looks more like the landscape from an alien movie. Getting here wasn’t all fun and games though!
I’ll be honest, the past week has frustrated me from a logistical point of view. I was guilty of seeing Java as an island, thus relatively easy to get around. I was so wrong. Java is not linear and the logistics are a pain in the arse. Nonetheless, I had a decent time in Yogyakarta and Dieng, with one or 2 other hurdles along the way…