kayaking

Cambodia, Travel

Koh Rong Islands, Cambodia’s Paradise Off The Coast of Sihanoukville


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Located 25 kilometers of the coast of Sihanoukville lies the two beautiful Koh Rong Islands, the main Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. The French “Survivor” television program Koh Lanta was filmed on Koh Rong, near Soksan village in 2012.. It is largely undeveloped, armed with pristine white beaches and turquoise water, it could be the next big thing in the next 5 years. I have asked Cambodians where are their favorite beach destinations, almost all of them answered Koh Rong Islands. Like I always say, as long as there are no ATMs and foreign fast food chains like Macdonalds around, it is not a touristy hot spot. We have seen Bali in Indonesia being over developed, Boracay in Philippines being very popular among the Koreans right now. Read my post about Boracay here.

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P1050154Main road near the jetty area

Getting to Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem

It takes 45 minutes via a fast ferry ride from Sihanouvkville and it costs USD 15 round trip. There’s also a slow ferry which takes up to 2 hours. The departing times are different during periods of the year, so check it out before planning your trip. Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem Islands are 2 similar sized islands, right next to each other, be sure which one you are visiting before buying you ferry ticket and accommodations. During the monsoon season, weather can be bad and so ferry trips might be affected.

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When to visit Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem

My visit there was during the monsoon season, the best time to visit would be from November to April where you get really clear skies and dry weather. It rained everyday during my 4 days in Sihanoukville and Koh Rong. Be prepared for the showers if you are traveling during the monsoon period. I got a poncho wherever i go, it is useful in keeping my bag dry. But at the same time, it is also the period when you can get really good deals and perfect time to haggle because of the low season.

Accommodation

Right now, the visitors to Koh Rong Islands are mainly backpackers from Sihanoukville in search of a secluded paradise, even better than the Otres Beach in Sihanoukville. Most of the accommodations on the islands are owned by foreigners and these accommodations are backpackers standard, which means you might be experiencing encounters with wildlife within your bungalows. WIFI can be shaky at times, most of the time it does not work. It might not be the best place to stay at, but the beauty of the islands made up for it. Most of the accommodations are not found online, even if they are, they are in high demand in the high season. You can try your luck and check it out once you get to the islands. The cheapest dorm can be obtained at USD 3 and up. Check out Agoda for deals and some examples of accommodations.

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P1050179Tree Top Bungalows

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Things to do

There are many activities to do on the islands. Kayaking and snorkeling are some good options when the waters are not choppy and the weather is good. If you prefer non-water activities, you can go trekking or zip lining in the forests. Or you can do something which everyone loves best; laze at the beach all day and get a tropical tan. The prices of water activities are pretty cheap, you can rent a kayak for a day for less than USD 10, depending on your haggling skills. In Bali and Phuket, you will get ripped off from water sports.

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P1050189Heavy rains are common occurrences from June to September

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Drinks and food

There are many backpacker bars around, you can simply chill out and watch the sunset over a glass of cocktail that will set you back for USD 1. Draft Beers starts from USD 0.5 and up, typical Cambodian beers prices. The regular Cambodian dishes can be found easily on the beach. A plate of Cambodian fried rice or noodles costs about USD 2. Western food such as fish and chips might cost USD 3 and up. Generally, food is cheap compared to western standards.

Overall, Koh Rong Islands offer a very good option to travelers looking for secluded beach spot away from the crowds. Make your visit there before ATMs and luxury resorts start popping up on the islands.

Philippines, Travel

Cliff Jumping At Ariel’s Point, Boracay


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Ariel’s Point is featured recently in Cosmopolitan magazine as Boracay’s top attraction. It is the perfect daytime spot for adventure junkies. Packages starts from 1500PHP for unlimited cliff jumps, kayak, snorkeling, lunch and booze. You can spend the day there soaking in the sun and clear waters, it is a pretty good deal for that price. My trip there was unforgettable because it was my first time doing cliff jumping. Check out the Facebook page for pictures and updates.

Packages can be purchased on Boracay island itself. You need to book in advance, especially during the peak season from December to May. The boat ride from Boracay island to Ariel’s Point take about an hour or so. Plan your time well and make the most out of your time at Ariel’s Point. Most of my pictures are taken with GoPro Hero 3 with underwater housing.

Here’s a video walk through of Ariel’s Point and how it looks like to be at the 15 meters (highest) platform. The volume is a little soft because of my underwater housing, tune up your volume.

 

GOPR0688Boat ride to Ariel’s Point

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GOPR0698This is the 5 meters platform, you will feel the height at the edge!

P1040599The clear waters looks tempting for you to jump straight into!

I had to think thrice before my first jump because I was freaked out at the edge. I got the salty sea water up my nose when I did the first jump, so pinch your nose when going down to prevent that. Try to land feet first straight into the water, otherwise you are going to feel the impact. Unless you are a professional diver who goes in head first.

GOPR0793This is the 15 meters (highest) platform, you can see the 5 meters and 8 meters platform from here

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GOPR0702Selfie on the kayak platform before launching itGOPR0768I got far out to capture the whole of Ariel’s Point

G0030442-2Sunset at White Beach

It’s time to pay Boracay a visit! Check out SilkAir newly launched flights to Kalibo (Boracay).

Special thanks to Tripzilla Magazine for the invite, SilkAir and Philippines Department of Tourism for collaborating such a wonderful experience.

This article also appeared on http://magazine.tripzilla.com

Peru, Travel

What Makes Peru A Paradise For Outdoor Adventures?


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Would you like some outdoor adventures in South America? Peru would be a good choice! Peru is not just about Machu Pichu. Read about my thoughts of traveling in Peru.

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Kayaking at Lake Titikaka

Have you try sea kayaking at high altitude? Check out Lake Titikaka in Peru! The nearest accessible city will be Puno, people usually travel there to access the lake. Situated at the border of Bolivia and Peru, it is a lake divided between these two countries. It is the world highest navigable lake at 3800 meters above sea level. Yes, that means you got less oxygen to work with and need more time to acclimatize to the high altitude. I spent two days exploring the Peruvian side of Lake Titikaka on my kayak. The Uros islands have some pretty lovely history and are part of the major tourist attractions in Peru. Home stay at Armantani Island was enriching. It was a good place to rest from hours of kayaking in the day and the ideal place to explore some local culture. Staying with the locals was the perfect time to practice my Spanish. Try playing soccer on this island with other travelers and locals, you will feel the effect of high altitude in your performance. I felt like a blown tire lying by the side of the freeway after ten minutes, totally exhausted from the game. Kayaking at such altitude is not an easy feat but it is a good workout for sure. Most tour companies offer one-man and two-man kayak, so pick your choice. You wouldn’t want to miss out such a cultural and adventurous opportunity in Puno area.

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