Tag Archive | "snorkeling"

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Aqaba: Jordan’s Red Sea Port

Posted on 22 May 2012 by christie

Al-Sharif Al Hussein Bin Ali Mosque

Al-Sharif Al Hussein Bin Ali Mosque

After a full day driving down scenic King’s Highway, we finally arrived at Aqaba. Its circle-ridden downtown had us dazed and confused for about an hour before locating Al Qidra Hotel. Aqaba was not originally on our radar (thanks Nick!), but we loved it so much we stayed a full week. Aqaba, the furthest point south in Jordan is strategically located on the Red Sea. It borders Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Palestinian territories with Egypt just south across the Red Sea. Interestingly, the popular beach resort town of Eilat, Israel is within clear view. Our downtown hotel location provided the right mix of local culture with easy access to the stunning beaches and snorkeling activities.

The Red Sea at Aqaba, Jordan

The Red Sea at Aqaba, Jordan

Aqaba’s history dates back to the 10th century BC when it deemed the world’s largest copper smelting site. It was later made a key meeting place for pilgrims going to and from Mecca. The port city’s significance grew so much that King Hussein of Jordan bartered a land agreement with Saudi Arabia in 1965. Continue Reading

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Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Posted on 08 April 2012 by brett

Perhentian Kecil

Perhentian Kecil

Mainland Malaysia originally wasn’t on our travel list, but we are extremely happy that we decided not to skip underrated Southeast Asian country. The Perhentian Islands were a highlight of our stay in Malaysia. Getting to the South China Sea islands off the east coast of Malaysia can be quite a journey, but you’ll be rewarded with the most breathtaking lush green jungle islands surrounded by crystal blue waters. These gorgeous islands offer the traveler that laid back atmosphere and untouched natural beauty that’s often hard to find in much of Southeast Asia.

Getting to the Perhentian Islands

New Friends

New Friends

Choppy Boat Ride

Choppy Boat Ride

After breathing in the contaimenated airs of Chiang Mai we were in a hurry to get to these quiet little islands. We opted to take a flight to Kuala Lumpur, stay the night and then hop another one hour flight to Kota Bharu in northeastern Malaysia. Upon arriving at the airport we were greeted by a Malaysian woman directing us to a desk (near car rentals) selling roundtrip “taxi+speedboat” tickets to the Perhentian Islands. Travelers were teamed up with other travelers to share taxi costs. The total journey cost $ per person based on four people in a taxi. We were grouped with two women Continue Reading

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Snorkeling Mecca in the Thai Islands

Posted on 17 January 2012 by brett

Christie snorkeling in Koh Rok

We’ve had some of the best snorkeling days while hopping around the Thai Islands. Brett and I have found our new favorite water sport! Two of our most memorable snorkeling days were at Koh Rok Island (near Koh Lanta & Phi Phi Islands) in the Andaman Sea and at the Nangyuan Islands (near Ko Tao) in the Gulf of Thailand.

Ko Rok Island
On the first snorkeling trip, we took a speedboat to Koh Rok Island. The 45 minute boatride was quite choppy, causing sea sickness for some. However, as we approach Koh Rok, the beautiful pristine crystal blue waters and and powdery white sand beaches that awaited us were well worth the trip. The island is virtually deserted except for those making the trip out for the day. The surrounding lagoons and waters hold some of the best snorkeling in the area. Continue Reading

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Ko Tao “Turtle Island”

Posted on 16 January 2012 by brett

Nangyuan Island - Ko Tao

Nangyuan Island - Ko Tao

Our trek from the Andaman Sea to the Gulf of Thailand was quite a gnarly adventure. One relaxing week around Koh Lanta helped prepare us for a bit faster pace at Koa Tao Island. We also needed to move back towards Bangkok to receive our next round of immunizations and extend our 30-day Thailand tourist visa.

We decided to take an 11:30am bus to Krabi and then onward to Suratthani and Ko Tao. Our bus was packed with about 12 travelers, but luckily we had A/C for the first two and a half hours. At Krabi, we waited in a garage-like travel agency for a few hours for a Suratthani transfer bus. With left Krabi in a new van with a slightly smaller set of travel companions. Our new driver threw us a curveball by dropping us off separately at a travel agents’ office for a transfer ride in Suratthani. We waited a few hours in the muggy, mosquitoey air for a lift to the Suratthani pier. After a bizarre pickup truck ride with the agent and a young chubby Thai boy, we were dropped at the pier around 7pm. The pier scene reminded us of a mini Bangkok with tons of street food vendors, motor bikes and young night goers. We now had four hours to kill before our long night ferry ride to Ko Tao. Continue Reading

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Koh Lanta Island – The Right Speed for Everyone

Posted on 14 January 2012 by brett

Cruisin' to Koh Lanta Park

We arrived at Koh Lanta Island via flight from Bangkok and then Ferry Boat from Krabi Airport on 1/6/12.

Our original two night stay at Emerald Lanta Resort turned into seven adventure-packed days. For 1500 baht ($50), we had very basic bungalow accommodations (A-20) including breakfast. For the last five nights, we were able to upgrade to a much nicer bungalow (A-14) for 1300 baht ($43) without breakfast. Most vacationers were couples or families from Sweden, England, Holland and France. We were the only Americans besides one dude from Los Angeles who wrecked himself in a motorbike accident. Continue Reading

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