A Travellerspoint blog

SYD TO KUL Day1

Hi all

You guessed it. We are traveling again. This is my 'taste if south east Asia' tour just getting a taste of a few countries and locations.

Apart from the horrendous trip from CBR-SYD on greyhound Australia the main part of the trip from SYD to KUL on air Asia was fantastic.

Frankie was crafty enough to have snagged the middle seat of of 3 seats for an extra $30AUD which meant we could sleep more comfortable. I could not fault AirAsia's service. They were fantastic. Noting their whole business model is budget - no inflight service unless you book their iPad like inflight entertainment. Meals prepaid etc. None of this is any issue if you know this ahead of time.

Their aircraft was an A320 for those into that sort of thing.

We stayed over night at the Apple hotel in Jalan Alor. Tiny rooms but great set up for a few days if you want some place safe to lay your head. All for about $25aud per night. Thanks to the fellow traveller who put the wifi password on four square tips I even had Internet !!

The street food vendors were amazing. Prawns the size of my fore arm. Green papaya salad so hot it would melt your face.. I still ate it all.

Night. My belly is full and my head is excited for the trip ahead.

Posted by Wade85 14:21 Comments (0)

Geeky Travel Kit

This is the load of electronic kit I travel with on most of my trips and why.

A few people have been asking me what kit I use, cameras, phone etc so I decided to write up a bit of a post about what I use and why.

The first of my new additions to my electronics bag is my Guide 10 Solar charger and AA battery pack from Goal Zero . I read everything I can about this kit before I purchased it from Amazon. I have done a few home tests with it and found that while it is small it is indeed powerful. Folded it is smaller than my iPad and without the batteries it is lighter. I can charge my iPhone twice on a the fully charged battery pack. See the numerous videos on Goal Zeros site - I got 2 full charges out of the batteries. I will note that it says it can charge an iPad too, I found it is not powerful enough to deliver 'fast charge' but it does slowly trickle charge draining the battery pack for about 25% extra on the iPad.

The second is the little Spot Connect GPS / Satellite communicator . I got it because on the recent trip to Vanuatu it was hard to pass communications back to my family and friends to say we had arrived safely etc, along with we were there during a cyclone - its passed but made me think what would happen if comms went down. The other reason was next year we are planning on either going to South America or Burma - I don't want to be left without being able to tell my family where we are and that we are ok. The added benefit of being able to send the 'SOS' signal if something goes wrong.

http://www.apple.com/ipad/ipad-2/specs.html
I don't take a laptop when I travel any more, like most people I travel with my iPad 2, loaded up with music and movies it runs longer than my phone does for longer plane trips. Additionally when I add the SD Card reader attachment I can empty the my Nikon AW100 allowing me to view, edit and upload our pics along the way. My camera is the same one we took snorkelling in Vanuatu - worked a charm under water.

My last little toy I add to my bag is my Wifi Pocket especially If we are camping - I can put the pocket wifi up high.

Posted by Wade85 22:22 Comments (0)

Vanuatu wrap up

longer post with some more details of our trip to Vanuatu 2012

sunny 28 °C
View Vanuatu 2012 on Wade85's travel map.

This is a lowdown on our experiences and info for any one looking to travel to Vanuatu.

Power
Prior to going over we could not get firm confirmation on what plugs Vanuatu used, I can say from our hotel and every point I saw were the same as Australia’s 3 Pin, 240v plugs.

Time
Vanuatu is GMT +11 so that means when Australia has daylight savings time it is the same time, when Australia reverts back to normal AEST it is 1 hour in front.

Money
Vanuatu uses the Vatu, which we were there the AUD was getting approx. 94.7VT. A few restaurants and shops accept the Australian dollars especially on ‘ship days’ – the days that cruise ships are in town. Usually when shops accept the AUD they use the rate of $1AUD = 100Vuv – so over time you actually lose out.

Waterfall (Cascades)
The Mele Waterfall AKA The Cascades, are amazing – some of the outlooks and views as the water winds its way down the mountain on the walk up, look photo-shopped. A lot of in town tour operators were charging quite a bit for this trip. It basically is a 10-15min ride in a local bus for 400VT each and then entry of 1000VT each for entry.

Hideaway Island
Hideaway Island is a tiny island located off Mele Beach ( a perfect afternoon stop after a morning at the Mele waterfall)

After a short boat ride from the Mele Beach (free) you arrive at the island, again entry fee was 1000VT each for day-trippers.

This was our first ever try at Snorkelling, Frankie had already told me he wasn’t very good at treading water, so I hired him a boogie board style bored with a glass window – only for him to cling onto. After an hour this became more of a hindrance and I went and got him a lifejacket from the dive shop on the island for free. To say he was fish-boy on the day is an understatement – he was out in the water looking at the reefs and fish for hours. The pinnacles of the day was the posting of our post card in the Under Water Post Office (http://www.hideaway.com.vu/postoffice.htm) along with Frankie’s spotting of ‘Nemo Fish in their Home!!”.

On the Island there is a hire shop letting you hire boards, snorkles and masks and selling the underwater post cards. Also available is a restaurant / bar under the shade for a night lunch too. The island also hosts the hideaway island resort.

Tours
Our first and only tour was to the “blue lagoon” near Eton Beach and the turtle sanctuary – this cost us 7000VT each for this – it was a 5 hour tour, including swim at the lagoon, light local fruit snacks, entry to both the lagoon and the turtle feeding sanctuary along with our driver and tour guide.

Transport
Buses
Local mini buses at the cheapest and easiest way of getting around Port Villa . They are basically group taxis, for in town travel it is only 150vt each, and it gets more expensive as your travel out. They usually only go as far out as the falls near the Village at Mele for 400vt each
Taxis
We found taxis a) too expensive and b) useless when you compare to the buses
Airport
The Airport, while not primitive is basic, no air-conditioning, 2 or 3 passport control windows and one scanning point on departure
Air Vanuatu
We flew Air Vanuatu both ways and I found them fun and friendly. The aircraft they operate for both legs was the B737-800. The inflight entertainment movie was set on a Vanuatu Promo loop, with radio stations available through headphones provided. Food wise was pretty basic with meals both ways having two options they were edible, just. I would love to fly with them again; they do heaps of internal Island hopping too, operation from the ATRs down to smaller aircraft.

Accommodation
We stayed at Mooring Hotel, which in on the edge of town allowing us to easily walk onto the town centre to the shops, cafes, restaurants and the casinos ☺.
Moorings has an onsite ‘nightclub’ which each time we looked didn’t have a single person in there, regardless we did not hear any of the music from our room. I would say the hotel was rated at the 4 star, despite tripadviser ripping pretty hard (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g294144-d630936-Reviews-Moorings_Hotel-Port_Vila_Efate.html)

Cyclone
While in Vanuatu we caught the tail end of the Fiji Cyclone Dalphine. We experienced horizontal rain at 0200-0300 on the day of the Fiji floods, but other than that we didn’t get negatively effected. Remember this is the pacific so Cyclones are common.

Our pictures are located here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/wade85/sets/72157629764812981/

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Posted by Wade85 23:26 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (0)

Day 6

Well what a day - went to hideaway island - binned our cheap crappy snorkels and hired from the island. Frankie was the true star today - first time snorkeling in the coral and although he can't float without his life jacket he was out on the water for 4 of the 4.5 hours we were on the island. I was a big chicken and could only go out with other people. We posted our post card in the underwater post office and really gave the Nikon aw100's underwater function a smashing today over 100 pics and videos. Will post se soon

Tonight was our last night and again headed to casino - I learned how to play blackjack - and after 4 hours we even came out again on top !!
Bye vanuatu !!

See u all back in aust!!

W

Posted by Wade85 07:01 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (0)

Day 5

Turns out the wind this morning was from
Fiji's Tropical Cyclone Delphine.. We has some residual showers and winds that kept us from snorkeling today. Fortuitous timing due to spending 3 hours catching up with old friends this morning

Dinner - best pizza was at the brewery opposite casino

Then a flutter at the roulette tables - doubled our money and then some - gotta love that.
W

Posted by Wade85 03:06 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (0)

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