Posts tagged: national park

Australia: Brisbane

By , February 9, 2011 11:50 pm
Our Friends From Brisbane

Our Friends From Brisbane

We join our good friends Uyen and Leon in Brisbane for the holidays.  We had met them when we were all living in San Francisco.  With our arrival into Queensland comes constant downpour.  This is a great excuse to remain indoors and relax during our stay.

For a short while, we forget we are still on our travels.  Helping out with their home renovations, playing with their one-year old son, and enjoying at least two bottles of wine every night makes us feel back at home.  We apologize for the lack of pictures during this stop of our trip.

MuiMui Playing With Lil' Santa

MuiMui Playing With Lil' Santa

One night, we are in the mood for singing. Not having a karaoke machine on us, we decide to get creative.  With the help of YouTube on their large television screen and using remote controls as microphones, we sing all night.  We call it ghetto karaoke, but don’t diss it until you try it.

On Christmas day, we join their families for a festive dinner.  For starters, there are unlimited trays of oysters.  Being a big fan of oysters, I enjoy this new holiday tradition.  After seafood, I continue eating large quantities of Vietnamese food.  It is all super yummy.

Wishing You All A Happy Holiday

Wishing You All A Happy Holiday

Our friends are determined to get us out of the house against our will.  When the rain seems to subside, we take a drive out to the Gold Coast.  Still having no luck with the weather, it is more like the grey coast.  What gets Boris to finally pull out his camera is the Gold Coast Meter Maids.

A Gold Coast Meter Maid Up Close

A Gold Coast Meter Maid Up Close

We do a short hike in one of the National Parks.  It feels great to be on our feet again.  There are a few times our friend, Uyen, tries to lead us off the path but with our good orientation, she is unable to fool us.

Uyen The Karaoke Superstar

Uyen The Karaoke Superstar

We Made It

We Made It

It feels really nice to have quality time to catch up with our old pals.  Thank you Uyen, Leon, and Caellum for inviting us to your home, especially for the holidays.

Shortly after leaving Brisbane, we learn about the horrific Queensland flooding. Our hearts go out to all those families that are impacted.

Cutie Pie

Cutie Pie

Good Ol' Steak

Good Ol' Steak

Everything Tastes Great With Bacon

Everything Tastes Great With Bacon

What We Paid: AUD USD Euro
– Jetstar Flight from Melbourne To Brisbane 176/pp 176.50 128

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Khao Sok: Hiking Through the Evergreen

By , April 25, 2010 12:36 pm

To get most out of our stay, we did a full day hike at the Khao Sok National Park. We arrived around 9am and the sun was full blown, but luckily there were lots of shade. There were large bamboos and palm trees all along the trail. The most interesting were the plants and flowers we found that I have never seen before.

Unfortunately for us, we were not there at the right season. Khoa Sok is known for the Rafflesia Arnoldii, the largest flower in the world. It blooms once a year and only lives for a few days.

rafflesia arnoldii - from www.infojardin.com

Along our hike, we had the company of a dog, which we named Jackie. Jackie seemed to be very familiar with the park and loved company so she joined us and became our tour guide. It was great since the trail was not really mapped out.

Jackie, our tour guide

The next creature we ran into was a large turtle. There was a ranger next to it. He wanted to show us how strong the turtle was so he stood on the turtle and it continued walking while carrying this Thai man on his shell (not very nice).

Most of the main stops were waterfalls. There was not a lot of water so they were more like water drips.

Overall, it was a great hike with various things to see. Maybe in a better season, there would be even more plants and animals. We did 6 hours of hiking and completed very little of the park. We heard there were elephants, a cool cave, and raft houses along Chiew Lan Lake.

We finished our hike around 3pm since we had to catch our shuttles. It was time to say goodbye to Holly, who was going back to the states. Goodbye Holly and thanks for joining us.

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Mu Ko Ang Thong: The Golden Bowl

By , April 17, 2010 6:44 am

We were early risers for our first excursion to Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park, at 7:30am! Our package included pickup from our home to the Fisherman’s Pier and aboard a large wooden boat where we are greeted with breakfast and by bright smiles of the tourists aboard.

Ang Thong means bowl of gold
Mu Ko means group of islands

After a 4-hour cruise, we arrived on our first island. We had the option of hiking or kayaking and we chose hiking. As we were making our way up by holding onto a rope and stepping over large rocks, I regretted not wearing my sneakers. It was 500 meters to the top and with each rest stop, the reward was an amazing view of the islands. In 20 minutes we made it almost to the top. To get to the tip, I had to climb a bunch of pointy steep rocks. I hesitated at first but after seeing Boris climb like a cute monkey, I followed. A few scratches later, I was at the top! What a breathtaking view. The islands were so lush and it looked liked a bunch of turtles hanging out in the open water. While hiking down, Megan and Matthieu were lucky enough to see real monkeys.

We were served lunch on our way to the second island. It was one piece of fried drumstick, chicken curry, and rice. I was pleased with the meal and by that time, I needed meat.

The second island was a little smaller but same green water and soft sand. We did a short hike to the lake in the middle of the island and then I put on my snorkel gear and was ready for ocean exploration. I saw various corals, small fishes, and something that look like an eel. Boris found a sea urchin and somehow got poked. He was ok but has a forever reminder in his finger.

After hours of fun in the sun, it was time to head back. What a fulfilling day.

If you are in Ko Samui and are looking for a tour agent, we recommend Maytee of RCI Tour Travel. He offered us upfront reasonable prices and was very honest about everything. The total price of our Ang Thong tour was 1100 bahts ($34) per person, which was great compared to the 1800 bahts we were first offered by another agency.

Maytee Shanyib of RCI Tour Travel
100/6 Moo 1, Maenam, Koh Samui
Tel: 077-248 001
Email: maytees@hotmail.com

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

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