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Speeding Up In Bali & Myanmar February 2016 In Review

Each month, I look again on one of the best and worst of my adventures, the cash I spent, and the way it all stacks as much as earlier months. It helps me maintain all of it in perspective! To see my previous month-to-month evaluations, click on right here.

Despite the fact that February was a day longer than it often is this yr, it nonetheless felt just like the month flew by! The rationale it felt quick was probably as a result of I picked up my tempo after a reasonably chill January. After a couple of weeks testing Bali with my little brother, I sped up much more in Myanmar, the place I packed a lot of the nation’s highlights into two weeks. I’m comfortable to be bouncing round a bit faster, as a result of I gained’t mislead you – I fell right into a little bit of a rut in late January/early February.

Why? It was a mixture of getting extra time to mirror on all I’ve carried out since October, a bout of homesickness (my first ever), and making an attempt to determine easy methods to make this life everlasting, or if I actually need to be “on the road” 100% full time. That is partially why I didn’t write as many posts for the weblog this month, as a result of I’m nonetheless determining the place to focus my consideration as a freelancer. Whereas I’m so grateful that I get to journey in any respect and I’m nonetheless having numerous enjoyable, I’ve began to understand I’ve not been touring with a lot of a function these days – and I need to change that.

However extra on that later. For now, take a look at the highlights and lowlights from February, with a breakdown of all the prices alongside the best way.


Nations Traveled To: three (Vietnam, Indonesia & Myanmar)

Locations Traveled To:

  • Vietnam: Hanoi
  • Indonesia: Bali (Sanur & Ubud)
  • Myanmar: Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Kalaw, & Inle Lake

Distance Traveled: 8861 km (5506 miles)

  • Aircraft: 7727 km (4801 miles) on four flights
  • Practice: 627 km (390 miles) on 1 practice
  • Bus: 277 km (173 miles) on 2 busses 
  • Boat: 230 km (143 miles) on 1 boat 
Inle Lake.

Inle Lake.


Complete Cash Spent: $3571 (up from $2619 final month)

This was a pricier month primarily as a result of I did a small group tour with Intrepid in Myanmar, which I paid for much prematurely fortunately. I had two huge leisure bills as properly that introduced the fee up, however they have been value it!

Lodging: $825 (down from $868 final month)

I used to be capable of maintain this value low, regardless of shelling out extra for higher rooms when my brother was with me, as a result of I spent every week at a unbelievable, quiet hostel outdoors Ubud in Bali that value me lower than $7 an evening! The dorm missed rice fields and was located subsequent to a a lot pricier yoga retreat the place I used to be in a position to make use of the amenities for a small charge. I really feel like I obtained the flamboyant yoga vacation for a fraction of the fee! (Should you’re heading that method, the hostel known as Rama Sita House Keep.)

My view from my $7 a night hostel dorm just outside of Ubud. Not bad, eh?

My view from my $7 an evening hostel dorm simply outdoors of Ubud. Not dangerous, eh?

Transportation Prices: $752 (up from $524 final month)

I’m nonetheless in awe of how low cost it’s to fly round Asia on carriers like Air Asia and Jetstar. My costliest journey value was $197 from Bali to Yangon, by way of Kuala Lumpur, and I even booked final minute.

Additionally, this month I found SkyPicker, a brand new airline reserving software that cobbles collectively itineraries on finances airways all over the world. Should you don’t thoughts arriving at a connecting metropolis, getting your bag and rechecking it on a special airline, it can save you a great deal of cash. Plus they verify you in on your flights and ship your boarding passes for you! Soooooo good.

Overnight train anyone?

In a single day practice anybody?

Meals: $624 (up from $370 final month)

I beloved all of the Indonesian meals, nevertheless it was a slight step up in value from all a budget haven of Vietnam. I additionally handled my brother to a flowery meal at a seashore membership in Seminyak, which was completely value it!

Leisure: $1236 (up from $643 final month)

Flying in a scorching air balloon at dawn over Bagan in Myanmar was the most effective issues I’ve ever achieved, so the $400 I shelled out for it was nicely value it. Mix that with the day of diving I did in Bali and the group tour in Myanmar, my leisure bills have been outrageously excessive this month.


Requirements: $132 (down from $215 final month)

Laundry, toiletries, ideas, blah blah blah. Right here’s a tip for saving cash on laundry whereas touring – be sure to discover a place that expenses by the kilo and never by merchandise. It makes an enormous distinction!

NOT INCLUDED IN MY BUDGET: As all the time, my month-to-month payments….journey insurance coverage, medical insurance within the US, cell invoice, scholar loans, automotive insurance coverage, and so forth. These payments add as much as lower than $700 a month.



Favourite Place: Inle Lake, Myanmar

A glassy blue lake unfold out beneath distant mountains, fringed with tons of of conventional villages, Inle Lake deserves it’s “must-see” standing in Myanmar. Regardless of the touristy nature of sure elements of the lake (I’m taking a look at you, “fisherman” who solely fake to fish for vacationers as they depart Nuangshwe) there have been bits of it that felt like stepping again in time. Cruising alongside serene floating gardens and our canoe experience via one of many lesser-visited villages hanging on stilts over the lake have been highlights that come to thoughts.

Actual fisherman on Inle Lake.

Precise fisherman on Inle Lake.

Favourite Second: Ballooning over Bagan, Myanmar.

I wrote a gushy (virtually embarrassingly so) submit about my expertise flying in a scorching air balloon over the temples in Bagan. I gained’t apologize for my romantic language when speaking about that morning – wanting again it nonetheless seems like a dream – however I perceive for those who don’t need to hear much more about how superb it was. As an alternative, take a look at my video from that magical morning. I feel it sums it up properly in 1:30!

Shittiest Second: Meals poisoning…..twice. 

I obtained meals poisoning in each Bali after which worse in Myanmar, lower than a month after a nasty bout of it in Vietnam again in January. I lastly caved, admitting defeat of my “iron stomach” and taking the antibiotics I’ve had in my backpack for over a yr to knock out no matter had been plaguing me. It appeared to do the trick for now, however I do have India forward, so I’m not gonna get too assured simply but.

Funniest SecondThe in a single day practice from Yangon to Bagan.

The next morning.

The skull-jarringly bumpy in a single day practice from Yangon to Bagan in Myanmar was definitely an journey, however it acquired us there in the long run, in order that’s all that counts proper? Positive. However I nonetheless might have completed with out the sparking ceiling fan. (Learn all about it right here.)

Weirdest Second: Attacking monkeys. 

Bali’s Monkey Forest is an excellent well-liked place for guests in Ubud, however I actually want somebody would have warned me that these monkeys aren’t precisely recognized for his or her hospitality. The 600+ monkeys that reside on this protected space could also be cute, however additionally they wish to pounce on guests, unzip their backpacks, snatch meals out of their arms and search their pockets for extra. Strolling via it was truly terrifying…..

Slightly terrified of the monkeys....

Barely scared of the monkeys….

Most Significant Second: Spending every week with my brother in Bali. 

It was so good to see a well-known face and hang around with my youthful brother Nick for every week in Bali after touring solo for six weeks. My brother and I went snorkeling and kayaking, checked out the rice terraces outdoors Ubud and wandered the monkey forest in terror. We might have argued so much (as brothers and sisters do) however I feel we bonded simply as a lot on our first journey simply the 2 of us. And plus, I additionally received to function my brother’s photographs in my first ever visitor photographer version of Sunday Snaps! (I feel he’s uber-talented, however I could also be a bit biased…)


Coolest Individual I Met: Sarni, my 16-year-old information on Mount Batur.

I assumed I was an over-achieving teenager, however Sarni put my 16-year-old self to disgrace. She leads 5 hour climbs to the prime of Mount Batur within the morning earlier than she goes to high school. She hopes to make use of the additional cash she earns to go to school sometime. Oh and if she wasn’t in ok form from her before-school job, she additionally performs soccer and basketball within the afternoons. What. a. badass.


Greatest Factor I Ate: Nasi Goreng in Bali

I had a number of variations of this basic Indonesian dish – spicy rice with a fried egg, sometimes served with some variation of hen with peanut sauce, shrimp and shrimp crackers – and each single one was scrumptious. And I’d by no means even heard of it earlier than I acquired to Bali! Simply wanting again on the photograph of my Nasi Goreng from Lilla Pantai in Sanur is making my mouth water….


Largest Accomplishment: Watching the Dawn from the highest of Mount Batur, Bali. 

Nothing feels higher after a difficult uphill trudge at midnight than being rewarded with a jaw-dropping dawn like this one. Examine that morning right here, together with the story of how some thieving monkeys stole my breakfast (the bastards).


My Favourite Photograph: My 7-year-old boat buddy at Inle Lake.


On our canoe journey to an area stilt village, our paddler introduced her daughter alongside and she or he sat within the entrance, serving to her mother navigate. So cute!


  • Hikes: 2 (Mount Batur, Bali and Kalaw, Myanmar) 
  • Dives: 2 (in Bali!) 
  • Yoga Periods: 2 (Ubud, Bali) 

Properly I managed to sneak in some yoga in Bali, which is sweet, however I might undoubtedly use a number of extra of my three favourite lively adventures subsequent month! And although I solely did a day of diving, what a day it was. Bali has incredible underwater life – simply take a look at this video I tossed collectively from the day:


Here’s what I learn this month:

  • Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling – I learn the 4th and fifth books within the final two months, so I made a decision to proceed it… a result of I really like HP, and I can by no means get sufficient.
  • Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling – Nicely I needed to end what I began, proper? #All the time
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – I’d been which means to learn this ebook, so I used to be thrilled to swap for it in a hostel in Hanoi. It gained the Pulitzer for Fiction a number of years in the past, and for good purpose. It’s an epic novel and a really nicely written story a few child named Theo who, due to a weird (and type of implausible) collection of occasions, steals a well-known portray after which later has his life turned the wrong way up due to it. I favored it, however it’s lengthy….virtually too lengthy I feel. However for those who’re into thrillers, literary fiction and artwork historical past, it’s value a learn.


  • The Artwork of Considering Clearly by Rolf Dobelli – I do know it sounds actually complicated, however this man explains why we expect the best way we do and the way we will enhance our capability to assume clearly utilizing brief, easy-to-read tales illustrating the thought processes that we’ve developed as people over hundreds of years and the way they’re dangerous for us now within the trendy world. Superior e-book, I learn it in just a few days.
  • The Promise of Pencil: How An Abnormal Individual Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun – This can be a unbelievable ebook for anybody who’s trying to make a distinction on the planet, however isn’t positive the place to start out. Adam is the man who began Pencils of Promise, a non-profit that builds faculties in impoverished areas all over the world. He was solely in his mid-twenties when he began and the thought for it was sparked after a backpacking journey in Asia (hiya!) so this guide about how he received began actually resonated with me and got here at simply the suitable time. I’ve now begun trying to change the main target of my travels to be extra purpose-driven – however extra on that later. For now, learn this e-book!



I’m now in Bangkok, resetting for every week in my favourite huge metropolis in Asia and getting ready for my upcoming three weeks in India. I’m feeling apprehensive concerning the subsequent month, if I’m being trustworthy. I’m conflicted as a result of I’m keen to complete my travels in Asia and see my family and friends (I’m heading to the UK and US afterwards), however I even have been eager to go India for a very long time and I need to go into it with the appropriate mindset. I hope it’s as incredible as I would like it to be!

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