Sunday, June 12, 2011


Our ship arrived back in Singapore in the morning. With our plane not departing until the evening, we decided to take our suitcases to the airport and put them into storage. Whilst there we arranged our seating for the journey back to Sydney.

Then we took a taxi back to the city, choosing to go on a river cruise that we had been unable to find on our last stop here. It’s a good thing we took the taxi, because I don’t think we would have found it even then! Our boat took us down the river, then back up again.

Passing under this unique bridge.

And passing by this unusual sculpture, reflecting the exuberance of youth.

It also allowed us a closer look at the casino.

Before we left the river and had lunch at Hooters, then took a taxi back to Chinatown for a return visit before making our way to the airport, with its beautiful displays of Singapore orchids.

And its monorail which ran between the two terminals, and had this most unusual metalwork on the outside of the building to represent the orchids which Singapore is famous for.

Our flight home was good, as had been our whole adventure, but there is no place like home.


We had three ports of call in Indonesia – The island of Bali, Ujung Pandang (Makassar), and Semerang on the island of Java.


We were greeted at the port by these musicians and dancers.

I had visited Bali with my husband some years ago, and blithely told my Mum that she was going to love it! I found much had changed in the years since my last visit. It used to be the most charming place, with lovely beaming faces, and beautiful scenery. At the time of our last visit there had been an influx of people from Java, trying to escape the political unrest on their own island, which led to the major town having lots of hawkers, trying to sell goods to make a living in a place where they had no set home. They were very aggressive, but only to be found in the main town.

This time they were at the port to greet our ship! One couple felt so beliegered after they were surrounded, that they went back to the ship. A hawker actually tried to snatch the money out of my hand whilst I was counting it out to make a purchase. We were not impressed. On our return after our tour the local authorities had security people in place to stop a repeat of this offence.

Having said which, the island itself had not changed greatly. It was still as beautiful as ever, and we much enjoyed our tour.

Our first stop was the walled city of Tengenan.

These colourful chooks were used for cockfighting, though the local authorities are trying to stamp this practice out.

We saw this cheap and interesting way of decorating the home using egg shells.

Then we visited the ancient Water Palace

Some of the famous scenery of the terraced rice paddies.

We saw this unusual frangipani tree in a glorious shade of yellow.

And ended our tour back at the port, where we saw this local form of transport, an outrigger.


Never having visited this place before, we decided to do a tour of the highlights of the city. Our guide was muslim, and very vocal on the local religion. This is a scene from the streets.

We saw beautiful mosques, right next to the local housing.

Before arriving at the hotel for lunch where we were greeted by this hostess, dressed in National costume.

Our lunch was really outstanding, served by these smiling waiters.

Mum took advantage of meeting this local representation….lol.

On our way back to the ship, we took in the construction going on throughout the city.


Another place we had not visited before, and what a contrast to Makassar! We were greeted at the docks by these local dancers.

Before boarding our coach were we were taken to see the area regularly inundated by the river.

Then past these local street stalls, outside the colonial Dutch Post Office.

Our tour took us through the city area, and past this historic building built by the Dutch, and named the "Building of 1000 doors"!

Then to a hotel for lunch, where we were greeted by this "monkey" dancer.

We took in this view of the city from the hotel.

And had a hand-on demonstration of batik painting.

Because tourism is a new industry to the city, they had allowed too much time for the demonstration, so our guide and driver took us back to the city and showed us the newly built Buddhist Monastery.

Then showed us the new housing estate and community building, before returning us to the dock by this canal, which was being taken advantage of by the local youths, to have a swim.

Our ship, M V Artemis.

Monday, June 6, 2011


After leaving Hong Kong our next port of call was Manila in the Philippines. We were both especially looking forward to this as we had met so many lovely people from this country. Mum took these photos from our cabin window of the local Lion Dancers.

One of the smaller forms of transport is these local taxis.

Our first visit was to a magnificent old church with these unique organ pipes made from treated bamboo.

On our travels we saw these jeepnies everywhere. They are the main form of transport for the local people, jeeps which were left after WWII and converted, when the americans returned home.

The main purpose of our tour, however, was a visit to Tagaytay, a small volcano, in a lake, inside a larger volcano.

On our way back, our driver stopped at this local fruit stall, where our guide came back with a big bunch of small bananas, which the passengers much enjoyed.

Another small taxi. This one had passengers on the pillion of the bike, with more passengers on the other side in a covered sidecar.


We had been to Kota Kinabalu twice before, neither time a success. The first time we had visited a headhunter village, the second time we were intending to go shopping, but were dropped out on the edge of town and never did find the main shops!

This time we decided to try something different. This is a picture of some of the water homes which line the bay where the ship was anchored.

Our tour took us to the Mangroves, where we went onboard these thatched rafts, for a tour of the mangrove system, and information on the local ecology, before a snack of the local roti (thin crepes) with curry sauce and bananas.


This time we decided to try something completely different. Our previous visit was to the poorer area with its water houses and the main town area. This time we took a tour to have a look at the higher life in Brunei.
We passed this mosque on our way to see how the Sultan of Brunei lives.

Before a look at the amusement park built by the Sultan for the use of the people. Followed by a look at the stables enjoyed by his polo ponies.

We arrived at the Empire Hotel, driving past the medical specialist centre built for the use of the people by the Sultan. The hotel was originally built as a private resident for the Sultan’s visitors to stop in when visiting. It has since been converted into this magnificent hotel to be enjoyed by the general population.

This is the outside view from inside the hotel.

Inside the hotel the interior is completely dressed in marble and gold.

This staircase is just one of many, together with a series of escalators and elevators.

Outside views of the hotel, were we had a light luncheon before returning to the ship.