Thailand, B-side

On Friday, July 19th, we leave Bangkok by the same way than we entered: train, with our bikes on board to Ayutthaya. This flea jump towards the former stronghold of the kingdom of Siam promises us a definite change of scenery, as the temples contrast with the modernism of the
present capital. On site, we take advantage of the few bike paths and the small scale of the area to buzz.

Famous Ayutthaya scene

We appreciate the vegetated ruins, the alternation of bricks and stucctu, the Buddhas and the timeless atmosphere of the sunset on the remaining stupas despite the destruction of the city by the Burmese in 1767. For the rest, tourism is a little too invasive not to mention the unethical tours on elephants backs …

It’s like Indiana Jones:)

The weekend is over, we’re back on our bicycles heading to Khao Yai National Park. 180km in 2 days, under the heat and above all, new challengr, with 800m of vertical drop! Not always easy to choose the right route, we find ourselves first on a little stewing highway. We almost climb shoulder to shoulder with huge trucks that struggle as much as we do.

Unexpected meeting with a cycling farmer

Fortunately, we end up with beautiful laces in the park’s primary forest to the sounds of locusts and birds, with harmless macaques crossing here and there. The place is worth a visit: the forests are sublime, rain trees, vines, thick trunks and foliages of the canopy are home to countless butterflies, gibbons and other fantastic animals. The famous Asian elephants, sometimes visible in the grasslands, have remained well hidden and unfortunately we have only seen their poos! Not to mention the leeches that particularly affect Cléa’s ankles…

Khao Yai Park grasslands

At the campsite, we meet some porcupines, wild deers and mischievous monkeys (goodbye bread!). Both Thai and French tourists are very curious to see us cycling in this remote place full of pick-up trucks and the discussions are therefore very open. We finally take advantage of our gas stove to cook after having searched it in Singapore in vain and then in Bangkok to find the right cartridge.

Porcupines crossing the campsite

On July 23, we leave Khao Yai and begin a beautiful descent before reaching the plain. We are finally in Sa Kaeo after a terrific day on bikes: 130km under continuous rain and truck mud splashes… The dream…

Ironically, tonight we are staying at the “Sun Resort”, perfect for recharging batteries and dry. Thank you, buddies, tonight we’re using the “Comfort Hotel” travel prize pool:)

We’re tired, but still thirsty for discoveries. Tomorrow, already, if all goes well, we will cross the border of Cambodia for new adventures!

Love Green Farm

Just arrived in Bangkok, after 14 hours of train from the southern village of Surat Thani, we join Boon and his urban farm project Love Green Farm in the western suburbs of the megalopolis. He is registered on the HelpX platform and so we meet each other by this way.

Local and international volunteers are already here (Cecile, french, and Benji, german, both backpackers in Asia for several months), they are busy bringing to life the vegetables (tomatoes, beans, red corn …) and trees fruit trees (manguiers, bananas, papaya, jackfruit). They also manage the farmside areas such as irrigation canals, weeds and much more.

A parcel of the urban farm

We take our marks, help as much as possible and rediscover the basics of gardening, very different from our daily life in bicycle.

Transplanting snitching

We also enjoy unique and valuable exchanges with Thai volunteers who teach us how to transplant young plants, cook the famous Pad Thai and bring us on a tour of the streets of Bangkok.

Pad Thai, fabulous Thai feast

As the week passes, clearing and seeding progresses, we allow ourselves a few bicycle rides in the city centre and exchange regularly with Boon, our host. Here are the original questions we asked him 🙂

When did you start this project?

5 July 2018, with my 2 hands!

What motivated this green/organic farm project?

I want to do a clean food campaign for all life. I love the earth and I want to protect it.

What do you think about the nature place in Bangkok and about the pollution (air/soil)?

A lot of pollution here, we have only a few parks and green places to purify more than 100 tones of pollution a day. It’s impossible to have clean air and clean food in Bangkok if half of the people is still silent!

How do you deal with the difficulties to make plants and vegetables grow well in Thailand and Bangkok?

I do what I can when I can! I deal with positive thinking! This is very important to fight for the earth 🙂

Is HelpX a good source of volunteers for you?

Definitely yes, I just show my ideas. Then people read and think about it. If they like it they come, most of the time they are very kind people! The four of you have a lot of energy and a strong passion to build your mind and achieve your goal. This is very good for my own learning and encourages me to be patient to win this campaign!

How do you find other volunteers?

I have a Facebook page, a volunteer website, and I am in some online volunteers group. So I can post my ideas and my activities to invite them to join it 😀

How do you manage them?

I just talk to them, tell them what I want and listen to what they want. As soon as they understand the goal, everything is automatic as it should be! Looks easy but sometimes it’s not if I need to deal with uncontrollable things such as big rain! Haha

What’s next? How do you see the future of the farm ?

Plant, plant, plant, and plant as much as I can!  I see the future farm as a little forest that can feed people living nearby and be a model of sustainable agriculture 🙂

A big thanks to Boon and the volunteers for their welcoming and long life to the urban farm!

If you are willing to visit Bangkok and would like to participate in the project: https://www.helpx.net/host.asp?hostid=93305

Bangkok

Bangkok is unique. Unchained, exuberant, roaring.
Getting around by bike requires a constant awakening, good reserves of adrenaline and a small dose of madness. In peak hours, the crowded arteries allow only a meticulous and laborious slalom, inspired by the 2 motorized wheels that do not fail to spit their gasvenom under your nostrils at every red light. Taxis, empty and in a hurry to catch their next prey or ordered to stop in incongruous places to satisfy the king customer, are by far the most dangerous cohabitants of the urban jungle. Buses and especially tuk tuk scan the ideal route imbued with the fluidity of the cyclist but bring you the charm of local life before your eyes. Individual cars, on the other, are as bland, oversized and despairing as in our attitudes.

By day, pedals in motion, figies of the new king, tricolor flags and yellow Buddhist shingles parade at the corners of your sharp eyes like a well-honed kaleidoscope. At a standstill, the gilding and serpential shapes of countless temples, as well as the open-air kitchens or the sinious writings of Chinatown, draw you to the exoticism of a future break. Looking up, what you will rarely do as it is difficult to lose the thread of traffic, it is the skyscrapers and subways “out of ground”, edified or in the process of being, that will enchant you or indignant you according to that your antibodies are still attached to the fever e expansionist or you have just completed the last issue of the Decline.

At night, if you have the chance to pedal at full speed on a little busy aisle, the scripted or decorative neon neon will gradually make you lose your footing and you will find an impromptu poetic refuge in the ever-ambient moist. If you are, rightly, of the family of nocturnal advertising sign outs, throwing yourself into this task would be totally despairing here. Just enjoy the stupas sublimated by their projectors that bloom like stalagmites on the edge of the dirty river. Or change your senses, feel the last edible scents that triumph over the carbonized nitrogen stagnant on the asphalt like a stubborn fog. Listen to the soft roll of oriental tongues surpassed by the rattling of the stalls being stored that syncs with that of your adventure partner’s derail. Touch your brakes and rest assured, they will hold as much to the next urban alert as in the mountains once you leave the big city.
Return to sight, leave your brain at rest and remember the mop of the day for an innocuous count of tricolor fire.
5-4-3-2-1… Bangkok.

Illustration by Charles

On the Thai road

June is ending and we reach in a morning of cycling, from Kota Bahru, the Thai border. With a bit of apprehension (“crossing here can be dodgy during periods of sectarian violence”, says the Lonely about supposed Muslim-Buddhist tensions), we enter in the Kingdom of Siam without any trouble, any fees neither questions from the customs officer who even wish a “good luck” once the stamp is delivered 🙂

We choose to go to the nearest train station (the first we meet from Java) and take, to “earn” few kilometers, an ultra-economic class train towards Hat Yai. The trip is relaxed, the bikes well wedged along the windows wide open, some hills appear among the path and a Muslim family, from the baby to the veiled grandmother, accompanies us.

Let’s go Matcha!

Hat Yai gives us a first glimpse of Thai “shapes”: colorful and dashing buildings, often adorned with uninteresting advertisements, overlooking charming echoes where food has a place of choice. About Thai caligraphy, as is the spoken language: it is beautiful but absolutely not comprehensible or imitable for non-expert. Choices on cycling routes won’t be easy!

A brand new temple on the road

We begin July by pleasant country roads in Songkhla province. On the menu: temples with carved and gilded roofs often adjoined by a Boudha, fields of rubber as far as the eye can see, recognizable by their small individual dome in order to collect rubbery sap, always those damned palm trees and… Dogs! Damn it, we did not miss them: Malaysia had more or less banished the canid to Sylvain’s delight but here they are so many… We warn each other each time we see more or less terrifying pets, pushes a little on the pedals to get out and, until today, keep calves unscathed.

A forest of rubbers among many others

We camp on the edge of a pretty lake, welcomed by the local guingette where we had previously a good diner. At dusk, local adults and children watch us set up the tent while the last fishing boats decorate the horizon.

Songkhla Lake at dusk

July 2, we head to Trang where we have a promising contact via Warmshowers. This first crossing to the West Coast rhymes with verticality and so we make our thighs on hills more and more frequent. The surrounding jungle is beautiful and the mercury rises over 40 degrees easily. Fortunately there are the “iced milk tea” or “Cha” breaks. It takes us 2 days to reach the town, allowing ourselves a stop at pretty waterfalls. Kim, Bruce Willis’ angular lookalike from Pensylvania, warmly welcomes us in his little family: tonight is KFC meal! The evening is great, Kim, an English teacher in a high school, tells anecdotes about the specificities of Thai education and then evokes his bike rides and the countless cyclists welcomed to his home. Great stories!

From Trang we reach Krabi in 2 days of regular pedaling, we find a good rhythm even if Cléa does not lack to yell “Lance Armstrong: not too fast!” On the way we explore an emerald-coloured lake, the water is soft but the atmosphere a little too touristic.

When Thailand rhymes with Disneyland…

Krabi, wedged between huge mangroves visible at low tides and cliffs with gravity-defying silouhettes, has an undeniable charm. We fall even more under the spell at Railay, the adjacent peninsula, which instantly makes us want to put on slippers and harnesses to rock-climb. However, we don’t want to rent at a expensive price or take a course for beginners, and so we are largely satisfied with the few steep trails and a wonderful remote lagoon.

Railay on fisheye

On July 6, we head north to Surat Thani. After 180km of bike – “Russian mountain” rather nice, a parade and a football match catches on the way, we arrive in Surat Thani.

Unexpected Village parade
Local football match, with speaker!

Time to store the bikes in a safe place and we are sailing for a week on Koh Phangan and Koh Tao island. Hell yeah, we’re going to dive!

Cycling in Malaisia!

18th of June 2019, Cléa celebrates her 28th anniversary, it’s raining loudly on Singapore and so we are waiting until the beginning of afternoon to “take off”. Or rather to pedal because here we are, it’s the big start on bicycles! Just the time to thank our Belgian hosts and we are on wheels to cross the City-State.

A great great Thank you !

We first try to find bike paths, interrupted constantly by works, finally we choose a large north-south car axis. Faster, more reliable and relatively safe because Singaporeans drive properly. The country is tiny and we find ourself 4 hours later on the bridge of Johor Bahru, gateway to Malaysia. A real mess: a queue of endless trucks, uninterrupted motorcycles and finally a very basic border post. Not a word of customs, just a stamp for 3 months and it’s done!

A quick stopover in a hostel and we leave the next day to the North East. We pedal in a landscape made exclusively of palm trees, a sign that the oil so criticized in Europe continues to “drive the business”.

A coincidence, at the same time Sylvain reads “L’humanité en péril” by Fred Vargas. The subject is treated as well as many other human damages… Malaysia is the second largest producer of palm oil in the world and in front of our eyes, workers collect large bunches of fruit while we chain the hills below a good 37°C average.

Pee break 🙂

In the afternoon, we arrive at our Warmshowers site: Bob, a 67-year-old man retired, offers a room, a shower, a fresh coconut and even a dinner for passing cyclists. We have the chance to meet Mikel, Basque, and Birgitt-Soren, Danish, long-term cyclists who go down to Singapore and tell us about their experience of the previous countries that we will soon visit: Vietnam, Thailand, etc.

First Warmshowers in an idylic place 🙂

June 20th, we follow the east coast to the north of Mersing. The landscape remains similar but the road becomes fuller of cars. We follow the thin strip of tar on the shoulder and everything is fine! In the evening we camp in a quite nice place, sheltered from the wind and rain by a pine forest, 10m from the China Sea.

Lunch break 🙂

The next day, still heading to the North, the vegetation evolves, the palm trees give way to coconut trees and mango trees appear around the houses. After 100km we reach Kekunang Tering Chalet, a pretty beachside guesthouse where cyclists are welcome. The night is very stormy and we end up installing the hammock under a carbet, the only way to stay dry! Mosquitoes kept us loyal company all night.

Stop at Pantai Kemasik

Kuantan and then Paka follow the next days, we are regularly greeted by passers-by and drivers and we enjoy the good food in the “warungs” on the roadside. We’ve got a sore butt, but we’re in high spirits! Not far from Paka, we visit a turtle sanctuary, sponsored by BP/Petronas Industries which operates a huge refinery a few kilometers away. Greenwashing is ridiculous…

On the 24th we reach the outskirts of Marang and Kuala Terengganu where a new Warmshowers, Abdul, welcomes us very generously. We openly discuss a thousand and one topics with him (religion, food, literature, cycling of course …) and so we have a great time!

Kuala Terengganu Chinatown

Finally, after a stopover on the desert peninsula of Penarik, a chilly and humid night in our great double hammock, here we are in Kuala Besut. In one week, we have traveled a good part of the East Coast so we allow ourselves three days without bicycled on the Perhentian Islands before reaching Thailand!

The wide imagination

By Sylvain

Last February, “L’avion, plaisir coupable de l’écolo-voyageur” is published in Le Monde (1). I come out of the lecture with the bitter sensation of suddenly having a theatre light focused on my secondary role. “The Balinese getaway”? We’ll experience it in three months as part of our long-term trip. Lyon-Montreal (equivalent to Paris-New York cited in the article)? I took it 4 months ago to visit my brother. With Cléa, we are also concerned and actors to preserve the environment as much as possible in our daily lives.
But speaking about “guilty pleasure” or “schyzophreny” of the traveler seems too strong to me, there is something to debate …

Last May, from Sulawesi in Indonesia I finish reading the essay “Travelling” (2) with the feeling of being straight in my boots. We have been backpacking for more than a month without planes, even if we “loose” long hours using local buses and ferries. Like the two authors, I experiment slowness, relativity and uninterrupted land (or maritime) connection. It is a pleasure, undeniable, much more than to borrow the alienating plane and its poison of climaticide kerosene. Besides this hierarchy, in no motorized transport, the plane like the others, I feel no candid enchantment. If I allow myself to go this or there, it’s because I consider the discovery or experience more inspiring and growing than the means is harmful to the Planet. A pharmacist would talk about a positive benefit/risk balance, at least I definitely wish it is and hope that nature does not suffer in any way from my passage. It’s selfish but it’s sincere.

July is coming, it’s in Thailand that we begin our second week cycling and I believe that this time, finally, I can talk about pleasure without guilt. We are free on bikes and we consume nothing but our own calories. Sur we experiment air pollution but we don’t participate in it in any way. Neither for carbon impact, excluding food. If, as french writter Colette said, “travel is only necessary for short imaginations” then on a bicycle we experience and largely assume the need to dream.

Of course we could have, like repented Sylvain Tesson (3), walked and satisfied ourselves with the black paths of France. But that’s another story and we want to take part of it when we’ll come back home… then, as those who have rightly displayed it for months on their demonstration signs during climate protests, as long as ncessary, we will give up with appeasement the madness of sky traffic.

(1): The article, for subscribers only, is available in full version on https://eldiabloisakiller.blogspot.com/2019/02/lavion-plaisir-coupable-de-lecolo.html

(2): “Travelling” by Tanguy Viel and Christian Garcin, J-C Nattes (2019)

(3) : “Sur les chemins noirs” by Sylvain Tesson, Gallimard (2016)

The “end-of-the-world” archipelago

For our last week in the country made of 13,000 islands, we set sail for Togean. The archipelago, wedged in the immense cove of North Sulawesi, is renowned for its isolation and its heavenly landscapes. Our first moments on the territory confirm this.

Taking the public boat Ampana-Bomba, Sylvain is quickly accosted by locals who begin a debate on scooter accidents at the sight of our scratches and Cléa chat with a couple of German travelers with whom we make common road from Tentena. We glimpse the first sparsely populated islets, full of lush vegetation (cocotiers and hardwoods of all kinds) and songbirds difficult to see.

Bajau village at the southern entrance of the archipelago

Poya Lisa, our first stop, fits quite well with the reputation of the area: a dozen bungalows unoccupied on just 200m of land, two sandy beaches on either side, all surrounded by corals where sublime fish nest. We spend two days on small onions, alternating snorkeling, tasting of the fish of the day and rest under mosquito nets when the tropical rains are rampant.

We appreciate the tranquillity but our tourist solitude is amazing and confusing for such a beautiful place. And then there are other pearls to explore further north! We go back to the sea towards Kadidiri, by private boat following a public transport tour. We arrive at the setting sun in a new dream setting on the outskirts more touristic than the previous one.

Arrival in Kadidiri in the late afternoon

We spend two pleasant days in the company of a couple of Italians and a marginal German, common meals/debates and exploration at our leisure of the surrounding corals and… of a lake of harmless meduses! We lend ourselves to the game, the creatures “frolic” as they please while we observe them more closely than ever.

On the third night, to vary the pleasures and save some money (13 euros per person for the full paradise pension), we go camping on the nearby beach: Barracuda Beach. It’s teeming with mosquitoes and sand fleas and Cléa meets a snake and two wild pigs that are not very reckless! For the rest, the night is punctuated by tropical rafts and a friendly discussion with 3 Indonesians who (us) acost and leave at 2am in the middle of the tropical jungle, armed with their handymle machete: “Hello Mister! Apa Kabar? Francis? Ah football, Lionel Messi!” (missed).

Bivouac in Barracuda Beach

The next day, back at Kadidiri beach, we learn that the ferry to Gorontalo scheduled for Saturday is cancelled for obscure reasons… This time the inconsistency of local transport puts us well in the panade: the plane back to Singapore is booked for Sunday, it would be foolish to delay our departure by bike because of abusive Robinsonade! We finally find a ferry connection from Dolong, which forces us to migrate as quickly as possible to the aforementioned village. The wallet is alluded and well soaked, we spend one last evening very nice at the home: Nasi Goreng and papaya salad in front of the TV where is broadcast the film “Ratatouille” that seems to please children and children!

Evening screening in Dolong: “Ratatouille”!

Togean will finally leave us the memory of a wild region, very isolated and as uncrowded as the rest of Sulawesi this season. Beyond the many hotel complexes waiting for an influx of visitors, the life of the islanders remains punctuated by fishing and daily activities. Some positive signs for biodiversity are also visible, such as the ban on dynamite fishing, the breeding of new corals or the collection of plastics by the sea… “touristy” beaches only.

Sulawesi, in the rain…

Could it be fatigue or just a blow less well, the first few days in Sulawesi are difficult. The night ferry trip went relatively well, however, despite the unsanitary berths (cockroaches, smells, etc.) and the length of the journey (18 hours at sea), we appreciated the company of a French long-term traveller and the air bowls on the deck of The huge boat.

Long crossing in perspective!
Doors open at Makassar harbour

Makassar, visibly urbanized and congested, appears around 7pm on June 5th and we hasten to find a pete-pete (minibus) heading to the North Terminal to get a connection to Rantepao. Goal achieved and 2nd night in a row in transport.

We arrive in the early morning in Toraja country in the rain. The typical houses are beautiful but the atmosphere is gloomy. We quickly understand that the climate has not been good for 1 month and probably that tourism is following the trend. In short, we ride an unreliable scooter and leave for the traditional villages around.

Vegetable roof with Toraja sauce

The roads are bad (chicken nests, mud) and we get had in a tight corner: slide and slight percussion against the car crossing. More fear than harm, we get away with a few scratches. Two passing Dutchmen stop and give us valuable assistance: antiseptic on wounds and discussions in Indonesia with the locals to assess the damage. The scooter is well damaged and we have to have it repaired urgently before returning it to the renter… we get away with cheap and a few hours of patience. This experience leaves us a little disappointed not to have been able to explore more the Toraja region which has beautiful assets such as rice fields and imposing buffaloes that patulate before finishing sacrificed for funeral ceremonies and then decorate atypical huts with their horns.

Buffalo Mud day

We’re keeping our spirits up and heading north. After almost 2 full days of bus in a thick jungle and a pleasant stop in Tentenan, an ostensibly Catholic village on the edge of a lake full of eel (it looks), we reach Ampana on June 8th.

Tentenan Lake Edge

Soon the Togean Islands that we wait with great hopes and will represent our last Indonesian adventure!

Flores, here we are!

On May 27th we board the “Medang Jaya 2”. Here we are embarked on a 4-day crossing with 30 companions in a dormitory covered with mattresses of about 35m2.
The societal experience is unique!

Lombok-Flores crossing sleeper (4 days)

The adventure consists of exploring a few islands around Subawa and Komodo on foot or snorkelling and visiting the famous Dragons.

Cold-blooded nap

In short, between two sun-set-rise, we sail in the more or less restless waves and swim above the Manta rays, a black-tipped shark or multiple colorful fish.
We’re thrilled!

Slalom at dusk between the islets of Komodo

We disembark in Flores with our “gang” of Westerners in the middle of a port full of containers and banana trucks.

Labuan Bajo simple and straight welcomes us for only 1 day and a half transport research to go to visit the east of the island. In order to avoid the plane – chosen by the majority of our European companions – we cross the island at the cost of many hours by bus.

One stop among many, on the road to Bajawa

A first attempt ends at the 13th turn with an engine failure that forces the driver to be towed to the village after.
This bus being the only one going to Bajawa, we multiply the transport to reach its destination, just in time to catch a glimpse of the perfect Inerie volcano at sunset!

Last rays on the outskirts of the Inerie

The next day to Moni always by bus, in the middle of forests, palm trees, banana trees, cocoa trees, rice paddies, small villages, along the seaside and the beaches of blue-green pebbles. We are always more winding roads. On the bus, we are accompanied by huge bags of rice, shallots, and chickens of course!

100% local bus and chicken

The trip takes place in an atmosphere of local music intersecting reggae and “experimental” music with a fast tempo Korean pop type (and we know Korean pop 😉)

The island is incredibly green and seems to be completely covered with forest.

Arriving in Moni, we meet Alice and Elise two squid from the boat crossing who have outpaced us in the adventure. They encourage us to undertake the ascent of the Kelimutu even if the sky seems very overcast! We walk through a gigantic forest to the beautiful lakes, among the wild guava saats and with a few leeches stuck on the ankles. They too have the right to admire the view!

Sacred Lakes of Kelimutu

The next day we end the stay with a bath in the hot springs and a tour of the market, it’s lively and worth it 🙂

Moni Daily Market!

The sky is unfortunately very grey for 2 days … since that’s what we’re going!

Last evening in Maumere where we enjoy an impromptu concert in our bar, HQ of an evening, waiting for the ferry to Sulawesi and new adventures on the other side of the Flores Sea.

Improvised Blues in a Maumere Bar

Fisticuffs in Rinjani

Lembar, 19 may 2019.
We land on the island of Lombok after 5 quiet hours by ferry. We had to fight to find the right harbor in Padangbai and refuse the “tourist” offers for speed boats but the savings and authenticity was worth it! Direction Kuta Lombok
, by taxi since bus are still not proposed… The driver speaks about politics and hopes wholeheartedly that Joko (current President of the country, not the tennisman) will be beaten after recounting the votes, without which, according to him, Indonesia will again experience disasters like the last 5 years (it’s true that they were not spared: earthquake in Lombok, then in Sulawesi, eruption in Java, etc.). 3 days later, on the 22nd, the re-election of Joko is proclaimed.

In Kuta, we spend a few pleasant days exploring the surrounding coasts (Pink Beach to the East which is not so pink as advertised and a little pricey, Mawi and Mawun to the West that are worth its) and surfing in Gerupuk on rather easy waves (for Cléa at least). The area is beautiful, rural and much less crowded than Bali South (the other Kuta).

Mawi Beach, at low tide surfers are rarer

It is also appreciable to encounter a moderate-looking Islam, contrary to what we read in the guides.

As we are in trust with our host, this one offers us to organise a trek to the famous Rinjani volcano, the second highest peak in the country (3726m). We accept, pay and find ourself, after a few hours of driving along villages in recontruction, in Senaru the entrance door of the area. “The Agency” welcomes us and explains our future itinerary: 7km of forest/jungle, 2km on the final slopes uncovered, bivouac at the edge of the crater and… That’s all! Since the earthquake of July 2018, impossible to go to the Lake, neither to hot water sources nor to the Summit. We feel cheated and a little silly not to have collected more information. We debate, we argue, and after multiple phone calls we understand that many intermediaries took their share of the cake (especially in Kuta). We end up giving up by demanding to recover some of the amount back to compensate for the false promises. Finally the walk is great (2000 m of elevation) and the final view, at the edge of the crater, is gorgious. The small cone in activity and the Summit are beautiul, and we see even Bali, the sea and the Gili Islands in the early morning!

View of the Rinjani crater (last eruption in 2016)

During the night, at the bivouac, we also have the “pleasure” of hearing our Chinese neighbors chating without ever whispering… It is even more irritating than monkeys and our second Finnish neighbor finally signify them a “shut-the-fuck-up”! Efficient:)

Bali sea below Caldera

On the 24th we reach Gili Air where we finish this week in Lombok with 2 nice days of biking, beach ad sorkeling on this tiny piece of paradise!

Next step : Flores and its famous dragons !