Category Archives: island

coastal walk in July

I walk this summer 2020 more than last year. Its partly because I cannot travel. In the first place, I came to work in  Europe with the reason of travelling. In the first year, I was able to travel only 3 countries due to work commitment and shortage of budget. 2nd and early 3rd year, I was busy with my studies. I finished all my exams which I insanely decided to take and now , like other people I am stuck  with covid situation and lock down when I finally able to relax and travel.

The island I am living is called Isle of Man and it is a small island in Irish sea between Ireland and uk. Its a bit bigger than Singapore but only have 80000 population compared to 5 millions in Singapore. Isle of Man have many hidden beaches and glens. This year I decided to walk Raad Ny Foillan , coastal path which is 100 miles in total length. Raad Ny Foillan means way of the gulls in Gaelic. It is interrrupted coastal walk to see the entire nation.

20200705_161934

I am an explorer with zero sense of direction , but I still wander into unknown place all the time. My cousins nicknamed  me Miss the Lost World. But past bad experience has not convinced me to stop exploring. My balance is equally bad as I have small feet compared to my body weight. I had multiple ankle sprains in the past.

20200705_161258
Coastal walk is the best with wild flowers in s

My boyfriend is  always my biggest supporter and my walking talking GPS. He needs a little push in the beginning but able to walk once he becomes fully awake which is a very difficult process. Walking him up needs alarm with snoozes, purposely annoying him by opening the lights and windows, showering him with kisses and last threatening him I would not plan any activities with him next summer. Well, after all these tectics, he still needs 2 hours to be fully awake.

20200705_153736
Squeaky bridge

We went to Port Grenaugh to walk to DerbyHeaven. It is 4.5 miles coastal walk.

 

We were aware it would rain but determined to walk 2 hours none the less. It was rugged coastline with churred rocks and slippery narrow coastal path . One needs to be careful not to step on the shrubs at the edge.

20200705_151300

20200705_151056

I am ok with climbing up but not ok with climbing down. Steve had to go ahead of me and I needed to hold his shoulder as support. We found several caves and coves. Some cove are like small private swimming pool as the area is completely surrounded by rock.

20200705_150657

20200705_150524
Small cove at the tip of the rock or you have different English word for that. Lol
20200705_145422
I can imagine these rocks were fragmented from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago
20200705_145157
A big cave

Sometimes the pathway ends abruptly as footpath was lost in land erosion..Then we needed to get inside private farm land to continue walking. Its very kind of farmers to allow strangers to pass through their land. I was nervous about cows as I was wearing bright red jacket. When we were young, we were told bulls do not like red color and tend to charge at people wearing one. MY boyfriend said it is a myth .  But I could not do anything as I was wearing bright red shirt underneath jacket. I tried not to look back at staring bulls.  If they could talk, they might have told us to get out.

20200705_145635
The pathway ends with a gate and it belongs to farmers
20200705_155840
Passing through private land

We saw a hidden beach called Port Soldrick.  It was middle of nowhere and formed from a gorge. Gorge is a place between two valleys. I am always excited to find out hidden beaches. My friend told me about name of beach just recently.

20200705_153609
PORT SOLDRICK

20200705_153427

My boyfriend needed to go back as he was working evening shift . I was in dilemma whether I should continue the walk  alone without him. I asked him like a child whether I would be ok to walk alone without him. He showed me direction how to get a bus back to Douglas once I arrive Castle Town. The path ends at Derbyheaven and I need to walk from there to Castle Town to get a bus. At that moment, I thought walking alone may be theraputic to calm myself and good to upgrade my confidence. We parted after kissing and hugging * ( I know its cheesy but we are still very much in love after 3 years of dating ). If he can, my boyfriend would choose to sit and play games all day. But unfortunately, he ended up with crazy girl friend who is restless and tend to get lost easily . So he ends up walking many places with me and he said he enjoys walking with me in nature. When I am with other friends, I miss him a lot.

Back to my story , I walked alone after enjoying newly discovered beach called Port Soldrick. After half km, I ended up at blind end with a locked gate. I frantically called back Steve as there is no bus service from Port Grenaugh to Douglas unless I walk for hours. Steve unfortunately did not pick up the phone. I ran like a goat to catch up with him. Luckily he was waiting for me near the narrow path to be my human walking stick

He said ” I know you need help with this downhill” with a grin. I told him ” may be God does not want me to walk alone ” and I really mean it. Well, I can talk all days how much I love him and I have many reasons to love him. Walking with me is just one of them. 😊

Hnin

Dhoon glen, Isle of Man

Dhoon glen is one of the steepest glen in Isle of Man (an island in the Irish sea between UK and Ireland ). Isle of Man is a small island with 80000 population and the isle has many legends associated with fairies . Many folks believe in fairies and some of them even claim fairies have visited them. But when you visit glens, you develop some delusions that may be fairies do exist there. It is because you can see a dense  canopy of trees,  beautiful wild flowers, tress covered with mosses along rivers and they do look like places for fairies. TO make your imagination wild, some areas have crafted tiny houses and statues, purposely arranged to look like fairy houses. Isle of Man also has a landmark on the main road  to airport where people  say ” hello” to fairies so that you will not have bad luck on the island. Even the buses have installed personal announcement saying ” Hello Fairies ” when the buses pass  that particular landmark.

Dhoon glen is a big glen on the coastal pathway to Ramsey ( northern part of island ). In 1800s, it  used to be a popular  tourist destination as there used to be a small passenger ship ” Manx fairy ” which ran daily  from Douglas to Ramsey and Dhoon bay used to be transit point where tourist could get off the ship in small boats  to spend the time on the beach or to wander in the forests surrounding the glen . In late 19th century, around 8000 visitors by sea and further 42,000 visitors by road visited Dhoon glen in a typical season. When electric Tram arrived in 1897 to isle of man, it boost the number of tourists to Dhoon glen and the glen even started charging tourists 1.5 pence per person . Nowadays, Isle of Man does not have many tourists like before and not many people go to Dhoon glen  as the steps are quite steep ( 190 steps ) and there are many more open glens in Isle of Man where you can reach easily by car. It also adds extra bonus to Dhoon glen because you can still relax there on your own as it is not a crowded place.

beach
Dhoon bay ( stony beach )
panorama view of beach
panorama view of Dhoon bay where boats used to come to drop off tourists

The waterfall half way down the valley is the inner Wooar or Big girl and is one of the highest waterfalls in the island falling over 40 metres ( 130 ft ) in two drops.

Hnin at waterfall
base of waterfall
waterfall lowest
waterfall have large volume of water when there is rain

We went there in May , 2020 in the evening. In isle of man , you can still see the sun till 8 pm in May as it is spring. We had difficulty to park the car that time as there were more than usual number of visitors as it was on Saturday. You can see the Manx tram station ” Dhoon glen ” at the entrance of the glen. After passing the railway, there is a small landing area with big trees where you can sit and relax.

entrance
near the entrance of Dhoon glen beside the main road

Then we went down the stairs on the left side. If you turn to right side, you might end up going to the wrong direction. Stairs are made of Manx stone and they are not the nicest stairs as they are uneven . The pathway can be slippery with dry leaves and mud. Before you go to the area of waterfalls, you need to pass through the forest which is so beautiful as the sun rays falling through the leaves.

96084384_10157891224360266_7152692544525041664_n_10157891224350266
dense canopy of trees before starting of waterfall

After passing through the forest, we walked along the pathway in parallel with the river. The flow of water from the river and tweeting of birds were very soothing to our souls.

beautiful lane
pathway parallel to the river

gorgeous stream

As it is the spring season, we could see wild flowers along the pathway. The flowers are called blue bells and they look like velvet carpet . Blue bells can have other colours such as white and pink.

blue bells lining lane
can you see the blue bells mingling with grass on the slope and near river bank

We passed through many steps with varying heights and we had to be careful as we could easily slip and fall.

Denise holding the branch
My friend Denise enjoying the view of river
95909681_10157891232210266_5339482722249211904_n_10157891232205266
My friend Nang carefully crossing the narrow bridge
beginning of waterfall
beginning of waterfall ( after these small drops, there are two big drops of waterfall, total height 130feet )
lane before beach
The narrow path before reaching Dhoon bay

We walked past the waterfall towards the beach. The path has small waterfalls which finally lead to two big drops of waterfall. The total height is 130 feet and it was a bit tiring especially for me as I tend to get muscle ache easily . It took me longer time to arrive beach and it was nice to see my friends were settled at the beach and waving at me.

95962705_10157891230125266_7047763620150640640_n_10157891230120266
My friend Nang waving at me from the beach

The beach is ragged and full of pebbles and stones.

pebbles at beach

I found a  big flat stone where I lied down and had a nap as I was very tired at the end of trekking although it was only 2 miles . I looked at the blue sky and thought of my blessings with nature. As usual, I said thank you to the place for having me for a few hours before I left. I will write about other glens as soon as I have enough time. Thank you for reading my blog.

Hnin

Glen Mooar and Glen Wyllin ( isle of man)

We all feel helpless in this pandemic as health care workers. But I want to be strong, calm and collected at the time of crisis. Usually nature helps me a lot. My plan is to finish all glens of isle of man this summer. I just hope that situation will permit me for these activities. Glens are not crowded and as they are in open air, you do not need to worry about getting infection there . For your information, Glens are places between valleys where you can find small streams , forests with foot paths to walk around.

Me and my friend Dennise decided to walk at Glen Mooar and Glen Wyllin which are coastal glens. Glen Mooar is 1 mile south of Kirk Michael. We drove through mountain road and needed to drive 26 minutes from Douglas.

The roads are not rough and even small cars can arrive. We parked the car and met a lovely gentleman called Peter who is a retired school teacher. He told us direction how to go to waterfall . The waterfall is called White Spout ( Spooyt Vane in Manx) and its one of the highest waterfalls. Well, highest does not mean it is high enough compared to waterfalls in Asia. But definitely it is lovely.

white spout waterfall

my unifriend since 19 years old

After walking back from waterfall , we tried to find an old church. We could not find it

Instead, we found a mansion which is overlooking the sea. It is in the secluded area and it must worth a million at least. I sometimes wonder whether I would be too scared to live in middle of nowhere.

a mansion in the secluded area

We walked several minutes in rain finding the church. We could not find it and we were too cold to continue..My friend Nan was not wearing appropriate shoes and we returned back to car.

Next day, we went to Glen Wyllinn which is near Glen Mooar. The coastline of Glen has been collapsing and eroding. After decades, the area will lose the land to the sea.

The entrance of Glen Wilyan

We walked pass the entrance and saw a small waterfall.

you can go down and walk along the stream

After 3 minutes , you can see the shore with boulders placed to prevent erosion

The tides were strong and the waves splashed against the shore by force. It was a lovely day.

Thank you

Hnin

The trip was done in March

Nature heals us

I have to admit that I am not ok and I think its better to admit my state of mind is not ok rather than trying to pretend as if everything is fine. I am very persevere but I am also an expert at breaking down frequently so that I can continue pretending to be normal. I can say that this pandemic does not affect me some ways and affect me in many ways.

For example, I do not like bars, parties and mass gathering. I usually feel alone. But I love small group of people and I love walking outside. When I get upset, I get comfort from nature. It may be a forest , a beach , a hill or an open field. I love talkin to the trees and walking along the coastal road.

In 2014, I went to a lake called Lake Toba where a massive volcano erupted. Lake Toba literally sat on the cold volcano which might be active again after many years. When the volcano erupted, it killed people to the extent that human species almost extinct. When I was there, I was mesmerized by its beauty. It was hard to believe we were at the place of tragedy thousands of years ago.

But amazing thing is remaining people thrived and continued civilisation and the world evolved into a sophisticated place . Then a lot of researches and a lot of diseases which we never knew before emerged . I am wondering whether we had missed diagnosis of deadly diseases before simply because of lack of media and investigation.

I am having nightmares all the time to the extent I cannot recall what they mean anymore. So I went to the beach called Nirabyl and lay on the ground. I pressed my face to the grass and whispered ” please protect us “. Then I lingered and thought ” protect from what?”.

I want us to shield ourselves from negative thoughts and worries. Death is inevitable but at least we should be able to choose how we live.

Much love from Isle of Man

Hnin

Maldives part 4. Maafushi and Arena beach resort

20191007_121743.jpg

Today is the last day of our holiday and both of us are sad..Maldives is the destination which suit us. When we were in Bangkok, we enjoyed bustling town with lots of activities to do plus good food. But Maldives gives us complete rest of our mind and soul which everybody needs. If you are aware, we are in a rat race competing each other and trying to outdo each other. Our mind wander and worry endlessly. A place like Maldives which has nothing much to do apart from swimming and relaxing make our mind rest for awhile. We also have to accept that sea and ocean promotes our mental wellbeing.

Yesterday I went into the ocean and floated with the slow waves in shallow water, my face looking towards the sky. There was a half full moon and many stars . There was a halo around the moon and the wind was gentle..The water was warm and soathing. I was so much comforted by the ocean that I said aloud thank you. I was born in a restricted country called Burma and not allowed to have a passport till 28 years of age. Our previous government regarded all doctors as the country’s property and we were not allowed to have a passport unless they wanted to send us to another country for semina and courses etc. So at the age of 28, I ran away from Burma after getting a passport illegally. What I mean is I was able to travel abroad only at the age of 28 with the awareness  that I might not be able to go back there without facing legal actions. I have visited 19 countries since then and I am thankful to this tiny achievement and my travel diaries more than my academic achievement. Nowadays we have democracy and young generations of doctors have more opportunities and freedom compared to our time.

Before my mind wanders again, I want to continue about Maldives , especially Maafushi. Maafushi is a relatively large island ( 1.2 km)  and there is still room for infrastructure and development. Its not instagram perfect place but I am so glad to see real lives of people living here. I can see women take part in building up economy as a lot of them were driving motorbikes and trucks. I also saw local girls dancing , shaking their ass in front of public enjoying themselves . They are more outgoing than I thought in spite of a myth that women are suppressed.

So this post is about real life and you will not see many perfect pictures here. Its about Maafushi with migrants, ongoing buildings , scaffolding and sweaty construction workers.

20191007_173211

20191007_173215

20191007_121348.jpg

Most of them are from Bangladish and some are from India. But they seem happy to be here. Initially I cannot differentiate between Maldivians and Bangali but they pointed us that Maldivians have  darker skin.

20191006_203333.jpg
local girls enjoying and dancing with live music

20191007_121354.jpg
women on bikes, there is no car in Maafushi

20191007_113722.jpg
pretty local girls smiling at us

 

20191008_151838

owner of local arts shop

I talked to the local shop owner called Suja who witnessed Tsunami in 2004. He owns a shop which sells paintings on the wood, glass and coconut.

According to Suja, on the day of tsunami, water rushed inside his house and he was non chalant about it and did not worry. But then he saw trucks were drifting among big waves and then only he ran towards the mosque holding his young child. The family took refuge on the attic of the mosque. The water came in only a few minutes and the tide went down. He needed to waddle in the muddy water to find his sister who was with another family and found to be safe. Luckily there was no death nor injuries in Maafushi. Only 82 people died out of whole country in 2004 tsunami although damages to houses and infrastructure cost millions. In Maafushi, only 14 houses were destroyed.

Suja refuse to label himself and his staff as artists. But the paintings they made out of wood and coconut are quite impressive and unique.

20191008_151645.jpg20191008_150728.jpg

 

20191008_151637

As I really wanted to buy authentic Maldivian product, I bought a key chain from him made of wood and painting.

Maafushi is also very self sufficient with school, mosques , health care centre and sports centre etc. When I was walking around I saw school children coming out from school with their cute green and white  uniforms.

20191007_114048.jpg
Maafushi school

20191007_114056.jpg
school fence painted with slogans

20191007_114356.jpg
Maafushi health centre

There is also a local bank where you can exchange money. But everywhere you can purchase with USD.

 

20191007_120808

 

20191007_113937.jpg
the mosque

Regarding food, you can have local as well as European and Chinese food easily. I have noticed that a lot of tourists are from mainland China and India. To cater them, a lot of restaurants have display of chinese advertisment and hotels offer vegetarian diet as Indian tourists are vegetarian.  I overheard some Indian tourists complaining not enough vegetarian food from hotel buffet and next day, almost every dish became vegetable. Then some of us are like 😫. Indeed, its difficult to satisfy human. But I have to say honestly that Arena beach resort surpassed my expectation ( I did not get any commmission out of hotel )..First of all, they take customers as priority. Their chefs are excellent and even simple meals like pasta is delicious.  All vegetarian cusine are tasty like dahl curry , fried rice with vegetable even for non vegs.They also cater lots of salad and fruits for European tourists and their bakery and puddings are yummy.

20191008_152932

And Arena resort did not break our bank and only charge considerable price for excellent service. All the waiters are always wanting to help us , even just now we are waiting for the boat at public lounge and one staff came and opened fans and aircon for us. Rooms are clean and provided with coffee , water and toiletaries daily. There is also a place to hang wet clothes at balcony with drainage system.

20191007_080624.jpg
our room with balcony and sea view

20191007_080821.jpg
view from room. A boy climbing tree and a crowd was encouraging him

20191007_080814.jpg
dining area just in front of beach

Entertainment ( acoustic guitarist and singers ) are good and can be equivalent to  vocalists from Boracay ( exceptionally musical beach destination ) although they do not sing everyday.

20191003_193944.jpg
artists playing baby shark song for a toddler who was spinning and dancing

20191003_204846.jpg
we met new friends during out meal time

 

As the island is small, franchise food like KFC and McDonald do not esist here. But if you look around, there are a lot of European food and Chinese restaurants.

20191007_121419.jpg
Chinese sea food restaurant

20191003_091415

 

20191007_180726

20191007_174327A cafe which mimic Hard Rock

We did not have chance to explore the local food as we booked hotel with meal plans. Even breakfast and dinner alone is enough for big eater . Afternoon is our siesta time and we prefer to rest in our room .

Regarding activities, there are a lot of water sports you can do such as kayaking, banana boats, jet ski, fishing, paragliding , water skiing and boarding. Arena beach also has scuba diving courses and activities for both beginners and experienced diving. They have been operating diving excursions for 30 years. You can do night diving and also wreck diving . I feel like going to nearby sandbank with kayak. But my boyfriend complained of backache and decided not to do any of those. Instead, we spent lots of our time swimming or simply sitting in the ocean. We just now found out there is a swimming pool on 8th floor only after we checked out. But we still do not regret our preference on the ocean. To be frank, its the priviledge of warm countries. While in Isle of Man, water of the sea is always cold and I still cannot swim where I live. I also miss my time in Kuantan, Malaysia where dipping in South China sea was my weekly activities.

20191008_145753.jpg20191008_145817.jpg

By the way, please read Maldives part 2 and part 3 to know about excursions to shark bay, turtle watching and swimming with manta rays.

20191008_100701.jpg

20191007_121147.jpg
Maafushi with wild flowers

20191007_173535.jpg
a bird resting on the boat

20191007_121049.jpg
public beach with rubbish lying around

20191007_113406.jpg
a shop for watersports

20191007_113107.jpg
beaches near hotels are cleaner

20191007_112854.jpg

20191007_112831.jpg
a relaxing place near water sports shop

20191005_101803.jpg

20191008_150028.jpg

Recreational activities like spa and massage are too expensive to try. Usual price is 58 USD for an hour which is almost the same like Europe..So we did not try it but if you want it, you can easily get massage in Maafushi as I saw 3 spa lounges and 1 gym.

20191008_152831.jpg

For souvenir , there are many local shops. I was even joking every house opens a shop. Maldives do not produce garment and all are imported from other countries. So prices are above other Asian countries and you need to haggle to get correct price. But we found a shop where we get reasonable price witout hassel of bargaining. I will upload photo of that shop here.

20191007_172807.jpgif you want good price, Eloda is ok  personally..But ask around before you buy..

20191007_174735.jpg
wall of local shop displaying Indonesian ornament

 

20191003_085714

20191008_152241

The best part is sunset. Its very beautiful to watch it. I am going to miss it very much.

 

20191004_175445

20191004_175327

 

20191004_175432

IMG-20191008-WA0001.jpg

20191006_121332.jpg

We are grateful to Maldives, its people for their hospitality . We will come back again one day.

Thank you

Hnin

 

 

Maldives part 3. shark bay and chasing Manta Ray

Today 6th Oxctober 2019 is the mile stone of my life . Its because I have swam with hundreds of sharks in Maldives. I am someone who is obsessed with sharks since I was a child. I remember my parents took me to cinema to watch Jaws which was very popular that time. That instilled me with fear of sharks .

But I know there are many harmless sharks and I trust tourist industry will never do anything risky. So I and my boyfriend booked a tour to see Manta rays and sharks.

The tour starts from 9am and it cost 50USD per person. As usual we gathered near  Arena resort office and collected our life jackets and snorkelling gears. At first I was disappointed as the boat for today was quite small and my favorite tour guide whom I met yesterday was not in today. Yesterday we went for another tour and many tour guides followed us. So we had luxury of being looked after by many tour guides and I was worried about safety of small boat as well as number of staff ( only one tour guide ) for our group. But we eventually found out our group have so many friendly people and we began introducing to each other.

The first place was for watching dolphins. If you read my previous post, I have already mentioned about watching a dolphin pod in Maldives part 2. But today, dolphins decided to show us their acrobatic skill. They started to jump in the air one after another and I believe they wanted to entertain us. What intelligent and friendly creatures! I cannot even imagine why anyone should harm them. Some of photos are shared by Alex and Merry who are from China and Indonesia. They are very nice couple and we only met them today .  We clicked on camera and not sure whether we could get good pictures as dolphins appeared in the air unexpectedly and rapidly .  But I believe I did capture some of good photos although images are small.

20191006_093724

 

 

20191006_093606(0).jpg
dolphin jumping

After dolphin sighting, the guide searched for the mantas to swim with. Both Manta and sharks are nocturnal animals and usually sleep during day time. I am amazed at the way tour guides can see manta from very far. He warned us that Manta rays can swim fast and we need to ready to jump in once he sees one. With that instruction, I decided to give up on it. Haha. First of all, I cannot swim well. Secondly, I need someone to push me back to boat if I drift away from boat. With one guide juggling everything for whole group, I do not trust I could get help . So I watched from the boat. Most of our group did well and managed to see Manta very shortly. Manta ofcos swam away very swiftly like a celebrity chased by paparazis. The tide was very strong and my boyfriend was exhausted after chasing Manta. He could not see very well without his glasses and he ended up swimming without seeing manta.

FB_IMG_1570527715731

For awhile, our tour guide kept on searching mantas but we could not find anymore at that moment after first manta disappeared.  So we decided to go to shark bay to swim with sharks. Our tour guide advised us as follows ” please do not touch sharks. do not pull their tails and do not ride on them”. I was amazed and wonder whether tourists have done that to poor sharks.

When we arrived at shark bay, I was surprised it was very near to resort. We could see big sharks from the boat and they were swimming leisurely. One of our group jumped from the boat and accidentally hit one shark. These sharks are nurse shark and now only realized they are not harmful . They eat squid, stingray and small fish .So they are incapable of killing any human beings.In fact they does bite humans ( most are human fault as men think they are very docile) , 52 times recorded but none of the bites are lethal. They have small mouth with small teeth attached to a large pharynx. Nurse sharks can suck the prey into the large pharynx after swallowing.  nurse shark can live up to 20 years  for female and 15 years for male. . The largest recorded is 302 cm  and average length is 8 to 9 feet  .So the sharks we saw were both young and mature nurse sharks. Our guide brought some food for sharks and once feeding started, all sharks swam towards the boat as if they were used to feeding.

FB_IMG_1570527654018

20191006_114028.jpg
shark bay

20191006_175512above photo is courtsey to Nim who brought his new drone to the trip. He kindly shared these precious pictures with us and also took group photo for us at the end of trip.

20191006_175704These sharks were not agressive at all although people accidentally touched them while swimming. Now I live to tell sharks can be friendly.

 

FB_IMG_1570527658627

FB_IMG_1570527667722

FB_IMG_1570527689714

After we swam with the sharks  , we went to the sand bank to have our lunch. It was sunny and quite hot on the sand bank . Thanks to our tour guide, we could sit under parasols and had our lunch. The water was shallow and we could dip in and took photos. Thanks to Merry , we could get some couple photos as well.

At that time, I became warming up to the tour guide and realized he is such a nice person. Izay  made sure all of us photos were taken by him.. But I need to see his photography skills when I receive my pictures. Its amazing that tour guide can do multitasking.

20191006_130120.jpg
the sand bank

 

20191006_125641.jpg
the sky was dark at that time

I went into the sea and tried to see some fish while my boyfriend tried to recover from sun burn..His scottish skin is very vulnerable to sun burn as he is not used to tropical weather.

After lunch, we took group photo with Nim’s drone and the video was lovely.

20191006_175612After departing Sandy bank, we headed towards another island to drop off two of our group.

Then on the way back , we found a big manta ray unexpectedly. This time only one of us volunteered to swim with Manta ( no need to say that it cannot be me ). Kayleigh from Netherland jumped into the water gracefully although she was aware the water was cold under the drizzles. I went to the front of the boat to see manta from afar while Izay jumped in with her to take picture of her with Manta.

Manta swam very fast to get away and it was fascinating to see as Kayleigh and Izay are very good swimmers.

20191006_134340.jpg
Kayleigh chasing Manta

20191006_134252.jpg
can you spot Manta?

I did my usual cheating part. Taking selfie with Manta which probably is 10 miles away from me. 😅

20191006_134418.jpgThe sky was very dark on the way as if storms were coming.

The water was turbulent and my boyfriend complained his bums were sore due to bumpy boat ride. But the boatman and tourguide were so chill that it reassured me in a way.

 

I also saw a lot of flying fish and even thought they were waterbirds forawhile.

Finally we safely arrived back to Maafushi and said good bye to each other. I was very glad that I met new friends during this trip.

 

20191006_141817.jpg

water challets under construction.

 

On the way back , my boyfriend advised me 100th time to reduce weight and to go to gym so that next time, I will be able to chase manta. Haha. I might need to write another blog about our failing diet plan. Right now, I need to go and have my buffet.

Thanks for reading.

Hnin

Edit. One of my friends told me we should wear wet suit to protect wild life from catching our diseases and we should not wear sun cream before jumping in. I did not find suitable wet suit for me. But I will avoid wearing sun cream next time

Maldives part 2

We decided to do some activities and Arena beach hotel gave us some options of day tours. There are many varieties and we can go to other resort islands where we can drink alcohol unlimited and use swimming pool. We decided not to go other resort islands as we both do not drink alcohol and tours are expensive ( 120 to 160 USD per each from 8 am to 5 pm ).  We chose day tour from 10 am to 3 pm as it is not so tiring and not related to alcohol.

First of all, today morning was an excellent weather.

20191005_101636.jpg
morning view in Maafushi

 

20191005_101721.jpg

excellent weather

 

20191005_101706.jpg

morning view of Maafushi

After breakfast we gathered at the office of Arena resort and collected our life jackets and snorkelling gears . Then we went to the boat to start our journey.

20191005_101917.jpg
harbour of Maafushi

October is already rainy season but we are extremely lucky that we almost got away without rain. There was a short rain only at the end of trip.

We paid 25 USD for each to see turtles , dolphins , snorkelling and lunch at uninhabitated sandy beach. It was really a good deal and the boatmen are skillful and attentive to the tourists.

20191005_102400.jpg
our tour guide giving briefing at the start of journey

20191005_103609.jpg
very happy Hnin

20191005_103533.jpg
island on the way

20191005_114131.jpg
a shed on the isolated island, a dream place to live

Then the boat stopped at the coral rich place to snorkel and see fish. A considerate mother brought bread pieces for the fish and we had a chance to see many fish from boat upclose.

20191005_105101.jpg

20191005_105214.jpgThen we got off from boat one by one to snorkel. We were advised not to snorkel at shallow water to avoid injuries due to friction with coral. If you look at photos, turquoise water area are shallow and dark blue means deep water. I would recommend wearing water resistant shoes to protect your feet and wear wet suit to protect your body.

20191005_112229.jpg
our group snorkelling

20191005_112304.jpgwe found so many colorful fish, blue and yellow, yellow striped with black, purple and pink. I am always awed at mother nature. One thing I notice in Maldives is I hardly see plastic and rubbish floating in the river , unlike other countries in Maldives. The reason is government charge each tourist environmental fee 3 USD per day so that there is budget to clean actively. We saw a ship which was collecting rubbish from sea and all the rubbish go to India for disposal. I hope Maldives keep on doing this and as a tourist, I make sure I do not leave any rubbish behind at any public places.

FB_IMG_1570416624652

FB_IMG_1570416631131

FB_IMG_1570416644400

FB_IMG_1570416675867

 

After we finished snorkelling for 45 minutes, we headed to another area to see dolphins. In fact one of our tourguides found dolphin with a speed boat and informed our boat man.

I have seen some dolphins in Spain. But this time , there were so many of them at least 30. It was fasinating to see them.

20191005_115549.jpg
dophin sighting

20191005_115733.jpg
dolphin sighting

After dolphin sighting, the boat stopped at the area where turtles live. We got off the boat and found turtles . They are very lovely creatures and leisurely eating some coral under water. Two of them were quite big. I was curiously looking down to find turtles while a small one was swimming beside me. He even touched my arm with his flippers. I went nuts and I was laughing and screaming out of pure ecstasy. I was advised not to touch any turtle but as it was him who touched me accidentally and I was so happy .

FB_IMG_1570416654808

FB_IMG_1570416714718

The current was strong and I could not swim back to the boat as we needed to go further to see turtle. One of our tour guides had to drag me back to the boat.

At the end of the trip, we had a lunch in the boat as it was raining and unable to have lunch on the sand beach as planned. Then  a small boat sent us to a uninhabited island fron our large boat. At the sight of island, we all smiled as it was perfectly beautiful.

20191005_131527.jpg
our final destination

20191005_140242.jpg
perfect sandy beach

20191005_141629.jpg

20191005_141611.jpg

For me I think uninhabited islands are required for the turtles to lay eggs. We humans encroach into their lands selfishly for centuries. We also notice crabs running around . My boy friend was totally fascinated with behaviour of crabs. He kept on reminding me not to scare them off. In the end he got multiple videos of crabs.

20191005_140914.jpgsome of crabs are very big and you can imagine their size based on the size of holes they created on the sand in below photos.

20191005_141155.jpg

We walked around the island and walking finished in 5 minutes time.

20191005_140559.jpg

20191005_140711.jpg

20191005_140342.jpg

20191005_140721.jpg

After walking around the island,  I sat on the sand in shallow water and tried to absorb everything around me. My heart was filled with gratitude as usual  ..In fact , leaving that tiny island was difficult.

As soon as we got on the big boat, all of us were very tired . Small kids fell asleep on the boat on the way back. It was a bit tiring under the sun for 5 hours with swimming in the ocean. It was totally worthit.

20191005_150551.jpg

20191005_150556.jpg
water challets on the way back

Thank you for reading.

Hninn

How to travel to Maldives with a budget

First of all, everybody knows Maldives is a luxurious destination and peole spend 800 to 1500 USD per night to stay at a private island resort in the middle of Indian Ocean. But if you have read my previous posts, you must have noticed I am a budget traveller. The reasons are

1) I do not earn a lot to behave like a celebrity

2) I do not believe in extravagant life style and trying to be a minimalist.

First of all, you need to know which flight directly goes to Maldives. For us, we booked air asia 6 weeks earlier which fly directly from Bangkok ( Dan Meong airport ) to Maldives ( Male ) .It cost us 300 GBP for each return ticket including luggage fee and inflight meals. Like I said earlier, its difficult to get cheaper as a lot of people cannot go to Maldives.

 

Secondly, I combed through each and every website for cheap and clean accomodation in Maldives. Maldives have total 26 atolls which are combination of 1192 coral islands  and the largest named , Gang island is merely 14 km long . Some of islands are very far from main airport and needs private jets. So if you want to travel with a buget , please do not choose islands which are middle of nowhere and choose the ones which are accessible with public transport.More than that you might not want to be in a boat for many hours to reach your destination island. The islands which are quite near to Male ( capital of Maldives ) can be found below map.

 

20191004_114334

For us, we choose Arena beach resort at Maafushi island. Maafushi island is 1.5 hour boat ride from Male.The island is only 1.27 km long and can finish walking in 20 to 30 minutes from end to end. Its the second destination if you catch public ferry from Male. To make it clear, I will use the description made by the hotel.

FB_IMG_1570170616617

If you want public transport ( I assume you do as you are reading my article ), you need to know time tables of ferry from Male to your destination. Usually public ferry have vacancy although you need to book 1 hour earlier. Its not possible to book public ferry via internet. If only cost 2 USD per person . Please see below time table.

20191004_010220

Please take note that there are two ferry boats departing from Male’ on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. If 10:00 ferryboat is missed in any of these days, 15:00 ferryboat can still be taken. On other days, only 15:00 ferryboat is available from Male’. There are also two ferryboats departing from Maafushi on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Guests can choose either 7:30 or 12:30 ferryboat in any of these days. On other days, only 7:30 ferryboat is available from Maafushi.
Step-By-Step instructions to reach Arena Beach Hotel & spa Maldives by Ferry Boat

1. All the tourist to Maldives will be arriving to Male’ international airport (Ibrahim Nasir International Airport), so you are too.

2. Catch a ferry to Male’ from the Airport (every 5 minutes there will be a ferry to Male’). It takes just Ten minutes to reach Male’ and will cost USD 1 or MVR 10 per person.

3. Once you arrive to Male’ take a taxi to go “Villingili ferry terminal”. The taxi fare should be about MVR 30 to MVR 40.

4. There will be a scheduled ferry to Maafushi which leaves Male’ at scheduled times (please refer to the above table) on daily basis (except for Friday) from Villingili Ferry Terminal. Guests are required to buy ferryboat ticket from the ticket counter at Villingili Ferry Terminal. Tickets could be bought few minutes before the scheduled time of departure.

5. Guests will enjoy a 1.5 hours Journey with a beautiful scenery of chains of islands and surrounding coral reefs.

Bear in mind, above instruction is intended for people who stay in Maafushi island but your destination might be different. Other instructions are very accurate and helpful. Airport to Male transfer is very efficient and fast. Once you arrive Male, you can go to ferry terminal by getting a taxi. Taxi anywhere cannot be expensive as the islands are very small..Make sure you change USD to MVR at airport to pay for public transport. At our time, we got the rate of 1 USD to 15MVR. Most places accept USD too.

From Male, it took 1 hour for us to get a taxi as they could not understand me. So you might need to show written words Villingilli ferry terminal to them as the taxi drivers can be confused. Eventually the staff from information counter came out and helped us to get a taxi. The taxi driver only charged us usual rate 35MVR and I gave him 50MVR as I like his honesty.

If you like franchise food , Burger King and secrete recipe is at Male. European food is available anywhere although original Maldavian food is similar taste to Indian food. They like dahl and  chick peas with some masala for meat.

After we arrive at Villingilli ferry terminal, we got tickets and needed to wait 2 hours for our ferries as our flight arrived at 12 noon and our ferry was at 3 pm.  It was Wednesday and there were plenty of vacant seats although Wednesday has only 1 ferry for whole day . There are shops nearby Ferry terminal although their hygiene is questionable. Irritating thing is flies are everywhere due to hot weather. We decided to take only bottled water or drinks .

You might be sort of person who like luxury. But I want to urge every traveller to take public transport for environmental reason. We should do our part while younger generations are trying their best to reduce consumption of energy and resources.More than that, these public ferries are safer. Staff are very considerate and willing to help with big luggages. They do not even expect tips.

20191002_151121.jpg
me very happy on public ferry

20191002_152840.jpg
Maldivian commute with lots of good

20191002_162537.jpg

20191002_153055.jpg
scenic view from ferry

20191002_162532.jpg

When we arrived at Maafushi  , we do not need to take further transport as everywhere is reachable on foot. We are lucky that Arena beach resort staff was there waiting for us to help with luggages. Bless them.

If I have not told you, we booked Arena beach resort with sea view and balcony 2 months ago. As we include two meals per day , the price was 100GBP per day with tax and environmental fee , I gave 760 GBP for 7 nights. Ofcos you can say its not cheap but compared to what other people spend 13000GBP for 7 nights, our budget is an achievable goal.

20191002_171250.jpg
our room with sea view and balcony

I will always suggest to take hotel with meal plans as restaurants are not cheap in Maldives. Even water bottles are expensive 1USD for 500 ml water bottle. As Maldive is islamic country , alcohol and bikinis are prohibited in most of public islands like Maafushi. But mind you , we also have bikini beach in Maafushi and you just need to know where you can wear your bikini. There is a floating bar which usually come to island to sell alcohol. But they can ne expensive and one can of beer is 6 USD.

20191003_085830.jpg
bikini beach

 

20191003_171708.jpg

20191003_084008.jpg
our buffet at beach

Maldives is beautiful everywhere and even if you stay at public beaches, you cam see shark and some beautiful fish. Its sad to see corals are damaged extensively due to building . some of my travel buddies saw sharks near our resort and I hope I can spot them soon. Today is my day two in Maldives.

20191002_171322.jpg

20191003_092015.jpg

 

However if you want to go drop dead gorgeous islands, resort can arrange for you to be there whole day with 150 to 180 USD per day. You can also see dolphins, sharks and turtle day trip with 50USD per person. All these arrangement of watersports such as jet ski, para gliding and canoeing can be arranged everywhere.

Here are some of our photos in day two and I will write part 2 later.

20191003_091209.jpg
fishing is one of the main income of Maldiviand

 

20191003_090805.jpg
lots of resorts in MaaFushi

 

water sports are available anywhere

 

20191003_090436.jpg
for foodies

 

souvenirs shops are many where you need to haggle

 

FB_IMG_1570173322401

 

FB_IMG_1570173332689.jpg

I really like our meal arrangement at beach with live band. It is totally worth it .

FB_IMG_1570170579719.jpg

 

Love

Hnin

Maughold well, Isle of Man

I went to the Maughold well in Isle of Man which is regarded as a famous destination for pilgrims in British isles. I have been in Isle of Man for almost 2 years but did not realize there are some religious sites and a holy well in Maughold. Maughold  is situated in Northern part of island where there are beautiful scenic beaches surrounded by mountains. It is 3 miles away from Ramsey ( one of major towns in Isle of Man )

maughold-closer-copy-1024x731

photo credit to the author of https://www.isleofmanfilm.com/location/maughold/

 

I went to Maughold with a couch surfer named Alexy. Alexy has been travelling all over the world and as he was coming to Isle of Man for a few days, I decided to give him a tour around the island.  I was searching website of isle of man called Visitisleofman and found out a short video regarding a holy well.

Please click this link to watch the video.

https://www.visitisleofman.com/things-to-do/kirk-maughold-church-p1312271

In 5th century, an Irish prince called Maughold arrived isle of man. He was mentioned as a leader  who recruited a group of men to do unlawful things . He challenged St Patrick to cure a dead person. Later St Patrick made a dead person to become a live and also baptized Maughold and his crew. Later Maughold was accepted by isle of man people to become the bishop of the island for his effort in religious transformation.

Maughold well was formed by carving of streams of water collected from mountains to drain into the  Irish sea. It is a bowl shaped hollow protected by slabs of stones around. It is not man made well although some amendments were done around to protect the original well  . There are legends that some people cure their illness by drinking water from well or applying holy  water on their body . A woman eye sight was restored by drinking Maughold water and another woman grew her hair back by applying the water on her scalp.

To go to Maughold well, you need to arrive St Maughold church which is 30 minutes drive from Douglas ( capital of Isle of Man ) . You need to take coastal road to Ramsey and on the way, turn to right side to drive towards Maugold village.

67743126_10157048430860266_3483496112331948032_n_10157048430855266

Once you arrive Maughold church which is dated back to 11th century, park the car outside.

68255118_10157048430900266_7758750088263892992_n_10157048430895266
the church has some collections of 5th century celtic heritage if you can go inside and see

 

Maughold-Barrule.jpg

Note: this photo is not mine as well and it was obviously taken by a photographer called Peter Killey. ( thanks to Peter in case if you read this post )

The trail to Maughold is on the north eastern part of the church. You just need to follow the trail or foot path. At one point you need to climb down steep .  You don’t need to worry as the trail is covered by a thick grass and even if you fall, you will not get injured badly.

68403412_10157048431070266_2571278619535998976_n_10157048431060266

 

68905991_10157048431025266_3220285389558251520_n_10157048431020266
you go straight ahead and then we turn to the left to go to the well. You need to pass through a small gate.

The pathway is surrounded by beautiful and blue bells and some wildflowers. And the view is not bad at all.

68240463_10157048431305266_4634982655480299520_n_10157048431300266

67613329_10157048430970266_6077934307924508672_n_10157048430965266
It was a hazy , rainy day and I could not capture the good photo.

 

 

The well is just immediately above the sea . You do not need physical fitness to arrive there. One the way back will be a bit tiring to climb back. Overall it is less than 15 minutes walk from the church. Even if not for the holy well, the view is worth it. You  just need to be careful and do not walk very close to the cliff as it is nearly 20 feet from the rocky ground .

68281343_10157048431210266_4538322217460563968_n_10157048431205266.jpg
beginning of steep decent

 

67726147_10157048431460266_3282902009824411648_o_10157048431455266.jpg
The well is immediately just above the sea

 

67401758_10157048431525266_7299391322933166080_n_10157048431520266.jpg
The well or cistern covered by stone slabs

 

Normally I am not very good with navigation. But I am glad that I went there with a traveler who likes exploring. The world is an open book and you need to turn the chapter everyday to find out more. As usual,  I picked up energy whenever I can be with nature. I said a little bit of prayers at Maughold well and I felt like I am healed both physically and spiritually to some extent. I want to encourage anybody out there not to lose faith, especially on yourself.

  • Hninn20190806_160504

 

 

 

 

 

Discovering new beach near Niarbyl

It has been almost a year I published in my blog. I have not been busy but simply just been lazy. I am also too content and happy with my life right now.

I travelled a few countries when I was away from blogging. I hope I can write all about them later. Right now, I live in an island called Isle of Man..Its a tiny island between uk and Ireland in Irish sea. Mountains and beaches are everywhere. I have been almost every beaches which are well known. But I always prefer going to the places which are off the beaten track.

Yesterday I went to Northern part of island and a friend told me her favorite beach is a pebble beach near Nirabyl. So I requested her to show me the place. We drove to Nirabyl and parked the car near Nirabyl cafe. I asked my boy friend to drive down to the beach instead of parking the car at the restaurant. He said ” no. it will spoil the road”..My boyfriend Steve will never declare himself as conservationist , but he loves nature and tries to keep things the way as they are.

We needed to walk up and down on the hills to arrive the hidden beach..It was windy and a bit cool but tolerable. I always love to see wild flowers on the track.

Some lanes are very narrow and you have to be a bit careful . When we reached the beach, I laid down the picnic mat and thought of sitting down. But we did not have the chance to sit down as the clouds came up on the sky and my boy friend warned us to go back ahead of rain.

There was a small waterfall and a tiny house in the middle of nowhere. It was picture perfect. I wonder whether I could live like that one day , in a tiny house near a beach, but a bit closer to civilizatioon. I would be scared if I had power cut off in that kind of situation if the storm comes.

  1. I love discovering new places and believe life has so much to offer us.  Here are our photos

love

Hnin