Six months in Asia travel blog

Sunset on Lake Tempe

Sunset on Lake Tempe

Sunset on Lake Tempe

The Dark Cave

Entrance to Batu Caves




Late afternoon on a lake in Sulawesi, the temperature is cooling slightly, fishermen are drying their catch, water birds swoop up and down and the muezzin's call to prayer rings out as the sun slips below the horizon. It was one of those unexpected magical moments, which, even after five months on the road, reminds you why you are travelling.

I had decided to break the journey from Rantepao back to Makassar by stopping a night in Sengkang. There's not much there except scenic Lake Tempe. I hired a boat to take me on a trip across to a settlement of floating fishermen's houses made entirely of bamboo. On the way back I witnessed one of the most spectacular sunsets I've ever experienced. Over the course of about thirty minutes the sky went through every shade from Seville orange to lava red.

The next day I continued to Makassar from where I flew the following day to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. After several weeks in Indonesia in places in the hills with more temperate climates, it's been a bit of a shock to be back at sea level with heat and humidity. KL is steamy, sweaty and noisy, but the food more than compensates. I had one of the spiciest soups I've ever eaten, an Assam Laksa, and some of the biggest, most succulent prawns I've ever tasted.

I visited the Batu Caves, on the outskirts of the city. I took a 45 minute tour of the Dark Cave. We were given a helmet and torch, but at certain points we were told to switch off the lights, so we could experience total blackness. It was amazing, although we had also been told there were snakes! There's a strange eco system of creatures which survive on bat guano, including many, many cockroaches.

I had a pleasant Sunday afternoon at the Bird Park, a very well designed aviary where you can walk into huge netted areas and mingle with the birds. Today I'm relaxing and preparing for the final leg of my trip, 4 weeks in the Malaysian part of Borneo.

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