One of the buildings that I got a chance to see while backpacking in Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon), the capital city of Vietnam was Saigon Opera House or Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh. The location of the opera house is not far from the backpacking street area of the city which is Pham Ngu Lao. As per description of the opera house, its design is french colonial architecture existing in Vietnam which built last 1897. Photo captured during the backpacking of the mountaineering group I am member last March 2011.
My second day was mixed of Kata Tjuta, a bit of Uluru and Mount Conner. So far I was floating in satisfaction and fantastic scenery and experiences. At first, I thought that the group’s next destination was just nearby until we spent more than two hours in the road. It was like the same feeling during my Day 1 trip, I felt the time passed was too long but in reality it was not. Before arriving to Kings Creek Station we passed a beautiful scenery of George Gill Ranges located at our right side while we were on our way to Wattarka National Park from Lasseter Highway. I really enjoyed the scenic views for some time since it is a long mountain range. At that very moment while enjoying the scenery, I felt that part of the world like heaven in a sense that it was a peaceful moment of my life.
At Kings Creek Station
Our Tour Bus
Camels found at Kings Creek Station
We reached our destination, the Kings Creek Station and Kings Canyon was just around the corner. I remembered, our tour guide mentioned that our second and last night accommodation was an upgrade from the first one. He told us that from swag, we were upgraded to tent, a tent with bed. With that thought in mind, I expected that the tent is not the same tent I used in my hiking adventure, because a bed will not fit on it. We got off the bus and noticed that we stopped in a gas station, we walked around the area and familiarize ourselves in the place.
The good thing about the place, it has store that you can buy basic things needed in the outback and even gifts or souvenirs. Then we passed the shower rooms and bathrooms. We walked to the area and found the version of the tent that I was thinking. Then, I realized that the tent that our tour guide was referring to, was called safari cabin. Two single bed are fit in a cabin. Therefore we have to find our partners for each cabin and I found mine but apologies as I can’t recall her name right now.
After we took our stuff from the bus, we arranged ourselves at the cabin and made ourselves comfortable. I arranged my bed and my stuff, then, I went out to help the group for our dinner. That night, all of us in the group were helping out. Another thing that I noticed was that our tour guide knows a lot about food. Even we have members in the group that are vegetarians, breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner were not been an issue to him. I learned something about food wrapping. Learned that having stuff to fill in the wrap, you are ready to fill in yourself without really cooking. Another thing that I discovered was cooking using charred wood. There was a bonfire area just near from our cabin which also used for cooking. I was familiar with cookware, pans or pots used for cooking but the new stuff for me was pots where it’s lid has a portion on its top area where you can place burned wood wherein the heat was not only coming from the bottom of the pot but also on its top to make cooking easier and faster. It was an amazing stuff that I discovered and a very important cooking pots or basins when you wanted try to live in the outback.
That night, we prepared a lot of food. Maybe because it was our second and last night together in the outback. I snapped the idea because it made my feelings gloomy. We still have the next day for the last adventure. We cleaned-up the kitchen and the dishes we used in preparing and cooking our food.
Maybe because it was our last night together, most of our group did not sleep immediately after the dinner. We sat around the bonfire we used in cooking for our dinner and we started talking together. At that moment in my life in front of bonfire at the outback together with the people I had been with for the past two days feel like a familiar feeling, though we’re all still strangers personally but I felt it was like home. I knew that it may not or may take longer that moment to happen again, and every bit of it, I treasured the moment in my heart and my mind. We spent hours in front of bonfire and then, one by one were saying good nights. I was one of the last person to stand away from bonfire and went to the cabin.
I felt relaxed when I returned to the cabin and in a matter of minutes I was dreaming. I walked up early in the morning, had our breakfast, cleanup the dishes and ready for the last day adventure. For our third and last adventure, I was still excited because we were scheduled to walk and trek around Kings Canyon. One of the canyon I saw was a long time ago and that time I was inside the rocky mountaineer train which was Cheakamus Canyon in Canada. I felt excited and inspired to see and experience Kings Canyon.
All of us jumped into the bus and drove towards the canyon. From Kings Creek Station we reached the parking area. Our main activity was to walk within the canyon. We followed the Canyon Rim Walk track with estimated of 3 to 4 hours of walk and trek. Our tour guide gave us a warning that the initial part of the trail is called a “heart attack” hill because we have to climb a steep and rugged steps (stairs) which he mentioned as 45 degrees. This means the climbed in that stairs will be a bit of exhausting.
Scenery enjoyed while resting after the heart attack trail
We walked a bit until we reached the uneven stairs. I saw the trail and I saw that it was a bit of steep climb. I knew it was a quite challenging climb because even though there’s a rugged steps, for me it’s more challenging to climb a stair than climbing with your own steps. When I did the climbed, I remembered that I was catching my breath. I looked-up and checked if the last step of the stair was almost near. I rejoiced when I saw that I was almost at the top of the stairs. The warning given by our guide was right, it was a heart attack climbed. It was not that really difficult like my other climbs that I had, it’s just that everyone were pushed to follow the steps of the stairs. So there’s a bit of time than I rested to recover my breathing. When we reached the top, we stopped a bit so everyone in the group will be gathered again. What I saw at the top excites me because I knew that we were exploring a canyon in the red center of Australia.
Our tour guide explaining something about sand dunes and rocks
When everyone were at the top area after the heart attack trail, our tour guide started to tell something about the canyon and its sand dunes. He mentioned that there were other trails available in the canyon and we were taking the trail that will finished just after lunch time. Next, we enjoyed the walk within the canyon wherein I just realized we were actually walking in the weathered sandstone domes that looks like the Lost City when we were at the other side of the canyon.
Snapshots while walking in between of weathered sandstone domes which called Lost City of the canyon and while resting a bit not that far from the heart attack trail
We walked, ascended, then we repeated the process until we reached the famous lookout within the Canyon – Cotterrils Lookout. The said lookout gave us a chance to see 365 degrees of the canyon. We had a wide view of the Kings Creek and the overall scenery of weathered sandstone domes. In the said lookout we spent time here for photos and funny posts that our guide suggested us to do as our memories of the canyon.
Around or near Cotterrils Lookout
While at Cotterrils Lookout
Lost City like scenery from Cotterrils Lookout
Our walk in the canyon allowed us to discover the area of the canyon where there was a spot that was similar to Bungle Bungle (included in my list to see in Western Australia – I hope I will got a chance to tour around that state).
The Little Bungle Bungle within the Kings Canyon
After enjoying the scenery of the sandstone domes, our trek within the canyon continued. We reached the wooden stairs and we descended and followed the track. Next we crossed the bridge. Then, we reached a gorge between cliff. While following the track after the stairs we saw what they called Garden of Eden because it serves as oasis where there are natural spring waterholes and has different plants around the area.
The Wooden Stairs and Bridges
Garden of Eden
Before we climbed up at the other side cliff we rested at the Garden of Eden near the oasis. Aside from us, other visitors stopped there too and there were few young male teenagers who jumped off in the oasis and enjoyed their swimming. While we’re resting our tour guide gave us some snacks that the whole group shared.
After resting we returned in our track and we climbed up the wooden stairs. When we reached the other side of the canyon, it gave us a chance to see the canyon in a different outlook or perspective. The part of the canyon that we just walked by and passed by, we were able to see it from the other end what it looks like. The rock domes are more notable compared to when we were walking along with it.
While climbing at the other side of the cliff
In between Rock Domes
At the top we saw the oasis in a different angle even and the same with Kings Creek. Our walk continued. After sometime, we saw the part of the canyon that showcase another view of weathered sandstone. That weathered sandstone from a far looks similar to Old Aztec City that is why it is being called as Lost City.
The other side of the wall of the Kings Creek in Kings Canyon
Lost City in Kings Canyon
At the top, we spent more time for photos, selfies, groupies with the wonderful scenery that surrounds us. And then, our tour guide announced that we will start descending the canyon. We started our walk and followed our guide. With that moment, I know that once we reached the ground, that’s the last moment that I will have with the canyon. Probably with other people it’s just another canyon to see and visit, but for me the outback as a whole was another world for me that I may not be seeing again, but the place gave me a lot of memories because I was given a chance to discover and explore them in a short period of time. I somehow thinking that if I am not an IT (Information Technology) by profession I maybe a geologist. It may be an interesting profession.
When we touched the ground, we had our pack lunch and we headed straight back to Alice Springs where we started our 3 days adventure in the outback. I spent another night in Alice Springs and returned to Melbourne the next day.
Below are some photos that I still have after reaching Alice Springs and on my way back to Melbourne.
Back to Alice Srings
Alice Springs Airport
This is the 3rd or last part of my travel post and the continuation of my adventure of the Red Center in Australia. It takes a while for me to finish the post as I am overwhelmed with so many places that I traveled to and half of the post was done last year and now I got a chance to finish it up as I also tried to remember everything not only from photos and but also from all the experiences that are still in my memory.
In The Middle Of Somewhere (Post#4) : Khao San (Khaosan) Road
The photos were showcasing the typical scenario in a public market. These photos were shot while being lost in Khao San (Khaosan) Road in Bangkok Thailand during the backpacking adventure that we had last March 2011. The said road is famous to all backpackers that visited Bangkok which is a capital and most populous city of Thailand. The road is the center of cheap markets were surrounded as well by affordable accommodations that suits all types of backpackers. We had fun time walking around the road.
Pandin Lake is one of the Twin Lake (other lake is Yambo Lake) that can be found in San Pablo City in Laguna province in my country Philippines. This lake is also included in what currently they call Seven Lakes of Laguna (or Seven Lakes of San Pablo). The said lake is one of the volcanic crater wherein according to Wikipedia that it means circular depression in the ground caused by volcanic activity. It is typically a basin, circular in form within which occurs a vent (or vents) from which magma erupts as gases, lava, and ejecta.
This photo is part of my photo collection of Lakes in Laguna and which captured last Sept 2011 during the unplanned trip with few of my fellow mountaineering group.
Moments with people I had been with my travel which captured by camera were considered the luckiest moment to remember. I may not know them personally but having a chance to be with them even in just few days made the tour or trip even better. The camping tour I joined in Red Centre was one of the great experienced I had in Australia. And the moment we finished the adventure made me somehow sad because I was going to missed the experienced and the people who had been part of it for a while. The snapshot above captured last April 2013 after we reached the top of Kings Canyon Rim Walk.
Experiencing backpacking usually comes with the exotic food tasting, if not really eating or dining at least trying to taste it is already important as experiencing it. We found the exotic food displayed in the photo (which composed of spiders, cockroaches, frogs and worms, I was only able to tried small frogs tasted like chicken) was captured during backpacking adventure last March 2011 while walking around in Phnom Penh Cambodia.
Precious Moment In The Mountain (Post#22) : Kata Tjuta (Mount Olga)
Kata Tjuta is a group of large dome rock formations which located near In Uluru and Alice Springs. It was mentioned that there are 36 domes. This site like Ayers Rock is a sacred to Aboriginal people in Australia. The photo above is one of the valley in between dome rock formation we saw after we did a short trek on one of top area inside Kata Tjuta. As per Wikipedia, Mount Olga is the highest point and name came from Queen Olga of Wurttemberg (grand-daughter of Russia, wife of King Charles I). Photo above captured last March 2013.
Natural Wonders (Post#2) : Kings Canyon – Lost City
Outback experience was one of the unforgettable experiences that I had while in Australia, because while lost in the desert, it’s totally new world out there to discover and learned something. The photo above is the one they used to call “Lost City” within Kings Canyon (Northern Territory). This canyon is still part of Wattarka National Park in Red Centre area of Australia. Photo snapshot last April 2013 after climbing the canyon and the view was really wonderful.
As part of our backpacking adventure was to walk around Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). And while walking we never expected to see the building of City Hall of Ho Chi Minh. The statue at the front is Ho Chi Minh itself who was a Vietnamese Communist revolutionary leader who become a prime minister and president in Vietnam. We were not able to come inside this beautiful city hall as it was not open for public nor for tourist. Photo captured last March 2011.
Life In The Metro (Post#1) : Somewhere In Phra Nakhon
The photo above is around about where five roads meet. The five roads are: Rambuttri Alley/Rd, Thanon Tanao, Sip Sam Hang Rd, Bowon Niwet Rd and Tani Rd where all located in Phra Nakhon, central district in Bangkok. This was the nearby area where we found our accommodation for the night in Bangkok Thailand during our Backpacking Adventure last March 2011. It is near in Khaosan Road, a street famous to travellers and where most of the backpackers found their niche to start their adventure in one of the popular city in South East Asia.