Miyajima island was a place I had been particularly looking forward to visiting and it did not disappoint. In the daytime the island's shrines, walking trails and restaurants are bustling with day trippers, but by night there was hardly a soul around as I walked along the beaches and through the old town. My hike to the peak of Mt Misen was rewarded with stunning views of the inland sea and Hiroshima City on a clear sunny day, and the steaming onsen baths back at my traditional ryokan were very welcome afterwards.
Having developed a healthy passion for travel on family trips, with highlights including a white-water rafting expedition through the Grand Canyon and snorkelling with sharks in Fiji, I set out for a nine month long trip around Southeast Asia and Australasia. Living in Bangkok for three months while teaching English inspired my love for the region (and especially the cuisine), which was then reinforced by subsequent travels through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Following a degree in geography at the University of Nottingham, I left England again for the French Alps and Sardinia to work in hotels, before following my desire to specialise in tailor-made travel. Having worked with Audley in Southeast Asia for five years, I discovered Japan for the first time as an Audley client would, on an extended research trip to cover many of the highlights of this fascinatingly unique destination.
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Having visited this property as both an Audley specialist and separately with family, I can safely say that Qunci Villas is my favourite beach property on Lombok. Contemporary private pool villas and comfortable rooms are set in pristine gardens on Mangsit beach, just north of Senggigi on the northeast coast. Guests can enjoy the three excellent restaurants, day trips to the Gili Islands to snorkel or dive with turtles, and lounge around any of the three stunning beachfront pools. The atmosphere is relaxed, the service first class, and I personally recommend the sunset cocktail hour as a perfect end to each day on this beautiful island.
I'll never forget when…
Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, was a new destination for me and a true highlight of my recent Audley trip. Exploring the rivers of the Tanjung Puting National Park by private Klotok boat was incredibly peaceful and offered the chance to see of a huge variety of wildlife, including Proboscis monkeys, hornbills and crocodiles. Close encounters with a number of wild orangutans were unforgettable, as was the feeling of real adventure that can be increasingly hard to find.