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Indonesian Surf Travel - Mentawai Islands Boat Trip

mentawai island surfingIn April of 2006 I set off on a 16 day trip with a couple of friends to the Mentawai Islands off the west coast of Sumatra. Leading up to the trip I did a lot of research on how to prepare for the unknown. The trip was virtually charter boat based with only a couple days on land at the beginning and end of the trip. Granted, on-board accommodations were plush by local standards. Still, I wanted to be prepared.

Some important things to pack are light cotton long sleeve shirts and pants, a couple wide brim hats (the sun is intense along the equator). Plenty of waterproof sunblock; 50 spf would be recommended. Take along reef booties, the low cut, split toe kind work great. Powdered vitamin packets that dissolve in water, energy bars and sea sick aids would be a good idea if you are prone to motion sickness.

Mosquito repellant with Deet! This is a must, especially if you will be on land in the evenings. The mosqitoes are relentless at dusk and dawn. The main concern is in populated areas where mosquitoes can easily feed from one person to another possibly spreading malaria along the way. While on the boat you still need to be vigilant, wear your long clothes and lather up with repellant, but you can relax a bit. Make sure you have some lights on to keep an eye out for mosquitoes. The main ones to watch out for have the 'tiger stripes" on the wings. At dusk you will notice campfire smoke wafting up through the trees along from the island villages. The locals do this to keep the "mozzies" at bay. Do some research on anti-malarial drugs and consult your doctor.

Bring along a first aid kit. If you travel with someone who works in the healthcare industry have them bring sutures, anesthetic, etc... If not get ahold of some if you can, there is bound to be someone on the boat who is experienced in stitching. Take butterfly bandages to help close up any cuts from the reef while out of the water. Speaking of the water (from the hotel or restaurant plumbing). Don't drink it. Go bottled.

For the start of your trip you may want to consider a sleep aid depending how far you are traveling. I flew out of San Diego stopping in Japan, Singapore and Central Sumatra before landing in Padang. It was just about 24 hours worth of flying over about a couple day period. The flight was long and almost unbareable toward the end. Consider taking along something such as Ambien or go natural with Melatonin. Remember not to drink alcohol while taking a sleep aid. Consult with your doctor.

So to recap on first aid supplies and other suggestions keep the following on your list:Quality Cloth Medical Tape, Bandages & Latex Band Aids, Second Skin, Sleeping Pills, Betadine, Hydrogen Peroxide, Lomotil or other Anti-Diarrhea, Anti-Biotic Ointment, Anti-Fungal Powder, Aspirin, Sun Block & Lip Block and Sunburn Lotion.When traveling to this region of the world along the equator, it is very important to research and prepare for the climate and local customs. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world and their religious customs run deep. You will most likely not run into fanitical Muslims who harbor great resentment for Westerners. You may want to avoid areas in Jakarta, Timor though. The Indonesian people are largely warm and welcoming; the epitome of happiness and a great many of them are dirt poor! We could learn alot from them. When in public it is considered respectful to wear long pants as exposing alot of skin, even for men, is considered somewhat inappropriate. If you are a surfer and want to wear shorts in the high, heat high humidity. Go ahead, they will usually understand however; do not enter into any religous site or otheriwise religously significant location in your baggies.

I hope this has been of value, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.Greg

Greg Campbell is a San Diego based entrepreneur, independent agent for United First Financial, surfer, husband and father of 2. Greg has been in the real estate and mortgage industry for many years. With the emerging real estate mortgage debt America is accumulating, Greg has shifted his focus on helping people overcome their financial bondage. For more info or to contact Greg, visit:

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Naxos Island Best Travel Tip For Greek Island Beach Vacations

naxos island Naxos island is the largest island in the Cyclades the group of islands in the center of the Aegean. The Naxos island island is eighteen miles in length and 12 miles wide and is oval in shape.

It is also the most fertile, and this makes it one of the most beautiful. But it is the miles of unbroken golden sandy beaches that attracts the majority of the thousands of summer tourists that flock to Naxos island every year.

For the holidaymakers who can drag themselves away from the glorious beaches, Naxos island provides a wealth of ancient Greek remains as well as plenty of Byzantine and Venetian history. The Naxos island's capital, also called Naxos, has a Venetian fortress as well as an ancient Greek temple to Apollo.

This temple is usually the first thing that a tourist sees when visiting Naxos island by ferry because it stands proudly on the tip of the Naxos island, marking the way into the busy ferry port. The temple dates back to 522 BC but its ruinous appearance is not because much of it has been lost to the passage of time, but rather because the ancients never finished building it.

Naxos island town is very picturesque port with a maze of whitewashed streets and alleyways, designed with the frequent invasions from Aegean pirates in mind. Its typically Cycladic architecture blends with the Venetian and every turning invites the visitor to explore.

With such romantic charm and mystique, it is little wonder that Naxos island has long been popular with writers and artists. Lord Byron visited in his youth and never forgot the experience, referring to it in his writings as the 'Dream Island' and often saying that he would love to return some day.

Naxos island has 41 villages and most are worth exploring. They are found in the green fertile, valleys that are sandwiched between the rugged, arid mountains. Many of these are over 2000 feet high and the highest, Mount Zeus is 3,200 feet.

Naxos island enjoys the economic rewards of being a tourist island but it does not depend on them for its prosperity. A great deal of farming takes place in its rich valleys and the cultivation of lemons is especially successful. In addition to lemons, Naxos island produces cherries, pomegranates and other fresh fruit. It also produces olives, nuts and potatoes whilst its grapes make some of the best of Greek wines.

Naxos island is deservedly popular with discerning tourists but unlike nearby Mykonos island, it is not in danger of being turned into a mass tourism resort. What has saved it from doing so is its lack of an international airport. There is however an excellent airport providing domestic flights and some tourists, mainly Greek holidaymakers, arrive in Naxos this way, flying from Athens. The majority of tourists arrive by ferry however, and there is no better way to start a Greek island holiday than this. You can sail all the way from Athens but it will take at least six hours. Or you can fly to Mykonos island and get on a ferry that takes only two hours. Both options have their pros and cons. We flew to Mykonos island one year only to find all the ferries were booked. Another travel tip, whichever route you choose, is to be careful that you get off at the right island. The first time we visitedNaxos island , we misheard a landing announcement and got off the ferry only to see a sign that read 'Welcome to Paros '. Luckily, we had enough time to re-board and complete the remaining minutes of the journey to neighboringNaxos island. Enjoy your holiday, vacation or honeymoon there.

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By Stewart Palmer

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Greek Island Holiday in Symi

greece islandThe Greek island of Symi (also spelt Simi) is a small island in the Dodecanese group, situated twenty four miles, or about an hour's ferry ride, north-west of Rhodes.

Symi is just eight miles long and only five miles at its maximum width. But if the island's size seems small when measured in miles; measuring it by the time it takes to get from one place to the next, presents a very different picture. This is because Symi is extremely steep and mountainous, its highest point towering over two thousand feet above the sea.

The spectacular nature of Symi's steep coastline, combined with one of the most picturesque harbour towns in Greece, has for many decades, attracted artists, photographers and ramblers, many of whom have taken up residence on the island. Several writers have also made Symi their home.

Lovers of broad sandy beaches within easy reach of their holiday accommodation will be disappointed with Symi, as the mountainous terrain and steep cliffs mean that most of its beaches are small, pebbly coves. However, their natural beauty more than compensates for their lack of sand, whilst their inaccessibility is more than outweighed by the views from the water taxi trips which are required to reach most of them.

Symi is a great island for people who enjoy walking and several of its beaches can be reached within a couple of hours walk from either of the island's main holiday resorts; Yialos and Pedi. Serious walkers with heads for heights, can enjoy challenging treks to the more inaccessible coves. The most demanding can take four to five hours so it is a good idea to start off early in the morning, spend the afternoon on the beach and then catch a water taxi for the return journey back to Yialos or Pedi. As well as the walks across the island to coastal destinations, many inland walks to monasteries, chapels, historic sites and beautiful valleys can also be enjoyed.

The picturesque harbour town of Yialos is the capital of Symi. It is connected to the Chorio (hill town) by Kali Strata, a street of comprising of four hundred steps. The walk up the Kali Strata is rewarded by passing many beautiful, preserved, nineteenth century mansions and by the wonderful views from the top. A medieval castle built by the knights of St John once stood proudly on the site of an ancient Greek acropolis but some imagination is needed to visualise how it would have once looked, dominating Chorio and the valleys below.

Yialos, also referred to as "Symi Town", is a beautiful town by both day and night. Many of its colourful buildings have been carefully restored to their former glory and have a preservation order like the mansions on the Kali Strata. The picturesque and romantic quality of the place has put it on the map of stop off ports for cruise ships. As a result, restaurant and bar prices in Yialos tend to be a bit pricier than elsewhere in the Greek islands. However, several of the local restaurants offer a standard of cuisine more than matching the price.

A holiday in Symi is best enjoyed sometime between April and October. Most of the island's holiday accommodations are only available during this period and during the winter months there is always the risk of ferry services from Rhodes being cancelled because of stormy weather. Even as late as the end of May one year, we had to spend two days in Rhodes waiting for the weather to calm sufficiently for our ferry to set sail.

Although it is possible to reach Symi directly by ferry from Athens, sailing from the port of Piraeus, the journey takes twenty hours. Rhodes is a major Greek Island holiday destination with an international airport, receiving cheap flights from all over Europe including most U.K. airports. The ferry takes only one hour to get from Rhodes to Symi and a hydrofoil does it in half the time. Unless you are masochist or someone who fanatically enjoys inter island ferry journeys, there is little point in using the Athens alternative. This article is free for republishing

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Beauty Island for holiday, wedding, couple, vacation destination © 2008 | Nanang | Island for Holiday.