Category Archives: Adventures

Dubbo – Chhori’s first road trip

As I mentioned earlier, we went to Dubbo during our Christmas/ New Year break.

Dubbo is located 400 km north-west of Sydney and we decided to go there as a few of our friends recently moved there.

Being new parents, both I and AS were not sure how Chhori would cope with on a trip so we decided not to go too far. Google map indicated that it would take us 5 hours to get there so it was a good distance to cover for Chhori’s first road trip. Both of us were a bit nervous.

The packing was a nightmare as I felt like I needed everything for the baby but finally we were sorted and the car was full of stuff and 3 human beings. 🙂

We planned the trip only few weeks in advance and as the day neared I was a bit nervous. But Chhori was good on the trip. We reached Dubbo after 7 hours instead of 5. We had a lunch break and 2 more breaks for Chhori to feed and change. We entertained her with her favorite rhymes and she slept for a few hours. I and AS took turns driving so it was not too much for both of us.

Dubbo was nicer than I had imagined. We were there for 5 days and each day we had something to do. We went on a picnic to Lake Burrendong, visited Taronga Western Plain zoo, Old Dubbo Gaol , Shoyoen Japanese Garden , Terramungamine Reserve, Rock Grooves and Orana Mall.

Old Dubbo Gaol is remarkably complete and intact gaol operated for 119 years from 1847 to 1966 and is still nestled in the main street of Dubbo. There are many interesting exhibits and a lot of information on the many prisoners who were held here. They provide a tour which provides a good over view of the history of the Gaol and also the local area.

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Shoyoen Japanese Garden is a really great place to visit as it is beautifully laid out with its lake, stream, and paths. The water features that are the centre of the garden, from the waterfall over rocks to the large pond which is full of koi that you could feed; we had a really nice time strolling through the garden.

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The day we went to Lake Burrendong, we drove for an hour to this beautiful National park. The place was full with holiday makers fishing and boating. We took food from home and had a relaxing time in the park with the view.

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We were in Dubbo during Boxing day so we went to the mall and did a big shopping :). We did get some bargains for sure.

Definitely the highlight of the trip was Taronga Western Plain zoo.

The zoo has a 5km road with paths crisscrossing their way around the enclosures. We drove around and it was an easy drive but you could also hire bikes or golf carts.

Chhori was so excited when she saw the giraffes. I didn’t expect that reaction from her as I thought she was too young to get excited. It was such a wonderful experience to get up close to these beautiful animals. We saw zebras, lions, tigers, elephants, emu, koala, kangaroo, rhino, and giant tortoise to name just few.

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We took picnic lunch from home so we ate in the picnic area right beside the zebras. We bought ice-creams from the café and it was a perfect way to end our lunch.

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My 8 year old nephew was so excited that he made sure we stopped at every animal enclosure and read about each of them :). Chhori was a bit small to understand everything but was excited for a day out.

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Over all Dubbo weather was perfect and the place was just beautiful. A fantastic family getaway for sure.

On the way back from Dubbo, we drove through and stopped to do cherry, peaches and apricot picking in a place called Orange :).

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It was really fun and Chhori enjoyed the cherries so much 🙂

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Take care everyone,

from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to nominate your favourite blog . NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2015

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Our Story : Trip to New Zealand: Black Water rafting – Part 32

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

Black Water rafting started as a sport back in the late Eighties in the Waitomo cave system in New Zealand’s North Island. Waitomo is famous for its huge network of subterranean caves but what make them extra special is their inhabitants.

Glow worms, which are actually gnat larvae, live within these caves attaching themselves to the roofs in order to grow and feast on passing insects. This is why they glow, if you make any sort of noise in the caves they all start waking up to the point where it looks like a carpet of fairy lights overhead. They shine like this to attract food and those who shine the brightest are in most need of dinner. They trap their food by hanging silk-like strings down around them, like a combination of fly paper and a spider’s web.

We had heard a lot about Black Water rafting so we decided to do it. We had pre booked our tickets online. Once we reached Waitomo, the office of the rafting company, we were asked to wait for a while as others in our group assembled and we were taken to the site in a van.

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They gave us wet suits and helmets fitted with lights to wear. It took everyone a while to get into the suit and then we posed for few photos. We were going to hike through a cave and jump into icy water, while surrounded by glow-worms.

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The van drove us down a dirt road to our destination to begin our adventures. We had to climb a big hill, clamber over rocks, scoot down steep, slippery stairs, to get to the rocky cave entrance. It looked bit scary as all I could see was a black hole.

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The guides asked us to put the tube, around our bum and jump into the water. My first thought was: Seriously! I didn’t know how deep the water was and felt a bit scared but when the first person jumped in, I was fine. We all took our turn and jumped into the water. The water was very cold but I was happy we landed safely.

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After that we basically sat in a giant inflatable ring and cruise the rapids downstream, the path ahead lit up by the glow worms. It was truly a sight to behold. We ended up covering a good few kilometres before finishing. Our guide had us lay back in the water and linked us together, each person taking the feet of the person behind them. Floating that way he pulled us through the caves so that we could continue to stare up at the lights above.

At one point, the guide asked us to turn off our headlight so we could see the glow-worms. Once all the lights were turned off we looked up and it was beautiful, like I could sit there for hours.

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As we moved on though, the sound of a waterfall got louder and louder. As we came upon it, we unlinked ourselves and took turns falling off of it. Not floating over it, but standing up and falling backwards.

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When it was all over, I came out of the cave exhausted and aching but with a huge grin on my face. Then it was back in the van to return to the changing rooms and some hot cups of soup.

The Waitomo caves are beautiful and magical. I am so glad we did it. The darkness and the cave were more exciting than white water rafting and it was a great adventure.

Share your own experience with rafting and water sports.

Take care everyone, more on next post.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Go to Part 33

Our one night stay in Guangzhou, China

This is the continuation of the post I wrote while I was in Nepal.

Once we were told that our flight had been cancelled due to bad weather and that we were going to spend the night in China, there was some confusion. It looked like the airline staff also didn’t know what was going to happen next. They just gave us visas to exit the airport and asked us to wait in a room. Thankfully, the staff member who was dealing us spoke good English so we could direct our queries and get some answers.

The waiting room had some chairs and snacks. They had some drinks, biscuits, and chocolate. I was kind of hungry and cold so ate one biscuit and drank a bottle of water.

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Luckily AS had his thick jumper in his carry on while I had only a thin one. I was a bit cold when we were waiting while I could see all the airport staff was wearing puff jackets. I didn’t put anything in my hand carry because I didn’t think about that the flight could be cancelled. I expected few hours delay but not 14 hours.

We were in the waiting room for almost an hour when they finally asked us to follow them. We were going to a hotel. We all followed this guy all the way to the exit and as soon the door opened, I want to go and hide somewhere. It was freezing and the wind was not helping either.

As soon as we got out, I saw a hotel across the street. I was happy thinking that we were going there as we start crossing the road; but to my disappointment, we were told to wait for a bus to take us to our hotel. In a few minutes, the bus arrived and we all jumped inside. The staff member told us that we are going to some hotel but I didn’t catch the name.

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At least it was warm inside the bus and we stared our 45 minutes ride to the hotel. Because we were not given a time frame, every hotel we saw on the way, we expect the bust to stop but it kept moving until it came to the Jiaerdeng Hotel Guangzhou.

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The entrance of the hotel looked nice and we were all happy that it is a decent hotel. Most of us hadn’t slept for the last 24 hours so all we wanted was some warm food and bed for the night before we woke up the next morning to go back to the airport. I felt like a zombie and was looking forward to a hot shower as well.

As we queue behind the other passengers from the plane, we suddenly realised that there was no one from the airport with us. In addition, though not surprisingly, no one at the front desk spoke or understood any English. They had no clue why we were there so they were not giving us any rooms. We all spent next half hour trying to make them understand that we needed a room but it was of no use. No matter how slowly we spoke, they didn’t know what to do. We were stranded in the hotel lobby of a hotel in China with no clue what was going to happen next.

Luckily one of the bellboys of the hotel took his phone out and used Google translate to tell us that they had no idea what to do with us as they have no instruction from the airlines or the hotel management. Finally some communication! Then when we asked about the internet, he showed a plaque on the wall that had some number on it. No one had noticed that before but finally we saw a ray of hope in the dark tunnel. We all connected to the internet and used Google translate to talk with them.

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Finally, after a real good effort by a few people, they manage to talk get someone form the airline and allocated the rooms. It was such a relief to get the key to our room. We got a nice big room on the 7th floor. Me and AS literally ran to the room to drop our stuffs and rest. It was after midnight in Sydney by then and we were so tired.

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While we were getting ready to sleep, we realised that we hadn’t had a proper meal for a while so decided to see if they had anything to eat at all. When we went downstairs, there was a hotel staff handing a takeaway container to everyone and that was our dinner. When we opened it in our room, I was but disappointed as it had rice, cabbage and some chicken only, not very appetizing. As AS was hungry he had some of it and I did eat a few spoons and it was enough for me.

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I was still freezing so AS decided to give me his jumper. The room had air conditioning but as everything was in Chinese we had no clue what to do. Still with some trial and error AS managed to turn off the air conditioning. In around 6 hours we had to wake up again as we need to be at the airport 3 hours before our flight to Kathmandu so we set an alarm and went to bed.

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It was so difficult to wake up the next morning but I dragged myself out of bed and had a shower. I knew if I didn’t, I would be a zombie for the rest of the day. Once we got ready, we went to the lobby and there were lot more people in the lobby than the night before. They were going to airport to catch their flight to Kathmandu as well.

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With half an hour for the bus to come pick us up, me and AS had enough time to go around the area and see the place. We saw lots of older people doing their morning exercising. When the bus arrived there was not enough room for everyone in that bus and we had to wait longer for next bus. Finally, it did and we were all happy to be on the road to the airport.

After 25 minutes, we were back doing the check-ins for our flight. The flight was on time and we were relieved when we finally boarded plane to Kathmandu. The flight from Guangzhou to Kathmandu was smooth and without any dramas and we landed in Kathmandu in the afternoon, 14 hours later than scheduled.

My FIL and BIL were at the airport to pick us up and we were on our way home.

So, this was my experience with China Southern Airlines. I am sure no one could do anything about the weather but the airlines did try their best to look after us. Being in China, it is expected that they don’t speak English. While our experience could have been a bit better, I have no problems flying with them the next time though I will certainly pray for good weather.

Paragliding in Paradise

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in March 2013 issue.

Paragliding for blog

We have all heard about Paradise but we have never seen it. Today I am happy to announce that I have been there and it is called Pokhara, 200 km away from Kathmandu, capital of Nepal.

Pokhara is heaven for domestic and international tourists with its luscious green hills, snow-capped mountains and beautiful lakes. These days Pokhara is also famous for its various adventures like paragliding, gliding, ultra-light flight and zip fly.

I have been waiting to sky dive for ages so I thought paragliding would be a great step towards it. So when I went to Nepal this year, I went to Pokhara where I saw the paradise from a bird’s eye view with the magnificent mountains up close.

We booked the paragliding through the hotel. So the company picked us up at the hotel. Initially, it was only me and my husband who were planning to glide but my mother in law also joined us for the flight once we asked her. They took us to their office first where we filled out forms and signed a no liability statement. From there we were off to Sarankot, which was around 30 minutes’ drive from the office.

The drive was a bit bumpy at times but the driver was giving us lots of information about the paragliding. He told us that even an 80 year old man had done the paragliding from their company. Once the jeep stopped, we had to walk a few minutes to reach the top of the hill where I saw many gliders were already taking off from the mountain and floating away. We were each assigned a pilot and I got Vlad from Serbia. He has been flying for over 10 years all over the world and seemed well trained. He buckled me up with the gears and a few instructions on how to take off. With a little bit of fear and a whole lot of excitement, I was ready for my flight.

After checking all the equipment and wind flow we ran together to take off. I was quite surprised how easy that take off was as we glided off the cliff and I naturally fell back onto the seat and began drifting peacefully. It was great to realise that I was in the air flying. I was already high up on the sky when I saw my husband and mother in law taking off from the hill. Once in the sky, I could see lots of colourful gliders filling the blue sky on the sunny winter day. I could see eagles circling below us as well.

The pilot informed me that we were cruising above 8000 feet in the air and I could see the magnificent view of the Himalayas, hills with pockets of green forests, beautiful lakes and Pokhara city.

As we climbed higher, the view of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Manasulu were so close and breathtaking. We cruised for almost 20 minutes while the pilot pointed out a few places. Also it was fun trying to find my husband and mother in law among many gliders as we could hardly recognise any face from so far away. As the flight was smooth, I asked the pilot if I can take my own camera from my pocket. He said it would be fine so I took my camera out and took a video and photos of our flight.

After a while the pilot asked if I was ok to do some acrobatics in the air. I was scared but I said yes so he let me hold his camera as he prepared for some spinning and spiralling. I put my own camera back in my pocket and we did some acrobatics over the lake swinging back and forth and dropping in the air. It was such an adrenalin rush and I would have liked him to keep going but it was almost time for us to descend and land next to Fewa Lake.

He asked me to put my foot up and not try to touch the ground when we landed so I did as I was told and I was safely on the ground. My husband and mother in law had already landed and we all were very happy with the experience.

Once they packed the equipment, we were back in the jeep on the way to their office where we waited for our photos and video. They also gave us certificates for the flight!

It was an incredible experience and is totally worth a try 🙂

You may also like :

*Abseiling *Oceanwalker *Zoo visit in Nepal 

Desert safari in Dubai

This was one of the best things we did in Dubai and I highly recommend it to anyone going to Dubai. We booked our’s through Arabian Adventures but there are other companies as well who do the similar tours.

It consists of safari drive with dune-bashing, camel ride, eagle show, belly dancing, henna tattoo, barbecue and much, much more.

As it was Sundowner Desert Safari Tour, we were picked up from the hotel around 4 pm in a four wheel drive, then we picked up 3 more people from different hotels and were driven to somewhere deep into the desert. There we were met by rows upon rows of four-wheel drive SUVs full of excited tourists like us for the safari.

All the four-wheel drives then followed each other to the first stop where we sat down for an eagle show. The place was still very hot and humid as the sun was still up but I didn’t mind much as the cold desert breeze was making sure we didn’t get too hot. We were given a cold bottle of water to drink which helped us cool down as well. The guy doing the eagle show was an Aussie and he explained his eagles and showed us how the birds do the show for food. Overall, a nice stop over.

Then we were back in the vehicle to go to the next stop. The safari takes place in a conservation area. Each company has their own spot and the range of service differs from each other. The driver explained that we will have one more stop in the middle to see the sunset before the dinner stop.

While driving, we saw lots of wild animals. After 5 minutes drive, the driver asked us to fasten our seat belts as the ride get bumpy from that point forward. He assured us we would be safe. He then raced into the steep dune, swung around and slid down the slopes. It was like being in a rollercoaster as it is coming down. I was amazed at his driving skills as the car didn’t fall over. We could see the cars in front jumping up and down and knew that is exactly what ours was doing as well. Once we realised we would be safe we enjoyed it. Over the course of the next hour or so, we were tossed about in every possible direction, things were moving in different directions, heads banged together and I could hear screams of “aahh’ and “ wow”. Definitely, the highlight of the tour was the dune bashing. If you enjoy the thrills of safari rally driving, this is the best attraction.

Then we stopped to watch the sunset. It was one of the beautiful sites to see such an amazing view with your loved one by your side. Watching the sunset in the desert was very romantic. We took some nice photos and some silly ones too  🙂 .

Then we were back in the car for our final stop at the desert camp where we were to spend the rest of the evening. Camel rides and henna tattoos were available at no extra charge so we joined the queue to ride the camel. It was really fun. I had done a camel ride before in India but this was a bigger camel than that. We took photos perched atop the camel.

After that we stopped over to take photos with an eagle. I was a bit scared at the first but once it was in my hand, I felt better. It was so amazing to have the bird so close knowing how powerful it can be.

Finally we went to a desert camp for dinner and a display of traditional and belly dancing. The food was good and plentiful. There were wines and lots of soft drinks. While we were having dinner a belly dancer entertained us. I was a bit disappointed with the belly dancer as she was nothing close to the ones I have seen on TV but that might be just me.

After we finished dinner we went and got henna tattoos. AS got a tattoo of snake on his upper arm and I got flowers on my hand. The lady who did the henna was nice enough to do both my hands.  It was almost 10pm at night and they announced that we were going to leave soon so we gathered our things and went to the parking lot to meet our driver. It was almost a one and a half our drive back to the hotel so I rested until we got off and ran to the comfy bed.

It was a great desert safari that gave us the opportunity to experience the local traditional culture, enjoy the fascinating sights, have an adventurous drive, a camel ride and above all enjoying the delicious barbecue with ceremonious belly dancers dancing to the feel of Arabian music. It was a unique experience for a lifetime.

Please click here are some more photos.

More on Dubai

Let’s start with Amazing Dubai

Hello from the world’s tallest building: Burj Khalifa

The Dubai Mall, aquarium and underwater zoo

Dubai city, Souks , Marina, Dubai land & Deira City Centre

Horse Riding

Horse riding in Nepal

I like anything that challenges my guts. Horse riding fascinates me as it is about controlling the animal which is much bigger than you with a lead rope. I had done some horse riding before, once in Fiji, and then in Nepal and India. 

The riding I had done in Nepal and India were on open, flat ground. There is no fear of falling and breaking your bones as the horse handler is running next to you while you ride the horse. On top of that they are trained horses which don’t run.(I guess 🙂 ) 

Horse riding in Fiji

When I did some horse riding in Fiji, it was in the beach so I remember it as being quite fun. It was flat ground and we were only 4 in the group .The horses behaved really well. So while we were in Hunter, I didn’t even think twice when we decided to ride horses. I was just happy to do the activity. 

We reached the place 15 minutes late as we lost our way on the way there. It was really far away from the main area and our GPS didn’t help us. It was asking us to drive on dirt roads where you can’t take your car. Anyway other people in the group were waiting for us when we reached there. After hurrying to meet the ladies who run the farm and signing the waiver form, we were given helmets and a quick guide on what to do with the horse to command it to stop and move. Then we are given a horse and I was surprised that these horses seemed a bit bigger than the ones I had ridden before. 

Horse riding in Hunter

In their website they said, “Ride the unique and beautiful Molly Morgan Range, experiencing the spectacular views of the Hunter Valley Wine Country and Lower Hunter and as far North as Barrington Tops, the northern boundary of the Upper Hunter “so I was expecting it to be a relaxing horse riding in a ranch but I was not ready for what came next. 

I guess these horses are used to having people ride them all the time but the horse I was riding, named “Sunny” seemed to be a frisky one. PA and AS wanted their horses to be frisky and fast but their one’s were more tame, may be because they looked a bit old. But Sunny seem to be younger and a bit out of control from time to time.

While we were riding we were meant to form a straight line and follow the lady in the front but my horse didn’t want to follow the other horses, he just want to eat grass so I had to constantly pull his head up and push him to walk. We rode on a small hill so there were lots of ups and downs. Because my horse was more playful than others I was having a hard time controlling him. On top of that my bum was really hurting so I couldn’t wait to finish the ride. 

Horse riding in Nepal

As it was an hour and half ride, there were lots more to come before we finished the ride. We were taken to pond where all the horses were supposed to drink water. All the horses waited for their turn for the water but not Sunny. He just passed the line and rushed to the pond. I was scared at that point because I couldn’t stop him. I was scared to fall and break my bones. Finally I was able to control him for a while and slowly guided him to the pond. There he wanted to go deeper into the water than the other horses so I had to pull his lead rope hard to divert him from there and follow others to the farm. 

From time to time other horses would make some weird noises from the other farms which scared me , as Sunny seemed to be get more aggressive when he haers these noises. On top of that my friend PA was trying to gallop her horse from behind me which didn’t help either. At one point, our horses were so close that both of them looked like they were going to hit each other. 

Finally after what seemed like forever we were back at the farm and then only could I think straight. For much of the time, more than enjoying the great view of the farm and watching wallabies and other animals near the track, I was putting my strength in controlling Mr. Sunny. 

When I was relived that it was almost over, PA dropped the lead rope of her horse. I was scared because if the horse moved at that point, she could have fallen from the horse and hurt herself.  Also I was near her so if that horse had come running I could have gotten hurt as well. Luckily the lady from the ranch came back to rescue us.

Finally when Sunny was back in his stable I was happy to get off him. It was an adventurous ride but I am not too sure I want that experience again. I will defiantly ride a horse again but not on the hills or uneven surface. It is just too dangerous. On top of that my bum hurt for rest of the day.

Click here for more photos.

If you have interesting story about horse riding, please do share.

Oceanwalker : Swimming with the fishes

One of the good things about a tropical holiday is that you get to swim in a blue sea with lots of fishes. I love going snorkelling and meeting the locals from deep down in the water. 

During this holiday I got many occasions to do that. When we were on Hideaway Island we were able to go snorkelling in the deep blue water with a guide. We also did some snorkelling by ourselves in Eton Village and other beaches as well. 

I always want to go deeper in the coral but with snorkelling it is not possible, but in Vanuatu, I found Oceanwalker. It makes it  easy to enjoy the view underwater. I had done something similar before in the Great Barrier reef in Queensland but I was excited to try it out again . 

The website describes Oceanwalker as 

Oceanwalker Vanuatu brings you this exciting and innovative tourism experience, allowing you to explore the underwater world of tropical fish and coral reefs up close, with-out even getting your head wet. 

The Helmet Dive is the next step after snorkelling and is a fun way to discover what lies beneath. 

Your adventure in paradise starts with a short walk down a ramp into the water where the purpose-built helmet is lowered on to your shoulders and in no time at all your underwater experience begins spending up to 20 minutes walking on the sea floor to a maximum depth of 4 metres. 

The day of the dive, we were picked up at the hotel and were taken to the dive area by the short boat ride. The day was just perfect with the sun out and the blue sky. At the dive area there were 4 people who were there to help us through this amazing journey. 

We had one more group, a family joining us for the dive. 

First we were briefed by our PADI qualified instructors with instructions about the helmet dive equipment and we were given a form to sign our life away. 

Then the adventure began with a descent to the short ramp in the water, where a helmet is fitted on the head and then off you go. It was really a fun experience because you don’t have to worry about swimming or breathing. Air is continually pumped into the helmet so the water doesn’t rise above your shoulder even when you are 4 meters underwater. 

We met lots of fish down there including Nemo and the zebra fish. It was so cool. One of the instructors was with us all the time so there was no fear of getting lost or anything. He even caught a fish in his hand twice and gave it to me but the fish just escaped from my hand. 🙂 It was really fun experience. I also got to hold a sea cucumber. 

There were so many fish around us that we felt like kids running after it. I really enjoyed the whole experience and was sorry that it ended after around just 20 mins. The memory will live in me forever. 🙂 Click here for more photos.