By far the most complex part of the planning so far has been trying to come up with options for navigating traveling solo in south east Asia between Singapore and Australia (largely by sea) safely. I’ve already written a couple of posts about like Sailing Asia? Or what to do about the possibility of Pirates. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this area of the world is much more convenient to fly in hops, but…and this is a big but – I really don’t want to hinder the spirit of this trip just because it is hard. I’m not willing to get my mother completely offside by suggesting something inherently unsafe – but what I hope she and you realise is that I’m not actually clueless. I do want to experience this trip without risking my own safety. I do keep harping on about safety because the reality is that this is at the forefront of your mind as a woman traveling solo. It’s a fact of life (unfortunately).
On that note, I’ll be taking my ‘wedding ring’ with me on this trip – it’s a plan (very cheap gold band) I bought a number of years on the advice of a more seasoned traveler. I will of course have a real wedding band this time around, but it’s a tip i’ve found myself passing onto to other female solo travelers. It was extremely helpful the last time I was in asia alone – rather useful for convincing someone you have someone waiting for you. It’s a low risk way of helping you avoid the more persistent hawkers and touts.
So how do I think I can do this?
After a bunch of research on all the lonely planet boards and finding people who’ve travelled in the archipelago regions, I’ve hatched an itinerary that looks to be possible. This is so much more attractive to me than giving up in Singapore and flying to Cairns!
Okay, so here’s my rough plan (as it stands – these things as with all things Overland from Oz may change as we go along):
1. Cairns to Alotau (small cruise ship)
2. Alotau to Popondetta (passenger ship)
3. Popondetta (PNG) to Vanimo (passenger ship)
4. Vanimo (PNG) to Jayapura (sea or bus)
5. Jayapura (West Papua) to Batam (inter-island ferry with PELNI)
6. A Ferry from Batam (Indonesia) to Singapore
But, there is a rub, in that traveling alone in West Papua, and Indonesia is not particularly safe at the moment. I have some decisions to make – hard decisions. Decisions about traveling solo in South East Asia.
Where you come in!
I’d love any ideas, feedback, suggestions or thoughts you might have, especially about traveling solo in South East Asia. This is sort of a ‘choose your own adventure’ so on the facebook page I’ll be asking questions about where you think I should go on this trip. Your comments, advice and links to other resources that might be useful will be most welcome on the posts I’ll be putting up about the whole Overland from Oz adventure. The planning is just as much part of the adventure as the actual trip!
Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.
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Traveler. Scholar. Photographer. Writer. Dreamer. Teacher. Overland from Oz is a crazy adventure marked with photos and word and inspired by the incredible women in Anna’s family, especially her late grandmother, whom she knew as Nan-Nan.