Sunday, December 31, 2017

INDEX

THAILAND

Ao Sadet from Silver Cliff's restaurant - east coast of Ko Phangan

INTRODUCTION - WHICH ISLAND OR BEACH?
ADANG
ANG THONG NATIONAL MARINE PARK
BU BU
BULON LAE
CHANG (big Chang eastern Gulf)
Little Ko CHANG, Andaman side
CORAL ISLAND
JUM
KANCHANABURI
KRADAN
KRABI, RAILAY, TON SAI
KHANOM
KHAO LAK
KHAO SOK NATIONAL PARK
KHO KHAO
KUT (KOOD, KUD)
LANTA
LAO LIANG
LIBONG, HAT YAO
LIPE
MAK (MAC, MAAK)
MAYA BAY/THE BEACH/PHI PHI LEY
MUK (MOOK)
NANGYUAN
NGAI (HAI)
KO PANYI/PANYEE
PATTAYA
PHANGAN
PHANGAN PART 2
PHANG NGA BAY
PHAYAM
PHRA THONG
PHUKET
PHI PHI
PHI PHI NEWSPAPER ARTICLE BY TEZZA
RAILAY, TON SAI AND KRABI TOWN
RAYA/RACHA
ROK
SAMET
SAMUI
SIBOYA
SICHON
SIMILAN ISLANDS
SIMILAN ISLANDS LIVE-ABOARD 
SUKORN
SURIN ISLANDS
TARUTAO
TAO
WAI (WHAI)
YAO NOI
YAO YAI



General Thailand Information

SOME TIPS ON NOT DROWNING
WET WEATHER INFORMATION
SNORKELLING IN THAILAND
THAILAND'S NICER BEACHES


INDONESIA:
Approaching Gili Trawangan, Lombok on Perama's direct boat from Bali

BALI
BALI'S BEST BEACHES - incl THE BUKIT PENINSULA
BALI - AMED
BALI - BEDUGUL AND LAKE BRATAN
BALI - CANGGU
BALI - JATILUWIH RICE TERRACES
BALI - JIMBARAN
BALI - NUSA LEMBONGAN
BALI - NUSA PENIDA
BALI - NUSA DUA, TANJUNG BENOA AND GEGER BEACH
EAST BALI - PADANGBAI AND CANDIDASA
BALI - LOVINA
BALI - MEDEWI
BALI - MUNDUK
BALI - PEMUTERAN AND MENJANGAN ISLAND
BALI RICE TERRACES EAST - SIDEMAN
BALI RICE TERRACES CENTRAL - TEGALLALANG
BALI RICE TERRACES WEST - KEBUN VILLAS
BALI RICE TERRACES TIRTAGANGGA + WATER PALACE

BINTAN

LOMBOK - THE GILI ISLANDS
LOMBOK - THE KUTA LOMBOK AREA

PERAMA SLOWBOAT - FLORES/KOMODO/LOMBOK

SERAYA & KANAWA ISLANDS + LABUANBAJO - FLORES



MALAYSIA
Taking it easy on Tioman Island, Malaysia

GORGEOUS TIOMAN ISLAND
CHERATING BEACH
KAPAS ISLAND
LANGKAWI
LANG TENGAH
PERHENTIAN ISLANDS
REDANG ISLAND
SIBU ISLAND



AUSTRALIA


Cruising down Whitsunday Island

CRUISING TROPICAL ISLANDS ON A BUDGET
BUDGET RESORTING ON THE WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS NTH QLD
SPENDING TIME AT AIRLIE BEACH - NTH QLD
CAPE TRIBULATION - NTH QLD
DUNK ISLAND - NTH QLD
FITZROY ISLAND - CAIRNS -  NTHE QLD
CRUISING THE SOUTH WEST PACIFIC ON LINERS
BYRON BAY - BEACH PARADISE
NOOSA HEADS - MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE
MAGNETIC ISLAND NTH QLD
TOP END - DARWIN
TOP END - DARWIN BEACHES
TOP END - KAKADU NATIONAL PARK
TOP END - LITCHFIELD NATIONAL PARK
TOP END - NITMILUK (KATHERINE) GORGE and KATHERINE TOWN
TOP END - MANDORAH and WAGAIT BEACH
TOP END - MATARANKA THERMAL POOLS
TOP END - THE TIWI ISLANDS



GREECE
Cute church - Naxos

GREEK ISLAND HOPPING


TURKEY

Beach, forest-clad medieval ruins and up-valley budget accommodation at Olympos in Turkey
BUDGET CRUISING AND PARAGLIDING THE TURQUOISE COAST
THE NORTH AEGEAN COAST
THE SOUTH AEGEAN COAST



SPAIN
Looking south to Tossa de Mar
INTRODUCTION
BARCELONA
IBIZA
L'HOSPITALET DE L'INFANT
MALLORCA/MAJORCA
MONTSERRAT

PYRENEES
SAN SEBASTIAN
SITGES
TOSSA DE MAR


USA - SOUTH WEST

THE BEACHES

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

GRAND CANYON TREKKING

YOSEMITE TREKKING



USA - HAWAII

- OAHU'S BEST BEACHES

MAUI'S BEST BEACHES
MAUI: THE ROAD TO HANA
MAUI - HALEAKALA VOLCANO
MAUI - THE IAO VALLEY

READERS' TRIP REPORTS
Trip reporter Rachael and Andy on Ko Muk

Read the trip reports or submit your own


THE FORUM


Yon Cassie has a lean and hungry look (image Deco Dermots)

Questions, comments, shoot the bull.


GENERAL

Sammy BinLiner steps out to the hot-tub seminar in The Worry Collective

JUST FOR LARFS - PART 1
JUST FOR LARFS - PART 2: STONES FROM THE JOKER IN THE GLASS HOUSE (1 thru 11)
JUST FOR LARFS - PART 3: THE WORRY COLLECTIVE

ABOUT THIS SITE


LADY TEZZA'S TRAVELLING JAPAN

Sumo grand champion Hakuho.

The basics - Osaka - Kyoto - Hiroshima & Himeji - Takayama - Tokyo - Kyushu - Daytrip to Mt Fuji National Park - Accessing your money - Other helpful stuff







Monday, December 4, 2017

IAO VALLEY

VISITED JULY AND AUGUST 2017


Locals enjoy the Iao Stream

The IAO VALLEY is one of the biggest in MAUI'S WESTERN HIGHLANDS. The highlands are the severely eroded remnants of MAUI'S first volcano - MUANA KAHAHAWAI. Because this is several million years older than MAUI'S other volcano, HALEAKALA. erosion is much more advanced - HALEAKALA is still recognizable as a rounded SHIELD VOLCANO whereas MUANA KAHAHAWAI looks a mess of mountains and valleys. It doesn't hurt that that section of the WESTERN HIGHLANDS has the earth's second-wettest meteorology station.


  Oblique Google Maps image - IAO VALLEY. 

IAO VALLEY has vast historical significance to Hawaiians and some very pleasant/scenic locations plus very good trekking. As a result it is one of the more visited locations on the island.


The IAO VALLEY gap from KANAHA BEACH adjacent MAUI'S main airport. There is a fair bit of telephoto here - we are abt 8miles/13km from the valley entrance....


....and in the opposite direction, KANAHA BEACH from a few km up the valley. Might be clearer if you click-expand image.
Slope behind arrow is the lower northern foothills of HALEAKALA volcano.

  
IAO STATE PARK - IAO STATE MONUMENT
This is one of two heavily visited parts of the valley. Besides attractive stream pools, some nice garden areas, viewpoints and trekking opportunities is is also known as IAO STATE MONUMENT - a monument to the 4000 warriors who fell here in a huge inter-island stoush back in 1790. Actually I'm still unsure whether the WHOLE park or just a LIMITED AREA makes up the MONUMENT.

I was lucky - the valley was severely flooded in September 2016 and after extensive repairs this area had been temporarily opened to high season visitors the day of my visit. After high season it closed again to allow further restoration. So check its open status before you go. STATE PARKS has a good website.

SOME IDEA OF THE FLOOD
This house is down valley a few km and somewhat higher than the IAO STREAM which is also some distance away. Houses across the road from which I took this shot had their stone front fences destroyed and I reckon they were another 60ft/20m higher.

THE CAR PARK


The carpark is at the end of IAO VALLEY RD which is the extension of MAIN ST from downtown KAHULUI thru WAILUKU. It's abt 2 miles/3.5km from the valley entrance, only 0.6mi/1km past KEPANIWAI PARK and 5.8mi/9.3km from KAHULUI HARBOUR out of image to right. 
Unfortunately public transport does not come up here - the nearest bus stop if for bus#20 in WAILUKU abt a 2.8mi/4.5km walk - shouldn't be too difficult: I managed the reverse on wrecked knees after my big valley ridge hike (okay it was downhill, but anyone with wrecked knees will tell you  downhill is harder).
I forgot to add a linear scale - it's 2.6mi/4.2km between the place markers for Car Park and Wailuku (may be clearer if you click-expand).


The carpark  is pretty small with abt 50 spaces and was full on this first day of re-opening (that clrar area you can see above closest the river is actually a pedestrian walkway with some nice views down over the stream). 
Many people had parked their vehicles alongside IAO VALLEY ROAD and walked in - this avoids** the entrance fee of $5 per car for non-locals.
**at least if they walked behind the toll booth like sneaky me.


Pre-flood Google Earth image of car park and nearby. It's 250yards/230m in a straight line between Upper Viewpoint and Toll place marks


The rebuilt car park area has a new amenities block and possibly the best view in the area of the famous IAO NEEDLE. There was no food available at the time and knowing STATE PARKS' aversion to food trucks etc this is probably permanent.
I didn't see any picnic facilities here, but KEPANIWAI PARK is just down valley and had lots - mind you it is very popular. I also noticed a lot of the native Hawaiian families enjoying the pool areas had picnics laid out on the rocks.

Taking the exit track background-left above you will soon come to....

....THE KINIHAPAI BRIDGE over the tributary of the same name.
This is supposed to be a favourite jumping spot for local kids but on this first day they hadn't yet made it.
For some reason I didn't get a pic of the bridge so I had to pinch this one from WEDENGAGE.COM - but it is totally excellent: the photographer seems to have gone to the effort to get downstream in order to catch the NEEDLE behind the bridge. Can't beat those pros.

Once across the bridge you have a choice of turning DOWN to the left or UP to the right. 
If you turn left and head down the side track you access within 30m....

....THE ETHNOBOTANIC LOOP
This is a section of circuitous paths around a garden setting, which as the name suggests, commemorates the various ethnic gardens of HAWAII: Japanese, Korean, mainland settler and particlularly local pre-colonial Hawaiian. 
I think this is a PRE-FLOOD pic (once again I had to resort to GOOGLE IMAGES: this one came from the DIVISION OF STATE PARKS) - it wasn't quite as lush when I called by but still a very pleasant place to wander (about 300m of pathway) and sit (no benches but garden border walls did the job).

This area has a bonus - it is the best location to access the....

....IAO STREAM POOLS
Seemed like half the visitors were down there.


The pools looked inviting so after this pic I naturally had to try one. Be careful, rocks can be slippery - note too that flash flooding is not unusual during/after rainstorms.

THE NANNY STATE STRIKES AGAIN
One problem with access to the pool areas and hiking tracks was the proliferation of NO ACCESS signs. Maybe this is because authorities want to do more stabilisation work - however I noticed these signs are very common in other STATE PARKS and NATIONAL PARKS areas.
No worries - so many locals were ignoring the signs that I thought even the most officious ranger would not try to book them - and being a great fan of mass civil-disobedience I joined the mob.


STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN?
Well not quite. By turning right of the bridge you immediately hit a set of stairs which go about 300m up to the IAO NEEDLE viewing platform (Upper Viewpoint on Google Image).
Pic again from WEDENGAGE.COM. There are 130 or so stairs, fairly steep but the trip is relatively short and there are opportunities to stop and rest including....

....AN INTERMEDIATE VIEWING PLATFORM
The outlook down valley is not bad here, as is....


....the view of the NEEDLE.

THE UPPER VIEWING PLATFORM
This is the end of the road for most people. As seen the view of the NEEDLE is good but down-valley is a bit restricted from here. There is also a bunch of information panels on the area's geology, flora and human history.
My pics of this area were way inferior to this great shot also from WEDENGAGE.COM.

MORE NANNY STATE

I was itching for a nice long trek in the bush. I'd read how native Hawaiians back in the day used to climb the NEEDLE to spot incoming sea traffic and I was wondering how close I could get. It was obvious that a trail left from the UPPER PLATFORM but it was blocked by a railing and the usual sign. 
No worries - I figured it unlikely any rangers would be on the trail (my observation in other places is that it takes a hell of a lot to get them off their bums and out of admission booths and admin offices) and so I jumped the fence and took off up the......

....KINIHAPAI-IAO RIDGE TRAIL
That's MY name by the way - because it runs up the high ridge between the IAO STREAM and the major KINIHAPAI tributary.

Conditions varied on this track. Gradient was pretty good, from mild to moderately steep but never really difficult. Few steps. The track surface was sometimes good, other times rough with plenty of roots and rocks. Good footwear recommended. I was surprised by relatively little mud for one of the wettest places anywhere. Then again it hadn't rained for several days 4km away down in WAILUKU.


After 40 minutes I met up with 2 local girls and a guy - they seemed to know what they were doing (although the girls had bare feet!) so I tagged along.


This is the closest I got to the NEEDLE - it's actually across the other side of the KINIHAPAI STREAM from the ridge I was on. My new friends told me you can access the base by rock-hopping up the stream but would need ROCK-CLIMBING/BUSH-BASHING SKILLS to go up the NEEDLE. No thanks - we pushed on.


Some nice views of the valley edges up here. These panorama shots click-expand nicely.

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH....
....THE TOUGH TURN BACK.
Progressively the track got rougher and narrower - several times we had to bush-bash and more than once lost the track. Sometimes surrounding cloud misted-out visibility. Finally 90 minutes from the start we decided to give up and head back - we figured we were half way to LAHAINA on the west coast at that stage.

BACK NEAR THE TRAIL HEAD
We made slightly better time on the return trip, reaching the start just under 3 hours after leaving it. We passed 5 other hikers over this time.

OH GEES, DID THAT BLITZ MY KNEES!
Actually this shot shows blitzed shins - the result of bush-bashing thru sharp undergrowth without long duds. 
But my 72 y.o. knees were in worse shape - already dodgy from too much jogging in bad/no shoes back in the day and exacerbated by an earlier 6+ hour CRATER HIKE ON HALEAKALA, a 3+ hour WAIHEE RIDGE TREK, several shorter hikes to waterfalls on the HANA ROAD and to several isolated beaches ,  not to mention a 40km cross-island bicycle ride; they were pretty sad after the IAO VALLEY gallop. And they're still not great at the time of writing 2 months later - maybe the 30+km of walking on MAUI'S west coast the following week wasn't such a good idea.

KINIHAPAI-IAO RIDGE TRAIL. 
Purple - top viewpoint   Orange - Oaho Needle    White - turn-back (approx). White point on far right margin is car-park. Click-expand much clearer.
Ignore Yellow - MISTAKE, but this new version of Google Earth is difficult to correct (at least for this IT-challenged 72yo).
Update - well that was when I first downloaded GE - it now is back to normal allowing me to do the other "maps" on this page normally - but I can't be bothered redoing this one.


WOULDN'T YOU RATHER DRINK COLD BEER ON THIS UPSTAIRS VERANDA....
....THAN WATCH NAKED HIPPY-CHICKS AND TOURISTS DANCE TO THE BEAT OF A BONGO?
My new friends were heading to the Sunday afternoon DRUM CIRCLE at Makena's LITTLE BEACH and asked if I'd like to tag along. But having been a nudist since my teens I'm a bit rlaxed about  naked chicks, hippy or otherwise, and I knew there was a bunch of ice cool beers waiting for me back at my WAILUKU hostel. So I declined. Should have got a lift with them the 4km down there - walking hard surfaces downhill (although moderate slopes) is not great for already wrecked knees.


KEPANIWAI PARK
Only 600 yards/1km down the road is IAO VALLEY'S other visitor attraction - actually it seemed more popular than the STATE MONUMENT area. Maybe that's because the garden area is bigger, there are picnic facilities, heritage buildings, an associated NATURE CENTER, parking is probably better, entrance is free and being a COUNTY park vs STATE park, it was repaired of flood damage and reopened earlier - and didn't seem to have those annoying NO ENTRY signs. 

The park is mulitfunctional....


....Set up as a HERITAGE GARDEN AREA, it has displays of gardens and housing representing MAUI'S multicultural past. There is stuff representing JAPANESE, FILIPINO, KOREAN, native HAWAIIAN and AMERICAN MISSIONARY history (pic MAUI  ALOHA WEDDINGS)


More heritage stuff (another M A H pic - I called in here as an addendum to BANANA BUNGALOW hostel's free WAIHEE RIDGE TREK and had less than an hour which I mainly spent checking the river area, not taking lotsa pics which is surprisingly time-consuming).


Replica of early cane workers' housing - probably from Japan by the looks of the pond - most imported cane workers were from either Japan or the Philippines (another M A H pic)


Early native-Hawaiian meeting hall (pic from Gardenvisit.com)

....away from the heritage area is plenty of PICNIC FACILITIES with big pavilions not unlike above but with seats and tables and adjoining bbq facilities (but I didn't see any hot food vendors) - also limited picnic tables down near the stream.....

THE STREAM HAS MANY POOLS TO DIP A TOE, PADDLE OR TAKE A DIP....
....which once again were proving a hit with locals (this was a weekday but a couple dozen families were down there)

PARKING AND SCENERY
KEPANIWAI PARK can't match the mountain scenery of the MONUMENT AREA up the road, but views of the surrounding area were not too shabby. That's NOT the IAO NEEDLE - it's further up valley.
PARKING was a bit tricky - our van driver had to search around some time for a space even on a week day. There is a smallish overflow lot across the main road from the lower entrance but when I walked by after visiting the MONUMENT AREA on a Sunday it was packed. Once again plenty of people parking roadside. Mind you, the park appeared even more crowded than mid-week maybe because I could hear a good rock band - hey maybe M A W had a shindig going.

HAWAII NATURE CENTER
This compact area adjoins the park. There is a museum with interactive displays, more loop paths thru garden areas, organised hiking programs and educational stuff for kids. Admission is free but I only  had time to stick my head in the door of the museum.
This is one area I intend to spend more time at when I return to MAUI - as a matter of fact the whole IAO VALLEY area demands another visit.


Museum (pic from koddler)


Looks good to me (pic MUAI LEISURE GUIDE )


Entrance to the park is 2mi/3.2km along Iao Valley Rd from intersection of Main St and High St Wailuku to right of image.

ATTENTION: IF YOU SEE MISTAKES OR HAVE EXTRA INFORMATION, PLEASE POST BELOW. BUT IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION, PLEASE ASK IT IN THE FORUM WHICH I CHECK MOST DAYS - I REVISIT THESE INDIVIDUAL PLACE PAGES INFREQUENTLY.