Nominated for Liebstar award | About Me

Nominated for Liebstar award

In June 2015 when I started this blog, it was just a way of documenting my travel memories in some form so that someday I could reflect back on some of my greatest days. Today, thanks to some lovely people out there who have shown great appreciation to my blog, Tamz Explores has been nominated for a Liebster award by the wonderful Jamiee Nicole from Travel Pray Love.

It is an absolute pleasure to answer these ten questions for Jamiee and K (you know him if you have been to Travel Pray Love). Here are my answers:

1. If you could be anywhere in the world, right now, where would you be?

The Gili islands in Indonesia. I would be swimming with the turtles and volunteering with some marine-life conservation organization.A place to be for enjoying and celebrating the simple pleasures of life.


2. What was your first blog post about?

Ironically, my first blog post was titled “Why did I start traveling solo?”.
I had imagined this would be an appropriate introductory topic which would further set the tone for my future posts.

3. Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog as a medium to document my travel experiences at around the same time I started to travel on my own. I did go through some rough times and I probably needed a distraction(in a positive sense) to get out of the rut I was in. Through my travel and the blog, I ended up finding an entirely different direction to my life.


4. In your wildest dreams, what is your dream vacation?

My dream vacation – well, it would definitely involve a lot of time spent on or under the sea.
If I can etch out a route that takes me sailing to New Zealand-Antarctica-Madagascar-Galapagos-Iceland-Norway, that would be pretty much it. Along the way, I would be diving at some of the best spots, running away from polar bears, getting dangerously close to an active volcano and playing with some penguins.

5. If you could team up with ANY travel blogger (famous or non-famous) who would it be and why?

I actually will name three of my favorite bloggers.
Mathew Karsten (Expert Vagabond) – He has done some pretty amazing stuff with adventure travel and has superb photography skills.
Marissa (Postcards to Seattle) – She finds so many ways to explore her home country which is as good as exploring an entirely new place. That is what so appealing about her work.
Sabine and Stephanie (The Sisters’ Travels) – The Fuchs sisters’ travels signify the importance and sheer pleasure of connecting with people on a more personal level which is definitely evident from their blog posts.


6. Explain your first big adventure in one word.


7. Who was your inspiration for starting your blog?

I would have to say Kate McCulley from AdventurousKate.

8. How did you come up with the name of your blog?

It was just pure instinct that I came up with the name Tamz Explores. I thought it sounded a bit silly at first but it has been working out pretty well. As they say, go with your instincts.


9. What advice would you give a blogger just starting out?

Just keep things simple, stick to your strengths and be yourself.
It is okay to be inspired by some famous and successful blogger but it is the unique individuality of oneself that connects with the community.

10. What is your favorite travel memory?

Two of the most memorable experiences are at par with each other.
First, my interaction with a survivor from the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia.
Second, a 4 hour-long conversation with a fellow traveler – who is now a friend – from Scotland at a Mexican cocktail bar in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Undoubtedly, these two combined together were some of the finest and most inspirational hours during my travels.

I am Nominating these fantastic bloggers whose blogs have been a pleasure to read.

Teacake Travels

Drifter Planet

The Sisters’ Travels

Postcards To Seattle

Jess is a Wanderer

Anita Hendrieka

Roshan’s Ramblings

KungFu Princess on the road


Globetrotter Joe

Willful and Wildhearted

As part of the nomination, the rules are as follows:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the questions they asked you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers.
  • Create a new list of 10 questions for your nominees.
  • Choose your own nominees and let them know about the nomination.

Here are my 10 questions for you:-

1. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
2. Who or what inspired you to travel?
3. What is that one country/city that you found the most fascinating and why?
4. What has been the most memorable interaction with anybody during your travels?
5. Five things you would never travel without?
6. Where are you heading to next in 2016?
7. What is the best food you have had on your travels? **Just name the first thing that comes to         your mind.
8. What is your worst travel memory?
9. Three destinations you would definitely recommend to fellow travelers?
10. Name three of your favorite travel bloggers.

Looking forward to your answers and your future blog posts of course. A big Thank you to Travel Pray Love for nominating my blog. This is really cool and fun.

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Nominated for Liebstar award
Nominated for Liebstar award | About Me

Amid a forgotten piece of history at Gili Trawangan

It is not that often you come across World War ruins while visiting a south-east Asian tropical island with white sandy beaches. Or one would be tempted to think so. Actually, chances are that you will get to see such places as most of these small islands and its surroundings were in the thick of all the happenings during the World War II. Abandoned bunkers/shelters, war prison camps and shipwrecks are to be found across the entire region, be it on land or under the sea.


On my year-end getaway to Gili Trawangan Island, apart from the swimming, sunsets, snorkeling, sea-turtles and night-long partying, I decided to soak in a little piece of history too. A brief history of the Gili islands takes us back to the time during the Second World War when this place was used by Japanese forces as a lookout post, POW detention camp and naval base. Two of the most significant relics of that time include a patrol boat wreck off the coast of Gili Air which is now a popular diving spot and the remains of a machine-gun bunker on the hill of Gili Trawangan.


The climb up the hill takes not more than 20-25 minutes and is relatively easy with some rough but harmless terrain. The thick foliage of trees that covers the entire landscape on the hill provided some much-needed shelter from the blistering heat all along. A few meters up on the ascent, there is an interesting sight – a Hindu rock shrine draped in yellow sash and just a few steps away, there a small Dargah (shrine of a Muslim saint) right on the edge of the cliff.


Continuing up the hill and across some rough pathways through the forest along the slope you get the first sighting of the machine-gun bunker remains what now looks like the shell of a huge clam. The structure looks fairly strong and sturdy with just one crack on it. It seemed to have stood the test of time amid the roots and branches of the trees around it.

Bunker2 Bunker1

After, another few steps over the next 10 minutes I reached the summit of the hill where the land flattens up quite a bit. This is an excellent view-point for the entire island and beyond. You get beautiful views of the east coast of the island with backdrop of the picturesque Rinjani mountain range across the Lombok strait. While to the west are open seas with very distant views of Mount Agung in Bali. This spot would be an perfect place for the sunrise and sunsets if not for the ever-growing thick vegetation around.


A bit more of lurking around and I see these medium to big sized dents on the surface with trees growing from inside them. It was only after quite sometime, I realized these were actually openings of the underground tunnels that were built by the Japanese forces during their occupation of the island. These intertwined tunnels are said to run throughout most of the hill structure. In fact, the island derives its name from the presence of the tunnels – Trawangan originates from the Indonesian word Terowangan which means Tunnel.


The hill-top was a great place to just sit around in peace while surrounded by the lush green forest. For the entire hour or so, I am sure I was the only one as I went at mid-day so there was absolutely nobody else around. It was a perfect setting to understand the rustic nature of this island and get to experience its small but important place in history; an aspect which is often overlooked when people talk about  Gili. This island is indeed a bit more than the portrayed image of a tropical paradise with beautiful beaches, pristine waters and all-night parties.


A bit of local folklore

The local villagers in the island believe the hill to be a haunted place and there are stories some development projects that failed to take off because of the malevolent spirits dwelling here. To be honest, the hill does have an eerie vibe to it with a worn out and desolate look. In fact, locals here prefer not to venture further beyond the above mentioned religious shrines. I was alone, but the only thing I feared was the presence of any snakes out there.

How to get there

From the harbor, keep going to the southwest part of the island for about 10 minutes (if cycling) and pass by the Paradise Sunset bar. The entrance to the hill is further ahead across the road from an undeveloped and deserted beach bar.


Gili Trawangan is one of the three small islands located in the Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok in Indonesia. This island is ironically the biggest among the three – Gili Air and Gili Meno being the other two – and is a popular getaway destination among travelers in Southeast Asia.


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Amid a forgotten piece of history at Gili Trawangan