Top Things To Do In Bali! | Excursion #2

At the end of last year I went to Bali for the first time, from December 23 to 30. It was also my first time in Indonesia for the record! I wanted to share with you some of the things I did which I can now recommend, in no particular order!


1. Visit Ubud, the Cultural Nerve Center of Bali

20181224_133730-016190060411349088296.jpeg

I think that coming to Bali has to be accompanied with visiting the cultural nerve center of Bali, located in the town of Ubud! This small town was indeed packed with tourists but also with temples at every street corner, and some of the best restaurants I tried for the whole week! One simply cannot come to Bali without coming to Ubud, and seeing some of its sights 🙂 – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / exploring is free.

2. Visit The Sacred Monkey Forest

20181224_153318-011611352456051175686.jpeg

20181224_153009-014314065421542190347.jpeg

 

I went to this jungle forest packed with wild monkeys everywhere and it was the best thing! Yes there were baby monkeys 🙂 – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / entry: 2$.

This definitely was a highlight of my stay in Ubud, because I’d rarely had the chance before to get so close to monkeys, especially wild monkeys. Even if you’re afraid of monkeys don’t worry: they rarely climb people, and if they do it would be because you brought food with you (which they can smell from the other side of the forest).

I took some beautiful pictures there, green was everywhere!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

3. See a Traditional Balinese Dance Show

20181225_202536-027741338703313319363.jpeg

This definitely was a highlight of my stay again: I went to see a traditional Balinese dance show, which I believe is held every night, at 7 p.m., in the center of Ubud, at the Palace.

Despite the many many (many!!!) flying insects everywhere due to the humidity and the lights, the show is absolutely beautiful and the music enchanting.

If you’d like to be bewitched into Balinese culture, this show is for you! – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / entry: 5$.

4. Go And See Various Temples

20181226_174445-028409273433886955506.jpeg

Crazy fact: Bali counts around 20,000 temples.

During my stay I went to see many temples – they are literally everywhere on the island! Each of them has something unique, so I’d say they’re always worth exploring.

I had the chance of going to Bali during the week of celebrations for the new year which is called Galungan 🙂 The whole island is on vacation, and decorations fill the streets and the temples: the main decorations, called Penjor, were very high bamboo sticks hanging above the streets. – Find more info here.

Visiting the temples is always free, but as the most famous ones are dispatched everywhere on the island, therefore accessing them is not always easy. You can either go by taxi (always ask the reception of your hotel) or scooter. – more info below.

You can find a list of the most famous temples here!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5. Witness A Religious Ceremony

20181226_144653-01850574745199399543.jpeg

In Balinese tradition, Galungan is the time of year when the ancestral spirits visit the Earth. For that occasion, the Balinese people gather in temples almost every day to bring offerings and pray altogether. – Find more info here.

The atmosphere created by the celebrations was truly awesome. It had a very authentic vibe, which was missing from the island otherwise, since it is overflowing from tourists. I strongly recommend going to Bali around this time of the year!

You can find a list of the most famous temples here!

20181226_144525-034108077742696048394.jpeg

6. Go to a Spa And Get A Balinese Massage

20181224_194613-018297238773770529190.jpeg

Going to a Spa is just part of the Balinese experience: you have to get at least one massage. Why? 2 reasons: it is so cheap you won’t believe it’s real, and the Balinese traditional massages are the best! The masseurs (generally female) carry just the right amount of pressure, although you can also ask for less or more pressure.

The beauty treatments are just amazing too, whether it be getting a manicure/pedicure, hair removal or a skin treatment, I assure you this will be a highlight during your stay! I did the best avocado hair treatment ever, which left my hair feeling sooooooo sleek I could not believe it. – 2 to 3 hours at a Spa / around 30$.

7. Make Friends!

20181228_074610-017790164767153739353.jpeg

People on this island are some of the friendliest I’ve encountered. They smile all the time, they are happy to live, and they laugh a lot!

As soon as you get used to the indonesian accent, you’re up to go. Everyone speaks English 🙂

This picture was taken right after I climbed down Mount Batur, the most famous volcano of the island. I befriended my guide, the girl at my right, who I taught a bit of french since she was asking 🙂

On her left is the very friendly and funny driver I had to take me to Mount Batur, who also wanted to be on the picture, looking fab’ with his sunglasses!

8. Climb A Volcano

 

20181228_064903-011444584614395366594.jpeg

Warning: if you’re afraid of heights like me, do not attempt this.

It was my first time climbing a volcano, and my first time going on a trek altogether.

Mount Batur is the second active volcano of Bali, the first one being Mount Agung which apparently you can’t climb anymore.

Climbing up Mount Batur is all fine since you do it during the night: however climbing down is a whole other matter! You don’t realise how far up you’ve gone until the sun comes out in the morning and you actually see the extremely steep slopes on both sides of the path (lacking barriers…)!

Hopefully I had a guide (which you’re obligated to have anyway if you want to climb) and she helped me go down when my legs wouldn’t support me anymore due to the fear.

However, I’m proud to have done it and I still encourage you to do it! – 2am to 7am / 10$ / ask your hotel reception for a ride there during the night.

20181228_055827-015700618090944732450.jpeg

9. Take Some Of The Most Beautiful Pictures Ever

20181227_160856-024747821108512715805.jpeg

Bali is of course one of the most instagrammable place of all time 🙂 Pictures speak for themselves, beauty stroke me everywhere I looked and of course I couldn’t resist!

Be aware that everyone wants his/her picture, and sometimes the sights are crowded of people who are here just to get their Instagram shot! Try not to get annoyed by it, it’s all part of the experience. 🙂

10. Relax And Enjoy Your Time There

20181226_181217-021526406675159935465.jpeg

Bali is known for its relaxing atmosphere, its yoga retreats and its magical sights.

If there’s one place where you can forget everything and actually relax and enjoy the present, it’s there. Take time to breathe, you will not regret it.


Info:

Hotels are cheap in Bali. You can get a 3-star hotel for 20$ a night. Spend some time on the internet beforehand to check the best deals.

Getting around in Bali is pretty easy. You can either book taxis at your hotel reception (to avoid getting ripped off by taxi drivers in the streets) or renting a scooter for a day or a few days in a row. Any way, it will cost you around 10$ a day to go everywhere you like.

Balinese food is amazing although it is very much the same everywhere. You can get very big meals for around 5$ per day.

Activities can be pricy: it really depends on what you want to do and how big in a group you are. You will usually spend around 20$ a day for any kind of activities, per person.


This concludes my blog post on my stay in Bali, and if you want to know more, you can go and watch the vlogs I did while I was there! Here is the first part, and the second part 🙂 Do subscribe to my YouTube channel if you liked them!

Balinese kisses,

Lilly

aka The French Hat

Advertisements

Testimony Call | Appel à témoignages

1280px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg ONE GOAL: EXPATRIATION! 41NWAuoUChL._SL500_AC_SS350_

Hey everyone!

I’m very happy to tell you I’m currently actively looking for people who would like to answer a questionnaire I’ve created revolving around expatriation, interview-like, all around the world, that I will then publish on this website in my expatriation folder.

What is project “One Goal: Expatriation!” about?

From the interviews I’m conducting, I would like to gather as much material as I can on expatriate life in general, and expatriation in specific countries in particular.

You currently live as an expat’ in Southeast Asia? You recently arrived in Australia, New Zealand or Canada under your first Working Holiday Visa (WHV)? You’re getting ready to expatriate yourself from Europe to the United States or Africa for an internship in the next few months? You HAVE TO answer my questionnaire!

After you’ve answered it, I will contact you by email or WhatsApp to review your answers with you and maybe ask you some more specific and unique questions, according to your situation.

I will then draft the blog post relating your interview, and let you review it to make sure I’ve perfectly re-transcribed everything you wanted to share!

Why Would It Interest Anyone?

Because I’ve already expatriated myself from France to Ireland for 2 years, and am now getting ready to expatriate myself again, this time in Asia, and I cannot find any platform gathering enough valuable information on expatriation, for anywhere in the world for that matter!

Of course you can find practical information, on official governmental websites, and vlogs from expats everywhere on the globe, but not necessarily what matters most to all who wish to expatriate themselves: REAL INSIGHTS.

How does it really feel to live in Sweden? How are Chinese people like? Is living in Singapore that much different from London? Would a British find food s/he likes in Australia? Is it easy to make friends in Colombia? Do black people easily get around in Japan? How hard is it to get a place in France? Do you really need to speak the local language to find a job in Korea?

Your answers would be extremely valuable to others who desperately need insights on the place you currently live in as an expat’ or are getting ready to expatriate yourself to! I can assure you there will be readers from all around the world!

What Would You Get In It?

You mean apart from the fact that you will for sure be helping and educating others? 😉

You will of course be featured on my blog and my social media (unless you want to stay anonymous), as I will link your website and/or your social media right under the re-transcription of your interview and in my tweets!

If this project goes well, my ultimate goal would be to come and interview my collaborators in person (yes, you!), and publish the videos on my YouTube channel, without monetization.

You will then get questions from my readers who will contact you directly if they need more answers about the place you talked about in your interview: it’s a win-win situation.

What Would I Get In It?

Just knowing I’ve created a place on internet where people can find as much information as they want on expatriation would be a big deal to me: I want my readers to be able to get answers to their most profound interrogations, not ready-made answers that don’t tell anything concrete.

If You Have Any More Questions

Contact me at this email address created for the occasion: contact.frenchhat@gmail.com


ANSWER MY INTERVIEW IN ENGLISH

It only takes 30 minutes to complete 🙂


1200px-Flag_of_France.svg UN SEUL BUT : L’EXPATRIATION ! 1200px-Flag_of_France.svg

Salut salut!

Je suis super contente de vous annoncer qu’en ce moment je recherche activement des personnes souhaitant répondre à un questionnaire que j’ai mis en place, sous forme d’interview, centré sur l’expatriation, partout dans le monde, que je publierai ensuite sur ce site web dans mon onglet expatriation.

Le projet “Un seul but : l’expatriation !”, qu’est-ce-que c’est ?

A partir des interviews que je conduis, j’aimerais rassembler autant de contenu que possible sur la vie d’expatrié en général, et l’expatriation dans des pays spécifiques en particulier.

Tu vis actuellement en temps qu’expatrié en Asie du sud-est ? Tu es tout fraichement arrivé en Australie, en Nouvelle-Zélande ou au Canada avec ton premier visa Vacances-Travail ? Tu te prépares à t’expatrier depuis l’Europe aux États-Unis ou l’Afrique pour y faire un stage dans les prochains moins ? Tu DOIS répondre à mon questionnaire !

Une fois que tu y auras répondu, je te contacterai par email ou WhatsApp pour qu’on revoie ensemble tes réponses et que je puisse peut-être compléter l’interview par des questions plus spécifiques et uniques à ta situation.

Ensuite je ferai le brouillon de l’article de blog qui retranscrira ton interview, je te le ferai relire pour être sûre que j’ai parfaitement retranscrit tout ce que tu voulais partager !

En quoi ça intéresserait les gens ?

Parce que je me suis déjà expatriée depuis la France pour l’Irlande durant 2 ans, et me prépare en ce moment à m’expatrier à nouveau, cette fois-ci en Asia, et que je ne trouve aucune plateforme rassemblant assez d’information intéressantes sur l’expatriation, pour n’importe où dans le monde d’ailleurs !

Bien sûr qu’on trouve des informations pratiques, sur les sites gouvernementaux, et des vlogs d’expatriés partout dans le monde, mais pas forcément ce qui importe le plus pour tous ceux qui souhaitent s’expatrier : UNE VRAIE IDEE.

Comment c’est vraiment de vivre en Suède ? Comment sont les chinois ? Est-ce que vivre à Singapour est vraiment différent de la vie londonienne ? Est-ce qu’un(e) britannique trouvera de la nourriture à son goût en Australie ? Est-ce que c’est facile de se faire des amis en Colombie ? Est-ce que c’est facile pour les personnes de couleur au Japon ? A quel point est-ce difficile de trouver un appart’ en France ? Est-ce qu’on a vraiment besoin de parler coréen pour trouver un boulot en Corée ?

Tes réponses seraient extrêmement précieuses pour d’autres qui sont désespérément à la recherche d’une vision depuis l’intérieur de personnes déjà expatriées ou bien se préparant à le devenir ! Je peux t’assurer qu’on aura des lecteurs de partout dans le monde !

Qu’est-ce que tu en tirerais ?

Tu veux dire au-delà du fait que tu aiderais les autres et que tu les informerais ? 😉

Tu seras bien évidemment cité sur mon blog et mes réseaux sociaux (sauf si tu veux rester anonyme), puisque je mettrai un lien vers ton site et/ou tes réseaux sociaux juste en-dessous de la retranscription de ton interview et dans mes tweets !

Si ce projet prend de l’ampleur, mon but ultime serait de venir interviewer en personne mes collaborateurs (oui oui, toi !), filmer, et publier tout cela sur ma chaine YouTube, sans monétisation.

Tu auras ensuite des questions provenant de mes lecteurs qui te contacteront directement s’ils ont besoin de plus de réponses à propos de l’endroit dont tu parles dans ton interview : tout le monde est gagnant dans l’histoire.

Qu’est-ce que moi j’en tirerais ?

Le simple fait de savoir que j’aurais créé un endroit sur internet où les gens pourront trouver un maximum d’information sur l’expatriation serait exceptionnel pour moi : je veux que mes lecteurs aient des réponses à leurs plus profondes interrogations, pas des réponses toutes faites qui ne disent rien de concret.

Si tu as encore la moindre question

Contacte-moi à cette adresse e-mail que j’ai créée pour l’occasion : contact.frenchhat@gmail.com


REPONDS A MON QUESTIONNAIRE EN FRANÇAIS !

Il prend seulement 30 minutes à compléter 🙂


 

Are Lonely Planet® Guides Worth It? | Review #1

If you’re anything like me you cannot choose when you have too many choices to choose from. That’s exactly what I felt when I was looking for the perfect travel guides before my world tour. Here’s what I thought about Lonely Planet® ones!


For these reviews I’ve chosen 5 criteria (the MAPAR review :D), to which I can add bonus points if there are any:

  • Maps
  • Accuracy
  • Pictures
  • Advice quality
  • Readability

Of course those are completely subjective, and I will of course express my free opinion on each of them. If you disagree with me or think I’ve left something out, please leave me a comment!

Main criteria

Maps *****

20180902_123134.jpg
©Lonely Planet

There are lots of maps, and very good quality ones! Depending on the version of the guide you get, you can also have a detachable folded map, the size of a tourist one (if you get what I mean) with top sights and venues on it!

I’ve given 5 stars for Lonely Planet ones because they were all I could ever wish for in a travel guide: coloured, big enough, some of them very detailed, and most of all, I didn’t have to buy any more!

Advice Quality *****

20180902_123052.jpg
©Lonely Planet

All in all the advice throughout the guide was good, and dependent on any kind of reader. There are pieces of advice for everyone and anyone, from families with small kids, to young adults looking for fun and even for LGBTs in particular!

The downside was that sometimes, those were quite cliche, which discredited the whole thing. But when the advice was good, it was delightful to follow it!

Pictures *****

20180902_123453.jpg
©Lonely Planet

I think this picture speaks for itself: the images in Lonely Planet® guides are amazing.

Very high quality, very beautiful and inspirational, a good size even in small versions of the guides, they are all you could look for in a travel guide to help you figure out how the destination looks like, feels like, and to inspire you even before you’ve arrived to your destinations.

Accuracy *****

Throughout our month of travelling, in 2 different continents and 3 different countries, we sometimes only depended on the Lonely Planet® guides I’d purchased. And while most of the time we didn’t have any problems, we did have some disappointments here and there: hours of restaurants, venues or stores that didn’t match the real ones, places closed down for good or replaced with other ones when we arrived in front of them…

This happened one too many time for me not to mention it, although it is to be expected with printed travel guides, sometimes having been written months or even years before you get them in your hands!

Readability *****

20180902_123612.jpg
©Lonely Planet

Compared to other guides, let me tell you the Lonely Planet® ones are a delight to read! They’ve got colours, bullet points, logos, sections, big titles, boxed texts, highlights, and most of all, their normal paragraphs are a good size to read! You would think it is a given, but apparently not from what I’ve seen…

Therefore this is definitely a good point for Lonely Planet®.

20180902_191427.jpg
Normal double page, with a boxed text for highlight – ©Lonely Planet

Bonus Points

Special Pages

20180902_122757.jpg
©Lonely Planet

Even if the guides I’d chosen weren’t that big, they had a lot of content! Enough to have special pages and sections all throughout the book.

 

On the left: This Top Itineraries double page gives you advice on full-day itineraries you can follow as if you were with a professional travel guide all day long! I’ve tested some of them myself, and they were pretty good to allow you spending good days with plenty of things to see and do!

On the right: This section is by far one of my favorites! It allows you to really get an idea of how your destination and its inhabitants are like. There’s information on the place nowadays, its history, customs, architecture and even language!

Tone

What a delight when the travel guide you’re reading has a funny tone or inspire you to visit everything in the destination you’ve chosen? Well Lonely Planet guides combine those two characteristics!

Not only are they very inspirational, but their writers are sometimes particularly funny! I’ve found myself laughing quite a number of times while reading them, and it made it all the more enjoyable 🙂

Recap: The Best Guides Out There?

Top points:

  • Readability
  • Pictures
  • Maps

Low points:

  • Accuracy
  • Advice Quality

Bonus points:

  • Special pages
  • Tone

Well to say that I would need to review each edition of travel guides out there. But from what I can tell, they really were good travel companions through my whole month of travelling, and I’ve managed to read them cover to cover and still wanting more! I will for sure buy more Lonely Planet® guides for my next travels.

Signing off,

Lilly, aka The French Hat


Lonely Planet guides on which I based this article:

  • Singapore, 11th edition, Ria de Jong, ©Lonely Planet 2018
  • L’Essentiel de New York, 3e édition, Regis St Louis & Michael Grosberg ©Lonely Planet 2017 (translated from Best of New York City, 2nd edition)
  • San Francisco en quelques jours, 4e édition, Mariella Krause, Alison Bing & John A Vlahides, ©Lonely Planet 2017 (translated from Pocket San Francisco, 6th edition)
  • Tokyo en quelques jours, 6e édition, Rebecca Milner & Simon Richmond, ©Lonely Planet 2017 (translated from Pocket Tokyo, 6th edition)
  • Kyoto et Osaka en quelques jours, 1re édition, Kate Morgan & Rebecca Miller, ©Lonely Planet 2017 (translated from Pocket Tokyo & Osaka, 1st edition)